Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lipstick, in the abstract

How fortunate, that I don't need to explain how this, red-red lipstick, became the subject of a post.  It just did.  It may be traced to the previous entry about resonating and remaining, for it has a home there and has started calling to me, now that there are those lines, radiating downward from my lips, into which red-red lipstick could slither.  I could go through my days in the world looking like the winner of a cherry pie eating contest.  Among the things I know, people will think what they will and attempts at imagined propriety have never been able to disguise the otherness I've always felt.  Let the lipstick slither.

Here is some history of lipstick, the true, very red variety in particular.

"Dark red was one of the most popular shades throughout the 19th and 20th century. Dark red lipstick was popular in the 1920s. Flappers wore lipstick to symbolize their independence."

I believe the quote below supports my fuzzy notion that there is something powerfully feminist, certainly, as I interpret it, fear producing about red lipstick.  (Getting the font sizes to match is beyond me.)

"In the mid 1940s, several teen books and magazines stressed that men prefer a natural look over a made up look." 

"Throughout most of the 19th century the obvious use of cosmetics was not considered acceptable in Britain for respectable women, and it was associated with marginalized groups such as actresses and prostitutes. It was considered brazen and uncouth to wear makeup.
"Lip colouring started to gain some popularity in 16th century England. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I bright red lips and a stark white face became fashionable.[5] By that time, lipstick was made from a blend of beeswax and red stains from plants. Only upper class women and male actors wore makeup."

Actress Jane Russell, at age 87 or near to it.  Red and no feathering.
It may be about power, the sort that can come with cronehood. It feels primitive, it feels like reclaiming at least a portion of what was lost. As with the previous post, there seems to be more here than I have yet found the words to express. I have never owned a red-red lipstick, in the last few decades have defaulted to a sort of mauve shade, more seemly for a woman of a certain age. Seemly is laughably over-rated.


Anonymous said...

just the term, indelible cream, is savory. but that said- i'm all about burt's bees plum stick.

lovely to consider your words.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Sherry - Thank you. Burt's Bees products are a source of happiness. Still, I believe I must have, seemly or not, a true red lipstick, just to know. I will report. xo