I stand by what I said: I wear make-up for myself, not anyone else

I was called a ‘superficial, pornographic, empty desperate soul’

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Since publishing “I wear make-up for myself, not men“, I’ve been called a “narcissist” and “secretly insecure”. The revelation women might prioritise feeling confident over attracting men was an overdue – if unwelcome – statement in a society which prioritises looks. 

It was picked out and covered by a number of publishers including The Huffington Post, The Daily Mail and The Daily Mirror, provoking the discussion I hoped it would. But the responses fell somewhere on a spectrum from encouraging to bewilderingly damning.

The Independent said I think people attack me for being “too beautiful” (words I have never said in my life), while others congratulated me for having the courage to speak up on the rarely discussed topic. One lady wrote: “Good for her for standing up for herself. Attackers have issues themselves. She needs to stay confident and be supported and complimented.”

daisy robertson repply

One example of a girl who understood the message of the article regardless

me

Having adored cosmetics since the days of pleading with my mum for sparkly aqua eyeliner in year seven (she wouldn’t let me have black), wearing make-up has always been about feeling feminine and illustrating who I am. The poll taken on the website seemed to show people had seen through to my point too, with 79 per cent agreeing women wear cosmetics for their own benefit.

Commenters on The Tab article agreed. Hannah said: “You always want to feel like the best version of yourself, and if makeup helps you feel that way then screw the haters.” Rebecca agreed, saying: “I agree with everything said in this because women do wear makeup for themselves and no one else, not even other women. It’s not always about competing with anyone, its about having fun and feeling all feminine.”

But unfortunately many who vocalised their opinions were stubbornly negative. The majority had a bizarre preconceived notion being a feminist and embracing femininity were two things which could not overlap. People seemed to find it ironic I was justifying my choice to wear make-up with feminism, presumably because I rejected sweeping, outdated categorisation of all feminists as bra-burning, hairy-armpitted and man-hating. The notion I could be proud to be a woman yet want to be valued as equal, without having to lose that part of myself, proved profusely inconceivable for some.

And then the F-word was dropped.

And then the F-word was dropped

One person decided to educate me: “Feminists e.g. Naomi Wolf, think ‘Beauty’ is a construct, created by man through fear of women becoming equal” – suggesting I read up on such things for an “informed and objective opinion”. In fact, many of the type-casts I had discussed in my article proved themselves as they were fired back at me. Men messaged me saying I was “secretly insecure” and might do “mental gymnastics to convince yourself you’re not narcissistic but you are”. As expected, someone claimed wearing cosmetics deceived men.

empty desperate soul

This gentleman above said I was “superficial and nigh on pornographic”, apparently an “empty desperate soul” that made him “feel very sad”. I tried not to take it personally, as he gathered all of this information from photographs of my apparently offensive face.

My intention to empower women was accused as false: “You ain’t fooling anyone” and I’m “certainly trying to put myself above other women”. The idea everybody is beautiful in their own right was replied with: “No they’re not. Some people are fucking ugly” and I should “stop pretending we all live in this fantasy land of rainbows and butterflies”.

We’ll conclude with one of the most cutting responses of all. One guy advised me and other women out there to “be natural. If you haven’t got it, you haven’t got it. Try personality”. Ouch.

Ultimately, if these responses show anything, it’s that you’ll be judged whatever you do. The best advice is to do whatever you choose, for no one other than yourself. At the end of the day how confident and happy you feel about YOU will always be the most important thing.