Words by Camilla Patel
Ok, so I know that the title of this blog post will appeal to a certain demographic: make-up addicts or drag queen fanatics (me in a nutshell). If you don’t fit into either of those categories, I suspect you might be thinking that this is complete gibberish. Well, quite simply, ‘beating’ one’s face is a term which means putting make up on, and therefore having a ‘beat’ face means having a full face of make up. It’s a weird term I know. What’s even weirder is that I have heard it 100s of times and I’ve never thought to question it until I drunkenly said it a few days ago to a friend. Despite my slightly blurry vision, I noticed that her face dropped as soon as I said it, as if I had summoned a plague onto her family. I then realised it was more than likely that she had no clue that it was make up related and she probably thought I was cracking a joke about abuse. I was mortified and quickly explained to her what I meant, but it was at that moment I realised that it’s a really weird thing to say and it’s origins probably aren’t as glamorous as the context that the term’s used in now.
There’s not much information about the origins of the term on the internet, but a few people have understandably assumed that the term has arisen from using make up to cover physical evidence of domestic abuse. I mean, it’s true that make-up does have the power to cover the physical aftermath… concealer can cover bruising and puffy eyes, foundation and blusher can give your face a healthy colour, and a classic red lipstick can perfectly cover a bleeding split lip.
It’s odd that having a ‘beat face’ can now be seen as a positive thing – simply someone who’s wearing their makeup well.
Shaquanda Cole states that:
‘there are 1 in 3 women that suffer from intimate partner violence every day. The women that are getting their makeup done are not doing so in honour of those women. They are getting made up for pleasure. When a woman is living in an abusive relationship, she wears makeup to cover the scars.’ (http://theurbantwist.com/2016/10/05/beauty-domestic-violence/)
The term can obviously be seen as offensive and insulting, as ultimately the make up industry is about beauty and confidence. It is centred around looking pretty, and domestic violence goes completely against this idea.
‘Beating’ seems to have emerged as a form of slang, yet it seems that no one is questioning why the term is used and what hidden meaning it may carry. Therefore, the beauty industry may unknowingly be causing insult to thousands of people, just as I did to my friend. Despite being a compliment for some, the phrase could be hugely offensive for others and this is possibly one of the reasons why it hasn’t really spread much further than make up communities and popular gay culture. However, saying this, it is becoming a lot more popular, rather than being phased out as one might expect, so take this blog post as a warning for next time you hear it!
Read more from Camilla on her blog: milla1542491