Have you ever thought about what we would look like as a community, to an alien from another world, if they visited Earth? What would they think of all of our citizens walking around looking down into our small square hand held machines, instead of at each other? Wouldn’t it seem odd to see people sitting at a table together, not interacting with each other, but with these little machines? Sending text messages and emojis to the person sitting next to us? Or in the next room?
It seems odd to me. But more strange is another distinction that might shock visitors from another planet: Half of us wear make up, concealer, lipstick, paint our faces, our finger nails, our toe nails and cover all sorts of things with our make up. And the other half of us have faces that are good to go, no assembly required.
I never thought too much about this, until I was listening to Glennon Doyle’s podcast “We can do hard things” last week. I only caught a few minutes of the episode entitled “Beauty: How did we get trapped in this cage and how do we break free?” But what I heard grabbed my attention. Why is it that men’s faces are ready for public consumption, but women have to make ours up each day?
I enjoy glamor as much as the next woman. Putting on a favorite navy Ann Taylor suit, with a feminine blouse and its dainty lapels, perfect paten leather heels to match and dressing up from head to toe, is actually a blast. But only when I feel like it. I never thought much about the fact that men do not put anything on their faces, except a few who might use some type of moisturizer if anything. But I do now see the irony in this phenomenon that women have to be made up to leave the house, and men do not.
This topic can and likely will take us in many directions about beauty, cultural pressure, and individual choice. But for today, at least bringing awareness, openly and without judgment to the fact that women are conditioned to feel we need to maximize our appearance at every age, at any cost, and with any chemicals that can do the “trick” is the purpose of today’s post.
If you are not a woman, no worries. This is not an attack on your beautiful faces! It is only an invitation for those of us who are girls and women, to at least notice, that expectations are not the same when it comes to physical appearance. Only after awareness, can we begin to at least ask what this may mean to us individually.
These messages start when we are barely old enough to walk, and the industries that teach us we need more make up, so the world can see less of who we actually are (from our Joy to our Sorrow, from our exhaustion to our victory) are the fiscal beneficiaries of our buy-in to the dogma.
The non-fiscal price women, and society pay as a whole, for accepting these values is probably enough material for an entire book. For now, I am just passing on an increased awareness that resonated with me. Women like Glennon Doyle, Alicia Keys and others are starting to open this conversation and I believe it is worth joining in and at least getting curious. Curious about why we look in the mirror each morning, and get to work getting made up, before getting to work, at all.