Life

Makeup is Art, not a Feminist Issue

By Atinuke | Sep 16, 2022

Makeup is art. Blending, contouring, highlighting our favourite features, minimising others, and the general elevation and transformation of the face require skill and creativity.  While many people may not appreciate or diminish the art of makeup, that does not change that it is, in fact, an art form. 

In 2019, Julie Bindel suggested in The Independent that women should let go of the makeup bag as it was a stain on women's rights.

"Do yourself a favour, and throw your makeup in the bin. It would be a much more revolutionary act than burning your bra," She wrote

I don't see it this way, but I understand. Feminism is about controlling your life; this includes your body, your decisions and your face.

Makeup is often seen from two angles; On one hand, those who wear it welcome makeup because it makes them look flawless and on the other, not wearing makeup could be equated with a rejection of imposed beauty standards. 

This is seen in the shaming of women who wear makeup because it is believed that they are trapped in a dictated conception of beauty. Why is it hard to believe that feminism and femininity can coexist? While femininity isn’t subjective to looking or behaving a certain way, must wearing makeup be seen as anti-feminist?

Beyond conventional makeup looks, makeup artists are taking transformation with makeup to new levels. Cosplayers and SFX artists, for example, create entirely new faces and characters with makeup. Makeup also serves as a medium of expression and an outlet for creativity, like every other art form. 

Women wear makeup because they like it. After all, it's fun; or because it makes them feel confident about themselves. It stresses that men and women must be free to decide what to do with their faces.

Document Women asked women how they feel about makeup, and their responses exude pure joy.

 

  • Makeup is a transformative, colourful spin you put on your face. 

Triumph says, “I love the way it transforms a face. Not necessarily better, just different. It makes me feel like I am putting on a show.” 

Sinmiloluwa, 20, says, “I love how transformative makeup is. In 30 mins, I can look like someone with a beautiful tan from the Bahamas. That’s peak.”

 

  • Beautiful, gorgeous, stunning and extra doses of confidence.

Bukola, 21, says makeup makes her feel like a “very beautiful, confident, bad b.” Her favourite thing about makeup is how it boosts her self-esteem. She says, “I love how extra confident I get having it on.” She’s in love with the process and how every step comes together to make her look beautiful.

Onyx says makeup makes her feel “like a baddie,” and her go-to style is eccentric over-the-top makeup. 

21-year-old Lu says makeup makes them feel “happy and free.” Grace loves to play with colours, and makeup makes her feel “stunning.” Patricia, 20; “absolutely gorgeous.”

Seyi, 22, says she loves makeup because of its ability to dial up your confidence. “Your confidence can go from zero to one thousand.”

 

  • The joy of a signature style.

21-year-old Tobi lives for the finished look. She loves “the ability to play with colours, think outside the box, create new trends and have a signature style or go-to look.” Her go-to style for creating content is editorial looks; bright, bold eyes and heavy accentuated lips. For going out, she favours nude, dewy looks but “red lips, always! (or sometimes nude).”

Triumph’s go-to makeup look is gothic; “thick eyeliner, pointy eyebrows and a dark lip stain”; Chi favours soft glam, sometimes alternative looks with liner and lips.

 

  • How to disappear? (Like Clark Kent with the glasses)

24-year-old Anastasia says, “It’s like putting on a mask. I love the idea of putting a barrier between the real me and the world, making myself a little less perceivable.” She says makeup makes her feel “brand new”. 

Chi, 20, says she loves “stretching the boundaries” of her look and “customising her character”, and Seyi, 23, says it makes her feel super pretty and creates “the illusion of attraction.

 

The makeup process is not all sunshine and roses; like every skill, it takes trial and error and time to hone and perfect. The girls have problems with eye makeup, drawing brows and eyeliner and making sure they look like sisters, maybe even twins when perfected and not distant cousins. 

Chi’s least favourite parts of the makeup process are drawing eyeliner and taking the makeup off.

 “I have shaky hands, so eyeliner is always the moment of truth. Also, when I have to take the makeup off before bed, especially if it was a fire look, I’d be taking final pics like my life depends on it. Sometimes makeup comes out like a masterpiece, a once-in-a-lifetime look I may never replicate the same way again.

Blending is also challenging, finding your shade of everything, matching them with complimentary colours and making sure they all mix and meld artfully into your skin. 

But, ultimately, these women wear makeup to stoke joy, upliftment and expression.

People should get to choose what makes them feel good about themselves – which can be both a natural face or a made-up one.