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Using makeup is not all about objectifying yourself for the male gaze! It can be a woman’s choice, and can make her feel good about herself!
A while back I’d read an article here on Women’s Web, where a dear writer had mentioned how putting filters on our photos robs us of our self confidence and subjects us to body shaming. In several other places, I’ve also heard people saying using makeup is like putting on ‘false advertisement’.
The underlying thought behind these statements is that when we want to project a more attractive image of ourselves to the world it means that we don’t accept ourselves the way we are. According to me, these statements aren’t entirely true for everyone. We can love ourselves to bits and still put on makeup or use photo filters. Here’s why I feel this way.
Let me start with a small story about myself. Raised in a household that considered makeup to be unnecessary, harmful, vain, and not something that intelligent girls indulge in, I was always under the impression that makeup is BAD. In fact, so deep rooted were my convictions that I first started using makeup just a few months ago, after being inspired by a friend’s YouTube channel. It took me over 30 years to unlearn the ‘lesson’ from my childhood!
No, it isn’t as though now I put a lot of makeup every time I step out, but I do it when the mood strikes and most importantly, I feel awesome doing it! Does that mean I don’t accept myself the way I look? Oh My God, NO!
I have always had problematic skin. There aren’t many treatments known to mankind that I haven’t tried on my face. Though with age, the breakouts have lessened, I still suffer from acne. I have adult acne and no matter how much you advise me to avoid spicy food, chocolates or to keep my bowels clear or my face clean, to use this medicine or go to that doctor, I know that acne are a part of my life and I’ve made my peace with them. I know they’ll keep visiting me from time to time and I’ll have to live with them. Honestly, along with age, it doesn’t even bother me that much.
However, once I got introduced to makeup, I easily cover up my blemishes when I step out. Now, I’d like to be honest with you. It makes me feel Amazing! I simply love applying primer which gives my face a smoother finish since I have large pores; I love it when the concealer covers my acne, and how the honey colored foundation blends into my skin. One of the biggest progresses in the field of makeup is that these items nowadays cater to diverse skin tones. And so, without looking like a pale ghost, I let my own complexion glow!
“So you’re giving a wrong impression to people when you’re stepping out!” Do I hear you saying that?
No, you’ll only think of using makeup as false advertising when you think of women as products to be sold!
I have nothing to prove to anyone. Heck, given that logic, I must try falsely advertising to my husband first, no? He gets to see me waking up with my hair in disarray, my eyes swollen, my lips chapped, and not a single ounce of makeup on my splotchy face. If I have no issues in showing him that face, trust me, I really love myself a bit too much to think about what others think about me. I do makeup for my own pleasure. I love playing with colors, I love creating art on my face. This has got nothing to do with my self acceptance.
The same thing is true for the photo filters.
Though I take very few selfies, I sometimes use filters to put the image in sharp clarity or to make it look more blended with the background. For that matter I do it with other photos too, like the photos of my books (I’m an avid reader whose Instagram feed is dominated by pictures of books teamed with different beverages). I also put filters on mountains or seas when I post photos of my trip. I put filters on images of my pets and on my husband, as well. None of this implies that I don’t love the appearance of my dog, my husband, or the majestic mountains that I visited last summer!
No, you’re not fooling anyone by putting up filters because everyone knows how these filters smoothen out the rough edges or make the image sharper, these days. I don’t think anyone looks at these pictures and think that their friend has suddenly transformed into something different! And even if some people do it to ‘create an illusion’, what is the harm? As I said, we are not products that our beguiling advertisements are tricking customers! Why are we so fast in judging others this way?
I put natural pictures as well as pictures with filters. I’m no expert photographer and yet sometimes I do like posting beautiful photos. I am in love with myself (and my near ones and my books) but I have no qualms in making the photo that I took, a bit more presentable. I don’t see that as a contradiction to accepting myself (or my near ones) unconditionally. In fact, I’ve also put pictures of mine in my husband’s old ragged t-shirt playing with my cat. It is my life after all.
What I choose to show to the world is entirely to my discretion. My only request is that please, live and let live, and stop judging each other for our choices, be it makeup, clothes, or photo filters.
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Kasturi’s debut novel, forthcoming in early 2021, had won the novel pitch competition by
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