Every so often I come across a passionate, conservative article about why wearing makeup is feminine, not masculine, and therefore men shouldn’t do it.
Women and men are both valuable, important, and essential – so I don’t question why both genders are needed for a healthy, balanced, thriving community. But I do question why makeup is labeled feminine.
Is it because women are the group that cosmetic companies market to – except when makeup is war paint for soldiers or face paint for sports fans?
Maybe makeup IS war paint. Are we fighting for (or against) something when we wear it? Are we fighting for the truth? Does makeup scream, unashamedly, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”?
I don’t think so. Makeup advertisements tell me I need to cover my face to to be beautiful (read: valuable), to be artistic, and even to be myself. Makeup advertisements tell me I need to be enhanced.
When I look at it critically, makeup actually looks like camouflage designed to cover the deep wounds received in guerrilla warfare, where sudden and unjust attacks are made on our identities in places like our homes – places that are supposed to be safe.
But I’ve never been a fan of camo. Especially as a fashion statement. So maybe I shouldn’t I wear it whenever I dress up (or feel tired, or break out). Maybe I shouldn’t delude myself into believing that a man-made product can enhance a living, God-made body. And maybe war paint (read: makeup) doesn’t, or shouldn’t, have gender-specific implications.
Makeup is not as feminine as we give it credit for. Unlike makeup, femininity is not rooted in shame, fear, or self-defense. Femininity is too beautiful and life-giving and wild to be bottled and sold in aisle seven.
The reason makeup isn’t masculine has nothing to do with its **cultural** connection to femininity. Makeup is not masculine because masculinity is not rooted in shame, fear, or self-defense. Makeup is not masculine because masculinity is too beautiful and life-giving and wild to be bottled and sold in aisle seven.