In Her Skin: Sororities Go a Day Without Makeup


Today, on WSU campus, sorority girls were encouraged to “wear letters, not makeup.” We were told to NOT wear makeup, in order to let our true, inner beauty to shine through. I was nervous, but I did end up participating I have been wearing makeup regularly since sophomore year of high school. It’s accepted, it’s almost required as a girl to wear makeup. If a girl doesn’t wear makeup because she has clear skin, she is lucky! I do not have the best skin, it is far from perfect. I’ve been struggling with acne and the scars it leaves behind since I hit puberty. I have a very poor complexion because every blemish I get, it leaves a red scar no matter what I do.

Makeup and skin care in general have become passions of mine. So much so that I have worked in that business for the last 5 years or so. I’ve played around with all different types of makeup and brands of skin care to find what works best for my skin and so I can advise others on what may work best for them. I sell Mary Kay cosmetics in my spare time and I love doing my sorority sister’s makeup for events and parties. I refuse to leave the house without at least some concealer and foundation. I can skip the eye makeup if needed, but I do love playing with eye liner and shadow. I know that looking pretty and attractive means having clear skin, which in my case, means makeup.

My sorority has always made the point that if we are going to be wearing our letters or blocks, we need to look our best. Meaning, you need to not look like you just rolled out of bed. Hair is done, makeup is on. In fact, one year, we had a serious discussion about wearing sweatpants with our letters on them. We did not want to seem “scrubby.” We were told that if we were going to wear them, we still had to look presentable. And when the recruitment team for my house informed us that we should go this day without makeup, it was odd to me. Appearance is a huge factor and concern for us. We are not the biggest house on campus, we are strong, we are growing, but not the biggest. But because we have always been told to LOOK GOOD, over and over and over again, plus my own preference for makeup, I almost didn’t believe it. But, because it was a Greek wide thing, it was acceptable now. There were some girls I saw that weren’t going through with it. Some I knew were in Greek houses and they were in FULL makeup. It was kind of disappointing.

I was scared and nervous. I even said so out loud and people agreed with me. Some of my sisters called those of us who were nervous “silly” and inferred that we shouldn’t care about makeup. Well that didn’t help my attitude. I know they were simply trying to tell us we were naturally beautiful. It came off as harsh. This is a stressful thing for girls like us who have bought into the status quo of society and what makes us “pretty.” I know that appearance and attractiveness is very cultural and deemed by society and by all accounts “shallow.” But still, I believe it. I wish they would have been a little more supportive and understanding. I know I’m lucky enough to have a boyfriend that loves me no matter what I look like. 4 years together have taught me to embrace my inner and natural beauty. But I’m still responsible for looking good in public. I am not a size two, my skin is not perfect, I’m not tan, I’m not tall, I’m not a super model or a hot chick. But I like who I am, I like who I have become. Alex tells me I’m beautiful and pretty and “hot” all the time. I love that. HOWEVER! Society tells me I need to diet, tan, dye and mess with my hair and wear makeup and heels.

I did go most of the day without makeup. I didn’t wear any to classes or on campus, and I even had my picture taken with a few other sorority girls in honor of the day. However, I did break down and put some on for when I went off campus to study with a friend (I was weak…it happens). And I felt better. I wasn’t worried that people were looking at me and thinking “WHY?” Not everyone at WSU knew that we were supposed to not wear makeup. A friend even asked me if I was ok, she thought I was really sick! It is a great thing to participate in, showing the real skin beneath the makeup. It’s a stressful thing though. Especially when the house has been so focused on our appearance all these years. I know that that only things that is going to help people stop relying on makeup and the shallowness of appearance is if society and our culture changes. I’m not holding my breath.

I’m proud of myself for going out in public with all my scars showing. I’m proud of my sisters for braving it and going too.

Here is a picture of me with a little makeup on, and me without any makeup. It's hard to tell from the picture just how my skin looks. But hey, I'm posting a picture of me with NO makeup, on the internet...give me some credit.