Women have experimented with makeup for generations. Right now, millions of people experiment with creating new looks as a form artistry and self-expression, yet the myth that women wear makeup only to impress men persists. Contrary to what some men think, I don’t wear makeup for their approval or even to be desired by them. I wear makeup because my nana says I look tired without eyeliner and a bit of concealer under my eyes.
Sure, some people do wear makeup to impress a date, but I’m only thinking about one person when I put on my falsies in the morning. My nana. The male gaze is a non-factor for me. I couldn’t care less if a man sends me a drink at a bar or that customers tip me better when I wear a hot shade of red lipstick. I solely wear makeup to assuage my nana’s concern and vie for my nana’s approval.
I’ve had plenty of men in my life try to change me into something that I’m not, and I’ve never, ever let it get to me. But if my nana hadn’t told me I look tired, even though I’m 23, am constantly hydrated and always get eight hours of sleep, then I never would have found myself at Sephora trying on numerous Kat Von D eyeliners and obsessing over finding the right highlighter. If you saw the look of concern in her eyes, you’d understand.
The fact is wearing makeup gives me the confidence to visit my nana more than once a year. I no longer live in fear that she’s going to say I could be a very pretty girl if I tried. Learning how to apply a full face in a natural way so nana doesn’t say I look like a whoreish clown makes me feel better about myself.
Unfortunately, it’s true that society and my nana treat me better when I’m wearing makeup. Before I started wearing makeup, I was mercilessly ridiculed by my 89-year-old nana. But since I’ve started wearing makeup, she now tells people in her retirement community that I’m her granddaughter instead of a census taker, invites me to her bridge games, and has taken a vested interest in how medical school is going for me. Thanks, makeup!
We’ve come a long way as women, but I hope that someday we can wear makeup without the assumption that we’re just trying to look hot for men. Some of us are just trying to impress our old, worried nanas.