The double standard and discrimination against men in makeup

For years, men have become more expressive through makeup. We have beauty vloggers like Patrick Starrr and James Charles leading the charge online. On the streets, there are also straight men who aren’t afraid to apply a little product to conceal some flaws, stating that it makes them feel more confident.

You can say that this movement has destroyed the notion that beauty products are exclusively for women. It’s become a tool against toxic masculinity if you think about it. Like, who’s to say who should and shouldn’t wear makeup anyway?

Hold that thought because apparently Leyte Normal University is being criticized for their memo on “improper grooming for men.” This included a photo of vlogger Manny Gutierrez (more popularly known as MannyMUA) where he’s in full glam.

It also didn’t take long before Manny reacted to the memo. “Yes, they’re using me as an example of what NOT to do at school… a school having a problem with a man wearing makeup? Shockinggggg,” he tweeted. (Fans also took issue with the the university using Manny’s photo without permission.)

According to LNU, other looks that are considered “improper” for men are long and colored hair (a common rule in Philippine schools), beards, piercings, and a cropped-out photo of Bretman Rock in deep-V shirt and jeans (possibly implying that men aren’t allowed to dress feminine within campus). We reached out to the university for a statement regarding the matter.

As someone who’s studied in schools that are strict with uniformity among males and females, these rules are all too familiar. But some of them almost always had double standards to them. Example: Men aren’t allowed to sport long hair because it’s not expected of them—you’ll often hear “Mukha kang babae” (You look like a woman). But there are women who have what’s considered “boyish haircuts” and no one gives them sh*t for it.

Oh, don’t get me started on dress codes, especially with how female students are shamed for not looking “modest.” In this case, Leyte Normal University’s rules state that even male students should look masculine.

A part of me understands the need to follow these rules. The common justification is “you’re enrolled here, you must adhere to our guidelines.” Okay, cool. But if you’re going to single out men who are simply expressing themselves through makeup, it’s discriminatory. If women are allowed to keep makeup to a minimum, or not be punished at all for having a full beat, then why not give the opposite gender that same rule? At least it’s a guideline that doesn’t demean male students nor lessens their confidence.

Let me reiterate my question earlier: Who’s to say who should and shouldn’t wear makeup? The notions of what are considered feminine and masculine have changed over the last few years, and it’s comforting to know that non-conformity to gender roles and standards are now options in self-expression. Though, I sincerely hope that this applies to institutions that still have double standards in their guidelines.


Art by Marian Hukom

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