“I am taking my next girlfriend for a swim on our first date. That way I don’t have to fall in love with face powder.”
Those are words my brother once shared when we were having a conversation about makeup as he bemoaned the ‘fact’ that most women look completely different without makeup.
Different in a bad way, he said.
I don’t agree with my brother because….
To makeup or not to makeup?
I unequivocally deny the assumption that women who use makeup have no confidence in themselves. I, however, would say that makeup often makes us look prettier or way more beautiful than we are without it.
It is this effect that makes us use it continually and become more confident with it, than without it. This is a danger in itself; it is dangerous to ourselves than to people around us for it has the ability to confine our confidence about our looks within makeup.
I recently read with interest the story of a man from Algeria who sued his wife for ‘incomparable depict’. This man only saw her with makeup on prior to their wedding. He was ‘devastated’ as he could not recognise her after they wedded when she had no makeup on. While I found this story interesting and felt a tad-bit sorry for this guy I could not help thinking that he was being silly.
The above pictures show this woman, who for me looks gorgeous in both pictures except pronounced pimples on her chin in the picture on the left; only a dramatic person would really claim that they could not see that in the second picture, the woman clearly has makeup on. If indeed this guy was so appalled by her looks without make up, I suppose she is better off without him.
What I drew from this story is simple unnecessary drama surrounding make-up. When two people fall in love to the point of deciding to get married, is everything determined by looks? We cannot of course rule out attractiveness in individuals based on their looks but are these sufficient enough to be the basis for a marital settlement.
Media imagery and pressure to conform
The power of media images over our looks is so dominant. Women’s magazines and adverts are in the business of standardising beauty as flawless skin and a hint of lightness. What with the ‘yellow bone’ hype currently going on in Africa, a hype that victimised dethroned Miss Zimbabwe, Emily Kachote.
The media has defined natural blemishes – such as uneven skin tones, blackened knees and stretch marks – as ugly. And women’s obsession to get rid of them comes at an expense as this has seen many experimenting with several products, some of which are harmful to their health and skin.
A recently released list featuring Zimbabwe’s five most ‘beautiful’ women proves yet again the power of imaging as the selected women all clearly had makeup on. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, but the point is beauty should not only be identified by make-up and any other standards that we are continually challenged to meet.
This reminds me of a time I worked as a sales assistant at a local retail shop and could never leave the house without makeup on. When an aunt of mine visited she asked why I bothered with makeup.
“Your skin looks beautiful with or without it,” she said.
After examining myself for a long time, I abandoned make up for the next year. And nothing felt amiss. Now I use make up only when I feel like it, or when it’s that time of the month when my skin turns against me.We need to come to a realisation that we can be satisfied with the way we look, both with and without our mascara and lipstick on.
Most if not all celebrities that we see on television and read about in magazines have flawless skin enabled by the often reliable brush of makeup. These women represent to us the ideal look which is bordered within the use of Black Opal, Mac, Fashion Fair, Clinique, Becca Ever-Matte and a host others.
I am talking about South Africa’s Bonang Mathema, Boitumelo Tulo and Minnie Dlamini. Nigeria’s Tonto Dike, Rita Dominic and Mercy Johnson and of course our very own Pokello Nare, Maneta Mazanhi and Vimbai Mutinhiri.
Their hair (the celebrities) is often Brazilian, Indian and Peruvian. It is for this reason that anything that does not look straight and silky is perceived to be ugly.Anything Kinky usually represents rebellion, thick headedness and dirt.
Why do women have to conform to set standards of beauty?
In an interview with Denmark’s Synne Rifbjerg, acclaimed Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie, said US President Barack Obama would not have won the presidency if his wife Michelle had kinky hair. This was a bold statement, which exposes society’s standardised forms of respectability and beauty; straightened hair being one of its norms.
It will be much prettier to have a society that accepts diverse forms of beauty that do not rely entirely on often over-priced retail cosmetics. I really believe in the ‘beauty from within’ adage. Ultimately, women need to amour themselves with the confidence that they are inherently beautiful, with or without makeup or straightened hair or ‘yellow’ skin or whatever else society has qualified as acceptable.
Main image taken from www.thegrio.com