Male facial makeup is a controversial subject. Make up has been used in many instances by men, especially those who are in theatre and performing arts. However, in many parts of the world facial makeup has not yet been accepted as a norm among men. It is a subject that is riddled with stigma and subjective thought. Nevertheless, the accepted social norms are slowly but surely changing. Male cosmetic sales have been on the rise, especially with the acceptance of the LBGT community into mainstream society. Male facial makeup has often been associated with gay men, who have in the past faced a lot of stigmatization. Their recognition as part of the society has led to reduced stigma against the application of make-up by men. There are those who still hold the conservative notion that make up should be applied for women, even in this millennial age which epitomizes personal liberation and freedom of choice. There are various reasons why make up should not be taken differently when it comes to its use by men.
First, the precise function of makeup is to improve aesthetic value applied for both sexes. There are facial features which are enhanced in women in order for the women to look more comely and appealing whenever makeup is applied accordingly. There are different ways in which make up can be used depending on the user's specific needs. Makeup is useful in hiding blemishes that may have been left by broken skin or acne and enhancing a consistency in skin color. Skin color and texture can also be enhanced significantly, or adjusted according to the users aim. These needs apply to both sexes and cannot be attributed only to the female gender.
The advanced technology that is currently available has facilitated ease in information and data storage and exchange, which has by extension led to complex interconnection of people around the globe through technical social systems. The advent of social media has brought with it various cultural connotations that have led to an elevation of physical looks (Blanchin et al 48). Social media platforms have enabled people to be able to have an online presence that could be distinct from their physical or real life experience. Examples of such trends include video blogging and self-photography, commonly known as "selfies." These trends have led to the increased use of makeup even among the male gender, in order for them to enhance their online look.
The online look of a user is the identity and the brand of the user, hence the need to ensure that the best presentation is achieved. Online entrepreneurship has grown exponentially over the last decade due to the creation of niches that were previously nonexistent. For instance, video blogging is currently one of the most lucrative online activities owing to its role in marketing and product promotion. Video bloggers therefore have to present the best version of themselves in order to remain relevant. Makeup has an important role to play in this presentation, irrespective of the gender of the blogger.
One of the factors which may have inhibited the uptake of facial makeup use among males is the unavailability of products which are tailored for male needs. The male body physique including facial shape is different from the female one. For instance, males often have enhanced jaw lines. Given that a factor such as enhanced jaw lines represents masculinity, it is only logical that a male could want to bring that facial feature out using makeup, hence the need for makeup that is targeted to the male gender (Thomas 1). Other features which are considered attractive which could be fixed through makeup application include patchy beards and unshapely eyelashes. Currently, various fashion companies, such as Asos have come up with makeup that is targeted at the male gender. In order to break the traditional gender role mentality, men's makeup products have names that have a masculine connotation such as 'manscara' instead of the commonly known mascara. The popularity of men's mainstream makeup use has also risen steadily over the years, judging from the increased number of products available. For instance, the men's makeup products under the MMUK brand have risen to 40 from 12 in 7 years.
Mainstream make up use for men should also be encouraged as it boosts personal confidence. This effect is already evident in the presentation of women. The importance of grooming on women can be evidenced by their average spending on grooming products, which stood at $252 compared to the males $36 in 2016 (Thomas 1). Like females, the image of the perfect man as portrayed by the media influences the audience. There are currently many men especially in western societies who are trying to achieve their perception of a perfect body (Blanchin et al 51). This often includes perfect facial skin tones, and evenly distributed beard and eyelashes, a prominent hairline on a head full of hair, among other features. As such, when such men achieve such a look using make up there is a significant boost in their confidence. Make up is therefore useful during specific times such as auditions, job interviews, first time dates, among other important occasions.
There also has never been a more opportune time to embrace the use of makeup. The stigma against its use by males has stalled the industry and led to the scarcity of products which are suitable for men. However, numerous reputable companies such as L'Oreal have recognized the need to market men's makeup kits and thus come up with product lines to that effect. There are therefore products which would allow men to enhance their aesthetic value to their liking while still maintaining the masculinity (Blanchin et al 40). There are also aggressive campaigns which are taking place against stigma. There are, for instance, numerous male video bloggers who cover the subject. Examples of makeup bloggers include James Charles and Patrick Starr. Video blogging has been a successful channel for this cultural change as it mainly targets the young generations of people under the age of 35.
In conclusion, male makeup use should no longer be taken as a strange phenomenon. Gender roles in terms of makeup use are fast becoming obsolete, and there are aggressive campaigns to fast track their obsolescence. While makeup has been common among male performing artists, it is slowly gaining mainstream acceptance. It is useful in improving aesthetic value, and aids in online image management. Physical looks have been amplified by the interaction of postmillennial generations on social media networks hence increasing the need for makeup. Masculine makeup products are also available, hence their unavailability is no longer an excuse.
Blanchin, Audrey, Cyrielle Chareyron, and Quentin Levert. "The customer behavior in men s cosmetics market." 2007. Available on www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:238020/FULLTEXT01.pdf
Thomas, Daniel. "Is the taboo around male make-up disappearing?" BBC Business News. www.bbc.com/news/business-41971587. Accessed 8 October 2018
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