Society is evolving and it’s time to understand that makeup is a genderless way of expressing identity. That said, there is still a stigma around this issue.
For many years, makeup has been considered feminine. Red lips, smokey eyes, and blush are considered elements of women’s beauty, but we are seeing how new generations are redefining makeup, turning it into a genderless form of expression.
The LGBTQ + community has led the fight to shatter the stigma around makeup and help people see it as something genderless. For this new generation, makeup is a way of expressing themselves, and it has become a true art form that allows young people to show their creativity. And, the concept goes beyond the idea of men using eyeliner It also represents the fight to break down the idea of a gender binary and the stereotypes that society has in place for all of us.
The more we understand that gender goes beyond femininity and masculinity, the closer we are to a more inclusive society. The idea that makeup is only for women encourages the idea of outdated gender roles. A man should be able to go out wearing makeup and a woman should be able to go without.
It is important to understand the message makeup sends in the beauty world is that that a woman must be beautiful for the sake of the male gaze and not for herself. When a woman goes out without makeup, people might think she just has really high self-esteem and is brave for showing her natural self to the world. This concept should cease to exist; wearing or not wearing makeup is not tied to someone’s value as a person.
The idea of men wearing makeup is not new. In the time of Louis XV, the men of the French court were obligated to wear it. The king’s believed that the human face should look as perfect and sculptural as possible, and that therefore, people should have their faces made up to cover any imperfections or their lack of “natural beauty.” If we fast forward a few centuries in history, we’ll find music icons who played with that masculine/feminine line, stars like David Bowie or the members of the rock group Kiss, who made makeup a symbol of their rebellion and masculinity.
Of course, there are certain social circles, especially in the fashion and beauty industries, where the idea that makeup is something feminine has completely disappeared. As garments become more genderless, this concept has been extrapolated to the world of beauty. Today we see male models wearing makeup on the catwalk and style icons like Harry Styles or the members of BTS with painted nails and makeup. And, while this idea exists in these bubbles, it is not yet widespread in society.
The question of making makeup genderless goes beyond cisgender white men wearing eyeliner. It is about broadening our view of the world and being more inclusive to non-binary members of society. It’s about accepting that the concepts of femininity and masculinity are not tied to makeup and that gender is not black and white, but rather, a variety of colors like the rainbow itself.
While big makeup brands already have product lines focused on men, the industry is still using mostly white, female models for their advertising campaigns. We must shift representation in the industry and advertise makeup in a way that speaks to people of all races and genders. Until this visual communication shifts, we won’t see real change in society.
Makeup is genderless, but we, unfortunately, can’t yet say that everyone thinks this is true. Our society still stigmatizes this issue, and we need to all be agents of change, even in our own small way. We have the power to shatter this taboo and establish makeup as something for everyone, regardless of one’s gender or race.