Thursday, May 13, 2010

Blogging in the Buff!

As soon as I read Jodie's post over at Mummy Mayhem, I knew I had to take up the challenge!

If you haven't read it (though you really should) she talks about what sort of message are we sending when we refuse to be seen without makeup? Is it simpy pride in your appearance, or an inability to accept our true selves and love ourselves for us, just as we are?

She also talks about the fad of magazines printing "Stars Without Their Makeup" specials. These have always interested me, like it's some sort of amazing, ultra-unusual thing for a woman, no matter how famous, to be seen without makeup. The stories are always pitched in a gasp-in-shock sort of style, like we shouldn't think it's normal to wear only your skin on your face.

Sure, sometimes it's nice to be reminded that only rarely do those women who you often compare yourself to (and find yourself lacking) actually look like that, and usually it's not just makeup, but a whole lot of airbrushing that gets them to that state, but it still rankles me that they are presented in such a voyueristic fashion, like we should be shocked and titilated to see such a thing.

Which is why Kate Walsh is my new hero. She recently attended a movie premier, red carpet appearance and all, with no makeup on! She twittered beforehand that she simply hadn't had time to get all made up, so went without. I think she looked gorgeous, she obviously has beautiful skin, and I would kill for her jawline.

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There's been some discussion that she appears to have some under-eye concealer on, and she is no doubt a Botox devotee, so she's not really au naturel, but I think for a Hollywood actress to go to an actual red carpet event with anything less than full war-paint is a spectacular statement about beauty, and self-confidence. Good on her.

I'm not saying makeup is a bad thing, I certainly wear it to special events, and usually even to work. It's funny that I referred to it by the colloqiualism war-paint just then, because I tend to use makeup for exactly that; it can be my armour. If I know I am going to be facing a situation that makes me nervous, or where I will be the focus of attention for any reason, I will wear a lot of makeup, with strong, bold colours to give me a sense of strength and boldness.

Why I feel like a few layers of foundation and mascara will make me smarter, quicker, more patient and eloquent is beyond me, though maybe not to anyone who has studied the effects of a looks based society on a teenage girl with self-image issues.

And here is the crux of the matter.

A few months ago, as I was getting ready for work, my own little Gorgeous Gal was sitting on the bed, watching me put my makeup on.

"Mummy, why you put on your makeup?"

"Uhh..." I had one of those moments we have as parents where several answers immediately come to mind, but you automatically censor them as you see how the conversation would continue. The obvious answer that came to me was, "To make me look pretty", but then I could almost hear her wonder to herself if she wasn't wearing makeup, did that mean she wasn't pretty?

Or I could've answered, "Because I don't like how my cheeks are always red, and I want to cover it up", and watched her little face cloud over as she remembers all the times I have delighted in the very same rosy tint to her cheeks and wonders if I really loved it after all.

I really had no good answer. Why did I wear this stuff?

In the end I stammered out an answer about it meaning I was taking going to work seriously (I know, WTF right??) and changed the subject.

And this is when she's three! What's going to happen as she gets older, starts examining her own self-image. What's going to happen when she inevitably starts comparing herself to her school friends and whoever the latest tween poppet is? What's going to happen when she starts reading Dolly magazine for Christ's sake? How can I tell my daughter that she is more than beautiful, just as she is?

How can I help her love herself just as she is, when I can't do it myself?

The issue of how I can teach her she is more than just how she looks is another issue entirely, but something I am working on. Yes, already. I want to get to her before the damn media does.

Since becoming a Mum, there have been more and more days where I simply haven't had the time or inclination to put on a full face of makeup, or even a swipe of lip gloss come to that. I would initially feel like I had come down to the shops naked. I felt insecure and frumpy. Suprisingly, nobody reeled in horror, or went shrieking down the aisles. Not once was I mistaken for the Swamp Thing.

Now, more often than not, I am bare-faced. My husband actually thinks I look younger when I don't wear any makeup. I am finally comfortable in myself. Well, from the neck up anyway, I'm still not happy in my body, I want it to be healthier and yes, slimmer than it is, but I still love it for what it can do. I have made peace with the ever-present dark circles under my eyes (I've always had them, they're not a tiredness or toxin thing), the blemishes I hardly ever got as a teenager but who are making up for it now, and my good Celtic skin that flushes beet-red at the slightest hint of exertion or emotion.

I'm hoping that through my example (and tireless brainwashing) GG will realise that you don't need a layer of makeup to face the world, and certainly not some beauty product with it's ridiculous pseudo-scientific and completely bogus claims to be beautiful. You just need to be healthy, confident that you are more than your looks, happy with who you are as a person, and your inner beauty will shine through. Of course, it doesn't hurt that GG is, in fact gorgeous.

So, after all my blah, blah, blahing: here it is, my example to my daughter... me in my natural state, no makeup, no hairstyling (and also no top of my head - sorry about that, taking your own photo is hard!)

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You know, I could sit here and point out all the faults and flaws I think I see, but actually, I think I look fine.



  1. You look more than fine. You look strong and confident and beautiful....

  2. You look great. And so wonderful to hear someone say they feel more confident in themselves. You've really got me thinking about what to say to my daughter in years to come though... uh oh, do they eventually discover how hypocritical their parents are? Damn. :)

  3. Oh, fantastic post! And you look wonderful. What a great example to your daughter.

    I agree with your views on Kate Walsh. If she's wearing a little concealer - who cares? She is pretty much make up free - esp in the red carpet world! A great example.

    I love your story about when your daughter asked you about the makeup. I have boys, so when they've asked me about wearing it, I've just said, "It's what girls do." But that wouldn't be the right answer for girls.

    You're obviously a very thoughtful mum. Your daughter is lucky to have you.

    Thanks for contributing!


  4. Isn't taking your own photo that hardest thing?

    I think we definitely set an example for our children, especially our daughters. What a great step in the right direction. x

  5. Oh, and the real you is pretty darn spunky! x

  6. Kate Walsh is my girl crush, I think she looks beautiful without makeup. I'm not a big makeup wearer, mostly because I don't have the time to do it. You look great without make up too. I don't think makeup should make or break you.

  7. We could all point out our flaws endlessly, but I love how we are all just going for the real us, no tweaking or fiddling. You look calm and lovely and strong and fabulous.

  8. This was a terrific post. You gave me alot to think about.
    And you look just great.

  9. you do look fine - fantastic actually!!

  10. You look gorgeous. I loved this post, you got your pint across beautifully.

  11. A great pic -a strong, capable and beautiful woman is in that shot -what better example for our daughters right?

  12. Fantastic post, I have even referenced you in mine, as you always have such great points. I often think about how my actions influence my daughters, most recently with shaving my legs. We owe it to our children to be honest about all this superficial crap!

  13. Love this post. I have the same dilema, wondering how I will teach my girls they are beautiful as they are when I struggle so much with how I look. You photo is beautiful and strong and confident.

  14. It's all been said above, and I agree with the comments. Strong, beautiful, confident.

  15. You look more than fine, you look beautiful.

  16. Oh my gosh, how perfect was your comment about only wearing your skin on your face... That really resonated with me. I think you're gorgeous :)

  17. You are radiant Quixy, just radiant. It is as though everything you just wrote is shining out of you!!! ahahaha that sounds lame, but I mean it you look lovely and that is a great inspiring post. Monte watches me apply makeup and its a whole different kettle of fish explaining it to a boy I should imagine in the future???? MEH -- what a great way to make us think about why we do the absolutely meaningless things we do. and ahaha love your "Taking work seriously" reasoning aha what the f indeed.

  18. Check you out! Gorgeous.

    I too worry about the example I set for my younger female relatives and friends (I don't yet have children) but I am sure you a doing a fine job with your daughter.

    P.S. I'm going to start following your blog, you write so wonderfully.

  19. I don't wear makeup. It's really just because I don't want to have to put the extra effort to wash it off at the end of the day. And I think I look fine without it.

    But then there are the days when I DO wear makeup and people always make comments like, "Wow, you look SO pretty!". This is what makes me super self-conscious!

    I hope my daughter NEVER feels this way!!!

  20. You look great. Your daughter is going to see that, whether you're wearing your makeup or not.

  21. You look very nice.

    I don't think Kate Walsh goes overboard with the Botox and it was nice to see someone in Hollywood not give a rip for a day.


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