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Friday, May 9, 2014

I’m not making this up

The New York Times informs me that not wearing makeup is in. I would like to jump on this opportunity to declare myself the progenitor of this trend, as I have been way out ahead of it pretty much since birth (with a few lapses here and there, which I chalk up to the wild experimentation of youth and the occasional flare-up of middle-aged insecurity. Also weddings and bar mitzvahs. And hypocrisy.).

Anyway, you’re welcome.

Ten thoughts on not wearing makeup in America:

1. Since I seem to be so good at predicting fashion, having spotted the no-makeup trend so very early, I’m going to go out on a limb and predict its speedy demise. Little-known fact: I’m also incredibly business savvy. I know that, if they can’t make money off of something, the fashion industry is not likely to stand by it for more than…oh, a nanosecond, maybe?

2. Not wearing makeup as a feminist statement and not wearing makeup as a matter of comfort and convenience are not mutually exclusive. In fact, being more concerned about comfort and convenience than about conformity and appearance IS a feminist statement.

3. A person who insists that not wearing makeup isn't a feminist statement either doesn’t know what feminism is or can't admit to it because she's afraid of the word. Okay, okay. I'm willing to entertain other possibilities as well. But I've cleverly confused the issue by putting so many negatives into one sentence that no one even knows exactly what I meant. We feminists fight dirty.

4. Women who always wear makeup are not necessarily unenlightened or anti-feminist. Unless, deep down, they really, really feel they have to wear it because they look terrible without it and people will think they’re ugly. Which, I suspect, is probably most women who always wear it. Anyway, you know who you are. I may be confusing insecurity with the internalization of conventional sexist values. Or I may be pointing out the that the former is the inevitable result of the latter. Yup. That’s it.

5. Even as I type, hundreds of new cosmetics ad campaigns that use words like “fresh,” “bare,” “natural,” and “nude” are undoubtedly being prepared in agencies up and down Madison Avenue. Their message: Now, you too can look like you have the confidence not to wear makeup without having the confidence not to wear makeup.

6. Think about this: Somewhere out there, some woman is kicking herself because she actually had makeup tattooed onto her face. (Yes, that’s a thing.) Not that she’d be the only one ever to regret a tattoo, but at least the woman who got a rose on her butt when she was 16 and drunk can say she was 16 and drunk, not middle-aged and deeply insecure.

7. Is anyone who has always worn makeup on a daily basis really going to stop because the New York Times says so? I guess, probably, for a little while, if they’re young enough. At least until the next zit.

8. Next thing you know, the fashion pages will be telling us it’s okay to wear sweats and sneakers. OUTSIDE. But don’t worry, that won’t last either. Pretty soon, fashionistas will once again be admonishing us that we must not “let ourselves go.” (Go where, one wonders? I guess, if it’s where one goes when one wears sweats, sneakers and no makeup, I already live there. I’d better clean out the guest room for when the rest of the degenerates arrive.)

9. Do I sound just a little sarcastic? Maybe even scornful? Bitter, even? Why, yes. Yes I do. No punchline here. Just, yes.

10. So what will be the next big thing after the no-makeup look becomes history? I’m going with full latex face masks. After all, we burned our bras, and now we have Spanx.