I have probably started and restarted writing this 5 or 6 times in the last 3 weeks because for me beauty and make up mean so much. When you tell people that you run a beauty blog their opinion of you suddenly changes as well as their expectations. I don’t know everything about beauty or make up but I have learnt a couple things over the course of my life.
When I was a tiny kiddie I played with mothers old make up, poured her expensive perfume down the sink drain accidentally only to fill it up with water and once got lost in Edgars in Kenilworth Centre because out of my own free will decided to go look at the Tinkerbelle or Penny Arcade make up. I was fairly girly. I already spent most of my time drawing and painting so creativity was engrained in me as soon as I could hold a crayon. But with having an older brother who teased me endlessly about ‘pink stinks’ and ripping the heads of my Barbies, my gendered toys eventually morphed into something else.
When I was 6 my family and I immigrated to Canada. Your life is thrown upside down and you are one of the different kids. The one with a funny accent. So you try to fit in. While in Toronto, I’d occupy myself by making potions using baby powder, water, flowers, lotion- anything I could find. Once my mom snuck up behind me at school and put her hands around my eyes and one of my friends asked me if I knew who it was. Because of her perfume, I said it was my mom. Quite next level for a 7 year old. During this time I became a fat kid. Whatever, I didn’t care. I made beauty potions and baked cookies when one of my grandmothers came to visit us and played baseball and hockey with my brother.
When we came back to South Africa soon before my 10th birthday, it was obvious that my brother and I were still different. We were made fun of and bullied because we had Canadian accents. I was still obsessed with long nails, perms and potions at this stage and my cousin, Kirsty (the closest I’ll ever have to a sister) and I would have my dad squish presstick and mould them into nails onto our tiny finger nails**. I blame those fascinations on my mom. She hardly ever has her nails short let alone unpainted. While she doesn’t wear a full face of make up, she wont leave home without lipstick on. I also argued about politics with my aunt and uncle. Let me add that desipte my love of beauty things, I have never been prissy in anyway. I like that about myself. I adopted an eff- you attitude that still resonates in me now.
My best friend in the world, Sophie and I were schooled in make up basics by her gorgeous older sisters, Lucy and Chloe. I owe a lot to them. They are the reason I know how to apply mascara and eyeshadow and how to shave my legs and swear like a sailor. Without them high school would have been much shittier. I remember hunting for black nail polish (this was before Chanel made it fashionable and only goths and punks wore it) and coloured my nails in with black marker day-dreaming about how cool it looked. Some rude, awful girl named something equally horrid and vile that sat in front of me in History asked me why I wore it with sheer disgust on her face and asked me if I was a goth. I said yes, and some other anti-establishment rebellious 15 year old thing making me seem more bad-ass than I actually was. To her, who’s the biatch now? I was ahead of my time you awful person. Anyway, I went to a very accepting college after that.
My entire life I’ve always been a chubby kid, always spoke my mind and stood up for myself. I think it’s also why the idea of shopping for clothes freaks me out, while make up excites me. There’s no sizes involved. The fact that I’m a very passionate feminist who can talk about sexuality, social and gender inequality while rocking full pin-up make up does not mean I’m a hypocrite. Equally just because I bake my boyfriend cookies and make dinner most nights does not mean I want to be Stepford wife or am not standing up for my feminist ideology. I love popular culture too. I’ve studied it for years. I love art and design and make up is an extension of that love. Wearing and knowing how to wear foundation doesn’t mean it goes against what I believe in. It does not make you cool in my book to not take care of your skin- you have one for the rest of your life. If you don’t get judged for painting on a canvas, you shouldn’t get judged for painting on your face.
So finally the question beckons: why do I write about beauty? I agree with everything Beth wrote here. I write about beauty because I find it interesting. I write about beauty because I like how it makes me feel and how much meaning I assign to it. I write about beauty because I like how people look at me puzzled when I go on beauty rants because they don’t expect it since I don’t wear make up everyday and if I do it’s so subtle. I write about beauty because I’m not a stereotype. Finally, I write about beauty because I fucking can.
Love, gender-equality and feline-flicks
**Despite our interest in perms and long nails, neither Kirsty nor I give a shit about it now that we’re ‘adults’. It’s funny how things changed and still say the same. I love you very much for having the same interest in beauty related things and finding it as exciting when a new lipstick is launched.