One of my favorite parts of the morning is getting ready for my day. I love using the skin products that I’ve spent months cultivating, putting on all my favorite makeup products, styling my hair, and choosing a cute outfit for the day. You wouldn’t be wrong in saying that I care about my appearance, but you might be wrong about why I care. It’s for me—NOT for guys.
- It’s an expression of how I’m feeling. The makeup on my face (or lack of, depending on the day) is, in its basest form, an expression of how I’m feeling that day. You could even say it’s the facet of my personality that I feel like exploring that day. If I’m feeling myself, yeah, I might wear a low-cut top and more eyeliner than usual, but when I walk out that door feeling like a bombshell, it’s because I wanted to do it for me. Gentlemen, I can’t stop you from looking (however, I would implore you to be respectful) but just know that ~all this~ wasn’t put together for you to enjoy/comment on.
- It’s relaxing AF. I can’t be the only person who loves turning on some music, sipping some coffee, and zoning out while putting on my makeup. Maybe it just feels like second nature at this point, but getting ready can be so incredibly relaxing. Something about blending my foundation and flicking the perfect cat-eye just feels so right. You know I’m not doing that for anyone but me—that’s why it’s called “me time.”
- On the other hand, it’s no one’s business if I don’t wear makeup. There are some mornings where makeup is the last thing I feel like doing. If I woke up with just enough time to grab a coffee on my way out the door, I sure as hell am not going to have time to put on a full face of makeup. And you know what? That’s okay! That was the choice I was comfortable with that morning and, just like my getting glammed up, it was for my benefit and no one else’s.
- It makes me feel powerful. Few things make me feel like I can conquer the world than the knowledge that I look amazing. Whenever I know I’m in for a tough day, whether it be a nerve-wracking presentation or a particularly lazy Wednesday, getting together a fierce look is always a go-to confidence boost. Putting on my power-red lipstick is something I do for my self-confidence, not for strangers to take notice of.
- I enjoy the feeling of being put-together. Since college, my goal has always been to look put-together. That could be a simple t-shirt and jeans (well-accessorized, of course) for a study session or a business casual outfit for an internship. No matter the situation, feeling like I looked appropriately polished always put me at ease and made me feel confident, an aspiration I’ve definitely carried with me into my adult life.
- It’s infuriating that women wanting to feel good about ourselves is sexualized. When men do their hair or put on a fantastic, tailored suit, it’s safe to say much fewer people think, “Wow, this business man is really trying to put it all out there! I should invade his personal space and make him feel uncomfortable by leering at him.” I would argue that this is a thought more commonly reserved for dressed-up women, a thought that makes my blood boil.
- Don’t get me wrong, I love getting compliments on my look. If someone loves my outfit or thinks my makeup looks particularly fly that morning, I love hearing about it! Odds are I worked hard on the ensemble and I think I look amazing, so hearing some positive confirmation is always welcome. However, positive confirmation and heckling are two VERY different things. Someone saying, “I love your shoes” and someone else saying, “Sweetheart, that dress fits you like a dream” are two opposite ends of the spectrum. One is encouraging and constructive while the other is demeaning and sexualizing. I hope I don’t have to tell anyone which is which.
- It gives me some control. Life can often make you feel powerless, especially as a woman. In a world where men stare, make inappropriate comments, and even try to talk down to me, how I look is something that is completely up to me. I can’t stop all the misogyny in the world, but I can make a statement about myself. I can change my persona depending on my mood, I can express myself with some makeup brushes and hair dye. I have the power to choose how I want to look every day and that’s not something that anyone can take away from me. And knowing that I’m doing that for myself – and only myself – is one of the most empowering feelings in the world.