For you, are femininity and makeup positively linked? - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 79 (permalink) Old 06-21-2020, 08:45 AM Thread Starter
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For you, are femininity and makeup positively linked?


so i've never seen a woman who wears makeup as having increased her femininity but it's struck me that others may and do (sometimes?) is this perception common, idk. how do you feel about this (as it relates to yourself and others)?

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post #2 of 79 (permalink) Old 06-21-2020, 09:09 AM
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Yeah femininity is expressed in the clothes you wear, the hairstyle you have, the makeup, and the mannerisms you express yourself with.

That's why being called a tomboy is a thing.
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post #3 of 79 (permalink) Old 06-21-2020, 11:04 AM
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Sadly yes because that's what I've been conditioned to my whole life. All the female faces around me (except for very young kids) always had makeup on, so sometimes my first reaction to a face without makeup is it looks unfeminine. That being said, it makes me appreciate it more when a woman has a beautiful, feminine face and goes without makeup. Taking care of one's health and having a radiant inner spirit are the best beauty enhancers.
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post #4 of 79 (permalink) Old 06-21-2020, 11:54 AM
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This is complicated for me. I can't wear makeup due to sensory issues and OCD--also the reason I can't wear pretty clothes or style my hair--and one consequence is I feel even more unfeminine than I already am. But it's not a true cause-and-effect thing, it's all mixed up. I've never felt feminine or "girly" in my life--I never liked dolls, never wanted to play princess, never wanted to dress up and it always irritated me when my childhood friends wanted to play with my extra-long hair (which, despite it being like the ONE thing that made me feel female, I ended up getting lopped off in adulthood--after my mother had forced me, crying, to get it cut shorter previously--to combat my OCD tendency to need it put in a "perfect ponytail" every day (because I hated wearing it down), which always led to screaming/crying fits when my mother couldn't get it right after numerous tries...I cried when it was cut for the second time too, fully believing nobody would be able to tell I'm female without it)...when I had awards ceremonies and such to go to, my mother always tried curling my hair (and was disappointed when the curls quickly wore out), blushing my face (other makeup was out of the question, I'd smear it off), and putting me in pretty floral-print dresses (I hate floral print) and shiny shoes (I hate shoes) and nylons (hate hate hate)...I was always uncomfortable and miserable. And discouraged that not only was I not into any of this stuff like I should've been, but I obviously wasn't the girly-girl my mother had wanted.

She actually bought me a fancy porcelain doll which slightly resembled me, pale skin, blue eyes, long brown hair, that is, if my hair had managed to retain its curl and if I'd liked wearing a dress...then told me I wasn't to play with it, it was just to sit on the shelf for looks. I guess it was a good thing I didn't care for it, though it did have an awfully pretty green velvet dress.

I loved a dollhouse for its detailed miniature furniture, but didn't care to fill it with dolls (which I didn't possess). We never finished assembling it anyway. I had a Barbie and it was vaguely fun dressing her in different things but I never really got into it and I never made up stories with her. I didn't care about Barbie's life because I couldn't relate. Ditto with the homemade Cabbage Patch Kid my mother made to resemble me (pale skin, blue eyes, long brown hair...and a dress ); I never connected with her the way I did with my plastic animal miniatures, my stuffed toys. I spent my childhood playing with those instead, and running around pretending to be a dog or a monster, not a princess. I identified with animals and imaginary creatures. (I loved Pound Puppies and My Little Pony. The original, not that crappy remake they have nowadays.)

While poking around in my parents' room once, I came upon my mother's makeup. Just this once, I tried putting on the lipstick, the blush, maybe a bit of eyeshadow. (Despite all I've typed, I do find eyeshadow to be quite pretty sometimes. Such beautiful colors, I resent that I can't wear it.) Gazed at the result in the mirror. I looked like a clown, like a sl*t (in my mind). Like a dumb child failing at dressup. I know, this was partly due to me not knowing how to put on makeup properly. But that wasn't the only cause. It was just wrong on me. I put the makeup away, washed my face off, and never tried any on again.

Never even got my ears pierced.

Eventually, awards ceremonies and family gatherings ended and so did my mother's efforts to make me look and behave like a girl. And now here I am today. Guys, when they bother to notice me at all, have said I'm not remotely like most women--and not in a flattering way, either--and I can't really argue because it's true. It's been true my whole life, it's only been recently that I've realized. Guys don't consider me female, much less a romantic prospect, and a vocal handful have been quite cruel about it, even while denying that I can suffer from the same loneliness and rejection they do (a weird contradiction, but apparently it makes sense in their minds). Trying to escape the ridicule of men and to find somebody who empathizes, I've attempted numerous times to fit into women's-only spaces yet even they ignore or outright reject me, and never notice or care when I'm gone. I'm not joking when I say I picture myself as some sort of amoeba, not male, not female, just...formless, invisible. I belong nowhere. No one will have me.

It's painfully lonely being an amoeba. -_-

...

Anyway, makeup and clothes and hair and girly-girl stuff. It isn't just that sensory issues and OCD prevent me from utilizing such things to make me more feminine. It's also that I just feel I don't deserve these things. Obviously, prettying up is for feminine people. People who can pull it off. Personally, I've always felt like a fraud when it comes to being "feminine." I have the XX chromosomes, and anatomical female parts, but that's it. I don't feel female (or male). I just feel like a genderless lump. In my mind, wearing pretty clothes (no matter how comfortable and flattering--and I've never found ANY that fit either one of those criteria, it's like they just don't make clothing for someone like me, which only proves my point that I don't fit in anywhere), styling my hair, and especially putting on makeup, is like committing some sort of hoax, tricking people into thinking I'm something I'm not, except I'd never even be able to do that, I'd never "pass." Everyone would see right through the girly effects. I literally feel that for me to put on makeup would be like putting lipstick on a pig. Or an amoeba.

...

So...I guess I have no positive associations, personally. Not because of how makeup and such look on others but because of me, who and what I am. Whatever it is. I'm not feminine, so feminine things won't work for me, no matter how desperately I wish I were girly and pretty and that just once a guy would consider me beautiful or attractive. I don't want to be a joke. I get laughed at enough just for being who I am, I don't need to get laughed at for who I'm not (but still wish I was).


...Don't know why I've spent all this time typing this up. I've mentioned this various times in the past but no one has ever commented, so I guess nobody else can relate, as usual. Freely disregard my mental vomit.

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post #5 of 79 (permalink) Old 06-21-2020, 11:56 AM
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No. Growing up I always saw the most makeup at church every weekend -- and I absolutely hated church. Makeup and perfume always seemed so fake to me, with all these women trying desperately to hide their age or their plain faces by caking it on. I also have an aunt who is extremely vain and ALWAYS wears tons of makeup, to the point that it always looked silly to me.

So I came to appreciate women who don't need makeup to feel confident. Or at least the ones who use very little, so that it's barely noticeable. But I'm also not a fan of femininity in general -- I like tomboys. I also know that I'm in a minority with all this, so meh.

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post #6 of 79 (permalink) Old 06-21-2020, 12:13 PM
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yes. I mean it's kind of traditional. there are many ways to be feminine.

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post #7 of 79 (permalink) Old 06-21-2020, 12:50 PM
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I guess? But if they're very masculine and they put on makeup I'm not going to automatically see them as feminine overall if that's what you mean.

edit: also it depends on the style too because obviously most people on TV are wearing makeup. And black nails aren't really coded as feminine either at best mildly androgynous but really just alternative. Having said that this seems feminine to me:



Having say a YT channel devoted to makeup also seems pretty feminine.

Oh and I never wear it (like I've worn face makeup less than 5 times ever but have worn nail polish especially black a bunch of times,) and I've never really been that interested in wearing it, but part of the reason I wouldn't is I have quite neotenic facial features so wearing it wouldn't be transgressive or theatrical or something. I'm not sure I'm really thinking 'oh no it's feminine' maybe I have at certain points, but there's definitely an archetype regardless I'm not interested in being part of which I suppose maps onto cute/feminine. I mean it's impossible to avoid to an extent but you know.

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post #8 of 79 (permalink) Old 06-21-2020, 01:09 PM
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I am for it, but it cannot be without other aspects)
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post #9 of 79 (permalink) Old 06-21-2020, 02:07 PM
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not really. I don't shun makeup but I don't wear much of it - mascara and lipstick and nothing else. I really hate foundation or anything that covers the skin. Even lighter foundations such as bb creams are too much for me. Some people wear a lot of makeup as a form of self expression but I don't think it makes them more feminine.
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post #10 of 79 (permalink) Old 06-21-2020, 02:17 PM
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To be honest I never notice if a woman has make up on or not unless its really heavily applied, which I do not like. Heavily applied make up just looks comical to me. I think people should just be who they are.


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post #11 of 79 (permalink) Old 06-21-2020, 02:37 PM
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Yes. Estee Lauder is a multi billion dollar company for a reason, lol.

I see makeup and femininity positively linked the same way I see cute dresses/skirts, certain mannerisms, etc.

Highly subjective of course.

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post #12 of 79 (permalink) Old 06-21-2020, 02:54 PM
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Yes. And wearing clothes that are for show and not for comfort. Tight clothes, shoes that men wouldn't wear, etc. Hair that is long and obviously requires time consuming upkeep. Using a purse rather than a backpack.

One of my coworkers tried to claim she is a tomboy but I really don't agree. She doesn't wear makeup or earrings and isn't super into fashion but otherwise she seems quite feminine to me. She gets her hair cut and dyed (color the grey hairs) professionally every 2 months. Gets a professional pedicure done regularly too. Uses a real ladylike handbag. Wears flats and not sneakers. She used to wear high heels at work everyday apparently before she started having back problems. She's not into sports or anything.
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post #13 of 79 (permalink) Old 06-21-2020, 02:55 PM
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Not a big fan of excessive makeup, a little is ok, women I've found most attractive have probably been more often than not leaning towards the tomboy/androgynous spectrum anyway.






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post #14 of 79 (permalink) Old 06-21-2020, 08:50 PM
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Culturally they're linked. Men aren't "supposed" to wear makeup, and women often feel they are "supposed" to wear makeup. If you're male and you wear makeup you're almost certainly going to appear more too feminine.

That doesn't mean that wearing makeup will make you seem more feminine if you're female and already relatively feminine. I expect most people feel that it doesn't make much difference because you only need to be feminine in so many ways before it stops having much of an impact on how people perceive you. Women in general don't need to wear makeup or have long hair to appear feminine because they have female bodies and voices, feminine body language, etc. If I don't wear makeup, though, I put my identity in question. That's not something that's going to happen to cis women but it's something I have to take very seriously. But I still don't wear makeup aside from a bit of nail polish.

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Originally Posted by tehuti88 View Post
Anyway, makeup and clothes and hair and girly-girl stuff. It isn't just that sensory issues and OCD prevent me from utilizing such things to make me more feminine. It's also that I just feel I don't deserve these things. Obviously, prettying up is for feminine people. People who can pull it off. Personally, I've always felt like a fraud when it comes to being "feminine." I have the XX chromosomes, and anatomical female parts, but that's it.
My therapist asked me why I didn't express myself more (makeup, etc.) and this is exactly the reason I gave her. I mean, I can't afford it, anyway, but I've always felt I don't deserve to express myself the way I'd like to because I'd just be an eyesore and offend everyone around me. I try to make myself invisible so that I'm not creating disgust everywhere I go.* I don't have XX chromosomes** or female parts to justify it in the minds of most people, either.

* This is where she gives me heck for internalized transphobia. But, y'know, honest feels and all that.

** I mean, I don't know. Maybe I have some funky XXXY stuff going on. I should do one of those fancy home tests. [Edit: Hm, well, tall, reduced body hair, gynecomastia, no muscle tone, problems with balance and coordination, "emotional symptoms such as anxiety symptoms [check], obsessive-compulsive behaviors [check], behavioral dysregulational [check] and emotional immaturity [check]." Have like 3/4 of the things on this list, lol.]

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post #15 of 79 (permalink) Old 06-21-2020, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tehuti88 View Post
This is complicated for me. I can't wear makeup due to sensory issues and OCD--also the reason I can't wear pretty clothes or style my hair--and one consequence is I feel even more unfeminine than I already am. But it's not a true cause-and-effect thing, it's all mixed up. I've never felt feminine or "girly" in my life--I never liked dolls, never wanted to play princess, never wanted to dress up and it always irritated me when my childhood friends wanted to play with my extra-long hair (which, despite it being like the ONE thing that made me feel female, I ended up getting lopped off in adulthood--after my mother had forced me, crying, to get it cut shorter previously--to combat my OCD tendency to need it put in a "perfect ponytail" every day (because I hated wearing it down), which always led to screaming/crying fits when my mother couldn't get it right after numerous tries...I cried when it was cut for the second time too, fully believing nobody would be able to tell I'm female without it)...when I had awards ceremonies and such to go to, my mother always tried curling my hair (and was disappointed when the curls quickly wore out), blushing my face (other makeup was out of the question, I'd smear it off), and putting me in pretty floral-print dresses (I hate floral print) and shiny shoes (I hate shoes) and nylons (hate hate hate)...I was always uncomfortable and miserable. And discouraged that not only was I not into any of this stuff like I should've been, but I obviously wasn't the girly-girl my mother had wanted.

She actually bought me a fancy porcelain doll which slightly resembled me, pale skin, blue eyes, long brown hair, that is, if my hair had managed to retain its curl and if I'd liked wearing a dress...then told me I wasn't to play with it, it was just to sit on the shelf for looks. I guess it was a good thing I didn't care for it, though it did have an awfully pretty green velvet dress.

I loved a dollhouse for its detailed miniature furniture, but didn't care to fill it with dolls (which I didn't possess). We never finished assembling it anyway. I had a Barbie and it was vaguely fun dressing her in different things but I never really got into it and I never made up stories with her. I didn't care about Barbie's life because I couldn't relate. Ditto with the homemade Cabbage Patch Kid my mother made to resemble me (pale skin, blue eyes, long brown hair...and a dress ); I never connected with her the way I did with my plastic animal miniatures, my stuffed toys. I spent my childhood playing with those instead, and running around pretending to be a dog or a monster, not a princess. I identified with animals and imaginary creatures. (I loved Pound Puppies and My Little Pony. The original, not that crappy remake they have nowadays.)

While poking around in my parents' room once, I came upon my mother's makeup. Just this once, I tried putting on the lipstick, the blush, maybe a bit of eyeshadow. (Despite all I've typed, I do find eyeshadow to be quite pretty sometimes. Such beautiful colors, I resent that I can't wear it.) Gazed at the result in the mirror. I looked like a clown, like a sl*t (in my mind). Like a dumb child failing at dressup. I know, this was partly due to me not knowing how to put on makeup properly. But that wasn't the only cause. It was just wrong on me. I put the makeup away, washed my face off, and never tried any on again.

Never even got my ears pierced.

Eventually, awards ceremonies and family gatherings ended and so did my mother's efforts to make me look and behave like a girl. And now here I am today. Guys, when they bother to notice me at all, have said I'm not remotely like most women--and not in a flattering way, either--and I can't really argue because it's true. It's been true my whole life, it's only been recently that I've realized. Guys don't consider me female, much less a romantic prospect, and a vocal handful have been quite cruel about it, even while denying that I can suffer from the same loneliness and rejection they do (a weird contradiction, but apparently it makes sense in their minds). Trying to escape the ridicule of men and to find somebody who empathizes, I've attempted numerous times to fit into women's-only spaces yet even they ignore or outright reject me, and never notice or care when I'm gone. I'm not joking when I say I picture myself as some sort of amoeba, not male, not female, just...formless, invisible. I belong nowhere. No one will have me.

It's painfully lonely being an amoeba. -_-

...

Anyway, makeup and clothes and hair and girly-girl stuff. It isn't just that sensory issues and OCD prevent me from utilizing such things to make me more feminine. It's also that I just feel I don't deserve these things. Obviously, prettying up is for feminine people. People who can pull it off. Personally, I've always felt like a fraud when it comes to being "feminine." I have the XX chromosomes, and anatomical female parts, but that's it. I don't feel female (or male). I just feel like a genderless lump. In my mind, wearing pretty clothes (no matter how comfortable and flattering--and I've never found ANY that fit either one of those criteria, it's like they just don't make clothing for someone like me, which only proves my point that I don't fit in anywhere), styling my hair, and especially putting on makeup, is like committing some sort of hoax, tricking people into thinking I'm something I'm not, except I'd never even be able to do that, I'd never "pass." Everyone would see right through the girly effects. I literally feel that for me to put on makeup would be like putting lipstick on a pig. Or an amoeba.

...

So...I guess I have no positive associations, personally. Not because of how makeup and such look on others but because of me, who and what I am. Whatever it is. I'm not feminine, so feminine things won't work for me, no matter how desperately I wish I were girly and pretty and that just once a guy would consider me beautiful or attractive. I don't want to be a joke. I get laughed at enough just for being who I am, I don't need to get laughed at for who I'm not (but still wish I was).


...Don't know why I've spent all this time typing this up. I've mentioned this various times in the past but no one has ever commented, so I guess nobody else can relate, as usual. Freely disregard my mental vomit.
hey, it's okay i read all of this (:

i'm sorry you're having a rough go of things.

maybe this doesn't make sense. but i think femininity isn't always externally visible. it's hard to explain but i feel like mine is an orb of light buried in my chest. sometimes it's dormant and sometimes it sends out pulses of light that i feel deeply. sometimes the sparks are so bright my skin glows and sometimes it's not visible from the surface. idk this femininity is in my soul. i don't wear makeup or style my hair but i've never felt like less of a woman for it and never will. i think you should try your best to not allow how others see you to define how you see yourself /: and i think you should be unabashedly yourself, whoever that is. anyone who tells you who and what you are and aren't isn't worth your time, thought or energy. humans care so much about the darndest things, don't they ~_~

i do want to add that if your ocd is hindering your life and/or self-expression to a degree that you feel is unmanageably harmful, perhaps seeking therapy/treatment would be beneficial?

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post #16 of 79 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 03:38 AM
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Femininity can be expressed in different ways. It's just society generally sees physical appearances and materials as the only ways of expressing femininity. Because these take the least effort for people to decipher. I guess the same can probably be said for masculinity with men too.

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post #17 of 79 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 04:18 AM
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@tehuti88

I don't relate to exactly what you're saying so didn't respond before, (I've felt insecure about being feminine before, but never about being not feminine/female enough so I guess the inverse,) but did read your post. I relate to feeling formless and not fitting in though.

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Femininity can be expressed in different ways. It's just society generally sees physical appearances and materials as the only ways of expressing femininity. Because these take the least effort for people to decipher. I guess the same can probably be said for masculinity with men too.
I don't think so actually (at least not just presentation.) I think body language and physical features signify masculinity a lot more. There are so many people who are very feminine acting but present in masculine ways, that having short hair, not wearing makeup, or even wearing masculine clothing doesn't have a huge impact. Where as if a guy wears feminine clothing/makeup that has a bigger impact than the reverse because of culture.

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post #18 of 79 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 06:02 AM
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Any behaviour, clothing or accessories used predominantly by one gender will be used to express and accentuate gender and be mentally linked to it.
What those things are can change over time, but I think it's unlikely that that dynamic will significantly decrease or go away over time.

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Culturally they're linked. Men aren't "supposed" to wear makeup, and women often feel they are "supposed" to wear makeup. If you're male and you wear makeup you're almost certainly going to appear more too feminine.
Fake tans, hair and beard products seem somewhat common in certain circles at least, so I think men probably will do more about their appearance in the future (aside from just working out). But I'm not sure there are any real options for actual makeup that looks good on men currently.
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post #19 of 79 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 10:08 AM
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Femininity is more than just wearing makeup. It's your posture, your attitude, your demeanor, the energy you project, how you speak, etc. You could be very feminine without wearing an ounce of makeup. What matters most is how you feel about yourself, you can be anywhere on the femme-butch scale as long as it suits your identity

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post #20 of 79 (permalink) Old 06-22-2020, 11:00 AM
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It can. Some women feel it makes them more feminine (whether that means confident, attractive etc) when they wear it. Likewise, some men feel that women who wear makeup look more feminine (again, with a range of definitions. This also applies to biological femininity as well - e.g. following the evolutionary idea, wearing makeup can make a woman appear more attractive to men, and thus help to find more attractive mates. But this is all generalisations - of course, some women and men don't agree/like this idea. And even those that do, makeup is only one element of femininity - other aspects such as personality come into play as well!x

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