Hey y’all! I was telling this story/experiment to some friends over brunch and they encouraged me to write about it. I hope you find it as interesting as they did!
First, let me explain what the “what is beautiful is good effect” is. Essentially people have this belief that beauty is associated with being good or having more positive traits. It’s so ingrained into society and culture that most people don’t consciously think this way but it’s there nonetheless.
Quick Detour to True Crime (it’s relevant)
I’m going to briefly tie this into another favorite topic of mine: true crime. When most people think of serial killers (I think we can all agree this would be the opposite of good), the thought is that they are ugly, rotten people. Don’t believe me? Watch “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile” on Netflix. It’s a movie about the serial killer Ted Bundy that focuses on how charming he was and how he portrayed himself to society.
People had a very difficult time believing he was the person who committed heinous crimes because he was “attractive” and charming. I had a friend recently tell me after watching the movie they had a brief moment of wondering if he actually was the one that did it. If you haven’t watched it I highly recommend it and then let’s chat about it. If you have seen it comment below and tell me what you thought!
Back to Beauty
You’re probably wondering what all of this has to do with a makeup experiment. Well, believe it or not people treat you differently based on how you look. In American society especially, looking put together is highly regarded. In my experiment I felt just how different people treat me based on if I’m wearing makeup or not. It might seem silly or superficial but I challenge you to think critically about your own thoughts to how people look, the “beautiful is good phenomenon”, and how you might treat people based on how they look.
For the first part of my experiment I did my hair and wore a nice dress but did not wear any makeup. I went to a local grocery store and paid attention to how people treated me. Then, I went home put on makeup (this was the only change), and went back to the same grocery store. You won’t believe how different my experiences were.
How People Treated Me Differently
The first time I was at the grocery store without makeup the negative interactions began as soon as I left my car. Drivers were less patient with me to cross the street, most people wouldn’t make eye contact, no one smiled back when I offered a smile, and people didn’t want to interact with me in general. However, when I put on makeup it was like a whole different world! People were: more patient when I was crossing the street, would smile and look me in the eye, would start giving me compliments “oh I like your outfit” (thanks it’s the same one I was wearing earlier when I wasn’t wearing makeup), and they were more likely to ask me how my day was!
So what was the takeaway from my little experiment? I still go out when I don’t wear makeup. I’m not wearing makeup right now as I type this post…in the middle of DC at a coffee shop. I love to wear makeup, it’s my form of self care to look in the mirror and pay attention to myself in a positive way. Makeup isn’t “do or die” for me or a “mask to hide behind”. Ask me how I felt about makeup a few years ago and my answer would be very different. I’m still the same confident me when I don’t wear makeup.
However, it’s unreasonable to believe that everyone else is going to see the “real me” (I’m only one me 100% of the time) when I’m not wearing makeup. As much as I like to believe that others will look past surface level things to dig deeper that’s simply not the case. In no way am I saying I’m a beauty queen, but people are more receptive to receiving me as I am when I’m wearing makeup.
I’d love to know, how do you feel about makeup? Do you tend to go out bare face or are you always “glammed up”? Have you had any experiences similar to mine?
With love always,
P.S. A special thank you to Ann Marie – the founder of Bitter Grace Boutique who encouraged me to share my experiment with you. I am wearing a dress from her boutique in the picture on the left, it fits like a dream! #DoMoreBeMore and Thank you to Emily from The Emily Edition for taking the picture of me on the left.