Every culture has variations on adornment; the ancient Egyptians used kohl for exaggerating eyes and today some women will claim to feel "naked" without any makeup. But have we created a sad reliance on (and addiction to) cosmetics?
According to a survey of 1,292 women, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of The Renfrew Center Foundation, 44% said they use makeup to hide flaws. The number of women who said they have negative feelings about themselves when they aren't wearing makeup was also 44%. Negative feelings about, you know, their actual face. Which, in most cases, is relatively normal, with two eyes framed by eyebrows, a nose, a mouth and skin that keeps germs and debris from entering the bloodstream. 48 % said they preferred the way they look with makeup.
Adrienne Ressler, national training director for the Renfrew Center, says this troubling:
Wearing makeup to enhance one's appearance is normal in our society and often a right of passage for young women…
There is concern, however, when makeup no longer becomes a tool for enhancement but, rather, a security blanket that conceals negative feelings about one's self-image and self-esteem. For many individuals, these feelings may set the stage for addictions or patterns of disordered eating to develop."
Here's what's really annoying: We've heard that makeup makes people think women are more competent. Yet a man can do minimal amounts of grooming — wash and shave — and get the same results, without spending time and energy on mascara or lipstick. (And just think of how much makeup we go through in a year!) It's one thing for a woman to have fun with eyeshadow or blush and choose to enhance what she's got, but it's really tragic that dependence on cosmetics alters a woman's sense of reality, making her feel that what she looks like isn't good enough — or worse, that she's full of flaws that need camouflaging.