To the Morons who wear Make-Up

First, there’s the ageism you’re perpetuating: make-up is intended, to a large degree, to make one look younger. In many respects, younger is better, but in many respects, it isn’t (and anyway, make-up merely gives one the appearance of being younger). True, at some point in time, being old is completely the pits, but hey, that’s life, deal with it – without delusion or deception (or implied insult).

Second, if make-up were merely intended to (attempt to) make one beautiful, well, I suppose there’s no harm in that – the world can always use a little more beauty. However, I despair at the pathetically low aesthetic standards in use if a blue eyelid is considered beautiful – let’s at least see a glittering rainbow under that eyebrow arch! Further, I despair at the attention to beauty of skin if at the expense of beauty of character.

However, make-up is intended as much, if not more, to (attempt to) make one sexually attractive. (To some extent, I suppose physical beauty is sexually attractive, but that suggests a very narrow definition of beauty: a dog running full-out is beautiful but not, at least to me, sexually attractive.) (It also suggests a very narrow definition of sexual attractiveness.) I’m thinking, for example, of reddened (and puckered) lips – what is that but an advertisement for fellatio? Consider too the perfume (especially if it’s musk rather than floral), and the earrings (earlobes as erogenous zones), and the bras that push up and pad – all are part of the woman’s morning grooming routine, her ‘getting ready’ (that phrase itself begs the question ‘Ready for what?’) (‘Sex!’).

Now there’s nothing wrong with being sexually attractive per se. But there is something wrong – something sick – about wanting to be bait (sexually attract-ive) all day long. Especially when those same women complain about the attention they receive for their sexual attractiveness – the looks, the comments, the invitations (can you say ‘sexual harassment’?) Not only is there a serious self-esteem problem here, there’s a serious consistency of thought problem here.

Third, combine the first point with the first part of the second point and we see another problem: make-up endorses the ‘(only) young is beautiful’ attitude.

Combine the first point with the second part of the second point: make-up endorses the ‘(only) young is sexually attractive’ attitude.

Add the shaved legs and armpits (and eyeliner, for that big baby doe-eyed look?), and we see we’re not just talking ‘young’ as in ‘twenty years old’ but ‘young’ as in pre-pubescent (only pre-pubescents are hairless, only pre-pubescents have such smooth skin). And that’s really disturbing – to establish/reinforce the sexual attractiveness of pre-pubescents.

Why is it (we think) men find young women, girls, sexually attractive? I doubt it’s just the ‘heathy for childbearing’ thing. Because actually, it’s not healthy for girls to bear children, and it’s not even possible for pre-pubescents to do so. (And it’s not like the men follow up in nine months to claim their progeny.) (But then I’m assuming rational behaviour here.)

I suspect it’s the power thing. Men can have power over, feel superior to, children more easily than adults. So in addition to encouraging child sexual abuse, women who shave their legs and otherwise appear/act prepubescent are reinforcing the ‘sex as power’ instead of ‘sex as pleasure’ attitude (though of course I guess for many men power is pleasure).

Last, compounding all of this is the custom that only women wear make-up. Which reinforces the whole patriarchy thing: the women are sexual objects while the men are sexual subjects. (‘Course, without make-up, and the loss of about 20 pounds, and, well, major surgery, most men couldn’t cut it as sexual objects anyway.)



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    • amy on January 28, 2012 at 3:25 pm
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    wtf u are wrong in d head! make up is not saying younger is prettier..i am 14 and i wear make up everyday, i hardly want to look younger…nd i dnt want to have sex, i want to feel ad look beatiful, tays wat make-up does! nd about lookin lyk a child nd men are sexually abusing children? tat is just fuked up! we shave nd put on eyeliner cos it makes u fell pretty nd clean,,, not lyk a child u dope…get a cop-on ur prob sum ugly old 60 year old tat has never worn make-up nd has no friends r boyfriends….. Hsha!

    • Peg on January 28, 2012 at 4:09 pm
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    Hi Amy, you’re right. Young people, such as yourself, don’t wear make-up to look younger; they wear it to look older. Older people wear it to look younger – to get rid of the wrinkles, etc.

    As for make-up making you beautiful – it depends, I guess, on your definition of ‘beautiful’. Sounds like you’ve accepted the definition pushed by the make-up companies that are making millions from people like you. Read Naomi Wolf’s book, The Beauty Myth. (Also, I bet you’re wanting to look beautiful so boys find you attractive – so it is, indirectly, actually, to have sex.)

    As for the connection between shaving and being clean – there is nothing inherently dirty about hair, if you bathe/shower regularly. We’ve got a bunch of it on our heads and arms, after all. Do you shave your arms too (not your armpits, just your arms – lots of hair there…)

    • Peg on January 28, 2012 at 4:57 pm
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    Check this out:

    • Peg on January 28, 2012 at 5:02 pm
    • Reply

    oh, and you have GOT to watch this video:

    • sitarane on June 29, 2012 at 4:53 pm
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    Good point, I’m with you on this one. Seriously Amy, why is it that boys don’t wear make-up then? “Bkz thad be gross” I suppose.

    Can’t help bitching some minor point of details:

    The red lips is not a hint for fellatio. It’s meant to simulate excitation. When excited, the sensory system requires more power, so heart accelerate and the bloodstream gets nearer the skin to evacuate the heat build-up. It shows on parts of the body where the skin is thin. Lips, cheeks and ears. I’m surprised actually that there is no ear reddener for sale.

    Earings are talimans. They hang to earlobes because it’s a handy place for them to hang. Talisman-wearing people tend to put them where it’s visible and handy. Ears win first spot. It just happens to be erogenous too.

    Men aim at younger girls (and girls at older boys) out of evolutionary conditioning. At the time of first pregnancy, it’s better to be protected by a 20 year old hunter than by one that is 14. And first pregnancy is likely to happen right when it’s possible. Evolution favored this model because it was efficient back then and we’re a bit stuck with it.

    Attractiveness for hairless seems to be a temporary fad. Like attractiveness for skinny. I wouldn’t try to pull conclusions from it. Though it’s just gut-feeling and you’re very welcome to.

    You seem to shortcut “men” for “scumbag” a bit more than is deserved. Decent boys (let’s assume for a while that they exist) will also be affected by make-up and shaving and the rest. This points to there being a bit more than power and dominance in the male system of attraction.

    • Nami on August 11, 2013 at 11:10 pm
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    This seems a bit harsh. Most of the women I know who wear makeup regularly wear it because it makes them feel better about themselves and they don’t give a crap what anyone else thinks about how it looks. The looks range from natural (to be honest, why wear makeup to look like you’re not wearing makeup, but different strokes) to, kinda of like you said, big rainbows from eyelash to eyebrow (My friends and I like to have fun. What can we say?)

    Yes, of course, societal expectations of women say that we should wear makeup to look younger/older/pleasing to men but it’s also done to appease other woman, or to be superior to them. Calling someone a moron because they choose to wear makeup, for ANY reason, is rude. And to make it seem like wearing make-up and being fashionable (Since they usually go hand in hand) is somehow bowing to the patriarchy and un-feminist is going against the core feminist idea that women can do whatever they want with their own bodies.

    • ptittle on August 12, 2013 at 1:21 am
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    Yeah, but Nami, WHY does it make them feel better about themselves?? Answer that and I think you’ll uncover the whole patriarchy shit. (Ask also why men don’t wear make-up, why they don’t ‘need’ to wear make-up to make them feel better about themselves, why they’re just fine as is…)

    And how does wearing make-up make you superior to other women??

    And what’s to appease?

    (I’m not so sure that’s a core feminist idea…I can’t use my body to hurt you. And feminists don’t say I can.)

    • ptittle on August 12, 2013 at 1:30 am
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    As for the ‘moron’ bit, how do you expect to be taken seriously when you look like a clown and/or have intentionally made yourself look like bait? That’s the moron part. And I’m talking mostly about wearing make-up as a matter of routine, whenever you leave the house, esp when you go to work…not when you go out on a date (though I might have problems with that too, but at least the ‘bait’ part makes more sense in that context).

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