Hate To Break It To You, But There’s No Way You Could Look Beautiful to Everyone

Fan Bing Bing by Ellen Von Unwerth for W Magazine 2013-003

We’ve all heard it this:

“She’s such a cake face”
“Yeah she might look good now but I bet she looks ugly without make-up”
“I think girls that wear so much make-up look so unnatural”
“Her prettiness is so attainable – it’s all make-up anyways”
“She has such bad skin – I bet it’s from all that foundation she puts on”
“Her skin is so gross – she should at least try to to conceal her acne with some concealer”
“She should care more about her looks instead of being so frumpy”
“I wish she would at least try a little to look presentable”
“I guess she’s ok – her eyes are too small though”

Somewhere in your lifetime you might have even said it too – it might have slipped out of your mouth when you were young, or you might have sincerely meant it without being malicious. In our society we actually live in a strange paradox where we actually criticize women for both wearing make-up and going barefaced. We can’t win.


By now, you’ve probably realized how unrealistic society is about women. Somehow society is is disillusioned into thinking women are able to be sexy, innocent, feminine, powerful and adorable at the same time. Society even recently found fault in being an average girl and having ordinary tastes by labelling her as a basic bitch.When you thought unattainable standards for your everyday woman couldn’t get anymore out of hand, enjoying Frappucinos and liking pink is now a societal crime.


If drinking frappucinos make me basic, then I willingly take on the title of being the most basic bitch of them all.

Well, the ‘natural’ look is another level of unattainable. It’s ok for us accept women to have make-up on, as long as they still look ‘natural’ – when they look like they aren’t wearing make-up. Women are expected to look effortlessly flawless and their appearance relatively unaltered even though our societal standards dictate that beauty is having large eyes, luscious lashes, perfect skin, rosy cheeks, and plump lips.


It’s all about power – a woman is expected to look like an unattainable standard to strip her from a power of choice – whether it’s barefaced or a full-set of makeup. Having an unattainable standard of beauty makes it easier for certain members of society to overlook a woman’s accomplishments by averting attention to her appearance: ex. it’s so popular to criticize Hillary Clinton’s pantsuit, Condoleezza Rice’s tooth gap, Madonna’s age, and Angela Merkel’s hairstyle.

Nearly everyday I wear a full face of make-up – foundation, circle lenses, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, lip gloss, blush, eyebrow pencil, and all the different products in between. I’m at my best when I look my best – even if I’m just going out for a quick lunch, a short meeting, or doing some work at Starbucks. My full-face of makeup shouldn’t diminish my accomplishments or categorize me as a certain type of person. Nor does it make me different from my bare-faced friend – she has different priorities than I do, and wearing make-up isn’t a concern to her.


Hey, I’m pretty sure I’ve been the recipient of any one of the mean comments listed above. I’ve probably been thrown a ‘cake-face’ here and there behind my back, and probably some comment about my foundation and my skin. But, here’s no way that everyone will find you beautiful (some strange people even find Fan BingBing or Megan Fox to be ‘ugly’), so corny as this is, only your opinion matters.

If you opt for smokey eyes and statement lips or a bare-face, no one should care except you. It doesn’t take away your ability to function as a person, nor does it add something to your personality.

And for the record, Hillary Clinton’s blue pantsuits look great. But obviously she doesn’t care for my opinion (or the opinions of dozens of magazines).