Pardon the pause from bookish talk, this subject has been playing on my mind for a few days.

“I have come to have the firm conviction that vanity is the basis of everything.”
– Gustave Flaubert

Volunteering is an interesting experience; you float lightly, almost unnoticed, into tight-nit social dynamics, observe them for a moment and then retreat to the next. At my most recent placement, I overheard a conversation on make-up. Now I enjoy a bit of make-up, but with spot prone skin I tend to avoid day to day wear; generally I am unperturbed as to who sees me without any on. These girls, clearly fearful of leaving their houses without any make-up on, concluded that they could not understand, or respect, women who do.

And I just thought, ‘really? That is a major concern in life for you, wearing make-up, looking pretty?’

What have we women come to if we feel we cannot leave the house without looking attractive to everyone we may encounter outside.

Do not misunderstand me, I do not think taking pride in your appearance is a negative; wanting to feel attractive spans genders. In addition, wearing make up to appear professional in the workplace is not inexcusable, but I do wonder who we actually do this for. Are we doing this for ourselves or so we are not judged negatively by others?

“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”
– Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

These girls were conversing as if not wearing make up was the end of the world! Men do not have to wear make up to be respected of found attractive; men can look like they have been dragged through a bush backwards and women still swoon over their ‘scruffy’ look. Women are constantly told to look beautiful, from the media at large down to one on one interaction. I have known people (myself included) to judge peoples intelligence or self awareness from not wearing make up; this needs to change.

Make-up now feels like a trap, the only way to get attention. However, in all honestly, this realisation will not stop me wearing it, my insecurities are sadly not solved with such reason.

Call me old fashioned, but I just want someone to derive my worth from my presence of mind over my appearance.

“There comes a time when you look into the mirror and you realize that what you see is all that you will ever be. And then you accept it. Or you kill yourself. Or you stop looking in mirrors.”
– Tennessee Williams

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Good article; I firmly believe if someone judges you on a single aspect as silly as the wearing of make-up or not then the issue is with them, not you. It should not stop one from wearing it, as looking a certain way is as much a form of expression as the clothes you wear, the words you write or the opinions you say. I wouldn’t want someone to not wear make-up (or dress a certain way, etc.) to avoid the judgement of others. The solution lies in changing the expectation, rather than changing the behaviour. And I shall always… Read more »


It is hard to believe that some people are so consumed by the idea of looking perfect. Maybe they have lived a kind of ‘sheltered’ life without many serious problems that have never had to make them compare. I always feel strange when I am wearing make up, but it can be fun, just not something I devote my life too.


I’ll wear it and do like to wear at least some when out, but I don’t understand the anxiety of not leaving the house. I’ve seen it first hand, and the boredom of those who have to wait for the person to be ready. Interesting what you’ve said about intelligence and makeup, because for so long you’d be considered the studious geek if you didn’t wear any. By wearing it all the time, you look so different without it, pale, that you would want to continue.