In a recent Girl Defined YouTube video, Christian sisters Bethany Baird and Kristen Clark explored the wildly controversial concept of… wearing makeup.
I’ll give them credit for this: the sisters admit that there’s no specific Bible verse that condemns wearing makeup for any reason, so viewers are free to take or leave their opinion based on their own convictions.
But to bolster their viewpoint that makeup must be worn in modesty, they reference a verse from 1 Timothy 2:
I want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
There’s some irony in using this verse to address makeup alone, when both women have braids in their hair, dark roots (indicating unnatural hair color), trendy clothes, and shiny jewelry. They never outright condemn makeup, referring to it instead as a “heart” issue (rather than a black and white issue). But they seem to think the only reason women wear makeup is to mask insecurities about their appearance. They fail to realize plenty of other women use makeup as an art form, treating their faces like a canvas.
Baird and Clark also claim that God created women to be feminine, therefore there’s nothing wrong with “being girly” because it’s essentially embracing the way they were made. But they forget that purity culture also says if you dress too feminine, you’re leading men on. Then again, if you attempt to hide your feminine features so as not to cause men to “stumble,” you’re not living the way God made you to be.
This was really the core of Jesus’ message.
Blogger Libby Anne expertly explained this dilemma last month:
Growing up in an evangelical home, I got two messages: (1) conceal your curves and hide the parts of you that are sexually alluring, so as not to tempt men around me into thought sin; (2) dress in an attractive manner and show off your God-given femininity. I was supposed to be beautiful — but not sexy. I couldn’t do it. I could wear baggy dresses and T-shirts and conceal my curves — that was easy. Mostly. But I could never figure out how to both cover up all the right things and look like a starlet, and that tortured me.
In the end, I gave up trying. I wore baggy dresses and skirts and figured I was just ugly. I was so incredibly insecure about my body during my teenage years that some days I just want to go back and give myself a hug. It was only when I stopped trying to hide and started dressing for me, and not for anyone else, that the body-hatred began to melt away.
If Baird and Clark really wanted to help girls, they should address this double standard in a future video. Because the culture they’re perpetuating has done a lot of harm to a lot of women.