There are several reasons I enjoy wearing make-up:
- I love bright colours (I can make them out better), and this is an excuse to put more bright colours on.
- I am in love with dark lip colours. I don’t know why, but I got a dark blue lip cream yesterday and it’s my favourite thing.
- I can control how my face looks, which helps loads with dysphoria.
- It’s really fun fucking with people’s ideas of gender.
The idea that make-up is gendered is a reasonably modern one: originally it was a sign of belonging to high society, as only rich people could afford the powders and lacquers, and “both” genders used it with abandon. More often than not it was used as a way to cover signs of illness, because this is the Georgian times we’re taking about, and medicine wasn’t up to snuff in those days.
In more recent history, make-up only became popular again in the 1910s onwards, when the popularity of theatre and ballet saw women, though again only really the well-off, attempt to emulate those they had seen on stage. Even then, make-up was associated with “women of the night” and cabaret, so those who wore it were seen as “sinful”.
The explosion of Hollywood in the 1920s and 1930s ensured the continued growth in popularity, and suddenly make-up was available to everyone on the high street.
Fast forward to today, and nearly every department store or pharmacy has a make-up counter.
Even more controversially, some of these make-up companies are making products marketed at men.
There are several reasons the upset over this is silly:
- Masculinity is so fragile that men can’t use cosmetic products that don’t have “FOR MEN” plastered across the side.
- It’s at least a step towards breaking down the bullshit binary gender constructs, so should be celebrated.
- Make-up is for styling your face in a way that is pleasing to yourself and others with colour and line work. Nothing about this screams “FOR WOMEN ONLY”.
Which comes back to me wearing make-up as someone who identifies as a man. A gwnderqueer guy, but still.
I wear make-up because I can make my eyes stand out, make my lips a colour I love, and I can feel comfortable being out in public. That’s really all there is to it.
So let’s stop gendering things that don’t need to be gendered, and let people celebrate themselves in whatever fashion they like.