The Myth of ‘No Makeup’, Sierra McKenzie, Huffington Post
This is hard for me to post but I feel like it is important.
I remember hating my face and hating my skin and looking at all the girls around me in middle school and on TV and in ads and feeling like I was a monstrosity in comparison. But I remember the first time I realized women plucked their eyebrows. And wore concealer. And foundation. And powder. I felt like I had been lied to about what women look like. After modeling and realizing when photographers asked for no makeup, they really meant the photo on the right. I started realizing that the photo on the right was what was in skincare ads and posted by people claiming in the caption to be wearing no makeup some of the time. The photo on the right is the bare minimum of what we expect women to look like when they wake up in the morning.
Thought this would be of interest to some people, especially since the topic of how women’s faces in video games, comics, etc being depicted as smooth with no lines (even for facial expressions) has come up before. Also, how often women will be drawn with default eyeliner, eyeshadow, lipstick, etc even if there should be no reason for them to wear it because they have been living in the wild, or they’re warrior women who have expressed no interest in it, or etc…
It reminds me of the Nancy Drew comic books, where she specifically said that she doesn’t wear make up and has no clue how to use it, but she’s always drawn with mascara, eyeliner, and lipstick.
It’s part of how society constructs what women look like in people’s minds; that what is supposed to be something we put on to ‘enhance’ appearance end up being part of the default way women are expected to look. Even if the characters are supposed to be “plain” or “practical” in context, they’ll still be drawn as if they’re wearing some base amount of make up, because that’s how we’re conditioned to see women in our imaginations. And stuff like airbrushing, photoshop, and advertisers using made up faces to represent ‘no make up’ can skew how we perceive what the ‘normal’ or ‘average’ woman is supposed to look like.
(omg second time writing this, memo to self if the tags suddently don’t work tumblr hasn’t actually saved your fucking text post :|)
Okay I don’t want to write what i wrote last time cause it took forever so i’ll just summarize. This is going on my art blog because I think it’s really relevant to how many artists are taught to draw.
By default we are taught to draw in many stylized methods to depict women at a certain level of made-upness without acknowledging it. We are taught to draw the upper lid darker, to give them obvious, winged or sometimes just long numerous lashes to say hey it’s a LADY! Taught to give shine to lips, and blushing cheeks, all to meet a base minimum of “I know how to draw” or “this is drawn correctly” NOT this character likes to wear make up or even knows what make up is. If you stray from these you will most likely be thought of someone that doesn’t know how to draw women, or draw women that “look like women”, if you make any facial features out of the normal (for example a larger nose), same thing, you drew something that needs to be corrected.
And I thought it’s funny how dept we are at drawing these signifiers of make up but how most artists have problems rendering things like significantly colored eyeshadow/liner, and when they do attempt it it’s to say hey this character likes make up! not when they have eyeliner, or mascara, or lip gloss, it’s only when it moves out of that already prescribed obviously made up face.
And this all goes on without a blink or pause to think about really, it’s just “how to draw a woman”, and I don’t know very many artists at all who don’t do it. And IDK, i understand you have to draw that way to keep your jobs and shit, but it’s something i hope people are aware of.