makeup.

There are a lot of celebrity women who are suddenly promoting going makeup-free and living a bare-faced life. All in all this isn’t a bad lesson and is something that needs to be said over and over again to people who are growing up in our filtered, photoshopped, face-tuned world. But I want to talk about it from the perspective of someone who loves makeup, and chooses to do a full face each morning… okay, most mornings.  Whether it means to or not, this movement misrepresents women who do wear makeup on the daily. Promoting a makeup-free lifestyle says more than just “love the skin you’re in,” it also implies that women who put on makeup each day do it for any reason other than just… because they like it. I have yet to meet a woman who hates makeup, yet still takes the time and money to invest in it. If a woman doesn’t want to wear makeup, she won’t – period.

Society make the mistake of thinking women wear makeup because we’re insecure. Boys make the mistake of thinking women wear makeup because we want them to think we’re pretty. Truth is, some of us just like putting stuff on our faces. As a woman who wears her paycheck in the form of matte lipsticks and winged eyeliner, here are some thoughts:

  • Some people do yoga or exercise in the mornings, but I really like taking that time to drink a cup of coffee and put on my makeup. It’s relaxing, it’s not something I have to use too much brain power to accomplish and taking that time to take care of myself sets me up to have a really good morning.
  • It’s my favourite way to express creativity. I’m not an artsy person – I can’t draw, paint, or design anything. I write sometimes but that’s not something I find the time to do a lot. So I take my creative energy out on my face. I like experimenting with different colours, textures and shapes. I like figuring out how to enhance my already usually good skin and bright eyes. It’s important to me that I have this outlet to express different parts of my personality with differently styled makeup looks – it’s fun for me.
  • I very rarely leave my house without at least a little makeup on – BB cream and brow gel for sure – but that’s not an insecurity thing. I don’t have great skin all the time, my eyebrows are funny shapes and I have a really round face that makes me look about 6 years younger than I am. These are all things that I can (and do) change with makeup but I know that there’s nothing wrong with any of it – I accept the fact that my face is not flawless. I have no problem being bare-faced in public but I’ve never been the type of person who likes to feel sloppy. I’m not a sweatpants person, I don’t own any stained t-shirts, and I do not wear running shoes outside of the gym. To me, taking 5 minutes to put on a little bit of makeup goes hand in hand with putting on a pair of jeans instead of wearing your pajama pants to run errands.
  • For the most part, the makeup industry does not pander to the preferences of men anymore. We’re seeing this a lot more with unnatural coloured lipsticks, bold highlights and extreme contour becoming popular. If we wore makeup only because boys liked it, we wouldn’t wear half of what is trendy right now. In my experience, boys don’t like blue lipstick or neon eyeshadow or huge falsies. I own all of those things, I like all of those things and if a man is going to go out of his way to tell me I’d look better without them – byeeeee. This isn’t to please you honey, it’s for me. It’s a small way for me to express who I am to the rest of the world and if who I am that day wants to wear black lipstick and bold eyebrows, well dammit I’m gonna. Sorry, not sorry.

It’s important to be comfortable with who you are, and with what you look like. It’s absolutely wonderful to have total confidence in yourself and be okay facing the word without a good foundation and concealer combination to protect you, and I would never try to discredit that message. But a solid contour game and overdrawn lipstick does not mean I am insecure with who I am. So no, I will not participate in #NoMakeupMonday. I will not post a bare-faced selfie for your natural beauty initiative on Facebook. I will not consider going makeup-free for 1 week. I like wearing makeup; I don’t find it daunting or difficult. I don’t feel pressured to look a certain way, and I don’t find your ,”look at me, I’m not wearing makeup because I’m super brave!” attitude to be at all revolutionary. You’re no different than me, except my eyelids are gold and sparkly, and my lashes hit my glasses when I blink.

Advertisements

zach.

I’ve been watching Zach Anner’s videos for a few years. I first discovered him in a documentary about YouTubers called Please Subscribe, and then realized he does work with Rooster Teeth,a channel and community that I was already very familiar with. I quickly fell down a classic YouTube rabbit hole of watching Zach’s videos, and was drawn to his content because – well, because he makes funny videos and I like to laugh. But I stuck around and have continued to watch because Zach is inspirational in a real, honest and effortless way. He’s not one of those so-called inspirational gurus who post generic “mirror mantra” quotes on Instagram, or someone with a sad story who shoves his life journey down peoples’ throats saying, “if I can do this, SO CAN YOU!” You know the types. Frankly I don’t hold a lot of value in inspirational quotes or comparing your own situation to someone else’s unique set of circumstances.

Zach recently wrote a book, which I own, have read, and I can’t even explain to you how great this book was – please read it. In his book he talks about wanting to be seen for the person that he is, rather than just a guy in a wheelchair. At this, I think he has succeeded, because he’s never claimed victim status. He’s never really said, “oh, I can’t do this because of my chair”. He’s problem solved and said, “how can I do this, despite my chair?” And that, I think is so powerful and something that I truly admire.

Actually there’s a lot of things about Zach that I admire – his self-deprecating humour, his realistic-but-always-positive outlook, and his stubborn approach to what he wants to do with his life, to begin. Recently I had the opportunity to hear him speak when he was in my little hometown. He was here promoting his book and at that time, I hadn’t finished reading it yet. I got to hear some parts of it for the first time, directly from him, which was pretty cool. Listening to him speak was really wonderful, and hearing him share hardships and how he found his way out of them was, in all honesty, a wake up call. I was so moved by what he was saying that night. He spoke about believing in himself and not giving up – which is kind of cliche but like, there’s a reason it’s repeated by everyone, and that’s because it’s true. It just is. You do have to believe in yourself and if you give up, you really will never get anywhere. But my biggest takeaway from it was “what’s stopping you?” Like really –  what, exactly, is stopping me from doing what I want in life? And honestly? The only thing stopping me is that I just don’t know. I don’t know what I want to do, what type of career I want to have or where I want to end up. I really don’t, but at least now I know that as soon as I have that small detail figured out – there’s nothing stopping me anymore. Thanks for that lesson, Zach, and thanks for taking the time to chat about Rooster Teeth, hockey and Josh Flanagan’s sexy, sexy bod. You’re the man – truly. 

intent vs words.

The biggest problem that I see with so many people having the opportunity to share their voice on the Internet is that they often get criticized for things that they never actually said. Tone has always been something that’s hard to convey via text – from junior high arguments being started by a sarcastic remark on MSN Messenger, to public figures getting decimated in the news for a tweet that was meant to be a joke. Before you attack a person for something they said (or something you think they said), I would recommend that you take a moment to consider what they meant by what was said. Sometimes, there’s a difference. The speakers’ intent isn’t always reflected in their choice of words – or sometimes the audience chooses to project drama and negativity onto what the speaker was trying to get across. And in a world where you need to get your point across in 140 characters or less, your intent often gets lost.

This is something that’s often been at the forefront of my mind. I’ve always been pretty good at reading between the lines and understanding the thought process behind what someone was saying. In high school, I got caught in the middle of arguments between friends a lot because I was able to grasp both sides when they didn’t understand each other. I got high marks in English and Drama classes because I could see past written words and delve into how the author wanted their work to be read and understood. And more recently, I’m able to sympathize with public figures who say things that might not be as “politically correct” as our society demands as of late. In fact, this whole post was inspired by recent tweets from a singer named Jennel Garcia.

jennel

Jennel wasn’t implying that social anxieties aren’t real – obviously that would be an ignorant and plain ol’ incorrect statement to make. However, Jennel has a fair point: People, especially young people, use labels like “anxiety”, “depression” and “mental illness” as a crutch. These conditions are very real, and can be crippling – no one is denying that. While I know this and have experience with it, I also know that not everyone who says they have a mental illness actually has one. “Anxiety” is not a synonym for “shyness”, “depression” is not the same as “having a bad week”, and “mental illness” is certainly not parallel to “feeling off for a little while”. People say things like, “Oh my god, I’m so awkward, I don’t know if I can deal with this party,” because they’d rather be at home on Tumblr than go to the party. Honey, you’re “awkward” because you’d rather experience life through fanfics and text posts than actual social experiences. I know it can be hard – I mean hell, I’m 23 years old and I still don’t like showing up to social events alone because I’m afraid of feeling – you guessed it – awkward. But you’re never going to get past it if you don’t do it. Just do it.

I felt really sorry for Jennel while I was scrolling through the replies to that tweet. People didn’t understand that she wasn’t being ignorant or rude, she was trying to call out the fakers and say, “Hey, it’s not cool that you’re taking this very real thing that effects a lot of people, and using it as a trendy accessory.” If the people who saw that tweet and reacted negatively had taken a minute to see the tweets that came after, or the types of things she was replying to regarding the topic, they would have realized that she wasn’t being malicious, and in fact is very passionate about having honest conversations about mental illness.

I just think it’s something we should keep in mind – people deserve a chance to explain themselves. People deserve more than 140 characters to voice their opinion, but since that’s the platform we use the most, maybe as an audience we need to take a breather and think about the intentions behind what people are saying – most of the time these statements aren’t being made by bad or ignorant people, so why are we so quick to assume they’re being bad and ignorant? I’m sure we all know what it’s like to have something we’ve said taken out of context, and get a lot of shit for it. We don’t like it, so maybe stop doing it to other people, okay? Okay. I’m glad we’ve come to an understanding, People of The Internet.

(Hoo boy, I wish it was that easy to come to an understanding with the People of The Internet…)

Can I Be A Feminist If…?

…I wear makeup?
…I like Nicki Minaj and Beyonce?
…I come home and make dinner for my husband/boyfriend/father/whatever man I have in my life?
…I am not angry all the time?
…I really want to get married and raise a family?
…I don’t work?
…I let men help me with my car and plumbing?
…I like to impress men?
…I’m submissive in bed?
…I’m a man?

Yes.

It has come to my attention that I might be a feminist. I’ve always avoided using that term to describe myself, not because I don’t agree with the general terms and conditions it holds, but because I didn’t want to get lumped in with the crazies that the culture of Internet-feminists has brought forward.

However, at it’s core, feminism is about equality of the genders. All of them, however many you think there are. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines feminism as, and I quote, “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” Equality to men, not “gaining world domination by killing all the men.” A feminist is someone who believes in the general equality of the sexes. You can absolutely agree with those things while baking an apple pie for your loving husband who works so hard to provide a good life for you. That doesn’t make you any less of a woman, or a feminist.

Feminism is not synonymous with man-hating, burning bras, or general crazy people. If someone hates men and wants to let their nips fly around, that’s their own prerogative. You can believe that women are intelligent, hard working, and appreciate everything that they contribute to the world while still respecting men and their amazing accomplishments.

2014 was a huge year for feminism; we couldn’t go a week without seeing news stories and Twitter hashtags, and Facebook posts on the subject of women’s rights. Between #yesallwomen, heforshe, and a general uprising of sorts, specifically in the digital world, “feminism” became one of the biggest topics of the year. That’s like, 70%* awesome and totally something that needs to be happening, but it’s also 30% really destructive. Feminists have always had a reputation for being “crazy”, or had their anger at being considered second-rate blamed on hormones and PMS. It’s actually a huge part of the feminist movement itself; women don’t want to be seen as overemotional children who can’t handle real-world pressures, because they’re not. They’re angry because they only make $0.76 for every dollar a man makes, or because their opinions on politics are never taken seriously, or because certain men are constantly shitting out their condescension upon women’s heads. It’s frustrating. Women want to be taken seriously, feel safe to live their lives, and to be treated equal to men in the workplace, at home, sexually, and just… in general.

But with every good intention comes a downfall – this “fourth wave of feminism” that we’re experiencing right now is quite frightening.  In a lot of cases, the Internet can be an amazing tool but 80% of the people on it* don’t understand how to be a normal human person behind a screen. They take their platform and go bananas – please refer to my post entitled “Do You Even Understand Logic” for reference (and entertainment, because I’m hilarious).

Internet feminism has become so far removed from actual feminism that I’m honestly not even sure what their goals are. Because of the majority of SJW’s calling for the downfall and destruction of men, “the ultimate enemy”, a lot of people don’t want to touch the crazy. This is something that I’ve said often, but I need to scream it from the top of every building as loudly and as often as I can:

MEN ARE NOT THE ENEMY.

Men can and will be our allies. Personally, I know more men who believe in equality than I do women. That’s an amazing thing to see, and I don’t want insane people on the Internet to take that away. There will always be men who don’t side with feminism, who don’t understand what we’re “whining about”, but know that they are a minority. Hell, there’s women with those thought patterns too.

And that brings me to anti-feminism. I’ve seen a lot of feminists mocking women who say they “don’t need feminism”. They hold up signs saying that they don’t need feminism because they don’t feel threatened by the men in their life, or because they make enough money to support themselves, etc. I was like these women – I saw the SJW posts on Tumblr and it freaked me out. I didn’t want to be associated with a group of people that wanted to “break men” or who thought that all men had to offer to the world was sperm. That’s insane, offensive, disrespectful and frankly not something that any competent person would agree with. So I, along with these women, decided that feminism wasn’t for me. I believed in the equality of the genders, and that men and women both have amazing things to contribute to the world, so I called myself an “equalist”. As time went on, and I did more research, I realized that what I believed in was, in fact, this little thing called “feminism”. Ever heard of it? What SJW’s on the Internet believe in is… something else entirely.

So now that I’ve ranted all over the place for a while, all I really have left to say is this:

Hi, my name is Stephanie and I’m a feminist. After I’m done kicking butt at work today, I’m going to go home and make some soup for my boyfriend because he’s cute and I goshdarn feel like it.

* Why yes, I did pull these stats out of my ass. Thank you for noticing. Did you know that 64% of the worlds statistics are made up on the spot?**
** I made that one up too.  The troll is strong with this one.
[originally published 28 days ago on stephaniefaye.sbvtle.com]