Recently, as I was doing a live makeup tutorial on my Facebook wall, a man began commenting. He had said he believed the video was something that might pertain to him and it wasn’t. He was annoyed and I said that I would gladly talk about Saturday plans, as that was part of the title of my video but no one had commented back after I talked about mine. I didn’t really care that others hadn’t commented. Some of my videos are at a great time to chat and some aren’t. I was rushing and trying to get out the door myself. Then, the man suggested I talk about Pride and Prejudice. I assume he added me as a friend because he enjoyed my writing. I explained a few things about my upcoming release and then he wrote, “the women in Pride and Prejudice are materialistic and care more about makeup than they do the protagonist.”
I LOST IT.
As I confronted him, he (possibly) attempted backtracking with a “not really, sorry” reply. At first, I also apologized but a moment later I put together his previous comment about the video not being what he liked. THEN LEAVE. Trying to shame me into talking about whatever he wanted is a misogynists’ tactic. So, I laid into him some more and concluded it with I could be a reader, a writer, and be intelligent and also like makeup because I do it for me. Then I finished my tutorial and concluded the video.
Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been angrier in my life. I have had those sorts of remarks from other women, too. They seem to believe that if they enjoy reading they shouldn’t be interested in makeup. They insinuate that only the vain and shallow wear any or would bother to sell it and spend time applying it more than on rare occasions. I’ve never been angry at the that assumption because I know it also stems from fear. We don’t want to be seen as less for our interests.
Think about high school. Did you like the pretty, perfect girl? The one who always looked put together? I bet she had a lot of boyfriends too. Most girls either emulated the pretty one or were jealous of her. If you were like me, you eventually matured and saw your value in other things. You may have even told yourself, “Well, I’m not as pretty as her but I’m smarter.” You believed you had spent your time on more important things.
And slowly, with each year, you told yourself more and more that you could only be one or the other. The ideas became mutually exclusive. In the Romance genre, there is quite a trope of the overlooked bluestocking or librarian. The smart girl with glasses and her hair pulled back too tight. She shuns most people and doesn’t fit in. When she does speak she’s awkward and sarcastic. Unexpectedly, the hero sees her beauty underneath and, if the writer is worth her salt, eventually the heroine does as well. Along the way, either two things happen: either she utterly transforms herself to get the guy/because of the guy or the rest of the world never sees her beauty. This either empowers the heroine into claiming her uniqueness or her feelings of gratitude for him viewing her as beautiful when no one else does is the basis of her love for him.
The problem is, neither is about the heroine seeing her own beauty before a man enters the picture. Real confidence is being able to look in the mirror after you’ve had no sleep and knowing that you’re still beautiful inside and out. But if you want to take 15 minutes to slap on some foundation, concealer, and mascara, that’s great too! Some people are afraid to wear makeup–I was one of them! I was afraid that if I wore anything the world would think I was saying “I don’t like how I look.” That’s not what I’m saying and I’m no longer afraid of what the world thinks.
However, for the record, I bet you could apply makeup while reading a book (or maybe listening). I bet you could be a CEO and wear cosmetics. I bet you could be President or Prime Minister and wear it. And I think you can be an author and wear makeup too.
And I think you can be an author and wear makeup too.