I have a strange relationship with make-up. Its a relationship of great distrust and I have spent my adult years avoiding using it. In my early 20's, like a good feminista, I imagined that the make-up industry was a collusion. All of a bit of an plot designed to keep women poor (make up costs a lot), too busy to do something useful with their lives ( sourcing it, putting it on, touching it up, taking it off can take up a lot of the day), paranoid ('Im ugly if I dont wear it') and well, generally at the mercy of trends cooked up by the people that peddle women's magazines. And i still believe this is the case, but perhaps I wouldnt suggest that its a plot or a collusion anymore.
So whats changed? In the latest move to Tassie I left behind my (embarrassingly massive) feminist theory book collection. The heroines of my 20's (Susan Faludi, Naomi Wolf, Germaine Greer) are having a well-earned rest at our beach house on the South Australian coastline. They have served their purpose in helping me shape my views, but now do not dominate them in the way they once did.
I am older now. And Im OK with that. I look in the mirror and I see all the 'defects' that I am meant to conceal and the lines that could do with some 'smoothing'. I like these marks of age, they define me, they are me. BUT: i found myself at a make-up counter, a posh one, yesterday trying on an expensive foundation and was really surprised how lovely it looked. How lovely I looked with a layer of the perfumey and well, expensive, stuff over my skin. It was fun to try out another version of myself. A 'made-up' version. A conversion? Weird. Im still processing this idea. The sales women took pity on me I think (perhaps she couldnt believe a women in her 40's was so naive about her products) and she gave me loads of samples to try out. I had no idea there were primers, foundations, brighteners, concealers and powders that all do basically the same thing: cover up unevenness in the surface of the skin. Bizarre!
So I will 'play' with this make-up she has donated to the cause of this woman trying to make up with make-up. I'm not promising I will buy any of it though!