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15 October 2014 @ 07:49 am
Our culture is full of men who are as insistent about women covering their faces with paint as the Wahhabis are about women covering their faces with cloth. Now other men (and, I am sure, some of the same ones) are saying that makeup is a form of fraud equivalent to men lying to get sex. bart_calendar has some sensible remarks. I also agree with firecat: "The notion of having to put on a clown face every day to come across as properly female is scary."
Kalimac: puzzlekalimac on October 15th, 2014 02:24 pm (UTC)
Nothing could have prepared me for the two-page-spread ad I saw in a 1961 issue of Vogue. The photo is of a young woman in a white dress and elbow-length gloves, with a hairdo not convenient to describe, removing her shawl while two men (themselves in tuxes, with hair combed within an inch of its life) gaze at her admiringly.

The ad is for Max Factor make-up, and this is the full text:

"Pan-Cake makes you perfect!
Pan-Cake make-up covers as no other make-up can. Flaws and blemishes disappear. Your face is one clear Dresden smoothness, delicately tinted, radiantly pretty. And Pan-Cake make-up is enriched with lanolin that always pampers your skin. Pan-Cake makes you perfect."

I'd heard of pancake makeup, but I hadn't known the term was actually a Max Factor trademark. But it's the idealization of woman as looking like a china doll ("Dresden smoothness") that's most horrifying. As a man, my first thought would be, "Don't touch! High-maintenance!"
msrat1900 on October 15th, 2014 05:12 pm (UTC)
My first thought is "Pancake? Pancake is a sexy word? Putting pancakes on your face will make you beautiful? Really, pancake?"
Sarah Ovenallsarah_ovenall on October 19th, 2014 01:17 pm (UTC)
I saw a documentary about old movies that said "pan-cake" makeup got its name because Max Factor created it to look good on panchromatic film, and it was powder pressed into a cake (as opposed to sticks of grease paint). The name is unfortunate, as a kid I literally thought it was pancake mix like Bisquick, pressed into a little compact. I wondered why women didn't just use Bisquick from the box which seemed much less expensive.
don_fitch on October 15th, 2014 10:49 pm (UTC)
I suppose it's sexist of me, but I've never been able to like, accept, or feel comfortable around women who regularly wear more than a touch of makeup. I think they're using it as a wall, to prevent me from knowing who/what they really are, and I find that... umm... "insulting" would probably be as good a word as any.

Actually, I know four or five much younger women (in the context of contemporary "Zinesters") who commonly wear a whole lot of makeup -- as if it were a mask, or as if they were Clowns (or Betty Boop). This I can cope with, because they make a _point_ of being Very Real People behind or around the mask, but the Glamour Magazines Style.... no.

In fact, I _did_ once meet an extremely Glamourous & Highly-Made-Up woman -- a whore who was making the best of an unwise decision to work a major Science-Fiction Convention. Behind the mask, she was extremely intelligent, and a really fine conversationalist -- I think that this was the best (2-hour) conversation I had during that worldcon, and it didn't even cost the price of a Drink for her because she bought me one in return before it was over.

Basically.... I think my attitude about makeup is much like my feelings about spices & seasonings in food -- if I can quickly identify what it is, the chef used too much of it. And it goes down ftom there to "This dish contains beet leaves, steamed. Period", which is the way I like most of my food.

chasing the soul: spotlightnovapsyche on October 15th, 2014 11:42 pm (UTC)
I suppose it's sexist of me, but I've never been able to like, accept, or feel comfortable around women who regularly wear more than a touch of makeup.

I don't think that makes you necessarily sexist.

In fact, I _did_ once meet an extremely Glamourous & Highly-Made-Up woman -- a whore

However, your use of such a disparaging term for a sex worker might be problematic. All sorts of plain labels (prostitute) & euphemisms (working girl, lady of the evening) exist; why go for the most sexist term on the list?
don_fitch on October 16th, 2014 04:33 am (UTC)
It was a long time ago -- I'm not sure the ephemisum "sex worker" had yet been invented -- and "whore" was the term she used. It's an ancient and (IMHO) accurate word for "person (usually female) who has sex, for money, with practically anyone who wants it". As far as I can figure out, that's also the definition of "sex worker", and I don't see any reason that the latter should be used if the person to whom it is applies doesn't indicate otherwise.

(Mind you, I generally use the word "Indian", rather than the term "Native American" -- because about 80% of the people I know to whom this might apply use "Indian" to describe themselves (most live on reservations, or have close ties to that environment, and at least (if male) sing dozens or hundreds of powwow songs in their native language. The "Native Americans" have tended to be college students who have a "Cherokee Princess" (TM) [in-group joke; don't ask] as a great-great grandmother and can manage to mumble through two or three songs using pan-tribal vocables.)

I think a lot of this is difficult to communicate in written words -- much depends on tone-of-voice; If I say "whore" it's plain, flat, matter-of-fact, and not in the least condemnetory. And just a few weeks ago I saw (now being deaf, I can't hear such things) someone using "sex worker" in a disgusting way that seemed to be dripping with Insult. *sigh*

chasing the soul: salmonglazednovapsyche on October 15th, 2014 11:43 pm (UTC)
Oh, also!

Basically.... I think my attitude about makeup is much like my feelings about spices & seasonings in food -- if I can quickly identify what it is, the chef used too much of it.

Maybe think of this differently? Maybe if you can detect it, your palate is just that much more refined?

I dunno. I watch a lot of cooking shows.
don_fitch on October 16th, 2014 04:42 am (UTC)
Oh, I'd _like_ to think that I have a more refined palate, but I'm pretty sure it's not much above average, though perhaps I pay more attention than most people. I do feel a certain sense of Power when I can look at the cook/chef, nod appreciatively, and say something like "nutmeg?" when there's just a hint of it in the dish.
Steffirecat on October 16th, 2014 03:55 am (UTC)
So even though supergee is quoting me on makeup, I think that makeup is problematic only when it's enforced as a marker of femininity. I don't think it's a problem that some women choose to wear a lot of it.

And pretty much anything humans do, we do for a variety of different reasons. So it's not true that all women who use makeup are doing it as a way of walling you off.
don_fitch on October 16th, 2014 05:30 am (UTC)
Oh, yes... the feeling that women wearing makeup, or men wearing Fancy Clothes, are establishing a Wall is jut my first impression. I'd say that I've found that it turns out right more often than not... but not by much. (And hey, when children, puppies, or kittens appear on the scene, many of those walls tend to collapse.)

On what might be another hand (or might not) there's really nothing wrong with people erecting a Wall around themselves if they want to to, any more than there is with people playing around with makup, dress-up clothes, backpacking gear, or whatever. I suspect that Walls are, on the whole, not a good idea, but my suspicions don't have much to do with anything.

chasing the soul: bluejewelmasknovapsyche on October 15th, 2014 11:52 pm (UTC)
I save so much time & money from not messing with make-up, it's not even funny.

Make-up is horribly expensive.

These days, I wear natural-toned make-up only if I'm going to an interview or a fancy occasion (wedding, e&). It's just not worth my time. Plus I don't want to delve so deeply into the psychology surrounding vanity. It really matters little to me how others perceive my incarnate beauty.

Feminism has bequeathed unto me many riches, but this practical outcome is one of the most sublime.

P.S. As for the idea that "makeup is a form of fraud," I don't think most women who wear it are trying to be tricksters. I think they are behaving in a manner the culture tells them they must in order to not only fit in but to be in the least bit desirable. It's a horrible psychological trap these women are in.
The Hebrew Hammercockhammercock on October 16th, 2014 04:41 am (UTC)
Makeup can be fun, but to me it is a form of drag. There's interview drag, formal drag, and theatre/cosplay drag. I'm willing to wear makeup for these kinds of things, and I like the way I look with it on, but I reject any notion that I'm required to do so then or at any other time. Well, except for when I do theatre stuff. It is required for that. :-}