What's going on in beauty this week, from head to toe and everything in between.
Fifty shades: Loving reading the responses to this poll about attitudes toward coloring gray hair. (As a brunette, I'm looking forward to having gray hair but not so much to having graying hair, so once it starts for real, I have no problems dyeing it. Then I will go on a fabulous journey for six months and reemerge into society with a cap of shining gray, thus shocking EVERYONE. Your plan, whether current or future?)
Pedicures in the news: Life in the Philippines began to return to normal after a 7.6 magnitude earthquake prompted a tsunami warning, as shown by this striking photo of a woman on Samar Island receiving a pedicure.
...And Everything In Between:
Getting lippy: Finally! Someone willing to call BS on the lipstick index. I mean, this economic indicator is a nice idea...but neither does it deserve the hype it's gotten, especially since IT MIGHT NOT EXIST. Still, note how ABC News still can't leave it alone—despite the news hook here being that the lipstick index may not be true at all, the headline reads, "Is the Lipstick Effect Rooted in Evolutionary Psychology?" (Not to say I told you so, but...)
Revlon rhetoric: Ad Age profile of Revlon's chief marketing officer that would be telling of how the company views its role in women's lives, if it weren't in code: "The one segment we know we appeal to the most is women we call colorful and complex. They're the largest and the most underserved segment. They tend to express themselves more. They want to wear more makeup. They wear more makeup in more circumstances and therefore are the least satisfied." This makes no sense to me! I want to know more about this "colorful and complex" woman (as opposed to, what, monochrome and simple-minded?). I wish I were fluent in marketingspeak. Semi-related: Revlon is cutting 250 jobs in a bid to streamline operations. Good thing we know the lipstick index is bullshit, or this might feel like more of a blow!
Katie Holmes to be new face of Bobbi Brown: Fell asleep typing that.
"...you can be beautiful too": Americans and other rich folks aren't buying enough Pantene shampoo, so now Procter & Gamble has developed an extra-special Pantene shampoo to save our national locks. And if their coffers get richer, well, so be it!
Yes, they work: Y'all know I'm skeptical about "best-of" beauty product lists, right? Yet I'm linking to this one from the Good Housekeeping Institute, because the team there has some pretty rigorous protocol and procedures (as opposed to 19-year-old interns trying neck creams, not that I've seen that happen in the ladymag biz or nothin').
Boss ladies: Continuing to love the Corporate Curves Report, which examines the intersection between "professional" wear and feminine fashion (even as I disagree with the idea that not dressing in a conventionally feminine manner means we're dressing "like men," but that's a minor quibble). This week: Finnish politicians who are rocking some curve-conscious clothes.
Perestroika princess: Soviet beauty queens. The images themselves are interesting enough, but it's more fascinating conceptually—the idea of beauty pageants didn't catch on in the Soviet Union until reform was imminent, and in fact they became an emblem of perestroika itself. I'm intrigued by the idea that in a culture that supposedly had eradicated sexism (ha! ha ha ha. Ha), the objectification of women's bodies was seen as progress toward a more open society. (If you're interested in this relationship, pick up Slavenka Drakulic's How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed.)
Dethroned: Like at least 20% of South Korean women, Miss South Korea has had some cosmetic procedures done—and boy, are some people pissed, calling her crowning "an infringement of the rules" because she wasn't born a conventional beauty. Given the enormous popularity of plastic surgery in the nation (which ranks first in per capita cosmetic surgery), it seems like there's maybe something else at work here besides just upturned noses at the idea. (If that seems dramatic, take it from this blogger: "Those who go through [plastic surgery] deceive people with their looks, a man will marry a woman thinking that her beauty is natural only to realize that his wife gives birth to an ugly child. Then what?") (Thanks to Aaron Bady for the link.)
Booby trap: Salon owner in East Texas sentenced to 18 years in prison for giving illegal cosmetic breast injections.
Ich bin ein Supermodel: Remember when that German magazine stopped using professional models, vowing to only use non-pro women in their pages? Yeah, didn't work out so good. I appreciate the idea behind this, but also: Look, modeling is, among other things, a skill. I'd be a godawful model, not only because I'm 5'7" and thick in the middle but because I'm uncomfortable in front of a still camera and it shows. Devaluing labor by basically saying any old gal can do it isn't the solution, just as banning photo retouching does little to address the root concerns it's meant to address. What the solution is, I don't know. Glad Brigitte tried; unsurprised it failed.
Afro punk'd: I'm with Baze: These hair and makeup looks snapped at AfroPunk are awesome.
"It's not my fault I'm pretty": As the writer herself says of this piece on street harassment—which, shared among women talking, would be just another story that every other woman present would nod about before sharing her own tale—the point of sharing stories like this is so that "[w]hen people (men) want to talk about 'legitimate' forms of assault, tell girls they should be nice to strangers and give men the benefit of a doubt, tell them to consider it a compliment, tell them to ignore the bad behavior of men, I want them to be forced to feel, for even one minute, what it feels like to have so much verbal hatred and physical intimidation thrown at them for nothing more than being female and not wanting to share."
Gallery gall: Sarah Nicole Prickett on Bravo's new Gallery Girls: "If your job is to be young, to be pretty and thin, to pose for long hours on a white background next to luxury objects—what, then, are you? A model? Or a woman entering the art world? ... Boys, pretty boys, work in galleries too, but there are not so many that one could imagine a show called Gallery Boys. Does this matter? Yes, when the ratio of males to females working at floor level is inverted at the top, it matters. Only three (!!!) of the 270 highest-auctioning works in the world between 2008 and 2011 were made by women. The other 267 (I don’t have enough exclamation points) were made by men."
Roundup roundup: Jonesing for more beauty links? Check out Wild Beauty, a blog from makeup artist Meli Pennington, stat, whose commentary is sharp, feminist, and always on-point. I'm also finding myself culling links more and more from Makeup Museum, Final Fashion, and Venusian Glow—some fine curation all around.
Mode-sty?: Totally down with the idea behind this new Minneapolis-based fashion line aimed toward women who want to look chic and elegant without revealing too much. But also totally with naming expert Nancy Friedman in raising my eyebrows at the unfortunate name choice.
Beauty is as ugly does: From Scientific American: "Beauty does not occupy a different area of the brain than ugliness." The idea is that emotions and responses to those emotions lie on a continuum on the same neural circuitry, so reactions that feel contradictory (as with being fascinated with ugliness, I presume?) are actually on the same spectrum. (via Jessica Stanley)
"It's not just about feeling beautiful": Kate's post title speaks for itself: The Extreme Importance of Letting Yourself Be Occasionally Ugly.
Vote, bitch!: Attention Breaking Bad fans: Katie Connor, magazine colleague and friend of The Beheld, is in the final round of New York magazine's Breaking Bad character lookalike contest for her fantastic Walter White. Plus, she's the only lady in the final five. Won't you take a moment and vote for her?