There are stark differences in how men and women are expected to groom themselves. While men only need to be generally presentable and well-dressed, it is not so simple for women. The cosmetics industry, worth billions of dollars worldwide, focuses almost exclusively on them–beautifying women is amongst the biggest businesses in the world. For better or worse, women definitely face more pressure to look good and to prettify themselves using the magic wand of make-up.
There is no denying that make-up, skillfully applied, makes one look prettier. A dab of colour on the lips or the eyes has the ability to dramatically improve your looks. It is not my case that women should shun make-up–far from it. I myself quite like wearing make-up on occasions, and I love how it makes me look. What I wonder is, as ludicrous as it may sound, why don’t men ever feel the need to enhance their features–why doesn’t something that looks good on the gander look good on the goose too!!
And is it just plain old social conditioning that makes me like to ‘look good’ with make-up despite finding the idea behind it oppressive, in that it pressures women to look a certain way?
In any case, it goes way beyond make-up. Threading eyebrows and waxing arms and legs is very common amongst women. Unlike make-up, these are painful procedures–yet most women willingly undergo them regularly, at an average of once a month. Now, I may be fine with using make-up, and game for anything that does not cause pain–but that is exactly where I draw the line. I have NEVER ever had my eyebrows threaded because I firmly believe that any beauty that comes with pain is so not worth it. As for hair-removal, there are painless options one could avail of.
Now, I have been told by a couple of management grad friends that they were told at the time of campus-placement to be sure to do their eyebrows and arms because it looks ‘professional’ and gives the impression that the woman takes good care of her appearance. I told both of them, and I so mean it, that if I were a management grad, I would insist all the more on keeping my eye-brows just so, in order to make sure that I didn’t have to work where they paid such minute attention to a female employee’s eyebrow, while men were exempt from such scrutiny.
It is, of course, argued that well-shaped eyebrows look feminine and so men do not need such interventions but just think of how well this scheme of things suits men! For men, bushy eye-brows are okay, even masculine, because hey, getting them done is painful. It is only expected of women to put up with that pain. And let us not even get started on the ever growing number of women going under the knife–the whole stream of plastic surgery seems to have been invented to beautify women.
Men sure have it easy when it comes to grooming !