I hope you have all been well!
Today I would really like to discuss a topic that has been on my mind for a really long time, but I haven’t had the guts to write about it. I was about to write this post a while ago, and each time I would just purposely do something else in order to forget about it–but today I asked myself, why am I so scared? I’m just giving into my fears, when there is a topic that I truly believe needs to be looked into more closely.
I happen to love makeup because I feel great wearing it. I love trying new colours, new formulas and seeing what I can do with them. I enjoy talking to others about makeup, and I believe I have found a lot of great people online I feel connected to! I understand that some people believe makeup is negative because they think others wear it to look good and be accepted into society–which could be a reason why some people wear it. But I also do believe that makeup can make people feel good. It is a form of art. People have careers in the makeup industry, and others review products for a living! I think there are so many different opinions surrounding the topic of makeup, which is fine. To each their own. But there is one thing in this industry that bothers me a lot, and the example I am going to use today does not reflect the actual product itself in terms of pigmentation, colour, etc. This is strictly based on the packaging.
I have been a makeup junkie for a few years now, and every time I get a package delivered, I am so excited! Actually, I feel a bit empty when I’m not expecting a package…that’s a bit sad haha. Anyways, I have been a fan of The Balm Cosmetics for a while now, and some products (in Canada) are available at Rexall, but not many new ones. Therefore, I sometimes buy The Balm on their website, but I’m committing to a lot of shipping fees. I made an order about a year or so ago, not even thinking about the meaning behind the packaging of the Nude Dude and Nude Tude Eyeshadow Palettes–but as I began taking photos for my Instagram page, I was really alarmed by what I saw.
Do you see anything wrong with this packaging? My initial reaction was, “Oh! How cute!” But as I read all the words describing a male and female, I became a bit startled. Just look at the words describing men: Fearless…flawless…firm…fit…faithful..fabulous..and then look at the words describing women: Sassy…stubborn..selfish…sexy..seductive..snobby..stand-offish..
I have to say, the shadows in these palettes are great, but the messages being sent to women/men who look at this palette or who wear it are outrageous. Defining a woman as selfish, stubborn, or snobby? I feel like these awful stereotypes are told to women everyday through actions, media, online, and now even makeup. Comparing the two palettes, it definitely looks like they are trying to say men are more superior and better than women–as they aregiven more positive attributes such as friendly, faithful, funny. What does this tell us as women, putting on this makeup…BUYING this makeup?! I’m sure men who use this would also look back and think that something isn’t right here.
Not to mention, all of the women and men have a certain look to
them. They are all thin, and in the palettes a woman is defined as ‘Sexy’ and a man is defined as ‘Fit’. I just think something is completely wrong with this packaging. As a beauty addict, I do not feel right spending my money on an item that is degrading and puts genders down. It may just be an eyeshadow palette–and it is. But the thing is…this could be a little girls first eyeshadow palette she gets. And then she believes she needs to be all of these things to be a ‘woman’. Or someone can see these two palettes and instantly feel as though they are inferior to men. Or that a woman/man needs to become these labels in order to be a “real” male or female.These messages allow our society to accept these stereotypes. For example, sexual assault is a huge problem in our society, and it can happen to anyone. Many sexual assaults (not all) are perpetrated by men–and it is messages like these that allow men to believe it is acceptable to act in violent ways. It is scary how many sexual assaults actually occur, and how alcohol is the number one date rape drug.
We tend to be scared of someone actually drugging our drinks, or a stranger assaulting us. Which can unfortunately happen-but it could easily be drinking too much alcohol or being with someone you know and a sexual assault could occur. You may think that the guy is just being ‘friendly’ but then he gets a bit ‘feisty’ and says you are ‘stand-offish’, or being too ‘stubborn’ when he tries to get with you (see how I’m using the names of the shades..heh…). Or vice versa- the same could happen to a man.
My point is, these words and these palettes can impact someone a lot. It just reaffirms stereotypes told to us every single day to the point where we subconsciously believe it.
When I was in high school, things like sexual assault were mentioned, but not how it is discussed in schools today. We talked about the dangers of sexual assault, but never did I think I would be caught in a situation where I was sexually assaulted. Then it happened.
Note: This is a really personal story- I can’t believe I’m actually sharing it-so please be kind. if you are triggered by personal stories, please do not continue reading.
In the 11th grade, I was loving life-I had an amazing boyfriend, I had my group of girl friends and guy friends. Everything was good. Something in my family happened shortly around this time and I kind of lost it. I was upset, confused, mad, sad..and my friend (who is now my boyfriend, may I add haha) decided to have a small get together. I went, with the intention that my friend was going to drive me home as he was going to be sober for the night.
I drank a lot, as I was upset with what was happening within my family and I definitely had more alcohol than I should’ve. I only knew two people at my friend’s house and there wasn’t many people. Long story short, my friend ended up drinking, but his other friend…we can call him Walter (obviously not his real name aha) wasn’t drinking so he said he could take me home, along with a few other people. I said yes, as I wasn’t the only one he was dropping off from what I remember..
As the night went on, I kept drinking and perhaps I was being a bit flirtatious. Another girl and myself were dancing as we were both drunk, and we were having a good time. As we went home though, I sat in the front seat and everything is blurry from there. I don’t even remember really going home, or how I showed him where I lived. But I do remember doing something with him that I legally couldn’t consent to, as I was drunk–and just to note, he did not consume any alcohol. I was really upset that night, and I remember saying no at one point..but everything was so confusing. I don’t remember everything. I wish I did–but then again, sometimes I wish I didn’t remember anything at all.
The next day I woke up and I felt so sick. I called my boyfriend and we got together, and I told him what had happened. I felt so ashamed, worthless and scared. Instead of comforting me, or asking questions…I was told that I cheated on him, and he needed to think about what to do. I was speechless. I didn’t remember everything that had happened, but I know I wouldn’t have cheated on my boyfriend as I truly cared about him a lot. He ended up breaking up with me, saying that I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t want to…that hurt a lot. Because I didn’t want to do it. I lost a lot of my friends because of what had happened, as they took his side. I convinced myself that I did actually cheat on my boyfriend, and I was horrible and deserved what happened.
I messaged ‘Walter’ as well, and he was not apologetic and said I asked for it. I started to think…maybe I did ask for it? Maybe I was being too flirty? Maybe it is all my fault, maybe I deserved it? Maybe I shouldn’t have drank all that alcohol? So many maybes, and not enough answers. He didn’t really answer much for me either.
This happened years ago-and I’m still moving on from it. I have rarely talked to anyone about it-so it’s a bit ironic I’m sharing this with the world, or whoever reads this. If you’ve made it this far, I’m impressed.
The thing is, for years I have blamed myself for this and have asked myself how my life would be today if this had never of happened. After that night, my life was never the same. I have a hard time making friends now, as I really distance myself from others. I shoved my old friends away because no one understood–but I also never gave them the chance to understand. I’ve become much more anxious and I am now on medication for depression. I keep so many things to myself, because that is what I’ve become accustomed to.
To this day, it is still hard to admit that what happened to me may not have been my fault. I know I shouldn’t have drank so much-I take responsibility for that. But it is hard for me to accept that I was sexually assaulted, because no one ever told me thats what it could’ve been. I was just blamed for what had happened. Maybe it was my own fault? I don’t know.
My point to this story is that the stereotypes in these palettes aren’t a small issue. Those words re-surfaced what had happened to me-messages that are told to all of us every single day. These words can impact people’s opinions, actions, how they see others or themselves, etc. I told my story because some of these words really stuck out to me, and brought back memories I wish I could forget. I told this story because I was seen as ‘stubborn’ and ‘selfish’ whereas the guy who did it at the time, was seen as ‘firm’ or ‘fearless’.
Sigh. I wish I could have written this better. I’m nervous aha.
I just want all of you to know- that you aren’t alone, and these words do not have to define us. We can’t let words and stereotypes like these define us–even if it is just packaging on our makeup palettes.
Thank you for reading ❤