Makeup: Art is for everyone.


Mason Montano

Here’s me before I take your man, looking absolutely stunning.

Mason Montano, Music Editor

When makeup first became a trend in the United States around the start of the 20th century, it was only deemed acceptable to be worn by women and people assigned female at birth (AFAB). Men and people assigned male at birth (AMAB) were taught from a young age that makeup wasn’t for them and that it would be shameful for them to even dare experiment with it, as if it would somehow take away their masculinity and make them “less of a man”.

These ideas, although still prevalent within Western society, have recently begun to change, and more and more AMAB people are being accepted into the cosmetics industry. American beauty influencer James Charles made headlines in October 2016 when he became the first male face of American cosmetics brand CoverGirl; American internet personality Jeffree Star has taken over the beauty industry with his majorly successful, self-owned brand, Jeffree Star Cosmetics; and online influencers like Mexican beauty guru Gabriel Rios, Canadian model Jony Sios, and Filipino-American makeup artist Patrick Starrr have become massive social media stars.

The presence of Queer people in the cosmetics industry has grown as well. Everyone that I previously mentioned is Queer; huge beauty brands, like Morphe and Huda Beauty, have included Queer people in their campaigns; American beauty influencer Nikita Dragun’s beauty line, Dragun Beauty, is the first transgender-owned makeup brand; and drag queens, like Trixie Mattel and Kim Chi, have begun launching their own cosmetic lines.

This new wave of acceptance is partly a result of the fact that Queer people are finally starting to be recognized by the mainstream and partly because of changing attitudes toward makeup and what it’s supposed to be used for. 

Traditionally, makeup was worn by women to meet societal standards of beauty — the word “beauty” is commonly considered a “feminine” term, and men aren’t usually considered to be “beautiful”, having more “masculine” terms like “handsome” applied instead — but in recent times, it is seen less as purely for beauty and more as a form of artistic expression.

I love makeup because it has no rules and allows anyone with a palette and a brush to turn their face into a canvas, expressing themselves while looking gorgeous at the same time. Makeup is art, and art is for everyone.

Unfortunately, there are still those who want to keep people in line with the roles given to the sex that they were assigned at birth, and makeup is one way of breaking down these boundaries.

Mason Montano
And here’s me thriving — You hate to see it.

This article was originally published in November 2019 and later revised in April 2020.