The Truth of My Lips
I rarely (almost never) wear lipstick. It’s a semi-conscious choice partly for comfort. This morning I was thinking about a few recent TikTok videos I posted and how I don’t like the way my mouth looks when I talk. And the thought occurred to me I might like the way it looks more if I put on lipstick, as I typically like how it looks on other people.
Before I continue let me be clear: lipstick is a completely neutral thing. In and of itself (as much of life) it is neither good nor bad, a virtue or a vice. If you like it, wear it! And enjoy it. If not, don’t.
Im of the ladder type. it makes my mouth feel funny, so I don’t wear it.
However, I started thinking about *why* I don’t wear lipstick. While much of my decision making on this matter is subconscious and related to comfort, I noticed there was a part of me that feels like it masks the truth of my words. That somehow something as innocuous as wax based lip stain could invalidate the truths of my heart.
As I sat with that thought a memory surfaced from when I was in college (the first time 😂). I was waiting in line for lunch. That day I had on a pair of (let me date myself) Mudd jeans with their infamous handprint logo on the back pocket. An older man standing behind me made a comment about where he’d like to place his hand to his friend, loud enough that it was clear — I was supposed to hear him. I froze. My lunch order was called and I bolted.
That day (with many similar instances since) I was taught by circumstances born of our systemic patriarchal ideals that if I was to be treated as human, I should not appear as a woman.
Thankfully, I’ve had enough safe people in my life I’ve not felt the need to live my femininity “in hiding” completely. But decisions like lipstick - which I think looks nice but feels funny - are made with that experience in my body. And my body knows. It remembers. So I leave the lip pencil and gloss in my bag perpetually.
The result of these complied interactions and experiences is a belief that if I want to be taken seriously, trappings of my femininity need to be minimized. To be seen as human I should not first be seen as woman.