Men wearing makeup is not completely taboo anymore. Many men, across various social media platforms, have been challenging stereotype attached with make-up and gender. Also, the welcoming rise of male beauty influencers have made beauty products and fashion even more gender-inclusive.

Makeup, for generations, has been seen as a “girls-only” department. Such a stereotypical phenomenon is something everyone’s been subjected to while growing up. Children, regardless of where they belong, should be made to engage in talk about identity and sexuality. These talks do and will serve as minimisers to the negative impacts of gender roles.

Challenging stereotypes

Last week, an Instagram handle with the name Vinay made a powerful statement by not only wearing makeup but also a nose ornament.

(Swipe left to see all pics) Constantly challenging the rigid gender roles and bending the stereotypical norms. Makeup – @theglamourmannequin Photography/Styling – @taranggoyal21 #swipright #conceptualphotography #moodyphotography #portraitphotography #beyourself #olddelhi #shoot #fashionblogger #fashionphotography #unique #unique_india

A post shared by Vinay (@itsvinayunique) on

Vinay’s posts raise questions on several preconceived notions on how a particular gender should dress, behave and perform.

Rules of gender presentation have become more flexible today, and these aren’t just about makeup. Gender-neutral advertising campaigns and social media initiatives, from brands and individuals, are helping in this.

Perfect may not always be pretty but excellence is always elegant.

A post shared by Vinay (@itsvinayunique) on

Because of the socially constructed identities, boys and men are subjected to certain standards of  masculinity. Look at toys for children, beauty products or clothes, the gendering process is visible in marketing, given how it’s done differently for girls and boys.

When magazine CoverGirl featured a male makeup artist on its cover

CoverGirl has been known to feature some of the biggest female names in the industry in their campaigns. The brand, in 2016, made history by featuring their first ever CoverBoy, James Charles. James, a makeup artist, developed an impressive following on YouTube and Instagram in just a year since he started posting makeup tutorials.

For James, it was a big argument with his parents when he had to explain his passion. He told Marie Claire, “My parents started questioning me about whether or not I was transgender—whether or not I was trying to be a woman. It was a big argument.”

“It took a lot of thorough conversations to explain that it’s an art form for me. I’m still confident as a boy and I will always be a boy. I can be confident with bare skin and with a full face.”

Gender fluidity among brands

The entire idea and implementation has significantly affected the mainstream industry. The skin care and cosmetics markets, which have long been dominated by women, are now open to men joining in, too. The norms of beauty industry is moving in a more inclusive direction. The empowering part is that the industry is gender-inclusive, both in terms of racial and gender diversity.

These brands are changing the way we talk about gender in the process. M.A.C has stated how their products are meant for all ages, races and sexes. The brand has even collaborated with model Stephanie Seymour’s sons, Harry and Peter Brant, on a collection of gender-neutral products.

Maybelline, earlier this year, announced Manny Gutierrez (known as Manny MUA) as the ambassador for their Big Shot Mascara product launch, making him the first male to ever star in a major campaign for the company.

Also Read: In A Parallel Universe: Artist Swaps Gender Roles In Vintage Ads

More stories by Bhawana

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