Wearing makeup can be magical. It can make you feel like a million bucks for the price of a few. And, truthfully, it’s incredibly fun.
Our culture is rooted in ideas of hyper masculinity and separated by the boundaries of binary genders. Boys are supposed to be the antithesis of girls: tough, strong, masculine, and unyielding, as opposed to gentle, soft, feminine, and benevolent. The real difference does not lie in biological traits, but in the way we raise kids. Challenging how society says you are supposed to dress is how we can start to begin to change the culture.
This is not a new concept. There are celebrities that have intentionally challenged our idea of gender in ways that you may not have even realized. Cue David Bowie and Prince, both rejecting society’s ideas of masculinity.
Forever enchanting audiences and always looking incredible, Bowie favored expressing his identity through his clothing and music by writing about being gay and speaking about blurring gender boundaries.
A lover of brightly colored suits and glittering accessories, Prince smashed what the world expected him to be. Defying what it meant to be a man, on top of that a black man, Prince captivated the world’s attention. His incredible voice paired with his sense of style and stage presence put him at the forefront of pop culture. Prince is credited with becoming a genderfluid symbol, and rightfully so.
Musicians have been, and continue to be, at the vanguard of challenging masculinity. From Bowie and Prince to rappers like Jaden Smith and Frank Ocean, our culture is beginning to embrace what it means to be a multi-faceted human with diverse interests in clothing and expression. There is a new generation of artists pushing back against what society believes is the way to look and act.
Jaden Smith has received criticism for wearing “women’s” clothing and not acting as the young man society expects him to be. His next move? Wear more skirts, jewelry, and makeup. Frank Ocean wore makeup in a music video, prompting people to question and assume his sexuality. Tyler the Creator’s merchandise line is full of bright colors and flowers, making it uniquely him.
On wearing makeup and dressing in bright colors, Sahil Patel, a junior Humor and Post-Colonial Narratives IDIP student, believes it is a great way from him to express himself.
He is beginning to incorporate more vibrancy into his everyday wardrobe. Sahil serves looks every day with his curated color palettes and cute ‘fits, experimenting with colors and styles. “I like exploring,” Sahil says, “I like finding a color palette that makes me feel good.” Curating his own clothes forces him to make an effort and discover what styles look good on him.
Sahil enjoys wearing makeup and is unafraid to try new and bold looks. “Lets go wild,” he tells me, “I want it to be very clear that I'm wearing some dope ass makeup.” His favorite makeup is a bright blue eyeliner he owns. While he admits that he is not the best at putting it on, he loves the look and likes having his face done up for him. On his makeup look for the Blackout Fashion Show, he says, “It looked intense. I like that. It made me feel good.”
He says his next step is to try even more looks and wear more consistent styles. “I wanna fuck with glitter,” he concludes.
Femininity does not only belong to queer people and women. It belongs to everyone.
The desire to express oneself genuinely is within everyone. It is our job, as a society and culture, to allow everyone to wear makeup and bright colors. Pink does not belong to the concept of fragility meant to represent women. Pink is the sky after a warm spring day. Pink is the most beautiful smelling flowers. Pink is just a mix of dyes that looks good on guys (or anyone for that matter). Being in touch with femininity is not about the sexuality of a person, it is about being a kinder and well-rounded human.
Men should wear dresses and rompers if they want. Men should wear makeup. Why? Not to make an impressive statement about what it means to be a man, but because they want to and because they think it looks nice. “I think it's really good for confidence,” Sahil tells me.
Boys, if you are reading this, buy that eyeliner that you have been curious about. Wear that really nice pink shirt on a night out. Put some highlighter on those cheekbones. Do it all to make yourself feel better.
Fuck with glitter.
Photo by: Mike Zahar