What’s going on in beauty this week, from head to toe and everything in between.
On pride: Brittany Julious on beginning to lose what others call women’s “crowning glory”: “I wrote about how my mother began to lose her hair at the same time that I began to lose mine. … My professor said it was not deep enough, or raw enough, or critical enough. I thought, how can you tell me what is relevant in my life? What is tragedy if not the pursuit of value through vanity?“
Pedi crime: A Wisconsin pedicurist was arrested for disorderly conduct after allegedly slamming a customer’s foot into the pedicure bath when she complained about his techniques.
Zara the Greek
…And Everything In Between:
Opa!: I always assumed clothing chain Zara was named for, um, someone named Zara—but the truth is hilarious.
Regulate, mediate: How Obama’s reelection could affect the cosmetics industry. The piece was written on election day so it’s a hypothetical of Romney’s win as well (psych-out!!!), but in any case looking at larger questions of regulation is helpful here.
Democracy gossip: Leonard Lauder voted and got to bypass Martin Scorsese in line. (Side note: Voting in New York City is fantastic. No Lauder-Scorsese glamour at my polling place but I loved hearing my neighbors’ myriad accents—my zip code is one of the most ethnically diverse in the nation—and knowing that whether by birthright or by the long, sidewinding road to citizenship, we’d all come together to exercise our right as Americans. /patrioticsentimentalism)
Hey baby: Yes, yes, “minorities” (funny word in context) ensured Obama was reelected—but the real news is that the new Gerber baby is Latina.
Objection: Students from the National Law School at India University are filing 10 lawsuits in Bangalore against cosmetics companies with misleading ads. I haven’t read anything of false advertising claims being filed anywhere other than western nations, so I’m not sure if this is common or not—but either way it adds some intrigue to the paper chase.
Sub-Saharan beauty: Most of the press on emerging luxury cosmetics markets focuses on Asia and South America, so it’s refreshing to read about the long view on Africa—especially given that focus groups show the average Kenyan woman is willing to spend up to 20% of her salary on beauty products.
Index this: More proof that the “lipstick index” just might be consumerist bullshit: Nobody is crying “Chapstick index” when it turns out that the men’s grooming sector is recession-proof. Plus, it doesn’t appear to apply in China. How could this be? It’s an innate part of womanhood for us ladies to want pretty shiny things that attract men to us in times of fiscal downturns, right?!
The sweet scent of regulation: The EU is considering legislation that would require perfumers to identify potential allergens on its label. Perfumers freak out; Scent of Self responds with candor and reason (doubly remarkable because candor alone would have been enough—witness the photos of her perfume-induced allergic rashes).
Oh, snap!: I’m mighty uncomfortable with the idea—blatantly stated in this article—that gay men as a whole objectify women’s bodies, as I know plenty of gay men who don’t fit this description in the slightest. That said, I’ve also met plenty of gay men who do: Most recently, a salesman insulted my breasts, and when it was clear I was embarrassed he said, “Oh, don’t worry, I’m queer,” as if that made his words less hurtful. So I’m glad that someone wrote about this phenomenon intelligently: The conflation of gay (male) culture with fashion (female-ish) culture means that it can be mighty easy for gay men to cross lines of objectification and harassment, mistakenly thinking that because they’re not out to harm women, whatever is said or done in the name of fashion or faux “sisterhood” is fine.
We are family: Men want to marry women who look like their mothers, says a study finding that men are more likely than women to have paired off with someone who resembles the opposite-sex parent. Cue ewwww.
Body images: Science (science!) has verified what any woman who has spent time in a single-sex spa knows: Exposure to different types of bodies makes you more comfortable with…different types of bodies. Maybe even your own!
Gee your pits smell terrific: Skin care and deodorant are poised to overtake shaving products in the men’s grooming sector for the first time; equal parts shagginess and men giving a damn about their skin are driving this trend.
Beauty capital: Subashini, in her characteristic style, manages to make a set of film reviews about so much more: “Thinking about singleness and marriage, stewing over it, often means that I start thinking about beauty. Because it’s beauty that I’m struggling with at this point in time. … Romance is a marketplace, and you are one of the many images on sale, and if you’re not the right image you are, essentially, shit.”
Put a ring in it: I’m guessing that if you’re an academic who reads this blog because it relates to your discipline, you also read Worn Through. (And if not, hop to it, sister.) But just in case: Call for papers (and performances) on feminism and body modification.
Headdesk: I’m shocked—shocked!—that a company as committed to diversity as Victoria’s Secret, well known for hiring Latinas such as Alessandra Ambrosio and Gisele Bundchen, and African-American women like Tyra Banks, was so insensitive as to have their models walk down the catwalk in ironic headdresses.
Sandy shades: Makeup artist Scott Barnes on why beauty post-natural-disaster needn’t be frivolous: “I’d argue that remembering to take care of yourself in the face of tragedy — whether it’s a hurricane or any other personal loss — is extremely important. If you feel great, you automatically convey confidence to the world. It’s one small step toward picking up the pieces and getting back into life again.” (Though I vehemently disagree with his pick of eyelash curler as a beauty essential. Does nothing for me.)
Next up, leasing chewing gum: But let’s not forget that beauty can go beyond frivolous into the absurd, with what is surely the stupidest beauty idea of the year: nail polish rental. What, you wanna try glitter polish and you’re too good to buy Wet ‘n’ Wild like the rest of us?
Too sexy for this blog: It’s interesting to read these two posts on dressing sexy as companions to one another. Daisy at XOJane has a piece about how she doesn’t like to dress sexy (or is that “sexy”?), but then lists the ways in which she feels sexy wearing clothes that aren’t seen as conventionally sexy, like plaid shirts. In my mind, part of the whole joy of sexiness is that it can take a zillion different forms and really has jack to do with how much skin you’re showing. Which is why I love Sally’s post on concepts of dressing sexy, which acknowledges the ways intimacy and sheer variety can help us privately decide what’s sexy.
Permission: Tori looks at the intersection of permission and social pressures around food, specifically pressure to eat more: “I’m wondering now if this isn’t somehow—secretly, unspoken, unconsciously—predicated on the idea that all the members in a communal eating group have a shared desire to eat all the food.”