Do Men Prefer Women Without Makeup?

Friday Aug 1, 2014 - BY Stacey

The "natural" look. (Photo via CC)

Apparently The New York Times got tired of discussing the fiscal cliff or real gun control because in their recent “Room For Debate” series they asked (and sort of answered) a very important question–does make up make women feel insecure?


Unsurprisingly, this question didn’t generate terribly interesting responses. Most boiled down to–women should do what they want. (Huzzah!) But the founder of The Good Men Project, Thomas Matlack weighed in with the oh-so-familiar refrain about thinking his wife is most beautiful when she is “natural.”


Ladies, we’ve all heard this a thousand times, if not more. Guys are always saying that they prefer us “natura” over “made up.” They think this is refrain is their way of being “good,” of not demanding that women hew to an impossible standard to be considered pretty, of not forcing ladies to jump through hoops to be considered attractive.


But as Amelia McDonnell-Parry of The Frisky pointed out, she uses fourteen products every day to achieve that “natural” look that men supposedly find attractive. It would probably take fewer products to look made-up or “unnatural.” Further, she notes that Matlack’s reference to his wife’s hot body (doubtlessly achieved by spending hours at the gym, an unnatural setting for exercise if ever there was one) to demonstrate how he actually cares that she is not just beautiful to him, but attractive in mainstream and conventional sense too?


We modern women modify our appearance in big and small ways every day, from shaving–guys, our legs aren’t naturally hairless–to bleaching our mustaches to waxing our brows. ”Natural” is as much about artifice as bold red lipstick and fake eyelashes. “Natural” is merely another type of aesthetic and it’s certainly not a natural occurring phenomenon. (Neither is “flawless” and that’s actually what they mean when they want say they want us to appear as though we’re not wearing makeup.)



I know it might sound like I’m being unduly harsh (and I sure hope my husband finds me beautiful in a myriad of situations including the times I don’t primp myself), but this is the sort of faux progressive argument you hear often from men who like to pride themselves on not buying into mainstream arguments about women’s appearances yet continue to make those very same arguments but in a different way.

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