A little wisdom for this summer day:
It’s been happening with some frequency lately, posts on Facebook written by serious young women (most of whom I like quite a lot), snidely commenting on the silliness of a woman wearing make up or enjoying clothes. They say they feel sorry for a woman who feels like she needs something as ridiculous as eyeshadow and sorry, too, that our patriarchal society has done this to such women. I get what they are saying, but it hurts a little to read these assumptions because the person they are making assumptions about is, well, me. First of all, I will admit that I don’t wear make up all the time; I never have. There are times when it is impractical and wholly unnecessary and, besides, I like my skin and my face perfectly well without it. There are also plenty of days when the clothes I wear are pretty unspectacular. Summer in St. Louis, for instance, calls for little more than a t-shirt and a cool pair of shorts and when we’re at 80 and 90 percent humidity and code red air quality, I’m happy to make due with clothes that require little fuss. Why make life more complicated in such brutal conditions? But there are plenty of other times when I am delighted to put on make up and dig through my closet for one of the dresses I adore. For me, make up has always been something I used as a sort of artistic expression of myself. By using it, I make my exterior self match my interior self, and that interior self is changing all the time. My interior self has days in which my Chanel lipstick in Incandescent (a fiery orange) is the perfect match for what I am thinking and feeling and I am happy to project this self out onto the world around me. Other days, I feel quiet with no need to engage with anyone else and, if I wear make up at all on those days, it will likely be pale, neutral, muted. But in each of these situations, the choice to wear make up is mine (and if it takes more than 5 minutes to do, well, it was my time to spend–no one else’s). I feel the same about clothes and have long been an admirer of fine fabrics, tailored cuts, colors and patterns that, again, project outwardly that which I feel inside my own head. There’s no crime against feminism here and the pleasure I take in make up and fashion is born less out of my need to please any male-dominated world than it is to express a self that longs to be seen. It is my privilege to do as I like, to create an appearance that is my own, and that I enjoy. And whoever you are, wherever you are, male or female, that is your privilege, too.