So we had this Fashion Week at the office recently. Each day you had to dress up for work based on a particular theme. Denim Monday, Retro Tuesday, “Back-to-school” Wednesday, Tapori Thursday, and Party Friday. I have never done this before, and I do not believe I will get to do it again, so I grabbed the opportunity. Impulsive, yes I am.
I do admit it was fun…. except for the makeup bit. Applying and removing the makeup each day was such a Herculean task, I wonder how women do it every day!
And yes, I wondered that out loud to my gal pals the week after, without knowing I was saying something bordering on politically incorrect. That comment of mine triggered a series of reactions from them:
“Are you even a girl?”
“What sort of a girl doesn’t like dressing up?”
“You don’t like makeup? Seriously?”
“Manufacturing defect!” *smirk*
This reaction takes the cake:
“You should have been born a guy!”
These people didn’t even give it a thought before uttering those words. The sad part is, this is not considered as insensitivity. I don’t blame them. They are a part of the vast majority that holds tons of presumptions and notions of what a woman should think and act like. And the majority is not always right. At least not in this case. India can be a funny society. Or maybe it’s not just India. It’s the world. A world that teaches its inhabitants that shallowness is cool. A world that judges a woman right from her birth, purely on the basis of her looks. A world that has its media endorsing ways to hide your flaws rather than embrace them. A world that teaches you to be insecure about your looks, and seeks reassurance in chemical concoctions:BB creams for even skin tone, mascara and eyeliner and kohl and eyeshadow and eyelash curlers (phew!) for captivating eyes, bronzer for that glow….
Women are being made to believe that all you need to do to accomplish anything, is to look good.
So a “woman” is equated with that creature who spends time, energy, and money on coating her face with makeup and styling her hair; a “woman” can never be that person who always wears a smile and lets the wind play with her hair.
Why I don’t bother using makeup
It does feel good to look good. I totally agree. It’s just that I’m wired differently. To prefer feeling comfortable over having to spend hours in front of a mirror.
All those remarks you read earlier… I’ve been hearing them all my life. Luckily, I grew more determined to stay this way with each such remark. And I do not regret this decision. I never have, I never will. And this is why:
1. Why would I waste time applying makeup before my day begins, when not doing it allows me extra sleep time? And just imagine how early you can go to bed when you don’t have clumps of mascara to remove? I’ll never sacrifice sleep for something as silly as makeup!
2. I am happy with my messy hair, though I do admit I have had difficulties managing it. But I will never, ever turn it into something that it wasn’t by nature. I’ve had my weak moments when a bunch of people have convinced me to get a different style, and after each such episode, I realised how much more I love my natural tresses rather than the ironed, blow-dried tortured version.
3. I’m perfectly okay with looking unsophisticated if sophistication means wearing ridiculously high heels. I’d rather have happy feet, than sore ones.
4. I love jeans and a t-shirt. Yes. To me, this is the most comfortable clothing a woman can ever wear. Try it. Sarees, salwar kameez, dresses, skirts…. Nope, for me, they can never provide that comfort factor. And I sure don’t get worried about wardrobe malfunction when I wear them. 5. Doing the jazzing up only occasionally, helps you appreciate how much you don’t have to do each day!
If you still have doubts about what a “woman” is, I’ll proceed to enlighten you on what makes you a female: it’s a pair of chromosomes: XX. Yes, See? It’s simple. Not MAC, but XX. I got those, so I’m female. If you got those, you’re female too!
I hope I haven’t burst your bubble.
I’ll conclude with this beautiful quote:
“Consider the fact that maybe…just maybe…beauty and worth aren’t found in a makeup bottle, or a salon-fresh hairstyle, or a fabulous outfit. Maybe our sparkle comes from somewhere deeper inside, somewhere so pure and authentic and REAL, it doesn’t need gloss or polish or glitter to shine.”
― Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass