I call my Debbie Harry memory one of my makeup moments. I’ve had many more, as I am sure many of you have, and funnily enough, since I’ve been referring to them as that, I’ve found out that other people do too. Can you remember a moment or memory that has shaped how you feel about makeup, good or bad? Would love to hear about them.
Here’s some more that spring to mind:
- Buying my first ever Chanel quad eyeshadow at duty-free even though I was a university student on a tight tight budget. The palette contained white, grey, pink and black matte shadows, tres chic, and saw me through more than a year of sophisticated studying, i.e., going down the pub with some books. I wore the shadows with a pink Chanel lipstick, which probably cost me a whole day’s wages from my part-time job, but I was looking gooooood haha. The look went better with my pink Converse then the oxblood Dr Martens and SWP pamphlets. I still have the compact.
- Watching my mum apply lipstick; the faces she pulled to do so and copying her, much to her irritation; funnily enough I am quite sure I now make the same faces myself. There’s something about putting your eyeliner on that calls for a really monstrous facial expression! My mum wore a beautiful creamy beige Revlon lipstick. I wish they still made it.
- Choosing my wedding makeup. A rite of passage in western culture that otherwise has very few ceremonial landmarks for women.
- Being told by my very glamourous Auntie Cynthia, who was a huge inspiration to me in terms of her personal style: “never let them see you without it” and she never did, waking up earlier then her husband to make sure she “had her eyes on”. Not exactly how I live, but she was quite fabulous and I appreciate her ethic.
The reason I think these makeup moments are important is because they are significant and personal and may or may not point us in certain directions. I went through a period when I believed that using makeup and thinking about how we looked or wanted to look was a frivolous thing that didn’t matter and shouldn’t play a part in my life. I was becoming a feminist (I still am one) and had personal appearance tied up with gender inequality. It took a return from a six month journey through India to change my mindset about that, to see it for what it is; a means of enjoyment, adornment and even empowerment, that has existed in civilizations for eons, for both men and women. It represents us both physically and culturally, it is informed by where we are in our lives and where we are in the world, and that’s why it’s still around and we love it. It’s a way of reaching our femininity, and so let’s celebrate it. I think makeup is part of The Art of the Female. I think that makeup is a tool. So use it, whatever your reasons.