Is make-up feminist? No. Is make-up anti-feminist? No. Can you be a feminist if you wear make-up? Yes. Can you be a feminist if you don’t wear make-up? Yes. One thing does not negate the other. There are plenty of make-up loving feminists, myself included.
This blog started out as a beauty blog and evolved as my relationship with make-up changed because, well, it’s complicated. For me, the act of applying make-up is as much fun as going out in said make-up. It’s an enjoyable process, despite my inability to blend a decent smoky eye. It was never something I wanted to become a chore. Yet, for a while, it did. I went from wearing it when I wanted, to feeling like I couldn’t leave the house bare-faced. Why? Because that’s what women do, we put on our faces in order to face the world.
Sometimes this is an act of self-care, sometimes it’s what helps you through caring for a loved one with an illness, but sometimes it feeds into a pressure to conform. It was the latter for me, which annoyed me no end because I couldn’t work out when the shift happened. When did it become another stick to hold over women’s heads in an effort to control what’s seen as “acceptable beauty”?
Eh, it was always this way. Of course it was and I knew that. Would not wearing make-up make that any less true? No. But the world wasn’t going to end if I was wearing it, was it? Nope. Overthinking, on my part, much? Probably, but here we are. I told you my relationship with make-up was complicated.
So, yes, I am a feminist with a weakness for red lipstick. Has living in a society that is centred on patriarchal beauty standards played a part in that? Of course it has and owning that is important. But sometimes red lipstick is just red lipstick.