By Jonathan Ramos
In October 2016 Covergirl announced their first male Covergirl, 17-year-old James Charles. This announcement has ignited controversy to the trivial decision between whether or not a man should wear makeup. Until just recently, many felt that a man wearing makeup was reserved only for cross dressers. This way of thinking is not conducive to the innovation of new ideas. James Charles has become the unofficial ambassador for bringing a change to the view of men’s makeup.
Charles was first recognized by his YouTube channel, which focuses on makeup tutorials, and his Instagram account which reaches over 35,000 likes per post. Charles’ goal is for the public to understand the distinction between a man wearing makeup and a man being a drag queen. The difference is that a drag queen uses makeup to appear more like a woman, whereas when a man wears makeup, he’s doing so to feel comfortable in his own skin. Many men on Instagram use makeup not only to rock new looks but also for society to embrace men becoming more unconventional.
This is not the first time men have tried to make the bold statement of venturing into fashion that is traditionally female. During the late 18th century two groups of men, the Macaronis and the Dandies, came to be best known for their use of wigs, make up, and ostentatious clothing. It was rare for men to be a part of such an elite group. They were famous for their impeccable style and feminine elegance, which is comparable to that of Johnny Deep or Russell Brand. High-end fashion has always been on the forefront of new looks. Luxury brand Givenchy has designed men’s skirts and dresses, which have become popularized by celebrities, such as Kanye West, Jaden Smith, and Jared Leto. Innovation in fashion comes about by taking risks. A celebrity wearing a skirt may not become a trend instantly, but will pave the way for a new way of thinking. These styles have not made it to the mainstream consumer yet, but they could possibly make it to the shelves of department stores after a few alterations. The same way that “leggings,” a traditionally female article of clothing, made its way to professional sports and the male gym wear repertoire.
These advances in fashion are breaking ground in terms of reversing gender stereotypes. Ending gender stereotypes works in favor for both genders. Women over the years have felt that they have to keep up with beauty standards and wear makeup on a daily basis, however many women are now embracing the no-makeup look. Taking a more relaxed approach will allow woman to appreciate going bare-faced and will give men the choice to wear makeup. These changes begin with designer brands like Tom Ford, who have been traditionally masculine; making incredible breakthroughs for men’s fashion. Tom Ford’s collection in the beauty department has expanded to provide men’s concealer and a brow gel comb. Products like these allow men to be less skeptical about taking the plunge into men’s beauty and embrace their desire to feel comfortable in their own skin.