When I was younger, I kind of self-identified as a Tom Boy. I hated the color pink. A typical outfit for me well past college would be jeans and a horse t-shirt. While I wore a little makeup to cover up breakouts or maybe mascara, many days I left the house bare faced and felt absolutely okay with that. Though I didn’t hate dresses or dressing up, I only did these things when I felt like it. They weren’t something I thought necessary in any way.
This relaxed and slightly masculine self identity wasn’t rooted in a hatred of pretty clothes or makeup. I actually love those things – especially now as an adult. Even pink has changed from something to avoid to a color that works with my complexion, and I’ve got a few pink shirts in my wardrobe now. Instead, it was a fear that I would be thought of as weak. Young Lauren associated dressing feminine and using a lot of makeup as a way to show weakness. In the society I grew up in, I seemed to get the clear message that women weren’t as strong as men and to dive head first into vanity meant that I accepted my position as less.
I wasn’t willing to accept that.
But now I’m older, and a little bit more aware of the world. Women have a long way to go in a lot of ways, from my beloved state of Texas trying to control my health to the fact that I can promise you I make less than my male co-workers with the same title and status within the company. These are facts I’m not proud of, but the things that will change them are my attitude and actions — not how I dress.
Because in this next phase of my life, I’ve kind of gotten into makeup. I like wandering through Sephora and spending more money than I should. For the first time in my life, I have preferences on what kind of products I like versus going to Target and arbitrarily throwing things in my basket I might end up using once a year. On a typical day, I won’t leave the house without primer, foundation, concealer, finishing powder, contouring, highlight, blush, eye shadow, mascara and lipstick.
But I don’t usually do eyeliner. Aint nobody got time for that.
So yesterday when I saw this image on my friend’s Facebook feed, I got pretty annoyed.
Depending on the day, I score between a 28 and a 38 on that little quiz. Which assuredly means I’m pretty high maintenance, right?
My friend (who is a lovely person that I genuinely like) commented as she shared this image that it’s no wonder men rule the world, possibly implying that women spend too much time on their appearance to break the glass ceiling (which really, I think means that men should feel more obligated to step up their own personal grooming but I digress…). In the comments, many women (and men) were commenting on how silly it was to do these things. I’m only a 3! Who would take a 30 minute shower?
Now, this person is forward thinking, smart and someone who I would label as a feminist. She meant absolutely no harm by any of this, and also commented that it’s a personal choice to do or not do any of the items listed above… which I totally agree with. And when I say that the image annoyed me, it wasn’t her that bothered me. I believe her point in sharing this, is that she personally felt good about being free from beauty chores society told her she should do in the past. Plus, the spelling in that image is excellent and almost worth a share alone.
I guess it struck a chord in me, because things like this setup women to strike each other down. It’s like the impression I got from my childhood, that trying to make yourself appear glam or made up or super feminine is lesser. These ‘low maintenance’ people who don’t participate are inherently better than those who do. At least, that’s the argument it seems to begin.
In reality, high maintenance is an attitude versus a routine of personal grooming. I can get ready to leave the house in ten minutes or two hours. When in a group, I try to make sure everyone is happy and having a good time. I know how to compromise. Typically, I can go with the flow. I don’t consider myself high maintenance in the slightest – lipstick and all.
There’s really no right or wrong way to go about appearance, in my opinion. I have friends who never wear makeup and I have friends who wear it all the time. To me, they’re equally stunning.
Because the best thing we can do as women is to stop tearing each other down – for any reason. Regardless of how many points you score on that quiz, I think that’s something we should all agree on. What about you?