Big Bucks for Beauty

I just left a beauty supply store with my tweenaged daughter and man, I gotta tell ya…I’m furious. Let me preface this by saying, yes, I do allow her to wear make-up. For her, it’s something of a hobby—she really doesn’t go overboard with it. She got gift cards for several “beauty” stores for Christmas because that’s what she asked for. Until recently, I had never set foot in one of these places. I’ve never been into make-up. My daily routine consists of slapping on a coat of foundation, a quick brush of eyeshadow, and some blush. In fact, I’m embarrassed to admit that some of my make-up is actually from the last decade.

So imagine my surprise when I entered this store, mecca of make-up and all things “beauty”. Wall to wall beauty supplies that I never even dreamed existed. My brain instantly went into sensory overload. Twenty-four different serums to lift eyes and fill wrinkles. Seventy-two different brushes to “contour” your face every morning. “Workout” make-up (what in ever loving hell would we ever need make-up to work out in????) Every conceivable type of hair styling product that you could imagine—ones that smoothed and plumped and straightened and curled. Everything that a girl could possibly want to make herself everything she’s not.  It had me screaming out…why??!?!?!?

Why? It’s 2018, ladies. We’ve made incredible strides as women in the last century. A hundred years ago, we couldn’t even VOTE. A hundred years ago, a woman’s sole purpose was to serve men. A hundred years ago a respectable woman couldn’t even go on a date without a chaperone or make a major purchase without her husband. In those hundred years, we’ve said to hell with those constraints. We’ve had women in positions of power, we’ve had women making groundbreaking medical discoveries, we’ve had women knocking down all the boundaries that were previously imposed on us. We’ve showed the world what we can do. And yet, here we are….still worried about our looks.

Now, I’m the furthest thing from a feminist that you’ll ever meet, but this infuriates me as a woman. Why the hell are we stuck in the last century? Why are we still telling ourselves, telling our daughters, that we’re not good enough unless we LOOK a certain way? Why are we contouring our noses off our face? Why are we making our eyes look like raccoons to seduce the guys in the copy room? Why are we straightening our hair till it actually falls out of our heads? And dear GOD why the hell are we wearing make-up to the gym?

Mind you, I’m also not advocating for poor hygiene. Please wash your hair and comb it. Brush your teeth and make sure your clothes are clean. Look respectable. That goes for women AND men. And I’m also not saying that being glamorous or playing around with make up is necessarily a terrible thing, either. Show your unique style. A little lipstick can cheer you up when you’re having a bad day. Bright nail polish colors are fun. Sometimes face masks make you feel fresher. But for the love of God, don’t think you NEED any of this stuff. The prices alone should deter you from that thinking. $35 for shampoo? $17 for a one time use face mask? $280 for perfume??? Is it made with the tears of our forefathers???

As shocking as some of the items in that store were, you know what I didn’t see there? A man. (The guy holding his wife’s purchases and sighing loudly while looking at his watch every thirty seconds does not count.) Yeah, I’m sure there are men out there that wear make-up and use eye firming serum, but 90% of the male population doesn’t. Most of the male population is cool with the “what you see is what you get” aspect of their appearance. They don’t spackle on a new face every morning or agonize over their appearance like woman do. I’m sure they have internal monologues with themselves about losing weight or finally getting around to plucking their nose hairs, but since there aren’t ENTIRE stores filled with men seeking a magic fix to make themselves look better, one can only assume they really don’t care as much as women do.

And why is this ladies? Why do we care so much? Why does the sight of wrinkles send us running for the make-up counter? Why does a gray hair make us call the hairdresser to schedule an emergency appointment? My hubby wears his wrinkles as a badge of honor—same with the few gray hairs he has. Why is okay for him to look his age and not okay for me? Who planted this narrative in our head? Who’s been telling us youth and external beauty are everything for women? Who’s telling us that our other contributions aren’t important? Who’s telling us we’re still not good enough? Blame men all you want, but it’s not them, that’s for sure. Poll any ten men and you’ll find that most of them can’t stand make-up. They don’t understand why we spend so much money on beauty products or why we “need” them. They’d rather have their wives and girlfriends au naturale. They want us to be real, so why can’t we be real with ourselves? Why all the subterfuge?

There’s a day dedicated to everything on the calendar. National Hot Sauce Day, National Bring Your Pet to Work Day, National Talk Like a Sailor Day, National Cheesecake day (my daughter’s birthday). This year, April 25th is National No Make-up Day. I say we all skip the make-up that day. Let’s show the world who we really are and stop hiding behind the masks we think we need…what do you say ladies?

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