It’s Not About Lipstick

By Antonio Gonzales (reposted from his personal blog, Comesse)

Recently, an acquaintance and I were discussing helping the homeless when he said something that really grabbed my attention.  He said, “… giving women lipstick is not really helping them.”  What a powerful statement, I thought.  I stepped outside of myself for a minute to try and understand his point of view.  After some deliberation, I came up with a few insights that maybe helpful to others who feel the same…to understand “the power of lipstick.”

First, let me say it’s not about lipstick. It’s about the love and support that comes before handing over the lipstick that makes the experience.  Reminding a woman that she is on this earth for a reason, is the beginning of a transformative experience. You see…most women in shelters come from very difficult backgrounds.  Some are escaping physical and mental abuse; some can’t afford to pay their rent or buy food and some are crippled with depression combined with a lack of self love.  By having them look in a mirror to examine their face, point out their beautiful hair, cheekbones, eyebrows and lips, it is the first step in a powerful experience, especially for those never heard an encouraging word in their life. Explaining individuality to a woman who has been beaten for a year (or 20 years) is heart-breaking.  When they finally begin to believe in themselves…well, it can bring you to tears.

Now here comes the big moment: handing over the infamous “lipstick.”  At this point it’s more of a magic wand.  A wand that brings a smile and embodies a positive, loving experience.  A wand that will remind a woman of her individuality and beauty. This lipstick is a small token of love from a stranger.

I hope this was helpful in showing that love and support can come in many forms. So don’t judge, just love! 🙂