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Men, we need to talk about feminine beauty regimes (because most of you need an education)



One of the earliest discrepancies being men and women I noticed was beauty standards.

I touched upon this a little bit in my post about pop culture and the negative lessons about love that it taught me. In films we see nerds with braces and acne chasing after the picture-perfect head cheerleader. Then bitching that these beautiful chicks only fancy good-looking jocks. Can't imagine why an athletic good-looking female would prefer an athletic good-looking guy...

This movie trope plays into real life too. At school and in my adult life I've witnessed men who don't take much interest in their appearance expect any woman they date to look like a supermodel.

But that's not where it stops. We also have to put up with men complaining when women wear too much make-up. Moaning that make-up "lies", and raise their voice in anger when they realise how different a woman can look without it (because they were somehow led to believe that women are born with red glossy lips?).

Women are told to find a balance between having everything concealed but not to cake it on. That make-up is a necessity but don't take more than 10 minutes applying it. They want a natural beauty, while not realise how rare natural beauties are.

I know why these perceptions persist. The women in the media are (almost) always groomed to perfection, while men aren't always. We see a wider variety of men in the public eye: for every David Beckham, we also have a goofy comedian like James Cordon. This creates a disorientation as to how women in real life look and what constitutes as natural. The men I'm writing about might genuinely not have a clue just how much effort Hollywood starlets put into their appearance.

So men - especially those who find themselves attracted to feminine women* - let's get an education. Because some of you certainly need it.

1. You do not get to simultaneously be attracted to feminine women while mocking their beauty cabinet
A few years ago I was dating someone who I had already known me for a few years. He knew I liked lipstick, owned a beauty blog and took longer to get ready than him. But when he seen my bedroom for the first time and witnessed the floor-to-ceiling beauty cupboard? He scoffed at it and whenever I couldn't afford something snapped at me "well if you didn't spend so much money on beauty products".

I was around 23 at this point and not as well-versed in feminism as I am now. If that was to happen to me today, I'd probably tell him that if he wants to continue enjoying my soft skin that he compliments so damn often, he better not roll his eyes and my body scrub and moisturiser collection.

2. Beauty products cost a lot
A man who likes feminine women but has never lived with one, probably doesn't know how much all these products cost. A few years ago I wrote a "how much does my face cost?" post, and it came to £92.90 (you can read the post here).

Just as you shouldn't scoff at the amount of products a feminine woman owns, you shouldn't scoff at the number at the checkout till. Especially if you are attracted to women who take care of their appearance.

3. And yes, it takes a lot of time 
I get up about an hour and a half before work, which isn't too strange - but I don't wear much make-up to work.

If I am going on a night out though, I start getting ready with three hours to spare. Three hours? Well between the shower, hair removal, eyebrow taming, blow-drying, hair straightening, make-up applying, nail painting and dressing - yeah three hours adds up.

That's not to mention taking time out to dye my hair once a month.

4. Even the natural look takes a lot of work
I'm not a massive make-up wearer, but I love skin and hair care. This throws guys off. They see my barely-there face and assume they've met their unicorn: a girl who doesn't cover her face in slap because she has naturally clear skin and eyebrows that grow in a perfect arch.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

My hair colour isn't natural. I rotate between four different shampoos to get the best results. I use hair mouse daily. I use a face mask weekly. I use hair oil over night (when I know I'll be washing my hair in the morning). I get my hair trimmed on the regular. I wax my eyebrows. I shave my underarms, legs and forearms. I use an exfoliate and moisturiser on a daily basis. I also cleanse, tone and moisturise on a twice daily basis. I have a separate moisturiser for my face, hands, feet and general body. I use eye cream. And night treatment.

My natural look still involves a lot of product and time.

5. YouTube tutorials are educational
I love YouTube tutorials. Long gone are the days trying to recreate a look from a magazine without really understanding what the writer means ("the brush goes where?"). With video tutorials I can literally sit and watch another girl do her make-up to learn exactly how she got her catflick so perfect.

If you're a dude who's reading this and thinking "I'd like to learn more about what goes into a female beauty regime" then YouTube tutorials can help you too. Like a certain make-up style on a girl? You can find out how long - and how much product - it took.

6. Don't expect even the highest maintenance woman to be well-groomed at all times
I like taking care of my appearance, but I've also got a lot more going on in my life. So sometimes it slides. Sometimes I won't shave my legs. Sometimes my nails are chipped. Sometimes I leave my hair for an extra day.

If you're going to pursue a relationship with a well-groomed women, you can't expect her to look perfect all the goddam time. I've dated men (usually those who have never had a serious girlfriend) who have made comments about body hair when it has grown back in. Did you not realise women grew hair on their legs? Did you think I was naturally smooth? Or did you think I never give my skin a break from a razor?

If you can't handle me at my lazy unshaven Sunday worst, you don't deserve me at my waxed and preened Friday night best (or something like that...).

7. Even a thorough male grooming regime doesn't come close
I have dated guys right across the spectrum of male beauty regimes. From teenage boyfriends who had questionable hygiene and bad facial hair, to a guy that used an exfoliate with gold in it. I've pretty much seen the whole thing.

But even a man who puts in a lot of time and effort to his beauty regime still puts in less effort than a feminine woman. Nail polish, blow drying long hair, full body hair removal, and make-up are all elements of a female beauty regime that a man typically won't engage in.

Honestly speaking, well-groomed men do seem to understand this and they deserve credit. A well-groomed man has never mocked my beauty cabinet or complained when I did leave my legs a day longer than I'd like. Or have a I just been lucky?

8. Don't fancy women who wear make-up? STFU 
On the other side of the coin you have men who proudly claim that they don't fancy women who wear make-up - and even actively discourage women from using it.

I know that some of these men mean well. They want to free women of oppressive beauty standards (and pat themselves on the back like the male saviour that they are). We don't make our choices within a vacuum and feminine women - myself included - do need to unpack why we spend so much effort and money to look 'better'.

But when you do this you are still effectively policing a woman's body. You're telling women that they should dress in a way that please you personally. We all have a type, yes, but only jackasses push they're type on others.

9. Ask yourself why you like feminine girls
If you're a guy who puts little effort into his own appearance and is exclusively attracted to well-groomed women you should probably unpack why that is. Do you know extremely little about female beauty regimes? Can you not tell the difference between a women who has a basic beauty regime and a women who spends £100 a week? Have you never lived with a woman who owns more than two hair products? Or do you (consciously or subconsciously) still think that women should put more effort into their appearance than men?

I know well-groomed women who are attracted to the manly scruffy look, so by all means I'm not saying you should change your type. But for each of these women, I've known five scruffy men who've thrown a bitch fit when a feminine woman doesn't fancy them. So just go have a word with yourself.

10. Finally, don't assume women wear make-up for male attention
Just because a woman is dressed to the nines and perfectly coiffed doesn't mean that she is looking for male attention. Make-up is also about self-expression. How someone dresses and styles themselves gives off non-verbal queues to the world about what kind of person they are. A perfectly pressed suit and fresh make-up implies powerful business woman. A sundress implies girly. Dark lipstick and teal hair implies alternative.

Or maybe they like how red lipstick makes them feel. Or they just like having soft skin. She might already be a monogamous relationship. Or maybe it's women they want to attract.

Women aren't as obsessed with bagging a guy as you would be led to believe.



In the grand scheme of equality and feminist issues, this issue might seem trivial. But I believe that micro-aggressions add up. And this kind of thinking contributes to bad body image when men don't fucking understand that women don't look perfectly coiffed naturally. As a teenager it hurt me too, when I didn't understand why I didn't look like the women in the media as I was yet to understand that these women have make-up artists, hairdressers and fitness instructors on hand.

And men, I'm not even trying to mock you with this. Admittedly the men who need to read this probably aren't going to - but a (feminine) girl can try, can't she?

Feminine make-up wearers - what do you which straight dudes understood about make-up? 
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