Face Making

Artist Gwenn Seemel’s bilingual blog about art, portraiture, free culture, and feminism.

Why people wear makeup / Pourquoi on se maquille

2017 . 01 . 18 - Comments / Commentaires (28)

I put some on so I could figure it out.

J’en ai mis pour essayer de comprendre.


When I came home to my partner wearing makeup, his response was to make a face and then sniff me before saying “you smell weird.” When I showed a photo to my mother (who wears makeup), she replied “it’s pretty, but it’s not my daughter.” I love my people.


Quand je suis rentrée et mon amour m’a vu toute maquillée, sa réponse a été de faire une grimace, puis de me renifler avant de dire “tu sens bizarre.” Quand j’ai montré une photo à ma mère (qui, elle, se maquille), elle a répondu “c’est joli, mais ce n’est pas ma fille.” J’adore mes proches.



Gwenn Seemel

photo by Julie / photo par Julie

Big shout-out to my friend Julie who helped make this happen! I had originally asked her to put make up on me while I filmed the process, but she wasn’t sure about her skills. In order to get some ideas, she took me to be made up by a pro—someone very kind and thoughtful. Two very itchy eyeballs and multiple pimples later, I decided that the footage I recorded when I got home from being made over by the pro was all I needed for the video. I hate to say “never” so I won’t, but it’s very unlikely that I will be wearing makeup ever again.

Un grand merci à mon amie Julie qui m’a aidé! Pour commencer je l’avais demandé de me maquiller pendant que je filme le processus, mais elle n’était pas sûre de ses compétences. Pour se donner des idées, elle m’a ammené chez une pro—quelqu’un de très gentil. Avec deux yeux qui me démangent et plusieurs nouveau boutons, j’ai décidé que ce que j’ai filmé en rentrant de chez la pro me suffirait pour ma vidéo. Je déteste dire “jamais,” donc je ne vais pas le dire, mais il est très peu probable que je me maquillerais à nouveau.



Gwenn Seemel

I got a makeover for a lot of reasons, but at least part of my motivation is doing research for my upcoming series about all they ways we hide from each other.

Je me suis maquillée pour tout un tas de raisons, mais une partie de ma motivation était pour faire des recherches pour ma série sur toutes les façons dont nous nous cachons les uns des autres.


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(28) Comments / Commentaires: Why people wear makeup / Pourquoi on se maquille

-- Louise -- 2017 . 01 . 18 --

Mes soeurs et moi, ne portons jamais de maquillage. Ça vient peut-être de l’éducation puisque notre mère ne portait que du rouge à lèvre pour aller à la messe le dimanche.

Au début de ma vingtaine, j’ai lu sur le maquillage pour apprendre comment m’y prendre, mais j’ai finalement décidé de ne pas me lancer là-dedans. Je ne l’ai jamais regretté surtout lorsque j’ai appris avec quoi sont fait la plupart de ces produits et leur impact négatif sur la santé.

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-- Libby Fife -- 2017 . 01 . 18 --

Gwenn,

I think you hit on a lot of the reasons why women (and men) where make up.

When I was younger I wore a fair amount. That is just what women did. And I worked with the public so it was part of the picture along with skirts, pantyhose and jewelry. As I got older, my skin changed of course. I stopped wearing a lot of makeup because who wants to look at that stuff sitting in the creases of your skin? It made me look older, not younger. Now, I wear cover up only with powder. I have psoriasis on my face. It can look angry at times and so the makeup helps me to feel better about things. Not to pretend that I don’t have psoriasis (who would I be kidding?) but to smooth out the colors.

My ideal world would be one where women and men wore make up (or not) confidently and were sure and firm in their self identity, doing things freely because they chose to not because it was expected. It would be nice if young women and men knew that they had a choice. When pigs fly I guess or when dinosaurs once again roam the land!

Libby

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-- Linda Ursin -- 2017 . 01 . 18 --

The only times I ever wear makeup is when I need a pick-me-up or just feel like it.

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-- Gwenn -- 2017 . 01 . 18 --

@Louise: C’est chanceux de ne jamais porter de maquillage—du moins, pour moi, je sens que j’ai eu de la chance. Ma mère se maquille et je ne lui ai jamais demander pourquoi elle ne m’a pas appris. Je vais lui demander… smile

@Libby: I’m sensing that my “pretending” comment in the video may have bothered you. If it did, for what it’s worth, I think that concealing is not always about being attractive to others (and therefore pretending). I think it can also come from wanting to be attractive to oneself. Or it’s about not allowing something that makes you look different from others to become the focus.

The act of covering (whatever form it takes) always has multiple layers that can include concealment and/or deception, but also safety, controlling the narrative about oneself, and blending in. It’s all valid, even deception…or, as you said, the attempt at deception when it comes to makeup because often the concealer doesn’t actually conceal. But that’s a topic for another day, the social convention of pretending for each other that we don’t notice the other person’s blemishes. We’re really very sweet to each other a lot of the time!

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-- Gwenn -- 2017 . 01 . 18 --

@Linda: Do you know what makes you feel like it? Or why it picks you up? Anyone who thinks that makeup is only skin deep—that it doesn’t impact up in profound ways—isn’t paying attention!

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-- Libby Fife -- 2017 . 01 . 18 --

Gwenn,

I wasn’t bothered at all, honestly! It’s good to know how others view things.

I think you hit on exactly the right thing: the desire to fit in and not have something odd or different about yourself be the focus. And I should have been more clear in just trying to convey my makeup experience! I think there is about a 10 year age gap between us and I wondered if that had something to do with viewing things. In any case, it’s all a good discussion I think.

You have a series coming up don’t you dealing with this topic? It will provide a good opportunity to consider things I hope. Looking forward to it:)
Libby

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-- Gwenn -- 2017 . 01 . 18 --

@Libby: I do! It opens in June and it’s part of the reason why I did the makeup experiment, since makeup is one of the more prevalent forms of covering that we do in the US. (Also, I’m glad I didn’t bother you. I know this is a sensitive subject and I want to acknowledge the multiple facets of the makeup experience…even if it doesn’t all fit into one video!)

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-- Heather -- 2017 . 01 . 18 --

My recent experience has been quite the opposite. I started wearing make up at age 13. I did it because 1) I liked how it enhanced my eyes and 2) my friends were doing it.

For the past 10 years or more, most of my friends and acquaintances don’t wear make-up or use very little. I feel odd wearing it, so recently have started using less. But I feel better about myself when I look better, and I think I look better with it on. I feel pressure not to wear it even though I want to for my own self confidence.

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-- amylee -- 2017 . 01 . 18 --

Super sujet et ça me parle!! smile
Le maquillage, j’y suis contrainte car étant très cernée (de naissance et pas de fatigue), j’en avais assez qu’on me dise :“Oooh tu es cernée, tu es fatiguée?” en soirée ou entre amis. J’ai essayé de ne plus me maquiller mais les remarques sont trop fréquentes, incessantes sur les cernes. Ça use à force!

Quand j’étais gamine, les instituteurs demandaient à ma mère si je dormais suffisamment car j’arrivais le matin avec de gros cernes (alors que j’étais et que je suis toujours une grosse dormeuse).

Alors du coup, dès que j’ai pu me maquiller, j’ai été libérééééeee, délivréééée et surtout je n’avais plus besoin d’expliquer, de me justifier pourquoi j’étais cernée et non fatiguée.

Sauf qu’avec l’âge le maquillage n’est plus assez efficace car la peau s’affine et les cernes marquent encore plus, alors maintenant je porte des lunettes (des fakes) pour cacher mes cernes.

Etre cernée (surtout de naissance) c’est comme avoir un grand nez ou de grandes oreilles, ça complexe terriblement sauf qu’avec le nez ou les oreilles, les gens s’abstiennent de faire la remarque. Les cernes, on y a droit à chaque fois!

Et là, je m’adresse à l’internaute de passage qui lira mon commentaire afin de lui faire prendre conscience d’une chose.
Ami/e internaute, pense à ne plus faire de remarques (comme d’habitude) à une personne qui a les yeux cernés car si ça se trouve cette personne est née ainsi,
et si ça se trouve ces cernes sont un très gros complexe,
et si ça se trouve après ta remarque cette personne aura envie de pleurer ces fichus cernes qui lui pourrissent la vie!

Merci Gwenn pour ton sujet, je suis ravie d’avoir pu parler de mon maquillage ou de mes lunettes et surtout de leur utilité principale (médicinale) dans mon cas. smile

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-- trudy -- 2017 . 01 . 18 --

so far ( i guess i could be persuaded otherwise), it doesn’t make sense to me to equate the hijab with “make up.”  i.e., to see it in relation to your comments about make up—as an adornment, or a way to feel more attractive, or as a way to fit in, or as simple coercion by society.  I think the hijab is likely none of those things. 

As someone who wears only lip balm and head covering only for the weather, I can’t pretend to know what the benefits are of a more obligatory impulse, but it seems to me that when something feels connected to one’s spirituality or to their culture, it is a different thing than what make up is.

We don’t tend to question that wearing pants, a skirt, or a shirt is more or less “obligatory” when we are in public.  But for some reason, we westerners seem to see the hijab not as a similar article of modesty as are the other things I named above.  Every culture is different on what they think constitutes appropriate cover.  To single out the hijab confuses me.

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-- Gwenn -- 2017 . 01 . 18 --

@Heather: It sounds like you’re struggling between being attractive for yourself (wearing lots of makeup) and being attractive for others (wearing less). It’s a hard thing, navigating social pressures, for sure! I’m curious: do you know what it is in particular that you like about wearing makeup? What is it about the way it makes your eyes look, for example?

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-- Linda Ursin -- 2017 . 01 . 18 --

@gwenn What makes me need a pick-me-up is usually a pain flare-up causing fatigue. I only ever put it on for myself, never for others or to hide.

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-- Gwenn -- 2017 . 01 . 18 --

@Amylee: Pour moi c’est un peu la même chose, cernée de naissance et non pas par fatigue. On me fait moins la remarque aujourd’hui mais ça m’arrive toujours. Avant quand on me demandé si j’avais assez dormis, je répondais: “pourquoi vous me demandé cela? Vous trouvez que je ressemble à une merde?” (“Look like shit” en anglais, c’est pas tout à fait le même sens.) J’essayais de choquer et ça marchait!

En plus, moi j’ai des petits boutons (pas rouges, mais visibles quand même) sous mes yeux. Quand j’étais au lycée j’ai rencontré quelqu’un d’autre qui en avait, et j’ai dit “on est comme des sœurs!” L’autre fille n’était pas contente et j’ai compris que je ne devais pas aimer ces boutons. Puis, l’année dernière, au cours d’un vernissage, on m’a dit que je faisais des petits boutons sur mes tableaux comme sous mes yeux. J’étais choqué par le commentaire, mais je me suis rendue compte que c’était non seulement vrai mais que j’avais toujours trouvé bien ma peau même si la fille au lycée n’aimait pas. smile

Tout ça pour te dire merci de raconter ton histoire et partager avec nous, mon amie! C’est compliqué tout ça et ça fait du bien d’en parler! <3

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-- Gwenn -- 2017 . 01 . 18 --

@Trudy: I don’t say that the reasons I cite for the headscarf are the only reasons, and I think it’s strange to say that they are likely not actual reasons for the headscarf. After all our motivations for anything we do are always complex! And I know for a fact that the reasons I cite are true for at least some women who wear the headscarf.

In the end, I brought up the headscarf as a way to challenge my western non-muslim viewers (who make up the majority of my audience). Makeup seems so normal to this audience and when I compare it to the headscarf I’m trying to shift two paradigms:
1) the “makeup is always only self-expression never oppression” paradigm
2) the “headscarf is always about oppression or terrorism” paradigm

Both these worldviews are simplistic. They hurt non-muslims and muslims. Seeing similarities—even when it’s difficult—is what will ultimately make things better for all of us!

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-- Heather -- 2017 . 01 . 18 --

@Gwenn, I only wear eye make up. I like it because it makes my eyes look bigger, brighter and enhances the limbal ring of the iris when I wear eyeliner. I feel like it makes me look more “put together” and awake. In some photos of me, where I’m not wearing make-up, I thought I looked older and washed out because my eyelashes aren’t very thick. If I had nice, thick, dark lashes, I would probably not wear it so often if at all.

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-- Gwenn -- 2017 . 01 . 18 --

@Linda: Maybe I’m digging too much, and I understand if you’d rather ignore the question, but I’m wondering what it is about the makeup that picks you up when you’re having a flare-up? When I have pain I eat chocolate and read or I try to go for a walk. I often cancel social engagements. I don’t think it’s because I don’t want to be seen when I feel low, more that I don’t have the energy to interact. But, as I’m typing this, I’m thinking it maybe is about being seen also. So maybe I do understand: the makeup covers up the tiredness somehow and makes it okay to be seen? Thanks for sharing!

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-- Gwenn -- 2017 . 01 . 18 --

@Heather: Thank you for answering more! It helps me understand.

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-- Linda Ursin -- 2017 . 01 . 18 --

@Gwenn I don’t mind you digging smile It’s doing something different, something a bit special when I feel like crap. I usually use other means of picking myself up, like I had a vanilla cream bun today, and especially being creative makes a world of difference. Maybe that’s where it is. Being creative with my appearance.

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-- Amylee -- 2017 . 01 . 19 --

J’adore ta réplique qui tue!! J’ai ri d’ailleurs en la lisant! Je vais la garder de côté pour une prochaine fois.
Au moins dans notre métier et surtout à l’atelier on peut laisser tomber les conventions (maquillage, coiffure et dressing code) mais pour les vernissages, je ressors le camouflage heeeuuu pardon, je voulais dire le maquillage hihi wink

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-- Asta -- 2017 . 01 . 19 --

Gwenn I love this so much. About five years ago, I think it was when I turned 50, I decided to stop wearing makeup.(Now I pretty much just wear red lippy if I want to have fun with my face!) I was doing a simply living challenge that I created for myself, and this was part of it. It took so much courage to stop wearing eyeliner especially. I can still remember going to the little shop down the road, all insecure. Like a teenager. Everyone was surely going to notice! (NOT!)  BUT years before… like 8 or more.. I had chopped off my long hair - shaved it- and allowed it to be completely grey. That was my first step in being brave about accepting my natural looks. I couldn’t hide behind my hair anymore… I had to be bold. AND I loved it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I felt empowered. The same thing happened when I stopped wearing eyeliner. The sky did not fall in. In fact I had women commenting (I worked in the library at the time) that they wish they could be so brave. How crazy is that???!!! We have to be brave not to wear it. And yes, they did eventually notice.But it wasn’t like they were pointing fingers at me and putting me down. I was probably challenging them in some way. The latest thing I have done is grow my eyebrows back! It has taken months to get the bushy look back, after plucking since I was a teen. I like it! Just the other day at church, a lovely Indian lady - who plucks her friend’s eyebrows said… “Asta come to me. I will make your eyebrows beautiful.” I think she was very perplexed when I replied that it took me a long time to get them this way - so no way! Hahahahaha. Thank you for this. Much to ponder on. I love this conversation. Asta x Ps my daughter is 20 on Monday. She has encouraged me to grow my eyebrows (and my hair!) and she rarely wears make up. So proud of her!! Especially as she works in hospitality. For your info.. she is also learning French at uni!

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-- Gwenn -- 2017 . 01 . 20 --

@Asta: I love your stories of bravery! And I know that’s exactly what it is, because, in a different way, I had to be brave to put makeup on—and specifically to do it in public. After I had it done, my friend and I stopped at the grocery store on the way home, and I had the same feeling as you going to the shop. Insecure! It seems silly maybe since I was doing the more conforming thing by putting makeup on, but the bravery was necessary to make the change and to do something that was less “me” or less “old me” to see if it was new “me.”

I’m noticing a pattern in the comments I’m receiving for this post, both here and on various social media platforms. The women who love makeup as a form of self-expression feel like I’m being very critical of their choice or like I am overthinking things or even like I am butting in where I don’t belong (since I don’t wear makeup). The thing I failed to communicate with the video is that makeup impacts all of us—including men—even if we choose not to wear it. And I think that makes it important to talk about. But then, as I’ve been told so many times, I do like to think too much. smile

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-- Jenny -- 2017 . 01 . 30 --

Il y a quelques temps, tu avais déjà abordé cette question, et je me souviens avoir laissé un commentaire. J’avais déjà eu des réflexions comme quoi je ne prenais pas soin de moi parce que je ne me maquillais pas!!! Depuis que j’ai eu l’age de le faire, je n’ai pas été attiré par ça. C’est presque comme porter un masque sur la peau.
Je me souviens d’un animé où une femme offre à une plus jeune un coffret de maquillage alors qu’elle va entrer dans des fonctions plutôt masculines et elle lui dit que ce sont les armes de guerre des femmes. Et j’avoue qu’il m’arrive occasionnellement d’en porter comme des peintures de guerre quand j’en ai besoin.

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-- Gwenn -- 2017 . 01 . 30 --

@Jenny: Armes de guerre de femmes. Yes. smile

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-- Emma -- 2017 . 02 . 24 --

Huh. Growing up I was never taught how to wear makeup—there was nobody who could fill that role for me. I was always fascinated by it and wanted to experiment with it but I was shamed by the girls at school for my attempts (YouTube would have been a godsend back then!). But I eventually got up the courage to go to the Mac counter and get some lessons. I still feel shy about doing experimental things and it’s so expensive that I haven’t gotten really into it, but I don’t have any negative associations with it.

I don’t usually wear any makeup besides a bit of lipstick because it is too much trouble to put it on and take it off every day, but I do enjoy wearing it when I dress up. To me it’s just part of “dressing up”. It’s a way to mark that something is special, like a special date or occasion. I think of it like people dressing up to go to church because they hold it as sacred, or having ritual clothing, or any other way we mark special occassions or sacred things. It’s a form of celebration.

I think of concealer the same as say, repainting a wall that has some kind of blemish on it, because you want it to look more beautiful. Obviously you can’t permanently paint your face, but the pursuit of beauty isn’t inherently negative or inauthentic. If you paint your wall a new color, you aren’t pretending it was not the old color, you are just enjoying the new color more. I enjoy my face more when it’s clear of blemishes. I enjoy other people’s faces more too when they are clear of blemishes. But I don’t judge anyone for not wanting to put in the effort to wear it, or for not wanting to clog their pores or whatever the reason is.  I have chosen not to put this heavy thing on it and just see it as any other thing we use to beautify the world around us because we enjoy it.

As a metaphor, my house would be more beautiful if I invested moe effort in housework but I don’t feel like it. But still when I have someone coming over I clean up a bit more so we can both enjoy it, and as a way of honoring my guests—hospitality. It’s not that I’m not aware of social judgements, but I try to take things like makeup and all of these ideas about how we are “supposed” to be and neutralize them in my head so I can choose what to do or not do based on what makes me happy and then I don’t worry about it.

I don’t think of “forced” as a feeling. Maybe it’s a feeling of powerlessness in the face of judgement?

I choose not to care about other people’s judgements one way or the other so I don’t feel powerless in the face of social judgement. It’s my face, I can enjoy makeup if I want to or not if I don’t want to. I know that may sound flippant but it was a lot of work to undo the automatic link between perceiving social judgements and losing touch with my sense of choice. But it is possible to reclaim our power to choose what is right for ourselves without feeling any inner noise about it.

At the same time I recognize that I have the privilege of being self-employed and don’t experience any workplace expectations. I think the solution for that is a Universal Basic Income so nobody has to submit to oppression to eat. Because coercion is present in many forms in many types of jobs and the only way I think to break it is to separate survival from work so we had true choice about work. But that’s kind of a separate topic. grin

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-- Gwenn -- 2017 . 02 . 25 --

@Emma: I like the wall-painting analogy—the idea that you’re not pretending that the wall wasn’t the other color. Because it’s true. Where makeup is concerned, it’s not like the concealer atually conceals. In a sense, it’s a social nicety that we all perform for each other. It’s like we’re saying to the person wearing concealer: I acknowledge that you put concealer on because you want to be perceived a certain way, so I will treat you that way. It’s really very sweet.

That said, the idea that blemishes are automatically a turn-off is problematic. When something looks painful, like a particularly angry pimple, I can understand why a blemish might make the person seeing it uncomfortable—because they feel the pain of the person with the pimple. But when it’s a bruise, covering it up is a little different. It’s still something painful, but if someone covers it up it might bring up questions.

Similarly, some things that are considered blemishes are not at all painful, unless we’re talking about the social pain of being judged for having rosacea or a prominent birthmark. But if we didn’t think of it as embarrassing socially, then it wouldn’t be painful at all! I just think we need to take a good hard look at what we think of as “blemishes” and why we think we enjoy faces more when they are blemish-free or painted over.

In the end, one of the points I was trying to make with this video is that makeup is not superficial. On social media, I got a number of responses telling me I was overthinking things. To me, that’s the only wrong answer in a discussion about makeup! Because makeup is meaningful and, when people deny that power, they are missing out on understanding their own values as well as the values of society as a whole.

And yes, a universal basic income is a discussion for a different day, but a fascinating one nevertheless! The documentary Can We Do It Ourselves? attacks the problem of income inequality from a different direction, but I think you might find it interesting! smile

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-- Emma -- 2017 . 02 . 25 --

@Gwenn I’m all for thinking and deep awareness. At the same time, I think you may have some unconscious bias here you are not recognizing.

Humans prefer smooth, clean, orderly aesthetic environments. A clear face is no different. I don’t think it’s a “problem” to prefer for example ironed clothing to wrinkled ones, or a clean rug to one covered in cat hair. There is no pain or discomfort that is being avoided by vacuuming my rug. I just like it to look clean. I prefer it. I don’t always take the effort but that doesn’t change my preference. I prefer a carefully cultivated garden to an empty lot full of weeds. Most people do.

I disagree that concealer does not actually change appearance and we only pretend it does. People do look different with makeup on—that is why we wear it. The fact that it’s never absolutely perfectly concealing doesn’t mean it doesn’t change appearance and change how we are perceived not by a someone deciding to play along but because we really do respond differently to clear, smooth, clean things than to cluttered, blemished, lumpy ones. It’s just part of the human brain’s aesthetic. It’s why Apple phones sell so well. Humans like orderliness. In fact I would say we need it and it reduces mental overwhelm.

When you make art, that is process. When you put it in a frame and hang it in a carefully designed gallery that is clear of any clutter so the artwork stands out, that is packaging. They both matter. Process is authenticity, spirit, truth, connection. Packaging is the way we honor that truth and make its beauty more accessible. They both matter. If you have only one or the other then its not balanced.

There is of course beauty in undisturbed wildness. But as humans we have been modifying our environment and cultivating our aesthetic experience for as long as we’ve been sentient. There is a way to do it that is harmful (deforestation) and ways to do it that honors and enhances nature. I think you are only focusing on the negative and in a way being blind to there being any positive possibilities.

I see makeup as a tool. Like a gardeners tools make a beautiful garden. It doesn’t have any inherent meaning to me.

I think the meaning you are bringing to it is preventing you from truly understanding the meaning it holds for others. For example you wrote, “I just think we need to take a good hard look at what we think of as “blemishes” and why we think we enjoy faces more when they are blemish-free or painted over..” You reframed what I said as I only “think” I prefer it—and implied that it was an unexamined preference. Do you see how you are subtly dismissing my perspective and elevating your own?

I want you to just take in that I have a preference - a preference as neutral as preferring chocolate over vanilla. I realize that there are all these social issues attached to the way we construct femininity and I am not blind to them. But that doesn’t erase the validity of my preference or the fact that having a preference does not have to be in and of itself oppressive. I don’t love myself any less when I have a breakout. But I do enjoy my face more when it is clear. Those can both be true.

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-- Gwenn -- 2017 . 02 . 25 --

@Emma: You’re right that we disagree, and pretty fundamentally too. I think it’s more interesting to figure out why we have biases (e.g. because looking at pain can make a person feel pain), rather than to cite “unconscious biases” as fact. Not all humans automatically prefer orderliness or smoothness. Sometimes beauty is about recognizing that we are ephemeral. Sometimes something that’s dying or dead—or covered in pimples—is beautiful!

We can also agree to agree! smile Because I think it’s also true that context—packaging, as you put it—is part of the content. I wrote a book about how marketing art is essentially about being aware of the context of your art.

So we agree that makeup matters and that it can be a positive thing!

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-- Emma -- 2017 . 02 . 25 --

@Gwenn I didn’t say everyone has the same preferences. I said you can see the preference for orderliness across all kinds of contexts, which points to an underlying aesthetic preference in humanity. There are always individual variations. But aesthetics comes from the brain and it doesn’t take much analysis to see humans over and over again prefer orderliness to chaos. We have certain built-in preferences and then a lot of individual variation. This is neuroaesthetics.

But even if we didn’t have built-in preferences, that doesn’t change my point which was that preferences are not inherently oppressive. I assume you do not believe that someone finding pimples beautiful is oppressive. I am asserting that finding them not beautiful is also not oppressive in and of itself. It seems to me that you are suggesting it is. It seems to me your basic argument is that this preference is oppressive so we should “take a hard look at it”, presumably to no longer have it. Is that not your argument?

I’m trying to separate the preference for beauty (whatever it is you think is beautiful) from the action of oppressing or judging someone who you do not find beautiful. I think these are different things and one can exist without the other. I can appreciate the beauty of a person without oppressing someone I find less beautiful. I can make myself more beautiful (in my eyes) without judging how I look on other days. I can enjoy my preferences without devaluing that which does not match my preference. Finding something beautiful is not the same as finding something valuable. I value all humans. I don’t find all humans equally beautiful. It’s no different than that I like some foods and not others. I think when we take preferences like this and equate them with oppression that is a form of judgement that has negative consequences in fighting oppression, because it creates backlash from people who do not experience their preferences as anything but preferences.

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