“You can’t win. If you wear makeup you’re a deceitful whore, and if you don’t you can forget about getting any action,” according to an article written by Hannah Ongley featured on Styleite, a news-and opinion-based blog with a focus on the fashion industry.

A friend of mine read the article, which discussed men’s feelings toward women who wear makeup — how unnatural and deceitful they are. She found herself disagreeing with many of the males’ comments, and sent the article to me, wondering if I’d share a similar reaction. “Wearing Makeup Means You Are Lying to Men” was the title of the article. The article was published a year ago, but the issues discussed are just as prominent today. In the article, Ongley informs readers that makeup artist Melissa Murphy posted a photo on Reddit that displays two side-by-side photos of the same woman. The photo on the left shows the woman without makeup and the one on the right shows her with makeup. “Makeup. That’s it” was captioned with the photos.

Ongley wrote that male commenters became angry with the photos, “positively outraged that this woman would lie to them by wearing makeup.” Reddit user, plokoonismyfave, was especially critical, saying women who wear makeup are equivalent to men who wear prosthetic muscles under long-sleeved shirts. Really?

The same Reddit user went even further and wrote “The girl in the photo is apparently not satisfied with the way she looks without makeup and uses makeup to artificially portray a person more people would find attractive.” I highly doubt all women who wear makeup hate the way they look without it. I also doubt that women are only comfortable going out into the world after they’ve applied makeup. All women are not self-loathing beings who turn to makeup as their remedy. Some men should stop being arrogant and critical because everything is not about them and what they desire. Women do not only use makeup to provide a pretty face for them to look at, some women just simply like wearing makeup. Others may find it fun or use it to hide small marks. However, if men were less critical, women may stop wearing — or wear less — makeup. As Ongley wrote, “you can’t win.” Women, ditch the makeup and go natural, but you must be pretty; if you feel un-pretty and wear makeup you’re a fake representation. Sadly, those are the options with which women are left.

User RG150 agreed with plokoonismyfave’s comments, saying the photo is deceitful because men go for looks, which, for most, are an important facet of potential partners. This comment is evidence that society places a ridiculously high value on looks. Where does this leave women who are viewed as less attractive? Physical attractiveness is of devastating importance to us, such that we desire physical approval from others. Thus, women who feel un-pretty feel disadvantaged. Since appearances seemingly matter to these potential partners, women conclude that they fundamentally have to change what they look like to obtain a partner.

Makeup is advertised as something that will make women look younger or more attractive. It will make eyes pop, produce higher cheekbones or mask pimples. There are countless cosmetics for face, eyes, lips, nails, hair color and fragrances that send women the message that they can always do more to look more beautiful, whether it’s lengthening their lashes, or strengthening their nails. The combination of makeup’s promises to make women more beautiful and men’s desire for a beautiful woman puts pressure on women.

Another user, cjc23, gives more insight to women’s desire to use makeup. “Really not trying to sound mean here, but I was always against makeup until I saw this photo. I always preferred natural beauty, even with some imperfections (who doesn’t have them), But that is literally a photo that goes from ‘No’ to ‘Hello’.” That’s ironic. Men prefer “natural beauty,” except if it resembles the photo of the woman with no makeup. Her natural beauty photo was a “No.” How should women feel when their natural beauty is filed into the “No” pile? The reality is no woman was born flawless, with a perfectly symmetrical face free of any kind of blemish, and imperfections are natural.

I admit that there is a thing as too much makeup. However, is it women’s fault that they equate makeup with beauty?

Sierra Brown can be reached at snbrown@umich.edu

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