Quotes of the day:
"Makeup should never be used to hide yourself. It should be used to enhance your natural beauty." - Kira Carl.
"Beauty is not flawless, it shines even through your flaws"
Foundation and Expectation
The magazine cover stares at me from across the Kroger stand as I slowly look away in determination. No. I am not conforming to the unrealistic social standards of beauty that are demeaning and intolerant towards many women. I am not going to support Photoshop,thigh gaps, and shallow expectations for the girls of the future. That magazine does not attract my attention. I felt so proud of myself as I left the Kroger parking lot overcome with a feeling of social consciousness and awareness. Despite of this consciousness, I forgot about one simple thing I had in my bag, a thing that was basically a part of me, and that I almost could not leave the house without: foundation.
|Your typical bottle of foundation|
What I am talking about is a tiny bottle of a flesh-toned, lotion-looking liquid. It's job is very simple; you open the bottle, put a little bit of foundation on your hands, and then rub it on your face, neck, etc. That way, you cover up pimples, scars, discoloration, and other “imperfections” of the skin. Foundation, as the name suggests, is the basic, underlying structure of any beauty routine, and one of the most common beauty items in the market.
But, as simple as foundation may seem, it is an art in and of itself. To do the job correctly and cover up your skin in a natural manner, you must know how to blend it with your skin tone, how to make sure it stays on your skin, and how to cover what you want it to cover. But foundation is not one-size-fits-all. It assumes that your skin tone will match the color of your makeup. For this reason, many women who are not of typical white and Olive complexions tend to have a more difficult time finding makeup that matches their skin tone. In fact, women who have darker complexions tend to spend more money on make up than white women because drug store brands usually have less options available for them. This creates what is called “colorism,” meaning a discrimination of skin tone in which one skin tone is more favored than the other and is considered the “normal” skin color. This creates less diverse options for people whose skin is not of that color.
Also, foundation is not very smart. It's hard to put it on without having it cover your whole face. This means that in order for foundation to work, it not only covers the unwanted pimple of discoloration, it may also cover some birthmarks, freckles, and anything on its way. This creates the expectation of beauty and the ideal “healthy” skin be an image of a perfect, homogeneous face with virtually no marks, scars, discoloration, or birthmarks that many people have.
We use foundation to cover up small insecurities and try to better our appearance, and foundation, in turn, demands an action from us. To wear it, we have to look at the things we don't like about ourselves, and instead of accept them or change them, we cover them up, never solving the problem from its roots. Foundation also requires that we become aware of our imperfections, appearance, perceptions by others, and our skin tone in order for it to work like it is supposed to. In some cases, this may be a good thing, making us aware of who we are and what we want to be, but in other cases, it can create an intolerance for ourselves, and deep insecurities in the way we look, especially put together with Photoshop, a biased beauty industry, and unrealistic standards for women. This is so prominent today, that the #NoMakeup look has gained a huge momentum, while even so, celebrities that claim to have the “all natural” look still, in fact, wear makeup and use beauty products, creating false expectations of what a natural beauty should look like.
|This quote describes the #NoMakeup move|
This however, is not meant to judge or shame people who wear foundation or other forms of make up. I'm the first to admit my obsession with beauty products. They make women feel secure, pretty, and flawless. Many of us find it fun to wear, not because we have insecurities but simply because it's fun, artistic, and interesting. But, just like any object, we must be conscious on how our usage of it affects others. The usage of foundation and other forms of makeup nay sometimes close opportunities for other women by setting expectations of beauty that are unrealistic and intolerant of specific skin conditions and skin tones. Also, because many women are so used to wearing products that create this image, foundation and other forms of makeup become almost a part of the skin, of the ideal beauty, and of a woman.