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Point of View: When I wear makeup, I am embracing masculinity

My makeup is like a helmet that unleashes my inner warrior, says Sam Kaizer, who started wearing makeup at age 21.

Makeup is the missing component of manliness, says Sam Kaizer, who started wearing makeup at age 21

'When I apply makeup, I imagine myself as a soldier putting on war paint,' says Sam Kaizer. (Naskademini)

Men today are all put in the same box. They're peer pressured to behave in specific ways: be tough, look tough, don't cry, and above all, don't wear makeup.

Does being "a man" really just mean having a beard and acting tough? That would honestly suck.

When I think of masculinity, I think of what it's been historically — strength, courage, bravery — and having really nice colours on your face!

Like many noblemen in the 1700s, King Henry VIII wore wigs, makeup and skirts. (wikipedia.org)

Historically, men have always been seen as strong, but they've also been seen as wearing fierce, flamboyant looks when carrying out all their duties. I mean, have you seen those kings?

That's why I wear makeup. When I apply makeup, I imagine myself as a soldier putting on war paint, ready to face the challenges in my life.

I conceal my dark circles, hiding my weaknesses. I highlight my cheekbones and contour my forehead, presenting only the best and strongest parts of myself.

My makeup is like a helmet that unleashes my inner warrior.

Men tend to mock me for wearing makeup. I've been pointed at in the Metro, laughed at in the streets, and have had people tell me my makeup is too girly and narcissistic.

I think men feel a lot of pressure to fit certain standards of masculinity — and I want to challenge that.

Sam Kaizer says wearing makeup is a kind of masculinity. 1:00

For me, being a man means to be who I am, to love myself, to care for myself and to make myself look the best I can.

Being a man is challenging the status quo, and that requires courage. I've had friends and family express disappointment, and even anger, towards the decisions I've made, but I'd rather be surrounded by people who support me and love me.

What's the point of respecting a standard of masculinity that does not seem to work at all for me?

Besides applying foundation and blush, Sam Kaizer sometimes wears dark eyeliner too. He calls this his 'masculine makeup look.' (Submitted by Sam Kaizer)

I know deep in my heart that many men are hurting, trying to be what the world asks them to be. So, I put on my shiny lipstick and pink blush to challenge that world view.

I find it unfortunate that so many men don't feel comfortable expressing themselves. Why can't masculinity be about embracing who we are, loving our own beauty and leading the world to a more bright and colourful future?

Being a man is being confident enough to present who you truly are. Every human is living an entirely unique experience, and makeup can accentuate that unique component.

Makeup puts who I am on the surface, for the world to see. This is who I am, and nobody will tell me otherwise.

Sam Kaizer, 22, wears shiny lip gloss as a way to challenge today's standard of masculinity. (Naskademini)

Close up on Gender is a CBC Montreal series for radio, web and television. You'll hear from Montrealers who are sharing their stories, or thinking and acting differently when it comes to gender in 2019.

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About the Author

Sam Kaizer

Concordia University student leader

Sam Kaizer is a student leader at Concordia University who focuses on representing LGBTQ+, low-income and international students’ interests.

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