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A Letter To Men About Women and Makeup [OPINION]

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This month, People Magazine released their yearly Most Beautiful People issue. In the mag, there is a special layout called ‘Most Beautiful Without Makeup’ in which famous women pose without their usual “Hollywood face” — without any type of makeup. Writer Emily V. Gordan wants to explain why this popular feature is just as important to men, as it is to the average woman.

Dear Guys, I hope you appreciate the wonder that is makeup.

People magazine recently ran, in their “Beautiful People” issue, a spread of women who agreed to be photographed without a stitch of makeup. People like Jessica Pare (Don Draper’s new wife on Mad Men), Paula Patton, Lily Collins, Zooey Deschanel and more agreed to bare it, grinning sheepishly into the camera with no definition to their eyebrows and nothing covering the little lines on their faces. Soon to follow was AnnaLynne McCord tweeting pics without face paint (see above).

This is huge, as most makeup-free shots of celebs are done while they’re running out of a grocery store with kitty litter, mortified.

I thought the women looked lovely and a bit different, so I decided to ask the general public, aka the Twitterverse, what they thought of Zooey’s pic specifically, as Zooey is often exalted to goddess-like levels of inspiration for be-banged girls like myself.

Here’s what I heard:

“She looks tired, like she’s working really hard/not sleeping. Also older. A little like Julianne Moore’s face. Also less pixie.”
“My first thought was she looked like a normal person.”
“Well, without makeup, her eyes don’t seem to ‘pop’ as much.”
“She looks a little older, but still crazy hot.”

Most girls, especially girls like myself with nearly see-through eyelashes and eyebrows, will tell you that when they start dating a dude, it takes them weeks to present themselves sans fardis. I think of myself as fairly happy with my looks and a feisty feminist, and yet I have been known to wake up at 7am to go wash my face and reapply eye makeup before crawling back in bed to wake up hours later, fresh and doe-eyed, with a new dude. And yes, she does look gorgeous without makeup on, but that’s not the Zooey we know. We know pop-eyed false eyelash Zooey, and we want to be her.

Is makeup a feminist issue? Yes and no. Sure, society judges us ladies if we don’t present ourselves a certain way, and sure, that way is basically unattainable without lots of money for makeup and also a makeup artist that gossips while dusting you with light-reflecting powder, but also, it looks cool. I like the fact that I have several different versions of my face, and I like the creativity involved with making my face look different ways.

But regardless of the politics, what I do know is that it’s time for you dudes to stop giving us crap about how much time we spend applying makeup. When we take 15 minutes to precisely line our eyes, we’re doing it in the spirit of becoming the unattainable, we do it for fantasy, we do it for the hope that whatever we look like before, we look like Zooey Farking Deschanel afterwards. Makeup is the miracle that makes the face do all the things that signal to cavemen that we are fertile and ready to have sex. (You know, the flushed cheeks, the wide open eyes, the red lips that look like labia, etc).

I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t know by asserting that women look different without makeup on, but as long as there are People layouts celebrating the naked faces of women that men drool over, there should be a bit of a salute to the work that everyday women do, well, every day. No one’s applauding us for going out barefaced, or for how big of a transformation we make with a bit of concealer and black powder, but if you’re in love with a woman and she wears makeup, do yourself a favor: Tell her that you love her without makeup, but that you love that she puts effort into herself by wearing makeup too.

Then sit back and get ready to get laid.

Read more of Emily V. Gordon here.

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