Makeup and the workplace

Don’t forget to do your face before going to work.

The image of the “ideal woman” is thought to be something manufactured in popular media, but it’s also true that professional settings, which often reflect societal norms, influence what is accepted as “feminine.”

A federal appeals court ruled in favor of a casino after it fired one of its female employees for failing to comply with a rule that all female bartenders must wear full makeup. The court ruled that such grooming standards are acceptable so long as the rule is not burdensome or based on gender stereotypes. Only after customers complained about casual grooming did such a rule emerge in the casino, here lies the root of the problem – society.

The casino argued that makeup is a standard that is acceptable in our society. This mentality says a lot about our environment: Do we dare not face women without their face redone? Is there something particularly unsettling about the bare and natural features of a woman? Despite the court’s ruling, makeup is a burdensome process. The time one spends putting on and taking off makeup, as well as the financial burdens of replacing cosmetic products is underestimated.

Looking ahead, what is this notion of “acceptability” in society going to push toward? Perhaps it will push toward requirements that all women must have certain bustline or waist size?

While makeup itself is not demeaning or wrong, what is troublesome is the trend, and now standard, that women have to modify themselves to be “professional.”

The problem is not the law. Laws simply mirror society. The issue is that society looks at women from the perspective of masculine discourse. Often how women ought to be is a reflection of how men want women to be.

While it’s unfortunate such rules exist, the burden is on students to have knowledge of this information. Many of us anticipate graduation and entering the workforce. It’s important to consider all the requirements prospective employers are seeking in order to avoid situations that hinder one’s ability to exercise crucial aspects of personal conscience.