One girl’s expedition into the uncharted territory of being a fully functioning member of society

Eyeliner is not the secret to success

More stories from Faith Hultman


I dragged myself out of bed borderline early all week for one reason: eyeliner. Getting that perfect cat eye is a lot of work, and with the perfect cat eye comes mascara, and with mascara and eyeliner come concealer and a host of other time-consuming products.

Of course, the “perfect” cat eye doesn’t last all day. By the end of every single evening last week I looked like I had let a 4-year-old color on my eyelids. I used to wear eyeliner every day, but it was harder than I thought to get back into the swing of it.

A tip: While you can rub your eyes however and whenever you want when makeup-free, rubbing them with makeup on is a guaranteed mess.

A second tip: If you call your mom to cry over all the other things currently falling apart in your life, chances are that makeup will run down your entire face like a clown from a horror movie.

According to a study by Jaclyn S. Wong and Andrew M. Penner, attractive people are paid roughly 20 percent more than their less attractive counterparts. However, the study also suggests this attractiveness income gap can be partially eliminated through grooming, which includes makeup.

The study also states while men are judged partially on their grooming habits, grooming “accounts for the entire attractiveness premium for women.”

“Unattractive” women, who will be paid less if they do not wear makeup, can wear makeup to bring in the dough? This might seem like a plus, but it says something about the world in which we live.

While I have no problem with makeup as an art form or even as a general concept, I do have a problem when it becomes mandatory.

A different study, conducted in 2011, suggests women wearing makeup appear more competent to the average viewer. Two days into my week of eyeliner I realized a large part of the reason I decided to wear eyeliner in the first place was to look more successful.

The more successful you look, the more successful you are, right?

Maybe that’s true, but I refuse to play into a system that aligns the worth of women with their grooming habits, and I therefore cannot wear makeup, on an ethical level, in an attempt to be more successful.

It looks, instead, as if I’ll have to wear it solely for fun and because I feel like it, because let’s face it, while I was busy trying not to let the lines on my eyelids smear onto other parts of my face, I missed a group exam, failed a lab exam and winged — not winged like my eyeliner — a Spanish presentation, blatantly reading off my hand at multiple points throughout.

I can be successful with or without makeup, and if I can’t, it’s due to a messed up society, not my own incompetence. I would rather take responsibility for my shortcomings than mask them in an effort to look successful.

I would never tell anyone not to wear makeup if they so choose, but for those of us who are struggling to keep their lives together in the cold and unforgiving world of college in northern Wisconsin, I wouldn’t recommend it as a method for success. Unless you’re planning on becoming Instagram famous doing makeup tutorials, then by all means go for it.

Next week I’m going to dress for the weather. What does this mean? I’ll wake up, I’ll check the weather, and I’ll bring whatever I need to be successful traversing the great outdoors. This seems easy, but speaking from personal experience, eyeliner, the rain and no outerwear doesn’t make for a great combination.

Does it work? Is this the week I turn myself around for good? We’ll find out. It’s a desperate world out there folks; stay on top of it.