Ah, the number of times that I’ve heard this, either being addressed to me or someone else. It’s in the same ball park as asking “Why do you wear heels?” or “Why are you wearing a push-up bra?” and my personal favourite, “Why do/don’t you shave your legs?”. You just don’t do it.
At least, not if you’ve already made up your mind that their answer is going to be wrong. Ask because you’re genuinely interested in their reasons, ask if you care. Not if it’s coming out of a place of judgement and malice.
Personal grooming is called just that for a reason. It’s personal grooming. It’s not a topic up for public discussion or debate.
It took me some time to realise this, but it really was the same thing as when I asked someone why they wore extra long and colourful socks to school, or why their school pants were so tapered. It’s the same as when I still question why this person uses a branded purse as a schoolbag, or why this other person always wears tank tops on casual dress day. Is it out of vanity? Is it for attention? Guess what––it’s none of my damn business.
You do you. And I’ll do me. Who am I––who are any of us––to tell people what the “right” way is to be themselves? I’m not hurting anyone by wearing makeup (in fact, I think I might be doing you all a favour by sparing you my morning face), and she’s not hurting anyone by wearing whatever the hell she wants to wear. Unless we think we know them better than they do their own, then we don’t really have a say, do we?
I know that there are tons of girls that can wake up in the morning and not have to put anything on their face, and be straight out the door and still feel completely confident. If that’s you, then great! By all means, pride yourself on the fact that you don’t care, or that you’re happy the way you are. Keep doing whatever you’re doing that makes you feel good about yourself. But don’t put others down for doing the same, just because their way of feeling confident is different from yours.
I used to wear coloured contacts on a daily basis because I thought my eyes were too small and dark. At that point of time, that was what helped me feel confident. When I didn’t wear them, I would feel mousy and anxious, and insecure. Yet when I did wear them, nobody would really notice the difference. So was it really vain of me to wear them even though the only person that actually seemed to see the difference was myself? Was I really just trying too hard? Perhaps. But that’s for me to judge, and no one else.
So I’ve since stopped using my coloured contacts (for the most part at least) and I’ve never felt better. I still don’t know what has changed, but I’m willing to go with it. And now if someone else does the same thing, I’d understand why and I wouldn’t tell them to do otherwise.
On the flip side, I know of instances where people judge others for not doing certain things; like shaping their eyebrows, or maintaining their manicures. But the same rules still apply.
Something funny that often comes after “Why do you wear makeup to school?” is the infamous “But it’s just school.”
So once we’ve established that it’s completely fine to wear makeup outside of school, you’re deciding that the moment I step into the classroom with some eyeliner and eyebrow tint, it’s suddenly not okay? Because it’s school, and school’s not about looking good. It’s about, well, school. Rules aside (because we all know that both your and my skirt lengths are not of regulation either), is there really a problem here?
The thing is, feeling good about myself and feeling confident is (usually) directly proportional to my mood and thus, how productive I will be. I mean, I can’t imagine being all excited and ready to face the day when I’m in frumpy clothes and my hair hasn’t been tamed, and there’s a shine on my face that a little powder could help remedy. On any normal occasion, feeling good outwardly and inwardly makes me want to go out and smile at people and make friends and get things done. Am I not allowed to achieve the same feeling in school? People find confidence in all sorts of things. Are you going to tell them that it’s conditional?
For some, it may be in posting extra glamorous pictures on Facebook. And for others, it could be in going out and socialising with friends or strangers.
For me, taking that extra 10 minutes every morning to fix my face or hair isn’t for anyone. It’s about taking pride in my appearance, and feeling primed and put-together. It isn’t about impressing anybody, or being unappreciative of what I naturally have. It’s simply for me. And since I am the one going to the mall, I am the one going to the movies, and I am the one going to school, then why is it your prerogative to say what I should and shouldn’t do?
You know, another thing I’ve noticed is that people loooove to stereotype. Just because it’s easy––certainly not because it’s true.
No, I’m not shallow because I wear makeup to school. She’s not uptight because she ties her hair up every day. She’s not a slut because her skirt is halfway up her thigh and he’s not a douchebag because he spikes his hair up or has a strut for a walk. And no, you definitely do not get to make judgement calls on people’s characters based on what you do or don’t see.
Honestly, I could go on forever. (People ask a lot of stupid questions.) But I feel like it’s something we all can consciously reflect on on our own. You don’t need a blog post to know, truly, when you’re just making an observation and when you’re straight up being mean. A lot of the time, whatever we’re criticising others on, we do ourselves. Maybe just not noticeably in the same manner.
So the next time that someone asks me something like this, I’ll know that I don’t owe them an explanation. And I don’t have to justify anything to anyone. I’ll preserve my right to do whatever makes me happy and make sure that they, too, are aware.
“Because I want to.”