Interview with: ANONYMOUS
Recorded June 21, 2018
Interviewer: Emma Millett
E : Emma Millett
A : Anonymous
E: Okay. How often do you wear makeup?
A: Um.. almost done every day.
E: Okay. And how much do you typically wear when you wear makeup?
A: Um, not much. I like, I just wear a basic coat of foundation, eyeliner, and mascara.
E: Okay. Okay. And um, when you, what are occasions or reasons that you wouldn’t wear makeup?
A:Um like… if I’m with family.. Or if I’m just home for the day, like not going anywhere, or like
going to the grocery store.. sometimes if I have a friend over, like if I’m at home.
E: Okay. So how, so how often do you go out in public without any
makeup at all?
A: How often? Like probably a few times a month. *laughs nervously*
E: And on a scale of one to 10, how uncomfortable is it?
A:It’s not really uncomfortable. Unless I know I’m going somewhere where I know.. like it depends on who would be at the place where I’m going, which I think is probably true for most people. Yeah. But in certain places I don’t even think about it once I’ve made the decision to not wear it.
E: So then what, why do you wear makeup then? What is the purpose when you put on makeup? Why are you putting it on?
A: Um, I think cultural acceptance is a big thing. Like, in certain settings I feel like I won’t be taken seriously if I don’t. Like professional settings, I feel like I won’t be taken seriously if I’m not wearing makeup. I think also just because I’m used to seeing myself that way. Like I think it looks better. And so I think it’s a.. to a degree, to accept…myself? Yeah. Yeah. And sometimes it’s like to show effort to someone else that I like tried to get ready for that occasion.
E: How old were you when you started wearing makeup?
E: when you were 12. Okay.
A: Like when I started wearing anything? Yeah. Mascara. And blush. Mascara, 12. Okay.
E: What did you start adding and when and why?
A: Um, 13, I added eyeshadow. 14, I added eyeliner and foundation. Because we had to do it gradually so that it wouldn’t just be like nothing to everything.
E: Oh, interesting! Why? Why was that a rule? Does your mom wear makeup?
A: Yeah. Um, I think like part of it was just, she felt like we were old enough to look a little bit made up but not she didn’t want us at 12 to look super made up. But that’s when you’re, when you’re 12 you’re starting to care a little bit more about how you look. So she wanted us to be able to do something to add a little bit so he could wear mascara and blush, but she didn’t want us to be wearing everything and look, you know, fully made up until we were in high school. So 14.
E: Were you fine with that rule or did it bother you?
A: Yeah, I was fine with that. Like it made me be able to look forward it. And you asked why I did and I did. Two reasons, like ever since I was young I loved experimenting with makeup. Like I just thought it was fun, it’s fun. In my family, all the girls who were ballerinas and so like we wear costume makeup ever since I was like five or seven and so I had been exposed to it. I thought it was fun, like it made me feel grown up and it made me feel pretty. Um, and so and then of course like to fit in with girls at school because they were all like wearing makeup to. Yeah. So kind of all of those reasons like it’s fun to experiment with, made me feel prettier. I think it made me feel more grown up. Okay. So I wanted to wear everything my mom would let me like. And I wore a lot more in high school than I do now because I did feel like I needed it to feel pretty.
E: So did your face look different in high school than it does now? Or did you feel differently about your face? Do you wear less now because your feelings toward yourself have changed or because your face has changed?
A: No, because my feelings have changed.
E: Okay, explain, tell me more about that.
A: Um, so I went on a mission and it would take a lot of time to get ready in high school to like, look perfect. And a lot of it too was um, just yeah, to fit in with friends. I felt like if I wore makeup, more makeup than I could maybe compete with some of the other girls for the guys I liked and stuff like that. But then when I went on a mission I had like no time to get ready. A lot less time and I cared about being obedient. So that kind of trumps like looking perfect. And so once I did that so much, um, I minimized on the mission to be more conservative, to look more conservative. Um, and then also just time getting ready and then gaining like spiritual confidence in myself on the mission is why I feel more comfortable physically now.
E: So how much makeup did you wear in high school?
A: Um, so like the same stuff I told you, but I would also wear blush. So like foundation, blush, um, eye liner, but I wore a thicker and I’d like extend it out. Okay. Um, I would wear like a lot of eyeshadow and it would cover my whole eyelid. And I’d like curl my eyelashes and work like a fair amount of mascara. So put it this way. Going on the mission gave me confidence in who I am as a person, like in my spiritual gifts and I felt less of a need to “make up”, if that makes sense. So I don’t poof my hair as much anymore, I don’t take as long getting ready, my outfits are more simple. And my makeup is more simple, too.
E: Have you ever had a negative experience about someone making a comment about your face?
A: Yeah. So in high school I did not go in public at all without makeup, and I had a guy friend make a deal with me that like if I would go one day without makeup, he would go one day like dressing down with jeans and stuff because he always wore like business casual stuff to school. And so we both dressed down and that day, like I did my hair extra little bit and, but like wore sweatshirts, try to be casual still. Anyway, it was kind of a weird blend and um, but I was of course really self conscious about it. And then one of my other guy friends commented to me that I looked tired that day. He said, “oh you are you tired?” Like, no, I’m fine. It’s just because I’m not wearing makeup. And that really affected me since it was hard enough for me to do in the first place. So yeah, that’s one that comes to mind. And then one time when I got a makeover.. I was just experimented with different foundations and so they put all these layers and like anything just let me try out their stuff. But they put on a lot and more than I ever wear and when I came home like to see my family that day, like everyone commented on how pretty I was and looked. And it kind of bothered me because it made me feel like, okay, this is when I get the most comments and I have such thick makeup that I don’t even feel like myself, you know? So yeah. Yeah. Probably those two experiences.
E: This can be a really difficult question. Um, many women don’t, don’t answer actually the question, they answered a different version of the question. I’ll ask it anyway, though, so try your best. *both laugh* So how did that experience make you feel? Like, use feeling words.
A: Which experience?
E: I guess both.
A: Because one is negative feedback without makeup and one is positive feedback with makeup.
E: And they both made you feel bad?
E: Okay. So both.
A: Okay. How did it make me feel? Um, it made me feel.. superficially validated. Like I liked that someone was saying that I’m pretty, but I know this isn’t me. I didn’t feel like myself, I didn’t look like myself. Um, so yeah, superficially validated, but because it made me feel validated, it made me want to buy that kind. Like it made me kind of tempted because it’s like, well, this is how I get feedback so I want to. I never did.
E: How come?
A: Because I didn’t feel like myself with that much. So, um, yeah. So I think it kinda made me feel insecure about how I am without makeup, if the best feedback that I got was with a lot. But just the positive feedback, my sister always tells me how pretty I am when I don’t have makeup. That’s positive feedback.
E: Do you believe her?
E: So then, just honestly asking, why if you believe her, then why still wear makeup at all?
A: Um, because she’s one person. Like that may be her view, but I don’t know if that would be other people’s view. And like I said before, like the socially accepted thing is huge. Even my husband validates me without it and has told me that he thinks I’m beautiful with or without it and I can do whatever I want. But socially I just, I don’t feel like.. Maybe taken as seriously, I don’t feel as pretty, or as confident about myself.
E: So you don’t feel like they’re lying to you.
A: No! No, like, it’s subjective.
E: So they maybe have an unpopular opinion.
A: Yeah! And so I want to be accepted by the general public as well. *laughs* Yeah. Okay.
E: Do you feel like that is a discrepancy or an inequality in a world of men and wom-
A: Yes! Yes. Yeah I do.
E: Okay, tell me about that.
A: I feel strongly about my worth and the worth of women as a whole, and our equality. I think that a lot of things we just do because we just do them. We’re expect to and we don’t even question them, we just do them. And so that’s kind of where I’ve fallen.
E: So you feel that way about makeup?
A: Yeah, I think it’s one of those things. And so I think once in a while it hits me, and I think about the “why”. You know, why do I feel like I need to do this? I shouldn’t feel like this. I’ve thought about it so many times, because like guys look good without makeup and we’re made how we’re made for a reason, so like we should look good without it, too, but it’s not socially acceptable and that feels unequal to me. And so sometimes I try to like rebel against that belief by trying to go without it sometimes, but I just, I can’t get myself to feel secure enough about myself and my looks to fully latch onto that.
E: What do you think it would take to feel that way? To feel secure enough to do that?
A: A lot of positive feedback *laughs*. Yeah. Maybe practice? That’s a good question.
E: Like, do you feel like if you had never worn makeup at all, you would have that same feeling?
E: Because you’ve talked a lot about how you don’t feel like you’re taken seriously, particularly as a woman it sounds like when you’re not wearing makeup.
A: In the professional field especially.
E: And so do you think that that same level of expectation would be there if you had never worn makeup at all?
A: Like expectation for myself?
E: Expectation from others about you.
A: Oh, I see what you’re saying. Like if they didn’t have that to compare to?
A: Do I think it would be the same? No, I don’t think it would be the same.
E: Okay, explain.
A: Like if I met someone now, like I’m meeting you today without makeup.
E: Right, I’ve never seen you without makeup.
A: Yeah, so I, if I saw you again, I would feel completely comfortable without makeup.
E: Even if you saw me in a professional setting?
E: What if I was a man?
A: …probably not.
E: Okay. Why is it different?
A: Because of the cultural inequality. Not my beliefs, I don’t believe that I’m unequal, but because of the culture, I care about other people think and when I know that they don’t see me as an equal, that affects me. Even though I believe I am.
E: So, if you also didn’t believe you are an equal than it, you might not even think about it.
A: Yeah, that’s true. That’s true. Because you don’t notice the discrepancy.
E: So if I had seen you with makeup, but you showed up today without it-
A: This is kind of a professional setting.
E: Right, so if you showed up with no makeup. Would there be a difference between that and if I had never seen you with makeup in the first place?
A: I would feel less secure. And, especially if you were a man, I would feel like he would be less likely to take me seriously. Because had he never seen me with makeup, I would be establishing with him this is who I am, this is how I look. And that would be established, and so I can meet that. But if I establish it with makeup and then I go “down” by not wearing it, then I would feel the difference.
E: So, that being said, how much control do you think women have over that social policy?
A: Um.. not very much right now, but I think like it’s something that could change.
A: If we could get.. I feel like if enough people – just like anything that’s changed with time and with effort, like women gaining the right to vote for example. If you can get enough people on board with the concept, then it can become more of a norm than the exception. That’s what I think. I think it would be hard to change because we have years and years like we’ve seen centuries of women doing things like putting berries on her lips and powder on her face,
things like that. So I think it would take a lot of effort, but I do think it’s possible. Because all women want to feel secure, all women want to feel valued for who they are.
E: All people, really.
A: Yes, yes. And I think making extra effort with our looks is only an effort to do that. And so if we could on a broader level, maybe feel more value for ourselves, regardless of how we look. I guess what I’m saying is I think a lot of women could get on board with that if they felt like they could get to point of feeling secure. Does that make sense? If they knew that they were valued for who they were.
E: So how do we do that? How, like how would we help women to understand that they are valued? To understand where their value comes from. How do we do that?
A: *laughs* There’s the golden question.
E: *laughs* I know. I know.
A: I think it comes in a lot of little ways, like, you know, just like we talked about these little comments, how they can affect people for good or for bad, and being conscientious to make the positive comments. When you do see a girlfriend not wearing makeup, validating her and how she looks, validating other people, you know, and being conscientious to validate women for who they are more than how they look. I think just little things like that would affect our relationships because if you’re complimented more on who you are more than how you looked, then you would value and focus more on who you are than how you look. Because we feel validated for how we look, we focus on how we look. So I think it just starts with our one on one interactions and then from there if we have leadership positions, or you have a business like this, opportunities to interact with people and share that validation, those beliefs, you know, help build that confidence.
E: So keeping it at the front of our minds, make a conscious effort to actually do something.
A: Yeah, because it’s such a norm. It’s the automatic, the default, to feel insecure about yourself or to notice if someone else isn’t wearing makeup, or to comment on someone’s looks and not make as much effort to comment on who they are, because we’re vulnerable. So, take conscientious effort to do something else. I think the act of wearing makeup to feel pretty is indirectly supporting a notion that maybe a lot of us don’t even believe in. It doesn’t line up with our core values. A lot of us believe that like are worth isn’t dependent on our looks, right? A lot of us have that core belief, but I think the act of allowing that social trend to rule our expectations of ourselves and others is maybe submitting to that concept that our looks are our value. So it’s like foregoing what you really feel to accept and be and live up to the social expectation. right?
E: Because there aren’t very many women who would say, “I believe that my value is based on my appearance.” Do you think that they really don’t believe that?
E: You think that they do believe that their looks are their source of value?
A: Yes. We wouldn’t care about being taken seriously. I think at least on some level, if that’s not what our belief is about ourselves, then we know that it’s the belief of others or feel that it’s the belief of others, and we’re trying to please that. And I think knowing that it’s the belief of others still does come back to affect your beliefs about yourself, even if you’re trying not to. That’s not my real belief about myself, but I still feel like sometimes.. it is. And that’s what I’m doing.
E: Do you think that your beliefs about others are affected by your beliefs about yourself?
A: Probably, but I don’t know if this like really.. Just on this topic, I’ve been thinking about this lately because I think so many things subliminally support and add to this notion. It’s not even just makeup. It’s this concept of women and their value being associated with appearance. The other day I was reading a political article, someone running for office.. I don’t know why this story had to be included, but he included a story about how as he was leaving a country, like someone told him, “oh, the women in this country are the prettiest,” and then he ended marrying one from there. Just little things like that, especially in the past, it was seen as like women, if they’re married younger, it’s because they’re beautiful. And just notions like that I think really comment on beauty and subliminally and subconsciously affects those beliefs. On top of just makeup.
E: So then last question. So if someone came up to you and they said that you get to decide what beauty is. You get to define it, and the whole world will accept your definition of beauty as beauty.
A: Oh wow. *laughs*
E: How would you define it? What would you say?
E: Um, I think that beauty is.. I really do think this. I believe that beauty is being a child of God with innate gifts and potential. I think that’s what it is and I think we develop that as we develop our gifts and fulfill their potential.
E: So you don’t think beauty has anything to do even with anything visual?
A: No. Well, I’m talking about people. I can think a flower is pretty. But I think that everyone is beautiful and I think that everyone is beautiful because everyone is a child of god with innate gifts and potential.
E: So what’s the difference? Why can a flower be called the beautiful?
A: I was just wondering that..
E: I’ll tell you what I think.
A: Okay, yeah.
E: I think that flowers serve many purposes, but I honestly believe that one of their purposes is to be beautiful, and so I think it’s the same. I think that flowers fall into that same category of beautiful, the one that you just described. They just also happened to be physically beautiful because-
A: Because that is their purpose.
E: Exactly. That is their gift, and I think that our misunderstanding is that we feel like women serve the same purpose as a flower. I mean, women are often literally compared to flowers, “my flower beauty.”
A: Wow, that is very insightful.
E: I think maybe people don’t know the connection that’s being made when we make comparisons like that, it’s really quite innocent. But I do think it exposes a little bit of what we think of women and expect from them, because it’s such an automatic, subconscious comparison that’s made, and people immediately understand it, and relate to it.
A: Right! Just an automatic acceptance
E: Yeah. Women and flowers are beautiful in the same way, but it’s because we serve our purpose just like the flowers serve their purpose. It’s just a different purpose. And I think that because we get compared to and compare ourselves to flowers and similar symbols of beauty all the time, it’s an example of women confusing their purpose.
E: I just read a quote the other day where a religious leader said something about how women think that they are here to please men or something, or to be beautiful, when physical, visual beauty has nothing to do with why we’re here or even what beauty is.
A: So I know someone, her husband has basically told her she’s like not allowed to wear makeup. He’s just like, “you don’t need it, you’re pretty without it.” And he kind of has these strong feelings, and so she doesn’t ever wear and she’s beautiful. And there’s some people, like you, for example, right now you’re not wearing makeup, right? You’re so beautiful! Or pretty, or whatever we’re gonna call it because now I’m getting confused about my words. *laughs* But even when I try to latch onto that notion of “okay, we don’t need it to be taken seriously and I should accept how I am, I still feel like some.. like, a lot of women are just have more even skin or they just naturally kind of have the enhancements that makeup gives. And so I feel like I’m like, below that if I don’t. Other people can get away with it and still be taken seriously..
E: Right, which is exactly the stigma, right?
E: Okay. I’m glad you asked this question.
A: So how do you overcome that?
E: So first of all, I really don’t have very many features that you don’t have. Obviously we look different, we’re different people, but I literally couldn’t point out anything on my face that makes me look better without makeup than you. We both have dark features, which is usually what people are talking about when they mention enhanced features. Freckles, dark eyelashes, etc, essentially, our features are kind of the same. I also have never seen you with makeup, which helps me be able to have an unbiased opinion about that.
E: Because I only have this version of your face as a visual. I don’t have any produced, made up version of your face to compare to and so I can pretty unbiasedly tell you that you have a beautiful, a pretty face without makeup on. I can tell you that honestly and truly and I don’t even know you. I have no reason to tell you that other than because it’s the truth, you know what I mean? I think that it really is relative. Which is part of the purpose of this is. I think that we’ve forgotten.. Typically, the women who don’t wear makeup feel better about their face than the women who wear it for the purpose of “fixing” their features. Not necessarily the women who just use it as an accessory, or a hobby, but the women who wear makeup purposely to fill in the gaps of their self esteem. And I think the problem perpetuates, because they feel that way about their face more and more as they wear more makeup and wear it more often. If you had never worn makeup at all, I don’t think you would feel the same way.
E: Like if you’re comparing your face and someone else’s face without makeup, it’s still a comparison, which makes room for a lot of self-doubt and damage, but I don’t think it would be quite the same. I also do want to say that I respect that husband for that opinion. I have a lot of respect for him and for the effort that he’s making to try to make his wife feel beautiful. I think that’s respectful. However, for the record and to reiterate this part of my platform – because this can get really controversial and there’s a very fine line between shaming makeup and saying you don’t need it. I’m not at all saying women shouldn’t ever wear makeup. I think if no woman had ever worn makeup, and had we never known the difference, we probably would just have been better off from the beginning. But I think that the healthiest, most reasonable version of that and the most uplifting version of that is to say, it’s totally okay to wear makeup. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with it as long as you aren’t doing it to love yourself more. Or to create a better version of yourself. Some people just honestly think that it’s fun and I agree. I agree, and I do wear makeup sometimes. Sometimes it can be the same as putting on a dress versus putting on a pair of basketball shorts. Just like you would wear jewelry.
A: Like an accessory!
E: Exactly. But I think that it just gets really dangerous because the more we see our face with the makeup on, the more it can become difficult to connect with our face without it.
A: That’s true! That is true.
E: The face without makeup doesn’t even really feel like you anymore.
A: Yes. Totally.
E: And so I just think it can be kind of dangerous. No face actually looks like that, or at least very few. But here’s my other thing, too. We somehow decided that that’s what a face should look like, but it’s all relative. It’s all perception.
E: You know what I mean? Like you could say this person has more even skin than the other person and that’s true.
A: But who decided that it was better?
E: Right! Who decided we should all have even skin? It’s a very philosophical concept but I think that makeup is, I think makeup is really philosophical. It’s all perception. We have just decided that that’s what it looks like. And I think because we have that power, we can use that power to change it, to turn it around. So we’ll see if we can have an effect.
A: Well this is cool! This is awesome.
E: How do you feel about your freckles?
A: *laughs* Um, they’re fine, I’m used to them. Freckles run in our family so I’ve just kind of accepted that and it’s fine. I don’t really think about it. The only time I do is when I see people that have a perfectly even skin tone, and that’s when I think about it, like I wish my face was one tone. But I’m fine with it.
E: When you put makeup on, are you thinking about your freckles?
E: So you’re not trying to cover them up.
A: No. I’m trying to even out the color in general, but I’m not trying to cover my freckles.
E: So do you feel the same way about other people’s freckles?
A: They look better on other people.. *laughs*
E: What makes you say that?
A: Like, yours are really good!
E: What’s the difference between mine and yours?
A: Like, yours are in certain spots.
E: What about Joy’s? [see Joy interview] Hers are all over her face too.
A: I know but hers still have an even tone. I feel like my face is just kind of blotchy.
E: Have you ever in your whole life seen anyone else that you felt the same about their freckles that you do about yours?
A: *laughing* No. No, I’ve never thought anyone else’s freckles looked blotchy.
E: Okay *laughing* that’s all I needed. And thank you for sharing! Thank you for contributing to the cause.