Men wearing makeup? ‘I shouldn’t have to justify why I wear it.’

Thanks to Millennials and Generation Z, many masculine stereotypes are being demolished. There is a new wave of artistic and empowered men who are donning fake lashes, heavy eyeliner and even heavier wigs.


Harry Fripp, a student photographer and makeup lover based in London, tells Olivia Preston how definitions of the sexes are changing and his experience of delving into the world of drag.


When explaining why he wears makeup, Harry says: “It’s like self branding.”

Walking into Nando’s, wearing a full length fur coat, platform trainers and flashing his pink hair, Harry oozes confidence. His base makeup is flawless and his highlighter strikes me instantly. This use of cosmetics is something he does daily and has become part of his style. “My friends” he tells me, “say that I’d look like a normal person if I didn’t wear makeup.”

Harry, 19, who is originally from Surrey, describes it as being very different to London. If he goes out wearing mascara and foundation in his hometown compared to the capital city, he recalls how people often look at him. This is something that doesn’t bother Harry though; he explains how the people that he is with will notice them staring.“But I don’t care, he tells me in a self-assured way. 

His makeup experimentation started at 16 and was inspired by Miss Fame (a drag performer who starred in season 7 of the award-winning reality show, RuPaul’s Drag Race) and Bella Hadid (an American model). This was around 2016, a time when Instagram and YouTube influencers like James Charles and Jeffree Star were becoming increasingly popular online.

Connecting with like-minded people


” I shouldn’t have to justify why I wear it. Girls don’t.”

Today, there is a growing number of young men who are breaking norms surrounding gender and self expression. The technological revolution of the 2000s is allowing for new forms of masculinity to be explored. Social media, in Harry’s case helped him immensely, after growing up in a town where he didn’t have anyone that he identified with. He says, “I was the only gay person in my school really, I was able to go on social media and find a thousand other people who were in a similar position to me.”

From scrolling through posts and statuses, digital platforms allowed Harry, to connect with some of the queens who are part of the London drag scene. One of the more well-known friends of Harry’s is Paul (also know as Bones) who, at the time of meeting him had only been doing drag for 3 months. “Being friends with one queen made me friends with all of them.” says Harry, as he tucks into a chicken thigh. From meeting Bones, he made acquaintances with Smiley Vryus, Gothy Ken Doll and Baby Face, this also allowed him to get the opportunity to do some photography work at an event called Plaztik Party. 

Harry has his own definition of ‘drag’, which is “glueing down” his eyebrows, however others consider him to be in drag constantly, since he wears makeup all the time. He has only been out wearing heavy makeup twice, both occasions he went to Heaven – a gay nightclub in Soho that he speaks highly of. He gets out his phone and shows me a picture of my makeup that night – he has an obvious talent for the art.

The new androgynous age


Men and boys wearing makeup is not something that is new. Historically, men have painted their nails, lightened their cheeks and darkened their eyes. Most notably, the Ancient Egyptians wore primitive eye liner and plucked their brows. More recently were the pop icons of the 1970’s and 80’s (including Prince and David Bowie) who, as Harry put it: reflected the “androgyny of men at the time, with flares and platforms. The rock bands all would wear makeup and Freddie Mercury too, they were all accepted back then.” 

Harry’s creative experimentation pictured here, he describes his reasoning behind wearing it as being “kind of ‘fuck you’ way to what everyone thinks.”

The media throughout the late 80’s right up until the beginning of the 2000s, provided young people with role models who reinforced hyper-masculine stereotypes. The popularity of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis as well as others, gave boys who were growing up then, only one model of how a man should be: tough, heterosexual, dominant and a real ‘man’s man’. To some extent this has all changed, with different versions of men now appearing, however some people still have negative opinions regarding Harry’s choice of fashion and expression.

Acceptance and challenges


When asked about his family’s attitudes towards wearing makeup use, he tells me how positive they were. He mentions that they had questions but reiterated that his mum was supportive constantly. He started off by stealing his older sister’s makeup and then was given a few items by her. “We went makeup shopping” he tells me, “and my mum got me some Mac stuff. It wasn’t my colour or anything but I couldn’t wait to put it on”.

Harry told me that because of how he looks, he has been assaulted twice, which is unfortunately all too common for those who differ from societies conventions. He mentioned being aware that if his older siblings had not been attending college when he did, that he would have gotten severely bullied.  All this, has made him “want to wear makeup more.” He says that he shouldn’t have to justify why he wears it because “girls don’t have to.” His use of cosmetics is worn, “in a kind of ‘fuck you’ way in regards to what everyone thinks”.

The House That Jack Built Review

Severe for the sake of it

Lars von Trier’s final film, The House That Jack Built is beautifully directed and impressively portrayed, yet sensationally cliché ridden. The story follows Jack, everyone’s favourite serial killer and his ‘5 incidents’, featuring the ‘best of’ highlights from his murderous career.

Throughout the film, Jack (played by Matt Dillon, who performed exceptionally) progresses from being almost a relatable character to someone who is a shadow of his former self. Perhaps such a transformation is accurate in describing a killer’s mental journey, however this felt too predictable. The backstory to Jack, featured a childhood version of himself and his exploration of death from a young age. In my opinion, von Trier at this moment destined the character of Jack to a violent life with his progression into adulthood equally lacking remorse. This was too obvious, following the narrative that every serial killer once butchered animals before moving onto people seemed tired and lacked deep thought to me.

Jack narrates the film as he speaks or confesses rather, to the unknown ‘Verge’ throughout. He is self aware of everything he does and tells the audience of his mental illnesses through the use white cards that he holds. His ability to overcome his OCD miraculously with murderous ‘therapy’ gave the impression that his violent actions were a good thing as I found myself sympathising with Jack. This was during the first two incidents, the rest were a different story.

The camera work was undoubtedly gorgeous and made graphic scenes seem poetic. This was paired with constant artistic references that distracted me from the already chaotic storyline and tried too hard to differ from the horror genre. To make up for the underdeveloped narrative, various scenes were horrifying for the sake of it, offering the audience disgusting images that failed to strengthen the movie.  Towards the end of the 3rd incident, I had to stop and leave my laptop for a minute – the harrowing picture of Grumpy haunted me as I finished the film.

I felt a lack of escapism as I watched this, the parallels between this 1970/80’s world was undeniably similar to the America experienced under Trump’s reign, the 3rd incident highlighted this with the red caps worn. The monologue given by Jack prior to the slaughter of the family left me shaking my head as it mirrored society today to some extent.

After experiencing all that the movie had to offer, I was tired. I was given no solid ending to Jack’s earthly fate except that he did the unthinkable – which by this time was the most thinkable thing that could have happened. The depths of hell was a fitting ending but not satisfying enough.

It was undeniable that the film was good, reflecting on it as a whole I felt that Matt Dillon’s acting was superb and very convincing. He easily embodied many of the lovely qualities stereotypical of a crazed madman. The scenery was serene and calm, a clever contrast to the story, making this was one of my favourite elements. It felt forced and was a little disappointing for me, I enjoyed some parts but I couldn’t experience this again for a while.

Visit To City and The City

City, University Of London Open Day 24 June 2017

Waking up at 6am definitely was not music to my ears, but I knew getting up early and being ready for my day visiting City, University Of London would be worth it.

The quick journey from St Pancras Station to Angel was one that I hoped I would soon become familiar with. The short walk from the tube station to Northampton Square took my parents and I through the streets of London – this was something that I wanted to make a daily occurrence for me. The quiet bustle that I could hear from outside the university building coming from the London traffic was everything that I wanted.

The amazing journalism facilities were industry standard and I felt as if I was in a real newsroom, walking around university I was more than ready to work as hard as I could to ensure that I spent my three years training to be a journalist at City.

My parents and I went on tours around the campus and the accommodation close by. As we neared the end of the open day it was clear that the university ticked every box: location, degree content, atmosphere.

I left with my head filled with motivation to succeed in my studies, all in the hope to get into a university like City.

(Thank you to Tom Felle, the lecturer I met who was so welcoming and to all the student ambassadors who made me feel so comfortable!)

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