Social Pressure to Wear Makeup

I was probably about 12 when I first asked my mother if she could buy me makeup. She never wore any and I didn’t have any older sisters so it wasn’t something that I previously thought very much about. I remember going to summer camp and being the only one not putting on makeup in the morning. I felt so left out and ugly next to my cool makeup wearing friends and decided that I would ask my mom if I could start wearing it as soon as I got home. Now, I love putting on makeup but I know that my introduction with it was out of insecurity.

I think this is an experience that most girls have, and seems to be happening increasingly younger. According to Daily Mail, “over half of 12 to 14-year-olds wear make-up most days and 17 percent refuse to leave the house without make-up on”. I see so many young girls covered in thick foundation and layers of mascara. They see their friends, celebrities or, increasingly so, girls on social media wearing makeup and believe that it just something that girls are supposed to do and they need it in order to be belong or be beautiful.

Unfortunately, this pressure persists for the rest of our lives. Another article from Daily Mail says that over a third of women believe their significant other would not have been attracted to them if they hadn’t been wearing makeup. One in ten even said “they would never let their partner see them without a full face on”. Some women get up early so that they can put makeup on before their partner can see them. It is very disturbing that women do not feel comfortable enough to let the person they are in love with see their true appearance. I wear a lot of makeup but can’t imagine hiding my natural face from my significant other, and I’m not even sure how someone would keep that up.

This pressure doesn’t just occur in women’s personal lives but extends into the workplace. The study showed that six out of ten women would never go to work without their makeup, with many believing that they would be ignored for a promotion or perceived as not taking care of themselves. This isn’t just imagined either. An article from the New York Times called “Up the Ladder, Lipstick in Hand” discusses a study that showed that people viewed women wearing more makeup to be more competent. Women should not feel that they have to wear makeup and look physically attractive in order to succeed at work or in any other aspect of their life. We can’t call makeup nothing more than a fun personal decision when we live in a society when people feel like it’s a must.


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