Medical student Nill Tavangar refuses to let people tell her she can’t have beauty and brains. Lipstick swatches and stethoscopes can go hand-in-hand, despite the fact she’s been judged for it. This kind of shaming is on the rise and it’s something Sleek MakeUP are trying to tackle in their My face. My rules. campaign.
In a survey with anti-bulling charity, Ditch the Label, Sleek found 75% of people have the opinion that women would look better with none or less makeup and almost a third think those who wear a lot of makeup are ‘trashy’.
To stand up in the face of makeup shaming, Sleek’s campaign breaks down the judgement surrounding beauty. Here Nill explains why loving makeup doesn’t mean you can’t practice medicine.
When I was four I decided I wanted to be a doctor. At 14, I bought my first eyeliner and started experimenting with makeup. Four years later, I started studying medicine and wearing full makeup. I never thought the two couldn’t coexist. In fact, enjoying them in unison fed both my scientific side and my creative side.
It wasn’t until people didn’t believe I was studying to be a doctor that I realised the two didn’t go hand-in-hand. Or at least, it didn’t for the majority of society.
I don’t wear a lot of makeup in my placement. I wake up early, I do long hours and when I’m at the hospital the patients are everyone’s priority, not how we look. My look is very natural in that environment, and it’s rare that I even think about makeup while I’m there.
But when I leave the hospital, I like to let the other side of me come out. I like to channel my creative side, so I doll myself up: foundation, highlighter, eyeshadow, lashes… the works. That’s when the stereotypical views really come into play.
There have been a few occasions when I’ve gone out all glammed up and been insulted by total strangers. Sometimes, it’s because they think I wear too much makeup. Other times, it’s after they found out what I’m planning on doing in the future. I’m met with genuine shock when I tell people I’m studying to be a doctor. They assume that because I’m wearing makeup I mustn’t be intellectual, let alone be studying medicine.
I’ve even had someone say to me, “I thought you would be a bimbo.” In Sleek’s survey with Ditch The Label on found that almost a quarter of people don’t take women seriously when they’re wearing a lot of makeup, which is ridiculous.
What people don’t realise is that through their speculations, they’re not just insulting me, they’re insulting a whole lot of people. It’s interesting to see how differently strangers react to me telling them I’m in medicine when I don’t have makeup on. No one is shocked. It’s as though it’s more believable that I will be a doctor because I’m not wearing lipstick or false lashes.
Assuming that creative people aren’t intellectual and that doctors don’t have a creative side is wrong. And it’s hurtful. No-one is one-dimensional. Medics aren’t robots who just go to the hospital and then go home. We have fun, we have hobbies and we like to express ourselves in different ways. Mine just happens to be through the artistic medium of makeup.
For me, putting on makeup signals the end of a long day. I find it relaxing and almost therapeutic. Plus, there’s something to be said for how lipstick can make you feel fresh again.
Wearing makeup is like any other autonomy. In your own time, no one should be able to tell you what clothes to wear, how to wear your hair or how much makeup you should – or shouldn’t – wear. The same goes for people judging others on how they do their makeup.
There are no rules and there should be no judgement on how you blend your highlighter, whether you wear lipstick and eyeshadow together or what colours you choose. Makeup is fun, it’s creative and that means anything goes.
Sometimes people assume that I do makeup for a living, which I find extremely flattering. But at the same time, I find it worrying that others make assumptions about what your career is based on what you look like. I’m sure no one would guess that I play rugby, yet I’ve been playing since I was 11 years old. It really does make you think about whether people have gotten past this “judging a book by its cover” thing, or whether they never will. That’s why I love Sleek’s My face. My rules. campaign message.
At the end of the day, it’s my body, it’s my brain, it’s my face. Therefore, it’s my rules. That’s the exact sentiment I have towards other people, too. You do you and don’t let anybody else tell you anything different.
Nill is part of Sleek’s My face. My Rules. campaign, which stands up for everyone’s right to define their own beauty, without boundaries. Watch the My face. My rules. campaign video below, then join the conversation with #myfacemyrules.
As told to Natalie Lukaitis