“Doing Gender” in Everyday Self-Care Routines

This is a big chunk of my friend’s makeup collection. She has more palettes of eye shadow that are not shown in the picture. She loves makeup and doing other people’s makeup. I was at her house one night a couple weeks ago and decided that I would let her do my makeup for the first time, and then she pulled out all of her makeup, so I took a picture. I never realized how much she had. I decided to use her makeup collection as an example of “doing gender” because I feel as though many people believe it is expected of women to do their makeup to impress others. I think this idea of makeup only being used to impress other people does not apply to every single woman using makeup. I know people, including my friend that owns the makeup in this picture, that love the art of makeup and do not care about wearing it simply to impress other women or men. I personally do not wear much makeup because I do not put a huge amount of effort into wearing it, but I applaud the makeup gurus for loving the art of it.
In this picture is my mom’s hair routine. I sometimes hang out in her room while she is doing her hair and makeup before going out wherever she is going. I noticed that she worries about how her hair looks a lot and I felt that this was a good example of “doing gender.” The blow dryer, straightener, and curling iron play a big part in doing gender because I feel that it is another stereotype that women are expected to present themselves in order to impress others. The sprays that my mom use is for hair care, and I believe that is the main reason women use these products is because they enjoy caring for their hair, not worried about impressing other people. As with makeup, I do not do much with my hair. I used to be extremely worried with how my hair looked before I left the house when I was in junior high because I thought people would judge the way that I looked. I would straighten it every day and be so worried about if it were completely straight or not. I now rarely ever straighten my hair or put any heat on it just because I have experienced the negative impact it has had on my hair in the past.
Featured in this picture is my entire nighttime routine, including shower products and facial products. One night, I was going through my normal routine and I realized that I go through a long process before I am officially ready for bed. Then it made me think about this project because I know for a fact that my guy friends do not have near as many self-care products as I have or as my other girl friends have. I think this goes along with “doing gender” because I think it is assumed that women care more about their face/hair/body than men. I use these products to try and improve the health of my hair and the health of my face. I do sometimes feel pressured into using so many products in order to have healthy hair and healthy skin, but I also enjoy knowing that these products are helping me.
Compared to what my nightly routine looks like, my boyfriend’s does not even compete. After I took a picture of all the products I use on a daily basis, I thought about what all my boyfriend uses. I was aware he did not use much for a face routine, so I already knew he would have less products. He only uses shampoo, face scrub, and a body scrub. I feel this is considered “doing gender” because I do not hear about men being extremely worried about their skin care or hair care. I have not personally seen many facial products for men portrayed in the media, I usually see it associated with women. It is typical to see women using products on products for their hair, face, or body, but when it comes to men, it’s the basics. I think that is has been socially constructed for women to be more concerned about daily self-care products and men to not be taught that self-care is not girly, it’s keeping yourself healthy.
The nighttime products featured in this picture belong to a friend of mine that was my roommate last year. I was at his apartment a few weeks back and we were on the topic of face washes. He then showed me what he had been using, and it made me think about this project. He actually helped me out a little bit with what facial routine I should go through for my specific face type. I feel as though this is considered as a man “undoing gender” because he is concerned about his self-care routine. I think that men are not typically raised or taught to worry much about what products to use for their face or what shower products are best for them. Since my friend uses these products and has helped me in the past to find the right products for myself, I believe that he is defying gender norms that basically say that women are the only ones caring about their hair, body, or face.

1 thoughts on ““Doing Gender” in Everyday Self-Care Routines”

  • I like how you added your boyfriends nightly routine compared to your nightly routine. You were right to say that men do not have as many facial care products portrayed on social media compared to women, and even in the store there is a larger amount of women products compared to men products!

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