Why Do We Still Shame Other Women For Wearing And Loving Makeup?

Victor Torres

Famed makeup artist, Goar Avetisyan, posted a makeup transformation video on June 2, to mixed reactions.

The video featured the before image of a bare-faced black woman and the after image, which included her with a freshly made up face, straight wig, painted nails, and even a pretty gold necklace.

The transformation was certainly evident, and the smiling woman seemed to feel good about her look.

The video received over 1 million views and thousands of comments. Many responses were positive, but of course, there were a few shamers who had strong opinions about the woman in the video and makeup in general.

One Facebook user shared the video with the following commentary:

His comment was originally written in French and Facebook automatically translated it into English, for full disclosure.

The "Take Her Swimming" Joke About Women Who Wear Makeup Isn't New, But It Is Sexist

As shown by these tweets, both women and men have found humor in shaming women who choose to wear makeup.

The sexism lies in the fact that this "first date" suggestion to guys assumes that women wear makeup solely to attract and deceive the male gaze.

Women Have Many Reasons For Wearing Makeup

Most do it for themselves.

Playing with makeup is a hobby for a lot of women that allows them to be creative by experimenting with new color match-ups and learning new application techniques.

This is evidenced by the surge in YouTube makeup tutorial vloggers and their devout followers.

One YouTube vlogger, Tiffy, spoke about how annoying it is when people question her about why she loves to dress up and paint her face.

She said in a video,

Even if I'm at home and it's like 12 o'clock at night and sometimes, I just want to put makeup on for fun. For fun! It's not to impress anybody. You don't have to impress anybody. People don't put on makeup and fix themselves to impress somebody. Sometimes, maybe people do. But mainly, it's just to make themselves feel good and just because it's fun. That really kind of annoys me when people think the reason I do that is because you want to impress a guy.

Self-care Is Another Reason Why Some Women Love A Made Up Face

Ferguson protestor and activist, Johnetta Elzie, spoke about people questioning why she wore makeup to some of the protests in an interview with Essence magazine.

Elzie shared,

Everything I liked before, I pretty much still try to take small doses of it daily. I will watch trash TV. I remember, after the tear gas stopped, I started wearing my makeup and stuff and doing my hair again instead of wearing the big curly 'fro. People were like, 'Well, why she wearing makeup to a protest' and it's just like, I wore makeup before August 9th. That's not going to change. My hair was always done. My mom was a beautician all of my life. All my hair, just everything about my hair and my makeup, I do it myself. It's like self care for me. It's how I relax or just calm myself down. It's a really good way for me to think about stuff. I'll just watch TV and do my hair or watch a movie, or watch a documentary, or go to a friend's house and talk to do my hair. It's really therapeutic for me.

Men And Their Choices Do Not Get Judged So Harshly

It is no coincidence that anything considered to be a "feminine" interest  (i.e. being into fashion, wearing nails, hair extensions, and etc...) is criticized in this way.

The negative reactions send the message that if you love any of these things, you are materialistic and shallow.

People who post their opinions about women not "being real" if they wear makeup or have other "fake" add-ons seem to think a bare face automatically translates into better character.

But guys don't get called shallow for being sports fanatics or avid gamers or sneaker heads.

No one calls them fake for sitting in a barber's chair to get their hair lined up perfectly. That would be stupid because his new edge up doesn't mean he isn't the same person inside. Right?

And Then There Are The Women Who Brag About Not Being Into Makeup...

Yeah, that crew. They are the real life version of the "#NoFilter" hashtag who you want to reply "no one cares" to. But you can't, because people sadly do.

Being committed to the "natural look" is not wrong; it's a personal decision. No one should pressure women who don't wear makeup to try it so that they can be more beautiful.

At the same time, women who boast their natural look as a badge of honor that somehow sets them apart from (and above) women who love gloss and highlighters are only encouraging the shame that those women are subjected to.

The purpose is to flaunt some sort of freedom from insecurities, which is an incorrect assumption about women who wear makeup anyway.

And if a woman does wear makeup because she's insecure, then shaming her online does nothing to boost her self-esteem.

The Only Thing That Matters About Your Makeup Decision Is That It's Your Decision


A woman should not step out of a routine or practice she loves just because other people will assume she cares more about what they think than making herself feel good.

Let's step away from our assumptions about women, stop telling them what to do, and start telling them to just live their freaking lives.

And oh, if you do want to take a girl to the pool for the first date to try and catch her slipping — she's probably gonna kill it in and outside of the water.

Get over it.