And according to the BBC documentary series, The Human Face, there may be a physiological reasoning behind our fixation with eye-liner, lipstick and blush. The short answer is sex. The longer answer is that makeup makes us look younger and healthier, which project the signs of fertility. Things like the darkening of the upper eyelids (also known as smoky eyes) helps to give the appearance of bedroom eyes – or emulates the time right before you orgasm. Lips tinted with lipstick and gloss, specifically bright colors, helps to emulate the fullness and flush tone of our…ahem vulva during arousal.
It may all seem like junk science but in the book Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (which is a fantastic read by the way), a major reason why John F. Kennedy was able to beat Richard Nixon for the presidency came down to the outcome of one single televised debate. Of the 70 million Americans who watched the debate on TV, the majority thought that Kennedy won whereas the smaller number of folks who listened via radio thought that Nixon had won. Even though both groups heard the same words, it was the appearance of the candidates, which appeared to sway public opinion. Whereas Kennedy, who wore makeup for the debate, looked healthy and youthful, Nixon, who refused makeup (citing that makeup was for “fags”), came off looking sickly.
In one study from Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Psychiatry and Procter and Gamble, women with makeup were not only perceived as more attractive but also more competent, likable and trustworthy compared those not wearing any makeup at all. But how much of that is based on actually perception of beauty than it is on what we have been conditioned to believe is beauty? Like, if all we ever see in these mediums are women – and some men – with overly-beated faces, isn’t it only natural that we begin to believe that’s what makes a person look good?
I’m not opposed to makeup – just bad make up. Like if you look like two different people with and without makeup – or if your face is brown skinned and your neck and arms are dark skinned – I consider that bad make up. And if you are among the 1 in 3 women who feel like you can’t run into the store without having some MAC tinted lip glass than you perhaps makeup ain’t what you need most. It is true that image matters but beauty does still remain in the eye of the beholder. And to believe that the natural face you were born with is not good enough to be considered beautiful is just flat out ridiculous – at least that’s what I tell myself.
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