By Amanda Yarger
Freshman year, I eagerly raised my hand to answer a sociology question. Among the nearly 100 people in that class, I was seated toward the back, and I try to blame the following event on the fact that maybe it was my fault for sitting nine rows back.
My professor called on me by saying, “Yes sir?”
I may not be the most facially blessed, but even without makeup and my hair pulled back that day, I like to think I still looked abundantly feminine. When I finally pulled myself out of shock and answered the question, the higher octave of my voice surprised him.
Last month, Uma Thurman showed up for a premiere of show she’s starring in and rocked a minimal amount of makeup except bright red lipstick, slicked-back hair and a simple black dress.
Reports that immediately followed the star’s appearance included the star was “unrecognizable” and “freaked out” fans.
For anyone who may not be aware, Uma Thurman is the popular actress behind the “Kill Bill” series, who at 44, is still a knockout.
This isn’t the first time a popular actress has shown up and “freaked out” fans with minimal makeup- Renee Zellweger shocked fans when she donned a fresh face and received criticism for Botox allegations.
A quick google search of Zellweger’s name now yields results of headlines asking, “What HAS Renee Zellweger done to her face?” Whether or not she did indeed get Botox does not even appear to be the central focus of these articles anymore, but rather a condemnation of aging actresses who have the audacity to not wear makeup.
Journalist Tracey Spicer explains the consequences of societal expectations for a professional look on her daily morning ritual, from her TED Talk in January.
Between waking up incredibly early to work out to stay an acceptable size, applying chemicals to our bodies that have been linked to cancer, and squeezing into uncomfortable clothes- the growing list of responsibilities to attain that perfect look have become outrageous.
“Why do we do this to ourselves?” she asked. “Because, it’s [expletive].”
In more professional language, there is a general agreement that without a polished look, society views a woman as not serious about her career and ultimately, her life.
In 2011, Harvard researchers, funded by Proctor and Gamble, published a study stating women who wear makeup are more likely to be seen as friendlier, honest, and capable of more demanding work.
For female college students, we must not only excel academically, but often face a persistent struggle to maintain a pleasing appearance to others. This is not to say that girls who love to apply full makeup everyday are wrong- merely that those who don’t enjoy that shouldn’t feel looked down on.
In a study performed in 2014, researchers from the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology found women who wore less makeup were more attractive than those who wore 30-40 percent more makeup.
Of course, this is directly opposite of the study performed at Harvard, but has positive results for those who prefer the fresh face to light makeup life.
The health benefits of wearing less makeup obviously include fewer chemicals on your face, but also include allowing your skin to breathe- which can help skin heal, tame inflammation and reduce acne breakouts.
This isn’t new information by any means, but with the pressure to continually look our best, we may lay health benefits aside for layers of makeup we don’t need.
I propose to students who feel overwhelmed by these demands to rock those fresh faces and be proud of their natural beauty.
Amanda Yarger is a senior journalism major from Corpus Christi. She is a reporter and regular columnist for the Lariat.