TOK essay on make-up

Make-up has been around since the dawn of human civilisation. The first archaeological evidence of cosmetics usage is found in Egypt around 3500 BC – the bust of Nefretiti, a member of the royal family, with eye shadow applied. The ancient Romans and Greeks also used and cherished the blessing of make-up. However, make-up did not always evoke only positive feelings – in the Middle Ages it was banned by the Church, Queen Victoria of England publicly declared it improper and vulgar, Adolf Hitler used to compare women with their faces painted to clowns.

In spite of the fact that throughout the ages many institutions and rulers disapproved of make-up, it cannot be denied that it played a certain role in various epochs. What is more, it is also present in and significant to the society of the 21st century. We probably are unable to indicate one, common reason for the usage of cosmetics.

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For some people the only reason why they put on make-up is their own aesthetical pleasure deriving rom being good-looking, whereas what matters for the others is the perception of the society they live in. The first group of people purports to be fully conscious and their decision premeditated. The second one might be thought to blindly follow the pattern, acting according to the standards. However thought- and senseless this behaviour might seem to be, it should be understandable to some extent because the social pressure to look immaculately is indeed very high.The main objectives of make-up are strictly related with the trigger for doing it. There are two prime ‘streams’ in the aims of putting on make-up. The first one focuses on making the opinion of other people highly positive.

Many individuals struggle for being perceived as beautiful in various circles. They desire to be admired and popular among their friends and this is what being beautiful can usually guarantee. Good appearance happens to be a key factor for building the social status, which is of great importance for some people.

That’s why they use make-up as a way of improving the perception of the others.Some more ‘inner’ goals of using make-up do as well exist. One of them can be gaining self-confidence.

It is obvious that people who are not satisfy with their look might suffer from feeling very insecure. Hiding at least a part of their imperfections by the usage of make-up contributes to a growth of faith in themselves. Make-up can also highly improve the self-esteem, which is a chief factor in, e.g. finding a life partner.Make-up may as well be a way of expressing emotions.

Using certain techniques we are able to send an emotionally loaded message. For instance, the usage of dark shades enables an individual to present his/her discontent, sadness, grief or anger, whereas putting some pastel colours on one’s face might suggest happiness. Yet, the perception of all such ‘symbols’ is highly subjective, which is the reason why the message conveyed can sometimes be misinterpreted.A connection between make-up and language can also be found. Undoubtedly, some instructions to create a proper make-up are required. Of course, it is possible for the tips to be given in a graphical way(e.

g. by step-by-step images of the process of applying cosmetics). Yet, some further explanation, a so-called ‘instantiation’, is almost unnegligible for a perfect effect. Moreover, the majority (if not all) of cosmetic courses is conducted simply by the usage of words, which shows the contribution of the language to educating professional make-up artists.Summing up, from above reflections the idea of make-up seems to be a complex and interesting social phnonenon, which contradicts the popular view of make-up as being rather shallow and unimportant.

It might be also useful to conduct further studies on the subject of doing make-up because it can become a base for revealing some psychological features of human beings.