And no other woman should have to, either.
I have seen some pretty outlandish beauty products in my day. After all, I am 46 years old. I, at one point in my life, owned the popular torture device commonly known as an Epilady.
I have had wax ripped off parts of my body that made me cry. When we make ourselves cry in the name of beauty, we know something has gone horribly wrong.
Today, though, I saw enough. I’ve had it. I’m drawing the line at magnetic eyeliner to which fake eyelashes magically adhere. I’m not buying it, figuratively or literally.
If you are like me and you have ever shopped online for anything that may allude to the fact that you have a vagina, you are immediately going to be the victim of targeted media advertising.
This is how ads for products end up on webpages we visit and social media feeds we scroll through. I am growing wearier and wearier of the onslaught of ads designed to make me feel like I am a disgusting ogre if I don’t immediately fork over a large sum of cash to buy whatever product will fix my ogrishness. I made that word up. It was necessary.
According to my social media feeds, the following things are absolute crimes against humanity and must be handled immediately, lest we are shunned to some far corner of our village:
- body hair of any kind, even your on your toes
- eyelashes that don’t prohibit you from wearing glasses
- glasses, in general (unless they are used as a prop to make us look like a sexy librarian and then they are okay)
- thin lips
- cellulite on any body part regardless of the last time it was seen by a human being
- crepey skin
- fingernails not covered in gel, magical powder, or odd strips of colored film
I get confused about freckles. They seem to be allowed if you are adorable, under the age of 30, and have naturally wavy hair that makes it look like you have actually been to a beach. If you are over 30 and have freckles, those are now just age spots that you should cover with four layers of concealer, foundation, blush, and contour.
I can’t endure this bullshit for the same reasons I can’t watch any kind of makeup tutorial. First, I don’t care. Second, I do not understand this kind of sorcery.
A few weekends ago, I went on vacation with my boyfriend for the first time. Admittedly, there was some nervousness. We are mindful of our kids and boundaries and don’t stay the night together. Two whole days together would mean us seeing each other at every point in the day.
I had resigned myself years ago that I never want to be the kind of woman who goes into the bathroom at the end of the night to remove all her beauty products and exits the bathroom looking like a completely different person.
Had this happened, I am sure my boyfriend would have been more than a bit confused and not in the least bit happy. I would have felt like I tricked him.
But, there I was. Just a girl, with gray roots, crow’s feet, and increasingly crepey skin, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.
Nothing more, nothing less. I shouldn’t have to be concerned about anyone’s acceptance of me in that space, especially not my own self-acceptance.
When we habitually get sold all of these magic products designed to improve the way we look, it’s telling us one thing: we are not good enough as we are. I am not having any part of that.
Yes, there are things I do for myself because I like it. I do wear make-up, though minimally. I love having my nails painted because color in general makes me deliriously happy. I dye my hair because being stuck with the same color of hair for my entire life seems dreadfully boring.
None of these things are because I feel the need to change how the world views me.
This is not to say that women who partake in the application of fake eyelashes are out to deceive or are less strong than those of us throwing our middle fingers up at the concept of gluing foreign objects to our faces.
What I am saying is that I wish we were seen as inherently beautiful enough that these products never existed in the first place. I wish we could be allowed to be our Spanx-free selves without the continual reminder every time we open our computers that we’re less than.
Women have enough to worry about, like being Vice President, winning Nobel prizes, trying to solve global poverty, going into outer space, demanding equal pay, and making Supreme Court decisions.
Give it a rest with the eyelashes already. Our plate is full.