Tag Archives: beauty standards

Illuminating Our Perfection, or Purposeful Deception?

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I got an email the other day that had me thinking about the significance of makeup, especially in my life. She asked how I felt about the accusations that using makeup is a deceptive way that women represent themselves. I figured I’d respond to this publicly because I feel that it is essential to my readers to understand why I write what I write and the role that makeup plays for me personally.

Let’s start with a little personal history! I’ve gotten on a beauty kick lately more so than ever. I’m really loving experimenting with makeup and different products ever since I visited Ulta and later got an Ipsy subscription, which delivers new, varying beauty products every month for only $10, making it pretty much impossible for a girl like me to refuse. My love for using makeup has been a consistent love. I remember, as a young child, I used to carry around one of those caboodle carrying cases full of makeup and sit around with my friends and create “makeovers”. Sure, they probably weren’t as aesthetically pleasing then as they’d be now (I’ve learned at least some skills since those days), but even then I understood what makeup meant to me. I loved using it because makeup is artistic as well as purposeful.

I see so many comments on the pages, videos, and posts of beauty bloggers by men (and some women) saying that makeup is deceptive and that it hides one’s natural flaws, making the individual more attractive than they actually are, attracting individuals who apparently think they naturally look flawless. Ahh. Let’s get this straight here. Makeup enhances one’s beauty and gives the individual the ability to exemplify certain physical traits while toning down traits they see as less desirable or bothersome. That’s not deceptive. It’s something that we, as humans, do similarly with many things. We always want to put our best traits forward, whether it’s for a job interview, a first date, whichever. Makeup is something that allows women to accentuate their best physical features.

Some women, like myself, also use makeup as a way to conceal acne scars in order to be more comfortable and confident in their own skin and especially in face to face social situations. For me, I focus immensely on the base of the makeup look: the foundation. I have had severe acne for the majority of my young adult to adult life and it has left me with unsightly, discolored scars that I don’t always like to leave bare. It’s a sensitive thing for me, having others ask about the permanent marks that were left on my face from these years, so I find that knowing how to apply my makeup effectively gives me a major confidence boost. Others aren’t looking for scars, but rather social queues on my face, which is a nice change of pace. I could imagine many others apply makeup for the same reasons. They would rather reduce the distraction of little flaws and feel comfortable and confident in their own skin than go out, barefaced, knowing that the uncomfortableness will ultimately hinder them. I remember feeling like I was going to cry every time I’d look in the mirror and see how badly my skin had gotten. Makeup gives the individual the freedom to look glamorous and to feel beautiful, acne scars or not. It’s more so for the individual’s sake than for any outside force, meaning that the use of makeup isn’t as much for “deception” as many like to call it, but for the expression of illuminating one’s perceived best features in vibrant, inspired new ways, neutralizing the flaws we have that chip at our confidence.

Makeup is enjoyable for me. I love to be able to have a clean canvas to create new looks every day and to experiment with different color palettes. I can change my look to fit my outfit, my mood, anything I desire. I honestly think using makeup is as “deceptive” as a woman looking beautiful in nice clothes. Is that deception too, because she’s not spotlighting the bumps and rolls that are just a natural part of her figure, but finding pieces that illuminate her best assets?
Realistically speaking, how is makeup any more deceiving?
Why should I not feel comfortable in my own skin?

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Easier Now

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All of my life, I have struggled with the fear of becoming overweight again, because as a child, I suffered immensely from being the chubbier kid. I wasn’t confident, happy, or satisfied with my quality of life. This is not to say that if you are confident or happy at this size or any size, you shouldn’t be. I just know that, in my experience, I spent so much time, too much time, agonizing over how I could be different and how I could be better. I just couldn’t see the beauty in myself. Something destructive had stuck with me and had no intention of letting go. At such a young age, those kinds of feelings have a deep imprint on your soul. I know they did on mine. But this time around, at 21 years old, as I am not overweight but still trying to keep in shape and stay healthy, it’s easier. Everything seems….easier.

I’ve noticed the change. I’m not looking in the mirror as much, grabbing at the visible fat on my sides or tummy, or scowling at the figure that stands before me, disappointed by what I see. She’s a beautiful person and she has carried me through 21 years of life, 21 years of experience, growth, love, failure, and triumph. She is the portal in which I have navigated the plane of life and she is the woman I will be until the day I die. She will change, physically and mentally, as she moves forward, but there should be no reason why I should look upon her with judgment. Her body has been through injuries, sickness, heartache. She’s fought through loss, anxiety attacks, hurt. I no longer look upon her, the body that housed and loved me, like she is wrong and needs to be changed. I’m guiding her in the right direction, a healthier path and state of mind.

I’ve grown to adore this changed perspective towards my body. I’m not judging myself like I used to. I can look in the mirror, smile, and know that that smile is genuine. I do love myself, and I love my body. There will be times when I come down on the beautiful girl in the mirror, the one that looks back at me and reflects the life that I’ve been living and the experiences I’ve gathered, but I know that those times will be fleeting, and will not house themselves permanently within the corners of my mind, waiting for their next moment to swallow the spotlight. Self judgment is no longer welcome in my heart and I’m determined to keep it that way. From here on out, everything feels… easier.

xo Amanda Cramer

Mandirito.com