Men In Makeup: The Stigma Behind It

Makeup has become a worldwide phenomenon in the past years with arguably the most influence coming from YouTube with influencers like James Charles, Jeffree Star, Patrick Starrr, Bretman Rock, Tati Westbrook, Antonio Garza, Alissa Ashley, and many more, adding trends and “sister scandals” every day.

“Men were not even in the question of being a part of this feminine culture and it stayed that way for the next 80 years until the early 2000’s when MySpace and YouTube began to emerge…”

From left to right: Jeffree Star, James Charles, and Tati Westbrook

Reading these YouTuber names, you may have noted that several are clearly male names. This might surprise you. Why do many of us feel uncomfortable when we see or hear about a man in makeup? There are many reasons as to why: societal trends with only the woman in mind, toxic masculinity among men that pressures other men away from wearing it, and overall homophobia against the gay men that do wear makeup.

Elizabeth Taylor in a full face of makeup. Source:

Makeup was first made in 1915 by Maurice Levy who invented the metal container for lipstick, giving license to its mass production. Soon after, in the 1920’s, it became an everyday necessity for many women to exude a higher class and standard of beauty. Icons including Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, and Elizabeth Taylor became famous not only by their iconic beauty but also by their extensive use of makeup. Men were not even in the question of being a part of this feminine culture, and it stayed that way for the next 80 years until the early 2000’s when MySpace and YouTube began to emerge. With these new platforms for anyone to post videos on anything they desired, controversial videos began to emerge. Some of these were audacious enough to feature men in makeup.

Early 2000’s feminine makeup meeting consumers want to be like their icon and everyone’s icon Brittney Spears.

Comparing makeup brands from the early 2000’s to now, there are many differences with how businesses are meeting consumer demands. Leading makeup manufacturers were creating makeup for the “Brittany Spears Era,” including glitter eyeshadow, pink mascara, and very feminine products.

Chanel’s new male beauty line “Chanel de Boy”. Source:

That was, of course, until 2018. From the exclusive femininity of the past century, a new trend has emerged within makeup distributors, and even haute couture fashion houses. Exclusive brands are beginning to focus not only on the female archetypes, but are also experimenting with initiatives that meet the demands of their increasingly beauty-conscious male counterparts. For example, Chanel has created a men’s makeup line to go with their perfume “Boy” called “Chanel de Boy.” a very expensive but currently popular line of men’s beauty line. According to Chanel, “beauty is not a matter of gender; it is a matter of style. This new range allows men in their beauty routines to have the tools necessary to feel better about themselves.” (Forbes)

Even if you may think men shouldn’t be allowed to wear makeup or dress in women’s clothes, just remember that the world continues to evolve and even high fashion brands are welcoming this new trend. Makeup, clothes, and anything materialistic should be unisex and for everyone.

XOXO Gossip Gay ❤

Author: Will Staley

Will Staley is currently a senior and this is his second year working for the Eye. This is also his second year living in Singapore, having moved from St. Louis, Missouri USA. Will enjoys photography and has a photography website ( He hopes to pursue photography and journalism for his college and career, while being involved in his passion of politics and humanitarian work. He can be contacted at

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