The Myth of ‘No Makeup’, Sierra McKenzie, Huffington Post
This is hard for me to post but I feel like it is important.
I remember hating my face and hating my skin and looking at all the girls around me in middle school and on TV and in ads and feeling like I was a monstrosity in comparison. But I remember the first time I realized women plucked their eyebrows. And wore concealer. And foundation. And powder. I felt like I had been lied to about what women look like. After modeling and realizing when photographers asked for no makeup, they really meant the photo on the right. I started realizing that the photo on the right was what was in skincare ads and posted by people claiming in the caption to be wearing no makeup some of the time. The photo on the right is the bare minimum of what we expect women to look like when they wake up in the morning.
Thought this would be of interest to some people, especially since the topic of how women’s faces in video games, comics, etc being depicted as smooth with no lines (even for facial expressions) has come up before. Also, how often women will be drawn with default eyeliner, eyeshadow, lipstick, etc even if there should be no reason for them to wear it because they have been living in the wild, or they’re warrior women who have expressed no interest in it, or etc…
It reminds me of the Nancy Drew comic books, where she specifically said that she doesn’t wear make up and has no clue how to use it, but she’s always drawn with mascara, eyeliner, and lipstick.
It’s part of how society constructs what women look like in people’s minds; that what we put on to ‘enhance’ appearance end up being part of the default way women are expected to look. Even if the characters are supposed to be “plain” or “practical” in context, they’ll still be drawn as if they’re wearing some base amount of make up, because that’s how we’re conditioned to see women in our imaginations. And stuff like airbrushing, photoshop, and what’s described in the above article also is part of this, and can skew how we perceive what the ‘normal’ or ‘average’ woman is supposed to look like.