Men Wear Makeup. Men Learn That Beauty Standards for Women Suck.
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Every girl has a childhood memory where she’s flipping through a magazine or watching a TV show when she encounters a conventionally beautiful celebrity or influencer. From then on, this person will go on to shape her definition of beauty.

Kim Kardashian teaches us that pronounced contours make our face look sharper; Korean beauty demonstrates that pale skin, double eyelids, and a sharp chin make us prettier than the average woman.

And when we use Instagram, there is always another Pretty Young Thing ready to bat her false lashes and pout her lips because someone, somewhere, told her that would make her attractive.

Naturally, these unrealistic representations influence how and why we think we’re beautiful.

Needless to say, men don’t face the same kind of pressure.

Men might argue that they too are up against unrealistic standards of masculinity. Yet they don’t realise that these expectations are tied closely to how society perceives and judges femininity.

For instance, being sensitive and beautiful is the mark of a woman. Accordingly, anything a man does that resembles these traditionally feminine traits would deem him less manly.

To test this hypothesis, we sat down with three men to give them each a makeover (to the best of our extremely limited beauty prowess). We wanted to see if they felt any different before and after, and if they were able to empathise with one of the major hassles of being a woman.

Muhammad Shamil, 22, student

Shamil’s naturally defined cheekbones meant that he had no issue embracing his Kim Kardashian inspired look. In fact, he admitted he looked “fabulous”.

Still, he was adamant that he wouldn’t wear makeup, even if there was no stigma preventing men from doing as women do. His reason was simple and arguably ‘masculine’ in nature: makeup isn’t convenient.

“It’s definitely tedious. If I have to do this every day, it’s mentally exhausting. Just thinking of waking up earlier to put on makeup … I’d rather sleep. I’m too lazy.”

Daniel Ang, 26, student

Similarly, Daniel was able to shed light on why he assumed many women felt they needed to use makeup.  

“We have certain expectations about how women should look when they go for events, school, work. Women have to put on makeup to cover flaws and all, or to get men to view them differently. There are even women who go for plastic surgery because they might think they’re not good enough for their husbands.”

On the other hand, many women would argue they make these beauty decisions strictly for themselves. After all, looking better inevitably makes one feel better about oneself.

But Daniel has a point. To understand these women’s choices, consider where their definition of ‘looking better’ originated.

Lau Jue Hua, 26, fresh graduate

Like Shamil, the makeup process was a “giant pain” for Jue Hua.

“I don’t think I’ll be able to do it if I’m a woman. The expectation of going out and looking good all the time makes life difficult. When I go out myself, I just style my hair. I take five, 10 minutes maximum. Usually I can finish in three to five minutes.”

He added, “Women have more hair. They have to style and dry their hair then apply makeup. It can take them an hour to get ready.”

As for how he feels with a face full of makeup, Jue Hua said, “I’m afraid people will judge me, especially because I’m quite big-sized. People might think that I’m in drag; it’s a bit weird to see a guy wear makeup.”

He also suggested that society sees wearing makeup and “taking care of yourself” as feminine behaviour and, therefore, a “waste of time”. He believes men are taught to focus on their career, removing the same pressure to look good all the time.

It’s always struck us that being comfortable in one’s skin is a constant battle, one that few are able to fully surmount.

But if there’s anything we’ve learnt from this, it’s that our standards of femininity and masculinity are intrinsically tied to each other.

This post was sponsored by Huawei.

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