“There are people who say, ‘What is the purpose of makeup?’ But we still wear makeup. Is it for the sake of beauty? Makeup does not heal thirst nor hunger. What do you wear makeup for?” I saw a new commercial for Kanebo that started with the narration.
In the commercial, women wearing traditional makeup from different countries are shown one after another, and it looks like the company is very conscious of diversity. It’s not just about race, it’s also about a wide range of ages, and the women in the video are so beautiful.
The use of music is also good, and the commercial is made in such a way that it is inspiring.
It was great.
Until I saw the message at the very end.
It says, “We wear makeup to live.”
I am not sure what was the producer’s intention, but as a viewer, I felt very uncomfortable at the end.
People may have different reasons for wearing makeup. However, if Kanebo emphasizes diversity of women in their commercial, I would have liked to see a commercial that deconstructs the social premise of “makeup for life”.
(1) Makeup as a rule
I’m sure a lot of people would say, “I enjoy wearing makeup,” or “I wear makeup for myself.” I like to use colorful makeup to change my impression of myself, too.
However, in addition to positive makeup, many people may also wear makeup to meet social rules such as “it’s good manners to wear makeup at a job interview,” “company rules require you to wear makeup,” and “people around you will make fun of you for not wearing makeup.”
In a world where people are more or less judged by their appearance, I feel that many people are imprinted with the perception that “women’s makeup = manner”. (Whether you agree with that idea or not.) It’s to the point where even job resumes require a photo to be taken, and it’s an advantage to be “beautiful” and have your resume professionally wear makeup.
No matter how much you enjoy wearing make-up, as long as there are certain “rules” of what you “must” do, it is an oppression of your appearance that is forced on you by others.
Even if you enjoy wearing make-up for living, the fact that wearing make-up for living (to get a job, to continue to work, to be promoted, etc.) is somehow made into a rule. The rule is a mechanism to make you feel “difficult to live”.
(2) Economic disparity and make-up
Now, if we have to wear makeup to live, what happens those who cannot wear makeup?
Because makeup is not a free thing. Makeup base, foundation, eyebrow liner, eyeshadow, eyeliner, blush, bronzer, lipstick, gloss, etc. All other types of makeup products cost money.
I understand that this is a Kanebo commercial, so of course it’s meant to get people to drop their money.
However, the message of “we need makeup to live” is a bit of a stretch for people who can’t even afford to buy makeup.
It’s not just make-up. There are many other things that are considered essential to live without judgment for women, such as sanitary napkins and stockings. All of these things we end up buying at our own expense. Some may say that you shouldn’t do it then. But the truth is, if a woman doesn’t use sanitary napkins and spills her blood when she gets her period, doesn’t wear stockings and wears no make-up, it’s obvious how society will judge her. It takes a strong will and ideology to spend time like that.
It may be an extreme example, but it means that it costs a lot to live like the “women” on TV and in magazines. I hope people will not think of that as the “standard”.
(3) Makeup in the Corona Era
Lastly, I’d like to talk a bit about the recent rise in remote work and social distance makeup. When I talk to some of my friends who work from home, they always tell me that they don’t wear makeup every day anymore, or that they rarely wear makeup these days.
If it was just for themselves, they would wear makeup at home, but the fact that they don’t wear it anymore probably means they are feeling the pressure of other people’s eyes and social pressure. While I think it would be a damage to the cosmetics companies, I think many women would be happy to be free of the “daily makeup”.
On a slightly different note, I haven’t used skin care products for about 10 years now. I wash my face with soap in the morning and at night and leave it alone. When my skin gets a little dry, I apply Nivea, and I don’t have any problems with my skin.
I’m not a naturalist, I just came here as it is because I didn’t have a lot of money to spend while I was studying abroad, so I figured if there is no problem, I didn’t use skin care products. I felt a sense of freedom from the things I thought I had to have.
Makeup may be different in some respects from skin care because of the intrusion of “other people’s eyes”, but I’m looking forward to seeing how my attitude toward makeup will change when it changes from “something I have to do” to “something I don’t have to do every day” through remote work.
But the truth is that with all the social pressure and oppression on women’s appearance, I don’t think the pressure to wear makeup will disappear at all in the near future. So, I would like to see the major cosmetics companies that market themselves as diverse to offer a wider range of options at the very least.