Once a friend of mine told me she wanted to know how to do makeup so that she can get dressed up for special occasions. A guy who was with us proceeded to shut that idea down by saying she did not need make up to feel beautiful and special. Granted that may be true but here I am, full face is beat, and I feel somewhat ostricised. As if because I am wearing makeup, I have not accepted myself as beautiful. Sidenote: can we just reject the narrative that women who wear makeup have low self esteem and haven’t embraced themselves. it’s tired and not true. And if you truly cared about her self-esteem you should probably focus on making her feel seen regardless of what she looks like.
Okay so let’s follow this logic that wearing no makeup is better. So I wipe all my makeup off and how does the internet react?? In senseless shock that you look different without makeup. The internet used to tear women apart who showed their bare face before applying makeup. Saying that they were lying to men and weren’t being honest. This is an absolute insult to the natural condition of a women’s face that she has no control over. So you don’t like makeup but can’t handle, acne, hyper pigmentation, birthmarks, and sparse brows. I remember when Alicia Keys decided to not wear makeup anymore, and it had me heated. Because yes she was embracing herself but all it did was glorify clear skin. I’m not mad at Alicia but it created an unrealistic standard for how other people see women.
At some point I wasn't sure it I felt beautiful and just wanted the world to acknowledge it or if I didn’t and wanted the world to validate my concerns by showing me more women who looked like me. But here’s one thing I know. The world will have you going back and forth all day every day. And I cannot look to them to define who I am. They did not create me. God did.
When I was in elementary school, we went to the museum. They had a Norman Rockwell exhibit and I was sooooo excited because I had a book of his work in my home library and we were studying him that semester. So to see his work in person was so amazing. Fast forward to college. I went to the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. There was an exhibit that had videos playing of people’s bare skin with flies landing on them. And the room was just filled with the sound of them buzzing. It literally made no sense to me and kinda creeped me out, but I never questioned the worthiness of it. It was still fit to be displayed because it was someone’s work of art. Although we may not understand it, it’s still art. We were made by an intentional creator. He fashioned us in so many different and unique ways. We are beautiful because we were made. The simple fact the God decided to make us, is beauty in and of itself. You may not understand why you were born with acne prone skin, or why you can’t gain weight to save your life. But know that regardless, we were made with purpose. And that is to use everything we are to glorify God. Our uniqueness shows all the facets of who God is. Embracing who we are, glorifies are creator. We are God’s work of art.
I believe that beauty is existing. And existing knowing that everything you are is good. The second we put constraints and physical parameters around how we see beauty it excludes or shames someone. It isn’t how clear your skin is, or what size you are. it’s the fact the we are, and who we are is good and perfect. So how do you know you’re beautiful?