shivver: (Hardy)
[personal profile] shivver
One of my friend's Facebook posts is really popular right now, and I don't really understand why everyone agrees with her. She's gotten tons of likes (40 or so). I've been thinking about it for a couple of days now, and I just don't get it. Now, I'm pretty clueless socially and emotionally, so maybe that's the problem. I'd love any insight into this that anyone would like to provide.

I've put this behind cuts. The first cut is my description of the post and my thoughts and questions about it, and the second cut is the text of the actual post and responses.

Thoughts and discussion:


The original post is that she gets angry "whenever male singers equate women wearing makeup to insecurity/insincerity". This was pretty cryptic (I wasn't the only person who wondered what song had lyrics like "You're wearing makeup because you're insecure"), but she clarified later that she's upset with men saying, "You look beautiful without your makeup", saying that it's an insult, that the man is implying that she's insecure.

As I said above, the outpouring of support for her post was amazing, but I just don't understand the problem. I've always considered "You look beautiful without your makeup" to be a compliment, and never thought that a person saying that meant it to mean, "You're vain/insecure because you insist on covering up your natural state." I suppose there are always people out there who might mean that, but I didn't think that was the default. Am I wrong?

As the post progressed, more things were said that I just don't understand.

"That drives me nuts. Like makeup is just for impressing men lmao". Original poster: "Right??? Makeup is great and super fun, regardless of who happens to see my face that day."

I don't understand why saying, "You look beautiful without your makeup" implies that you think that makeup is just for impressing men. But more to the point is the second statement. Why does enjoying wearing makeup necessarily mean that saying you look good without it is an insult?

Maybe I don't really understand why people wear makeup. Why do they wear makeup? There has to be a reason for wearing makeup - if there was no benefit, you wouldn't do it. There are only two reasons I can think of for wearing makeup: either you think you look better with it, or you think that other people think you look better with it. Well, there's a third reason, that it makes you look different, not necessarily better, such as trying to look like someone else, but even with that case, if you thought that makeup has no effect on how you look, either to yourself or someone else, you wouldn't wear it. Why would you spend the time and money on cosmetics if you look exactly the same before and after? I guess I need this explained to me. Why is makeup great and fun if it doesn't make you look different?

"Yes I wear this makeup so you think I'm pretty not because I fucking enjoy it you putz."

This might be the most reasonable of the reactions, from my point of view. It means to me, "I did this because I want you to say I did a good job of it, so it bugs me that you are saying that you prefer that I hadn't done it." Now, mind you, I don't feel that's the point of someone saying, "You look beautiful without makeup", but I can understand this point of view. I do think it's a selfish, manipulative reaction ("I'm going to get angry because you didn't compliment me on the thing I wanted to get complimented on.") and I cannot imagine reacting like this myself, but I do get it.

"My favorite is when women are talking about how amazing their boyfriends/husbands are, and they say things like: 'He thinks I'm beautiful even without makeup.' Girl. You need to raise your standards."

This is probably the most offensive of the reactions, to me, anyway. I think that "He thinks I'm beautiful even without makeup" means "He appreciates me for me, and not for any affectations I put on." Isn't this a good thing? I really thought this was a good thing.

But that thing about raising standards... What does this even mean? A man who loves me for the way I am is substandard? I'm supposed to wait for the man who only values the prettiest face possible? I just don't understand this. I'm doubly offended by this one because the person who said it is a good friend, so it the "Girl, you need to raise your standards" feels like a direct insult. I happen to think my husband is the best in the world (and he's a good friend of the person who said it as well).

Original poster: "My favorite is when I don't wear makeup and people ask me if I'm sick. NO, THIS IS JUST MY NATURAL COMPLEXION YOU DINGUS."

Two things about this one. First, she's insulted when someone says she looks beautiful without makeup, but then she's insulted when someone says she doesn't look good without makeup. Um, what? I guess we're back to the concept of wanting to look exactly the same with or without the makeup, so then why exactly are you wearing makeup?

But second, and more importantly, the person who says something like this is inquiring after your health. This person cares, and you're taking it as a personal affront?

And honestly, yes, if you wear makeup all the time, that's what people are going to picture you as, and they're going to notice when you're not wearing it. What is makeup for? It's for smoothing out your skin, hiding imperfections and blemishes, and making you look healthier. If you wear it all the time and then not wear it, you will look unhealthy compared to your normal appearance. Why is that unexpected? And more importantly, why do you think that the person is saying it to insult you?

Sigh...

Okay, so I really don't get it. Why is telling a person that they are beautiful without makeup an insult? Can someone please explain this to me in a rational manner?

And secondly, why don't I understand this? It really bothers me that so many of my friends feel this way (the "like" count is up to 50 now) and I cannot understand even a bit of this. Maybe it's because I don't wear makeup except on special occasions and have never cared how I look? Another person in the thread said, "(Wearing makeup) never bothers me because it's just not my thing, but it wasn't until I met my husband that I felt pretty too", and I can't even tell how that then comes to the conclusion of her agreeing with the original poster.

The original poster just added this (abbreviated a bit, because it's long), and I still don't understand it.

"There are so many reasons why this kind of thinking is insulting, but the crux of the issue for me is that women are told from such a young age that makeup is necessary... We're inundated daily with the idea that our bare faces aren't good enough... Alicia Keys announced recently that she's refusing to wear makeup, and she's being called "brave". When Tilda Swinton walks the red carpet with minimal makeup, it's considered a statement. So when some dude croons that girls wearing makeup is a sign of insecurity or deception or he acts like he's being so loving by accepting her face as is, he's placing the blame on the people who've spent their whole lives being told they're not pretty enough. NO THANK YOU."

I can understand being upset at being told that wearing makeup is a sign of insecurity or deception, but the original poster has not yet supplied an instance of that. However, she has been talking mostly about being insulted by the "I think you're beautiful without makeup" line and that's what I don't understand. Please help me.



The actual post and thread:


Original post:

  • Whenever male singers equate women wearing makeup to insecurity/insincerity:
  • (Comic of her tearing her earphones apart in anger - she's a fantastic professional artist and normally expresses herself with drawings)


The following replies:

Person A: Preach.

Person B: What song is that from?
OP: There are hundreds of them. Dudes are always singing things like "I love you even without your makeup" and "you look beautiful without your makeup" or "you don't need to wear makeup in front of me" like GEE THANKS FOR LIKING ME DESPITE MY FACE
Person C: (Laughing emoticons) I don't do it for the boys

Person D: That drives me nuts. Like makeup is just for impressing men lmao
OP: Right??? Makeup is great and super fun, regardless of who happens to see my face that day.

Person E: "Yes I wear this makeup so you think I'm pretty not because I fucking enjoy it you putz."

Person F: My favorite is when women are talking about how amazing their boyfriends/husbands are, and they say things like: "He thinks I'm beautiful even without makeup." Girl. You need to raise your standards.
OP: Please re-evaluate your life choices and also choice of partner thanxxxxxxxxx (Laughing emoticons)

Person G: Wears makeup: "Wow she must be really insecure." Doesn't wear makeup: "Wow she really let herself go. She should respect herself more." LIKE SERIOUSLY DO YOU HEAR YOURSELF.
OP: My favorite is when I don't wear makeup and people ask me if I'm sick. NO, THIS IS JUST MY NATURAL COMPLEXION YOU DINGUS.

Person H: I can count on my hands how many times I've worn makeup. It never bothers me because it's just not my thing, but it wasn't until I met my husband that I felt pretty too. Definitely a double standard.

OP: There are so many reasons why this kind of thinking is insulting, but the crux of the issue for me is that women are told from such a young age that makeup is necessary. Makeup ads on tv are telling us that are eyelashes are insufficient, our complexion is too blotchy, our lips aren't kissable, etc etc. I remember reading a piece in a teen magazine outlining makeup routines that take anywhere between 5 minutes to an hour (!!!) so girls can be ready for school no matter how little time they have in the morning. We're inundated daily with the idea that our bare faces aren't good enough.
Alicia Keys announced recently that she's refusing to wear makeup, and she's being called "brave". When Tilda Swinton walks the red carpet with minimal makeup, it's considered a statement.
So when some dude croons that girls wearing makeup is a sign of insecurity or deception or he acts like he's being so loving by accepting her face as is, he's placing the blame on the people who've spent their whole lives being told they're not pretty enough. NO THANK YOU.

Date: 2016-12-31 12:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dtstrainers.livejournal.com
I don't get it. I think sometimes people are pissed no matter what someone says or does.
I think people need to do what makes them happy, accept compliments as well-meaning when they are sincere, even when misguided, and move on. We are all so polarized over meaningless things of late.

Date: 2017-01-06 04:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shivver13.livejournal.com
I wonder if it's a symptom of our (people in general) tendency to take things in the worst possible light and overreact, especially in today's American political climate. I've let this stew for a while and have not come to any revelations about it.

Date: 2016-12-31 06:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tkel-paris.livejournal.com
People are flipping out over things that they don't need to be. And I think flipping out like that IS a sign of insecurity, or at least not being able to calm yourself quickly. Or something. But it's not a good thing.

If the difference is that extreme, maybe the person isn't wearing the right makeup for their skin? Isn't foundation supposed to go with your natural tone so it can cover up anything you want covered without looking off? I mean, getting fitted properly for a bra makes a huge difference in how you look.

Personally, the biggest compliment I can get when I'm wearing makeup is that I look like I'm not wearing any. I find I prefer not wearing any, as much because my dad developed a distaste for women wearing any (I think as much because he thought most wear far too much.) as my own annoyance over the extra steps in getting ready.

I wish I knew what to say to explain it. But that's where my thoughts went.

Date: 2016-12-31 09:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tkel-paris.livejournal.com
Okay... so you like it...?

Date: 2016-12-31 09:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-phoenixdragon.livejournal.com
Oh yes...you said it perfectly. Thank you for that. :D

Date: 2017-01-04 06:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tkel-paris.livejournal.com
Then you're welcome. :)

Date: 2017-01-06 05:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shivver13.livejournal.com
I've discussed this with my husband, and we've decided that yes, our friend is insecure. She's posted before things that support this idea.

She also definitely wears a lot of makeup. She's not one to use lots of blush or lipstick, so she's not "painted", but her eyes are always heavily lined, almost to the point of looking like she's from an Egyptian fresco. You cannot not notice when she's not wearing makeup.

I think you hit it right on the head, saying that this stems from insecurity.

Date: 2016-12-31 05:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-phoenixdragon.livejournal.com
Aww, lovie. Sounds like this is one of those things where 'damned if you do, damned if you don't'. Progressiveness, better (more forward) thinking and social justice is all well and good - but there are times when it can go overboard - like this FB post. It just reads like lashing out at men, because they are men...and that is...not good.

*HUGS*

Date: 2017-01-06 05:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shivver13.livejournal.com
I think you're right. Personally, I like it when my husband says I'm beautiful without makeup - it means to me that he likes who I am without any affectations.

We've turned this whole thing into a joke. Whenever he says something like, "Oh, this dinner was fantastic, thanks!" I reply, "And I made it without wearing makeup!" We are weird.

Date: 2017-01-06 05:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-phoenixdragon.livejournal.com
OMG, this is one of the reasons I love you *CACKLES* Sounds like you and hubby have in-jokes and wierd asides like we do.

F'instance, hubby and I will 'bully' each other (because we live in the bible-belt), along the lines of:

H: Go get me something to drink
Me: Get it yourself, your legs ain't broke.
H: I wish you were more like you should be, barefoot and pregnant
Me: This is why my grandfather told you to get a dog, a truck and a fishing pole...instead of married. What are women good for anyway?
H: Well, if you got me my coffee/cola/water, I could answer that.

*CACKLES*

People always react weird if they see me and hubby doing that. Because it sounds aggressive (even if it is anything but...think we do it for their reactions, really. Our own special in-joke).

*HUGS*

Date: 2017-01-07 12:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shivver13.livejournal.com
Oh yes! We do stuff like that, too! Our boss (we work at the same place, on the same team, and sit about five feet from each other) sometimes gets very worried when he sees us abusing each other. He's an older gent (and I use that word to paint exactly that picture of him) and I think he feels a little protective of me, as the only woman on the team, so sometimes, you can see him watching us and being very concerned. But he knows I dish it out to hubby as well as take it. :)

And yes, part of the fun of it is seeing other people's reactions.

Though the best one was game-related. We were at a dinner at Olive Garden or somewhere like that, and we were telling our friends about our character in Eve Online. His character is from a race that thinks they're superior to everyone else, and mine is from a different race. So at one point, he turns to me (I'm Asian) and says, "Well, that's because your race is inferior!" just as the waitress walks by. You should have seen the dirty look he got! And I'm sure she had no idea why I was laughing.

Date: 2017-01-07 03:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-phoenixdragon.livejournal.com
DUDE. That last bit?? OMG, how EPIC is that?? *CACKLES*

Reminds me of when I'm out grocery shopping or something with the kiddos and I'm loudly announcing I don't love them and it is a lie their daddy tells them (which horrifies strangers - and delights my boys, lol!!)

*HUGS*

Date: 2016-12-31 06:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alumfelga.livejournal.com
I don't think it's default, and I think those likes are more for "starting the subject" - as you point out, the comments are about something slightly different. I wouldn't assume your friends necessarily agree with the original post, if they're saying something else. But I use facebook mostly for David Tennant acticles and pictures, so maybe I'm not the right person to ask.

Date: 2017-01-06 06:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shivver13.livejournal.com
Yes, you're right, that's definitely a possibility. Personally, I only 'like' things that I agree with, so it doesn't occur to me that these could just be "Hey, I support your right to free speech" likes.

Date: 2016-12-31 07:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flowsoffire.livejournal.com
This just sounds super confusing to me too. Like, the core of the issue is really about women feeling like society is forcing/expecting them to be stunning and wear make-up all the time, and those people seem to be arguing both points of view at the same time?! Like, fuck you for thinking I should wear make-up, fuck you for saying I don't have to? Maybe they feel like those singers (what singers?!) are being condescending or downright demeaning—which, to be fair, might be the case if we actually had any instance of that jumping to mind =P But the arguments just go all over the place from there. I think that it's just a lot of frustration and (partly justified) anger about female beauty and expectations coming left, right and centre, that is being expressed in a very messy manner in this instance, despite having some grounds as a general rule.

Maybe the core argument is something like "I get to choose what I look like for me—I'm not some weak thing that's being pressured by society, and by assuming that, men are only belittling me again". That's one line of thinking that does make sense to me. But again, the reactions go a bit all over the place, which is making the whole message somewhat confusing. People equating "You look beautiful without your makeup" with "You're wearing makeup because you're insecure/insincere" is really the core of the problem—if you remove this side of the argument, it does become a lot more sensible.

Date: 2017-01-06 06:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shivver13.livejournal.com
That assessment - "I get to choose what I look like for me - I'm not some weak thing that's being pressured by society" - makes the most sense. As you said, the reactions go all over from there, but I think the big mistake is that she's taking her own assumptions of society's expectations and putting it in the mouths of men, ignoring what they are probably really meaning and tacking on her own interpretation. It makes me feel a lot better that I'm not alone in my confusion about this.

Date: 2017-01-01 04:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dm12.livejournal.com
I totally don't get any of this...

Date: 2017-01-01 09:12 am (UTC)
shyfoxling: Ravenclaw crest (Default)
From: [personal profile] shyfoxling
But that thing about raising standards... What does this even mean? A man who loves me for the way I am is substandard?

I think they mean something like "if you think that's all it takes for him to be a good choice".

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