A make up lesson – how much is “too much”?

make up free

Me without make up. Does it make me a better mum?

I read a tabloid take recently on women who wear make up to work. Needless to say, it was yet another occasion upon which the ladies under scrutiny – through no choice of their own – did not fair well.

The gist of the story was that bosses tend to look down on female staff who wear what they deem to be “too much” on the cosmetics front. I’ve googled like mad and I can’t for the life of me find the article so it must have been some online filler (no pun intended) designed to boost somebody’s ad clicks that day – the only reference I could find to anything similar dates back three years to a very dubious PR survey of about 5 people in the west midlands or some-such so I won’t link to it here.

The feature had a lot to do with lipstick, I seem to recall. Lashings of lippy = bad colleague, apparently.

So far, so cliched, and the rest of the article did not disappoint, containing exactly the sort of lazy man-bashing views you’ve probably second-guessed already… these disapproving bosses must obviously all be men and they must obviously all feel threatened/distracted/intimidated/aroused by being around attractive women in the workplace . Or maybe they’re just downright jealous.

I’m not so sure about that.

The men in my life don’t tend to bat much of an eyelid about the make up I wear at work, unless I’ve really, really gone for it. Television make up attracts the comments,  but that is utter warpaint in the flesh. And the guys have to wear it too. Put it this way – the age of HD has a lot to answer for.

Generally, it’s the women you need to watch out for, if you’re feeling self-conscious.

I once took part in a German exchange programme in secondary school and one of the visiting teachers, a colourful Fraulein whose name I have long since forgotten, had the misfortune to have a few wobbles with her eyebrow pencil.

For this alone she was utterly ridiculed by us, as openly as we dared. We were the archetypal bitchy English teenage contingent, despite being at a fairly experimental stage with our cheap cosmetics ourselves. It’s telling that 20 years later all I can remember about the entire scheme is a pair of badly drawn brows.

What has all this got to do with breastfeeding? A friend confided recently that she went to visit a “breastfeeding counsellor” because she was having feeding issues.

Only she made the mistake of throwing on a bit of eyeliner and some lipsalve on her way out the door. Despite her desperation the counsellor’s opening gambit was that obviously things couldn’t be that bad because she’d had time to put on make up, followed by an equally uninvited tirade about “career girls”.

Not exactly what you expect from a counsellor, is it? Even if she thought that – and clearly she did – why say it out loud?

It’s certainly a new one on me though – I hadn’t realised that successful breastfeeding depended entirely on ditching the mascara wand.

Except guess what – it turned out it was an undiagnosed tongue-tie, rather than my friend’s cosmetic regime, which was causing her problems.

Who knew.


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