More than Makeup
I can remember at six years old being obsessed with makeup. It was colorful, glittery, and sparkly. My best friend and I would cover ourselves head to toe with all the body glitter and lip gloss we could get our hands on. Then we would ooh and aah at how pretty we had made ourselves look.
Fast forward ten years later when I was sixteen. The interest in makeup and a fixation with looks had not gone away from my friends and me. Friday afternoon getting-ready-parties were the norm. We showed up to the host’s house clad with our own goodie bags of eyeliner and blush. Ready to devote our conversation, time, and energy to our outfits, hair, and makeup for wherever my friends and I were headed for the night. It was a weekly quest for an unrealistic perfection that could never be reached.
The most pivotal declaration in my life so far occurred at a getting-ready-get-together on the first Friday night of my junior year of high school.
The chatter on this eyeshadow or that one, whether to use lip liner or not was endless. Painting our faces with makeup because it was simply the norm clearly took up so much of our time and effort.
I announced, “Guys, what if I went a year without wearing makeup?”
I received quizzical stares and doubtful responses at first. But I was serious. Their doubt only increased my want to do such a thing. I wanted to prove to them that you could spend this amount of time without lip gloss, eyeliner, or mascara. Once they started to warm up to the idea, my friends suggested documenting my experience.
That Monday, September 1, 2014, @makeuplessmaura on Instagram made its debut with a makeup free selfie post. For the next 364 days, I turned Makeupless Maura into a research project that explored all of the beauty standards prevalent for females in society and culture today. My research brought me to look into self-love and real beauty campaigns, the beauty industry, and how to have confidence in yourself, skin, and body. I posted on the account daily with updates on my progress and captions promoting a societal shift in thinking about beauty. I was a lab rat in my own experiment.
When I finished one year later, I felt senses of both completion and personal growth. I have continued to credit my increased communication skills, confidence levels, and intrinsic motivation to this project.
Since then I have realized that beauty expectations are not not the only female stereotypes that needed to change. Despite whatever society says, girls, women, and females can do anything. Women can be leaders, entrepreneurs, and creators. That's the definition of feminism that I believe in.
I felt the need to use Makeupless Maura as a new source and network for addressing all of the societal standards prevalent for women- not just beauty standards. This past fall, I morphed Makeupless Maura into MAKE by makeupless (@make.bymakeupless).
M A K E is stage two of Makeupless Maura. It is more than makeup. It channels the aspect of exploration that I completed in my original project, on females and the beauty industry, but broadens the platform to more than just beauty. MAKE, derived from Makeupless, signals doing and action- what MAKE is all about. On MAKE, we’re highlighting women, girls, and their supporters who are:
Making a change in the beauty industry
Making headlines as an entrepreneur
Making a mark as a female or female-supporting leader
Making up your mind to change society with a movement or idea
Making the list of artists, writers, and filmmakers creating content with a message
Making the cut with an inclusive or feminist style or brand
Making friends with a pro female community, network, or event.
The goal is to MAKE the voices of empowering gals and pals of gals heard, UP the knowledge on gender in society, and LESSen the negative stigma surrounding feminism. Makeupless Maura showed that social media can be positive and uplifting. MAKE wants to continue to be a positive force on all media with its social media platforms as well as website. There, you can find the top news stories on female empowerment categorized to ensure you are informed on all things women, girls, and feminism, as it is of increasing importance more than ever today.
Women and girls are erupting the news not only today, but for the past century. Change is happening because of this. The beauty industry, places of employment, and government must change and adapt to the current climate. Art, products, and clothing are evolving too, all because of trailblazing females who are making a change. We need to spread the message of what they are doing to make women collectively heard.
MAKE is your go-to place for female-focused news. Staying informed and being inspired can spur additional ideas, movements, and ventures that will make male and female equality happen. That’s empowerment.
I am empowered from my own experience fighting societal beauty standards. I want to make it easy to find more stories of others doing things to empower females too.
Empowered and Poised describes having inner qualities that allow us to be our best self. This is exactly what MAKE hopes to nurture and I hope to embody myself.
I am a go-getter. I am a dreamer and doer. I am a mover and maker. I am a female. I am empowered and poised.