A friend recently discovered that when Sally Ride went into space in 1984, the NASA engineers asked her if 100 tampons would be sufficient for her two-week journey. My friend found this so ridiculous that she Snopes’d it to check.
I had heard about the tampons, but I had never heard about something else in the Snopes article: that the engineers also developed a makeup kit for her, since they figured women might…need makeup? Like how they need tampons? I find this even more incredible than the tampons bit. They seriously gave Sally Ride eyeliner for space.
I just. What the fuck. What do men think women even are.
This made me think about how a friend and I were talking about things after the Trump election and we both had been feeling very strongly that it was suddenly very important not to wear makeup. I was surprised when she brought this up, because I really felt it, but I didn’t expect it to be a relatable sentiment. I had felt this vaguely in the past — that at my level of status, it was important that I make a real point of going bare-faced especially in professional settings since I will not actually be penalized economically for it unlike other women who cannot make that choice, and so those of us who can push back about these expectations need to do it — but after that election, it felt newly pressing. I haven’t worn makeup since, really, I don’t think (except some concealer when necessary). I don’t ever plan to again, although who knows.
Increasingly as I get older, I feel more and more like I’m compromising my personal values when I adhere to beauty standards. Or more to the point, I feel actively submissive when I do, which is not how I want to see myself. There are some I still can’t seem to buck, like I’ve stopped shaving my pits, but I really don’t feel comfortable going out with hairy legs. But I’m working on it.