Gabi Ilebode and Gianna Lally also contributed to this article.
In modern society, women are judged on nearly every aspect of their being. Even as little girls, we are told what we should and should not do. We are told to close our legs when we sit, not speak unless spoken to, that we cannot like the same things as boys, et cetera. Women are especially judged on their appearance nowadays. They are too skinny, too fat, too pale, too dark, too tall, too short; then there is the biggest one of all—the one where they are branded way too young: if they are ugly or pretty.
Luckily, or so it can be thought, a special tool to enhance appearance was created: makeup.
Makeup has become a norm for many teenagers in this generation. This can also relate to filters and editing on photos for social media. Makeup can significantly change a person's looks, whether it's for better or worse. Many women today have been taught from a young age that makeup is what they need to be seen as pretty.
Women have used oil, fragrances, powders and more to enhance their looks to fit societal norms for centuries. It was all dependent on what men wanted. Whether that be thin lips or bushy eyebrows, it was all to get wed off to the best suitor.
Nowadays, women have started to take their power back and wear makeup in whatever way makes them feel best. The fragile masculinity of men and overbearing patriarchy does not seem to enjoy this in the slightest.
If a woman wears makeup, then she is told she is most likely ugly without it. This most often occurs on social media where men take to the comments and say “one wipe and it’s over” or “take her swimming on the first date.”
Freshman Natalie Keating said, “the way I typically wear my makeup is very bold and noticeable. So when I don't wear it, I get a lot of comments about it. I don't know why every single person feels the need to comment on it every time, though.”
Senior Sarah Benson is someone who wears makeup every day, so it has become a big part of her style. She feels “obligated to wear it” even to the point where she feels “gross” when she does not. She has not noticed a big difference in reactions from other people.
If a woman is not wearing makeup and seems to be comfortable with her bare face, she is told by people in society to wear makeup to look “prettier.”
The presence of social media has affected young girls now in a way it did not affect young girls a few years ago. Something that new generations are facing is the fact that they are hyper exposed to all standards of beauty through social media. They have access to filters and things that alter the way that they look. Makeup does the same thing as a filter for a lot of young girls.
Even between seniors and freshmen, there seems to be this invisible barrier between them. A good amount of freshmen wear eyeliner, mascara and full faces of makeup to school. In contrast, most seniors tend to stick to simpler looks or just bare faces. Of course, this is not an exclusive observation. There are seniors who wear makeup and freshmen who do not.
Something that has been more obvious since the school year started is that freshman, the younger classmen have really focused on their appearance even going to school. Dressing up more often, to make them be perceived a certain way.
However, as a freshman who does not wear makeup, I definitely feel the allure from social media. Sometimes I mess around with the idea and post it, that is if I am satisfied with the outcome. So far, I have posted twice on Instagram with makeup and already those posts have a good 20 likes more than my others.
I do not believe it is a coincidence that more likes went to the posts with makeup. With online reactions like this, young women and girls are being taught that they need to wear makeup to be pretty. This is why a lot of freshmen girls know how to do their makeup a lot more than seniors did at our age.
This is not the only issue with makeup, however. The other problem is who is “allowed” to wear makeup. Nowadays, society is growing more comfortable with dismantling the status quo. One of the ways they are doing this is by breaking gender stereotypes and pointless gendered activities. An example of this is makeup. Men and non-feminine presenting individuals have begun experimenting with the idea of wearing makeup and though they receive backlash, it is quite the statement.
To say it has all started now would be a lie. There is simply more discussion about the topic due to social media. This is what one could call “the good side” of social media. It helps young kids know that it is not bad to like these idiotically gendered activities and that they are free to express themselves as they so choose.
Makeup is for whoever wants to wear it, however they want to wear it. This is regardless of how people identify or how society wishes them to conform.