The Break Up About Makeup

So I don’t often read The Mirror, it’s too closely related to The Sun and it’s mostly just scary fear-mongering bullshit you could pick apart for hate speech as easily as one could pick apart flaky pastry but I saw an article about a school in Manchester that are getting tougher on their makeup ban by having teachers come prepared with wet wipes to rub the makeup right off the faces of their students. Now, as British people, we like to fall into two polarised camps about the most inane shit (A 5p plastic bag charge is reasonable and environmentally conscious/ TAKE THAT SMUG CASHIER OUTSIDE AND KICK HIS TEETH IN FOR CHARGING ME FIVE PENCE) so obviously, this has the same level of division – some say it’s entirely understandable and students shouldn’t wear makeup of any sort and some say it’s unfair to enforce a series of rules designed only to affect female students that discriminates against them on an appearance basis. Where do I fall? Guess.

Now, I’m going to regale you with some more personal experience stories, because that is clearly very interesting. In my school days, I was not a feminist, I believed a woman had all the same rights as a man so by that definition I was but I could be prone to some deep-rooted casual sexism that a young man picks up in a male-dominated culture. One such sexist belief reflected itself when our school tightened the rules on makeup to include absolutely no foundation or mascara of any sort, plain face, aside from brushed hair and clean teeth, that’s your face done. The female body of students, or at least a good chunk of them, organised a sit-in protest on the playground and my initial reaction, at that time, was to laugh thinking “How pathetic, they’re really going to waste everyone’s time just so they can keep their precious face paint? Morons”. I thought it insignificant, not worth debate and when the protest fall apart after one particularly strong-worded ultimatum from a teacher, I laughed my teenage ass off. This big protest, I thought, fell flat at the first hurdle, well that says something for the people stupid enough to get involved in it that they wouldn’t defend it more stubbornly, seems even they know they’re time-wasters. Looking back on that, that’s not fair of me to say that about them and though the protest ultimately didn’t even last a day, the cause was valid, they were students not wanting to get into trouble at school is all. Well, allow me now to make amends.

Now, it may come as a surprise to some of you but when a woman wears make up or revealing attire, it isn’t always for the attention of others, especially when she is young. As a teenage girl hitting the ever so lovely stage of puberty, that girl’s face and body undergo a lot of changes, some that will empower her and some that will make her feel awful. Oh hey, that goofy roundish chubby child face has slimmed out? I look good… except it is covered in enough spots to look like a dot-to-dot of the Mona Lisa. Good thing I have this AMAZING PRODUCT THAT SUBTLY HIDES ALL OF THOSE IMPERFECTIONS… only that’s not allowed. You might say well hey, boys don’t get concealer, they have to endure a puberty of strained voices and greasy faces, why shouldn’t girls? Well, there’s not as much pressure on boys for their appearance as there is for girls, teenage boys aren’t supposed to be hot yet by societal standards, we accept that there are cute boys and hunky men but teenage boys are hideous and everyone is cool with that, aside from the odd joke. Teenage girls? Well that’s when a girl stops being a girl to society and becomes sexualised, it’s when people start mentally undressing her and wondering what kind of woman she’ll be. With men, it is not as obvious at what stage they are in their development, we don’t exactly all stand around like “Jim’s grown a few inches down there… he’s looking good” but we do notice that suddenly Ginger Katie got boobs and now everyone’s trying to convince her they never once called her Ginger Minge. The pressure mounts and with puberty varying from person to person, women can much more readily be left feeling weird and excluded than teen boys. All teen boys, bar the exceptionally lucky and unlucky, are spotty-faced sweat machines with weird voices but teen girls? Casey got hot, Sophie got super spotty, Tara currently has the biggest bust in all Year Ten, they are compared and criticised by their peers and, in a way, by their teachers. No, I don’t mean in a pervy way, let me clarify.

A female student who wears make-up is seen as masking something, as beguiling people with regards to her looks and depending on the varying degrees, some assume she is either just wearing a little to look good or a lot because she’s a full-on sexual deviant. The same is true of girls who wear short skirts at school, is she just a girl in a skirt or is she trying to catch the eyes of the boys? The students ponder this but so do teachers, who will then criticise overly… glamourous(?) students for “distracting the students”. This, this I hate, and no not because I enjoy oggling teenagers, don’t be so crude. If you send a female student away from a lesson to rub makeup off and wash her face, you send her out of class for ten minutes and that’s ten minutes of lesson time she’s missed and a lesson learnt in that your self-confidence in your appearance is less important than this class. I do so hate the school system for breaking down individuality into “Learn subject material and learn to regurgitate it on cue, the more you can memorise, the more you’re worth” and I understand arguments in defense of uniform appearance but this gets worse. The makeup, bad but worse than this, the classic “Go home and change, you are distracting the boys”

What?

1. I would rather discriminate against one girl than try to teach the future generation of men that they should not stare up skirts

2. Rather than punish the boys for perving on their fellow student and allowing themselves to be distracted from their education, it makes more sense to take you out of school for an hour because your education means less to me than theirs

3. I am telling you to change your appearance FOR THEIR SAKE. I am teaching you that your body is not your own, it is subject to the thoughts and perversions of men. If your appearance distracts a man, you are at fault.

With the pressure on girls to look good, they try just that, be it to feel good or to fit in, but we pin blame on them for trying too hard or not trying enough. Concealer and foundation, which do not distract a man, are not attempts to be fashionable but to cover over spots and flaws they know they will be bullied for having. I was a lucky youth, I wasn’t particularly spotty and where I was spotty, fell under my fringe so no fucker could tell most of the time, but if I had a face covered in enough spots to make a dalmation vomit, I’d want something to remedy the solution too. Don’t tell me Clearasil and Oxy and whatever are the answer, you try that shit, it takes six weeks to kick in and all it does is make the bastards a shade less red. Awesome, guess I’ll invest in a good paper bag. Women are forced into a lifelong beauty pageant, whilst school for boys is a battleground, school for girls is a Miss Universe contest so no shit they want to cover up that zit that looks like it needs its own postcode. Boys, we just comb our hair, wash our junk and spray deodorant, that is it, that is as hot as we can hope for but nobody gives a shit. Girls, unless teen you look like how films portray teen girls (As basically “You’ll hope I’m 18 or you’ll feel so weird watching me strut around in shorts”), you can bet cruelty will circle around you.

Oh, and one more thing, can we talk about how female teachers, in makeup, say makeup is unacceptable in a school? Teachers have their own dress code sure, but if we’re saying that makeup is a distraction, why is it only a distraction on teen girls? Doesn’t distract boys when teachers wear it, ever thought maybe teen boys don’t care? If they do, why are teen boys never challenged? This is my biggest thing, why was I never challenged? I recall one incident in which a student at my school, whom was quite attractive, had water spilt down her shirt and it revealed the bra she had on underneath. The teacher ushered her out and told her to go get a clean shirt and stop causing a scene and that she shouldn’t be wearing a bra that’d show so clearly under a white shirt. Yeah, her UNDERWEAR was not in line with school code, for being a bold colour that’d show up should she spill water down herself. She left, teacher looks to the lads who are of course discussing her bra and I happened to be sat near this group. Do we get told off or told to grow up? Nope, just “Alright class, settle down, let’s continue…”. WHAT? I didn’t care then but I care now, why aren’t they being called out on sexualising a fellow student and discussing her in an inappropriate manner but she’s a trouble-maker for wearing underwear? She didn’t start a wet t-shirt contest, she didn’t plan to perform a burlesque routine, she just happened to go “I’ll wear the black bra today”, that was that. She wasn’t distracting the boys, the boys distracted themselves with a lengthy discourse about tits, challenge THAT behaviour.

In summary, I don’t see makeup and short skirts as being a huge distraction, if anything making them banned in schools makes them a distraction when someone doesn’t adhere to that rule, as all rule-breaking behaviours are. Boys are not animals, if they care about their education they will not let blue eye shadow detract from that and if they don’t care well then hey, you are either a teacher/parent, make them care. If boys are so easily distracted by a short skirt, rein them in, don’t teach them that women are to blame for their minds straying, teach them how to focus, teach them that they’re going to encounter makeup and short skirts and attractive women for the rest of their lives, they can’t let themselves be distracted by it and they can’t think it acceptable to stare at their peers like they’re rotisserie chickens. Let teenage girls be teenage girls, let them build confidence in their appearance and in turn, let teenage boys know the difference between right and wrong.

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The Lone Wolf

Trigger Warnings – Mentions of death and loss

Hello again folks, nice to see my blog still did pretty well even in spite of my absence yesterday at this time, the party was fine by the way if you read my post yesterday. Well tonight’s post is another personal one, which I realise the ratio is tilting towards being more in favour of personal posts than political or whatever but this is my blog, my rules and I really just want to get things out there. Incidentally, sometimes people do ask how I can feel so comfortable telling the whole world how I feel about my personal life but truth be told, it’s more for my benefit than the audience, I can’t always be satisfied just wittering away to myself in a corner, I need a human response to what I’m feeling so I figure if I shoot enough arrows, one hits a target, if that makes sense?

Moving swiftly on, no doubt you’re wondering what’s on my mind then? I hope you are. I want to talk about my nature as a person, as I am now, and my disconnect with people around me. By now it is no secret that in my younger days I was not a friendly person, I liked myself a lot and maybe a few other people but for the most part I went out of my way to exude this frightening presence that told people not to approach me, my dress sense revolving around covering as much of myself up as possible in black leather and spikes, a bandana around my face and a wide brimmed hat on my head, even my hands were not visible under two gauntlets. In my full attire, only my eyeline was visible to the world, two fierce golden beads peering out with rage at everything and I barely spoke to anyone about anything. You see a part of being young is angst and identity issues and trying on lots of different looks to find an identity you think people will like until you realise it doesn’t matter and then you find your true self, well the dark demonic look for me was something I liked and something that gained me the response I wanted – respect out of fear and respect out of awe. For the most part, my attire gained three different responses:

1. “Ah! My god, you look like a demon! That’s frightening!”

2. “Wow, look at that guy, that is fucking bad ass!”

3. “Look at him, what a weirdo… there must be something wrong with him…”

I embraced all of these responses, even the third, to laugh at those people and welcome their prying eyes. I went out of my way to be as eccentric and jarring as possible to expose the judgmental nature of all my peers so I could tear them down and feel righteous in doing so. I wanted people to hate me and fear me because that made me feel powerful and soon enough I had a reputation as being some sort of monster in human guise, the “fucking sicko”, the “psycho”, to me it validated me as some sort of lord of darkness and further emphasised this romantic loneliness to who I was which fuelled some awful bleak poetry (You know the kind, it’s nothing but death/heartbreak metaphors from start to finish and usually talks a lot about blood and it’s supposed to be tragic but instead it makes you cringe). I was unbeaten in a fight, feared by all and an oppressed minority in my school because there was so many ‘normal’ people and only one me without a true match in all the school, there wasn’t a rocker clique for me to join or a leather-wearing badasses society, there was some goths and emo kids sure but I didn’t fit in with them either, I was me, I was the lone wolf, I was tragic and romantic and that made me feel like my entire life story would one day be a touching novel or heartbreaking play as I rose to greatness over them all and laughed from my lofty heights at their insignificant efforts to break me

So what happened? I noticed the consequences of my actions, I knew I could not always be Mr. Hard Nut because if you devote your life to having the loudest bark, your life is under the constant threat of meeting someone louder who pisses on your corpse just for trying it on. I suppose it hit home for me when my selfishness started costing me people I wanted in my life, when those around me had to struggle so badly not to give up on me altogether because despite it all, I did have a heart and underneath all that blackness was an inherently kind guy trying to get out, he was just a slave to the demon of his rage. I suffered a lot of loss growing up and it made me angry, I wanted the world to burn and cry and lose because I had done, I wanted revenge on God, I wanted everyone to feel as shit as I did until I took some time to stop, think and change. Why? Why make the world suffer? What would that fix? I would only be remembered as a harbinger of hatred, a bringer of chaos, the biggest bastard in the world and that was not the legacy I wanted to leave and despite what I am now, there are those out there who see my name and think only of the word cunt. I wanted to be called honourable, to be remembered as a lover and a fighter, not just a fighter. I then decided “If I live my life feeling awful, why not devote myself instead to making sure people don’t have to feel like I do, rather than making everyone feel like I do?”

See, as an atheist and a man of science, I do not believe in an afterlife and my concept of the immortal soul is instead that of the legacy we live, the stories of us that people tell long after we’re gone and whilst death is still tragic, I believe in life, in the significance of our actions whilst we were are here. No rewards await us, we must claim them in life. I believe all of us are, at our core, lonely people and life is a hard and horrid thing that we make better by being good people. Pick up some rubbish, talk to someone who is upset, let someone go in front of you in a queue, just do something, some little thing, because why not? Don’t worry about the whole world, just one good deed every once in a while because, maybe it’s not true of you, but seeing people be as horrid as I once was makes me feel bad myself, I see these people and see that version of myself staring back at me. I pick up a lot of other people’s rubbish, I’ve actually caught three people in the act and just taken it out of their hand and wandered off without another word, just because. I sigh and huff but I’d feel worse not doing anything. I know this sounds childish and maybe makes me come across as some sort of beatnik hippy “Love everybody maaaaaaan” kinda guy but I just think, I spent eight years of my life, from losing my mother to leaving school, dedicating myself to scorn and greed and I did that much damage, a whole world on that principle is a horrible thing

I’m not perfect, I am prone to selfishness or dickish moves on my part, sometimes my laidback nature can lead me to just think “Oh fuck it, they can just hate me for this” and I’ll do something or not do something for whatever reason suits me but I like to think I’m a better man than I was and that I’ve made a meaningful impact upon the world around me so that, God forbid, if something ever did happen to me, my eulogy wouldn’t be about how I was misunderstood and impulsive and full of sorrow but instead it would be about how I tried my hardest to be a man of love and honour, a good man who would be missed and that maybe someone out there, someone who knew me well, would remember what I tried to do and carry it on, not out of obligation to a dead man’s legacy but because it was a good lesson to learn in life

Apologies if this is a dark post, it’s been on my mind as I look at my reflection each night and truth be told, it’s one of my weirdest fears is actually what I leave behind. Morbid for a man only just approaching twenty but when you don’t believe in getting what you deserve after you die, death can be a subject you mull over at any given point just as it crosses your mind, which can be a lot of the time if you have a particularly large mind