Disclaimer: The intention of the following paragraphs is not to protest makeup. In fact, I just counted and I have a total of six products that I wear, on average, probably once a week. The objective of this article is to make you think constructively about current societal beauty standards and how it affects your life.
I’m sure this next statement will not shock you, as many people can relate to the following sentiment – self-confidence does not come easy for me. On the contrary, it’s something that I’ve struggled with since the early days of high school. I’m not looking for a pity party in sharing this with you. Navigating through my teenage years into my early (almost mid) twenties with low self-esteem is something that has largely contributed to the person I am today. Over the years I have been able to translate this feeling into something constructive and thoughtful, and I hope I can share some of that with you today and in the future.
About two years ago, I watched a YouTube video that genuinely changed the way I think about my body, the clothes I wear, and my physical appearance in general. The What’s Underneath Project is an ongoing campaign that showcases individuals discussing their personal style and unique experience in developing that aesthetic. Meredith Graves’ video is the first one I watched, and I was instantly hooked. In it, she discusses the importance of authenticity – that is, being exactly who you are, no matter what.
These videos triggered a life-altering secondary thought to the usual notion that beauty comes from within. I realized that, yes, internal beauty renders external beauty but, perhaps more importantly, I finally recognized that my individualistic qualities translate into a unique style, allowing me to be me in the most organic sense of the word. The mass media makes it very difficult for us to expand our concepts of beauty. When broken down, the overarching message we hear everyday is simple but destructive: do this, not that; buy this, not that, so that you can be this, and definitely not that. If there is any takeaway from this post, let it be this – no one else is you, and that is what makes you beautiful.
This is where the no makeup part comes in. After watching 15 YouTube videos in a row (seriously, watch some of those videos), I decided to wake up the next day with the intention to look and dress in a manner that made me feel like me and I’ve made it a habit ever since.
Realizing that you don’t have to conform to specific beauty norms is incredibly liberating. When I first started experimenting with makeup, I did so because I am a girl and society tells me that’s what girls do. For me, wearing makeup every day does not feel like I’m being me and I’ve learned that that’s okay. Don’t get me wrong, I love a bold lipstick and a bomb highlight once in a while, but the process of putting it on my face is not something I particularly enjoy.
Makeup is an art that many people thrive in. On the other hand, it is a routine that many people add to their morning as a means of covering up. If makeup is your passion, I salute you! Keep doing amazing things; but, let it be something that empowers you, not changes you.
I’m going to leave you with the elegant words of Meredith Graves: “In my body is a good place to be because, functionally speaking, I know at the end of the day that it is the only home I’ve ever had… no matter how much I argue with it…I have to treat it like my home; and, home is where you are supposed to feel the safest, and home is where love happens, and home is where you are supposed to feel best about yourself. So, welcome home!”