I was invited to attend a rather novel charity ball on Friday the 29th of August, organised by Merissa Mathew of Makeup Free Me, and supported by the Butterfly Foundation, which assists sufferers of eating disorders and their loved ones. Makeup Free Me is about women rediscovering who they are underneath all the layers of makeup applied whenever they go out and face the world. It’s about removing that veneer behind which many of us hide, and without which we often feel vulnerable and weakened. It reminds us that despite what society and media portrays, there is so much more to a woman than her physical appearance. The Makeup Free Me ball was an all-female event. Unsurprisingly, we were asked to attend makeup-free. It was interesting to see later in the evening with a show of hands how anxious most of the ladies felt about that!
Upon arrival, we were provided with a pretty, golden masquerade mask. Once we got our masks tied on, adjusted and readjusted, we were ready to begin. It was a gorgeous, clear evening. Our venue, River’s Edge, provided us spectacular views over the Yarra River, with a balcony and windows from floor to ceiling. There were lollies, canapés, drinks, a photo booth, a DJ, and most importantly, heartfelt speeches about the charity and its origins. The stats were shocking and the message clear; body image is a serious problem among women of all ages. It’s important to shed light on the issue and build a culture based on performance and not appearance. There are broad and fundamental societal issues to be dealt with, yet we can all play our part by being conscious of the way we perceive and interact with the females in our lives, and the females of the world.
Makeup really is like a mask, Merissa pointed out. A mask that women often use to conceal their identities and blend in with the ‘norm’. So she asked us all to take off our masks, and celebrate our individuality, which we wholeheartedly did. Personally, I’m quite comfortable with my appearance; I’m just as happy dressed up as I am looking like a wild-haired zombie after a Sunday sleep-in. But celebrating a girls’ night out with friends old and new made me more at ease than ever. I didn’t have to worry about looking neat/nice/respectable (though I do believe that a true lady should keep it classy at all times, haha); I didn’t have to worry about leaving my purse on a chair as I walked on to the dance floor. I even left my drinks unattended for most of the night! It made me realise how guarded we usually are in public, because we have little choice. Best of all was the happiness when I realised I could go to bed without having to take off my face at the end of the night! Little pleasures 🙂
Makeup Free Me is a great cause, so I encourage you to get behind it and donate. By asking females to forget about makeup for a change, it lifts an often heavy burden and frees us to change the world in a big way 🙂