For the last few days whenever I have been leafing through a newspaper or a magazine all I have seen are a spate of advertisements and discounts for make-up and creams that would make women better looking on International Women’s Day (March 8) and Mother’s Day (March 10). You can’t blame the advertisers for this because we women do need our make-up.
Recently I went to my locality studio to re-print my passport size photos but they had lost my file photos because of a virus attack. So I needed to get new snaps done. I hit the panic button. I had unwashed hair, tied in a ponytail and pushed back with a hair band. I had my specs on and not contact lenses. Then I fretted, “I am not wearing kajal and lipstick. How can I take a photograph like this?”
I was instantly put in my place by my husband. He said, “Are you going to find a match with this snap? No! Right? Get on with the photograph and don’t waste time.” The staff at the studio liked the joke and laughed and I glumly sat in front of the camera. Thankfully the deft studio guys quickly made me look like Deepika Padukone after Photoshop. And yes, I did look like I had make-up on. I quickly moved from glum to jovial.
This incident got me thinking. We women have become truly dependent on make-up. I salute those who don’t carry eyeliner and lipsticks in their bags and quickly fetch out a small mirror to replenish the gloss (thankfully I still know few women who don’t). Frankly, I haven’t yet managed to have my bag make-up free.
The question is if most men don’t need make-up to look good why do we? Maybe they don’t because they are naturally more good looking and maybe we do because we have not come to terms with our natural self in front of the mirror.
Although on a walk out with my son I don’t wear make-up but if I am out for my freelance assignments or attending events or parties I can’t do without it. I fear being judged for my “lack of grooming.” So once again society (or for that matter all those cosmetics manufacturing companies who make money out of me) have drilled into my head that I am not complete without make-up and I am bowing down to that perception.
When I arrived in Dubai I used to initially wonder how all the women in my office had their make-up perfectly in place all day when my lipstick was gone with the morning cup of coffee. I soon realized it had to do with touch ups every two hours with a folding make-up bag (holding every possible brand of cosmetic) rolled out in front of the mirror in the washroom. This sight used to really intrigue me.
And I was pretty shocked once when one of my woman bosses in Dubai decided to hire a girl despite knowing she was not too good at her job, only because she was, to put it in my boss’ words, “well put together”.
I have even seen if a woman does not wear make-up for a job interview employers sometimes, instead of taking a look at her impressive CV, quickly dub her “shabby”.
I wonder where this thing came from – that women will have to wear make-up to look good and be “presentable”. Make-up should have been an accessory to enhance our beauty if needed but it has become a necessity in modern life. Such a necessity, that we feel less and less confident in front of the mirror without it.
This is something that does not feature in a man’s radar that’s why I say they naturally look and feel good. Nowadays there are so many products for men in the market and treatments offered in the salons too. I am not saying men don’t go for it but it’s not in their psyche that they can’t do without it.
Yesterday, I was browsing through some with and without make-up snaps published in MSN and I realized Kim Kardashian looks so much better without make-up. Much better than the extended eye-lashes, over-done pouty look she flaunts most of the time. (Ok…ok I know she is ‘naturally’ so made-up anyway but still…)
In fact, I remember once Aishwarya Rai was shooting in Kolkata and I caught up with her for an interview at 6am. She was leaving the hotel for shooting and did not have any make-up on. She looked ethereal. I have never seen any women with such lovely skin and beautiful eyes. To me she looked thousand times more beautiful sans make-up than she does with it.
But will she go to a press conference without make-up? No way. (And chances are she will be criticized if she did so.) But I have seen Hrithik Roshan, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan doing exactly that- attending press conferences and events without make-up.
So are men naturally better looking than women then? Not really. But in my opinion they have learned to embrace their natural looks more wholeheartedly. Something we haven’t done yet.
But will we ever?
Darn!! I can’t find that foundation I bought yesterday that will make me look like I don’t have any make-up on. Err…sorry what was I saying?