Beauty Blogosphere 12.30.11

The Beheld will be returning in the new year. May you release whatever you wish from 2011, and welcome 2012 with open arms. Happy new year!

What's going on in beauty this week, from head to toe and everything in between.

From Head... 
Stunning beauty: In the name of radical transparency, I should let you know that I am not above trying out bee venom face cream.

...To Toe...
What to wear with your pedicure boots? These handmade pedicure socks on Etsy, of course!

...And Everything In Between:
Private factor: Lipstick index = old news. Now it's the lingerie index, kids! I find this interesting because unlike most other economic indicators focusing on women's appearance, which I've shared my thoughts on already, lingerie falls into a separate zone, neither conspicuous consumption nor inconspicuous consumption. It's designed to both be seen and not be seen; nobody knows you wear it except for people who already have a ballpark idea of your financial situation. Not sure what to make of this; you?

MAC at it again: I have my theoretical quibblings with MAC, but the fact that they're doing a line from 90-year-old design icon Iris Apfel shows a dedication to out-of-the-box thinking that continues to impress. MAC may not be nearly as subversive as they seem to think they are, but at least they're doing real things to broaden our notion of beauty as a winner-take-all game.

Nairobi way: Overview of the Kenyan cosmetics market. Its boom has shifted the way women treat makeup, going from makeup as a way of hiding facial blemishes to something more along the lines of showcasing one's features.

Man aisle (maisle?): I've already rolled my eyes at "man aisles" in personal care sections of large retail stores, my thinking being, Oh wow, men get their very own aisle? Way to ghettoize household duties and further gender nongendered products (soap for men!). This article shows me that's not the whole story; in fact, it might be the way the retail world is exploiting the shift toward men doing more household shopping, potentially lessening the burden of women's "second shift."

Perm power: The role of black beauty salons in social activism. Certainly intimacy is fostered in many a stylist's chair, and taking what's chattered about in salons to the next level makes perfect sense.

"Those in the Land bathe in civilian blood to maintain their breathtaking beauty." —Tyra Banks, Modelland

Modelland: Review at Bitch of one of the more bizarre book releases of 2011, Modelland by Tyra Banks, in which all young women vie for selection into a modeling boarding school in order to become a super-race called the Intoxibellas. 

Girl's girl: Is there such a thing as girl pretty versus guy pretty? Sara Zucker examines, using Olivia Wilde and Jennifer Aniston as case studies.

"Girls want superheroes, and boys want superheroes": On the off-chance you haven't seen this viral (viral in the circles I run in, anyway) video of a 4-year-old girl asking why all the girls' toys are pink and the boys' stuff is superheros, you really should.

"There wasn't much left to wear down": A very (very) short story by Brittany Julious that perfectly describes the real problem with street harassment. It's not fear; it's resources.

How should we talk to girls about beauty?: As someone who believes in the import of beauty, self-care, and self-presentation (to wit: this blog), I agree with Hugo Schwyzer that we should be having discussions with girls about things often dismissed as trivial—fashion, beauty—so that if that turns out to be their interest, they won't feel ashamed. And certainly, coming from a household in which these things were not discussed, I can vouch for the confusion that comes when a girl cares about such things but is told they "don't really matter." But missing from his essay here is the importance of following girls' leads. I've already written my thoughts about praising girls for their looks; I've softened a bit since then after hearing from a friend of mine in college who had superb self-esteem without ever being conceited. Her parents told her every day that she was beautiful, and she believed it, and it shows—not just in her beauty, but in her appropriate pride. So I can't condemn praising girls—but I feel like unless we follow their lead on this, we're setting the agenda for them.