Is Makeup Bad For Women's Self-Esteem?

makeup-times
Does makeup make women feel bad about themselves? We last pondered the question back in Women's Studies 101, but this week, the New York Times resurrected it for another look. "If makeup has indeed become the status quo in the public realm," its latest Room For Debate column asks, "does it ultimately damage a woman's self-esteem, or elevate it?" To explore this issue, seven writers — makeup artists, writers, and researchers among them — argue whether makeup signifies female self-expression or an oppressive tool of the patriarchy.
Advertisement
We're all for a good rip-roaring debate, but this particular one is about as current as, well, frosted lilac lipstick. As third-wave feminists already argued decades ago, wearing makeup doesn't necessarily mean a woman feels inadequate without it — just as going bare-faced doesn't automatically lead to radical self-acceptance.
Don't get us wrong; when women feel pressured to wear makeup, that's definitely a bad thing. But, it's also stifling to imply that if a woman chooses to wear concealer or mascara, she must have lousy self-esteem. In reality, each person is different. For every woman who resents grooming her eyebrows before heading to a board meeting, there's another who delights in lining her eyes before a date, and another who quickly covers her breakout before rushing out the door. The reasons for wearing (or eschewing) makeup are as endless as the women behind them. So how can there be one right answer for all of womankind? For such a colorful topic, the Times debate seems oddly framed in black-and-white thinking. Readers, your thoughts?
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page!

More from Makeup

There's a lot to love about a classic red lip. But one of our favorite reasons is that it stands out on its own, making it the ultimate in lazy-girl ...
Listen, it's hard enough to master the fine art of makeup application on a normal day, but when your skin throws a giant wrench in the operation by being ...
Left to right: Donna, Static, White Rabbit, 8 Track A video posted by ColourPop Cosmetics (@colourpopcosmetics) on Sep 28, 2016 at 12:47pm PDT ...
When I was eight years old, I knew nothing about makeup. Did that stop me from collecting palette upon palette of colorful shadows and sparkly tubes of ...
We've heard plenty of ridiculous claims in the beauty industry. But the number-one assertion? Long-wear. Whether they're marketed as sweat-proof, ...
Like most people, I have a glam squad of me, myself, and I. There are no celebrity stylists curling my hair, no Instagram-famous makeup artists painting my...
Update, September 28, 4:00 p.m. ET: The wait is finally over! These super soft and gorgeous makeup brushes, which range from just $5-$12 have just become ...
(Paid Content) Some beauty trends from decades past always manage to circle back — they’re just too good to keep locked away in a previous era! Now you can...
Lately, I’m so over matte eyeshadows. Give me shine! Give me shimmer! Give me fun! For the last couple of years, Maybelline’s Bad To The Bronze Color ...
Nowadays, it's natural to expect your coverage product to also have skin-care benefits, what with all the anti-aging, zit-zapping, and hydrating bases on ...
Prepare to go wild with clasped-hand emoji, because we’ve got big news: Urban Decay is adding another fluorescent-filled eye shadow palette to its roster...
Foundations: It's likely there are more bottles than faces for them to cover. And, while all those choices may seem to make your decision easier when ...
When a beauty editor with access to a hundred variations of every product you could dream up cuts open a tube or sticks a Q-tip into a bottle just to get ...
When you hear “3-D printing,” you probably don't immediately think of lipstick. But that's about to change because the latest cutting-edge launch from ...