By: Abrena Rowe ~Opinions and Editorials Editor~
Friendly reminder: You are under no obligation to look pretty. If you personally feel the need to dress to the nines everywhere you go, that’s completely fine. The moment you start dressing for other people because you feel like you are obligated to do so, that’s when issues arise.
Typically, our society expects women to dress to impress. We are expected to look flawless during every moment of the day. The pressures that come with this mindset can associate a woman’s self-worth with her appearance and how others react to her look.
I’m not going to lie, sometimes I get so caught up in my own appearance and how others will perceive me, I forget the only person I need to impress is myself. I will change and overanalyze every part of my outfit and makeup, always thinking about how others will think of me.
Is this dress too short? Is this top too revealing, or is it not revealing enough? If I wear these shoes will I be judged? I shouldn’t wear eyeliner, it’s only 8 a.m. or should I? All of these questions come to mind whilst getting ready for the day until the last moment when I decide to ignore the expectations and put on something that I feel comfortable wearing.
Seemingly every other entertainment article is about a woman’s appearance. Just last week Alicia Keys was criticized, as well as praised, for appearing on the VMA stage without wearing makeup. Since the award show she has been interviewed, harassed on Twitter and has had several articles written about the “revolutionary” step she’s taking. People have interpreted her sans makeup appearance as a stand against makeup, which she later denied.
Keys explains that the purpose of her being makeup free didn’t mean she was anti-makeup.
“Y’all, me choosing to be makeup free doesn’t mean I’m anti-makeup. Do you!” Keys tweeted out the day after the VMAs. She is taking a stance on being comfortable. She feels more comfortable without makeup and prefers to show off a simple look. In an interview on the Today Show this past week she stated that she feels empowered when she is without makeup.
In May, Keys wrote an essay where she stated she doesn’t want to feel forced to wear makeup anymore. She stated that she felt society puts limitations on women and expected them to present themselves in a certain way in order to be accepted.
“It would be so amazing to just embrace each other how we are…I think the most important thing is you do what feels good for you,” Keys said.
There are parts of Keys’ argument I agree with and areas where I think it could be misinterpreted. The media has been showering Keys with praises for being “brave” and “revolutionary.” In a sense this could be true, but it can take away from the women that feel secure and comfortable with makeup on.
Keys had stated in an interview that she isn’t against makeup, she just doesn’t want to feel forced to wear it. She’s not trying to shame anyone who does wear makeup, but the way media sites are reacting to her choice seem as if Keys doesn’t support makeup wearers anymore. Thus, she has had to make several statements clarifying her position.
The part of this movement that people seem to overlook is that women have the right to dress and look however makes them comfortable. To say that Keys is “brave” for making national public appearances silently implies that women who choose to wear makeup at the same events are afraid or scared.
We live in a society where wearing too much makeup causes criticism. While not wearing makeup also causes criticism. Women who enjoy buying and experimenting with makeup are seen as superficial beings. Women who choose not to buy or wear makeup are considered ugly, tired-looking or lazy. Why can’t we sport the look that, to us, highlights the best version of ourselves?
As women there is an overwhelming number of opinions on what we should and shouldn’t do with our bodies. There are expectations that every woman should live up to in order to be accepted in today’s society.
Pretty is not the rent we pay to exist in this world as women. If you want to go out without any makeup or wear every product you own at once, go for it. At the end of the day as long as you’re comfortable with the way you looked, that’s what matters.