I wonder why these items have fallen into the category of essentials for women. I’ve been making observations and mental notes of girls around me who wear make up for no special occasion (every day) and those who don’t. Albeit having been in the States for more than a year at this point of time, it still comes to me as a surprise that a majority of girls wear make up just as frequently as they brush their teeth. When a girl wears make up back home, it’s usually for an event or a day that deserves extra efforts to look nice. Yet many girls in the States would not even consider leaving home without wearing make up. Maybe there are girls in Malaysia who think and do the same way too, but it has not been the case for the people around me. Then I realize that it isn’t just make up that’s involved in the getting-ready-to-leave-home process every morning. There’s curling irons, hair straighteners and hair products involved too. Now, as someone who typically rolls out of bed half an hour (or 20 minutes on really lazy days) before having to leave to go somewhere, it was something that I found hard to wrap my mind around. “Wait, you get out of bed a whole half hour earlier just to curl your hair and put on make up? That’s such a foreign concept to me!” Personally, I would never give up sleeping time for make up or curling my hair. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against beauty products and looking pretty neither am I condemning those who do it every day. It’s simply that I have associated doing these things with weddings, dinner parties and special dates that I find it hard to imagine doing it on a day to day basis where all you’ll be going to is class.
Now I finally understand why one of the items on those glossy magazine articles like “10 Ways to Tell That He Loves You” is usually something about him telling you that you’re beautiful without make up on or something like that. While I think it’s good to want to look your best everyday, it is also very sad to hear girls saying that they can’t imagine being seen in public without make up on or doing something to their hair. What is it about the society that has made these girls think that they have to look a certain way in order to be deemed acceptable in public? Where does the pressure come from? Why the need to alter the way you look to find acceptance? I also find it sad when I realize that I have never seen some of my friends here free of the masks of beauty products.
It’s ironic that while individualism is one of America’s most prized and emphasized upon value, the pressure to look the way you’re supposed to seems to be disproportionately large.