The One Where I Got 'Makeup Shamed'

Shaming sucks. It becomes more hurtful when a woman "shames" another woman for looking too pretty! I mean, being underestimated by a woman stinks. Especially if there is a connection between looks and effectiveness at work. Don't girls know we got to stick together? We should be supporting each other, right? Wrong. Read on and see what happened to me when I decided to put some makeup on! Yes. This post is about... "makeup shaming"!

Some background info

I am a teacher and teachers get observed. That means someone comes into your classroom, watches you teach, and makes suggestions on how you can improve your lesson. I am a normal looking teacher/woman. Nothing special, and if you ask me (and others) I could lose a bit of kilos here and there. But, I manage, and at 40, I feel fine about the way I look. I also like girlie stuff. I do not go to extremes, but I like a bit of makeup, my comfy heels and my nice perfumes. When I go to class, I do pay attention to the way I look. Is it the most important thing? Nope. Does it matter? Sure, why not?

The one where I got shamed

I was going to get observed and it was a Friday. Friday at work in the UK also means going for dinner or the pub. If I am going to go out, I will put in extra effort to look presentable. So, I spent 5 minutes using a curling iron, I put on a bit of makeup, I splashed some perfume and went to work. I looked OK. When I walked into the office, I got a few compliments. We then started to talk shop. "What are you going to teach? Can I see your lesson plan?" And then, this. One of my (female) colleagues said, " So, X will observe me. He doesn't care about whether I look good or not. He will focus on my teaching." Me: "....."

Excuse me? Should I have gone to work with a paper bag on my head and a wrinkly shirt? So, if I wear makeup and nice clothes, will someone automatically think that I won't be good at my job? That I cannot teach? Will that someone be a woman? My co-worker made the assumption that I put effort into my looks because I was lacking as a teacher! In her mind, I was going to "wow" the person observing me with my looks and not my capability as a teacher.

I wonder. Do looks really matter that much? Will you automatically think that if someone looks horrible, they are better at their job? I guess you won't. So, what happens when the tables turn? Why is makeup perceived by some (not all) a bad thing? And why would a woman be the one to say that to me? Mind boggling!! Sad even!

Just so you know, my observation went great!

Have you ever faced this kind of prejudice/bias? Ever been makeup shamed? Tell me your story. If you are interested in reading more of my adventures, do check out my blog at