In defense of being high-maintenance | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Renz Pangilinan, Rufa Mae Quinto

I see an old friend in a department store, and immediately come over to say hi. I haven’t seen her in ages. At that moment she is peering over a display of cosmetics and skincare, evidently confused about what to buy.

When she turns around upon my greeting, I am surprised to see her expression. She seems, God forbid, quite embarrassed.

Pam (not her real name), in the four years of high school, never wore anything else except a T-shirt, jeans and sneakers, with no makeup on. The boys teased her a lot, especially at the slightest hint of sprucing up her look—putting on lipgloss or wearing her hair differently.

I assume that she thinks I’m going to make fun of her buying makeup.

“Need help?” I ask, smiling earnestly.

Not only am I happy to see her, but also giddy to notice that she looks prettier and leaner, her hair now longer and slightly wavy at the tips. She’s glowing.

“No, I’m okay, thanks,” she replies hurriedly.

She turns away from the beauty counter, and proceeds to catch up on our lost years.

I ask about her new boyfriend, she asks why I still have no boyfriend, and I laugh out loud.

At that moment, I wonder why some women feel ashamed about fixing up, especially if they aren’t known to be “girly” or “kikay” off the bat.

1) Perhaps they see it as a weakness. A strong independent woman will not give in to society’s pressures of putting emphasis on physical appearance, because she’s more than that.

The Internet calls these extremists “beauty bashers,” women who refuse to wear makeup because they see it as a misogynist bias in the workplace.

2) They deem it as some form of sinful vanity that is to be ashamed of. It’s a waste of time and money. A shopping trip to a beauty store can cost anywhere between P1,000 to P30,000.

And besides, everyone’s going to get wrinkles eventually, right?

Confidence, power

Wrong. According to Nancy Etcoff—a Harvard psychology professor who did a study on how makeup and cosmetics affect people’s perceptions of a woman in the workplace—not only does makeup add a placebo effect of confidence and power, it also affects the impression you give to people, which gives you more control as to whether you choose to look powerful in a business negotiation, or appear collaborative.

Makeup, added Etcoff, gives the impression of self-love—that is, this woman takes care of herself, and therefore loves herself—a quality that is attractive anywhere in the world.

MAC’s latest collection, MAC is Beauty, celebrates the stigmatized term “high-maintenance.” It reads in bold: “No appointment required. Come in and indulge yourself in a world of pure, delicious vanity, where you can preen supreme, emerging perfectly coiffed, polished and all glammed up. What’s wrong with being a little high-maintenance?”

The setup, splashed in a delightful baby pink, was sprawled across the Glorietta 2 Palm Drive Activity Center, and looks straight out of a fantasy dollhouse.

Lourd Ramos and Renz Pangilinan show off their hair craftsmanship in a showdown. On the plush seats are models in neon and mod, pompously fluffing their hair, unashamed of their outrageous dos.

Women are the stars in the event. At a time when women are assuming more important roles in the workplace and society in general, the MAC is Beauty launch reminds me that, at the end of the day, we are still women, and need not be taken seriously all the time.

It is a wonderful, dainty celebration of femininity, beauty, and reminding oneself that women should never be embarrassed of wanting to look good to feel good.


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