In the struggle against feminization, radical feminists definitely feel pressure to wear makeup (and shave, and wear skirts/high heels) at work. And there are social consequences for refusing to do so. Let me explain, from my own personal experience and those of other women.
Women get rude comments asking them if they’re sick if they don’t wear makeup, from both men and women. It’s worse if the people commenting are in a position of power over you. Bullying does happen and I consider this a form of harassment. So too will gnc women get comments encouraging them to wear makeup. They’ll also get comments about waxing/plucking eyebrows and facial hair (unshaven legs can easily be covered with a long skirt or slacks, and nobody can see your armpits anyway).
Wait a minute, you might think. They’re just comments and insults about their looks. But when’s the last time women were encouraged to confront harassers at work? Especially if they’re in a position above them. In my jobs, I was told to directly tell an HR manager for them to handle it. Directly confronting them was considered trying to start trouble or arguments.
I remember a job interview for an admin assistant for a bank executive. The exec was interviewing me along with a woman, and she let me know with body language and saying that I would have to show cleavage. Needless to say that I didn’t get the job, nor would I have wanted it. The irony is that an employer can just vaguely claim they found a candidate who more closely fits their qualifications, without specifying exactly why; in this case, sexual discrimination.
If you don’t wear makeup to a job interview, you risk less chance of being hired. If you don’t wear makeup at work and are hoping for a promotion or a raise, you might get passed over. If you don’t wear dresses, you’re not really dressing up for special occasions or a formal job. Employers don’t have to make any of these things an official requirement for work, but that doesn’t mean they (and coworkers) won’t try to get you to do so. Refuse and they’ll make work difficult for you. And not all of us have the opportunity to simply leave the job and get another one instead. However, it’s possible to wear makeup at first and then slowly stop wearing it, and see what happens in a particular job. There are many specific instances of this I’ve read from other women, and they’re easy to find online in a search about the pressure to wear makeup at work, or in Facebook groups about radical feminism or women against femininity. So it’s not like there aren’t gnc women who are making the effort to try. I also made a friend recently who doesn’t wear makeup, and mentioned how she doesn’t get carded because of it. Her experience is easier since she’s in STEM. Younger and middle to upper class women also care more about makeup, so class and age are factors.
it’s also difficult to bring it up as an issue when pressuring women into wearing makeup is so normalized, and rude comments and questions aren’t considered that big of a deal. Of course, it’s easier to refuse if a woman gets promoted to higher positions. And that’s part of where the problem lies: women in higher positions pressuring women in lower positions. If it were really that easy to be gnc at work, women bosses would be able to set an example and encourage being gnc at work; so too would gnc women be able to obtain higher positions.