The Beauty Myth

Wearing makeup is an apology for our actual faces

Cynthia Heimel

Every woman knows that, regardless of all her other achievements, she is a failure if she is not beautiful… The UK beauty industry takes £8.9 billion a year out of women’s pockets. Magazines financed by the beauty industry teach little girls that they need make-up and train them to use it, so establishing their lifelong reliance on beauty products.

Germaine Greer, The Whole Woman

Because I’m worth it.

L’Oreal slogan

You will soon be able to take a pill and, in 20 to 25 minutes, a non-synthetic substance will colour your lips. Five years from now, you will be able to put a drop in your eyes to change their colour.

Dominique Moncourtois, International Creative Director, Chanel

We are in the midst of a violent backlash against feminism that uses images of female beauty as a political weapon against women’s advancement: the beauty myth… As women released themselves from the feminine mystique of domesticity, the beauty myth took over its lost ground, expanding as it wanted to carry on its work of social control… The beauty myth tell a story: the quality called ‘beauty’ objectively and universally exists. Women must want to embody it and men must want to posses women who embody it… None of this is true.

Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth

Resolution Number 1: ‘I won’t leave the house without make-up’

From a ‘resolutions’ article in Superdrug’s ‘Spirit’ magazine Februaury 2001

We’re all brought up on fabulously glamorous Vogue models, and we don’t realise that they don’t look like that in real life. It is just that the photographers are terribly clever. Women are constantly presented with a false image of beauty that nobody can attain, not even the most beautiful, unless you’ve got an entourage of make-up, wardrobe and hair backing you up… I really resent the pressure put on women to alter ourselves… Either people like me or they don’t. And if they don’t becuase of how I look, then they’re shallow twats.

Amanda Donohoe, Independent on Sunday, 4 March 2001

It’s what makes you a woman.

Paloma Picasso, Fashion Designer

Lipstick is something that makes you feel good about yourself.

Naomi Campbell, Model

It’s a source of female power.

Barbara Daly, Make-Up Artist

All in answer to the question ‘Why do women wear lipstick?’, in NOVA June 2000.

As women strive to break free of constricting stereotypes of who they are and what they want, idealized feminine beauty must be identified as part of that challenge. It is not merely a decrorative diversion. The sense of self resides within the body.

Rita Freedman, Beauty Bound

Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline.

Maybelline slogan

The average woman eats between four and ten pounds of lipstick in her lifetime.

From postcard by Stella Marrs

Unlike our feminist foremothers, who claimed that makeup was the opiate of the misses, we’re positively prochoice when it comes to matters of feminine display. We’re well aware, thank you very much, of the beauty myth that’s working to keep women obscene and not heard, but we just don’t think that transvestites should have all the fun. In our fuck-me dresses and don’t-fuck-with-me shoes, we’re ready to come out of the closet as the absolutely fabulous females we know we are. We love our lipstick, have a passion for polish, and basically, adore this armor we that we call ‘fashion.’ To us, it’s fun, it’s feminine, and, in the particular way we flaunt it, it’s definately feminist.

Debbie Stoller, The BUST Guide to the New Girl Order

Empowering. Illuminate your own beauty from within, through the power of Advanced Luminous Technology.

Shiseido makeup advert