This Japanese Ad Is Shaming Women For Applying Makeup In Public

If you're a person who wears makeup, chances are you've applied (or at least touched up) your face while traveling from one place to another. It's one of those thing we do even though it's not ideal — like brushing your teeth with your finger after an impromptu sleepover. But there's a private train company in Tokyo that has a major issue with underground makeup artists, and it's directing its efforts — and money — to taking down these dangerous, dangerous folk, according to The Washington Post.
In the ad, a bare-faced actress dances in front of a duo of girls as they carefully comb mascara through their lashes. A catchy song begins to play as the woman sings in Japanese, "Women in the big city are all beautiful. But they can be ugly sometimes." The song continues with her asking, "Why can't you do it before you get on the train? Your eyebrows restored and eyelashes multiplied, your transformation is witnessed." The clip ends with a message kindly asking women to not put on makeup on the train.

While there is obviously a lot to unpack here, the lyrics indicating that no one should bear witness to a woman's makeup "transformation" might be the most troubling. A face pre-makeup is no more "beautiful" or "ugly" than a face with makeup on it, and a train company (or any company, really) doesn't have to right to dictate those standards to its customers. Plus, the idea of makeup being a mask that women hide behind — and one that others shouldn't have to see them without — is more than a little sexist.

But the worst part about this advertisement is that it singles out women (and only women) for something that isn't actually a problem. Maybe we woke up late, maybe we're headed to a big meeting, or maybe we just feel like putting on an extra coat of mascara, goddamit. Truly, it's no one's business but ours and unless our routine poses an actual threat to others — like, um, knife contouring — we don't need you telling us it's wrong.

So thanks for your opinion, Tokyu Corporation. But we're going to keep on applying our concealer en route. If you want to do a video to combat manspreading, though, we'd totally be on board with that.
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