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Women,Makeup And The 21st Century

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I had been reading an article at Drishti yesterday,which was all about the history and acceptance of Lipstick.This was just the spark I had been searching for over so many days.It is not that this inspired me to make this post but definitely got me moving over doing this post which I had in mind for a very,very long time.I was just not getting how to start over because when I start thinking about anything connected to gender equality or feminism,it feels like so enormous a topic,I never seem to find the land under the flowing stream!


To start over,what is makeup,actually?This might seem quite silly because we girls (and women) are much too interested in it to re-throw ourselves into finding definitions.
But it is important to know before we get to think more serious things about this.Makeup are care substances used to enhance the appearance or odor of the human body. They are generally mixtures of chemical compounds, some being derived from natural sources ( such as coconut oil) and many being synthetics. 
Nefertiti bust showing the use of eye liner made of kohl.

Ancient Sumerian men and women were possibly the first to invent and wear lipstick, about 5,000 years ago.They crushed gemstones and used them to decorate their faces, mainly on the lips and around the eyes.Also around 3000 BC to 1500 BC, women in the ancient Indus Valley Civilization applied red tinted lipstick to their lips for face decoration.Ancient Egyptians extracted red dye from fucus-algin, 0.01% iodine, and some bromine mannite, but this dye resulted in serious illness. Lipsticks with shimmering effects were initially made using a pearlescent substance found in fish scales.6 thousand year old relics the hollowed out tombs of the Ancient Egyptian pharaohs are discovered.According to one source, early major developments include:

  • Kohl used by ancient Egypt as a protective of the eye kohl
  • Castor oil used by ancient Egypt as a protective balm.
  • Skin creams made of beeswax, olive oil, and rosewater, described by Romans.
  • Vaseline and lanolin in the nineteenth century.
  • Nivea in 1911.
The Ancient Greeks also used cosmetics as the Ancient Romans did. Cosmetics are mentioned in the Old Testament, such as in 2 Kings 9:30, where Jezebel painted her eyelids—approximately 840 BC—and in the book of Esther, where beauty treatments are described.

One of the most popular traditional Chinese medicines is the fungus Tremella fuciformis, used as a beauty product by women in China and Japan. The fungus reportedly increases moisture retention in the skin and prevents senile degradation of micro-blood vessels in the skin, reducing wrinkles and smoothing fine lines. Other anti-ageing effects come from increasing the presence of superoxide dismutase in the brain and liver; it is an enzyme that acts as a potent antioxidant throughout the body, particularly in the skin.
Historically, rouge was used as early as in ancient Egypt. It was also applied on the lips, the way lipstick would be used today. In some times and places, both men and women wore rouge, such as during the Regency period in England. In Britain's Victorian Age, when wearing makeup was associated with low morals, ladies resorted to pinching their cheeks (and biting their lips) to make them appear red instead.
Various substances have been used as rouge. In ancient Greece for example, crushed mulberries were favoured, while red beet juice, crushed strawberries and red amaranth have also variously been used.
Hair preparations,which evolved much later than the other variants of cosmetics, include soapless shampoos (soap leaves a film on the hair) that are actually scented detergents; products that are intended to give gloss and body to the hair, such as resin-based sprays, brilliantines, and pomades, as well as alcohol-based lotions; and hair conditioners that are designed to treat damaged hair. Permanent-wave and hair-straightening preparations use a chemical, ammonium thioglycolate, to release hair from its natural set. Hair colorants use permanent or semipermanent dyes to add colour to dull or mousy-coloured hair, and hydrogen peroxide is used to bleach hair to a blond colour.
Perfumes are present in almost all cosmetics and toiletries. Other products associated with grooming and hygiene include antiperspirants, mouthwashes, depilatories, nail polish, astringents, and bath crystals.
Makeup,first of all,is choice and not necessity.But the commercialisation of the products these days are making all women go crazy about beauty. Back in December 2014,there was a debate between Latina Feminista blogger Julianna Britto and Labour Economist and author Daniel S. Hamermesh.The debate was extensively on if beauty helps in terms of jobs,payment,loans and promotion and all other practically elevating factors in life. In 2011,Hamermesh had written a book called 'Beauty Pays : Why Attractive People Are More Successful'.The synopsis of the content in the book goes here -  
"Most of us know there is a payoff to looking good, and in the quest for beauty we spend countless hours and billions of dollars on personal grooming, cosmetics, and plastic surgery. But how much better off are the better looking? Based on the evidence, quite a lot. The first book to seriously measure the advantages of beauty, Beauty Pays demonstrates how society favors the beautiful and how better-looking people experience startling but undeniable benefits in all aspects of life. Noted economist Daniel Hamermesh shows that the attractive are more likely to be employed, work more productively and profitably, receive more substantial pay, obtain loan approvals, negotiate loans with better terms, and have more handsome and highly educated spouses. Hamermesh explains why this happens and what it means for the beautiful--and the not-so-beautiful--among us."
Now,that has a lot to substantially argue the most basic planks of feminism.I am not saying if this is true or not (and this is getting truer in the globalised world) but this cannot be accepted in Feminist Economics or Marxist Feminism or basically any branch or subbranch of logical feminism at all.Even if this fares true,it is not that all of us have to rush for plastic surgery to get a better smile,to get those desired,structured jawbones and tightened skin.
I read an article yesterday on Freedom Socialist Party's website and there was these lines that are mentionworthy - 
"Hansen intones that the beauty of proletarian women "lies in their character ... not in the cosmetics they indulge in." This latter-day Victorian moralist chastises painted ladies and calls it Marxism. Poor Karl."
The article was very well written and I must say that makeup,to some extent is based on how men think women are supposed to look.This is an accepted dogma that is burdened upon women and hence,does not have to accepted just because it is said.Vital statistics of women,bigger eyes,perfect nose,fuller lips,perfect jawbones,perfect teeth,skinny legs,slim figure,glowing skin does not have to define us at all.This is not a market commodity we are talking about,we are talking about one half of humanity,who are supposed to have equal rights as the other half and who do not have to tagged with pre-decided qualities simply because women are neither property,nor products.

A good way would be to directly head over this link to the famous Historiann blog and read this article.

If a woman herself wants to look good,for psychological upliftment within her day's (many) job(s),then it is acceptable,at least,to some extent.In India,most of the labour used in mica industries (mica is the non-metallic element that adds that shimmer to your makeup) are children.This naked truth does not impact many but it still is a shame that we try to click pretty photographs while they suffocate inside doomed factories in a time within 21st century,yet so far from it.Moreover,many makeup products are animal tested and animals are living creatures,too.There is only Lotus Herbals among Indian brands who do not do animal testing and sell purely vegan products.Products manufactured by all other brands are animal tested.
Isn't that cruel enough?

There is no doubt that capitalists are inhumane in nature.Most of them know that cosmetic brands like L'Oreal Paris,their budget house Garnier are funding the armament of Israel for bombing,shelling and causing all other war initiated man-made catastrophes in Gaza Strip.Most of the people will remember,in the month of August-September last year,the demonstration of war in Gaza was hellish and unlike people had seen in many years.True that the war in Gaza is continuing for more than 40 years,since the born imperialistic capitalist governance of Britain did all that they could so that the Muslims and the Jewish (who were everything else but enemies after the ancient era) would be arch enemies again and would never be able to form a base that spoke against their imperialistic methods (this was similar to what they did to India.They used their old medicine for initiating separatist and violent measures within the Hindus and Muslims here so that they would continue with the tussle forever and thus India would never be India,in the real sense.)
So,exactly on 13th of September 2014,when I used to stay terrorised all day thinking of how many more shellings would take place that very day,I saw the author of Corallista post about all the new and old launches possible from L'Oreal Paris in her blog.May be she did it for what she does : to earn a living.But it felt very wrong to see such things getting posted at the very same while when people were crying,running,dying because of the war and the armament in that war was funded extensively by the very same brand.I tried to inform her this but she wouldn't even let such comments be published on her blog,what if the big brothers got angry and stopped sending her 'beauty' products?Ironically,at that very time,she also posted about 'Marching To Zion' instead of saying a word about Gaza and posted the link of how to buy it from Amazon!
The next person I tried to inform was Mehak Sahani from Peaches and Blush,whom I found out to be at least more humane than Ankita Chaturvedi from Corallista.Mehak does not promote 'fairness products' and considers it stereotypical for companies and brands to think that us Indians even want to change our skin colour.However,she did not stop promoting L'Oreal Paris products,either.
There are several brands that fund armament of Israel,most of which are based in UK.You can check the list here. As put up by Simone de Beauvoir,who was a renowned existentialist,
 “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman” - Simone de Beauvoir
And this she does not with the help of men's definitions of a woman but a woman's definition of herself.A perfect red pout and sultry looks does not make the modern woman,the modern woman is he who can think differently because freedom belongs to those who can think differently (Quoted by Rosa Luxemburg).She does not have to be a hardcore modernist to be a modern woman,she has to create her own well-being which goes along the well-being of those who sustain the society and yet,the society itself.So while the bogus campaigns claiming women can return home too as late as they wish to are nothing that define a woman in the true sense,such harsh dogmas of a being a beautiful woman to be the perfect woman and that with the help of makeup is neither truth,nor a necessity.
Information Source : Wikipedia 

Information Source : Britannica

Information Source : War on Want

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