A journey in words...

Welcome to my journey in words! A story about health, exercise, weight loss, food addiction, humor, size discrimination, sarcasm, social commentary and all the rest that’s rattling around inside my head...

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Gender Rules and my Naked Face

I make no secret of loving makeup.  I love the imagination and the artistry, I love color and the idea of creating a painting out of my natural features.

That being said, I also love my naked face.

Some people might say this is easy for me, because my naked face is “pretty”.  Meaning (in science terms) that it’s reasonably symmetrical from left to right side and has the evenly spaced features which draw humans to one another as an indicator of adequate health and breed-ability.  Maybe it's genetics - my mom and sister are both pretty too, and both perfectly fine with leaving the house sans paint job some days.  (Note: although one should always wear sunscreen!)

I do like my face, of all the things about myself I’d like to change – my face is one thing I would keep.  However it’s not a spectacular one.  I do not stop cars on the street or easily escape speeding tickets by virtue of it.  And it’s aging; I now sport crow’s feet around the eyes, lines across the brow and what appears to be a liver spot on my left cheek.

So be it.  I will still continue to refuse to wear makeup most days.  Makeup is a fun choice I make if I have the time, inclination, or am going somewhere special.  On days I go to work – I almost never wear it.  On the rare occasions I do wear it at work I get compliments on how nice it looks and queries on why I don’t wear it every day.

I could say that when I wake up in the morning my eyes are itchy and dry and I don’t particularly feel like messing with them.  But really, the short version is that I just don’t feel like it – nor do I feel the slightest pressure to cover my natural appearance on an average day any more than my husband (or countless other men) do.

I don’t know how I got this way, or if it displays strength of character or simple laziness on my part.  A lifetime of being overweight has likely forced me to shift my focus off of finding too much value in my appearance, despite the responses of my fellow human beings to my appearance always being a mostly positive thing.

Looking back though, I have to admit I wasn’t particularly prone to being a dressed up Princess from the start.  I’ve been scanning and archiving old family photos and I found this shot of me at around age ten to twelve dressed up for Halloween.  I was that awkward age range where girls start wanting to be beautiful, to grow boobs, to emulate the slender, perfect women on their TV’s or the Barbie dolls in their bedroom.


As you can see, I wanted to be a scary green dragon with a huge rubber head and long, bloody claws.  A more simple way to put it would be to say that I wanted to be magical and powerful.  I played with Transformers and Voltron at that age, not out of any particular longing for “boy” toys but just because I thought they were cool.  I had a lot of Barbies too, but I admit I have vague memories of throwing them off of play-cliffs a great deal for some reason.  It wasn’t that I disliked or was offended by the idea of Barbie, it was that you couldn’t do anything with her – she couldn’t move, so she was boring.  I wanted dolls and toys with a high degree of articulation, like jointed horses that could move at five different points in each leg or G.I. Joes.  I had Cabbage Patch Dolls – they were all the rage after all – but my favorite was the one that was a cat, a pet, rather than a baby.

And because I was a girl and it’s considered cute for girls to like boy things, this was totally okay.  There’s still a horrendous double standard for boys who’d really prefer the Cabbage Patch babies I tended to leave forgotten under my bed.

Now, as a grownup, I think this has bled over into my views on cosmetics.  I like them (I occasionally spend way too much money on them) and I also like to leave them and head out the door.  Sometimes I do this while sporting wet, un-styled hair too.

More controversially I think men should be allowed the exact same freedom of appearance without judgment that women enjoy.  Including makeup if they so choose.  I don’t think makeup should be a female thing, I think it should simply be a fancy human thing.  We need to take on some of men’s comfort with their casual style an unvarnished features, and they in return should be able to feel sexy and dressed up just as much as they danged well please.

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