Campaign encourages women to question make-up

By Olivia Garber

Robin Lane is encouraging women everywhere to bare it all this month — bare their… Robin Lane is encouraging women everywhere to bare it all this month — bare their faces, that is.

No Makeup March, the grassroots brainchild of Lane and her friend Julianne Towers, is a month-long challenge issued to women encouraging them to eliminate makeup from their everyday routine.

“It’s a way to stand up against what we’re ‘supposed’ to look like,” said Lane, a junior at Pitt and the political action chair of Campus Women’s Organization. She and her friend, Towers, created an event for No Makeup March on Facebook and hoped people from other schools would join in.

Towers, who went to high school with Lane in St. Louis, Mo., said she hopes the No Makeup March event will make women aware that they don’t need to wear makeup.

“Women have been socially crafted from infancy into certain gender roles. It’s been instilled into many, not all, women that this is your job, to put on makeup,” said Towers, a sophomore at the University of Tennessee. “Women are grasping at an impossible version of beauty.”

A customer representative for Maybelline, who declined to give her name because she wasn’t authorized to speak for the makeup company, said that women wear makeup to “feel good about themselves.”

“[Makeup] definitely boosts women’s ego and boosts their self esteem,” she said.

Frayda Cohen, a professor of the University of Pittsburgh’s Women’s Studies program, agrees with the Maybelline representative.

“A lot of women do say that,” Cohen said. “Why, I don’t know. Is it because they are really excited about appearances? Or have they bought into consumerism?”

Tian Qiu has chosen to not wear makeup during March. She is one of the 336 confirmed guests on the event’s Facebook page and said she joined because she thinks society has a lot of body issues.

“[The beauty industry] has gotten really good at forcing an image of female beauty. People don’t realize how pretty they are,” said Qiu, a freshman at Pitt.

Cohen said that choosing to put on lipstick is “harmless at worst,” but adds that if women begin to depend upon makeup, they are more likely to consider getting plastic surgery.

Lane said the goal of this event is not to ban women from using makeup. Rather, it’s to get women “questioning why [they] made that choice,” Lane said. “I want women feeling pretty waking up in the morning.”

“We just want women to feel comfortable in our own natural skin,” Towers said.

The push for natural beauty has been taken to a national level, with the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. According to the Dove website, Dove is “challenging beauty by questioning narrow, unattainable stereotypes of beauty and encouraging women to celebrate their own real beauty.”

A customer representative for Dove, who also declined to give her full name because she wasn’t authorized to speak for the company, said, “Dove is trying to get across the message that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.”

No Makeup March tries to emphasize that wearing makeup is a personal choice. The disclaimer on the event page reads, “No Make-Up March is asking you to examine why you decide to (or not to!) wear make-up — not telling you which route to feminism is the best one.”

“Women should support each other’s choices, but these choices should be ones they actually make,” Lane said.

Allison Norlander, a sophomore at Pitt, said she doesn’t necessarily feel empowered by choosing to not wear makeup.

“I don’t really pay attention,” said Norlander, who said wearing makeup has kind of become a habit, but whether she wears it depends upon how much time she has.

Less than one week into the event, Qiu’s choice to not wear makeup has had little effect on her life.

“I don’t feel any different. My life hasn’t really changed, which drives home the point of how unnecessary makeup is,” said Qiu, adding that not wearing makeup has “empowered [her] to get to class on time.”