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Articles > Politics March, 04, 2019

Am I A Bad Feminist For Wearing Makeup?

Ellie Cripps
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When I recently said in passing, that I ‘can’t’ go out the house without make-up my Dad suggested that I was being a bad feminist. I profoundly disagreed.


While it is often perceived that the ‘conventional’ feminist is or was a bra-burning, bare-faced fanatic I don’t think that it should shock anyone when I say this isn’t true.

I don’t claim to speak for all feminists or all women, but the belief among the feminists I have encountered has been a desire for equality. Women’s rights have been hard-won, whether through the introduction of the right to vote in 1918, divorce rights in 1923 or the ability to apply for your own loan as late as 1980. So why are female feminists so often lumped in to one group? Must we all be this abstract image?

“a woman’s worth is not defined by validation from a man”

A bad feminist would be someone not aiming for equality for all. Does anything in that suggest that a woman shouldn’t be allowed to wear make-up? No! It actually says the exact opposite? Wow.

Those who claim that women shouldn’t wear makeup often assume that they are doing it for the wrong reasons, for example:

– Society says they must

– Society says they must

– Or (God forbid) they aren’t *conventionally attractive* and must rectify that.

However, no one should ever say you ‘have’ to wear make-up – because you absolutely don’t! These factors have a significant impact on a lot of women, because they feel pressured by others to do something that they otherwise would not. As is embarrassingly often the case it is women who spread the toxic message. It is far more likely to be a woman that says:

– ‘What does your boyfriend think?’

– ‘You’d look so much prettier with a little make-up’

– ‘How will you ever attract a man looking like that?’

This has to stop! A woman’s worth is not defined by validation from a man. Women are beautiful with and without make-up. Women don’t apply make-up to attract men or refuse to apply it to avoid them! It may surprise you to learn that men, in my experience, look for something more than a pretty face in a partner because they aren’t entirely shallow. Who’d have thought it?

The way I see it people should be able to wear make-up if they want to and vice versa. Above all, there should be no precedent attached to this decision. I wear make-up because I enjoy it, it makes me feel put together, ready for the day and I like the way I look with a splash of lipstick and eyeliner. But equally if I chose not to it shouldn’t and doesn’t matter.

We are all beautiful and wonderful! If you decide to wear foundation, concealer and powder, contour your every angle and line your eyes and lips then go ahead. In a campaign for equality everyone should be allowed to apply all the make-up in the shop OR never use a drop.


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  1. Hazel

    Excellent article Ellie. I agree, makeup can be used as a positive feminist tool. The only thing that annoys me is when certain makeup compa nies heavily photoshop their models, creating the beleif that by buying their product, you’ll magically turn into one of them.

  2. Anonymosc

    I think…women should have the choice to be comfortable in whatever they’re in without being criticized