[Gender, Stereotypes &…Makeup?]

Hi, hello!

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..
Sorry, what?

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 ❤

Love always,

Jess xo.

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25 thoughts on “[Gender, Stereotypes &…Makeup?]

  1. Dom says:

    Jess,

    Thank you for sharing. I know it must have been tough to muster up the courage to do so. I think you are absolutely right. I have never even paid attention to the names of the labels as the only item I own from them is their Mary Lou highlighter. I’m sorry about your experience. This message is important and I hope it will not only be cathartic for you but a message that will also help others that may have gone through the same experience you have.

    Much Love,
    Dom
    http://www.calibeaute.com

    Like

  2. shireenplatt says:

    Oh Jess…I have no words, it’s disgusting what happened to you and for you to question and blame yourself for years, I can’t imagine how it must have been for you. I could only give you a virtual hug not out of sympathy but for your bravery to finally come forward and share this. You have no idea how much respect I have for you now.

    I had never ever looked at theBalm palettes this way mainly because I don’t own their palettes but now that you’ve pointed it out, I can clearly see where you’re coming from and I do agree that it’s a stereotype that we as a society is trying really hard to fight against. I will be sharing this post.

    Like

    • xxojess says:

      ❤ Thank you so much for reading Shireen, your support and kind message means so much! Thanks for being such a lovely friend- it has been so nice to connect with you! 🙂 xoxo

      Like

  3. m i k a (@hellohimawari_) says:

    You are so brave to share your story with us, Jess. You must know that it is NOT your fault. It is NEVER the victim’s fault, only the one who is hurting the other party. You should never feel that it is your fault, that you could have done something that would have changed it (as in blaming yourself) but this ‘Walter’ person was going to do this to you and no matter any situation. I’m very angry at your friends and others who blamed and shamed you. It disgusts me how people view victims of sexual assault when it is not their fault at all. Nobody should ever ask: what were you doing? what were you wearing? etc etc? It doesn’t matter. In the situation looking for BLAME…. it doesn’t matter on your part because you were the one who was hurt, who was wronged, who was damaged and ultimately disrespected. What you were doing does nothing about what the other person was doing. What you were wearing, how you were talking, how you were acting, etc, DOESN’T reflect about how the other person reacted. You were not controlling them, they were in their own right mind to do what they did. The victim is not the oppressor, and the oppressor is not the victim. Stop blaming the victim, and start holding the other party accountable. They can live their lives like nothing has happened but the victim is forever traumatized and damaged by it. It makes me so angry. I’m so hurting for you right now, I’m so sorry that happened to you. You truly must know that you can’t blame yourself, you are not what the problem was… he was. Not you. Yes, drinking does affect our capacity and we cannot control actions at times due to alcohol, but blaming the victim for the sake of alcohol consumption is NOT okay and it’s not where the blame should lie. It doesn’t matter if you were drinking alcohol or not, you DID NOT consent… you were NOT in the state to consent to anything… when you are drinking, especially so drunk, making decisions vs being sober making decisions are going to be two different things. Your walls are down, you can’t survey the situation, all your body is relying on is the small percentage of what conscience you have that isn’t diluted by the alcohol in your blood stream and system. I had a friend who was sexually assaulted by a family friend and I’ll never get over it, even though it did not happen to me and I was only 14 years old I was very close to this friend and it did impact me heavily since I was really trying to be there for them and help them through it.

    I’m so proud that you’ve done so well and tried so hard to keep on with your life and even though you have this with you, you’re still holding on. You really should be so proud of yourself for that. And the more people speak out against stuff like this, the more awareness can be made and hopefully change can happen. I respect you so much and you have all of my support.

    Going back to your original post, I did not buy these palettes because of this very issue. One look at these and I was really disgusted. I’m so glad you made this post highlighting this because this is so damaging to people, not just younger but even our age and older because we are programmed in society to think certain ways about female/male stereotype. We need to break free from those stereotypes and if we have things like this that put us back into our boxes, it just does nothing to help us. I understand that this brand’s look is very 50’s etc basically a time when women still had no rights at all but it’s degrading. We don’t need stamped words put onto our foreheads telling us who we are and labeling us. We are all so very different and to be kept within these terms is really just horrible. I’m not surprised that people haven’t really spoken about this w/these palettes, it’s society that teaches us not to question this but those of us who do we can help those to see better and do better. So I really thank you for this post!

    Sending you lots of positivity xoxo

    Mika
    http://www.hellohimawari.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • xxojess says:

      Mika,
      Ah I love you! You are so amazing…honestly, your words were so kind and sweet. Thank you, thank you. It means so much to have your support and your words really did hit me. I don’t know what else to say but thank you–your friend is very lucky to have someone like you. And I can totally see how that could impact you as well, as it happened to someone close to you..I’m so sorry. I hope your friend is okay.
      I’m glad you saw how degrading the palettes were before you even bought them!
      Thank you so much for reading and being so lovely! ❤
      xoxo

      Like

  4. Maddie Rodbert says:

    This is a really interesting take on their naming (not something I noticed when I saw these palettes) and you spoke about it really well! You’ve been really brave – the only way from here is up 🙂

    Like

    • xxojess says:

      Thank you so much Maddie! I think a lot of the time we don’t notice certain things (especially in the media, through packaging, etc.) and once we take a closer look, its scary how we didn’t see it before! I was in the same boat.
      Thanks so much for reading, it means a lot! ❤

      Like

  5. stephieestie says:

    I’m so sorry to read about what happened. 😦 You’re brave to share your story and will hopefully shed some much needed light to this issue. I must admit that I’ve seen the packaging for The Balm cosmetics but I never really read the names. I can definitely see what you mean though. Sending hugs. xo

    Like

  6. louisamay29 says:

    Thank you for being brave and speaking out about what happened to you.

    I knew there was a reason The Balm didn’t quite click with me

    Like

  7. myriskelife says:

    Beautiful post! Good for you for standing up and sharing this!! I dont have either of these palettes…and i too thought they were adorable at first glance. Honestly the world we live in today is sad…its really a mans world and its not fair. 👏🏼👏🏼 Bravo to this post!! And i truly hope sharing your personal experience has helped you!! You are definitely not alone and i hope you know it was not your fault. Xo

    Like

    • xxojess says:

      Thanks so much Cassandra! ❤ It means a lot that you took the time to read my post. Thank you for being such a great friend!
      And I totally agree..at first glance, it looks quite cute!
      xoxo ❤

      Like

  8. Maria says:

    I’m so sorry this happened to you Jess. Sometimes we think we are safe with people we are around and it’s so sad that there are always the ones that will take advantage. I hope you know it’s not your fault and you never asked for anything. Thank you for sharing your story. You are so brave I admire you so much. I hope sharing your story will help you move on.

    As for the palettes I don’t own them and I never even payed attention to it. I’m so disgusted to be honest and I’m so happy you pointed it out. It’s sad how this all works. Very good review my love

    Like

  9. Face to Curls says:

    Thank you so much for sharing Jess. You are very brave to share this and I applaud you for be courageous enough to write it. It’s funny, I have never even paid attention to the names of the labels from this brand as the only item I own from them is their Mary Lou highlighter. I am so sorry about what you went through and it should have never happened to begin with, no matter how much you drank. You were taken advantage of and IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT, always remember that Hun! Do not ever blame yourself Jess! This is such an important message and I hope that it will help others that may have gone through the same experience you have. Bravo again for writing such a touching incredible piece!

    Big Hug and Love,

    Ann-Marie

    http://facetocurls.com

    Like

    • xxojess says:

      Thank you Ann-Marie! ❤ I've really enjoyed getting to know you more and I hope we continue to get closer–you are so kind!
      Thank you for your nice words, and thank you for reading!
      xo

      Like

  10. Mybeautyfavs says:

    Jess, My heart broke reading this post. Im truly sorry this happened to you, it is not your fault. Alcohol or not, you were taken advantage of. I’m very proud of you for sharing your story. I know it couldn’t have been easy putting it out there but I believe you will help others. It’s so sad to think of the world we live in. These things are so common and most of the time they go unheard of. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

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