Monday, August 20, 2012

My Guest Blogger Letty Rising had a hard time when it came to wearing Maybelline until her two daughters opened her eyes.

Letty Rising
I might be considered to be a most unlikely candidate to contribute to a blog that focuses on make-up! In truth, make-up has been something I historically could not be bothered with. Though I was a tomboy with a definite girlish streak, I never felt compelled to wear make up in my teens, or even into my 20’s. The idea of putting something on my face and then wiping it off each day seemed exhausting. From my vantage point it was repetitive, dull, and a waste of my time. Besides, I didn’t want to succumb to cultural pressure that demand I try to be someone I’m not and I believed at the time that make-up was something that society forced upon women.

Letty and her two girls, Zoe and Maisie
I recall proclaiming, “If some boy doesn't think I’m pretty just the way I am, well….I wouldn't want to be with him anyways!”

After the birth of my first daughter in my early 20’s, I decided that I wanted to buck conventional trends and dress her in androgynous clothing. I was bothered by societal pressures which insisted that girls wear pink and boys to have footballs smattered all over their clothing. I didn't want my daughter to succumb to the societal insistence of conventional beauty and glamour. I wanted her to be drawn towards things that fed her soul, not towards the superficiality of “bling:” flashy dresses, jewelry, and make up.

Letty and Zoe
You can suspect how I responded when my daughter was given an extensive make-up kit by her beloved aunt at the tender age of three! As a child born 3 days after Christmas, she was showered with a multitude of gifts during the holiday season, and I quickly saw that Auntie was not the only one who thought it would be a good idea to buy make up for my very-precocious-but-still-only-3 year-old daughter! Along came the kit from grandparents, then friends. When I gently protested (and I mean gently, as I’m not a person to make waves), the response was, “Yes, but she LOVES make up!”

Letty and Maisie
They had quietly noticed what I had been denying, in that my daughter was fascinated with the very things I tried so hard to keep away from her. We purposely had a television that only played movies, so that she would not be barraged by endless advertisements. I rarely took her to department stores and instead did much of my shopping when she was with her father or at play dates with children of my like minded friends, who all focused on organic, holistic living.

 I was determined to raise a healthy,

 conscious daughter who didn't conform to societal expectations of anything…including beauty.
During this crossroads moment in time, I did something that I've had to do numerous times since: I let go. I let go of my own prejudices and biases, and let my daughter enjoy what she enjoyed. And here began my intimate  relationship with make-up. It was through my daughter’s fascination and interest that I became more fascinated. After all, a little mascara to brighten the eyes, and some gloss to add shine to my lips…

Zoe with Maybelline Blush
why not? And you know what, I liked it. This isn't to say that I became an avid make-up wearer. I’m still too lazy for everyday application, but I delight in wearing it on special occasions, and even on not-so-special occasions.

I came to learn that my daughter wasn’t interested in make up so that she could please society, conform to social norms, or anything of the sort. She used make up as one of her many vehicles for self expression. She liked to change her look frequently as a child, and while I didn’t allow her to wear make-up out of the home very often, she dressed up regularly at home. 
Maisie putting on Maybelline eyeliner
She loved putting together outfits, and painting her face, and she became good at it. Her younger sister shared a nearly equal amount of interest in make-up, and when she was old enough to engage in pretend play with her older sister, they were doing themselves up for imaginary weddings, parties, princess tea parties, and so on.
When the kits were used up and the luster of buying make up wore off for the relatives it was time for me to replenish their stock. 
Maisie putting on  Maybelline eyeliner
I didn't know much of anything about make-up, except that I did wear just a little, some mascara, some eye liner, and a touch of lip gloss on occasion. I went to the store and bought the only make up I knew of…Maybelline. Perhaps it was the “Maybe it’s Maybelline” commercials that I listened to while sitting on my mother’s lap during episodes of General Hospital. Yes, it was. I chuckled to myself that I was a victim of the marketing strategy that preys upon comfort and familiarity. I placed my ego aside, and purchased some Maybelline make-up for my daughters, and haven’t looked back.
Zoe with Great Lash mascara
Just a few weeks ago, my youngest daughter, now 14, became aware that I was going on a sort of “date.” She says to me, “Mama, we need to put some make-up on you. Here, come sit down, so I can help you.” She pulled out my Maybelline wand, and began growing my lashes, at the same time chastising me for not trying to look my best. My 16 year old daughter chimed in: “Mom, when you put time into taking care of yourself, you feel better about yourself. It isn’t really about looking good, it’s about feeling good.”

So, my view of make-up has changed, rather drastically, because of my two greatest teachers.
Zoe and Maisie
They taught me that make-up doesn't always have to be about pleasing, or about trying too hard. They taught me that make-up can be a means for self-expression, and also, a means to feel good about ourselves. Wearing make-up doesn't have to mean that I am giving away my power to a patriarchal society that objectifies women (thank you, Women’s Studies courses in college!). It can be a means to an end for self-empowerment, and that is something I can get behind.
Letty Rising
Thank you for this adorable post Letty, you have been the teacher and the student when it comes to your two precious angels.  They say when the student is ready the teacher will come.  In your case, you had to wait until the girls were old enough to make up their eyes with Maybelline... before you were ready to follow their reflection!!!

 You have beautiful expressive eyes and I love seeing them made-up with Maybelline. 

You're definitely model material Letty, so flaunt it because you've got it.

        Maybe they're born with it.....Maybe it's Maybelline. 

Maisie and Zoe

Maisie and Zoe



Zoe and Maisie's friend Soleil


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