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People’s Reaction To This Woman’s Before-And-After Photo Exposes A Huge Double Standard

by Kate Ryan

August 26, 2016
Image via Instagram, @workingwithmonolids

After reading about a Huffington Post experiment that studied how makeup affects a woman’s public perception, one Indonesian blogger felt inspired to do an informal study of her own. The blogger, who goes by Francesca on the Instagram account “Working With Monolids,” took a photo of herself without a stitch of makeup and retouched that same photo to have light makeup. She posted the photos to the website PhotoFeeler to see how people would perceive the subtle differences.

The results were disheartening to say the least. By and large, users found the beautified photo to be more appealing, registering the makeup-free version as less likeable, confident, and (ironically) authentic for a business setting. ATTN points out that while this isn’t a conclusive study, the results validate a pressure many women feel. That is, you have to wear makeup in order to be taken seriously in the workplace.

“The sad truth about the makeup tax on women!” Francesca writes in the caption of her Instagram post, “The funny thing is, people ranked the make up pic as more authentic and confident, so to all those who insist women who wear makeup are fake and insecure.... the stats don't lie.”

In a blog post further explaining her social experiment, Francesca wrote,

“I would think going out without make up signals confidence, but nope. People think you're more confident with makeup… I thought the confidence measurement is important for work too, so now I know I definitely need to wear makeup before a big presentation.”

This is disappointing to hear considering a woman’s lipstick choice has absolutely no impact on her job performance. And if it means getting up an extra hour early to get ready for work, wearing makeup could actually put women at a disadvantage. 

Sadly, a study published in Research in Social Stratification and Mobility earlier this year reported that women who spend more time on their physical appearance tend to make more money than their low-maintenance counterparts. This is doubly frustrating when you consider that the average woman spends $15,000 on makeup in her lifetime, finance website Mint.com reports. According to the 2013 study, 50 percent of women believe wearing makeup helps them succeed in the workplace. Naturally, this leaves us wondering, how different would work environments be if men felt the same pressures? In countries outside of the US, this might actually be the case. As Francesca told GOOD, “If you're feeling self-conscious about wearing makeup, head over to South Korea where you'll find men touching up their BB Creams in the bathroom.”

Regardless of gender norms, when the pressure to be beautiful overshadows the pressure to do good work, that can’t be healthy for anyone. 

Image via Instagram/@workingwithmonolids

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People’s Reaction To This Woman’s Before-And-After Photo Exposes A Huge Double Standard