Why Makeup and Catfishing Aren't Equal

Credit: Melissa Murphy
If you are at all up-to-date with pop culture at the moment, you've heard the term "catfishing." It's been popularized by a documentary-turned-television show called "Catfish" in which two film makers meet with young people who have engaged in online relationships and embark on journeys to find out if these people do exist.

For further explanation if you still are confused, let's refer to the ever-popular Urban Dictionary:
"A catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they're not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances."

Now that we have the background set, let's talk about what inspired me to write about this in relation to makeup. Recently, a makeup artist posted a before and after photo of a woman on which she did a flawless application, hair included. The photos made their way to Reddit where a war of words began about how deceptive this is and how wearing this amount of makeup could be considered, well, catfishing. You can read the lengthy Reddit thread in its entirety here.

All I had to see were the words "makeup" and "deceptive" in the same sentence and it set me off. Makeup and beauty in general are clearly something I am extremely passionate about. (Hello, that's why I blog!) I'm also passionate about teaching others the artistry behind it. The intent behind makeup is to highlight and bring forward your best attributes and features. I want every woman to feel like they're the best they can be any day of the week, and if that requires a little concealer here and there, so be it. That does not make you an incredibly shallow or insecure person. I'd say I'm pretty damn comfortable with who I am and what I look like, but why wouldn't I want to spruce myself up? Why wouldn't anyone?

The idea behind catfishing is to convince someone that you are someone you are not.
The canvas is always the same with makeup. The natural features are there and the makeup is used to enhance them. I'm a little confused as to how this is considered a "transformation." Last time I contoured my cheeks with a little bronzer and highlighted my lips, I'm pretty sure I was still the same person. I'm also pretty sure everyone still recognized me and that my thought processes were the same. I don't know. Since we're claiming that makeup you can buy at the drugstore completely transforms people now, you tell me. I didn't have any prosthetic pieces on my face, so yeah. It's me. By technical definition, makeup cannot be considering catfishing.

Let's talk about society and the perception of beauty.
I could sit on this topic for days, but I'm going to skip to how it directly relates to this issue. Society has ideas on how each and every one of you should look. Women are to look well-kept and flawless and if you aren't? Shame on you. Women receive far more harsh criticisms than men in all physical aspects and I don't even need statistical evidence to back that up. You all know it's true. Recently there seems to be a phenomenon of men claiming they like their women to look natural. (Drake, you take some of the blame for this.) I'm a college graduate. I spent plenty of time in bars. I practically double-majored in journalism and people watching. The girls the men gravitate toward and attempt to pump drinks into are far from this natural state they say they love. Nine times out of ten, according to the statistic I made up for this post, the girl in sweatpants hair tied chillin' with no makeup on is not the girl whose number you're after.

Take this quote for example:
"Makeup bothers me a great deal. It is a bit like game only aimed a men. Even though I KNOW that most women in clubs are at least 2 points less attractive without the clothes and makeup, I still FEEL like they are 2 points more. For some reason, my rationality can't override that primal physical attraction to a pretty face even if it from makeup. And this matters a lot, because that girl without makeup I would see as doing her a favor if we hooked up (maybe she has a nice ass), but the girl on the right would definitely give me some nervousness - BUT it is still the same unattractive face under that makeup.

I've had this happen a couple of times the next morning. It does feel like being deceived and if women think they can trick guys over their value into seeing them more times, then they are dead wrong. It is an instant pump and dump for me if I discover they manipulated me with makeup."

I'm sorry. What?!

If you feel deceived by a woman wearing makeup, that's your problem.
I have a feeling that the men that read this will claim I'm calling them out, but since I've seen quite a few comments like this from men, that's the way it goes. I know that men typically don't know the first thing about makeup, but many can tell when you're wearing a ton and when you're not. If you are that easily duped into thinking this woman you're staring at has perfect high cheekbones, flawless skin, eyelashes long enough to touch her eyebrows and naturally luscious and glossy lips, then you're more gullible than you think you are. It kills me that there are men that think women are so conniving that they stare in the mirrors as they get ready, making "corrections" to their faces in anticipation of snagging a man. Tell me that doesn't make you laugh.

What needs to be said.
If you start dating a woman, like her and then change your mind when you see her without makeup, then I hope you get the love that you deserve. Which is none.

"So why wear makeup if you're comfortable with yourself?"
Because it's fun. Because it's artistry or a way to express yourself. I think a lot of what is forgotten about makeup in general is that we don't do it for you. It's not for you, it's not for your parents, it's not for anyone else. It's for ourselves. Because we can. If we want to relate it back to societal views, who is anyone to say we should or shouldn't look a certain way?

My issue from the beginning is that people are claiming that the use of makeup is intended for other people. Men specifically. I do it for myself and I think almost every woman you ask will tell you the same. Everyone wants to feel better about themselves and the way they look. Does that mean that wearing makeup makes you an insecure person? No. Does it mean you're trying to transform yourself into a completely different person? No, that's not it either. There is no negative connotation in wanting to make your best features prominent. Honey, if someone, a MAN in particular, tells you you're deceiving him because you're wearing makeup, you can send him on over to me.


  1. I love this! So smart and well thought out. I feel the same way, I love make up because it's fun and gives me a little boost. So what? I agree this doesn't make us shallow, and I'm certainly not trying to "deceive" any man.


    1. Thank you! We can all stick together on this one - it's fun and it's for us!