Make me over
Remember when I was talking about men and their love-hate relationship with enhancing their looks? Well, I found this on youtube (the rabbit hole of all rabbit holes) and I thought it was very illustrative. It's like having a convo with ourselves.
James does grooming, but this time he brought on his brother to talk about makeup and the results are very cool. And oh, yes, they're twins? Rad. One thing I could not help but notice, though, is how somehow James distances himself a little from the whole painting-your-face thing. I'm assuming James is straight but an ally and his brother may be LGBTQ (because I also carry my biases with me) but in several instances he seems to clarify his involvement in the whole experience as purely scientific. He clearly sets boundaries to let us know just how far he'll go with this makeup thing. In case there's any doubt?
And then there's Aaron:
Aaron comes across as all braggadocio and pose, he's an alpha male, after all, right? But he also delivers his point: so what if you wear makeup? Notice that they both share what we call unmistakable secondary male traits: facial hair, deep voices, etc. So is it that what makes them more impervious to criticism?
Then there's Carl, who makes me weak in the knees with that accent, also giving us some tips on how to look awesome. Carl is the only one I know to be out and proud. But even he did a disclaimer in his video description saying that you don't need to be a girl or gay to wear makeup. Et tu, Carl?
I think it may have to do with the idea we have of what a man looks like and what a man 'is'. Because these two youtubers are what we would consider ‘masculine’ (beard, not-too-pretty, slightly self-deprecating) they get to primp and fuss with their faces without many people even batting an eyelash. Notice how they both keep a somehow circumspect attitude and are careful not to indulge too much in the playfulness that the transformation could bring. They also never cross the line of altering their image too much and they emphasize the idea of makeup being almost therapeutic when you're male, which makes it quite the opposite when it comes to females, and I see a double standard there.
I believe their approach is a cautious one. I don't take it as them rejecting the idea of being considered queer for using makeup, but I see they take a step back: they try to embrace it as something 'healthy' and try to break the current taboo of males taking care of their appearance and enhancing it as a feminine wile. They try to present it as a tool for self-care. And that could be a step in the right direction, given the world we live in.