Should Girls Wear Makeup?

There has been a rising ongoing centuries long debate about women and the role of makeup and the ” need ” for women to wear it.  When I was a dramatic 17 year old,  I wrote a poem called the ” Loss of innocence” in it I wrote :

And she painted her false lips

And killed the song of innocence

Bird in Flight Illustration by Maryam DiMauro
Bird in Flight Illustration by Maryam DiMauro

A younger friend told me ” But you are like that girl, you killed your inner beauty by wearing makeup”. This seems to be a weird idea, when you grow up you wear makeup. That’s why when  some girls reach puberty they spend their time playing dress up. You are taught to cover up your flaws, your spots , your wrinkles your hairs. You should be flawless, you should be photoshopped.

My mother always told me never to go out of the house after a certain age without makeup. Girls in my classroom and later on in life would always want to give me the ” Ugly Duckling” makeover.  They would tell me ” You would be so PRETTY IF you wore your makeup right”.

Then there is the other side of the argument. The naturalists, the people who tell you that you shouldn’t wear makeup to uphold a certain beauty standard, that you are beautiful because you are you, the unique person with flaws and all. My x boyfriend hated that I wore makeup, he told me I looked much better without it .

There is something problematic with all of these arguments. The problem lies not in the makeup itself but in the fact that we are seeking external validation of how we want to look in that particular day.  I like makeup. I like the smell of it , I like how it sweeps on my eyelids and makes different shapes. I’m artistic, so I love to experiment. But there are days that I just couldn’t care less and I just can’t be bothered. None of these reasons are to make myself attractive to other people. Makeup should not be a reason someone is beautiful but it can be a tool. Makeup can create different characters, explore new dimensions, and it is something people dedicate their lives to. It is also part of a multibillion dollar industry which wrecks havoc on women’s insecurities to make a buck as well as cause irreparable damage to the environment and to animals for no apparent reason other than corporate greed.

Like with everything else in life, it’s how you use something and not the object itself. What we need to remember is that real value of someone’s beauty comes from their soul, the way their heart sings from one place to the next. This does not change. This does not transmute. This transforms. This inspires. This is eternal, not the cake substance we want to put on our face.

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The Fat Girl Returns with Confidence

I used to have this fantasy that I would emerge skinny and somehow my life would solve itself. But that never happened, because all the times that I lost weight the problems were still there. Losing fat doesn’t mean you are going to be happy, it doesn’t even guarantee you will be healthy. I like how I look, and whether or not I lose weight, that confidence is the best thing I ever gained.

A couple of years ago, in this very blog I wrote about being fat. At the time I hated the way I looked. I disappeared from photographs, I tried my best to  be inconspicous. I was uncomfortable in my own skin. But the thing is, I was the same way when I was thin.

I used being fat as a way to put off a lot of things. It was as if, by being fat I had an excuse to not live my life. This is hardly surprising because as a society we are taught that if you are overweight somehow you shouldn’t be treated with decent kindness and respect. You are taught that random people can come up to you and tell you that you are unhealthy . You are taught that somehow, you have to justify your life. You cannot be beautiful in your own skin, or somehow be proud of the things that make you you but you have to somehow build up on them.

When I was in my early twenties I lost all my college weight. I lost seventy five pounds. It was a lot of weight to lose in a small amount of time and I did it for the wrong reasons. I did it because I thought that if I did that maybe the boy I loved would love me back.  Guess what he didn’t.  I also got into a really bad relationship with someone that made me feel like less than a person.

in other words, losing weight is not the be all and end all for everything in my life. It didn’t cause me happiness, or sadness it is just a state of being. If someone decides to lose weight it should be for health reasons. When I was 18 and was skinny I was still asked to lose weight by my peers. Girls would always bring me down because of the fact that I had bigger boobs or a wider hips . I was never GOOD enough. And therein lies the problem, we externalize weight as a way of social acceptance.

Our sense of worth is tied up so much into what we eat, what we look like.   And we feel better about ourselves if we compare others . I grew up in Latin America where it was common place for girls to tear each other down because a girl looks ” fat’ in that dress , yet men walk around fat and no one blinks an eye.

I had bought into it so much that I never believed men when they told me they found me attractive.  I never had a lack of men trying to vy for my attention, and many of it is false flattery.  I always thought that there was an ulterior motive. ( There is also the part of me that hates that we buy into the beauty myth)

When my best friend told me that maybe I should get a gastric bypass so that ” a nice guy would notice me” it kind of hit me. A sort of epiphany. Why should you do anything for another person? The implication is also that in order for someone ” decent” to notice me, someone who treats me with respect I should be skinny. The notion is that as a fat person, I don’t deserve that kind of love or respect. It is kind of ironic because when that person go married, they weren’t skinny. Yet because as a male, that’s more accepted it was ok.

I am fully aware of the health risks of being overweight. I know what I look like. My grandfather tells me to lose weight, but in the same breath offers a bunch of cookies and desserts on the table.  It’s as if, people like to point out the flaws but want to enable for it to continue. IN society, someone who is fat has an obvious ” flaw” you can latch unto that , it ‘s something tangible that can be fixed. What if I don’t need fixing?

I found that as time went along, and I had the strength to look in the mirror I liked what I saw. I liked my flaws. I was comfortable in who I was, and that wouldn’t change whether or not I lost weight. There’s a famous case of a woman who was on Oprah who was overweight. Her father kept pressuring her to lose it so she had a gastric bypass. Supposedly, she was ” happier” and more ” fullfilled”  by losing weight but years later they found that she could not have children due to that same operation and she was not happier .

Fat is only a physical manifestation of your unhappiness. I know why I’m overweight, because of a thyroid issue and PCCOS and a ton of other reasons. But I shouldn’t have to give people a reason. I shouldn’t have to validate my life, and being fat has nothing to do with solving other problems in my life.  I find it more concerning to eat healthier and do exercise and be ok with how I look.   I’ll never be a size 2, but that’s ok.  Morever I am not going to let my weight stop me from ever doing things I want to do and taking risks. I am not going to stop living life just based on a size. It’s funny but the moment I started to think this way was the moment people reacted more positively towards me. When you feel confident that attracts good things.

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I used to have this fantasy that I would emerge skinny and somehow my life would solve itself. But that never happened, because all the times that I lost weight the problems were still there. Losing fat doesn’t mean you are going to be happy, it doesn’t even guarantee you will be healthy.  I like how I look, and whether or not I lose weight, that confidence is the best thing I ever gained.

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