Tomorrow is No Make-up Day. OK Maybe not officially but the site MissRepresentation.org are holding a #FreshFace day thanks to a suggestion by 15 year old reader Shea Backes: “my friends [and I] are trying to spread the idea of wearing no make-up at least one day a week to school. I came up with this idea when I realized that most girls I know do not feel comfortable or beautiful without makeup on. I don’t hate makeup I just hate when it becomes a routine and something to cover yourself so you look more like the media’s projection of what beautiful is. I think makeup should be for fun and to make you feel beautiful but it should not feel like a hassle and you should not be self-conscious without it. I think girls my age should not feel like they have to wear makeup and feel controlled by it.”
Women on Twitter are already tweeting about the experiment, giving their reasons for participating. cinthia1D_JB tweeted: “This Friday I'm challenging the media's ideals for women and celebrating true beauty for an entire day!” Another participant, chasesa tweeted that “Make up is a useless expense that takes way too much time out of an already busy day”.
I will admit something to you, dear reader; I wear make up everyday. That is every single day, rain or shine, in or out. Without make up I don't look like me. Perhaps it's because I am a morning person (ish) but the idea of a routine that involves breakfast, washing and make up does not strike me as overwhelming, a pain or a patriarchal victory. Nor do I think those who go without are lazy or winning one for the matriarchal society.
This is not an article urging you to reach for the facewipes (unless it is the end of the day – when I know you ALWAYS remove your make up) and participate in #FreshFace Friday. Nor am I encouraging you to include mascara in your daily routine. It is about beauty ideals.
Beauty ideals are an interesting subject. I recall teen magazines informing us that they took a poll and boys prefer a 'fresh face' without make up. Then, remembering their advertising revenue, they'd inform their acne-ridden readers that 'fresh faced' does not mean no make up. I've had boyfriends who have requested I wear less make-up. To quote from one of the stupiderer of them (quick background check – they're all stupid! But like all things, some are stupiderer than others and the freakiest thing of all is 'stupiderer' is not coming up on spellcheck!) by wearing 'so much' make-up I was informing the general public that I am ugly. Beauty ideals. Making yourself beautiful (more so) demonstrates confidence. No, sorry, low self-esteem. No, sorry, virtuousity. No, sorry, I meant immorality.
MissRepresentation invites people to “take a break from make up and talk about beauty”. The site goes on to say “we're challenging the media's limiting portrayal of women and girls by going make up free for a day to celebrate inner beauty and strength [my italics]”
It isn't that I don't understand the sentiment behind #FreshFace Friday, the media does put pressure on women to doctor their appearance. News reader Fiona Bruce revealed this week that she dyes her grey hair brown purely because she believes it will secure her job. “Age is definitely an issue for women in TV. So far, it hasn’t been for me, but I know I need to make the best of myself. For instance, I have a few grey hairs. I dye them. I don’t let my grey hair show when I’m reading the news.” Every magazine with a horrified Stars Without Make up feature will no doubt also have a comment piece berating a starlet for her heavy make up. For balance.
It is the use of 'inner beauty', perhaps instead of ditching the make up or insisting on the lipstick the discussion needs to be about the association of beauty – inner or outer – with good.