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A woman wearing red lipstick, a perfectly chiselled face with the help of her coutouring skills walks into work, whispers and murmurs surround her. Her mind is lined with the thoughts of people talking about the amount of makeup she is wearing. Gulf News readers dicuss why some women are shamed for wearing makeup.

A lose-lose situation

Society shames women who choose to wear makeup or not

Makeup has been a part of women’s lives since forever. It is art, a form of self-expression. And it’s unfair of our society to put standards to it. How can art be put into boxes, expecting to look a certain way all the time?

Society’s ways also raise the question of the effect it has on young minds and the beauty standards they are forced to rise up to. When these young women seek validation by trying to fit into the same standard boxes that have been set up, they are shamed because that’s not the real them. And when women don’t use makeup, they’re deemed unattractive and lazy. It really is a toxic cycle, causing a lot of insecurities in young girls which follow well into adulthood.

We’re not really sure on what society wants from us. And trying to make them happy seems like we’re setting ourselves up for failure.

What we should be doing though is celebrating beauty and each other, with and without makeup. So, my advice to women? You do you.

From Ms Rujman Ishtiaq

Social media community manager based in Dubai

No to shaming

Let women choose their makeup preferences

I think that those who are shaming women for wearing makeup are coming from a place of privilege. If they themselves are confident enough to go outside barefaced or with minimal touch-ups that is great but not everyone has that. Someone might not have skin that is clear enough or have skin conditions like vitiligo. Others might have good skin but might have psychological and confidence issues and use makeup to help boost that.

On the other hand, people do things to groom themselves in various ways so why it is that makeup triggers some? Men get elaborate haircuts, use hair styling products and style their beards that can give them an entirely different look but we don’t equate these to ‘deceiving’ tactics or self-confidence issues. Sometimes women who wear makeup are just trying to look their best and present a well-groomed version to the world. We need to be more accepting to people’s preferences that are practically harmless and leave them alone.

From Ms Raya Khalid

Sales professional based in Dubai

Social norms play part

People find issues with what is different

Women wear makeup for many reasons, with some of them being personal preference. But I do believe some of those reasons are to fit expectations of a certain social context or situation. Although judging or shaming women for wearing makeup is a common topic and is frequently framed as a misogynistic or gender unequal stance, I think that makeup being expected to be worn in certain contexts and not in others is comparable to how one is supposed to dress or conduct themselves across different social situation, for example: work environment or celebrations or funerals. In a way, the expectations of wearing makeup and how much of it is just a symptom of how human societies conduct interactions within themselves to maximise and organise conformity based on each respective society’s cultural ideals, rather than a matter targeted towards how women behave or present themselves specifically. In short, deviation from the expected or accepted dominant norms will cause a reaction, with the severity of the reaction depending on culture and what the deviation was to attempt in ‘correcting’ behaviour and to encourage uniformity.

From Ms Amna Abudyak

International relations student based in Sharjah

Poll results

Does society pressure women into wearing makeup?

Yes: 41%

No: 59%

Have your say

Are women who wear makeup in work settings seen as more professional?