As it is summer and my work mainly coincides with the school year, I have had an abundance of free time. I know, who admits that? It opens one’s life to a world of questions from more responsible adults. It’s un-American. But alas, this information is necessary to establish back story. So, abundance of time…
Finding myself with plenty of time has allowed for some intense personal growth, and YouTube. If you haven’t perused the stashes of YouTube content created by females recently allow me to summarize the contents for you:
- Young girls posting rather juvenile and amateur videos of themselves singing, dancing, talking, generally being young girls.
- Grandmothers reacting to things. If it’s gained status as a “viral” anything you can bet that someone’s grandmother has been videoed whilst experiencing it for the first time. It’s pretty much a rule.
- Brides! Surprised brides. Angry brides. Brides and their fathers’ first dances.
- Snarky twenty somethings posting their humorous and biting observations about men, women, life, people. And…
- MAKE-UP! That all encompassing hobby for anyone with two X chromosomes.
Seriously. There are probably more videos of women doing their makeup, talking about makeup, having their makeup done and having their boyfriends do their makeup than all of the other female posted videos combined. My YouTube tastes usually are comprised of British television, movie trailers and the viral videos that literally everyone has seen, but remember that thing about more free time than I’m used to? After having countless makeup infused videos as the recommended follow up to my episode of QI I found myself hopelessly lost in a world of estrogen, mascara and concealer.
Somewhere between a terrible place known as XOVain and a detailed run-down one especially perky vlogger’s weekend morning routine I realized that I was drowning. After mindlessly consuming for about two hours I finally came up for air and began to consider all the content I had just shoveled into my head.
On one hand I was so thankful that I had found these wealths of information. I didn’t even know that pre-foundation primer was a thing, or that falsies are a regular, everyday makeup staple now. I couldn’t wait to run downstairs and try out all these brilliant tips! So I did. That lasted for as long as it took me to create a “look”, apply it and admire it.
On the other, more logical, personally genuine hand, I was appalled. I was furious. I was depressed. I wanted to rage against this harmful need to create a mask behind which our true selves hide. I wanted to curse magazines, movies, media in general for their incessant casting of gorgeous women. I wanted to throw away all of the pore-clogging, eye-wrinkle reducing, lip-tinting, blemish hiding cosmetics that I owned. It was time to bust out my bar of Dove and just become one of those hippie chicks who doesn’t bathe or shave.
But more than all of that logical, girl-power stuff, I wanted in.
As a girl growing up in my family, makeup was the least important thing in my world, right below fashionable clothing and boys. I had a big sister who wanted nothing more than to do the cool things my dad could do. I had a big brother who teased and made fun of the makeup wearing girls I knew. I had a mum who was beautiful naturally and didn’t waste her life and those of her kids with an eyeliner pencil and lip stick in her hand.
When I was in middle school my best-friend Sarah taught me nearly everything I know about makeup. I wasn’t a particularly apt or dedicated student and my education ended rather abruptly, directly following the time she plucked my eyebrows. (Why do you do this ladies?!?) So while my friends woke up early and painstakingly made themselves gorgeous I slept in. While they spent time at parties talking about their new cosmetic purchases I sat and listened, sometimes judging, sometimes envying. The time that they spent in looking smashing before going out I usually spent conversing with them or in making them laugh with a sarcastic commentary. After my recent internet beauty binge this new cosmetic information was flooding my system and I was hooked. I was filled with an intense desire to try it all, buy one of everything from Sephora, have my very own Urban Decay Naked palette.
Then I brought all of this up to my boyfriend. I think it was sparked by my desire to share with him the hilarity of men attempting to navigate and use the myriad products from their girlfriends’ overturned Caboodles (It was a thing in the 90’s. Google it.). I talked about the YouTube makeup scene, the thousands of blogs, websites, magazines and dollars in advertising all in the name of beauty and cosmetics. I talked about my personal experiences. His response was both brilliant and touching.
“So these girls are wasting hours everyday in putting on makeup? What if they spent that time and instead read a book.”
This was post Sephora trip so it took me a minute to get those “other hand” vibes flowing. The pursuit of beauty is intrinsically linked with women. What would we look like if instead of following our beauty routines we read non-fiction works? Society would crumble. Couples would cease to get together. Female conversations would only include yogurt and men. The more I thought about it though, the more sense it made, and not just with girls and makeup but in other aspects as well.
We could use the time we spend in making ourselves the most physically, outwardly attractive versions of ourselves that we can be and instead work to make ourselves the most intelligent selves that we can be. The most creative. The most wise.
I could use the time that I spend in watching movies of the adventures that I want to have and instead read the stories of the millions of adventures had by Biblical personalities. I could take the time that I spent on Pinterest and continue with all of the Pin worthy projects that I’ve dreamed up and begun.
This isn’t to say that I won’t bust open my grown-up face paint once a week and go to town or that those who aren’t comfortable leaving the house without at least a base coat and some gloss should be seen as wasting their lives. Rather my intention was to encourage women of all arrays of dedication to their beauty regime. We may or may not see ourselves as natural beauties. We may or may not be natural beauties (don’t worry, neither is Giselle Bündchen). But we are worthy of our time. Our personal selves are more important than our faces. We are worth more than the image that we portray. I’m writing this as personal encouragement as much as call for the cessation of makeup obsession.
The same boyfriend who suggested we repurpose our makeup time into something useful also spoke validating truth to me without sounding patronizing. “I appreciate it when you do wear makeup but I would be completely happy if you never wore it again…” Huh. A man who doesn’t really care if I wear makeup? Wait, I thought men were hard-wired to find us prettier if we smeared beetle shells and lead paint on our eyelids? Well I’ll be…
I suppose it’s fitting that it took an investor to illuminate the temporary, fading, futile investments of my time and show me how to reinvest and diversify for an even greater return. And he loves me without smokey eyes and Taylor Swift hair. Score!