10 August 2011

My lip gloss be poppin'.

Something I said in Statistics got convoluted today. 

I believe I read on Hvit that lip gloss is worn to look like female genitals.  This made sense to me.  Makeup is worn to make us more attractive and attractiveness is judged by beauty conventions. Clear skin is beautiful; we wear foundation.  Tan is beautiful; we Thin Lizzie ourselves to Oompa Loompa level.  Dark eyelashes are beautiful; we wear mascara.  Makeup allows us to fill these beauty conventions unnaturally if we can't ourselves.  So why is the oil-slicking of lips regarded as beautiful?

Different people uphold different beauty conventions; Moko's, bound feet and fat bottomed girls.  I don't believe these conventions are inherently bad; but some are limiting.  Bound feet best reflects how conventions of beauty can be harmful.  Intentionally disabling a woman to beautify her is ugly and unrealistic.  Beauty conventions I aspire to when I consume media are unreal.  I will never look like Emma Watson or Selena Gomez.  The attractiveness I feel when I wear makeup is certainly not unreal.  I genuinely feel 'prettier' with stuff on my face.  Is that because glossy lips is beautiful or it's what I believe is beautiful?  Belief is powerful and I'm not discounting the fuzzies we feel after grooming, just questioning their origin.

Makeup does not simply make us more attractive and acceptable to ourselves.  Like an Amazonian mating dance it makes us more agreeable to potential partners.  Not too long ago the only power women possessed was sexual.  Marriage was the ultimate goal; think Jane Austen.  Beauty conventions had to be fulfilled to attract Mr Darcy.  Why would women want to make their lips look like their nether regions?  Men enjoyed women for the children they bore, amazing sandwiches they made and time they spent in the bedroom.  This isn't an academic article but I think it's totally feasible that shiny, red lips became a beauty convention because of what it reminded men of.

Use your imagination to create the innuendos and jokes that my comment in class sparked.  I'm sure girls don't start wearing glitter on their lips for unseemly reasons.  But perhaps when they start buying makeup they should be handed an informational pamphlet on its origins.  Chapstick seems less tempting when you consider the reasons we wear it.


  1. Love. You're one smart poppit, poppit

  2. Hear hear!

    You expressed that very well. I still struggle with the ideas of beauty vs conformity and- well- hear hear. I'll probably end up posting more on this in future too.

    (And thanks for the mention.)


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