I can remember being six years old and being obsessed with makeup. It was colorful, glittery, and sparkly. My best friend and I would cover ourselves head to toe with all the body glitter and lip gloss we could get our hands on. Then we would ooh and aah at how pretty we had made ourselves look. Fast forward ten years later when I was sixteen. The interest in makeup and a fixation with looks had not gone away with my friends and I. Friday afternoon getting-ready-parties were the norm. We showed up to the host’s house clad with our own goodie bags of eyeliner and blush ready to devote our conversation, time, and energy to our hair outfits, hair, and makeup for wherever my friends and I were headed for the night. It was a weekly quest for an unrealistic perfection that could never be reached. On this particular Friday, my mind was glowing more than the highlighter that I pretended to know how to actually put on correctly. The exhaustion from striving to look a certain way all the time and a sudden disinterest in the monotonous conversation about our reflections caused me to speak one of the most defining sentences of my current twenty-year-old existence.
Guys, what if I went a year without makeup?
There were some lip gloss-coated and some mascara-studded eye-rolls at first. They realized in seconds that I was serious. Maybe you can blog or something about it a friend said. Another chimed in, Makeupless Maura has a nice ring to it. 3 days later, I inaugurated Instagram account @makeuplessmaura to post daily documentations on my little experiment. This laboratory was not making makeup, but deconstructing everything about it. I narrowed in on the topics of self-love, real beauty, the beauty industry, and confidence in yourself, skin, and body. On a broader scale, the account explored all of the beauty standards prevalent for females in society and culture today. After makeupless was over after the one year, I gave so much thought to feminism, girl power, and women’s empowerment as a whole. All I could think after experiencing the 2016 US election, watching the #metoo movement explode, and beginning my first corporate internship was that beauty expectations were not the only female stereotypes that needed to change. I knew that women can be leaders, women can be entrepreneurs, and women can be creators. But so many examples in my everyday life lacked that existence. In our world at both the local and global level, the statistics time and time again prove that women still face oppression.
Let's say it again: it is 2018 and women still are not liberated.
Despite this negativity, there is still so much positivity that needs to be shared. Gender and feminism is rapidly changing our world and driving this generation. In the past two years alone, we have seen a failed-attempt for a female president, defunding to women's health organizations like Planned Parenthood, and a #metoo explosion when stories came out about workplace sexual assault. Each day, more and more information is fed by the media on these issues. With these big stories comes tiny wins that need to be highlighted. We have supposedly given a voice to women, but these voices must be heard. They need to explode, fly, and ignite. Makeupless Maura is not over. Its principles are even more relevant that ever and only continue to grow in importance. After many nights up considering how much spending a year makeup-free had impacted my life, I knew that I wanted to continue the project and expand it to truly make a change. A writer since practically birth and an art enthusiast, I wanted to create place that was bigger than an Instagram account and unified many voiced- not just my experience- to put my message into action. The answer was Make Muse.
Make Muse exists as a curated feminist content site dedicated to inspire change and activism through art, aesthetic, and the written word by propelling action and voicing experiences. Make Muse seeks to form a collective that blends information, inspiration, and interviews to champion and inspire women and girls around the world. We commit to sharing the good stuff, the bad stuff, the triumphs, and the struggles related to feminism, gender roles, and women's empowerment amidst a world that females are changing. We're making headlines and we're making our voices heard. Make Muse's mission is to amplify and accessify articles, opinion pieces, editorials, art, photography, and stories of real people that offer a perspective on gender roles and female equality in our society and culture. We care about politics, markets, tech, the weather- each of us has a sex, whether it is female or not. It is silly to think that 50% of the population does not deserve your attention from an artistic or informative stance. It would be silly not to when you blink and females have taken over the world. That's the direction we are going and it's pivotal to keep up and know what this means for the media and retail industries, the world of government and business, and culture exhibited in art, film, and writing. More importantly, it’s crucial to know the stories and outlooks of real people experiencing gender roles right now.
The future is female. Let’s be the muse to make it happen.
By: Maura Sheedy - @makemuse