Nov 6

The Politics of Makeup

Edit: In retrospect, I realize I’d rather be talking about The Politics of Dancing. While the video really should have more hair gel and eyeliner than it does, but is still way more fun than nasty comments from Officious Office People.

I’ve been talking about makeup lately on several levels ranging from frivolous, feminist, artifice, other people’s comfort, etc.

I love makeup. I love hair dye.
I have loved makeup since I was in sixth grade and believed you should apply eyeshadow until it resembled the color of the eyeshadow cake itself, just like the new wave girls on MTV. (Sometimes, I still espouse this opinion, but there is a time and place.)

I started getting the hang of makeup when I began performing regularly, and would frequently end up pinning down theatre guys to do their eyeliner. Rrrowwr. Well-applied guyliner still makes my toes curl. LARPing and college honed my makeup skills, and clubbing expanded my skillset.

I don’t wear makeup very often these days: usually lip gloss/lashtint. Every once in a while, I go all out, and I have fun, but I conserve my energy/finger dexterity for more important things.

What annoys me is the melodramatic way people react when I wear makeup now. It’s always an over-enthusiastic, forced ordeal. For all the fuss, you’d think I was trollish without makeup, and a shiny princess transformed by my faerie gothmother MAC. Nearly everyone’s face changes dramatically with good makeup technique, but people gasp like they’ve witnessed some sort of great feat of magic. It really makes me not want to wear it at all, because it feels like their reaction is so strong because they are trying to reward “good” or “acceptable” behavior.

What pushes me over the edge? When a coworker pulls me aside and suggests that since I’m chronically ill, I should wear makeup more often because when I look like I feel poorly, it makes people uncomfortable. This is such grand idiocy. When my shoulders burn, the muscles in my chest are too tight to breathe properly, and it feels like there’s a piece of hot metal bouncing around in my left thigh… the farthest thing from my mind is an acquaintance’s discomfort. I am just trying to get through the day without taking it out on someone else, and why skew anyone’s expectations with artifice?

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