GUEST BLOG: “Makeup & Feminism” By Brenda Liang

In this blog I would like to introduce Brenda Liang. I asked Brenda to share her thoughts on her relationship with makeup and feminism:

“Molly was so generous and kind to offer me a guest blog on her inspirational blog so here I am. Oh wait, let me introduce myself, duh! I’m Brenda Liang, a 16 year old blogger over at Just as a little ice breaker, here’s a few facts about me.

  1. I take short (3 minute) showers.
  2. I relish in nothing more than taking my bra off after a long day.
  3. I find so much joy and glory in putting on my makeup.

And…that’s all you need to know. So let’s backtrack to number 3 really quickly because a topic that is overseen often times is the connection (or lack thereof) between feminism and makeup.

Here’s my thing: I’m a feminist. I believe in equal rights. I know, how far-fetched. If you are a feminist too, or have even said something in the remote realm of feminism, I’m sure you’ve heard comments like “man-hater” etc, etc. But a new comment that Molly opened my eyes to is such of: “Wearing makeup makes you a bad feminist.” What…?

My first instinct was a crinkled forehead and a sharp inhale. I was taken aback. I mean what does makeup have to do with feminism? Absolutely nothing. Feminism means equality for women and men. There is nothing about makeup in relation to feminism because makeup is a personal choice, a daily decision. Makeup is about my face and how it looks when I first wake up. Makeup is about the inevitable bags under my eyes. Makeup is about the newborn family of pimples that decided to take a journey down my face. Makeup, however, is not about my beliefs towards equality.

To be brutally honest, it’s no secret that the beauty and makeup industry has contributed to making women think they have to look a certain way. But I think a fair portion of the industry has been revolutionized for the better. There are many brands like Glossier, Josie Maran, Milk Makeup and more that embody an empowering effect rather than a self-deprecating and sexist effect. While you can look through the brands’ websites and read their philosophies, all I need to do is use the product and know that, “Wow, this isn’t making me look like the model in the magazine but the more polished version of myself.”

Now, people either wear makeup for themselves or for other people. And at this point, yes, makeup and the overall beauty industry was born from the marriage of both sexism and capitalism, but people, like myself, wear makeup anyways in spite of its roots because I’m not trying to fit into the (beauty) criteria the media has molded for women today.

I wear makeup sometimes because I like the way it makes my non-existent lashes visible to the human eye. I like makeup because of the way my highlighter catches the light. I like makeup because sometimes it makes me feel like the best version of myself. And I love makeup because I love the sense that I’m painting on my face, not to cover, but to enhance.

I do not wear makeup though, to impress the boys I see at my local Walgreens while picking up my much needed dose of tampons. I wear it for myself. And myself only. But I’m not a feminist for myself, rather for my fellow community of strong and powerful women and my sister, my mother, my grandmother, my future daughter, and generations of intelligent women to come.

Wearing makeup does not make me or anyone a bad feminist. There is just no correlation. None. Wearing makeup does not make me or anyone a good feminist either. Why is that though? Wearing makeup is neutral. NEUTRAL. It does not relate to anything other than the way one decides to present her or himself to the world on any given day.”


What are your thoughts on the beauty industry and makeup? Let us know in the comments or tweet your ideas to @maldrichwincer! 




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