Strict binary gender roles and stereotypes limit self expression.
They can also be toxic and lead to hatred and violence.
Being outside those strict stereotypes can be freeing and frightening.
One man who dared place a toe outside those lines got pushback from women in his workplace. So he turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
Redditor makeaitaup asked:
“AITA for wearing makeup as a mechanic?”
The Original Poster (OP) made one thing clear:
“I am male.”
The OP explained their situation:
“I am a mechanic at a fairly large workshop and recently I started to use makeup as I found it was boosting my confidence.”
“I started with something to cover my eye bags but later on also tried mascara and a few other subtle things.”
“Surprisingly I didn’t get any comments from the other mechanics and everything seemed fine, my confidence was skyrocketing.”
“Because of how large the workshop is, we mechanics have little to no contact with customers. Customers are handled by two ladies working the front desk and we just go out to pick up the cars.”
“Very rarely we have to talk to customers to figure out the problem.”
“I also have not much contact with the front desk ladies as we have different break times and our system is automated so we don’t have to talk in person.”
“Yesterday I was approached by both of them which is very unusual and they both laid into me, that my makeup is highly unprofessional.”
“Seems like a customer who had seen me had made a comment about me. They were both quite rude, telling me I needed to skip out on the makeup as it was so unprofessional and they had to deal with the customers all the time so they were affected by it.”
“I was stunned as we are usually on friendly terms and them going off on me left me speechless.”
“I apologized in the moment but later on I thought about it and I don’t want to stop wearing makeup. I feel confident with it and I feel like I should be able to put it on.”
“On the other hand they are right that they have to deal with the customers and I don’t want to make it harder for them.”
What lead to the complaints?
According to the OP:
“Apparently all it took for the front desk ladies was a customer referring to me as ‘the one wearing mascara’.”
“I was afraid of comments from the other mechanics, because that was what I assumed would happen.”
“But they didn’t even really recognize it and the few that did, didn’t say much about it.”
“Only these two women have an issue with it.”
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided OP was not the a**hole.
Although the most popular comment was a satirical NAH…
“NAH. You cannot blame the girls for being distracted from their work when you are looking this fine.”
“It is on you to wield your power responsibly.” ~ plinky4
…other Redditors were NTA all the way.
“NTA! Like, seriously?
“I reckon you should go in with a full face and bright pink/colours of eyeshadow and lippy as a big f’k you. Make sure you paint your nails too!”
“There is nothing wrong with men wearing makeup, even if they are straight.” ~ NexSocius
“NTA. I imagine these ladies wear make up to work? How about if you criticised them for their choices?”
“I’m sure they’d have you written up for disciplinary, so why the double standards?”
“If some idiot bigot feels they have to complain about what their mechanic looks like then their life must be so very small.” ~ orchard-at-midnight
“Exactly. It is unprofessional to not do ones job right, to make stupid comments about others’ appearances and act like their very own opinion is important enough to make people change.”
“As long as OP does his job and is respectful towards clients, there’s nothing unprofessional going on (from his side at least).” ~ Agreeable_Hippo_7970
“The comment from the customer was just saying ‘the one with the mascara’.”
“That doesn’t even sound like a complaint, more like some customer pointing out a feature to specify which mechanic, so these ladies were probably just waiting for an excuse to call him out.” ~ anonymousbane
“As a woman, I have been given grief for going to the office without makeup in the past.”
“Some people really just don’t understand that makeup, whether people do or do not wear makeup, it doesn’t affect their work quality. It’s so dumb.” ~ blammycuzzing
“NTA, dude you’re a mechanic. Your job is to work on vehicles not be customer facing.”
“You should be free to wear whatever you don’t mind getting grease on.” ~ Delicious_Lobster468
“Yeah, these ladies probably already had their mind made up and were just looking for an excuse.”
“OP, I don’t know where you live but in my state in the USA it is one party consent for recorded conversations. Plus document the time and what they said to the best of your memory and keep wearing makeup!”
“In my opinion, these women are being very unprofessional and are creating a hostile work environment.”
“Please protect yourself! NTA.” ~ rogertheprice
“I think they were just waiting for a customer to make a comment (that they knew would eventually come) to use as an excuse to let their own true colours and feelings show.” ~ icecreampenis
“NTA as long as your makeup is professional what’s the issue? I assume these ladies wear make up?”
“Your makeup doesn’t dictate how well you can do your job!” ~ Pornflakes12_
“NTA. Unless your makeup is too over the top the it isn’t unprofessional.”
“Many professions allow for makeup to be worn. I don’t see any issue with a mechanic wearing makeup.”
“The only issue would be if it’s in your employee handbook and if it is I would be questioning why you aren’t allowed makeup.”
“Hey if my mechanic put in the effort to wear makeup I would probably trust them more than someone who doesn’t put any effort into their appearance for work…” ~ Youareapoobum
“NTA. I’m always stunned by the amount of people that think makeup is only for women.” ~ charliesmaine
“Sometimes women end up doing the dirtiest work of gender policing. Internalized misogyny is a hell of a drug.” ~ DiTrastevere
“I went to beauty school (a long, long time ago). We had to practice eye makeup at home, and the only person I had to practice on was my boyfriend at the time.”
“I gave him perfect concealer, eyeliner and mascara. Think of Jared Leto in The Kill.”
“It was gorgeous, and honestly, he looked freaking amazing in it. I just finished up, bf loved it and said he might make it an everyday thing if he could get the hang of it…”
“Then his mom walked in and saw his face.”
“This woman burst out into tears and ran out to the lounge crying [my poor boy] because apparently I was making her son a “sissy”?
“I dunno. You do you, man. I LOVE seeing a guy with well done eye makeup.” ~ Gaiaimmortal
Makeup as strictly for women is a relatively modern concept. In European history, makeup was more often for the rich and powerful, regardless of gender.
In some non-European and non-colonized cultures, makeup is still traditionally worn by all genders.
Beyond cultural tradition, some people enjoy wearing makeup as a fashion statement or to enhance their favorite features or boost their confidence.
If there’s nothing in company policy about it, then anyone who chooses to wear makeup in the workplace should be free to do so.
Stereotypes and double standards hurt everyone, so these ladies should ditch them and live their own life.
Then they’ll have ample time to mind their own business.