by Courtney C Horne @FireezDragon
For a long time, I wasn’t a big makeup wearer. I have never been really concerned with meeting some societal expectation about what women are supposed to do. I consider myself a feminist and am not real hung up on gender norms in general. In fact, my coming to makeup moment had a lot more to do with watching men in makeup on Rupaul’s Drag Race than it did with other women.
Once I got interested in it, I found a group of like minded women to talk makeup with. And despite what many people would claim, our group of makeup enthusiasts aren’t focused on meeting some male gaze standard. It is rather a group of strong ladies who happen to really enjoy painting their faces (and nails.. and sometimes hair).
In fact, I think a great deal of makeup is not really for men. Some of it is for yourself. And some of it is to share with other women. When a woman takes a picture of her makeup and shares it online, it becomes abundantly clear that it is for other women to look at. No one is painting elaborate nail art to impress a guy they are flirting with.
Rather when you paint a tiny christmas tree on to your nails, you are doing it for yourself and other women. Makeup offers a unique bonding experience for women. It is an opportunity to connect based on something that is immediately apparent before any words are exchanged. You can tell a complete stranger that you love her nails and it is an instant kinship. Asking another woman what she is wearing on her lips is both a form of bonding and a compliment on the choice.
I think the combination of the artistic expression it offers and that chance to connect with others is what brings me back to makeup counters again and again.