The Naked Face Project: I Went Without Makeup (But I Shouldn’t Have To)

Are mascara and lipstick a feminist barometer? Recently, talk about makeup has heated up this old debate about the sociological significance of putting on a little face paint. Hillary Clinton not wearing any? Obviously she’s above paying mind to her appearance. Kim Kardashian wearing a ton? Insecure or somehow representative of her tabloid-fodder personality. How do we get it right? Can’t a girl just swipe on an apolitical dab of lip gloss?

I pondered this one recent morning, staring into the mirror, mouth agape in that “I’m applying mascara” way. As women, we’ve heard the arguments — makeup is a societal convention that forces women to put on a literal mask in order to be acceptable to the world.

But have we fetishized the act of going without makeup? Maybe I’m part of the problem — whenever I write about a celebrity tweeting a naked-faced photo on HuffPost Style, I describe them without fail as “radiant” and “fresh-faced.” Does that mean putting on foundation makes us blobby, dusty canvases who’ve succumbed to society’s expectation that women have to “pretty up” for the rest of the world? Read more…

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