Social Question

tinyfaery's avatar

Why must my eyelashes be so long?

Asked by tinyfaery (44149points) April 10th, 2012

Every mascara commercial I see and just about every show that I watch features women with very long eyelashes. Longer, plumper, fuller, why do my eyelashes need so much oomph?

I don’t get it. What purpose could it possibly serve? Do men go around saying, “look at the eyelashes on that one, whooee”?

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58 Answers

syz's avatar

Western standards of feminine beauty. Silly, hmmm?

tom_g's avatar

@tinyfaery: “Do men go around saying, “look at the eyelashes on that one, whooee”?”

nope. I think mascara looks ridiculous.

I think I need to trim my eyelashes, however. They often scrape the inside of my glasses because they are way too long.

janbb's avatar

The better to lure men in to procreate with you.

Ponderer983's avatar

Eyelashes do serve the purpose of helping to keep dust and things out of your eyes. The fuller and longer they are, the better they are at this job.
From an aesthetic perspective, just like child-bearing hips, big boobs, and full lips, it’s another dimension to add to the idealism of the perfect female figure. It makes the eyes more dramatic and “come hither.” I find that mascara helps to define my eyes and makes my eye color pop. I have very fair skin and hair color, so I look washed out without it.
And to answer the last part of your question, I have received many comments over the natural length of my eyelashes. Though, I must say, most of those who commented have been women, but some men have made the comment as well.

chyna's avatar

@Keep_on_running And they look so real and natural!~

wilma's avatar

What @janbb wrote is the reason.
I used to have very long, very black, very thick lashes, without using any mascara. It is a sign of good health and youth, as is smooth skin and shiny thick hair. All good signs of a healthy woman to procreate with.
As I have gotten older my lashes have become shorter, lighter and much thinner. It’s one of the things that happens to us as we age.

Ponderer983's avatar

@Keep_on_running and @chyna I would just like to say that my lashes DO NOT look like that, though mine are full and long. That just looks like a spider is try to give birth through her eyes (and since it’s a Kardashian, that’s highly probable).

digitalimpression's avatar

It can look rather nice on the right woman. Forcing it though.. as in @Keep_on_running ‘s pic… not good.

Keep_on_running's avatar

@Ponderer983 Sometimes I have a problem looking people in the eye when talking and that would really just scare the shit out of me.

Pandora's avatar

I remember years ago a male friend kept staring at me as I ate. I asked him if I had food on my face or something. (We were just childhood friends) He wondered if I always wore mascara because he noticed my eyelashes always seemed full and longer some days. I told him no and I wasn’t wearing any now. All I did was wet them and bend them upwards. They were naturally long and full but shot downward unless I bent them upward. I told him to feel for himself and he did.
Then he also asked the same question. Why do girls wear mascara? And I pointed out that he noticed my eyelashes and we aren’t even attracted to each other, so what does that tell him?
There are still times when people think I have some mascara on and I don’t.
Point is whenever you meet people for the first time, they often notice your eyes first. Long lashes tend to make them look larger. Large eyes can either translate to sexy or demure or young.

JustPlainBarb's avatar

I think natural looking eyelashes are much nicer looking than mascara caked ones… or fake ones. Don’t believe all the advertising hype.

But honestly, most people don’t really give it a second thought when they look at you. Hopefully, they’re looking at your eyes and hearing what you have to say instead.

nikipedia's avatar

I agree with you that it’s unlikely someone would notice or comment on someone’s eyelashes—but I think long eyelashes can make someone more attractive anyway. There are a number of facial features like this, that people don’t overtly notice but can still affect attractiveness—facial symmetry, specific distances between features, and my favorite, thick limbal rings (the ring that encircles the iris).

gailcalled's avatar

So, soon all women will have long eyelashes according to the Darwinian imperative? The straight-lashed, the blond-lashed, the sparsely lashed are as doomed as the Dodo?

picante's avatar

I sit in amazement at what “they” foist upon womankind as the next must-have in order to catch a man. Silly me, I was relaxing in the knowledge that my lips were too thin, my hair was too dark, and my eyebrows were too thick, when . . . KABLAM! . . . I learn that my eyelashes are too short, too thin, too staight, too “not right.” And my poor limbal rings never knew what hit them.

syz's avatar

Honestly, the only eyelashes I notice are the freaky ones. Fake eyelashes, clumps of mascara, gobbed on mascara – apparently all of these women thought they looked hot. Just be careful – you might have every belief that you look wonderful, but your audience may be thinking “eww”.

Julietxx3's avatar

Long eyelashes emphasize your eyes and make you look beautiful:)

gailcalled's avatar

^^ In this hyped-up culture that is the myth. Many other societies get along just fine, fall in love, procreate and live long and productive lives without giving their eyelashes much thought.

wilma's avatar

I agree @syz I’m not at all a fan of the recent trend in falsies. Lately I have seen them on young girls. I only like them on stage actresses and Lucy.
Gunky mascara is not attractive either.

digitalimpression's avatar

I actually agree with @Julietxx3 . It seems that there is a clearly defined line between “living your life to society’s standards” and just looking nice.

Quite a few women (I speculate) seem to want to “buck the system” and rebel against high fashion, makeup, and being thin. I don’t quite understand it. No, you shouldn’t go overboard and let your life be run by those standards..(being rail thin, ridiculously excessive makeup, etc) but dressing up nice, wearing eye makeup, and whatnot is perfectly acceptable. If you don’t want to be the woman that turns heads then by all means.. abandon makeup, health and beauty “standards”.

Beyond that, it’s not about turning heads. I think (again I speculate) that looking nice makes a woman feel confident in herself. Women want to feel attractive. I don’t see a problem with that at all.

gailcalled's avatar

No wearing makeup does not ever equate with not being healthy and hygienically unoffensive.

digitalimpression's avatar

@gailcalled Did you get my point or are you just squabbling over details for the hell of it? Of course they don’t equate. I don’t mean to express that in any way. My point was… bah.. forget it. I forgot where I was for a second.

gailcalled's avatar

@digitalimpression: No, feel free to debate. That is one of the benefits of this site. It hones our debating skills.

digitalimpression's avatar

@gailcalled I have no desire to debate you on a point you thought I made that I didn’t. I’m really not in the mood to see you lurving it up for picking apart what I write. That is not why I fluther (Can we verb that now? Yes, I think we’re good).

Really, it’s like playing tennis where everyone cheers for the other player and scoffs, boos, and spits on my side of the court. I’m not into sadomasochism.

Feel free, though, to find another tennis partner.

syz's avatar

^ Wut?

digitalimpression's avatar

Did I mess up and write in another language again? Hmm nope. o.O Sorry for the confusion @syz .

syz's avatar

@digitalimpression Just seemed a bit antagonistic for the subject matter – that’s the only confusion. Someone piss in your cornflakes this morning?

digitalimpression's avatar

@syz me and @gailcalled go way back. xD

(I’m not even sure if that’s true.. I’ve had disagreements with quite a few people here.. usually with people who “piss in my cornflakes”. Why would they do that anyway? There’s milk to be had for cheap!)

Let me see if I can explain what to you looked like “antagonistic”: (I don’t know why.. perhaps I’m just having fun now)

Person A: I like blueberries.
Person B: That’s BS that you don’t like bananas!
Person A: I didn’t say anything about bananas.
Person B: C’mon, let’s debate about it.

^ ^ If person A does not eject at this point than he’s an idiot. (which I’ve now proven I am by continuing this. Damn you digi.. you’ve done it again..)

All of that hogwash aside… and to borrow a word from our good friend @syz .. I think some women are a bit overly antagonistic when it comes to this topic. Some women. As if it’s an attack on them personally as a woman. I don’t think it is at all. I think society’s standards are just a magnified version of what people really want. An over the top version of what people really want. Why do they magnify it on tv, magazines, etc? For money maybe?

I dunno. What do you think?

syz's avatar

Hmmm. It’s really hard for me to separate what are social norms and what are remnants of sexism. (After all, women only got to vote in 1920, we have a presidential candidate who believes that women belong in the home and that birth control is a force for evil, a major party wants to control a woman’s decision about her own body and health care, and legislation just got passed in Wisconsin that makes it harder for a woman to demand equal pay for equal work because Money Is More Important For Men)

I’ll admit to being a bit extra prickly about how I’m supposed to look and behave just because of my gender just now. But it’s hard not to look around and see business women in ridiculously high heels and think “sexism” (for example). Okay, so there’s nothing wrong with a woman wanting to look her best. But just who decided that “best” is teetering around on unhealthy shoes so your butt looks good? I like looking at guy’s butts – why don’t they wear heels to accentuate them?

Do men make women do these things to be “attractive”? Nope, absolutely not. But I would posit that that’s where many of our current styles originated. Being perceived as “sexy”, a good catch, a potential mate. And if it’s rarely questioned, it rarely changes. So why not ask “Why?”

Why do I have to buy fake eyelashes, mascara, that stuff that makes eyelashes grow longer but may cause blindness (I don’t actually know that much about it) to be attractive? Shouldn’t being healthy and fit be enough?

Why do I have to wear heals that damage the bones in my feet to be attractive? Shouldn’t moving athletically and gracefully be preferred?

Why not ask? Why not wonder?

6rant6's avatar

Long eyelashes do make eyes look “brighter” somehow. But obviously most of us have a point at which we go, WTF? Stage makeup, used when people are seen from a distance, is naturally more than straight makeup.

And as for the idea that this is a western imposition of what looks good, I think you need to look at pictures of the women non-Western societies find beautiful. Eyelashes – they got ‘em! Lots of ‘em!

Blackberry's avatar

The media is secretly trying to turn women into venus flytraps.

ccrow's avatar

Maybe it’s that ‘bedroom eyes’ thing… the eyes are half-closed, because the freakin’ eyelashes are so heavy!!! Seriously, doesn’t it get hard to see? And what is going on here, for Pete’s sake?

wilma's avatar

Johnny Depp’s appear to be perfect to me.
The others…not so much.

picante's avatar

Johnny Depp’s ARE perfect. That’s my professional opinion ;-)

Keep_on_running's avatar

Johnny Depp IS perfect!

wilma's avatar

You see? We can all agree on Johnny Depp.

picante's avatar

He’s a uniter, not a divider And I’d love to unite with him.

janbb's avatar

@picante Count me in.

wilma's avatar

Me too.

Keep_on_running's avatar

Well, we can’t all unite with him.

digitalimpression's avatar


Why do I have to buy fake eyelashes, mascara, that stuff that makes eyelashes grow longer but may cause blindness (I don’t actually know that much about it) to be attractive? Shouldn’t being healthy and fit be enough?
Why do I have to wear heals that damage the bones in my feet to be attractive? Shouldn’t moving athletically and gracefully be preferred?
Why not ask? Why not wonder?

You don’t have to do any of these things. And, of course, wondering is your prerogative.

There are lots of men that will like a woman specifically for how they move athletically and gracefully, etc. There are lots of men who will stare at boobies and gawk at a plump tushie.

Personally, I’m an eye-man (a face man to be totally accurate). When a woman has taken the time to doll up her lashes it accentuates her eyes and I like it (if it’s not overdone). I’ve a feeling that I’m not alone in this sentiment as it has become somewhat of a societal “norm”. Now, clearly, I don’t have the same perspective as you do.. which is perhaps why it all seems so harmless to me. Perhaps, also, we are in the midst of a movement that will alter this societal “norm”. I won’t lie and say I’m happy about it.. but luckily I don’t have to worry about it. My wife likes to dress up and wear eye makeup. So it’s all just coaching from an armchair for me.

That’s just how it is. I don’t question your desire to wonder. Intelligent people do that frequently.

I might also add that every picture linked to so far has been a ridiculous, over-dramatization. They are all hideous. If that’s what we’re talking about then I’m against it. Strongly.

wilma's avatar

What @digitalimpression You don’t like Lucy?

I agree with you @digitalimpression I like Johnny Depp with a touch of eyeliner.
I wear just a bit of makeup sometimes when I’m going out at night, but I don’t feel like I have to. I am glad that I can if I want to. I would hate to live in a society that would stone me to death or banish me from society for wearing mascara.

chyna's avatar

I’m in with sharing Johnny Depp.

Keep_on_running's avatar

I bags first.

Gee now I feel like I’m objectifying here…

tinyfaery's avatar

Ugh. I hate social.

Keep_on_running's avatar

Then why ask a question here?

6rant6's avatar

@Keep_on_running __Otherwise her comment would be off topic.__

6rant6's avatar

I don’t know why eyelashes should be treated so differently that all the other cosmetic habits that people adopt. Like shaving, and hair gel, and lip balm, and hair coloring, and hair pieces and hair balls. Everybody (except maybe @smashthestate) does something to look good to someone else.

You choose which things you will do. And you appreciate it when other people do certain things. There are frequently tradeoffs between appearance and health or wealth or time. And with most of these things there’s too little, about right and too much, each of us perceiving them differently.

Nothing new there.

AshLeigh's avatar

Natural looking long eyelashes are pretty. I don’t like fake lashes, and I don’t even notice mascara.

MilkyWay's avatar

@Blackberry You made me LOL4RL
OOOOH, did someone utter the words Johnny Depp????

fluthernutter's avatar

I love (naturally) long eyelashes on both women, men (and kids). It’s like admiring lush thick hair, but in a minute, evolutionary throwback kind of way.

I enjoy catching small details. And I also like that it’s more intimate and personal (because you only really notice when you notice their eyes) without being overtly sexual (like @Pandora‘s example).

While I do like long lashes, I don’t like mascara.

augustlan's avatar

I like the look of long, thick eyelashes (not fake looking) but it’s not like I care if someone doesn’t have them. I just tend to notice if they do, you know?

I don’t wear makeup very often, because I just don’t really care. But, when I do wear makeup, mascara is a must for me. My lashes are damn near invisible. I don’t really care if they’re particularly long, but I need the color or I look like a bit of a freak of nature. Otherwise, I just go with my all-pale, all the time, look.

syz's avatar

This is just part of why some women object to society judging beauty based on artifice.

Ashley Judd’s article

Keep_on_running's avatar

Ashley Judd is so wise.

wilma's avatar

Thanks for the links @syz . She is wise. I can’t imagine being in the public eye and having that must scrutiny around you all the time.

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