Toxic masculinity is embedded in the roots of this macho-feudal society. Males are dictated to be tough and bravado. In contrast, females are expected to be demure and submissive. Along with these gender roles are stereotypes when it comes to behavior, thinking, and appearance. One of the most common prejudices is wearing makeup.
For many years, putting on makeup is only associated with women since they should “please people with their looks.” Not only is it frowned upon but it is also insulting for the male community to see a man wearing makeup before. This crippled narrative has been passed on up to this day. Although, there is no reason for men to not wear makeup as much as there is no reason for them to wear one.
Putting on Makeup is a Choice
No one is imposing on all men to use cosmetics. As a man, if you do not want to wear makeup no one is forcing you. However, you also have no right to shame or disrespect those who want to. It is a matter of choice. We have different preferences as regards how we want to present ourselves to people. If you want a bare-face look it is totally fine. If you want to apply foundation, blush on and lipstick, go ahead. Again, if you do not want to wear makeup, then don’t.
A Sense of Self-Presentation
We put a lot of value on our image. How other people see us is a huge factor in how we exhibit our appearance. A generation ago, it is normal to see straight men in a simple polo shirt and jeans – the typical “Tito” look. As time pass by, this outfit evolved and our sense of style progressed. We now put layers of clothes or complement the color of our fits. Wearing makeup is no different from these concepts. It is a sense of self-presentation; an effort for us to look good.
Looking good boosts confidence. Hence, disrespecting men wearing makeup means crushing their self-esteem. Furthermore, cosmetics go with fashion, and seeing a man with makeup is indeed fashionable and attractive. It shows that he takes good care of himself and is aware of his look.
Men, straight or not, are free to wear makeup. In a broader picture, makeup is genderless. Anyone who feels good applying cosmetics to their face should be free to do so without any negative connotations. We cannot force society to make up their minds but we can normalize applying makeup to desensitize this action to those people around us. There will be gradual changes – start with your look, then with their minds.
If you are genuinely secured with your masculinity, a little bit of foundation will not cover it up.
Angelo has always been interested in photography and writing. He has been participating in various photography-related events since high school. Street photography is his most favorite type as he believes that this is where life is the most candid - where inequality, denigration, love, and hope coexist everyday. One day, he aspires to be an environmental photojournalist that does his part for a better world.