Time to kiss and make-up? | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Time to kiss and make-up?

Inspired by 'First Dates Hotel', Life&Style writer Caitlin Steele explores issues around accusations of wearing 'too much' or 'not enough' make-up

First Dates Hotel, a Channel 4 programme promising to 'help single people find love at a luxury hotel in the south of France' generated criticism after a recent show. The premise is simple – matching would-be couples in the hopes they will be a success.

However, a recent show saw Adam, 29, dump Kate, 26, for wearing ‘too much make-up’, after what appeared to be a successful date. Kate told her friend '[his] feedback was pretty brutal… he told me I wore too much make-up and it wasn’t for him and that he didn’t want it on his face.'  Viewers took to Twitter to criticize him, claiming he was 'punching [above his weight],' and that it was a women’s prerogative to wear however much or little make-up she preferred. The latter is of course true, but is criticism of Adam’s appearance any better than his negative comments about Kate’s make-up? These comments indicate a far deeper problem in our society, an obsession with appearance and adhering to the view of ‘perfection’ the media presents.

Upon googling 'first dates too much make-up,' underneath the top hit of the clip from the episode were articles advising “How Much Make-up Is Too Much?”, “Nine First Date Beauty Mistakes” and “Common Beauty Mistakes Made On A First Date”. In the age of Instagram, Snapchat, filters and Photoshop it’s no longer surprising that our obsession with appearance is overflowing into every aspect of our lives. Whilst it’s refreshing to see the general opinion protesting Adam’s comments, complimenting Kate on her make-up and condemning him for being narrow-minded, there are still those who question why he can’t have his own preferences. People are allowed preferences, but the make-up someone wears shouldn’t be a sole reason for a dismissal. In the same way the clothes someone wears shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, neither should make-up. These are things a person can change (should they wish to), or at the very least, non-permanent parts of a person, that do not impact their personality in any way.

The initial premise of this article was to discuss whether men should have a say in our make-up and clothing, to which a resounding ‘no’ seems obvious. But it isn’t just men. Women criticize each other, boasting about not wearing or needing make-up, as if it makes them superior to other women who do. The media encourages and breeds this negativity, teaching us to feel insecure enough about ourselves to invest millions in the make-up industry, only to turn around and shame us for wearing it. If you’re wearing bright lipstick and a smoky eye, you’ve got too much on. Just lip-balm and you haven’t made enough effort.

A compromise has been offered in terms of the ‘no-makeup makeup look’, which presumably was what Adam was hoping for. This is deemed an easy go-to – acceptable because you’re trying, but (God forbid) not too hard. But this is just as dangerous, the paradox of the name telling us we’re not quite good enough with no make-up on, but once we cover up those natural elements we call flaws (under-eye shadows, spots), then we’re good to go. Google ‘no makeup makeup’ and you get millions of hits, all promising to 'add a subtle glow', to 'make it look like you’re not wearing make-up at all', whilst listing the seventeen products you’ll require.

The problem here is so much larger than one comment on First Dates. No, Adam shouldn’t have rejected Kate because she wore ‘too much make-up’, but similarly, Adam’s looks, and whether he was “punching” shouldn’t be an acceptable response. Ideally, we would dress for ourselves and only ourselves, and everyone else would simply accept this. But unfortunately, this is not the case, as obsession with appearance continues to be taught and encouraged from a young age. Enhanced by celebrity shaming and social media, it shows no sign of abating.


11th February 2017 at 3:11 pm

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