It’s My Face and I Can Do What I Want

popart

Amy as pop art. Be amazed. Photo credit Amy Parker.

I spend a LOT of time on YouTube, and amidst the music videos, CollegeHumor clips, and Vine compilations, my absolute favorite videos to watch are makeup tutorials. I adore the tons of different styles makeup artists and enthusiasts have created, and since finding these videos, I’ve become somewhat of an enthusiast myself. Admittedly, I definitely don’t have enough time or energy to put makeup on everyday – for my 9am classes, it’s a miracle if I even take the time to put my contacts in – but whenever I do, I love to play around with contouring, lipsticks and eyeliners. Over the years, I’ve compiled a little makeup stash of my own and have even started to center my Halloween costumes around the makeup looks I am willing to try out.

For example, this was my makeup for the past Halloween (I was a Roy Lichtenstein comic)

However, because of my exposure to so many makeup tutorials, I’ve also encountered many comments that have made me question what about makeup is so intriguing to me. On a lot of the videos, usually those that require numerous products and take quite a bit of time and skill to recreate, I’ve found that people will leave negative comments saying things like “This is why you can never trust what a woman really looks like” or “This is basically just lying and putting on an entirely different face” or even “This is why you should take your girl swimming on the first date.”

To me, those comments are not just rude, but completely unnecessary and, for the most part, totally off-base. One of my favorite things about makeup is that it’s just one way for me to express my own style and skill, in the same way you can accentuate your features with different clothing, hairstyles, and accessories. It’s not about lying about what I look like with a naked face, but rather highlighting what I think are my better features while minimizing any flaws I feel self-conscious about.

One of my favorite makeup videos is by a girl named Cassandra Bankson, a longtime sufferer of cystic acne, a hormonal imbalance that caused her face, neck and chest to sustain extensive scarring. In her foundation video she talked about how scary it was to film herself without any makeup because her skin problems were something that made her incredibly self-conscious. However, in her later videos, she talks about her life after gaining the confidence she did by using certain makeup techniques, and how she was actually able to pursue a modeling career that she absolutely loves.

Now obviously, because it’s the internet, there were some nasty comments on the video, but there was also an overwhelming sense of acceptance for her story and ultimately, for her makeup routine. While her situation is definitely an extreme, that’s just one example where I found how individual something like putting on makeup truly is, and it made me realize how unnecessary it is to make any kind of negative remark about someone else’s decisions regarding the topic. Yes, Cassandra’s foundation may not be the most natural process, but it is the routine that allows her to feel most like herself.

I know it might seem a bit much to put such an importance on the process of putting on makeup, but in today’s society, beauty is both unobtainable and utterly irresistible. I can’t watch TV without seeing an ad for the newest flawless skin foundation, or mascara that will make my eyelashes longer than I ever dreamed. And when products like that are so salient in our everyday life, I can’t help but wonder what type of effect it can have.

Wearing makeup is about finding what makes you comfortable and, more importantly, what makes you confident. If applying layers of foundation and a dramatic smokey eye is what prompts you to strut down the street, then do it! And if you’d rather stick with a few swipes of mascara when you go out, or nothing at all, then you do that too!

It doesn’t make someone better or worse if they make the decision to wear makeup or not. It doesn’t make anyone more honest or untruthful. Making your own decisions for your own face is a wonderfully individual and empowering thing, and no matter what you end up doing, I know I’ll be cheering you along because face it: ya look fierce.

 

Amy Parker is from Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, and she is a freshman at Northwestern University. If you are interested in submitting a guest post please visit our application page.

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