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In my first year of college, a questionable decision I made (read: boyfriend) said the following to me:

“You’re not as hot as the girls I usually date, but you’re really sweet, know what I mean?”

As an 18 year old with major self esteem issues and social anxiety, no, I didn’t know what he meant. Worry not, though, because he was more than willing to explain.

Apparently I didn’t party as much as his ex girlfriends, or put as much effort into my appearance. But hey, at least I was really sweet.

Now, five years later, if I had a penny for every time a guy told me how much better he likes me without make up I’d be able to afford every shade of lipstick MAC ever produced.

Yaar, your lipstick is too loud. You don’t need all this makeup.”
“What have you done to your hair? Why can’t you just let it be?”
“You looked so much better in college- so natural! Maybe you should tone down the lipstick.”

And my favourite:

“I love that you’re not like other girls.”

Aah, those mysterious “other girls”. After hearing this for about the hundredth time, I finally asked a guy what was so wrong with these “other girls” and how I was not like them.

“You know those girls who keep putting up selfies on Facebook…the kinds who can only talk about clothes and make up. You aren’t like that. You’re chill.”

Phew, I guess the number of selfies I post is just enough- maybe one more and I’d turn into one of those “other girls”. Also I didn’t realize there was a limit to how much a woman could talk about things that make her happy- is one hour of talking about make up okay? How about another half an hour for clothes and shoes?

It’s not like young girls grow up in a culture that places utmost value on their appearance rather than their talents. It’s not like there’s a 300 billion dollar beauty industry that constantly bombards women with products they obviously need because they’re too fat, too thin, too dark (never too fair, of course), because their skin isn’t clear enough, because what kind of woman doesn’t care about the way she looks?

But of course the minute you start paying attention to your appearance, you suddenly become too vain, too superficial, and not “chill” enough. There’s just no winning.

Here’s a useful tip- stop telling women they’re “not like other girls” (and FYI, a 24 year old female is a woman, not a girl). There’s nothing wrong with “other girls”. There’s nothing wrong with loving clothes and mascara. You don’t get to put down women as a whole just because you think it’ll help you get laid.

This may be surprising, but women don’t exist solely for your pleasure. We don’t care if you “prefer the natural look”.

So listen up, dudebros – if you don’t like lipstick, don’t use it. It’s really that simple.