Inquiry project — partial draft

Do all women agree that wearing make-up has positive impact on women’s career, improves her relationship with a partner and boosts her self-esteem?

I am sure that the answer is “no” to all three questions in the title, since, for each of these questions, I can find at least one women in the world whose answer would be “no”. Instead, I will focus on what’s the majority’s opinion. So let me first rephrase my questions:

1) Does wearing make-up have mostly positive impact on women’s career?

2) Does wearing make-up mostly boost self-esteem of the wearer?

3) Does wearing make-up improve woman’s relationship with her partner?

I have found numerous scholarly articles, online publications and blogs whose answers to the questions 1) and 2) is yes. The answers to question 3) are almost evenly split between yes and no. So this may be the most interesting question of our investigation. There are several related questions whose answer may shed light on the ambiguity of the answer to the third question.

3a) Do men in general find women wearing makeup more attractive?

From my research so far, it seems that the answer to 3a) is yes. So the question that comes naturally is why many men don’t like their girlfriends/wives wearing makeup when most of them prefer (are attracted to) women with makeup. The answer could range from jealousy (he is attracted to sexy women and wants her to be less sexy by not wearing makeup you know the old american song: “If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, make an ugly woman your wife” 🙂 ) to being concern about their partner’s well being or need for intimacy (make makes her alienated). This brings up naturally two more questions:

3b) How healthy or unhealthy is makeup for your completion?

3c) Are there distinctive psychological traits of men who answered “yes” and those who answered “no” to the question: “Do you prefer your girlfriend/wife wearing makeup?”

Questions 1) and 2)

For instance, in the paper, Cosmetics: They Influence More Than Caucasian Female Facial Attractiveness, published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, the authors statistically evaluated responses of over 300 subjects to 8 photographs of women taken with and without makeup. Women presented wearing cosmetics were perceived as healthier and more confident than when presented without. Participants also perceived women wearing cosmetics with a greater earning potential and with more prestigious jobs than the same women without cosmetics. The study concluded that women can employ cosmetics to manipulate their appearance and reap up possible benefits, such as being successful at a job interview or negotiating higher salary. By wearing makeup they may also benefit from a boost in positive self-perception and well-being that appears to be associated with wearing makeup. In another study Relation between facial morphology, personality and the functions of facial make-up in women, published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, the investigators concerned themselves with the study of relations between specific emotional and psychological profiles and the use of makeup. In an experiment, sixty-two Caucasian female subjects, that use makeup daily, were divided into two distinct groups depending whether they use makeup for camouflage (group C) of seduction (group S). Women in group S had mostly high self-esteem, high assertiveness and low anxiety, while women in group C had mostly low self-esteem, low assertiveness and high anxiety. The results of this article suggest that make-up is used differently, depending on psychological profiles of women, to manipulate their facial features to enhance their attractiveness, but in each case make-up supplication makes the wearer feel better about herself which leads to higher self-esteem of the subject. Yet another paper, Enhanced female attractiveness with use of cosmetics and male tipping behavior in restaurants, published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science, investigated male tipping behavior. This was a field study, as apposed to my two prvious examples that were condusted in a laboratory setting. One waitress was used in 15 week study, alternatively having a natural look and makeup look. The study confirmed the suspected outcome, that is that male patrons gave tips more often to a waitress who wore makeup and that when they did so they gave her a larger amount of money and that both male and female patrons found the waitress to be more attractive when wearing makeup.

These three scholarly papers give overwhelming evidence that the answer to questions 1) and 2) is yes. This answer is further supported by many online publications (to be continued)
and common sense (“my grandma knew the answers before they were scientifically proved” – to be continued)

I have decided to share some personal experiences with makeup. When I was younger, I didn’t like make up. I was against it because I thought it alters the a natural beauty of women. I did not realize the importance of make up until we moved to the Middle East. People here pay much more attention to their looks than people in the US. How you look is very important here, because you will be treated according to your looks. Women wearing designer clothes, shoes hand bags, expensive watches are treated better. Also Caucasian people are treated better that Asian people or people from Africa. I experienced it first-hand. When I am went shopping without make-up people treat me as if I was a maid. I don’t want to go into details, but believe me, it is not a nice experience. When I started to put on makeup, things changed significantly. Especially when I did a make-up that changed my face completely so that I looked Caucasian (I ended up looking like a Lebanese 🙂 ). So, looking back at those times when I did not wear make-up, I now realize I would have been much more successful if I was wearing makeup. Makeup can not only help you to conceal imperfections of your face, but also help to conceal emotions that you don’t want to reveal to the outside. For instance, during the interview for a position at MAC Cosmetics I was wearing full make up. I was very nervous and stressed and without make-up I would look like as white as a sheet of paper. But, because I had face drenched with make-up complemented with a strong red lipstick, I was able to hide my fears behind my make-up mask, like an actor in Old Greece hides used to hide his face behind a mask. So, using this mask, I was able to project a strong persona with mega self-confidence to the hiring manager and, of course, I got the job as a makeup artist 🙂 . Since that day, I started loving make up. I became to think of my makeup as a shield. It was a mask under which I can hide, and I can be someone else, a tougher and stronger person, who will not be so easily hurt.

Questions 3) (under construction)

In this blog post a women complains that her husband is upset that she stopped wearing makeup on Sundays after 22 years of marriage and that “he is worried that this is the beginning of a “downward spiral” for her into a messy, slobby woman with permanent razor stubble.”

In the blog post “My Boyfriend Likes Me Better without Makeup,” a women states that her boyfriend prefers her natural look. Furthermore, she states that “Men hit on me more often and women complimented my complexion.”

In her interview with Harper’s Bazaar Gwen Stefani‘s said: “I like to make my husband like me more, and he likes it when I’m wearing makeup.

2 thoughts on “Inquiry project — partial draft”

  1. Okay Imelda — you are getting it out on the screen, and I love that! I like that you dropped that first question (Do women agree), and then revised the focus on the impact make-up wearing has on women’s lives.

    I think your experience would make a great start to this project. Your feelings of being treated “like a maid” (can you give some details about how people behaved to you)? Then your using make-up. A photo — before / after of yourself? You tell us how the make-up transformed you to look Lebanese, but I’m thinking visuals will help supplement and prove this point you make.

    I love the point — my grandma knew these answers without researching. This shows a nice voice on your part, and it’s something you need to develop. Where to put this part about your grandmother — maybe try it several places — after some of the research. What about a photo of grandma?

    So the first two questions: Does wearing make-up improve women’s lives and self-esteem? You’ve found it does (and grandma knew that!). You’ll have to break these two down — perhaps a section on improving women’s self-esteem first, then the research on how — oh my gosh — research shows women with makeup are perceived as more competent, get better jobs, etc.

    Then transition to the relationship with partner part — because it is the most controversial in your research, and the most interesting. Since the research isn’t conclusive, and since this moves into the issue of gender expectations, it makes sense that this will be a big part of your argument.

    Make-up being good for your complexion — seems unrelated Imelda. You have enough on your plate!

    I hope my comments help you rethink and structure. : ) Look forward to talking to you in a Google+ conference soon. Look for round #2 sign up sheet next week. : )

  2. ALSO, the work you do as a make-up artist belongs in this project somewhere Imelda! Your Instagram is fascinating!
    How will you integrate it? Do you see any research that supports or conflicts with your own work experience?
    Think about this as you write your BETA draft. (Full rough draft)

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