You're insecureThis is from One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful", by the way. And this opening verse seems pretty innocuous, as if they're saying that the "you" should be more confident. Even the part about not needing make-up isn't necessarily judgmental, and could actually be a compliment that isn't saying anything specifically about make-up or what it signifies.
Don't know what for
You're turning heads when you walk through the door
Don't need make-up
To cover up
Being the way that you are is enough
Everyone else in the room can see it
Everyone else but you
But, no, a subtly nefarious judgment does creep in, in the chorus:
If only you saw what I can seeBecause, as it turns out, the girl is beautiful precisely because she doesn't know that she's beautiful. That's the catch, and that's what makes those seemingly harmless lines about make-up a great deal more loaded than they first appear. A girl who doesn't wear make-up is, presumably, unaware and ignorant of her sexuality (ie. she's still pure and innocent) while one who does is comparatively world-weary and, ostensibly, has been around the block a few times.
You'll understand why I want you so desperately
Right now I'm looking at you and I can't believe
You don't know
You don't know you're beautiful
That what makes you beautiful
So, that insecurity that they were complaining about in the opening line? That wasn't actually a complaint. It was actually a precondition for finding her desirable. And confidence? Well, if she should have it, it's clear that it should only come from the affirmation that the singer offers. And, by extension, that a girl's confidence only ever comes from guys. Which means that girls who are already confident and self-aware - the kind who wear make-up? Well, they must have gained that "knowledge" from other boys, and this, of course, means that they're not innocent and not actually beautiful.
One last bit on the logic of beauty, according to One Direction. Hilariously/disturbingly, the lyric holds that a girl can never actually know that she, herself, is beautiful. If unawareness of one's beauty is what makes them beautiful, then someone who is aware of their beauty would, ironically, no longer be beautiful. The only options are ignorance and self-deception. Super.
[These lyrics also reminded me of a story about a male high school student near Toronto who was suspended for distributing a letter that celebrated girls' "inner-beauty". Which he did, unfortunately, by not-so-subtly excluding the girls who "dress in revealing clothing". Who, clearly, couldn't possibly possess inner-beauty.]