Friday, March 23, 2012

The Naked Face Project: Week 3 & 4 - Makeup

In doing my research about makeup this week, I came across an interesting thread that was actually started by a man. He started it with: "As a guy, I'd like to know why women wear makeup? I don't mean any disrespect and I'm here to learn from you but I just don't understand why women are obsessed with products that are filled with hormone disrupting, cancer causing chemicals (according to several studies)."

Some reasons the women commenters gave for why they wear makeup:

  1. To look pretty
  2. Self-confidence boost
  3. It's fun; it's a hobby
  4. Society expects it; it's part of being a woman
  5. Look my best
  6. I like it
  7. It's one thing I can do for me; my own little paradise
  8. To define myself
  9. Accentuate my natural beauty
  10. To hide imperfections (like Rosacea)
  11. To go from plain to stunning
  12. I'm insecure; I feel naked without it
  13. It motivates me to get stuff done and not laying around all day
  14. It makes me happy
The original poster summed up my thoughts exactly: "I've always wondered if women are really that liberated. Everything about the modern woman is fake: fake hair, color, fake boobs, fake nails, fake tan, fake lips, fake eyelashes, fake skin, etc...You still feel the need to paint your faces in order to feel presentable to the world. Women aren't liberated, they're slaves to the cosmetics industry who makes billions of dollars off of women's insecurities...Women are naturally beautiful. If men don't need makeup than neither do women. It's all social brainwashing."
I also found this comment interesting: "I'm spilling the beans here and telling you ladies that yes men like to look at women like Kim Kardashian and Megan Fox but they don't respect them. They find these women attractive in a superficial sense...they see them as women who are desperate for male attention and can be easily manipulated. When we look at women who are all dolled up, it screams INSECURITY and EASY. We see that they don't find themselves pretty enough to be confident about their natural looks."
Here's the deal: This guy got pummeled in the thread. Other commenters were saying he was being disrespectful and had a low opinion of women. They also took his comments to mean that he believed women only wore makeup to please men or get men's attention. (there were other comments he made that I disagree with and were also a big reason why he got pummeled).


Here's my commentary about this subject:

In reading the reasons that these particular women gave for wearing makeup, it makes me sad. Ninety-percent of those reasons reflected a dissatisfaction with self or a compliance with society. Now, obviously, not every women wears makeup for these reasons, feels insecure without it, etc. But, I think it's safe to say that majority of women fall into these two categories and that makes me sad. Why do we (not just women, but men too) feel like what God made us to be, without all the exterior boosts, isn't enough? Our "prettiness", "self-confidence", "womanhood", "security", "motivation" and "happiness" should come from who we are in Christ! He finds us stunning, beautiful and perfect just the way we are and that should be enough. 

Remember the way we came into this world? Naked! No clothes, no make-up, no jewelry, no hair dye, etc. Somewhere along the way, we felt like that wasn't enough anymore and we needed to "accentuate" a few things. (obviously, we have to wear clothing or we'd get thrown in jail for indecent exposure!)

I've always liked this analogy...if Picasso brought you his best work and gave it to you as a gift, would you say, "This is great, Picasso, but I think I'll just add a few colors here and there to make it even better!" Picasso would be offended! Yet, this is what we do with God's creation; with ourselves. God created those eyes. God created that skin. God created that hair color. God perfected you! You don't need to accentuate anything! You are perfect, just the way you are!
Now, in regards to the gentleman's comment about Kim Kardashian and Megan Fox, it's a sad and alarming (and yes, somewhat offensive) comment. But, most men (not all) would tell you that it's true. They have very little respect for women who have very little respect for themselves. Women who wear clothes leaving them half-naked, appear to have no respect for themselves. Women who feel they can only leave the house with a full face of makeup, the nicest clothing on, their nails done, teeth whitened, hair curled, etc, do sometimes come across as insecure. 

The bigger issue here is this... what are you projecting by the clothes you wear and the makeup you use? Fact: Men are visual creatures. They were made to be visual creatures. It's difficult for a "real" woman to compete for the attention of the man when there are "made up" women and airbrushed women everywhere you turn. Our society is an over-sexualized one. Everything is about sex, attracting the opposite sex, having the best sex, making sure you are sexy. When did sexy overtake beauty? 

Here's the key that we need to be teaching our young girls: do you want a man to like you because of your exterior appearance or do you want a man to love you for you? Do you want to attract a man that only wants to sleep with you or a man that finds you beautiful and adores you, as a person? 
Personally, I don't think there's anything wrong with wearing a little makeup here and there, IF your motivation for it is in the right place. A few of the commenters get this. They wear makeup: 
  1. because it's fun and a hobby
  2. it's something that they can do for their-self, their own little paradise
  3. it motivates them to get stuff done and not lay around the house
As a stay at home mom, I can attest to these last two reasons. When you're a mom (not just a stay at home mom) you tend to put yourself last. You give everything to your husband, your kids, the dog even. You think that you'll get to yourself some other time. But, I can tell you, unfortunately from personal experience, that this is a dangerous road. Before you know it, you've defined yourself by your kids, your laundry, your clean house, your dishes, etc. You lose your self. Who you are. Who God created you to be. And what God has called you to do with your life. Life becomes mundane and can lead to depression for some. If getting ready in the morning, putting on a nice outfit, curling your hair, wearing a little makeup, etc, makes you feel like you've taken care of yourself first so that you can take care of others, then I am all for it! (this is where exercise and eating healthy come into play for me!)

I do believe that there is a way to teach our young girls that they can wear clothing to "accentuate" their body without being slutty or trashy; without exposing everything they've got. Besides, the element of surprise is half the fun for men! Modest is more sexy than baring it all.
Modestly Sexy!

I do believe that there is a way to "accentuate" your features without feeling the need to look like that airbrushed model in the magazine. That, my friend, is an unattainable goal. A computer made her, after all.
If wearing makeup is something fun for you, by golly, do it!

For me, I don't feel the need to wear makeup every day. In fact, I rarely wear it anymore. Mainly because I simply don't have the extra 15 minutes it takes to put on. If I do wear it, I wear very little. If I'm going out, I tend to do the full makeup and the nice outfit. Again, I'm a stay at home mom, so I don't go out very often. It's a fun treat for me and I feel like a million bucks when I get to go do something fun! I simply want my exterior to reflect what my interior is feeling.

But, if you're wearing makeup because you think it makes you pretty, or not "plain" looking anymore, because it defines you or because society says you have to, then I beg you, please don't wear it. Please take on The Naked Face Project. Please let Jesus into those places of your heart that feel that way. Please let Him reveal the truth to you about who you really are.

One last thing, if you are going to wear makeup, please be smart about the products that you are using. It is true that most cosmetic products are filled with "hormone disrupting, cancer causing chemicals." Don't put these products on your body! Don't let your little girls put these products on their bodies! If you'd like to know if the products you're using are harmful or what products are least harmful, please check out Skin Deep. It is a cosmetic database who's "staff of scientists compare the ingredients on personal care product labels and websites to information in nearly 60 toxicity and regulatory databases. [It] provides you with easy-to-navigate safety ratings for a wide range of products and ingredients on the market."

I feel the need to write a disclaimer about this week's Naked Face Project post. This post uses a lot of generalizations and may not be talking directly about you or someone you know. It, does, however, present material that is sort of "in your face" (no pun intended) and is controversial and may stir some things up in you. Before you comment, I ask that you first take some time and figure out why it fires you up. And if/when you choose to comment, I ask that you be respectful to me and to the other commenters. Thanks, Amy