Mainstream brands are bringing the boys to the yard. But #TeamCLEO wonders whether make-up should even be gendered. Medina Azaldin writes.
Let’s face it. We as women don’t always have it easy, but after generations of normalisation and conditioning, we do have one thing in our favour: Make-up.
Every five years, I bring out all of my mattifying primers and golden highlighters, reach for the most full coverage of bases and actually take the time to contour (which I almost never do). You’d think nights out and my wedding would be cause for glowing up. But no, I save the full routine and then some for — get this — the immigration office.
While I can proudly say I’m thrilled with my recent I.D pics, I can’t help but to feel a little sorry for the men getting their photographs taken. I am blessed to have all the concealers at my disposal while guys wear their spots and scars like the scarlet letter. Before you @ me, please know that I’m all for skin/body/sex positivity and you absolutely do not have to wear make-up at all. Ever.
Make-up is a choice, a choice that I feel fortunate to have, and one that everyone should have. But years of internalised gender expectations have taught young boys that certain things, like make-up, are traditionally feminine.
Why is this so, though? Men in Ancient Egypt lined their eyes with kohl while 18th Century French males were no stranger to fancy wigs and powder. A huge number of make-up artists and hairstylists are men, plus, plenty of men sit on the boards of beauty companies. Are we saying it’s only okay for boys to be into make-up when they’re telling women what to buy and how to wear lipstick? Thankfully, things are slowly changing so the beauty universe is open for all to embrace.
“Personally, I don’t see why a beauty collection needs to be gendered anymore.”
Cases in point: Covergirl appointed beauty influencer James Charles as its first male ambassador in 2016 and Jonathan Van Ness (a.k.a 1/5 of the new, well-loved Queer Eye squad) have been educating straight men on how to use beauty products. Chanel also announced a make-up collection targeted to the sirs in our lives. Named Boy De Chanel, the press release read: “Beauty is not a matter of gender, it is a matter of style.” This toyed with the crux of the release, which clearly stated: “Chanel launches its first make-up line for men”.
Personally, I don’t see why a beauty collection needs to be gendered anymore. A lip balm, is a lip balm, whether it comes in a plain black tube or a bright pink one. It’s time to recognise beauty as a safe space that’s open to all, no matter your gender.
Boy De Chanel Foundation, Eyebrow Pencil and Lip Balm is available at Chanel Beauty boutiques Mid Valley Megamall and Pavilion KL from 1st February 2019 onwards.