This House Believes That Feminist Movement Should Encourage Women Not to Use Makeup

This House Believes That Feminist Movement Should Encourage Women Not to Use Makeup

This debate is related to Intersectionality and Social Movements Principles. Most of time, it will debate on the Room of debate:

  1. What is social movement’s future goals? Most of time, the answers are either social acceptance or individual meaningful life.  If both, is it ideal to gain both? If not which one should be prioritized.
  2. Next clash is the question either a trend/ narrative or existence will refrain/strengthen the mission (the social acceptance/ the meaningful life) of the social movement (in this case is the feminist movement).


Between Government and Opposition in this debate, they have to have a careful set–up . The most familiar set–up of value judgement debate type (friendly reminder: not a policy debate)  is to find persuasive key statement and disclaimer. So there are some steps to insert into the set-up.

  • How your team/world/proposal envision the meaning of makeup? Does it include cosmetic plastic surgery? And even racial plastic surgery? does it also include traditional make up since make up is the product of social culture e.g the fact the makeup has been recognized in old Egypt like Cleopatra?
  • What is the feminist movement’s future goal? Social acceptance for women or meaningful life (since historical actors already discriminate them so long in under-privilege life).
    If social acceptance is the goal, what means social acceptance for women, is it how to movement able to confidently interact with societies e.i bargaining beauty standard? Or you are not considered as a woman if you are not using make up? Is make up important to show your effeminate identity? Or what?
    If your goal is meaningful life, what is meaningful life for woman is? Is it like at least they have bargaining economical benefits by using make up?, empowering their erotical capital to make it as their weapon to attack unfair structural privilege made by masculine regimes.
  • Does the narrative/trending/existence , in this case ; Make up refrain (for Govt) or strengthen (for Opposition) the feminist movement’s goal?


Social layer: This debate happens in any world where women are struggling for social acceptance

Social acceptance (like employment opportunities; romantic relations; peer relations and other social, economical benefits) is meant to be important for women since mutual relationship between men and women benefit both and is inevitable.

Any world means that this debate will be relevant to the first liberal world countries for white women, hijabi women, black women or also alternatively in the context of developing countries world like closed patriarchal society in India.

Key statement

(FYI: Similar to problem identification in policy debate, key statement in value judgment debate also serves the same purpose.)

We think makeup has been proven to refrain the feminist movement to make women more having social acceptance and even meaningful life as women because :

  1. Makeup creates personal insecurity
  2. Makeup create fake identity of women
  3. Makeup makes unrepresentative women more deeply discriminated.


Makeup is all means aimed to make women considered having beauty standard, more effeminate or using other cosmetic products (either safe or unsafe procedures), including foundation or lipstick or other means and including racial plastic surgery, other plastic surgery.

This makeup is always considered as a way of women to be accepted. And we believe it is wrong to use makeup in order to be accepted.

Room of Debate:

  1. Whether or not encouraging women not to use makeup is justifiable
  2. Whether or not by encouraging women not to use makeup, it will improve the life of women, the struggle of social acceptance for women and also improve the struggle of under-represented women in their way to be accepted by societies.

Our goal is to ensure that social acceptance of women should not be on the basis of sacrifice, makeup has made women sacrifices all things.

First Argument: Why feminist movement should encourage women not to use makeup

Assertion: Because it refrains the essential goal of feminist movement.

Reasoning: what is the essential goal of feminist movement?

We think the essential goal of feminist movement is to ensure their members (in this case ; women) accepted by societies and makeup does not make women accepted. The fact that their acceptance should be in the sacrifice of women’s interests or way of life.

How so?
Because makeup creates differentiation social system between masculine identities and effeminate identities. (FYI: another assertion)

Because only woman who use makeup is considered a woman, considered having beauty standard and considered beautiful.

That is not ok, right? Why? Because in the given social construct, unattractive women who do not use makeup are considered effeminate or less woman or less beautiful.

But that’s not enough, right? At the same time it intervenes with women’s freedom of choice. Because makeup creates narrative that if you want to be accepted as a woman in society, you should use makeup. Dictating women’s life choice by telling “you should” is the other discrimination against women’s freedom and equality; which is against feminist movement’s goal.

To further amplify the previous argument, here’s a pumping institution/ analogy
That’s why feminist movement discourage, even condemns social constructs that intervene with the choice of women’s life. For instance, wearing hijab is the only way to make women safe and accepted by her surroundings, but at the same time discourages the idea that wearing bikini or topless is the only mean to liberate women.

Because we as feminist believe those narratives or the existence of social construct only serve to diminish women’s choices.

We believe that social acceptance should not be in the sacrifice of the women’s choice about life, and makeup has sacrificed the women’s choice itself.

But furthermore, we believe that is urgent to encourage women not to use makeup, why?
(Additional argument with urgency that answers: problem inherency, why what is done by some actors in the status quo is not sufficient, what will happen if the actor does not do this?)

Inherency of problem

  • Because makeup has created women to choose bad choices of life. How women become unhealthy because of makeup propaganda.
    E.g using illegal makeup that can cause cancers, or women dying to choose illegal plastic surgery, or the ideas of cosmetic silicon that instead of making life better for women, only benefits the capitalist to gain a lot of profit from the cosmetic industries.
  • In the other way, women also feel insecure. Because now the normalization of using cosmetic makeup is getting stronger to forcefully frame the meaning of beauty. That’s why now there is a phenomenon of beauty standard of white skin, cherry pink lips, bold eyebrows, that instead of making women feel confident, it only makes women trapped in the cycle of individual insecurities. Evil cycle of makeup trending damages not only physical of the women but also mental of the women

How the current actor response is not sufficient

What feminist movements have done today is still not sufficient. Most of the time, feminist movement do not engage with this issue. In fact, feminists allow the existence of makeup, refraining its goal to make women feel more accepted or trading their sacrifices of freedom for acceptance. Feminists now are just strengthening the use of makeup to frame the idea of women and fail to achieve the feminists’ essential goal.

What will happen if feminist movement do not encourage women not to use makeup?

There will be women feel more insecure, feel that they less competent for societies, but more worse other women defeat the other members of women to compete in beauty standards. Which is instead of women will get meaningful social acceptance , but only bloody sacrifice of women’s interest for utopian social acceptance itself.

Second Argument: That we believe it will only harm the under-represented women who are unable to achieve the beauty standard constructed by capitalist.

Reasoning: Because makeup imposes direct discriminative social class standard between poor women, black women, and white rich women (FYI: another assertion)

  1. Because makeup let people know which women use Maybelline and which women use low–price makeup.
    Also women who can afford eyebrow sewing or whitening injection are high in social class, rich, independent, and financially stable. Whiter skinned women are considered to be rich, while darker skinned women are considered to be in the lower social standard. This only worsen the women who cannot afford the expensive makeup.
    Who are they? They are people who can’t afford racial plastic surgery, those who can’t afford expensive makeup products, that come from poor societies.
    Yet, women who are poor or wear less makeup or have less cherry pink lips or whiter skins are less accepted by society.
  2. That makeup worsen the black/dark or color tone skinned women’s situations.
    Because makeup always overcrowds the idea that only glowing skin or light skin are only accepted by the society. This badly discriminates the African women or colored women to accept the narrative or even struggle hard to afford the capitalists’ narrative.
    So this makes more society to discriminate women who fail to fulfill the social standard. This also hampers particular women from certain racial backgrounds.


Negation: We agree that makeup, for some cases, have made women fail and even feminist movement’s goal also fail.

But we disagree that feminist should discourage women to use makeup because:

  1. We think government fail to characterize the diverse situations of women’s world where in some cases , women are required to use makeup or they will lose in the competition.
  2. By encouraging women not to use makeup should be also considered as intervention against women’s life choices.

We consider makeup should not be deemed to be a propaganda against women but makeup should be considered as a social or cultural phenomenon:
a. The fact that makeup is inherently to happen not only in modern age but also in the past, like Cleopatra.
b. It is considered as a social phenomenon as equal to how men also use makeup, such as: foundation for men, lip balm, waxing etc.

Key statement

a. We believe that Feminist movement should support any means to empower women to survive and gain social acceptance.
b. We believe that feminist movement should support any means that help women to have meaningful life. 
And makeup has that means to empower women to survive and gain social acceptance and make women’s life more meaningful. 
Why so? We will explain in our substantive materials

  • Sacrificing for social acceptance is not good.
    Wrong, because sacrifice is good. Sacrifice can be a proof that the community will adapt what views that are accepted by the majority. What views that can be adapted, which accelerates your capacities to be accepted.
  • That  women who do makeup, sacrifice part of their lives like body integrity, for instance.
    We say true. That’s why what we should do; that instead of discouraging them, telling them that there are other alternative makeup that women can use to empower other women to fight for social acceptance. If makeup can do that, then harmful makeup or illegal cosmetic products should not be a reason for feminist to discourage women to use makeup.

But furthermore, we believe that feminist movement should not encourage women to not use makeup because:

  • By this encouragement, it means that feminist movement have failed to understand the diverse problems women have to gain social acceptance
  • Also, it only worsen the situation of women’s struggle for acceptance or at least for their own meaningful lives.

First argument: Why makeup is good

Assertion: because it is in line with feminist movement’s essential goals, right?

Because feminist movement’s goal is to ensure their members accepted by the society. By this premise, it means that feminist movement should have alternative tactics in mind to achieve their goal.

Why makeup serves as an alternative tactic?

  1. Because makeup helps women working in public sectors to have more bargaining power to social acceptance or at least survivability.
    – Women who are considered neat, clean and show attractive looks will have more bargaining position to gain better position at work rather than other common women or men.
    – The fact we should agree that women that work in industries like entertainment industries or public speaking industries or mass media  need to  have such as makeup for her survivability and sustainability employment in that industries.

    So we believe that it is important to women to use makeup , as means of alternative tactic to gain their goal. And compete men who currently in trend compete with women by male grooming or male makeup. 

  2. It helps women who less privilege in societies who judge based on the personal looks. It gives hopes to them.

    Why? Because we admit that with or without makeup some part of society will remain to judge based on the personal attractiveness and looks. Because inevitably every society standardize certain ethics and beauty. That’s why we appreciate beauty of art and beauty of dance.

    What is the relevancy of makeup? It will help women who feel less attractive by certain society perspective to gain the acceptance from the society.

    So women who are in patriarchal societies or in West liberal democracies that worship beauty standard or at least women in fashion industries will still have hope to gain their personal goals or personal interest. Because at the end, makeup provides hopes for them to compete more in that particular discriminative societies.

Second Argument: Makeup gives meaningful life of women.

Assertion: it gives benefits to women’s life.

  1. It helps women who in nature have less self-confidence.
    We should admit if there are number of women that personally feel less confident because they do not know how to embrace their attractiveness. Yet, makeup empowers them to explore their beauty and attractiveness. 

    How so?

    a. The diversity of makeup products give women alternative ways to explore their beauty image according to their ideals. Try to compare to a world without makeup, there are no ideas to mix color or create makeup trends.
    b. Makeup raises women’s awareness that their beauty is their power and important. That’s why they groom themselves to be clean, to understand the importance of taking care their healthy skins.

    Compare the Government team’s world, without any push of makeup , they will not be aware of their skin health and beauty power.
  2. It benefits them economically
    The makeup culture has created the development of cosmetic industries dominated by women. For example, Maybelline industries.
    Why is this good?
    It gives layer of employment opportunities for women exclusively.

    The fact is that in makeup industries, only this industry that allows CEO to be a woman, because only women understand women. It also helps women to sit in managerial positions in marketing and sale because only women understand the character of their women customers’ needs.

    What is good is that the culture of makeup has employed women significantly to become the decision makers of the industries.

    Other than that, if women cannot sit in the other employment opportunities where male domination is happening, this makeup industries should be alternative to net more women talents to sit and influence markets and decision.