Friday, September 12, 2008

Presented For Your Consideration: Why Women Wear Makeup

Headline: Hey, Is That Eva Longoria? Yes, It Is

posted: 2 HOURS 28 MINUTES AGO
comments: 7
filed under: Gut Reactions, Movie News, Photos, TV News

(Sept. 12) -- Eva Longoria's dinner trip on Wednesday night is making gossip headlines not because of who she went with or what she wore ... but what she didn't wear.
The 'Desperate Housewives' starlet stepped out wearing zero (or at least much less than normal) makeup, showing herself in a way the public rarely gets to see. While still looking quite pretty, she bore little resemblance to the red carpet diva Eva we're all used to.

The original article can be found here

One could make the case, as Naomi Wolf does in her book The Beauty Myth, that women wear makeup because they buy into the patriarchal notion that there is a "Professional Beauty Qualification" without which a woman can't succeed. Besides providing a litigation-free way to discriminate against women, Klein notes that the PBQ proposes three "vital lies":

"(1)'Beauty' had to be defined as a legitimate and necessary qualification for a woman's rise in power.

(2) the discriminatory purpose of vital lie number one had to be masked (especially in the United States, with its responsiveness to the rhetoric of equal access) by fitting it firmly within the American dream: 'Beauty' can be earned by any woman through hard work and enterprise. Those two vital lies worked in tandem to let the use of the PBQ by employers masquerade as a valid test of the woman's merit and extension of her professional duties.

(3) The working woman was told she had to think about 'beauty' in a way that undermined, step for step, the way she had begun to think as a result of the successes of the women's movement." (The Beauty Myth, 2002, p. 28)

My contribution to the discussion relies on Claude Levi-Strauss' distinction between nature and culture. In order to move from nature to culture, and therefore to be acceptable as an equal (or near equal) in patriarchal society, women must engage in all manner of diet, exercise and surgery to attempt to approximate a beauty ideal. Whatever transformation can't be accomplished by those means is masked over with makeup.That Eva Longoria appearing in public without makeup is gossip-worthy just underscores the disparity between men and women.

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