Below is a step-by-step guide on how to apply a smoky eye, in just a few short minutes:
Make-up, like everything else, should be a choice. I choose to use cosmetics, not because it is deemed as more attractive in pop culture, but because I simply enjoy it. I enjoy the process of choosing colors, blending, and experimenting. I’ve always been particularly interested in replicating different fashions and aesthetics from various decades. There seems to be subtle tension when feminism and make-up is discussed together; some men and women seem to think feminists have a dress-code. Per the stereotype, feminists are supposed to reject all modern approaches to femininity, such as applying cosmetics or taking an interest in fashion at all.
By rejecting our femininity, women are implying there is something wrong with enjoying fashion. This rejection also implies enjoying and participating in fashion is strictly a feminine trait not shared with masculinity, which is false. Fashion can be a tool to better represent your inner personality, to experiment with aesthetic, thus experiment and evolve your personality. I do not think it is necessary, nor would I ever push anyone to dress and act a certain way. However, I feel the backlash between feminism and make-up should be reconciled, because duality is beautiful in its contradictions and imperfections.
Wearing make-up does not mean I am a pawn of the patriarchy, it does not mean I make choices to simply attract men; for me, it gives me control over how I appear to others. It allows me to continually mold my personality. If women are allowed the freedom of choice, then it makes most sense that women should look exactly how they desire, not by what uniform they are meant to wear based on cultural and societal expectations. Of course, I also fully encourage wearing make-up not to hide a person’s features, but only to have fun.
Having feelings of being unattractive without using cosmetics is clearly not healthy, but those feelings do not necessarily mean cosmetics are the culprit, but the ways in which the products are being advertised in media is the true malefactor. This distinction is subtle, but crucial to identify–a woman’s choice to do what she wants with her face is her own, no one else’s.
Joanna C. Valente currently lives in Brooklyn, where she is a part-time mermaid. She received her MFA in poetry writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Some of her words can be found in decomP, Thrush Poetry Journal, La Fovea, The 22 Magazine, and other places. In 2010, she founded Yes, Poetry. Her ghost resides here. @joannasaid