Well here I am drawing near to the end of my #30DNM journey. What once started out driven by curiosity and enjoyment of social experiments has turned into much more.
A "small" thing like make-up has led to a much bigger thing. A curiosity has led to a powerful conversation with so many. What is this really about I keep asking myself.
Like my foundation, mascara, and lipstick falling from my face this month, the curtains have been pulled back on our culture and there are some things I straight up don't like.
I work at a residential treatment center for those struggling with eating disorders as a counselor as some of you may know. We have a documentary group and one day we watched one called America The Beautiful. It covers a number of issues surrounding the extreme pressures of body image discussing things such as child models, plastic surgery, airbrushed advertising and dangerous cosmetics.
Naturally, the cosmetic portion of the film really grabbed my attention. It had examples of women who were discriminated against for not wearing make-up and news reports of women who were actually FIRED from their jobs for not wearing make-up. This particular article shares a story about a woman who was pushed out of her job in sales for not wearing make-up. According to some research, "more than two thirds of employers admit they would be less likely to employ a female job applicant if she did not wear make-up to the job interview"
Ugh! This makes me sick. Talk about sexism! The message is clear for women. Your natural face does not make the cut. You are not beautiful as you are. You need to cover it up to accepted. You are not enough.
It's no wonder I feel pressure to wear make-up. This isn't just some internal pressure of perfectionism I project on myself (which I most certainly do) but is ALSO entirely culturally conditioned. I feel angry thinking about these unrelenting standards society has put on women and young girls that has caused so many to fall into dangerous dieting, eating disorders, relentless and compulsive spending on the latest fashion, restricting of the nutrition their bodies crave. Not to mention the so-called "normal" things women should embody such as being hairless, having big eyes and perfect nail beds. Don't get me started…or Tiny Fey will come out to play….
Okay she's coming.
“Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits. The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes.” (Bossypants)
Alright so you get my drift. Tina is being hilarious but she's also SERIOUS. This is the expectation.
Then you throw in the latest research on carcinogen city, toxicity and allergies on cosmetics and I almost feel like there is some undercover operation going on who is trying to take women out.
ANYWAY…my point is not that make-up is bad. I think #30daysnomakeup has been a spring board for a really important discussion I've needed to have with my heart for a long time. How does it make me feel that I (along with my culture) have given me a message that the face I was born with is not good enough for the world? It's not good enough unless I do this and this and this and this?! And isn't that the exact opposite of grace and acceptance and inclusion?
Obviously I can't change our culture today. But I can start with me.
I can start by having a tender dialogue with my heart about my face.
I want to be on my face's side. I am not the enemy of my face. I don't want to be hostile to it. I want to be gentle and open and kind and brave.
And I haven't done this all alone this past month. I have been amazed by the support and encouragement I have been given by family, friends and acquaintances and fellow bloggers and those involved in the #30DNM campaign.
You guys have encouraged me SO MUCH!!! Every time I feel insecure or sheepish about my face I always seem to run into someone who tells me they admire me for what I'm doing or someone sends me a note via social media. Gosh, you guys are seriously the best! I have been totally humbled by your kind reactions to what I am doing. Rather than judge me, you all have affirmed me! It's made me challenge my belief system that people would rather I cover my face. I can listen to the media or I can listen to a flesh and blood person who tells me I AM ENOUGH. I feel like that's the better option.
Only 4 days left! Carry on #braveones!