Make-up is no longer a feminist issue – thanks to Donald Trump

Look at how make-up transformed Clinton and Trump’s campaigns. They advanced much further than Sanders and Bush because they could disguise their age, projecting energy and longitude. Forget fake news – both of them were fake youths 

Donald Trump speaks during a press conference with UK prime minister Theresa May
Donald Trump speaks during a press conference with UK prime minister Theresa May

This week, like many around the globe, I tuned into Donald Trump’s first prime-time TV interview as President on ABC. And my goodness, I was shocked by what I saw. With every word, I felt more and more afraid – for a future that will surely affect us all.

Because did you see how much make-up he was wearing? I know Trump’s orangeness is no secret, but I’ve never seen him so close up before, so that I could almost touch the lashings of foundation and bronzer creasing on his face. There is a lot of it.

I’m scared for men, in particular, now that make-up has so heavily entered the mainstream. Will my future Tinder dates nip off to the loo to powder their nose? Will they borrow my mascara? What will become of us all since the Leader of the Free World looks like a Snog Marry Avoid? contestant?

There has been a lack of intellectual analysis regarding Trump’s uptake of make-up, though it is a fascinating thing, particularly as it does not square with his image of “toxic masculinity”. Trump fans celebrate his straight-talking, blokey approach to everything. Yet here is a man who will wear bronzer.

In the feminist sphere, make-up has been a huge talking point for years, equated with subjugation and the perpetuation of unrealistic body standards. Many commentators pitied Hillary Clinton in her presidential campaign, especially after her concession speech, in which she infamously appeared au naturel. Many perceived her as broken and vulnerable; the victim of an “oppressive level of scrutiny”.

Yet no one has explained Trump and his penchant for foundation. He is as much of a sucker to the cosmetics industry as Clinton. He may even be more so, piling the slap on until the end of his presidency.

In his enthusiasm, Trump seems to have done what no man has done before – he has turned make-up into a universal, not feminist, issue. It’s been going this way for years, as many men have started using it. And what’s to stop them now? The President has made make-up a weapon, rather than form of suppression, for getting what you want.

Bill Maher: PC culture helped put Donald Trump in the White House

After all, just look at how it transformed Clinton and Trump’s campaigns. They advanced much further than Sanders and Bush because they could disguise their age, projecting energy and longitude. Forget fake news – both of them were fake youths. Trump is the oldest president ever to be inaugurated – yet he managed to trick us all with his hefty contouring.

Make-up will be all the more important to Trump as he competes with increasingly young leaders, such as Justin Trudeau and Enrique Peña Nieto. Trump’s mantra is clearly “fight fire with fire” – and that’s not just for Isis. He recognises he has to look good if he is to stand on the world stage with these total babes.

Whatever the deep-down intellectual reasons Trump uses make-up are, we are unlikely to find out anytime soon, or see his face slapped on a billboard advertising his new cosmetics line.

But let’s be honest, it’s now no longer a feminist issue.

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