Sport and makeup - yay or nay?

Rebecca Johnson tackles the taboo of women wearing make-up in sport

Rebecca Johnson
4th April 2020
From my experience, when you’re playing sport the last thing on your mind is looking good. Instead, I’m focused on doing well and winning, and I’d be a bit concerned if my make-up started running due to sweating. That’s just my opinion though, however a lot of women who play sports get a bit of stick questioning why they wear make-up when playing.
Instagram @svandesanden

Without focusing on sports like gymnastics and ice-skating, where you’re judged on looks in your overall performance (see the film I Tonya for a fantastic response to this), a lot of other sportswomen choose to wear make-up when they play. This is something I noticed whilst watching the Women’s World Cup last year. When watching the Netherlands play, the image of forward Shanice van de Sanden fully clad with eyeliner and lipstick springs to mind. Of course, the usual brigade on Twitter and other social media questioned her.

Additionally, Brazil football legend Marta, caught herself at the centre of attention when she played in the last 16 clash against France. She played wearing bright red lipstick, and whilst she’s probably best remembered for her passionate speech after the game about how women’s football has progressed and that it’s time for the next generation to move on. Yet, some outlets focused on the fact she was wearing lipstick, to which she replied, “I always wear lipstick, I chose red as it is the colour of blood, because we had to leave blood on the pitch.”

Instagram @mrapinoe

Hair is another part of this, again going back to the Women’s World Cup, Megan Rapinoe made headlines with not only her opinions, but her hairstyles. A shock of purple and pink was seen across the world last summer and seemed to send shockwaves across social media.

As I stated at the start of the article, wearing makeup and playing sport isn’t my cup of tea, but it is for other players and that’s what people need to realise. If a player chooses and is comfortable playing in it, then that’s all that matters. Let’s move away from the fact that they’re wearing it and focus on their achievements, Marta became the all-time record goal scorer in the Women’s World Cup, Rapinoe took on Trump, let’s celebrate these achievements rather than focusing on player’s appearance. Makeup or no makeup, you should be assessed on performance rather than looks.

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