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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Blocking out the beauty standard

Student tackles cosmetic insecurities

“I feel like everyone’s been staring at me,” I told my roommates as I walked into the kitchen of our off-campus house. “I’m so uncomfortable.”

After a day of catcalls and wandering eyes, I wanted to fade into the background again with a bare face, where life was easier. 

I learned from an early age that whenever I wore makeup, people thought it was for someone else. In middle school and high school, people wanted to know why I was “all dolled up.” After all, “Boys don’t like it when you wear so much makeup,” they told me. 

By the time I got to college, I had started to wear less makeup. I just stopped caring about my outward appearance and subscribing to society’s idea of “pretty;” it felt easier to not be noticed at all. 

But I began to wonder if not wearing makeup was really my choice. Was I not wearing makeup because I didn’t want to wear it, or because I didn’t want the reactions I was getting? 

Carl DeMarco ’21, who began his journey with makeup when he was 15, said he started wearing makeup to cover up occasional breakouts, but added more techniques like contouring in college. 

“Over time, things get twisted, and as a society, we’re too focused on labeling people,” DeMarco said. “We just need to be like, ‘If it ain’t bothering me, then let that person do them,’ you know?”

The idea that I might not be wearing makeup because of what others thought lit a fire under me, and I became determined to get to the root of my insecurities surrounding cosmetics. 

So for an entire week last semester, I challenged myself to put on a full face of makeup and dress up every day. For a college student who basically rolls out of bed and throws on a sweatshirt and sweatpants for class, this was something I knew would take a lot of effort and commitment. 

Looking for others to help support my journey, I spoke with Sasha Zekavat ’23, who I admire for her bold style and ravishing tattoos that mirror her inner confidence. The only standards Zekavat seems to be concerned with living up to are her own. 

“Everyone has a certain type of relative view on beauty and what human beings should look like,” Zekavat said. “I feel like I don’t have to live up to the quota of every single person’s standards.”

Zekavat described to me how she arrived at that level of comfort. Through years of self-reflection and help from her support system that consisted of her family and her mom, she decided to stop caring about other people’s opinions of her. 

“I have never felt better about how I look or how I feel about myself,” Zekavat said. “It’s a beautiful thing that I got [to] that point.”

Another student, Taylor Stokes ’22, has been doing her makeup since a young age, which is when she said she developed her personal style.

“I was big with trends, so I was not afraid to wear whatever I felt like was nice and cool and looked cute,” Stokes said. “I had a very unique sense of style my entire life through different lip gloss shades or different eyeshadows and always tried to be unique in every sense.”

After talking to others about the ways in which they communicate their style through makeup and outfits, I began to feel less alone in my journey. 

On the first day of my challenge, I drew on my winged eyeliner, blended my foundation, and carefully applied blush and contour. I paired my look with a long denim dress decorated with my favorite art pieces from Vincent VanGogh. Although I loved this dress, I was so accustomed to my cozy loungewear, which helped me blend in, that I would never have picked it out to wear to class.

After that first day, I came home feeling proud of myself for completing the first step of the challenge. Although I knew I had a long week ahead of me, I was somewhat excited to see where a week of challenging my beliefs of appearance would take me. 

On the second day, I went with a sensible pair of jeans, a blue and white patterned shirt and a black fringe poncho. With light green eyeshadow on my lower lash line and bold mascara, I paired my outfit with a pair of peacock feather earrings, bubble braided hair and white combat boots. I was ready to take on the day. 

By the last day of my experiment, I decided to go all out. Bold, black cat eyeliner paired with a dusting of bright pink eyeshadow on my lower lash line made the green in my eyes pop. 

I had a much different feeling stepping out of my house on that last day. I felt proud of myself. Through a lot of journaling and internal work that week, I unlocked a new part of myself who doesn’t feel she needs to hide behind a certain look. Rather, the confident and spunky woman I know lives inside me was able to flourish. 

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