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Makeup-Shaming at the Gym

A Message to Makeup-Shamers at the Gym: Can You Freakin' NOT

Hey, you — yes you! The one on your phone at the gym, texting your friend about the girl with the "painted face," by the weight rack . . . and you, the one in the studio whispering to your friend, talking crap on the person in front of you for wearing foundation . . . STOP. Just stop right there.

It's easy to be judgmental; snap judgments are how we get through life. But cool it, because while we shouldn't feel pressured to get dolled up to work out, we absolutely should not be making other women feel bad for their choice to feel more comfortable and confident. Makeup-shaming is makeup-shaming, at the gym or otherwise, and it's wrong (just like any other kind of shaming!).

Since when does someone wearing makeup to the gym impact you in any way whatsoever? You're at the gym to get healthy and have a workout. That's it. Focus on you, your journey, your development, and your own face, not someone else's. Also, major newsflash — no one who puts on makeup before heading out the door signs up to receive your opinion on the matter.

Our culture has shifted toward "let's point out everything that everyone's doing wrong," and "if I don't agree with what you're doing, you're wrong." Oh, and (according to Facebook comments everywhere) everyone feels the need to share their opinion, whether or not that opinion contributes to a positive conversation.

While at a workout event in San Francisco, a fitness influencer (who shall not be named) was giving a speech, saying something to the tune of "To all you girls wearing makeup at the gym, when your face comes off on your towel, it's not cute." My coworker and I were horrified by this — especially because there were women at that same event who were wearing makeup at the time. It was awful and painfully awkward.

How does saying something like that contribute to empowering women? On one end, sure — we want women to feel comfortable and beautiful in their own skin. As women, we shouldn't have to feel like we need to uphold a certain standard of beauty when we're projectile sweating and borderline dying in the gym. But here's the thing: not everyone feels comfortable without makeup, and THAT'S OK. And other women like wearing makeup at the gym, and it's not attached to any sort of insecurity.

Think before you speak. Sure, it may seem like a casual text to a friend, or an off-hand Facebook comment, or some cupped-hand gossip whispering to the girl next to you won't hurt anyone, but our actions and our words are cumulative, and over time, it contributes to a culture of shame, exclusion, and negativity. Gut check: Does what your saying contribute to a more positive society? Does it contribute to the empowerment of women? Does it help anyone on their fitness journey? If the answer is no, then just stop. Then, once you've stopped, take a moment to look inward and find out why you're unhappy and taking this unhappiness out on others.

And for those of you who love makeup or are squeezing in a lunchtime workout from the office with a made-up face, or who aren't yet ready to bare it all in a public setting and need that little layer of makeup or touch of highlighter to make you feel your best, you do you! Don't let anyone call into question how fabulous you are, or make you doubt your decision, or bring you down. Feeling confident makes your workout even better (thanks, makeup!), so just get out there and crush them in the gym. End rant.

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