Maybe She's Born with It

May 8, 2008
By Ava Yergo, Merrick, NY

The brush scrapes along my face like sandpaper, as pore-clogging foundation is smeared along my cheekbones. I feel my skin tighten and suffocate under the new layer of smog. My eyes are squeezed shut – a feeble attempt at a barrier against the tools attacking my face. A stabbing pain pierces my eyelid as an oily powder cakes onto my protective shell.
I obey, studying the faces of my aggressors through tearing eyes.
“She needs more on the eyes.”
I shut myself again, anticipating the next cold layer of muck.
I do so, coming face-to-pupil with dark bristles covered in thick black sludge. I reel back, and as I do, I am seized by abnormally strong arms, and commands streaming into my brain. I am forced to sit still.
I focus on a bare spot where paint has peeled off the wall, exposing its mildew colors. I consider the irony here: a wall lacking color and a face lacking its natural aspects. As I reason out this scenario, the brush spreads tar among my lashes, only to be followed by the thick paste which is smeared across my chapped lips.
“You can look now.”
I do, and instantly regret it. I stare at a cheap, CVS-brand clown. Two-for-a-dollar shades of eye shadow and eyeliner reach and cling onto the fibers of my eyebrows, crawling away from the tar pits developing on my lashes. My pupils are barely visible through the coats of eyeliner, and my lips very much resemble a freshly waxed floor.
“Oh. My. God. It looks so natural!”
I roll my eyes in disbelief, reach for a towel and begin to scrape the mess off.
Pulling the towel away, I realize their facades. Zits create mountains and craters on their foreheads, inflamed under layers of cover-up. Underneath their lipstick lies jagged edges and peeled skin. Their bodies are baked to an unnatural melanoma-inducing orange, due to countless tanning bed visits. Push up bras clench uncomfortably onto undeveloped breasts, and flab hangs over 3-sizes-too-small jeans.
Yet, social structure dubs them the mighty ones, worshipped and feared by millions. Boys stumble over them, and girls revolt against them. The believers purchase colorful indulgences, Maybelline Makeovers and Covergirl Cosmetics – propaganda for greatness.
In no way should these girls be awarded any power. Take away their shiny no-stick lip gloss, and they’re empty shells; pale ghosts of female figures. Power is derived from strength – and what sort of strength lies in a vacant exoskeleton?

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