I respect my friends who don’t want to shape their brows or wear foundation, but why should you judge me for loving my M.A.C. Ruby Woo?
More than 25 years back when my mother started her salon from our ancestral home in North Calcutta, she had to endure a deluge of criticism and taunts from friends and relatives. It came to a point where some people even refused to speak to our family. The general notion was that it is flippant, vain and most importantly, it will be a terrible influence on us (me and my sister) and will deviate us from our studies.
It did nothing like that. Rather, since we had such easy access to makeup and beauty therapies, we were not at all curious or distracted by it like some of my friends were. And I was as keen on studying English Literature, as I was in learning makeup tricks and skincare tips. It was all a seamless part of life. Complete credit goes to my mother, who didn’t flinch at the comments thrown at her and went about her business day after day, year after year with complete elegance and poise. She studied extensively and travelled across the globe to train herself. Beauty to her meant business, serious business. It became her path of creating her identity and asserting herself.
The battle was not her alone. While she faced the harshest possible criticism and people waited in the wings to catch her slip, I had to fight a silent battle, almost daily, through school and college. On one hand girls envied me because of the limitless access I had to the world of beauty, and on the other hand they assumed that I was not “intelligent” enough to take studies seriously. People were quite shocked to see their perceived “bimbette” actually gone on to complete M.A. and M.Phil degrees from JNU.
So finally, I had established myself as a girl with “brains” but then I didn’t pursue academics and I chose to become a journalist. If that wasn’t bad enough, I chose to become a beauty journalist. Now what was that? Beauty journalist? Is that even a genre of journalism? No, I am not exaggerating. These were some of the regular questions that were thrown my way ever so often.
Over the last 10 years the beauty industry has grown in leaps and bounds in India. It is one of the biggest revenue earners and its reach and influence is immense. There is no denying that this growth has created a couple of demons, which haunt our conscience – obsession for fairness and the lust for youthfulness being the top two evils. It is true that women feel pressurised to conform to these “ideals” of beauty. With increasing awareness and magazines dishing out false ideas of “photoshoped perfection”, looking good and “made up” has become a growing demand which does need a check. Hence, I return to the statement that I started with, I respect those who want to go makeup free. But I refuse to give up the freedom of freely enjoying makeup.
If returning to the natural look is someone’s expression of self assertion, then shouldn’t my passion for wearing my red lipstick and dark kohl also be seen as my statement? Isn’t it a personal choice?
My friend’s grandmother is 85 plus and she is never caught without bright pink nail paint on her well-manicured tips. It is a delight to see her lovely hands. They are wrinkled but that bright pop of colour is a reflection of her youthful spirit. Now, would you call her vain, flippant, superficial?
So ladies, who like me love makeup, next time you find yourself justifying to someone that why that lipstick colour makes your day. Just stop yourself. You don’t have to answer that.
Or perhaps you can just say – I love M.A.C Ruby Woo, and I shall wear it! Period.