Sunday, September 22, 2013

Make Up vs. Plastic Surgery: Where do we draw the line?

How far is too far?

One of many makeup looks that I created for the blog - Halloween 2011


Since I arrived in New York City, I have been hearing a lot of women saying that they feel naked without makeup on. For instance, "I can't bare getting out of the house without any make up on. I feel so naked without it, you know?" The thing is, I don't. It's not that I have a vengeance for cosmetics, in general, it's just that I can't fathom why a person, one who is presumably born in full nudity and would decay into nothingness, could have the fear of going out in public without a stitch of makeup on.

It baffles me even more when these women condemn women who go under the knife. You can't go out in public without any make up and you are against women who decide to change their face semi-permanently and/or permanently?

Hypocrisy has never been so abstruse.

Where do we draw the line?

First of all, let me draft a pro-choice clause that personally I do not intend to swerve your behavior and decisions. Do as you please.

A free form look

Second, as a lover of makeup, I have always been interested in how a dash of red and a brush of silver on the eyes could change a woman's entire look. I spend endless hours watching makeup gurus on YouTube creating both wearable and extraordinary looks. In fact, in high school I created a, now, dormant blog filled with my own makeup creations. On a daily basis, though, I do not wear much. I am well known for, perhaps, being the ultimate hypocrite: a person who buys and experiments with makeup but don't wear it in public. Throughout the years, I have gotten in arguments with my mother about the lack of make up on my face.


Having said that, I have considered plastic surgery, whether it is for the eyes or the stomach. To me plastic surgery is a new means of maintenance and reinvention. However, in my opinion, the idea behind plastic surgery is far from new. Yes, the technology is innovative but the underlying tenant isn't. For centuries mankind have fought to maintain his/her youth. The elixir of life has existed ages before the invention of a surgical scalpel or anesthesia.

Fundamentally, human kind strive towards immortality and idealizes youth. Cutting a part of your eyelid, wearing the eyelid glue, or putting on a dark flesh shadow on the contour of your eye are essentially the same. The only difference, perhaps, is in characteristic of the result. How long will the eyelid glue last? Does makeup contouring really have the same effect as eyelid surgery? How much effort do I want to invest to attain a certain appearance?

Third, what caused me to choke is the hypocrisy and lack of honesty of such behavior. Wear a ton of makeup for all I care, but don't preach when you, yourself have such a complicated (and dare I say, fake) idea of your own performativity in public.

So, where were we?

In Reaction to
Osama bin Laden's Death
Ah, I believe that someone who is afraid of leaving her house without makeup is mistaken for condemning another individual who undergoes cosmetic surgery as the motivation behind both treatment are fundamentally identical in nature. Again, even though the motivation is identical the result is not. Make up can be washed away at the end of the day, whereas surgical procedures lasts between a few weeks to a lifetime. Makeup rarely changes the structure of the face or the underlying tenants biologically, while plastic surgery does. The price also varies.

With the available of numerous options, human beings are predisposed to make a variety of decisions. Culture, values, and the environment will definitely play important roles in determining ones behavior. We need to realize that other people make choices based on a series of decisions, which we, ourselves, make on a daily basis. A woman who chooses to buy a $300 cream is likely to have thought about plastic surgery. Someone who uses a certain tool to get a tight neck might have questioned the possibility of getting a neck lift. A
nother person who wears push up bras could have done research on breast enhancement surgery. And someone who is on diet pills has probably looked into liposuction. 

We are all human here, with different and often overlapping concerns. I regularly find that my friends and I worry about the same thing but act in contrasting ways. Prematurely barricading a door is foolish in itself. Remember to evaluate your own behavior before condemning others.

Clearly, I have committed the same crime, I have judged and critiqued another person's words and behaviors. This leads me to the fact that we need to realize our own actions. Call yourself out before another person calls you out. Don't hide behind phrases such as "These are just my thoughts..." in hopes that another person will not feel offended. I am a hypocrite and I know it, too. We all are.

When it comes down to it there is no stark right and wrong, everything is a continuum much like the cosmetic and plastic surgery. On one there is a woman who is au naturale and at the other end of the spectrum is a person who has fully modified herself. In the middle there are creams, makeup, non-invasive and semi-permanent surgery, as well as permanent surgery. Everyone, please be aware of the existence of this continuum.

Note: I use "women" a lot in this article because the situation that triggered the creation of this piece involved women, only

*Author owns rights to all of the photos

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