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Selfies and Make Up

The latest Facebook 'craze' has been women taking 'selfies' without make up to raise awareness and money for Breast Cancer charities. It's a lovely idea, not started by the charity itself but showing to have real results in money raised and hopefully in awareness by people linking to their website and resources. I took part, I actually donated to teenage cancer trust, firstly because it's my nominator's cancer chairty of choice, secondly because I feel we should seize this massive fundrasing opportunity and spread the donanations to as as many cancer charities as possible.

Here's mine:

And here's an "after" shot too:

I think the idea itself is lovely-women showing natural beauty and empowering each other has got to be a good thing. I love all the comments women are making 'so goregous' 'oh look how pretty you are' 'look at your pretty eyes' etc etc. It's supportive, it's empowering. I love that men are liking the photos, saying how pretty girls look. What I don't love is men saying "see you don't need all that horrible make up anyway".

To me a man (or anyone) saying I don't need make up is as bad as telling me I do need make up. For several reasons.

Firstly it implies you have any say in what I put on my face (or anywhere else). You don't. Nobody does. You can tell me it looks daft, you can tell me puce lipstick really isn't my colour or that electric blue eyeliner went out with white pvc coats. But don't tell me not to use it at all. The only analogy I can think of is that I can tell a bloke that his choice in facial hair is frankly ridiculous, but if the man wants to grow a handlebar mustache well that's his business.

Second the idea that men can tell women not to wear make up implies we do it for them. Newsflash boys, we don't. Putting aside, oh I don't know the entire lesbian community who, shock horror also enjoy make up but don't enjoy boys, Women don't wear make up for men. I can hand on heart say I have never considered a man's opinion when putting on my make up. Except maybe Gok Wan's.

This is momentarily putting aside the centuries of conditioning to conform to what men view as desirable in fashion, appearance etc for women. Which is a blog, not least a book for another day. But what I'm arguing is that on a day to day basis women putting on make up don't give a second thought to what men are thinking about it.

We wear make up for a variety of reasons. Mainly to feel good about ourselves. I don't need make up to feel good about myself but it helps.

Telling women to 'lay off the slap' is also insulting to those who do need it for confidence. While I feel confident enough to go out without it now, years of bad skin meant that wasn't/isn't always possible. I have scars all over my face. I have scars on my cheeks from terrible adult acne which leaves scars only laser surgery can fix. I have a scar on my mouth from who knows what (I'm a clumsy oaf) and currently a cut there are well (again clumsy oaf) I have a scar always hidden by my hair where the doctor cut my head when I was born. None of these are terrible, years attending skin clinics for my issues there taught me I have it relatively easy. But I still want to hide them sometimes.

Then there's the simple fact that make up is fun! I enjoy make up. I enjoy experimenting, I enjoy playing with styles, techniques, products and colours. In the same way anyone who knows me knows my nails are rarely 'naked' because I love to experiment with nail polish, I also like nothing more than experimenting with new eyeliner. I enjoy matching my eye shadow to my outfit, I enjoy making myself look a little bit different with a bit of colour. It's not hiding my 'natural beauty' it's enhancing it, but also playing with it. Again boys, you grow facial hair with the aim of making yourselves look more grown up, more masculine, more like Poirot. That's your call. (I'm coming down hard on facial hair, I do in fact love a good beard)

And yes I also enjoy not looking like an extra from 'Shaun of the Dead' by concealing the massive dark circles under my eyes.

Make up does give me confidence. It helps me feel pretty in the same way styling my hair or putting on nice clothes does. Yes it helps me compensate a bit when I'm feeling a bit rough (see dark circles) but it isn't a substitute. And most of us know that.

I'm not innocent of make up commentary. I've made remarks about girls who are as orange as a bottle of tango, or who have that much eyeliner on they look like they've been punched. I've looked at a women on tv and said 'blimey love did you put that on with a trowel' but it's not my place to say these girls shouldn't wear make up.

I think it's great for a man to tell a women she looks beautiful with no make up on. I think it's great for him to tell her she looks really nice when she's made up and dressed up for a night out (or even just a day at work) I don't think it's great to tell her she shouldn't wear make up. Likewise it's really not cool to tell a women 'blimey get some slap on love you look like death' just in case anyone was wondering....

Anyway back to the point. If you haven't (and blokes I'm looking at you again now) donante to one of these charities:

Cancer Research UK

Breast Cancer Research:

Teenage Cancer Trust


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