American Beauty: Why Society Needs To Redefine Feminine Standards

by Paige Woiner

For many young girls, wearing makeup is a rite of passage into the fabulous world of womanhood.

As a little girl, one of the things I always admired about my mom was the way she did her makeup.

So when I finally reached the age where she would let me wear it, I was beyond excited.

The first time a girl wears makeup to school, she feels like a completely different person.

A colorful shade of eye shadow paired with some sparkly, pink lips can add a whole new level to who you are on the outside.

Getting your makeup done for your first school dance almost makes you feel like you've been initiated into this exclusive club that only the best of the best are granted access to.

There are specific boundaries, however, that girls are advised not to cross when they reach certain ages.

A 10-year-old wearing a heavy coat of mascara and bright red lipstick to class will have classmates whispering insults behind her back and teachers questioning the sanity of her mother.

On the other hand, a college student who never wears any makeup faces criticism, too. She may even be called "butch" or "tomboy," solely for her lack of a made-up face.

Makeup is one of the first things people think of when imagining a stereotypical woman. Without it, her true "womanhood" is questioned.

Despite this, a college woman who wears a large amount of makeup is also judged.

She may be seen as fake for having on a bit too much foundation and blush for a party.

Inversely, she'll be judged and ruled unkempt if she shows up to a party with little to no makeup accentuating her features.

The world of makeup is composed of fine lines that women have to be careful not to cross, unless they want to face the backlash from society.

It’s one of those lovely things we like to call a "double standard."

If you wear too little, you're an ugly, lazy tomboy.

If you wear too much, you're an ugly, fake promiscuous woman.

Em Ford, founder of My Pale Skin Blog on YouTube, highlights the intensity of this double standard in her video that features social media comments about her face.

Ford reveals to her viewers that she deals with severe acne. With the wonderful makeup she puts on, however, you can hardly even tell her skin has any blemishes.

In our society, acne isn't considered beautiful.

When you walk around with acne, it feels like that's all anyone is looking at.

Without any makeup on, Em faces hideous comments from online users.

Some featured in her video include, "I can't even look at her," and "WTF is wrong with her face?"

She then puts on a coat of makeup to cover up all of the acne. While she does receive much more positive comments, the negative comments don't stop.

"You wear too much makeup," one user said. Another commented, "This is false advertising."

With and without makeup, she still received negative comments.

Nikkie from NikkieTutorials on YouTube also calls attention to the power of makeup in her video.

She says that lately, it’s been seen as a crime for women to say they love makeup, but that shouldn’t be the case.

She agrees makeup shouldn’t solely be used to cover up insecurities, but it should be fun and there for you when you want to look “hella good.”

Alongside Em and Nikkie, we have popular artist Demi Lovato, who told her fans they should be comfortable without makeup in her new Vanity Fair shoot, where she is nude and makeup-free.

She tells viewers, “I thought there was something incredible about the idea of no makeup whatsoever.”

Society is doing a really great job of contradicting itself, isn't it?

In one corner, makeup can bring out the truly beautiful woman within, and in the other corner, you should feel comfortable and beautiful without it.

What's a girl supposed to do?

I'll tell you what you're supposed to do: whatever the hell you want.

No matter what you do in your life, someone is always going to have something critical to say. You can never please everyone, so why even try?

You should only worry about pleasing yourself. If you're not happy, then you're doing something wrong.

I don't understand how putting on makeup to feel more confident about yourself is such a bad thing.

I also don't understand how it's any different from other activities we do so often, like working out at the gym, getting a stylish hair cut or buying a new outfit.

These things help us to feel more confident, and they're also fun to do. What's the harm?

If every time you went to work out at the gym to improve your health, does that make you fake because you weren't originally that fit?

All of these things help us to feel our best, and wearing makeup is no different.

If putting on some eyeliner and experimenting with different colors of eye shadow every day helps you feel your best and have fun at the same time, then wear it.

If you absolutely loathe putting on makeup, then don't bother with it at all.

Not wearing makeup should not determine your beauty or womanhood.

Your own happiness is so important, and you shouldn't sacrifice it because of someone else's opinion.

As young Millennials, we have so much to worry about with school, money, relationships and every other aspect that goes into transitioning to adulthood.

Your self-confidence shouldn't be a factor on this long list of worries.

It's truly a battlefield out there with all of the different standards of "beauty" that society throws at us.

You can ask 100 different people and get 100 different answers about what they think is beautiful.

Do what makes you feel beautiful, not anyone else.

Your happiness matters the most.