Last week I attended the monthly meeting of the young professional women’s organization I belong to. While I am not a particularly active participant, I really enjoy being a member of the organization. They have regular speakers and workshops and I really find it interesting and wonderful to watch women of my age group taking strides to advance themselves both socially and professionally. Last week’s speaker was the owner of Build-A-Sign.com and he was truly excellent. The programs he and his company have developed to give back to the community… well, they make you want to work there. They’re incredibly impressive and creative. It was inspiring to hear about them (and a little depressing since I don’t work there).
The evening’s introduction of our sponsor, a brow and make up design company, unfortunately left a bad taste in my mouth. The introduction was given by a member of YWA who seemed to me to be an articulate, smart and beautiful young woman. She began her speech with a picture of a gorilla and the statement, “This is what I would look like without make up and without the help of tonight’s sponsor….” While I understand that her picture and comment was simply to get a laugh out of the audience, I also realized that many of the women in attendance also agreed with her and she was probably also serious. Many may have thought, “Oh please, you should see me when I first get up!” So many women truly believe that their natural faces are not enough, that they shouldn’t go out in public without having first altering their appearance. Now, I do believe certain steps to ensure your appearance are appropriate in the morning; 1. Checking to make sure clothes are not only appropriate for occasion but also clean, 2. brushing hair and teeth, etc. but I don’t feel like I have to put on mascara before I faced the world. It’s not a part of my uniform. Those periods of my life when I have felt like it was important were very negative times for me as far as my confidence in my looks. I didn’t feel good enough until I was wearing make up. I felt embarrassed without it.
I don’t want to knock this sponsor or make up in general. Make up is fun! Women have the freedom to experiment with different looks through their hair and make up. You could look like a different person every day if you want! Sometimes I want to make an impression and a little eyeliner goes a long way. Sometimes I’m tired and I want to disguise that- bring on the concealer! But isn’t also important to be okay with your face? To be okay (even if sometimes frustrated) with blemishes or moles? To forgive ill-placed freckles, to embrace a funny bump in your nose? This is your face. It’s a part of you for good or bad. I know that some days, loving your face as is is a lot to ask. Some days pimples the size of 18-wheelers appear at the end of your nose. But, in general, make up should be about accentuating who you are rather than feeling like you have to improve what you’ve got. I don’t want to feel embarrassed by my face and I hope that you’re not either.
I hope that you feel comfortable going to the grocery store without make up. I hope that you teach your daughters about the fun of make up and not the requirement. That being girly can be silly and sexy and a blast but that real sexiness is confidence and confidence should come without fancy clothes or the perfect eye shadow.
Maybe I’ve read too much into a comment meant for humor but it is a sentiment that I hear everywhere over and over again from women I admire. I admire their style, their features and their intelligence but not the lack of love they have for their bodies and their faces. And maybe I won’t always feel confident in my plain face but I hope to remember what I feel now and keep moving towards it.
To beautiful women everywhere!