the original kStyle blog.

Friday, January 05, 2007


Narya has written a thought-provoking post about makeup, which has provoked thoughts in me.

Specifically, I got to thinking about my own relationship with makeup. I'm not a "good" feminist. By that I mean, I largely ignore the "patriarchy". Is there a patriarchy? Maybe. But I believe that choosing our actions in defiance to a patriarchy gives said patriarchy nearly as much power as does dumbly following the patriarchy's dictates. Ergo, I just ignore the patriarchy, and yes, I believe that most women are discerning enough to know what they truly want vs what they think they want because of patriarchal programming. I respect women, in other words. Or, I respect people who know their own minds, and I think those people come from across the gender spectrum, and there may be more of them than are given credit.

So, makeup. My take on it is arguably removed from patriarchal considerations. Or, I should say, I'm not interested in exploring a patriarchal component here, at least not directly.

I wear it in phases, literally every day for 6 months to a couple years, then not at all for about the same length of time. When I don't wear it, it's just another thing to fuss with and I always oversleep. It's expensive, too. And also, I have a tendency to become so wrapped up in Inner Life (meditation, qi gong, reading, and so forth) that I can totally forget about my outward appearance and one day wake up 35 lbs overweight and in need of a haircut. Then there's the environmental consideration. I can't believe that cosmetics are great for the environment, and the hippy stuff (Aveda, for example) gives me terrible rashes on my face.

Then why do you like makeup, kStyle?, you ask. I applaud your excellent question. In college, I was hanging around the theater department after a dance rehearsal one evening, and I walked by a play rehearsing in Theater Practice Room B. They were in desperate need of a makeup designer, and I walked by, and someone who knew me asked if I would design the makeup, and I shrugged and said, OK. Little did I realize that, without any makeup experience, I would designing makeup for a play based on Indian folklore. Specifically, I had to transform humans into flames and goddesses and a cobra incarnated as a prince.

It was a raging success, and I was soon roped into makeup design for other shows.

And I realized, then, that makeup has awesome transformative power. It can make you into someone else; it can also make you look more like yourself. You can bring out the parts of you that you're feeling more today, and hide the parts that you aren't feeling. You can enhance your projection of your inner self.

I adore makeup, really. But I just don't have time.


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