Welcome to the 21st century - an era in which we are encouraged to embrace our true selves, challenge tradition and tear down social norms. Welcome to an era where, believe it or not, men are wearing makeup
This growing trend of males sporting a full face has become wide spread, inevitably sparking controversy one way but earning a ‘hurrah’ of support the other. This concept, however, isn’t necessarily “new” and should by no means be labeled a “trend”. This so-called fad should be a charging leap into more positive changes in our society and global community.
It would be ignorant to assume that we aren’t moving forward in terms of societal values and expectations. We’re collectively beginning to accept that we don’t necessarily have to continue abiding by standards from the old times, and instead create a world that is more accepting and advanced. Major steps forward have only really begun to show themselves in the last century or so. In most societies today, women can show their legs, women can vote, ‘coloured people’ by law are no longer segregated, and more and more countries are allowing the LGBTQI+ community to get married. In the span of about 100 years the world has opened its eyes that little bit more and recognised the cry for change. It is our reality now - any out dated mindsets just don’t work in this modern day and age; including one-dimensional ideas about gender roles.
The seeds of gender roles have been planted so intricately into everyone’s minds, it’s no wonder there is hesitance to accept males wearing makeup, when there are still people walking the earth who wholeheartedly believe a woman’s place is still in the home. The same people who would sooner drop dead than accept that there was a time where in fact blue was the “colour” for girls and pink was for boys. Grab your pitchforks folks, how dare they say my girl could have been wearing blue! The concept of men wearing makeup can be dated back to around 4000BC. King Tut strutted his stuff daily with a winged kohl liner and rogue lip stain. And if you are in dire need of a more modern example well, the 1980’s onwards have been a momentous era for drastic transformations of stereotypes. The likes of David Bowie and Boy George have rewritten the artistic world entirely, and how about your favourite manly-man movie stars packing on more foundation in a day than your sister ever will. Yes, you heard correctly, Tom Hardy and The Rock glow majestically from sunrise to sunset.
Typically when this topic is brought up in conversation, most minds automatically visualise faces flaunting a Bretman Rock (@bretmanrock) or Manny MUA (@Mannymua733) inspired look however, though in cases this may be true, the reality of it is that some men just want to be comfortable wearing a little concealer on a bad face day. It’s a common argument: “girls have it way easier, you have makeup, if a guy’s ugly then he’s done for.” Imagine if we lived in a world that did not uphold such a negative outlook but instead boosted the morale of each other. It’s all in the name of everyone’s favourite word - feminism. Feminism is all about the equality of the sexes, not the superiority of one, so why not support men who want to radiate a humble confidence? The very fact that men have admitted to being embarrassed to ask for advice on what colour suits their skin tone, or that once they gain a little confidence the only tutorials they find are for female or drag queen audiences says a lot in itself. It has been so very rarely considered that men want to feel good about themselves. Thanks to beauty bloggers such as Jake-Jamie Ward has become significantly easier for male audiences to seek tips for their own basic makeup routines. He believes “makeup is genderless - just a very powerful tool that can generate confidence”. This is a very important message categorising makeup as it should be and extending its audience to be for all. It is a way of expression, a form of art if you will. We should be celebrating anybody who actively strives to accept who they are.
Slowly but surely we are transitioning into a world that endeavours to live as peacefully as our hopes for the future. There are already bursts of change I see in my own community and the wider world. I have male friends who have casually asked us girls to do their face for them, they have no issue in wearing a bit of powder and pigment. After all, that is all it is right? Accepting men wearing makeup is just another step in society beginning to knock down stereotypes; same as realising that clothes don’t realistically need a gender assigned to them. Although progress is being made, media platforms and cosmetic companies enjoy hopping on the bandwagon of movements like this but have a tiresome tendency to promote the wrong thing entirely. Instead of marketing towards anyone who wears lipstick by featuring people of all genders, they create makeup ‘for men’ or now apparently ‘gender fluid’ makeup which continues to reinforce the division between consumers. Perhaps this is a small step that acknowledges those who feel more comfortable not buying from the ‘women’s section’ despite the inclusive advertising, or perhaps it really is just an ignorant attempt to be #relatable.
We have to begin teaching people that everyone is allowed to be who they are. If a young child questions it because of what they’re conditioned to believe, you explain truthfully how that guy wearing bright lipstick and fancy eye shadow is allowed to look like that. If you hear criticism coming from a blind mouth, you plant your feet firm and you educate them. You should strive to stand with someone who is only trying to be colourful in this monochromatic world.