Beautiful Either Way

Have you ever scrolled through your Facebook or Twitter timeline and come across a meme that displays two photos: One in which someone models a full face of impeccably done makeup, the other with a face void of any additives? The caption usually reads: “This is why I have trust issues”. It is the same person.

This is utterly disrespectful.

I usually tend to disregard it; However, I feel this crude sentiment is one which far too frequently goes unchallenged in the media.

One matter I need to address here is these “trust issues”. They have displaced origins. It is ludicrous to believe that the makers and supporters of these memes actually have trust issues with foundation, blush, contour or eye shadow. Please go resolve these trust issues ASAP.

The second issue lies within the framework of often Eurocentric and sexist ideals. These meme-makers are not understanding that certain people find comfort and peace in determining how they are going to creatively express themselves through a cosmetic medium. Some may have struggled with severe acne all their lives, and one of the ways they are able to divert attention from it is to wear makeup. Some people are burn victims (acid, fire, etc.). Burn victims’ scars and injuries to the public represent an important event in their lives that they may or may not always want to share with the world.

I have struggled with my own body image for years now, and I do not always come to appreciate my body below the neckline. One of the ways for me to deter unwanted attention from my body is to play up my more celebrated features: my almond eyes and full lips. To wear makeup is one of the many ways for us to go about our lives, without attracting the unwarranted stares or rude comments. Makeup can be a medium for self-expression, but also for self-protection. Also, some people just enjoy the artistic license of wearing subtle or vivacious makeup looks, and that is okay too! But the assumption (most often times vocalized by cis men) that everyone wears makeup in order to validate their appearance in the eyes of the beholder (who are, again, most often times cis men) is implicitly misogynistic, and sometimes even racist.

Makeup is not always used to hide behind a veil, but neither always to attract attention. It is to allow others to focus on our contribution to the world and the people around us, rather than our physical marks. It is crucial to understand that we choose to take the time and effort to show a different side of our physical appearance in a manner that makes us feel better or more comfortable.

So, to anyone who supports those blatantly tactless memes, try to be more conscientious of the reasons behind our decisions to wear makeup. I also encourage those meme supporters to make an active search for why it is that they have trust issues over something so personal to another individual. It is a selfish and flawed ideology.

 

Tiffany Leung

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