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I'm on mobile so I won't be able to write this the way I want to, but I think we should push for a makeup-free movement.

The reasons:

  1. Women are penalized career-wise for not wearing any makeup to e.g. interviews

  2. In addition to and in part because of the career-affecting penalties, women are effectively forced to purchase all these products, putting an additional strain on women's finances

  3. Similarly, women need to spend additional time applying this makeup

  4. Women have been taught to be terrified of bearing their natural face, these big companies are exploiting and creating debilitating insecurities

  5. Makeup often exacerbates skin conditions, which creates a "need" for even more makeup

  6. Puts unnecessary pressure on young girls and women to feel like they need to look a certain way in order to be women

Maybe we can start a hashtag or something?

I'm on mobile so I won't be able to write this the way I want to, but I think we should push for a makeup-free movement. The reasons: 1. Women are penalized career-wise for not wearing any makeup to e.g. interviews 2. In addition to and in part because of the career-affecting penalties, women are effectively forced to purchase all these products, putting an additional strain on women's finances 3. Similarly, women need to spend additional time applying this makeup 4. Women have been taught to be terrified of bearing their natural face, these big companies are exploiting and creating debilitating insecurities 5. Makeup often exacerbates skin conditions, which creates a "need" for even more makeup 6. Puts unnecessary pressure on young girls and women to feel like they need to look a certain way in order to be women Maybe we can start a hashtag or something?

70 comments

[–] boudica 43 points (+43|-0)

Setting an example seems to be one of the most effective ways to convince others that make-up is not mandatory or expected. Normalization will make it feel more natural and, well, "normal."

I'm lucky to work in a field where a lot of women don't wear make-up, and when I started working there it was seeing all of them being comfortable, confident, and not being penalized or judged for their decisions that made me feel comfortable forgoing make-up. While I've never been a huge fan of make-up and often didn't wear it before this job because of various physical activity or physical jobs, I did feel the pressure that nearly every woman does when moving into a more professional setting to be seen as "put together" by spending too much money and too many hours on hair and make-up. It was such a huge relief to see so many other women looking professional and smart without needing to bow to gendered expectations... we all still care about our appearance in regards to looking professional, but only in the same ways that our male colleagues do.

I hope that I can similarly encourage or motivate other women and young girls by setting the same example.

It's understandable that not everyone can do this, unfortunately, based upon their jobs. But trying to set the example whenever possible is a great first step.

Maybe push for a social media trend for real "make-up free" selfies. So many of those usually posted are photos of women with foundation, blush, light eye make-up, sometimes fake lashes, and some kind of lip gloss. It looks very minimal, sure, but it's not make-up free and that's not what natural faces look like. We need to remember what natural faces look like, and if we saw more of what actual make-up free faces look like, we'd stop falling for those fake "make-up free" photos that make so many feel like they just can't ever measure up.

[–] jon 20 points (+20|-0)

Senior women on interview panels / media being seen without makeup would be a good example

Also, animal testing and animal ingredients are still the norm. How many rabbits need to be blinded for this?

I only ever put on any makeup if I'm trying to hide a pimple or having my photo taken and trying to hide my dark circles, etc. I guess that's not so much "makeup" as concealer.

I remember when Gwen Stefani (I'm not a fan but she's close to my age) said "My husband likes me in makeup" -- that husband now being her ex-husband!

I've gotten into so many arguments since high school (early 80s) with women who tell me "you'd look better" -- passive aggression or what? I've always wondered why women had to wear it but not men.

I'd love a #/Real Women Don't Wear Makeup trend. (Not insulting women who like it -- just thinking how the "Trans" couldn't dream of "passing" in a selfie without it !)

[–] Seven 39 points (+39|-0)

Not only animal testing, but the mica mining for the makeup shimmer that uses child labor, slave labor, unsafe working conditions to poor people in India... but we don’t see many people talking about this. I’ve seen a documentary on youtube about the mining of mica to the beauty industry and it’s heartwrenching.

[–] Heca_ 10 points (+10|-0)

There is two documentaries about it on youtube.

https://youtu.be/IeR-h9C2fgc Short and easy to watch.

https://youtu.be/LS_CR7UwhRs I never saw this one, it's longer but it looks really interesting.

Plastic glitters are terrible too. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/oct/22/glitter-environment-microplastics-hazard

And "eco-friendly" glitters aren't better. https://www.greenmatters.com/p/biodegradable-glitter-study

[–] banjo 36 points (+37|-1)

I think "real women don't wear makeup" would rub a lot of women the wrong way.. Not that I have a better suggestion right now

Yeah, maybe "Women Don't Need Makeup" or "Women are naturally beautiful" -- but then some women would say oh you're reducing us to our looks. Maybe just "Makeup Not Needed"? But then men would all post "forget makeup, you need a bag over your head, hahahaha" and shit like that. Maybe "Barefaced is in!" ? I need someone from the marketing department here ;)

[–] platypus 17 points (+17|-0)

How about "don't paint a face on top of your face because YOU ALREADY HAVE A FACE you fuckin bozo"

I kid.

[–] KBash 16 points (+16|-0) Edited

“Bare is beautiful”

Unfortunately, I do think libfem mantras would work here. Deconstructing women’s desire to be beautiful would take at least ten years of intense radfem rehab for purposes of patriarchal deprogramming. Ain’t nobody got time (or kidnapping skills) for that!

“Barefaced Is Beautiful” would send the message- from women to women- that we can be beautiful without makeup. I think that would lend enough reassurance for some anxious women to take a step back from their makeup brushes.

[–] [Deleted] 9 points (+10|-1)

Yeah, I was going to say....I’m already on the no makeup train, but I don’t think reasoning with people about how it’s unfair or harms women/nature/animals/etc is going to work. I definitely think we need a “barefaced” trend to normalize it, sort of like the way we used to overpluck eyebrows but now bushy eyebrows are in.

[–] proudcatlady 1 points (+2|-1)

“Women don’t need makeup” sounds like something every straight man ever has felt compelled to tell me when I wear black lipstick or blue eyeshadow or whatever he isn’t into. A lot of women who love makeup as a genuine hobby are going to bristle at that because more often than not it comes from entitled males or handmaidens who want their daughters to spend enough time on their faces that it’s a chore, but not enough that it’s fun.

I support this idea wholeheartedly, but it’s going to be a very tough line to walk without starting to look misogynistic in some way.

[–] EmilyJ 25 points (+25|-0)

There’s a difference why makeup has been developed a symbol of empowerment for women and not men . During 1960s when many women entered the workforce , the jobs which they got exclusively depended on their beauty , think about air hostess , during 1960s when commercial flight was booming and a trend which US was picking on , the big airline companies marketed it with photos of Air hostess on the newspaper . Not only this but receptionists , getting scholarship for winning a pageant etc . Most of the positions were in part related with how beautiful the woman looks .

So the empowered women , default became the one who also had makeup on her . This thing is entrenched so culturally and that’s why many women say the find makeup empowering . And not men because men never had to use it to gain jobs in first place

My take is that , in today’s era where woman pursue diversified fields makeup is something which can be discarded and should be a choice , but do remember “Pretty Privilege” is a real thing in the society . With the commodification of Visual beauty through Social media or of Sexual intimacy through Onlyfans , fighting Against makeup as oppression is very very very tough .

[–] nemesis 16 points (+17|-1)

I think we need to get the youth on it by spreading videos on the problems that result from makeup production. And maybe inputting the real shocking results (like asbestos being in Claire's kid's makeup) could change some minds. I remember the videos on the news with the "Kylie Jenner challenge" being reported on the bodily harm had stopped a lot of people. If TikTok wasn't such a privacy hazard I'd put up some videos.

Turning it into a "makeup free challenge" trend like No Shave November would work really well since everyone loves those. I get where the real women don't wear makeup is coming from a good place but it could be easily taken as an attack.

Some alternatives maybe:
- Makeup free is hassle free
- Put down the mascara
- Bare faced bravery
- No makeup, no problem
- Let your skin breathe

This, 100%. Anything rooted in shaming women for not sacrificing because of animals or child labor, or suggesting we’re inferior for not taking the professional hit, etc—it just feels like even more shame-inducing messaging that just makes a lot of us feel bad about ourselves no matter what we do. Not that the message is wrong, just, it’s not a smart way to approach it.

But the November beard thing for sure affected how comfortable a lot of men feel with beards and doesn’t shame men who can’t or won’t try. Just makes it way more tempting. This is how it has to be approached IMO, the last thing women need right now is more guilt and shame. Realistically, a genuinely bare-faced (lol as opposed to what men consider no makeup) aesthetic is a higher priority than pushing for 100% makeup-free, initially. Some amount of concealer for skin conditions .. I mean maybe as a phase 2 we could tackle our instinctive revulsion at things that look like skin infections etc. But trying to go from where we’re at to literally no cosmetics isn’t realistic for a ton of us. If it were as simple as cosmetics making skin conditions bad then, sure, but for a lot of people that’s not the case. But going back to the beard thing—men who can’t grow nice looking beards aren’t shamed for being too insecure for it. And other guys support each other with it so over time they’re more and more likely to give it a shot. I’ve heard guys tease each other for not growing much facial hair but I’ve never heard them shame each other for the act of shaving. Feeling worse about yourself just .. doesn’t help anything.

I think the focus on toxic ingredients etc is also a bit more limited (though maybe that’s okay for now) because it can also just push women into buying indie makeup. I got really into learning about effective skincare ingredients and what’s bad for skin in makeup etc a few years back and it mostly just meant changing brands. Which actually made me get more into makeup because buying indie makeup made by women was fun (RIP Shiro Cosmetics). And personally my skin does a lot better when I wear makeup (I think I must need more aggressive physical exfoliation than most, so the removal stage helps, plus the emollients in foundation etc help an area of my skin that tends to have scar tissue and wants to crack). But make it a fun challenge where other women (who normally wear makeup) are talking about how great it is to go without mascara and I’m way more likely to join in. I went without makeup (aside from some concealer for rosacea and occasional brow gel) for basically a solid year since face masks covered so much anyway. It’s so nice not having crunchy lashes when I need a nap...

[–] ellienoire 5 points (+5|-0)

Make-up Free May!

I already participate in no shave november year round so lol.

[–] Freyja 1 points (+1|-0)

I think the focus on toxic ingredients etc is also a bit more limited (though maybe that’s okay for now) because it can also just push women into buying indie makeup.

Thanks for bringing this up. This is exactly what I've been thinking reading through the suggestions re:bringing attention to the labor conditions surrounding makeup production. It isn't targetting the root issue and can easily be redirected as 'ok just buy sustainably made make-up then (:'

[–] Python [OP] 0 points (+1|-1)

You're exactly right, it needs to be done without saying anything that could be construed as shaming any women, bringing in child labor or environmental concerns right off the bat doesn't seem like the smartest way to go about it

[–] banjo 3 points (+3|-0)

I like "No Makeup No Problem" and the challenge idea

[–] proudcatlady 0 points (+0|-0)

I really like this phrase. It focuses on the fact that not wearing it shouldn’t be something bad, rather than shaming and hating on women who do wear it.

[–] Sylvanas 16 points (+16|-0) Edited

I know that some argue that makeup is about artistic expression, but most of the makeup industry isn’t about the art - it’s about making women feel bad about their entirely normal faces, and selling them the false promise to make the Photoshop look a reality.

Makeup is more oppressive than most people realise. You can’t even eat or drink freely when you’re wearing makeup, or rub your eye when it itches, or you’ll smear your lipstick or eyeshadow all over.

A couple of years ago I read up about a few YouTube beauty guru scandals. Beauty gurus that review makeup are adults that act like high school kids, they have eternal dramas between them, which seem to only draw more views and $$. One memorable scandal was when Tati Westbrook, a prominent makeup youtuber, was sued by her business partner (with whom she markets her beauty vitamin line or something). The lawsuit revealed that she’s been breaking the terms of service of YouTube, by not disclosing the many hidden advertisements disguised as reviews on her channel. Several products and brands she praised simply paid her for it. It’s allowed only if one disclosed the sponsorship, and she didn’t.

The entire industry is a scam, from the top corporations to the bottom self-proclaimed gurus.

[–] [Deleted] 10 points (+10|-0)

i love how the same people arguing that makeup is artistic expression have the same "expression" as everyone else - contouring their noses small and whatnot

[–] Sylvanas 10 points (+10|-0)

Yeah. Nobody can convince me that a pore filler, face powder or concealer are artistic. These are products used to hide women’s true faces.

[–] Tiggy 15 points (+15|-0)

I don't know. I know I'll lead by example however. My mom made many mistakes growing up but I will never fault her for not wearing makeup. She only put it on maybe, once.. every two years? At least while I was growing up. She didn't wear bras either. And I think that's what helped me be comfortable to ditch both these things as I got older. I saw my mom not doing them my whole life. It was just normal to me at home.

[–] [Deleted] 5 points (+5|-0)

same? i never saw any major makeup products around growing up and i'm grateful to her for that

[–] Cornelia241 5 points (+5|-0)

Right? My mom didn't shave or paint her nails. And while I was a teenager that was "ugh mom you're so uncool" now I'm absolutely happy i am able to see my normal hairy body and not be disgusted by it or something.

[–] catbitch 2 points (+2|-0)

You all are so lucky. My mom made me start shaving at 11 and wearing makeup at 12. She never went out without having makeup on and her hair done. It’s taken me years to unlearn these types of things and I’m happy that I can now go out without feeling the pressures of them.

[–] InvisibleWoman 14 points (+14|-0)

I have some REALLY bad news for you.

There already is a no-makeup movement among the younger generations, the only ones that really count at the moment as they set trends, and are on the internet the most. That's not the bad news. However, make up companies have noticed this. I live in a city/country where most adult women wear make up very rarely, for special occasions only perhaps. What is being advertised and sold to younger women and increasingly also men at the moment is the "fresh/bare faced" look with products that make your skin "glowy", "dewy" or something stupid like that. Not skincare! Make up. The "no-makeup-makeup" with natural toned lipsticks, eyeshadows and blush.

And they're buying it. The premise is that it looks like you're not wearing make up, just "better", "healthier" etc. This is the new norm now. The 21st century enhanced humans. Your own little virtual reality bubble. You can't reason that this is bad for them because this is the new "I'm putting my face on" except more insidious because it rides on the back of the natural skin look and shame about imperfections. It's advertised as being healthy and good for you, not that it will make you beautiful. It will make you "more you" and this is a BIG idea with young people now.

The need for individual self-actualisation has reached a new high and is being manipulated in more ways that we can even comprehend. I don't know how we can fight against that. Often when I've tried talking about it with younger women, I was met with incomprehension, confusion and scorn, and I feel like I am generally fairly articulated. To them it sounds like I don't want them to be free and to be fully themselves. It's a different world.

[–] proudcatlady 3 points (+3|-0)

In my opinion THIS is really insidious. I understand all makeup companies are terrible and none should be profiting, but at least some of them like NYX or KVD are selling colorful products that stand out and can be used for genuine artistic expression. Not to say most consumers are using them that way—we all know how many people buy a colorful palette and then only use the 3 browns because God forbid someone sees they wanted to be creative and tells them they’re vain or whorish—but at least those companies are pretending to be like Crayola for your face. Glossier and Bare Minerals are literally unabashedly selling insecurity potions and I want to rip down their posters every time I see them.

[–] GelatinousRube 11 points (+11|-0)

I would be penalized if I wore makeup to work. It's great, not gonna lie.

[–] gncautistic 9 points (+9|-0)

Also the crazy harsh chemicals in them. You see people finding traces of actual poo in knock off make up brands. Not to mention the child labor used to mine mica they use in eyeshadows and blushes.

[–] Ozomene 7 points (+7|-0)

The usual make up free selfies are mostly young or perfect (botoxed/filled often) skinned faces. This makes many women feel even worse at their natural faces. Especially teens with acne (thanks PCOS), I hated the acne face wash adverts as it implied I didn’t wash enough. The models did not ever suffer with acne.

Normalising acne and wrinkles would be a good start. We are so used to seeing women with make up, often false lashes, that we’ve lost sight of normal. Without make up I feel more masculine eg mascara. But women’s eyelashes aren’t naturally longer or thicker than men’s but are often used to signify a cartoon character is female. As if long lashes are a secondary sexual characteristic.

I experienced too much bullying as a kid, some focussed on my appearance (from girls and boys), to give up make up. I don’t wear much but it’s a bit of armour to help me face other people. It would be great to help younger girls before they are sucked in.

[–] Dionaea 0 points (+0|-0)

Fully agree! The biggest difference to me between no makeup and "no makeup" makeup is the visibility of wrinkles, pimples, acne, scars, redness etc. All of these are normal and just happen occasionally or over time.

I've never used makeup but I have adult acne and I'm not going to cover that up because I'm fine with my natural face but I understand why lots of women feel insecure and it's a shame that they're systematically made to feel bad about their looks by other people and most importantly by the companies trying to sell their products. There needs to be a normalisation of normal, natural women faces.

[–] MallHair 6 points (+10|-4)

I would love to tie this in with an anti-hair dye movement.

That shit is toxic, expensive and addictive.

We need awareness, at the very least.

How is it addictive? (genuine question, i've not heard that before)

[–] ellienoire 2 points (+2|-0)

I'm not sure about actually being addictive (like chemically), but maybe because once you've bleached it you have to keep redying it until it grows out or you cut it off.

[–] expertsarehuman 6 points (+6|-0)

Where I live, many women don’t wear any makeup. I have still been hired for positions and have really never worried about this aspect of my job interviews. This could be a regional problem or particular fields?

[–] Galko 4 points (+4|-0)

I think it's very position based - maybe OP is thinking of customer facing jobs? I'm in STEM, and there's two clear camps of women with, and women without makeup. Sure, we get treated differently on a day to day basis, but I think being known as the "ugly duckling" because I've never really worn makeup somewhat protects me from harassment. Now if only I could find a job without any sexism and have my work taken seriously before the thing explodes that I said would explode, I'd be set!

[–] proudcatlady 0 points (+1|-1)

Yeah, where I live and in my culture, there is a lot more stigma for wearing makeup (especially visible fun makeup) than for not wearing it. I’ve noticed this online a LOT as well. That’s why for so long I really thought I was a feminist icon for wearing it anyway. Now I realize this is very specific to my life and my choice to wear it isn’t feminist, but I think we need to realize not everywhere is the South and in many areas there’s a ton of stigma around wearing it. Men act entitled to women’s faces in a wide variety of ways.

[–] pellucidar 1 points (+1|-0)

My entire life, the only makeup I've owned has been one cake of powder of my mother's that she gave me for reasons I don't recall but may have included hoping I'd someday turn girly and use it. But I've never hung out with girls (or later women) who cared to wear makeup, nor have I felt the need to wear any for work. I'm having some difficulty with the idea that radfems need to solve a problem that already seems solved to me.

I usually don't even notice whether women are wearing makeup, so I would not assume that men, who constitutionally cannot see dirt or piles of clothing on the floor, are noticing and patrolling our makeup use, from whichever side. Other women, possibly...

[–] proudcatlady 0 points (+0|-0)

In my experience, as long as they CAN’T see it, they’re cool. The minute you slap on some color they start to RAGE even if they’re literal strangers to you. It’s so amusing and a habit I can’t quite quit.

Yes, there’s a decent amount of policing from women within the community. Big part of the reason I have very little contact with the community anymore because it’s so toxic and male-centric these days. Women “calling each other out” for bad eyeliner wings or uneven eyebrows as if any of that stuff actually matters. I get it’s something that does take a lot of practice and skill, so that’s going to attract gatekeepers, but it’s still toxic AF and ruins it for everyone else.

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