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Lizzie Kommes’ DIYs inspire incarcerated women to hold on to a sense of self

In the world of DIYs, Lizzie Kommes stands out with unexpected limitations that she takes into account to create her tutorials. Kommes does DIYs for incarcerated women.

We’ve heard time and again about the rampant stories of rape, assault, and humiliation that incarcerated women endure at the hands of authorities.

Additionally, we are well aware of the pseudo prostitution that occurs within the prison walls between inmates and guards. It’s crazy that inmates feel compelled to barter for sanitary products and other necessities by offering sexual favors to those in power.

This includes wearing DIY makeup in order to have access to that interaction. But besides a preparatory aspect for effective sexual bartering, what role does makeup play in the lives of incarcerated women?

Makeup gives women a sense of control over their bodies in an environment where most of their daily activities are under the jurisdiction of the state, the authorities, or the guards.

Incarceration can strip away women’s sense of femininity and their confidence. Society ingrains the idea that beauty is an inherent part of a woman’s worth. Thus, making cosmetics a valuable thing in prison.

Although some prisons allow women to buy makeup from the commissary, many women are unable to afford the luxury. Which is where Lizzie Kommes’ DIY tutorials come in.

Kommes, who is also a favorite on the reality show Love After Lockup, teaches you how to use magazines and deodorant to get colorful eyeshadow.

She even uses pencils, vaseline, and coffee grounds for eyeliner and mascara. On her YouTube channel, Kommes regularly posts videos that are based on how to make food in jail and general prison stories.

Her cats often bomb her videos and try to get involved too.

These creative ways to bring incarcerated women a sense of normalcy and control are needed for better mental and emotional health.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics and Court Services 66 percent of incarcerated women suffer from mental health issues and 82 percent are survivors of sexual abuse.

The National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence also found that 75 percent of incarcerated women are survivors of domestic violence. These issues are seldom paid attention to, and the focus on punishment without rehabilitation hurts both inmates and the general populace.

Additionally, stats from the Prison Policy Initiative showed that the number of incarcerated women in the U.S. has grown 700 percent since the 80s.

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Some female prisons have introduced cosmetology programs in order to give women skills they can use in the beauty industry after they are released. Recidivism rates of inmates who are enrolled in any program are very high.

Just having access to makeup in prison is probably pretty low on the list of products that inmates need. Still, something as simple as a new haircut, or some eyeshadow can really lift women’s spirits in a dark environment.

With over 40,380 subscribers on YouTube, for sure, Lizzie Kommes’ DIY makeup tutorials have an impact on women’s mental health.