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Do You Think Makeup Is Empowering?

I've always found it odd that some people think you can't be a smart, with-it, independent woman and enjoy wearing makeup. Hello? The two aren't mutually exclusive! It's not as though there's a secret society of with-it ladies that bans lip gloss. (In fact, noted feminist Gloria Steinem has some of the longest, most neatly manicured nails I've ever seen.)

That's exactly the topic that this article examines. While the author acknowledges the fact that women, not men, are expected to wear makeup, she also argues that using cosmetics was historically a form of empowerment—and even rebellion. She points to the late 1930s as an example, arguing that although most men disapproved of noticeable makeup, women decided to buy cosmetics anyway. And wait until you hear what they were buying:

Volupte introduced two new lipstick shades to American women, labeled "Lady" and "Hussy." "Lady" was marketed toward women who prefer lighter shades and "quiet, smart clothes and tiny strands of pearls," while "Hussy" was developed for women who wear dark shades and "like to be just a little bit shocking," according to Mademoiselle magazine in 1936. "Hussy" outsold "Lady" five to one.

I so wish I could buy a lipstick called Hussy. Anyway, while I don't agree with everything the writer says—I think looking good can be empowering, but wearing lipstick alone isn't going to smash sexism—it's an interesting read. And so I pose the question to you: Do you feel empowered by wearing makeup? Or is it just something you happen to do?


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