Beauty Blogosphere 7.12.13

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

From Head...
Crop top: Cristen and Caroline nail it again with their podcast on what short hair symbolizes on women. (Bonus: You'll learn the real story behind Mia Farrow's pixie cut.)

...To Toe...
Toeing the line: Note to those hoping to deploy fraud to avoid paying full price for a pedicure, as was the case with a Connecticut woman this week who stopped the pedicure midway through and insisted on paying only $10: Dash out on the early side. "Police observed the final coat of polish on Parker’s nails and asked her to pay the full $22, which she refused, according to police." She was charged with sixth-degree larceny for theft of services.

...And Everything In Between:

Lady in red: Protests in Turkey and an icon of femininity colliding with tear gas combine to make a "hers" restroom sign in a university town in central Anatolia.

Working women: Along with the increase of women in India entering the paid urban workforce comes a demand for professional wares. Enter Unilever, with its new collection through the Lakme line, called 9 to 5.

Little yellow bottle: Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion = The New Coke of beauty products?

Humpty hump: A Dubai company is entering the beauty sector with a product that truly hasn't been seen before in most of the world: camel milk beauty products. And naturally, the company name is Camelicious.

Dress for success: I thought it was a relatively new strain of feminism that saw women championing conventional markers of femininity (dresses, makeup, etc.) as a way of proclaiming feminist identity while holding on to those icons. Turns out it's not new at all: The leading British suffrage organization "used women’s fashionable dress to offer an overtly political argument: women could be both fashionable English women and militant Suffragettes."

AAthletes: "For the modern athlete, the question isn't whether breasts get in the way—it's a question of how to compete around them." (via Caitlin)

Oil me up: Can you use oils as sunscreen? The answer seems to be not really, though Venusian Glow reports positively on using raspberry seed oil, with an SPF of 28 to 50, placing it within the recommended SPF zone. (Other testers, not so much.) What's more probable is that research in this direction will come into play in creating a natural sunscreen, as indicated by research in India. Good thing too, since the glitter sunscreen market has been cornered already. Also relevant: What's the difference between sunscreen and sunblock?

On modesty: I'm intrigued by the idea of this woman's "modesty experiment," in which a feminist with (apparently) no religious beliefs that dictate modesty covered her hair, shunned makeup, and dressed modestly for nearly a year. The concept of modesty is complicated and I'm hoping that the writer, Lauren Shields (who blogs here), untangles much of that complication in her forthcoming book. But as Katie J.M. Baker points out at Jezebel, as it stands now, the experiment feels like it's missing something. The conclusions in the Salon piece are a tad pat, and the blog's emphasis on how glad she is to have ended the experiment seems uneven. Fingers crossed for a more meditative analysis to come; I trust it's there.

"Formulated with...": From a cosmetic chemist blog, a snapshot of "weasel words" the industry uses to imply claims that can't be stated directly. (Also, pssst: If you're into cosmetics science, pre-order The Beauty Brains' newest book, provocatively titled It's OK to Have Lead in Your Lipstick.)

Race daze: One of the things you hear over and over again from athletic women is how focusing on what their bodies can do rather than what their bodies look like is like a (temporary) wormhole out of self-objectification. Fit and Feminist's examination of race photos—the photos of sweaty, determined women who are focusing on exertion and crossing a finish line instead of controlling a goofy facial expression—considers what happens when those two ways of being collide.

Sniffer: The biggest factor men consider when choosing a cologne is, apparently, whether their partner likes it (which makes sense if worn according to a lovely guideline I once read—that the correct amount to wear was just enough so that a person embracing you would catch a whiff, and no one else). Any guesses as to what the biggest factor women consider is?

Make Up—Make Down, Sanja Iveković, 1976

Make Up—Make Down: The private ritual of cosmetics is part of its draw for many women—but that's just it, it's private. In her 1976 video piece Make Up—Make Down, Croatian artist Sanja Iveković lets us become privy to the intimacy of someone else's ritual: the heavy breath, the focus on the decolletage, the ritualistic opening of makeup jars. It's particularly interesting given that Iveković created the piece when Croatia was part of the former Yugoslavia—a time and place that cast makeup under a light of suspicion. (Thanks to Sarah Nicole for the link.)

Sitting pretty: Samvid has a nice mini-roundup of art that asks larger questions about beauty—including the recent "Barbie" designed to mimic the average 19-year-old woman's measurements.

Reproductive rights: "My body my choice" can be extended to pregnant women in dealing with comments from strangers—specifically male strangers, for this guest writer at Feminist Figure Girl.

Just my size: It's interesting to me how many of my female friends (and myself) have no problems saying that they have a definite body type they prefer in male partners—tall, chubby, muscular, skinny, whatever. Honestly, it's the kind of talk that would get me up in arms were a man to say it, which I'll admit is sexist of me; the more I read stories from men with body image concerns, the more it'll sink in that it's the same damn thing, but for now the knee-jerk reaction isn't the same. Perhaps it would be if there were "No Fat Dudes" baby tees? Whatever the case, this piece about being a lady "chubby chaser" is interesting, and makes me wonder about how much stock women place in being comparatively smaller than their partners.

This has potential to be cool: Online video makeup and hair consultations.

This has potential to be terrorizing: cosmetics chain partnering with facial recognition tech firm to detect customers' moods and allow them to send out personalized offers. (Now anti-drone apparel can go masstige!)

Bodily integrity: I can't think of a lovelier idea for helping sex workers connect with each other—and with their own bodies—than the community-organized day of spa and wellness treatments called "Whores' Bath."

Stripped: Theoretically I like the concept of nudity-as-liberation, but outside of the occasional nudist colony treatise (ugh) most of what you see on the matter focuses on the "is striptease/burlesque feminist?" question (to which I'd say, whatever). But! Gala Darling's report of a confidence class in which every participant shimmied naked down a runway is revelatory.

"I don't see my body as a canvas": I'm still pondering all the fantastic responses I got when I asked readers about why they wore makeup—and one particularly insightful response comes from Tatiana at her own blog.

Color me Edith: The Downton Abbey makeup line now exists, and now we can all try to have Lady Mary's skin and totally fail.

Ugly I: Several searing insights in this piece on the possibility of reclaiming "ugly"—made all the sharper when she points out to the reader that people's instincts are to discount the mere possibility that the writer might be ugly...which is exactly what I did when I saw her picture. Why does ugly seem so untouchable, as though it's the worst possible thing someone could be? (Still, I'm not as sure as the writer is here about the relationship between beauty and, say, humor: She wonders if she'd still be a stand-up comic were she conventionally beautiful, whereas I've heard plenty of other women in comedy wonder if the best way to get booked is to be hot.") (Thanks to Joy for the link!)

Ugly II: There are some wince-worthy parts of this essay on "ugly privilege" (since when is it only beautiful women who are sexually assaulted?), but it's an interesting illustration of the dynamics that come into play in female friendships where beauty is concerned. It's deeply uncomfortable stuff to talk about, particularly for feminists (okay, particularly for this feminist), so props for touching on a difficult topic, even if misguided. (Thanks to Rachel for the link!)

On "inner beauty": "The problem with the 'beauty is an attitude' logic is that it places all the blame and responsibility on women." Sing it, sister. The smartest critique of this line of thinking that I've ever read.

Anon was a woman: Why aren't models usually credited by name in fashion magazines? On illustrative shots it's one thing, but a fashion shoot is demanding of all laborers involved, and while it's routine to credit hairstylists, manicurists, etc., you rarely see the models acknowledged. Emily at The Closet Feminist raises the question and makes some excellent points. (Side note: In all my years copy editing magazines, mostly fashion-oriented, my only client that regularly credited models by name was a men's magazine.)

Beauty Blogosphere 6.28.13

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

From Head...
"Why go gray in my mid-50s? Because I can": There may be a "cure" for gray hair on the way, but Leah Rozen serves a reminder that there are plenty of reasons to let nature take its course.

I hope nobody from the TSA reads this blog.

...To Toe...
Pedi danger: The bad news is that not only do pedicure chairs start fires, but pedicure razors can be used as weapons too. The good news is that if a pedicurist gone wild attacks you with one, you won't even realize you've been stabbed, because the wounds are as tiny as your delicate little toenails, you gorgeous thing you.

...And Everything In Between:
Beauty labor:
Beauty workers are more in demand than ever: 90% of beauty industry freelancers expect to increase or maintain their rates this year, and 70% of industry executives report that hiring rates are equal to or better than the halcyon days of pre-Lehman Brothers. But stable numbers don't necessarily translate to workers feeling confident about the future of their careers.

Barely there: The woman whose face is on the boxes of all those Sally Hansen depilation products, Marina Asenova, is suing her former agency for nonpayment of funds, as she has yet to see any royalties from her face lining an aisle of every drugstore in America—a practice that may well be par for the course, given the exploitation in the modeling industry. (Thanks to Lindsay for the link!)

White House welcome: Estee Lauder's VP and corporate communications director, Maria Cristina González Noguera, is headed Washington-way to be Michelle Obama's communications director. Who wants a lipstick shade named FLOTUS? 

Price is right: Where wealth goes, beauty ain't far behind: One in 10 residents of the United Arab Emirates spends the equivalent of a one-bedroom apartment in Dubai on beauty products. 

Bad ad: Dove got a slap on the wrist from the National Advertising Division for implying false claims about body washes from rival brands. Misleading side-by-side product demos were cited—as was an image of a bottle of competing body wash encircled in barbed wire, which is apparently a no-no? I don't quite get why the barbed wire image is a problem, to be honest. (Maybe it's retroactively punishing Unilever for that it'll-turn-brown-people-white ad from a few years back.)

The personal is political: With massive nationwide protests going on in her country, a Brazil-based blogger questions the importance of running a bra blog—and comes away with the conclusion that bra fitting is a political issue.

"Halal celebrities": The uptick in hijab fashionistas (hijabistas? wait, I Googled it, and yes, it exists) has begun to shift the non-Muslim vision in the U.S. of Muslim women as being oppressed and hidden underneath shapeless, drab clothes—and more to the point, it's provided a visible outlet for women who wear hijab to explore fashion and beauty. But when does the advice of hijab tutorials turn into tsk-tsking for not meeting this standard of beauty? "[O]f course many Muslim women don’t feel they can emulate J. Lo or Beyoncé. But we can emulate YaztheSpaz and Amenakin. They are the new line of halal celebrities." (Thanks to Tasbeeh for the link!)

Pretty toxic: Just a little reminder that your makeup may contain asbestos. Note that this doesn't apply to European readers—asbestos is among the 1,372 cosmetics ingredients banned by the E.U., but isn't among the ten (ten!) outlawed in the States.

Sleeping beauty: You all know humans grow new skin, but scientists haven't agreed on exactly why. Procter & Gamble to the rescue! ("Sleeping" stem cells, apparently.)

Body talk: Were common sense not enough to convince you, now there's a study showing that body talk to teens is more likely to trigger eating disorders if it takes the form of weight or body size, as opposed to healthy choices.

Edible self-tanner: If you're waffling on the suntan/self-tanner/pale-and-brave-it question this time of year, here's another option to get a nice tan-like glow: Eat more vegetables.

Kitchen beauty: For all the watchdogging I do on here about various beauty companies, I'm not quite sure why I haven't just started making my own beauty products. Whenever that time comes, this comprehensive list of 30 recipes should come in handy! And this set of general guidelines will be helpful too.

Tom Ford Cosmetics focus group.

Dudely dude: Designer Tom Ford is entering the skin care market—but not in a girly way or anything. Says the Estee Lauder group president, "This is a serious, high-ticket men's grooming line with a couple of products with cosmetics benefits to be used in a very masculine way," like in caber tossing and jerking off.

Fashion tips from Mr. T: "Do Calvin Klein, Bill Blass, or Gloria Vanderbilt wear clothes with your name on it? No, of course not. So you tape up the label, and wear your own name."

Beautypalooza: I'm not endorsing these particular products, but I thought this beauty checklist for festivals was solid. (But as it happens, I do use Stila Convertible Color on my cheeks, and sure enough, it works hangover magic—and stays put even through sweaty summer days.)

Breast jokes ever: Awesome collection of mammary humor from Hourglassy—I love it when women can joke about their bodies without making their bodies the punch line or denigrating themselves, and these anecdotes fit the bill. (And for further proof that these stories aren't teeming with self-loathing, note that this list of favorite things about being busty came from the same crop of readers.)

Hey there, handsome: Cristen Conger of How Stuff Works asks where all the handsome women went (and I'm honored that my Thoughts on a Word post on handsome was referenced). The handsome woman is still there—even if you wouldn't know it by the chicks-with-moustaches that pop up on Google Images for the term.

The true cost per wear: "Cost per wear" seems like a sensible way to shop, and if you do it right, it really is. But surely more than a handful of women (ahem) have also used it to justify expensive purchases with fingers crossed, oui? This post looking at the flaws and pitfalls in cost-per-wear theory can help you figure out when it's worth it (versus when you really just wanna buy something expensive).

Body Détente: Once upon a time, bloggers who mentioned body image generally only did so in terms of Why You Should Love Your Body. And then other bloggers who wrote on body image came along and were like, Yo, All the Body Love Talk Is Sort of Oppressing (hi!). And then Sally, ever the wise one, nicely reconciles the mind-sets and stakes a post on body neutrality: "When I see essays, suggestions, and advice from the body love community the main message I hear is that hating your body is counterproductive, not that loving your body is required."

Beauty Blogosphere Summer Solstice 2013

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

Swedish-American artist Annika Connor, looking all midsummer maiden.

From Head...

Midsummer night's dream: It's midsummer! Don't you want to make a wreath of fresh flowers and dance like a wood nymph? Yes, you do. Here's how.

...To Toe...
Bodily harm: [Unexpectedly heavy content ahead] I'm not sure what to think of this report of a domestic violence attack: After waking up to find that his girlfriend had painted his toenails in his sleep, 25-year-old Dominic Hodson proceeded to beat her for two hours. It's horrifying, and it goes without saying that nothing can "make" an abuser launch into an attack; abusers will find whatever reason they need. Her actions were not a provocation. That said: Isn't it a form of abuse to invade someone's sense of bodily ownership? To assert physical control for someone else—especially when the person is asleep and can't consent—is a form of control that sounds like it would be at home on a list of abusive behaviors. There's also a humiliation factor here—that's the whole point of a prank, after all—which is another form of abuse. To be clear, I'm not blaming the victim here or saying she "deserved" it, or anything of the sort. What this illustrates to me is the ways intimate partner violence often works: Not as a cut-and-dried case of a big bad abuser hulking over a woman, but as a breakdown of boundaries. Once the boundary of physical violence has been crossed—and it's important here that Hodson had a prior history of abusing his girlfriend, according to her statement—there are few boundaries left to violate. Even the person who is not the primary aggressor can wind up crossing boundaries in a way that falls under the umbrella of abuse.

...And Everything In Between:
Closer to fine: Revlon is paying an $850,000 fine for withholding information in a going-private transaction in 2009, an act that can have "coercive effects on minority shareholders," according to an associate director in the Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement division. This reputedly has nothing to do with why the company's CFO resigned this week to become CFO at media company Tribune.

MAC attack: Target offered to settle with MAC for accidentally selling fake products with their name; Lady Mac then snubbed the offer, and the legal catfight continues.

Yours truly: With customization being a boom business for everything from sneakers to eyeglasses, could cosmetics be next in line?

Sweet: Love that there's a beauty company featuring natural products targeted at teens—that was created by real! live! teens! Shouldn't every girl have the right to smell like Crazy Caramel Corn or Iced Lemon Cookie without loading up on parabens and the like?

Snow job: We've established that the media loves to focus on pretty ladies for no reason other than that they're pretty. But Naomi Wolf—whose work has been instrumental in people realizing things like how the media loves to focus on pretty ladies for no reason other than that they're pretty—suspects that the consistent mention of Ed Snowden's sexy pole-dancing girlfriend may actually indicate that Snowden is a plant from Big Brother.

Making amends: It would be pretty cool if the whole story about the Paul Frank collaboration with American Indian designers Louie Gong, Candace Halcro, Dustin Martin, and Autumn Dawn Gomez was that Paul Frank wanted to...collaborate with American Indian designers (instead of, say, just slapping the word Navajo on a product that had naught to do with actual Navajo people). But I think it's doubly cool that the whole story behind the new Paul Frank collection is more complicated: After being called out on their "Dream Catchin'" "Pow Wow" event by Native blogs Beyond Buckskin and Native Appropriations, the company went beyond the standard apology/fauxpology and genuinely engaged with the bloggers and the Native fashion community. Adrienne of Native Appropriations is pretty happy about this, but seeing as how critical examination of, um, native appropriations is literally the name of her game, she also brings up some points that could make things even better.

C'mon, baby, gimme a smile: Katy Waldman at Slate takes the hilarious Bitchy Resting Face video a step farther, connecting it to the "the laser grid of unspoken rules governing the arrangement of male and female faces—the gendered ways we police social performance." (Thanks to Joy for the link!)

Lighten up: You know how pretty much every beauty piece about "paring down" your products is usually just a list of products? With water heading this blissfully short list of genuinely low-fuss beauty "supplies," this one actually earns its claim to low maintenance.

Cop to it: The takeaway from recent findings that copper is more damaging to our hair than previously realized is that soon we're going to be seeing all sorts of "copper cleansing" shampoos on the market. Give it nine months, I predict.

Boy George: ahead of his time.

Generation Y: Okay, so it's not like 18% of young men are actually wearing foundation, but 18% of millennials say it would be acceptable for them to do so.

Bodily amendments: The case of a Minneapolis man who was arrested after getting a tattoo depicting a gun in the mouth of a pig, complete with a specific Minneapolis police officer's name and badge number, begs the question of whether tattoos are considered speech that incites a real and present threat to another person—or are simply forms of personal expression.

Modesty, boys!: You know, if men don't want women to ogle them, they shouldn't act the ways they do. Take some tips from June.

For shame: I plead guilty to mentally stereotyping women who get cosmetic surgery. Rather, I did so until I learned years ago that a close friend had gotten a nose job before we met, thus turning my entire world of "sellouts" vs. "non-sellouts" upside-down and I began to realize that the whole thing was a bit more complicated and that maybe I shouldn't be all Judge Judy. ("Beauty work can be fun! Unless it's something I don't approve of.") Kate lays out why getting surgery needn't be a shameful act.

Also, smoke them: Contrary to my previously held belief, I indeed have not read every beauty tip known to womankind. Exhibit A: Whiten your teeth with banana peels.

Ignorant beauties: Sure, there's something uniquely charming about people who appear to be genuinely unaware of their physical appeal. But why are all these boys singing about how not knowing you're beautiful is what makes you beautiful? (Don't they know that every woman has a doctorate in her own sex-powers?)

But I would like a lipstick shade called I Hate the Patriarchy #2: To be annoyed or amused by this "feminist makeup tutorial"? Funny quips (like about applying foundation with "equal representation") don't make up for the anti-man sentiments contained therein, which might be remotely amusing (though probably not) if feminists weren't already mistakenly stereotyped as man-haters. Survey says: annoyed. (Thanks to ModernSauce for the link!)

Budding beauties: An East Harlem garden whose beds are made out of recycled Garnier beauty packaging materials is estimated to yield 1,500 pounds of vegetables a year. Presumably all 1,500 pounds will be cucumbers, because puffy eyes.

Refashioning race: New York readers: Between the Threadbared ladies and Pricing Beauty author Ashley Mears, this panel discussion June 25 promises to be fascinating. It's practically just a bonus that the topic is meaty: exploring race, gender, and economy through the lens of the digital age and alternative fashion. Join me?

Nail it: Chicago readers, take note of the Nailed exhibit from artist Helen Maurene Cooper at Cith Gallery, featuring portraits of nail salon technicians and patrons as well as a collection of macro photos of truly fantastic nail art. (via Britt Julious, whose feature on Cooper is worth a read)

Hair history: This stop-motion depiction of European women's hairstyles (plus some early neolithic and Egyptian styles for good measure) is downright mesmerizing (via Stuff Mom Never Told You).

Loki's Lacquer: The blogger asks herself if she's bending her principles by pointing readers to a product she hasn't actually tried yet—nay, products in general!—but when the goodie in question is a nail polish named after one of her favorite beauty bloggers, The Reluctant Femme, it's totally principled, right? Or is she just yielding to the shimmery blackish purplish greenish pinkish siren song? Either way, it's gorgeous.

Beauty Blogosphere 6.14.13

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

Together, we can find a cure for Bitchy Resting Face.

From Head...
It's an epidemic: Do you suffer from Bitchy Resting Face? (Actually, I suffer from Friendly Resting Face. Anyone else?)

...To Toe...
Foot fetish:
Shoes made out of romance novels.

...And Everything In Between:
Model citizens:
This is enormous news in the fashion world: New York state passed a bill that extends child labor protection to models under 18. Hard to believe they didn't enjoy the protections offered to other underage performers—thus, among other things, forcing girls to choose between their careers and finishing high school—but they didn't, until now. Congrats to the dedicated team at Model Alliance, the organization behind the bill.

Ladies first: The wardrobe of China's first lady is scrutinized just as carefully as we do for our own FLOTUS—but for different reasons. The incomes of public officials aren't publicly divulged, leading people to do their own calculations as to their leaders' capital—and Peng Liyuan's impeccable style is leaving her husband vulnerable to charges of corruption.

Big enough for the britches: The CEO of Lululemon stepped down this week, with a terribly un-Lululemon statement: "I am not the culture of Lululemon. Everyone is the culture of Lululemon." (Ayn Rand would be so disappointed!) Who will succeed her is anyone's guess; Forbes predicts Lululemon will make an Estee-Lauder-type move and hire someone with international experience, as the yogawear company has designs on Asia.

Bovine law: The creators of Cleopatra's Enzymatic Milk Lotion, aka raw milk illegally marketed as cosmetics to exploit a legal loophole that allows unpasteurized milk to be sold if it's "not for human consumption," were found guilty of civil contempt.

Click click: Could Amazon take a serious cut into department stores' market shares of high-end brands? It makes sense logically, but I'd be surprised if consumers are as eager to buy fancy makeup online as we are to buy, say, books. Part of what you're paying for with expensive products (actually, most of what you're buying) is the illusion of care and luxury that comes along with the product. Much as I hate being under the scrutiny of cosmetics salesfolk, I also can't see myself feeling as satisfied with an expensive lipstick that comes in a little cardboard box as opposed to when it comes drowning in tissue paper tucked into an elegant little bag.

"You Can Touch My Hair": From what I've read from black women writers, this question begins early in their lives...and never ends. (I'm guessing that even shaving it off doesn't bring relief.) Enter this performance art piece from hair site Un-Ruly in which three black women with varying hair textures held signs reading "You Can Touch My Hair" in public spaces. As Baze Mpinja at Beautycism puts it, "Although I’m sick of the never-ending politicization of black women’s hair...[t]he Un’ruly team has taken something offensive and turned it into a teaching moment."

Eating disorder prevention's newest advocate.

Metal health: At first I was almost amused by the person currently scouting subjects for a documentary on eating disorders: Shawn "Clown" Crahan, percussionist for metal band Slipknot. But the more I think about it, the more metal it really is: I'm constantly saying how we need to remember that EDs don't just haunt young white girls, but part of diversity is subcultural diversity too. You might expect eating disorders to dwell in sorority houses, not metal shows—but they do. Bonus points to Crahan for specifically seeking men to profile.

One word: Know what makes microbead skin care products beady? Plastics. Know what's bad for the environment? Plastics.

Feminist beauty: I'm-a just gonna cosign everything Refinery 29's beauty director Annie Tomlin—whom I first met as an intern at Ms. magazine—says here. It's funny: When each of us first realized that another of our fellow Ms.ers had gone on to work in beauty, we had a laugh at the irony. But as Annie shows, the more you think about it, the more it makes perfect sense.

Want my job?: In other me-me-me career-ish news, budding writers/bloggers who like what I do here should check out this Q&A with me at I Want Her Job, a fantastic site that does in-depth interviews with women in a variety of careers. A side note: I first crossed paths with the founder of I Want Her Job, Brianne Burrowes, when she was a teen contributor to the teen magazine I worked for at my first gig. Her drive stood out to me and I loved to share my burgeoning knowledge with her. We kept in touch over the years—I watched her go from journalism student to Seventeen intern to editor of her alma mater's alumni magazine (when she'd barely graduated herself!) to founder of the wonderfully inspirational I Want Her Job. To see someone I informally mentored make a name for herself in what amounts to a valuable mentorship tool is deeply satisfying. My point here: Mentor, mentor, mentor! And ask to be mentored! Something I began to trust around age 35 is that mentorship doesn't just have to be a matter of established-person-helping-younger-person, nor does it have to be a formal mentorship. I mourned not having had a formal mentor until I started to look around me and realized I had several mentors in various guises.

We're so vain: Yes, yes, the Abercrombie & Fitch dude is a jackass, what with their company's sizing policy. But as Kjerstin Gruys points out, when we respond approvingly to vanity sizing, we're a part of the problem. (Personally, I hate vanity sizing. I'm 5'7", medium-framed, and muscular; if company X sizes me at a "small" I'm just annoyed that I have to go grab another size that's supposed to make me feel all dainty and petite. And if I'm small what are my slender 5'1" friends? Extra-Lilliputian? Criminy.)

Summer breeze: The gentlemanly conductors of a Stockholm commuter train company that has a policy against male employees wearing shorts even in the summer have rebelled by wearing bottoms that are allowed: skirts. (via Shybiker) Related: Why aren't Utilikilts more popular? 

Skin food: As someone who once used a cocoa-cinnamon-cornstarch combo as dry shampoo, I salute XOVain's Lauren for her worthy endeavor of attempting to make a tinted moisturizer with Cetaphil and Ghirardelli.

Pixies plus: There's a hair catch-22 going on: How is a plus-size woman supposed to estimate whether a pixie cut would look good if nobody modeling a pixie cut is plus-sized? Sure, it's easy to say, "Just get the cut you want!" but the fact is, an ill-fitting haircut can sting. But another fact is, with modifications most haircuts work on most people. And that includes pixies and heavy ladies.

Beauty Blogosphere 6.7.13

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

From Head...
Photo op: "Requests for [cosmetic] surgery as a result of social media photo sharing rose 31% in 2012, reports the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery."

...To Toe...

Jeepers creepers: The word of the week is creepers, or shoes with thick, soft soles (which unfortunately turns out to be etymologically unrelated to the Teddy Boy subculture of the 1950s).

...And Everything In Between:
Please hold: 
Apparently UK beauty salons have a ways to go with their telephone protocol, leaving callers on hold for (gasp!) 33 seconds.

Eye spy: Procter & Gamble is hiring eye-tracking firm blah blah blah [at this point the actual story here—about P&G trying to figure out which of its ads are actually seen—becomes of secondary importance, so we can focus on the fact that there are eye-tracking firms that track people's eye movement].

Tipoff: Bloomberg Businessweek breaks down exactly what the Professional Beauty Association is lobbying for tax-wise: Basically, the same tax scheme that restaurants enjoy as far as employee tips.

Hellenic beauty: Greece's best-known cosmetics line, Korres, is continuing to thrive despite the ongoing severe problems with the country's economy.

Under the sea: Do your part to combat overfishing: Buy more beauty products containing jellyfish. It takes a village, people.

Concealer: A cosmetology school is demanding that a student who wears a niqab bring in written documentation from a religious leader that she indeed needs to cover her face for religious reasons (as opposed to, what, just for kicks?). This does beg the question of how students who prefer to be covered handle hair and makeup demos: Do they only participate as models when all students and teachers are women? Or simply observe? Plenty of women style their hair and wear makeup under the veil, but that's quite a different thing from participating in the learning process of achieving professional standards.

Sensitive skin: A new test developed at Newcastle University can predict people's sensitivity to cosmetics—good news for users, eschewing the need for a patch test, and great news for animals that are frequently tested upon.

Military dress: How does the biggest institution of The Man—the military—give rise to counterculture fashion? (Tidbit: The T-shirt itself is an example of military fashion.)

Numb (featuring DJ Herpes): Rihanna fan is suing MAC, claiming that she got a fever blister as a result of sampling the MAC shade RiRi Woo offered by a MAC representative at a Rihanna concert.

Just drawn that way: I'm not particularly sold on the idea that if we just have more diverse images, eating disorders will decrease. That said, I'm intrigued by this Brazilian PSA that shows what women would look like if they had the proportions of fashion illustrations—in other words, if they were created entirely for showcasing clothes instead of living. I asked fashion illustrator and blogger Danielle Meder for her thoughts, and she pointed out that like any ad, this PSA cherry-picks its data: "If it was a juxtaposition of an actual fashion illustration next to a supermodel, the PSA certainly wouldn't be so provocative." Meder addresses the topic of fashion versus reality more generally here, and points out that her fashion illustration how-to post is open to anyone. "My attitude towards the way I draw fashion figures is that if you don't like it, draw your own! ... [P]roportions are up to you, not reality."

Razor's edge: What it's like to strut your (newly shaved) stuff on the runway—courtesy Gillette. (Pretty sure this qualifies as undercover investigative journalism on Katie J.M. Baker's part, right?) If this marketing scheme is a clever misstep on Gillette's part, it's not like it's their only one: Their whole "How does [Superman] shave?" campaign is falling flat because true fans recall that he uses a mirror to blast heat rays from his eyes to his whiskers.

Where ladies fear to tread: So what is it about those dudes who biohack, à la Tim Ferriss's "binge one day a week but do air squats every time you go to the bathroom" or Dave Asprey's butter coffee? Virginia Heffernan takes a look. My two cents: I'm pretty convinced half this stuff is eating disorder territory, but since it's biohacking as opposed to, say, straight-up bulimic or anorexic behaviors, we're less likely to identify it as such. The fact that biohacking seems to be dominated by men only helps/hurts here. Speaking of which: What can women who love men with eating disorders do to support them? It can be difficult enough to support a person with an eating disorder even when they're not suffering from the double stigma of doing something so "unmanly" (do you say anything when you see them undereat? do you keep trigger foods around the house?).

Go figure: Feminist Figure Girl enumerates how her life changed after entering a figure show (i.e. bodybuilding): "I love and trust my body more than I did before."

Wedding gown, crepe de toilette, 2013.

Flushing bride: The Ninth Annual Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest has been adjudicated, and though I'm partial to the second-place winner (pictured above), the grand prize winner is no less stunning. 

Great Kate: Kate Middleton is the most influential celebrity when it comes to British consumers' beauty purchases. Apparently after the royal wedding, Kate's "natural brown" became the leading hair color shade? (And leave it to the Daily Mail to somehow frame this as a "Kate-off"—Middleton trumps Moss—because what good is a story without an imagined catfight?)

Turnabout's fair play: Remember that whole "best-looking attorney general in the country" comment Obama made about Kamala Harris? Fascinating to compare it to a similar incident in 1973, between Richard Nixon and White House reporter Helen Thomas, who was actually asked by the president to turn around so he could check out her butt. But as Miranda Weinberg's analysis shows, the way it was deftly handled reveals subtle, strategic uses of the reporter's power.

Sci-fi'd: I'd never had thunk it, but it seems Fast and Furious has a thing or two to teach Star Trek—or at least J.J. Abrams—about presenting women onscreen. (Thanks to reader Jame-Ane for the link!)

Shopping stigma: I still remember the relief I felt when thrifting became cool in the early '90s and I no longer had to worry about being seen going into Goodwill with my mother. But as Sally points out, shopping stigma continues to thrive. 

Neptune's Daughter: Let us bid farewell to Esther Williams, who entertained us as "America's mermaid" and who died yesterday at 91. Despite her fame, she considered her movie career a consolation prize for not reaching her true dream, the Olympic gold. 

Assemblé: It's not just fashion that's inspired by ballet—this year, it's perfume too.

Works if you work it: It's easy enough to raise your eyebrow at self-help—I've done it plenty of times, skeptic that I am—but as Gala Darling points out, "I still can’t believe that self-love is something we’re expected to somehow magically discover for ourselves." 

Mythbusting: Interesting counterpoint on the whole "all women are wearing the wrong bra size!" thing that every ladymag is required to report on annually. While I'm someone who really did need a bra fitting in order to learn that I was wearing the drastically wrong size, as Phoebe points out, the idea that women just don't know how bras fit is also mighty convenient when it comes to imbuing fitters, sellers, and manufacturers with a sort of magical power that isn't necessarily the most helpful stance for consumers. Bras really can be difficult to fit well (and as Phoebe discovers when her readers protested the idea that bra fittings are gimmicks, the flattering-yet-comfortable bra is not necessarily a gimmick) so of course that just makes us curious about manufacturer promises that no, no, their bras really do fit, à la Jockey's new sizing system (via Lindsay). What are the girls to do? Read awesome bra blogs, that's what.

Beauty Blogosphere 5.31.13

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

From Head...

Dry heat: Among the many delightful morsels in Meli's history of the hair dryer: "That annoying cut-off switch on your modern blow dryer? It keeps electrocutions from hair dryers to about four a year, down from the hundreds before safety switches were invented and required." Still annoyed by it. But thankful!

...To Toe...
Happy June!: In honor of the inaugural blisters ushered in by flip-flop weather, some tips on avoiding blisters, including the one time socks with sandals is a good idea.

...And Everything In Between:
Rinse and repeat:
Meet the new Procter & Gamble CEO, A.G. Lafley! His résumé includes a nine-year stint as...Procter & Gamble CEO. 

Holy waters: Using religion as a cosmetics selling point: kosher or not-kosher?

Urban style: There's plenty to be said about the state mandating that women cover themselves, but one thing that can't be said about it is that it keeps Iranian women from kicking ass at parkour.

Wax on, wax off: "[P]ubic hair removal injuries increased fivefold between 2002 and 2010." This begs the question of what those injuries might be, you say? Why, there's a list. (Thanks for the link, Nancy!)

"You are less beautiful than you think": Scientific American offers another counterpoint to that damn Dove ad—one I'm pleased to read, though I think the holistic truth of the whole "do women like the way they look?" question is far more complicated.

Beauty myths: After 10 years in ladymags, it's hard to show me a "beauty myth"—as in beauty product myth—that I haven't read already. But this piece has a couple of things I haven't heard before, like how some "oil-free" products actually contain oils.

Whiter shade of pale: Pale skin is in! For, like, a minute. I really don't think that tans will ever truly go out of fashion, though the importance of the tan (and the degree it's "acceptable" to darken) waxes and wanes over time. It's nice enough to read that Downton Abbey and Mad Men are helping (white) folks embrace a porcelain pallor, but trust me: Next year, if not sooner, you'll see copy about how a "healthy glow" is in.

"I am not the target market": When personal fitness coach Rachel Cosgrove—who stresses strength training for women, not lots of reps with stupid little weights—released her most recent book, Drop Two Sizes, plenty of her fans were dismayed by what they saw as catering to the thin imperative. But as so often happens with women's media—I saw this all.the.time at ladymags—it's not that the idea is lost, it's that it gets buried in the attempt to hook readers by leveraging what you think they think they want. Cosgrove's explanation to her readers is intriguing, and leads to the moral: You've got to go to where the audience is. (via Caitlin)

Trolled: "Don't feed the trolls" is an oft-heard admonition (one I usually follow myself) 'round the internets—particularly when it comes to trolls who bait women by arguing that ladies should all look like Barbie. Skepchick offers a solid argument in favor of feeding that variety of misogynist troll a fact-biscuit in the form of, "No, that's not always true."

Earthly concerns: This is what it's like to shave. In space.

Still from Making Soap, Orestes de la Paz, 2013

Fight Club: Yes, artist Orestes de la Paz made soap out of his own fat. It's gimmicky enough to be a thing for that alone; taken in totality it's a dark look at the beauty industry (the video, not for the faint of heart, shows de la Paz's liposuction surgery as well as his rendering process).

En pointe: The long history of connection between ballet and fashion. Fact: Coco Chanel was the first designer to come up with costumes for the ballet, 1924's Le Train Bleu.

Sticky fingers: Not specifically about beauty, but given that cosmetics are consistently among the top targets for shoplifting, this piece about the association between women and shoplifting is relevant—and fascinating.

Lady of the ring: Cassie gives a history—and her history—of ring-wearing, spurred not by a ring with significance, but rather by the first non-emotionally-significant ring she's ever worn, despite never having been married: "The matrimonial ideal of rings as a symbol of commitment was so deeply engrained I still acted like these rings were more or less engagement rings."

Nature's child: Kate skewers the idea of "natural beauty," and a particularly sharp part of her analysis here is her latching it to failure—for what could feel like a greater "failure" than the failure to magically possess something that's supposed to be natural?

Beauty Blogosphere 5.24.13

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

From Head...
Lashing out: Finally, the beauty industry has listened to what the common woman has been saying for ages: Why are we forced to use those hulking mascara wands made for our upper lashes on our delicate, Thumbelina-like bottom lashes? Never fear! Bottom lash mascara wands are here! (Thanks for the link/absurdity, Lindsay.)

...To Toe...
You ask, Yahoo answers:
"Could I ask her to make the pedicure tickle as much as possible?"

...And Everything In Between:

As of press time, P&G was up .666 percent on the NYSE.

The devil wears Pantene: Procter & Gamble renews its allegiance to Beezlebub. New board members include Lucifer, Angel of Light, King of Babylon, Son of Perdition, Satan, Great Dragon, Author of All Sin, Enemy of Righteousness, and some dude named Rick.

Wait wait wait: Ted Nugent's brother was former CEO of Revlon?

Congressional makeovers: The Professional Beauty Association had its annual lobbying day on Capitol Hill, in part to advocate for an act that would give salon owners a dollar-for-dollar tax credit on taxes they pay on employee tips, which the restaurant industry has enjoyed for years.

Beauty schooled: Transitioning into a new career can be difficult for anyone—especially for sex workers, and especially for sex workers who were working against their will. Enter this partnership between an activist and a hairdresser to provide job training for workers exiting the sex trade. (Throat-lump moment for when some of the students threw a "wedding" for the hairdresser and his husband upon learning that, at the time, the pair was unable to legally wed in their home state.)

Seeing red: The "lipstick index" holds true—sorta—during this period of the sluggish Chinese economy. (The "sorta" is unsurprising, given that the damn thing doesn't really exist.)

Factor this: Some brilliant bits of cosmetics history were recently discovered in a California garage, of all places. When the daughter of a facilities manager of Max Factor's former studio asked a friend for help in clearing out her garage, she had no idea they'd find boxes filled with relics of 1920s Hollywood, including a piece of Factor's infamous "Beauty Calibrator." (via Makeup Museum)

No, you're so pretty: One of the greatest things about the growing number of professionally funny ladies out there is that "girl stuff" gets its due in the comic eye, but without the nasty "can't you take a joke?" edge that's just become tiresome by this point. Case in point: Amy Schumer's sketch on how women take compliments. (It's backed up by science, folks!) Thanks to Lacy of ModernSauce and my agent, Brandi Bowles, for the link.

Laugh/riot: Speacking of women in comedy, which is worse: the whole "male comics deal with female hecklers by wishing rape upon them" scenario, or this infuriating "female comic ignore male hecklers chanting 'Show us your tits' and is fired as a result" scenario? Can we call a draw?

$aving tip: You heard it from Suze Orman: Quit with the manicures and beef up the 401(k). My verdict: Just paint 'em yourself, darling! (Okay, fine, so I'm linking to this primarily so I have an excuse to link to her amazing It Gets Better video.)

Screened: In New York, at least, summer weather has arrived! So as Kelley Hoffman puts it at the Sephora blog, "I'm as devoted to wearing sunscreen as I am to brushing my teeth." Which, we hope, is pretty damn devoted.

Tall tale: An old post, but a good one: Why one woman born with achondroplasia dwarfism chose to undergo limb-lengthening surgeries.

And here is where I half-assedly defend Kim Kardashian: Nikki Sixx, arbiter of crisis etiquette, snarled at Kim Kardashian for promoting her bronzing product during the height of the catastrophes in Oklahoma. (Am I the only one who feels really callow saying in my public capacity how horrible tragedy X is when it has nothing to do with that public capacity? Of course I feel for Oklahomans; isn't that how humans work? We feel empathy for one another? I just feel like making some statement about it does exactly squat unless I feel like I can illuminate some aspect of it because of my perspective. Certainly I'm not about to take my cues on collective grief from Kim Kardashian, you know? I get why other bloggers feel otherwise, but I'm not about to think less of Kim Kardashian for not tweeting her sorrow. Ugh. Pointing fingers from your activist armchair? Please.)

Charmed, I'm sure: Fairly certain the writer of this piece on why men don't have charm anymore has never met a person who actually has charm, which he describes as something only the self-aware can have. In fact, I've found that it's often people who don't quite get that they're charming who have the most of the stuff, but maybe I just don't know charm from my elbow.

Glamour shot: Just preordered Virginia Postrel's The Power of Glamour: Longing and the Art of Visual Persuasion at Amazon, which I'm tremendously excited for—an examination of how glamour is actually conjured. It's not out until November 5, but won't it be a lovely surprise when it arrives?

Occupy Barbie: Yes, the Barbie Dream House exists in real life, and yes, you can go visit it. Will you get excited about the cool interactive features and virtual makeup-sampling booths, or will you join the East German (!) communists and protest the thing?

All made up: Cristen Conger takes that whole "But ladies, you don't need to wear makeup!" idea and pokes enough holes in it that I'm now using it as a watering can.

Black is the new black: My transcriptionist pointed out the other day how bizarre it is that the classic "sexy" dress is the same color as funeralwear—and the next day, Worn Through collates a collection of articles on the social role of black clothing. Is it in the air?

Common scents: I'm a fan of Demeter fragrances, but admit I winced a little at their fundraising scent for the Boston First Responders Fund. It's fantastic that 75% of the sale is donated to the fund, but even though Demeter takes pains to say that the notes of smoke and rubber in the fragrance are meant to honor the daily work of firefighters, not as a reminder of the bombing, it still strikes me as...tone-deaf, I suppose? Especially given that this is a company that really understands the connection between scent and experience. One of the most unsettling things about living in New York after 9/11 was the lingering scent in the city air from the disaster, which was terrible in the deepest sense of the word. Am I being oversensitive about this? (I might be.)

I, androgyne: Zoe Saldana's use of the word androgynous in her cover-story interview with Allure makes it spike in lookups at 

Sabbath Sharpie: Perhaps inspired by the recent case of an Orthodox Jewish woman suing Lancôme over the failure of its "24-hour" foundation to last 24 hours (applying makeup is considered "creative work," which is forbidden on the Sabbath), the Daily Mail takes a look at tricks women have been using to stay made up for the duration of the Sabbath without bending guidelines. I'll cop to being half-tempted to try Sharpie as eyeliner (but only half, I swear), and also to being intrigued by this peculiar clash of modern life and ancient law, but there's also this sort of "check out the weird Jewish freaks!" angle going on here. Or am I just imagining that because the Daily Mail has such a long, proud history of trolling all of us?

"The espresso commercial that is your life": Read this piece, if for no other reason than item #1 (though all seven are spot-on): How men who think catcalls are compliments think the story goes, vs. how it actually goes. As they say, it's funny 'cause it's true.

I've made a huge mistake: If you, like me, are currently strategizing how best to binge-watch new Arrested Development episodes on Netflix this weekend, check out The Closet Feminist's fashion lessons to be learned from the show. #1 involves Never-Nudes, natch.

Sweating modesty: As someone who wears close-fitting clothes to the gym—quite a change from when I first started working out and wore baggy clothes, in part because that's what I had and in part because I didn't want anyone to see what my body actually looked like—I was intrigued by this consideration on modesty from a gymgoer who tends to wear "little more than underwear."

Click: With everyone walking around with a camera on them at all times, the relationship between photography and body image begs more exploring than ever.

Beauty Blogosphere 5.17.13

Congratulations to commenter #2, Cynthia, winner of last week's giveaway of Kjerstin Gruys' Mirror Mirror Off the Wall: How I Learned to Love My Body by Not Looking at It for a Year! Thanks to all who entered.

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

From Head...
Getting lippy: Love this roundup of lipstick trivia, culled from our race's 5,000 years with the stuff. My personal favorite: Cleopatra followed the "lipstick corollary." (Which, btw, hasn't failed me yet.)

...To Toe...
Strays: The best essay about socks you'll ever read.

...And Everything In Between:
Boxed in: "Beauty box" services like Birchbox are proving to be in it for the long-term in North America and Europe. Is it sustainable in markets with developing internet infrastructure and a lower per capita income?

Oh, the irony: What does the toxicity-conscious makeup consumer in China do? Get products manufactured in the safety-aware United States, as some lipsticks manufactured in China carry above 20 ppm of lead. But joke's on them! 

Well duh: Women don't like women who "fat talk." Ladies! If you're still using this shit as bonding talk, may I suggest you move on to compliments?

Going viral: I've wondered this before, but being a "dirty girl" (going on three years without face-washing!) have decided naaaah, but now I have proof(ish): Yes, it's probably okay to keep using your beauty products after you've gotten sick, but don't share 'em.

Hard data: What did a woman working in the gaming industry do when she tired of her CEO's fondness for a blown-up image of a scantily clad female character? Why, put a dick on it! Meet Bro-sie the Riveter.

Spring cleaning: One in five beauty products on women's shelves are never opened—but are kept anyway, "just in case." That seemed high to me until I went into my own bathroom cabinet and found four unopened products, two of which I've had for more than a year, and indeed have survived the massive clearance I did a year and a half ago. Ahem.

New York state of mind: Samantha Escobar writes on something I've quietly discussed among fellow New Yorkers but have never seen in print: New York, home of "the beautiful people," can sometimes make you feel anything but beautiful. As was pointed out in Sex and the City, anywhere else in the country except L.A. and maybe Miami, "models" are a generic concept found on magazine pages. Here, they're literally neighbors. My advice? It's a two-parter: 1) Remember that plenty of "the beautiful people" are beautiful because it's their job to be so. Not just models or others in the entertainment industry, but art gallery staffers, saleswomen, chic restaurant hostesses, etc.—the "pretty people jobs" referred to in the most recent season of Girls. As photographer Sophie Elgort put it when I asked her what it was like to be working with models all the time, "Who's paying you the money to be a size 0?" Nobody, right? Then it's not your job. Don't treat it as such. 2) Don't underestimate the polish you pick up in New York. I'll never be beautifully styled or perfectly put-together, but when I look at pictures of myself from before moving to New York, I see that while I might not be any "prettier" now, by being surrounded by stylish New Yorkers, I've picked up a few things here and there that I might not have elsewhere. And if someone as fashion-duh as myself is picking up on this stuff without particularly trying, anyone can.

Photo/manipulation: A UK magazine is swearing off unrealistic photo enhancement for all future covers. Unsurprised that the magazine isn't a strictly consumer magazine but rather a magazine (with editorial content) published by Boots, a beauty retailer, i.e. wading in waters of the advertorial. Ride on the goodwill while you can, Boots! See also: Katie J.M. Baker's "Here's Why 'Real Beauty' Advertising Campaigns Are Garbage."

Weighty matter: Allure's cover line for their feature on Zoe Saldana—"115 Pounds of Grit and Heartache"—has some readers pissed off, and the responses to the magazine's call-out on the matter are worth reading. My two cents: I never like numbers, because I know my own response is to compare them to my own, which, ugh. That said, I like the tone here. It's normalizing the use of weight in a different context; you'd most often hear weight mentioned in this manner about a burly man, and this puts a different spin on it. Would I have preferred they use that tactic for a celebrity who weighs, say, 160 pounds? Sure. But I don't think it's inappropriate here.

Coming out: Two public figures came out this week as having suffered from eating disorders in the past, and each case is interesting in its own way: Fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi doesn't get into his diagnosis but reveals that the pressure to be thin in the fashion industry—which he cops to having to contributed to—led him to become unhealthily thin in the past. I'm unsure if the eating disorder part is unspoken or if he's confusing low body weight with EDs; they're not interchangeable. But given how few men are "out" as having EDs, I'm just glad to see Mizrahi putting it out there. The more we understand that men get eating disorders, the more we'll understand the true nature of these illnesses. And NYC mayoral candidate Christine Quinn also "came out," and her take on it makes it clear to me that she's done the hard work. She connects it to family stress, to other addictions (she's been in alcohol recovery for 26 years), and to grief. Perhaps most intriguing is her offhand comment when asked if she made the revelation in order to "soften" her rather hard-nosed image: "I don't know that being a bulimic or an alcoholic makes that image that much softer." I do sometimes worry that the parade of female celebrities being "out" about their EDs glamorizes a terrifically unglamorous disease, and Quinn's acknowledgement that bulimia is, well, violent is refreshing.

Hey baby: Speaking of men and eating disorders, a fascinating new study is showing—for men—a connection between being on the receiving end of sexual harassment and engaging in symptoms of bulimia. As the physics maxim goes: Observation (surely a component of sexual harassment) changes that which is being observed. I just hate that it's taking men's mental health to illustrate this so clearly.

Thinspew: Most of the stuff I've read about "thinspo" comes from bloggers who are against it. That's by choice (I'm against it too and have no interest in surrounding myself with "lose weight" messages), but what that means is that I rarely hear voices that engage in thinspo. Enter this Q&A with a 17-year-old blogger who runs the popular "Reasons to Lose Weight" Tumblr. She's got some interesting stuff to say, but because of (her youth? her mind-set?) she's making a sharp division between losing weight for "healthy" reasons and losing weight for "unhealthy" reasons—when in truth I suspect plenty of people who can spout a lengthy list of healthy reasons for losing weight have simply learned that it's an acceptable way to talk about losing weight.

Earthly Vanity and Divine Salvation, Hans Memling, c. 1485

Moral panic: You don't (usually) see people claiming fashion is the devil's work anymore; instead, you see it being written off as frivolous. Not a surprise, considering that, as Danielle writes, "The adoption of forms of fashion, occasionally to extremes, is a social stepping stone for the disenfranchised."

Stealing candy from a baby: How to steal dozens of items from Sephora and (almost) get away with it? Put 'em in a stroller and hand it off to your teenage daughter.

Beauty myth 2.0: How would The Beauty Myth read differently if it were written today instead of in 1991? Phoebe has a few thoughts on the question sprinkled throughout her two-part notes on her first-time reading of the book. (Word up, yo: That's one of the questions I'll be looking at in my own book, particularly in regards to how the internet has changed the way we take in imagery.)

Amanda Bynes, selfie heroine: "[S]elfies are never just a matter of posing and pointing and clicking. You have to take a series of photos, and examine each one, in order to find the one that represents you. You have to be intimately aware of yourself in order to succeed at selfies." Tangentially related: "The Filter Future," worth a read if you're interested in technology and photography.

Diversified: Q&A with Ying Chu, the new beauty director at Glamour magazine, on the increasing diversity of beauty editors at women's magazines. I haven't worked in women's magazines steadily for a couple of years now, but when I was there I indeed saw a decent number of women of color behind-the-scenes—and a lack of authentic translation of that diversity onto the page. Models of color might be pictured, but I remember questioning why we were using Halle Berry as an example of "dark skin," when in fact she's quite light-skinned, and being told that it was "good enough" as is. Here's to hoping things truly are changing, and that beauty advice for women of color isn't relegated to the "other" column forever.

Office of Pubic Health: Why does Groupon offer Brazilian bikini waxes and cellulite reduction under its "health" category?

Trust her: Yes, you can wear that. Yes, you; yes, that.

Iron-jawed kittens: Not beauty-related in the least. But c'mon, kitten anti-suffrage postcards? (Actually, I'm pretty sure that if we were rallying for women's rights to vote today, some of these would be the pro-suffrage cards, but maybe that's why I'm not in PR.)

Tips tips tips: I can't envision a world in which I'd swab Q-tips with various colors of eyeshadow so I wouldn't have to pack all my shades when going on vacation. But maybe you can! And the other two tips are downright smart. (And oh fine, since I'm passing on beauty tips, check out Po Zimmerman's "one-night stand" beauty tips, gleaned from waking up at apartments of various lady loves.)

Modesty panel: Fantastic roundup of thoughts on modesty from bra bloggers, who, by nature of their topic, know a thing or two about the subject. All are worth a read, particularly: "We have a great selection of minimizers!" from That Bra Does Not Fit Her; growing up busty in a home-schooling community where "modesty" was among frequent teachings, from Boosaurus; the assumptions people make between cleavage and "self-respect" from Bras and Body Image; the intersection between modesty and breast implants, from By Baby's Rules; and modesty during bra fittings, from Sophisticated Pair.

Beauty Blogosphere 5.8.13

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

Gentlemen didn't always prefer blondes.

From Head...

"Let me live it as a blonde": Loved this podcast looking at the origins of hair-color stereotyping—including a question I've had for some time about why "gingers" are harassed in some regions. 

...To Toe...
Fishy business: 
Live in California? No fish pedicures for you!

...And Everything In Between:
"Faded significantly": 
Lancome is being sued for false advertising, given that its "24-hour" foundation doesn't actually last 24 hours. (And talk about what, for me, is a buried lede: Applying makeup is considered "creative work" and therefore forbidden on the Sabbath.)

Avon's Eire: Avon pulled out of Ireland a couple of weeks ago in a cost-cutting measure—much to the surprise of the hundreds of representatives in the country.

P&G rundown: Five things to be learned from Procter & Gamble's annual report, including the head-scratcher that beauty is actually the company's least successful division—and grooming, i.e. manstuff, is its most lucrative. Plus, their advertising isn't as effective as it once was (perhaps that's why they've extended payment deadlines to their ad agencies by 30 days?).

Animal hypocrisy: A number of companies that have previously marketed themselves as animal-friendly (i.e. not testing on animals) have quietly changed their policies in order to sell in China, where animal testing is required. Just companies like Estee Lauder, Avon, and Mary Kay, no big deal.

Y not?: The Grand Narrative, as always, manages to elucidate aspects of American culture while examining contemporary Korean culture. This time: How the "Y-line" branding trend in South Korea (that's Y-line as in your crotch, ladies) pathologizes utterly normal parts of women's bodies, à la the invention of "figure flaws" like being anything other than a slim hourglass.

Tragedy at Rana Plaza: One of the United States' deadliest industrial disasters, the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, was instrumental in strengthening garment workers' unions. Could the global community apply the same lesson of workers' rights to the disaster in Bangladesh? And more directly, could American boycotts pressure Bangladesh to clean up the national record on worker freedoms to organize?

On SPF and brown skin: This essay from A. Sandosharaj is, in a word, splendid. In fact, I'll call it a must-read. "Yes, Spike Lee and Angela Davis made me feel valued because I saw myself through a historical lens, one that exposed norms I had understood as universal. But I also felt beautiful because on the conventional scale—one that often privileges Western, patriarchal preferences—my location on the grand gradation had moved. Thinner, no glasses. From this standpoint it was easier to condemn. It’s always easier to denounce a club that will have you as a member, isn’t it?" (via Sally)

Burn: With the summer approaching, it wouldn't hurt to keep in mind that products that don't cause an allergic reaction in the winter might suddenly become irritating in the summer because of sun exposure and heightened perspiration.

No gray ladies: The cure for gray hair is coming. No, really. And ten bucks says we'll soon be seeing a wave of hair-dye ads focusing on the "isn't it fun to dye your hair?!" angle of hair coloring to make up for lost sales.

Updo of the gods: I'm pretty sure I'm missing the point of this awesome New Yorker bit on "My Wedding Hair" when I say this, but I sorta really want the hairstyle described within. "Kind of a homesteader vibe?... But, like, sexy."

5 o'clock shadow: This study confirms what plenty of us straight ladies coulda told you for free: Stubble is sexy. 

One day my log will have something to say about this.

Teevee beauties: Lots going on in TV/beautyland: Downton Abbey is licensing, among other items, beauty products. (Had this news come out during season 1, I'd have been thrilled; after the BS that was season 3, this blogger could care less.) Caitlin Constantine asks why we're asked to accept frail-ish women as action heroines, and celebrates the Game of Thrones character who defies the norm (and what did ever happen to Linda Hamilton arms?). And in other beauty-television news, here's how to "Get the Look: Log Lady." (Who's been to the Twin Peaks Festival? I've been to the Twin Peaks Festival.)

Underwear week 2013: Nancy Friedman—whose journeying queries into brand naming are the perfect mix of hilarity and insight—embarks upon her second triennial Underwear Week, looking at words like cheekini and iffy branding strategies like MILF: Mom I'd Love to Fit.

Sew there: I was super-excited to see Venusian Glow's make-your-own-bra tutorial (excited on a, like, theoretical level, not a practical one, since I'm the one who stills "hems" things with safety pins)—and then it turns out there's a whole new book on the subject, from custom bra fitter Orange Lingerie. (Reviewed here, positively, by Hourglassy.)

Speaking of brassieres: June of Braless in Brasil has been doing some impressive work with the numbers culled from her underbust survey—fill in your measurements here to help her get over 1,000 responses so that the findings will have even more weight backing them up.

The last fashion consultation: Want to end your life—and look fabulous doing it? Hire Attractive Corpse to help you plan a beautiful death. (I'll take my humor pitch-black, thanks.)

Gay old time: I don't normally link to reviews, but when it's a review of Christopher Street—a fragrance inspired by the history and activism of what was once the epicenter of gay culture (and that uses the phrase "shatter traditional notions of gender" in its official statement)—how could I not?

Namaste: Melanie Klein lays out how yoga—a haven from judgment, a practice of being in the now—has attracted another component: the myth of "yoga body." "In the same way there is no such thing as a perfect asana, there’s no such thing as a perfect ass because we’re all individuals. I’d like to preserve the unique face of yoga before she is unrecognizable."

Beauty Blogosphere 4.26.13

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

From Head...
Hair sculpture: I knew about Hair Wars, but I didn't know how extreme they'd become. Actually, these are so fantastic that they qualify as X-Treme, oui?

...To Toe...
Curbed: The roadside pedicures that appear to be the norm in Lagos, Nigeria.

...And Everything In Between:

Left: Procter & Gamble promotes My Black Is Beautiful.
Right: Procter & Gamble sells skin-whitening cream. Surprise!

Two-faced: Jenna Sauers at Jezebel puts a fine point on the problem with the Procter & Gamble-sponsored documentary My Black Is Beautiful, "a celebration of African American beauty" directed by two rising black directors and featuring interviews with the wonderful Melissa Harris-Perry: It questions the standards placed upon black women, including the idea that lighter skin is preferable, while selling skin-whitening creams. Sorta puts the Dove campaign in perspective, eh?

Missing market: You'd think that halal beauty products would be booming in the Arab Peninsula, wouldn't you? You'd be wrong.

Price support: Japanese cosmetics vendors have refused to lower prices in response to a weak yen, meaning their exports have slowed waaaay down.

Tragedy in Bangladesh: At least 300 people were killed in a collapse of a garment factory in the capital of Bangladesh that contained tenants that supply low-cost clothing to western companies. Not that any of the companies are now willing to admit that: "The website of New Wave claims to supply major Western retailers from the U.S. and Europe. Ethar claims to produce clothes for Walmart, but this has been challenged by the U.S. giant. Other firms have also distanced themselves from the disaster. Only Britain’s Primark freely admitted that it was using a factory in Rana Plaza."

Old school: Love this collection from Procter & Gamble of vintage ads and packaging of some of its iconic products, like Oil of Olay—née Ulay. (And if the P&G folks listen to this analyst and drop their attempts at fragrance and color cosmetics, Oil of Ulay will be all the more important to the beauty behemoth.)

Faking it: The Sydney Morning Herald takes a look at the gray market of counterfeit makeup, prompted by last year's revelation that Australian Target stores had been accidentally selling counterfeit MAC cosmetics (which were sourced from a warehouse in east Texas, of all places).

Spirit of the law: Even when government agencies take action on regulating cosmetics—as was the case in the Philippines with skin-whitening creams containing mercury—there's little to stop retailers from selling them illegally, as this report shows.

F for effort: And from the Department of Egregiously Poor Taste, lower-tier modeling agents have been scouting clients outside of eating disorder clinics.

Tits and class: That "tittooing" story from last week about women tattooing their nipples to look darker struck me as fishy—but what I missed was its reinforcement of classism, which a Liverpool blogger takes to task in The Guardian this week. Much like the ways Jersey Shore uses fashion and beauty cues to signal "working-class Italian American!" as loudly as possible, representing Liverpool as a place where women would line up to tattoo their nipples allows others to point and gawk: "Everything about this so-called craze, including the cute nickname, smacks of media confection." (If, like this American, you don't know much about regional UK stereotypes, this piece is helpful on the Liverpool front.) Thanks to Liverpool reader Kirsty for the link!

B student: I still have no idea what the "BB" in BB creams stands for (worst beauty blogger EVER!); I just know I freakin' love mine. But apparently now we're supposed to get ready for CC and DD creams? I give up.

On humiliation: A truly remarkable protest by Iranian men (though initially started by an Iranian feminist group of women) against the court-ordered punishment of forcing a convict to parade in public wearing women's clothing. Male participants posted photos of themselves in women's clothing to communicate the idea that womanhood is not punishment. The best part? It seems to be having some effect: 17 members of Iran's parliament have signed a letter saying that the sentence is discriminatory toward women.

Burgundy nails: I'm too cheap to shell out for a corking fee so I can sip wine while having my nails done. But some places allow you to BYOB, it seems—in which case, let the party begin! (As long as you're a generous tipper while tipsy, mkay?)

Full bloom: I dislike the term "white trash," but I love the idea of repurposing old bras to be hanging gardens, so shall I link to this bra planter or not? Hmm.

Terrance Gainer, United States Senate Sergeant-at-Arms and hair enemy

Budget cuts: The finest in senatorial hair care (yes, it's taxpayer-funded—though Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer is doing his damndest to change that): "The salon caters to senators, their staffers, and even interns, though outsiders who seek it out are welcome. But there's a scheduling hierarchy: If a senator (or a more powerfulsenator) wants your slot, you could be bumped. Suppose New York's Chuck Schumer, the Senate's third-ranking Democrat, needs a trim at 9:30 a.m. but Wyoming's Mike Enzi, a three-term Republican who occupies no major leadership positions, has reserved the spot. The gentleman from Wyoming will have to yield."

Appy ending: Want your nail polish to perfectly match Mitt Romney's tan? There's an app for that.

Slumber party marketing: Cassie raises a larger question stemming from the now-infamous Dove sketch-artist video: What do we gain from BFF-style marketing? "If companies want to be our friends, then we're going to treat them like our friends when they piss us off—we're going to get angry."

Age lines: I tend to be somewhat optimistic about the visibility of women over 40—I mean, at 36 Anne Bancroft was playing the original MILF (how could a 36-year-old be anything but "older"?!), whereas today's 35-and-overs (Angelina Jolie, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, etc.) are simply playing...attractive women. So there has been progress—but as Beauty Redefined shows us by the numbers, there hasn't been enough.

Self-secured: This post from Sally about insecurity and jealousy sprang up right when I was dealing with an acute attack of exactly that, so I'm proof that this post asks you to ask yourself all the right questions.

Check her out: And speaking of things that can make one feel insecure: When men make off-the-cuff comments about other women's appearance, how has that affected you? This one hit home for me, not only because of the kind of comments that Kate discusses here (i.e. the "ooh, she's so hot" types or the "her? ick" types), but because of the wonderful occasions where a man reveals that much of what we're led to believe "men really want"...just isn't true.

"I'm going to be a cheerleader": Sexualization of girls is a problem, no doubt. But as Hugo deftly lays out, to assume that any particular girl's interest in the hallmarks of sexualization means she's "at risk" tunes out the fuller internal reasoning that draws girls to those hallmarks.

On strutting your stuff: "To move with purpose is to rebel against the world that manipulates how we exist within it."

Gwynspo: I try not to focus on eating disorders too much in this space, because they are so complex and misunderstood, and I don't want to contribute to one of the #1 misunderstanding about them: That they're about wanting to look good. So Kjerstin Gruys's story about how she used Gwyneth Paltrow as thinspo at the height of her own illness is remarkable, as it illustrates that even though it may look like wanting to be just like Gwyneth spurred her to an eating disorder, it was a symptom of her sickness, not a cause.

Un/reality: We (well, me, given that my feed is full of feministy fashion types and I'm one myself) often hear the idea that fashion needs to be more realistic—and a fashion illustrator who makes her trade in depicting the unreal asks, simply, Why?

Bangin': A comic all about bangs. (via Stuff Mom Never Told You)

Opting in: Mara hits a key point of self-care head-on, by reminding us that self-care is not a punishment—which can be exactly what it feels like when I hear myself say in my head, "But I deserve a night on the couch doing nothing but eating graham crackers and watching Law & Order SVU even though I hate that fucking show..."

Beauty Blogosphere 4.19.13

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

Barbies: They're just like us!

From Head...
Life is plastic: The newest celebrity to be spotted without makeup: Barbie. (Thanks to Circe for the link!)

...To Toe...
Sweet feet: Here's your head start for next Valentine's Day: Chocolate high heels. (Thanks for the link, Kari!)

...And Everything In Between:
Let's get regular: With all the talk in various states of deregulating the beauty industry—but with 94% of voters supporting the licensing of beauty professionals (according to an industry poll, but still)—it's worth a moment to look at this state-by-state "heat map" of deregulation threats.

Big business: The growing middle class in developing economies has various implications for beauty companies: Here's a Q&A with the founder of one of Kenya's first domestic cosmetics companies—and a news piece that shows what local business is up against, with L'Oréal buying one of the country's biggest domestic brands (which might actually be a somewhat subversive move, since the former owner is now using the profits from the sale to build a manufacturing plant with an eye on reducing Procter & Gamble's influence in the region). In fact, it seems that L'Oréal is all over this market; see also, bigger sales in China.

Dollars and sense: Dollar stores are setting sights on the beauty industry and are offering more brand-name cosmetics than they used to.

Model behavior: British Vogue has signed onto a 10-point code of conduct for its models. What makes this different from last year's somewhat toothless Vogue resolution about underage models is that it's backed by Equity, the UK's trade union for performers (which allowed models to join in 2009).

Clap if you remember: This paean to Tinkerbell Cosmetics—and yes, I had their peel-off nail polish in 1982—verges on brilliant. Awkward father-daughter moments! Steely mother-daughter femininity battles! Sally Draper!

Granted: With her recent research grant of $10,000, dermatologist Dr. Anna de Benedetto just might determine once and for all what sensitive skin is. Meanwhile, check out this video looking at the science behind product testing. 

When in Rome: Next time you pick up a nasty case of eye chlamydia—one more time for kicks, eye chlamydiamake like ancient Romans and bring out your cosmetics kit.

Trading up: The equivalent to the ladies-draped-on-cars at auto shows? Models (and stilt-walkers!) of various sorts hired to attract eyeballs at beauty trade shows: "I asked one shirtless, buff gentleman if I could snap his picture, and he said, 'Sure, but then you have to talk to my friends over there about a blow…dryer.' He then removed the blow dryer from the waistband of his jeans and pointed it at me like a gun."

Beauty of the future: Meanwhile, if you're more interested in the business of beauty than in its eye-catching representatives, here's a peek into what beauty industry insiders are saying about tech and beauty.

Hairy situation: Prompted by recent reports of Hamas police in Gaza detaining and beating young men with long hair—which goes against the organization's ideals—Worn Through asks, "What is it about hair that seems to disturb ruling powers and that is so emotionally disturbing when it is taken away?"

Color me this: My grandmother took me to "have my colors done" when I was 7, so I particularly loved The Closet Feminist's contemporary insight into the 1980s fad of wearing colors by your "season." (I was deemed a summer, not an autumn, the irony of which kills me to this day.)

All made up: I'll just let Stuff Mom Never Told You speak for itself about this video: "In which Cristen schools Professor Boyfriend on women and the cosmetics industry while he attempts to put on her makeup with FABULOUS results."

Louie Louie: Buried in this (good) article about Louis C.K., of whom I am an enormous fan to the point where I have considered writing him, at age 36, a good old-fashioned fan letter, is possibly the world's most blunt—and definitely the world's most graphic—description of the male gaze.

Mythbusters: I don't necessarily agree with everything on this list from The Sexy Feminist author Jennifer Armstrong on what we can do to take action against the beauty myth (I don't think the goal should necessarily be for every woman to feel beautiful, for example)—but to see so many ways enumerated is downright exciting.

Big week for nipple tattoos: I started getting all huffy about the apparent "nipple tattooing" craze of darkening nipples—not to be confused with the Thom Yorke nipple tattoo—until I read this sentence: "It is rapidly catching up with the latest cosmetic procedure available to women nationwide." Oh! So nobody actually does it. (Speaking of Vajazzling, I just now googled it and went down the internet rabbit-hole, and emerged with a link to the blog Pubic Style, which is—office-workers take note—exactly what it sounds like.)

Modestly yours: A neat decimation of the idea that dressing modestly is a way to ensure that admirers will see the person you "are," as opposed to your body.

Dovecote: Don't miss Kate's take on the Dove sketch-artist ad (along with those from Jazzy Little Drops and Balancing Jane, which I linked to in my own post on the matter). Plus, Adriana Barton at Globe and Mail points to some of Unilever's other campaigns and wonders how sincere Dove's Real Beauty ads can truly be. (Probably as sincere as this hilarious parody ad, sent my way by Lindsay.) Indirectly related, Kate Conway adds to the (growing?) chorus of women wondering whether we might be better off not even trying to be hot every minute of our existence.

Bra bust: Turns out that wearing a bra might actually make you sag more in the long run. Or—maybe not.

Beauty Blogosphere 4.12.13

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

From Head...

What did the blonde say in 1775?: Meet Rosalie Duthe, the original "dumb blonde."

...To Toe...
Beware the pedicurist:
After seven weeks of trial, a pedicurist at a salon in Guam was found guilty of criminal sexual conduct after inappropriately touching a client who'd fallen asleep during her pedicure.

...And Everything In Between:

Fruit Dish and Glass, George Braque, 1912—the very first Cubist paper collage ever created.
Leonard A. Lauder collection.

Beauty in art: Leonard Lauder, son of Estee and former CEO of the company that bears his mother's name, pledged 78 works to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The scribblings from folks like Picasso, Léger, Braque, and more constitute one of the most valuable gifts ever made to the Met—and comprise about 13% of Lauder's personal fortune.

Public powwow: Feeling activisty? The FDA is holding a public meeting to give the hoi polloi a chance to have their say about cosmetics regulation (or, as the case may be, the near-total lack thereof).

Sweet charity: You know how when you get department store cosmetics you sometimes get "gift with purchase"? Like, buy face cream and get a little makeup bag filled with lipstick and samples? One company is experimenting with donating to an anti-hunger program with every purchase. Which is nice 'n stuff, but I always fear these sorts of programs do more on the feel-good level than the do-good level, sating the philanthropic itch while not actually filling the need. (Am I just cranky?)

Avon falling: Part of Avon's restructuring plan is job-cutting—and exiting some markets entirely, including Ireland and Vietnam. Financial analysts applaud the move.

Beauty tech: Beauty appliances are booming in Japan, which means someday soon we Americans might have something on the market besides the Clarisonic. And the Epilady.

Buddha Barbie: "[A]fter a islander had the same dream involving a Barbie doll three nights in a row," a shrine in Singapore became home to a Barbie doll, which receives offerings of cosmetics from worshipers.

Pretty politickin': You could be as wonderfully eloquent as Irin Carmon or Naomi Schoenbaum about Obama's "best-looking attorney general in the country" comment—or you could just read up on a recent survey of 1,500 likely voters that "found that no matter what is said about a female political candidate's appearance, it has a negative impact on what potential voters think of her." There's also another question here worth asking: Why, exactly, are we so eager to assign specific meaning to the wardrobe of women in the public eye? I'll be the first to argue that our self-presentation is a series of choices we make about what we want the world to deduce about us. But as Amanda Hess points out, there's no choice a woman can make that says, I want you to deduce nothing. (Thanks to Nicole for the Hess link!)

Young spice: Apparently there's a deficit of "manly"-scent bar soaps out there. Rather, there was a deficit in "manly"-scent bar soaps—Procter & Gamble to the rescue, with Old Spice-marketed soaps with names like Fiji. (Because what's manlier than Fiji?)

Courtesy Kat Haché

On becoming "flawed": "As they prepared to give me my stitches, I talked with my roommate and my aunt, who had just arrived, and the conversation seemed to revolve around how I would learn to accept these flaws and eventually forget about them. How there were people who were once beautiful, but then learned to live with being damaged. I did not want to hear that. I didn’t want to be formerly beautiful. I didn’t want to be damaged." This haunting, graceful piece from Kat Haché covers a lot of relevant ground: being flawed, being whole, being trans, being a woman.

Hen party: If you've got a problem with Sweden's new gender-neutral pronoun, talk to hen.

Elizabeth Wurtzel's tips to looking young: "I wear sunscreen during the day and Retin-A at night. I do what I want. I don't do what other people want me to do. Sometimes I don't do things I want to do because someone else wants me to do them too badly. I am just that way: I cannot be bossed around. I listen carefully when someone is talking to me. I ask for help. I offer to help. I have never been a member of Congress, or any other elected body." (Thanks to Lindsay for the link!)

The good fight: The part that's most exciting about the Fashion Fighting Famine collective isn't the implications of its name, but rather that it's a showcase for emerging Muslim designers and devoted to diversifying beauty standards via their models. (Thanks to Tasbee for the link!) 

Deep pocketbooks: I've mused before about how much younger each generation looks than the one that preceded it (again: Julianne Moore is now the same age Rue McClanahan was when she was cast on The Golden Girls). I'm inclined to call this a good thing, but it also means that women of a certain age are now targeted more heavily as cosmetics consumers: 49% of blush is purchased by women over 50.

Gooped: 'Bout time some straight-up lovers of beauty products engaged in some not-straight-up reviews: Meet the hilarious Facegoop.

Aphrodite's (re)touch: If Venus were birthed today, here's what she'd look like. (Thanks to Nancy for the link!)

Cocooning: Apparently I'm a sucker for the sweet spot where natural beauty tools meet luxury: I am seriously coveting moisturizing, exfoliating silk cocoons.

Badass beard: Filled with admiration for this 49-year-old woman who started sprouting a goatee after the birth of her son. After tweezing and electrolysis proved fruitless, she decided to let it grow. (Meanwhile, I'm still struggling with my neck hair.)

Selfies+: Intriguing concept when framed by the thought of Facebook-as-narcissism: the selfless portrait, in which strangers artistically render your profile picture.

#longform: "The problem is that engaging an audience, no matter the media, has an erotic element. Like anyone who commands attention, a writer controls and manipulates bodies, but as this new form of online writing — so far defined more by its readers than innovations in construction — develops, both sides are still clumsy with the steps."

Low overhead: Fringe benefit of covering your head for modesty or religious reasons: You can get away with lax hair care. 

War paint: Is there a way to reclaim the ferocity of the "war" part of makeup as "war paint"? The phrase has, to me, always spoken more to the "war" of sexism (in what other war would lipstick be an advantage?)—but I like Meli's line of inquiry here, that perhaps we lost something when we dropped the tribal battle paint. (Bonus points for Vikings mention.)

Beauty Blogosphere 4.5.13

Since I'm only now beginning to acknowledge the reality that Google Reader is disappearing—it took me six years to deal with Prescriptives discontinuing their concealer pencil, so this is swift for me—I've also taken a good look at my blog feed and have realized it could use a renewal. I love being able to direct you to so many blogs I adore, and I'll keep doing so, but let's reverse the information flow for a bit. What blogs or news sources do you turn to for sharp, insightful takes on beauty, fashion, femininity, feminism, social criticism, or anything else that might be relevant to The Beheld?

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

Spotted on Princess Beatrice.

From Head...
Kale humor:
 Kale fascinator! I don't care if this was an April Fool's joke, I'm in. (Actually, this was a big week for kale, and possibly jokes about kale: The last question on this "do you have orthorexia?" quiz is "Do you enjoy kale?"—because clearly kale cannot be enjoyed unless one has an eating disorder. Atossa floated the idea that it's a joke, which I hope it is, but the rest of the piece is totally straight so I'm not sure. Thoughts?)

...To Toe...
Pedi protection: These look sorta silly, but they could be worse—and for impatient types comme moi, these pedicure protector shells could come in super-handy.

...And Everything In Between:
The house that soap built:
The palatial erstwhile home of James Gamble, creator of Ivory Soap and son of the original Gamble of Procter &, was demolished this week in a suburb of Cincinnati.

Family values: An Avon lady won a suit against the company after her manager told her, "If you wish to have a family life, this is not the job for you"—meaning that she was expected to put in 60 hours a week instead of the 40 she'd been doing when she was promoted to area manager. I've championed Avon and other woman-helmed cosmetics companies before for being family-friendly, so this is particularly aggravating. 

When plaintiffs cry: Prince (as in the artist formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince) has settled a lawsuit with a company that claimed he reneged on their fragrance licensing deal.

Qu'est-ce que c'est?: Add this to the list of ways America's national girl-crush on France manifests itself: L'Oréal is attributing its recent growth to its "Made in France" line.

"Never fool with bacon": Most were amused by Procter & Gamble's April Fool's joke campaign for bacon-flavored Scope. Here are 10 people who weren't. 

Heads-up to all my Greek neo-Nazi followers: Your leader is urging you to boycott Estee Lauder products after the chairman of the board, Ronald Lauder, stated that Greece should ban Golden Dawn, the fast-growing neo-Nazi political party that enjoys a public support rating of 11.5%. If flying the flag of fascism is more important to you than buying as much M.A.C. lip liner as you damn well please—well, I can't stop you, but one of us will have nicely lined lips, and it ain't you, so just think about that, mmmkay?

Sixty-nine percent of Vikings report that ale wenches influence how they style their body hair.

Hair/style: The buried lede on this piece about how the men's personal care sector is recruiting women as spokespeople, presumably because men pretty themselves up to impress women: The new term for manscaping is body hair styling. Styling! I'm picturing love beads and beard braids à la Vikings.

Who took my body wash?: You know how men's grooming products are now suddenly huge? Turns out that what's actually new here is men buying products for men instead of just borrowing from the ladies.

On your toes: Abu Dhabi woman files complaint against a beauty salon she claims burned her toe during a pedicure. "The complainant, who is in her 20s and wears an abaya, says she shows very little of her body in public and should at least be able to show her toes. 'I want to show my toes in public and cannot ... my big toe is still red after all these months.'"

In my skin: Those of you who are in New York should check out the current show at Garis and Hahn gallery on the Lower East Side. "Borderline" is a collection featuring "an intimate examination of skin in different manifestations." Those of you who aren't in New York can read about a beauty editor's take on the show at Beautycism.

Big girl pants: Shock! Awe! Female superheroes in pants!

"This was about me being me": Britt Julious has an excellent piece on what's seen by some (including her) as an overpoliticization of black women's hair—a politicization that forgets that at the root of said politics lies the matter of personal agency. (Her follow-up is worth a read too.)

Geek alert: Get the look: Game of Thrones. (via Venusian Glow)

Gone blue: Begins as a nail polish review of a shade called BSOD—Blue Screen of Death—and ends as a mini-history of computer color graphics cards.

What a waste: This 8-foot-high sculpture made of lipstick tubes raised the Makeup Museum curator's critical eyebrow (and my own too): It's meant to raise consumer awareness of environmental waste. Yay for thinking about the impact of our purchases and all that, but choosing something as gendered as lipstick to use to illustrate the point seems...well, a little lady-blamey, oui? (Although I'd happily jump on a campaign to ban civilian Hummers, and that's pretty damn gendered too, but the environmental impact is also roughly eight gazillion times greater, so.)

Mirror challenge!: I know plenty of you reading this are bloggers, so here's your call to arms: If Kjerstin Gruys went a year without mirrors (and yours truly went a month, twice at that!), surely you can go a day without 'em and write about your experiences, right? More details here.

"Pics or it didn't happen": The rise of the "ugly selfie"—and how it's not necessarily as courageous as it might seem to post them. "More confronting than the intentionally 'ugly' selfie is the unintentionally ugly candid. If I take a picture of myself poking my tongue out, scrunching up my face, or pulling my neck in to create a double chin, it does little to threaten my sense of self or attractiveness. In some respects, it is even less threatening than a conventionally attractive 'selfie,' in which I am declaring, without explicitly saying so, that this is a photo in which I think I look good. .. But in a photo that is taken unawares, in which I am staring blankly at my computer, or standing at an unflattering angle, or just caught making a less-than-flattering expression, there is the suggestion that perhaps that is what I 'really' look like."

Speaking of selfies: Mr. Teacup muses on why we decry the narcissism of self-portraits without dropping the beauty standard that plays into that narcissism in the first place (and in doing so, brings readers to a CBC debate on the topic—which is all well and good and features Sarah Nicole Prickett, who consistently has interesting things to say, but given that so much of the criticism about selfies is directed toward women, I can't help but wonder why she was the only female guest panelist. Picky, I know, but that's me).

Speaking of selfies again: Blisstree's Carrie Murphy has a crankily hilarious post about the tin-ear pitches she gets from plastic surgery PR folks. (One of which involved tips from a plastic surgeon on how to look better in selfies. Presumably at least one of the tips is, Get plastic surgery?)

One less worry: Taking "empowering" beyond a buzzword about beauty and fashion, here's Sally: "We live in a world that frequently evaluates women based on our looks and, if those looks are found to be somehow lacking, dismisses us. ... To help women have one less thing to worry about as they chase their dreams, rise to power, or express their creativity is to help them tap a vast reservoir of potential."

Beauty Blogosphere 3.29.13

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

From Head...
Put a bonnet on it:
"Next to the circus, what better sign of spring than Easter bonnets?" Indeed—love this midcentury newsreel on the joys of Easter bonnets. Actually, last time I made it out to St. Patrick's on Easter, meaning 13 years ago, there were still a handful of people parading some wildly imaginative Easter bonnets. I imagine the tradition is hanging on, albeit by a thread. (I'm also going to take this opportunity to make a rare fiction recommendation: Later, at the Bar, by Rebecca Barry, a stunningly human collection of short stories—one of which centers around the sort of Easter parade I suspect many a Beheld reader would enjoy.)

...To Toe...
Easy feet:
 If you have a condition that necessitates orthotics, good news: You're not limited to "nurse shoes" anymore.

...And Everything In Between:
 What is L'Oréal hoping will give it an edge over Procter & Gamble in China? Mushrooms.

Smells like fame: The evolution of celebrity fragrances, featuring a juicy anecdote with none other than Audrey Hepburn.

Mamm's the word: The fascinating, contradictory, complex sociopolitical history of breasts—specifically what we can draw about North Korea's contemporary preference for small breasts from the busty post-WWII U.S.

All wrapped up: If you're interested in product design, you'll enjoy this slideshow of upcoming innovations in cosmetics packaging. (Actually, if you're really interested in product design you should check out The Makeup Museum, stat.)

Tattoo you: Getting a temporary tattoo? You may want to ask the technician if the ink contains hair dye, which, besides just sounding like a bad idea, has been garnering consumer complaints to the FDA.

Stop the presses: Women's magazines objectify women just as much as men's magazines. I'm glad to see this argument being articulated (and well-articulated, btw), but is this really news to any readers of women's magazines?

Recipe for recovery: This is a fantastic idea: a cookbook for recovering from an eating disorder (direct link here). One of the hardest things about recovery isn't just stopping old behaviors; it's learning how to create new ones, and eating disorders mess with your sense of appropriateness around food. Having a guide like this as a supplement to a more comprehensive treatment program would undoubtedly be helpful.

Where the boys are: Kate has a hard-hitting yet poignant essay on male body image issues—and she's particularly astute to use superhero images to illustrate it. The only way to save the world is to look like that? (And be a man, natch, but I digress.)

Hottest Women in Tech: Not sure what to make of this shitstorm surrounding Complex's "Top 40 Hottest Women in Tech." The writer insists that he took the assignment but made a point to not reference the women's looks, in an effort to make another "hottest women in_____" list not be about, well, being hot. Gawker seems to say he's at fault for even taking the assignment, and that his attempts were paltry. But here's the thing: Looking at the piece the writer actually turned in, it's in good faith. Change the headline and you have a nice roundup of women in tech. (Naturally, the magazine took away some of the writer's submissions and added their own—like TV hosts, complete with cleavage-baring glamour shots.) I actually see this as subversive, in a way: By titling a list "Hottest Women" and then listing accomplished women without once referencing their looks, this actually challenges the definition of the word "hot." When we think "hottest women," we think of hot-as-sexy, but "hot" has other definitions. Hot stock tips, hot piece of gossip, writers who are hot right now—we're using "hot" here as "exciting" without the prefix of "sexually." I'm under no illusions that "Most Exciting Minds in Tech Who Happen to Be Female" was Complex's vision for the piece, but I think that the writer took a risk here in interpreting "hot" in that way (even if he didn't realize that's what he was doing) and frankly, I'm bummed that people are vilifying him. I don't want to give pats on the back for halfhearted attempts at not being douchey, but I guess I just don't necessarily believe Audre Lorde's maxim of the master's tools never dismantling the master's house. To create change, we need people who are willing to work within the confines of existing structures and tweak the rules just as much as we need people creating change from the outside. 

Hey ladies!: If you've ever enjoyed my "Thoughts on a Word" series or just enjoy musing on the words we use to describe women, you'll have fun taking this survey from a graduate student (and reader of The Beheld) on the language of womanhood. Babe, bitch, chick, tease, lady—have your say on these words here.

Sniff test: A Rorschach test of sorts, with men describing newly released fragrances for women, and artists rendering the results from their words alone.

Wordy girls: I'm honored to have been named in this IFB (Independent Fashion Bloggers) post on blogs that focus on wordsmithing. (And by the lovely Ashe at that!) Best of all, I'm in excellent company: The Lingerie LesbianBusiness of Fashion, Final Fashion, and more are featured.

The pits: Yeah, yeah, women's waistlines and busts and legs are retouched all the times. But armpits?!

On womanhood: Tatiana asks how much of the "body love" message is about adhering to gender standards, even when the goal ostensibly is to shrug off expectations of all sorts. 

Pucker up: Becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable might sound like a contradiction, but Courtney explains how she does it, and how red lipstick helps.

Moody blues: The Reluctant Femme writes about the connection between beauty and mental health like no one else, and she does it again here, powerfully: In the midst of extreme moods, how eyeshadow becomes a point of therapeutic mindfulness.

Workplace woes: Bra blogger June on working in a male-dominated industry as a woman, and a busty one at that. "Then there's the staring. ... I haven't been brave enough to call a guy out on it yet. Maybe some day I'll get there, that's my hope at least. But at the moment, I stand my ground and make sure I'm looking them in the eye. I don't slump my shoulders and slink away. Slinking away contributes to the problem. If I'm not a vocal member of the community, how will younger women in my field have role models down the road?"

Curves: When physical muscularity intersects with lingerie, the result can be some nasty slurs—made even more complicated when you factor in race. (Thanks to Tatiana for the link.)

Beauty Blogosphere 3.22.13

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

“Liliana Orsi, a 22-year-old beauty in Rome, Italy, displays her new atomic hairdo and the photo of the atomic blast which inspired it.”

From Head...
Da bomb: As Stuff Mom Never Told you puts it about this gem from Retronaut, the least politically correct hairdo ever.

...To Toe...
Flat-out cute: Sally to the rescue for those of us who need to take a break from heels: How to pair flats with dresses.

...And Everything In Between:
To boycott or not to boycott?: Thought exercise time: Let's pretend there's a company that makes sensible, affordable, well-made apparel produced entirely in America, but you have qualms about some of their practices—say, objectifying advertising, or perhaps the CEO is a total pig. What factors should you take into consideration when deciding to boycott? The Closet Feminist has some tips.

How many calories in whirled peas?: One way to bring Palestinian and Israeli women together in peace: diet talk. No, really. My knee-jerk reaction here to be utterly appalled, but in truth it's an extension of all beauty talk as a form of bonding with other women. (via Phoebe)

Gone fishin': For those of you waiting with bated breath to find out the results of the pedicure case wreaking havoc in the Arizona legal system, the wait is over: The state has ruled that the Arizona Board of Cosmetology was justified in banning spa owner Cindy Vong from continuing to offer the fish pedicure, in which tiny fish eat the dead skin from clients' feet. Vong may appeal the decision; no word as to reaction in the piscine community. Related: What deregulating the beauty industry—which has already happened in Indiana and is being considered in four other states—could mean for licensed practitioners.

One of (each) kind: "We already found one black girl. We don't need you anymore." Model Chanel Iman on racism in the modeling and fashion industries—hardly news, but every story here counts.

Old talk: A point of pride of mine is that I've never really engaged in "fat talk" with other women. It's boring, for starters, and I'd a million times over rather discuss why "fat talk" even exists than actually engage in it directly—and I've chosen my company accordingly. But "old talk"? Yes'm, sign me up, fine lines and stray grays and creaky hips and whoa I can't eat spicy food like I used to. But after reading the results of this study, which shows that "fat talk" may simply be replaced by "old talk" as women age, has made me vow to shut the hell up already.

Youth do: Um, but the above paragraph doesn't mean I won't try to look...not exactly younger, but fresher? Yes, fresher. And a recent study shows that heightening contrast between skin and features (i.e. darkening your lips and eyes) mimics the natural effect of youth...or "freshness."

H2No: Why you might want to rethink the healthfulness of water in your cosmetics (often the first ingredient—check!). (via Samvid Beauty)

Much cuter than most "period panties."

Thinx on it: Unless you've got one of those miracle clockwork uteruses (uteri?) so you can always plan ahead, chances are "Aunt Flo" has left some of your undies stained. So I'm excited to learn about Thinx—antimicrobial, moisture-wicking, stain- and leak-resistant underwear that actually looks cute. Developers Miki and Radha Agrawal and Antonia Dunbar recently won a product launch contest hosted by "Citizen Commerce" platform Daily Grommet (which will sell Thinx on their website), allowing the team to bring the product to market in May 2013.

For the record, I have no idea what Hemingway looked like when he was writing: I'm glad to see someone look at the role of beauty in the letters with the ambivalence the subject demands. (Jonathan Franzen, I'm looking at you.) But does anyone else sorta get the feeling the writer here just wanted to list which authors were good-looking? (Thanks to Erwin for the link!)

Shades of Butt Taco: Thoroughly intrigued by this background story on men's nail polish—a niche market, admittedly, but a slowly growing one.

Que sera, sera: What can you do when your daughter, still a child, looks at you and asks, "Daddy, am I pretty?"

Revved up: On occasion I'm naive enough to believe that men who objectify women are just going with the flow and simply haven't stopped to really examine what they're doing. Good thing the editor of U.K. Esquire is here to set me straight: "The women we feature in the magazine are ornamental. ... in the same way we provide pictures of cool cars." As an antidote, though, check out this video from Shelby Knox on the increasing youthfulness of sexualizing women. (Thanks to Baze of Beautycism for the link!)

"This Is What Happens When You Wear Semen-Scented Perfume": If that title doesn't hook you into this piece, nothing I could say would.

Beauty police: What is the "broken windows" theory if not cosmetics? Maryam Monalisa Gharavi looks at the ideological and etymological connection between cosmetics and the police regime. (Speaking of policing, want to be able to identify individuals in a crowd by their fashion sense alone? There's an app for that.)

"Perks, pitfalls, and profits": I enjoyed this personal examination of beauty privilege (and was honored that my own essay on the topic helped inspire the writer). "Whether you’re considered ugly, beautiful, or anything in-between, nobody has it easy in a culture where there is so much emphasis on appearances…especially if you are female. As a woman, you really can’t win in this arena. Yet, we’re taught it is the only game in town worth playing."


The vulnerability of lingerie: Lingerie Lesbian—a lover and defender of lingerie, obvs—neatly takes apart what's troublesome about this meme and the idea behind it. It's not that there's a problem with lingerie; it's that it's relegated to the private sphere. How, then, can it ever signal the same sort of power as a suit?

Beyond newsboy caps: Tomboy fashion! I'm pretty femmey myself but love the idea of "tomboy" clothes tailored to fit women's bodies. (via Sally)

Body/love: Two posts that articulate various troubles with "body love." Tori takes a political stance: "Regardless of whether I am beautiful, I expect that I should be able to find clothing appropriate to mybody and daily activities." Skepchick takes a...well, it's sort of political too, come to think of it: "The problem isn’t about women not loving our bodies. ... The problem is someone else telling me how to feel. The problem is being told that there is a standard of beauty, and I should ignore it. I should ignore it despite the fact that everyone is still holding me to it. I should ignore it and create my own. As long as it makes me feel pseudo-good, and makes other people feel okay with how I pretend to feel about me."

"Look, I Overcame!": Related to the above: If, like me, your eyebrow raises when looking at the "I love my body" therapeutic narrative, bookmark this piece from philosopher Robin James that looks at the ways women's adherence to such narratives has become a marker of "good girls" and "bad girls." "Overcoming must be visible because in the same way that individual feminine subjects use their resilience as proof of their own ideal feminine and ethical subjectivity, hegemony uses the resilience of its best women as proof of the ideally ethical and just character of its own social/political practices. ... 'Good girls' are resilient, whereas 'bad girls,' insufficiently feminine subjects, continue to be fragile and in need of rescue and/or protection."

And not a one of 'em is "quit shaving": Without having actually seen myself upon reading the title of this Refinery 29 piece, I'm pretty sure I had a cat-ate-the-canary grin: 10 Ways to Find Feminism in Your Beauty Routine.

Typing beauty: It's difficult sometimes to write about "beauty" because there's a dual-track thing going on with it: There's beauty and attraction as we experience it in a subjective way, and then there's beauty and attraction as presented by our cultural standards. The two mingle and overlap, but because of the nature of each of them, it's impossible to suss out what's subjective and what's...not objective, but rather what's shaped for us. Elisa sums it up succinctly in a way I just may print out on index cards and hand to people who insist in talking about beauty as though it's strictly one form or the other.

Beauty Blogosphere, Ides of March

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

From Head...
The short story:
A tale of three haircuts shines a light on how our hair can feel like an extension of our agency.

In SATC III, Carrie has high arches, Charlotte gets a stress fracture,
Samantha is corny, and Miranda stays callus.

...To Toe...
Metatarsals in the city: We all knew that high heels can lead to permanent damage to your feet, but I'd never stopped to consider what that means when wearing high heels is literally a part of your job—as in, you play Carrie Bradshaw.

...And Everything In Between:
Vampirical evidence: The Kardashian sisters' Khroma cosmetics line is on the losing end of a trademark infringement case involving a line called Kroma, whose representative had met with the Kardashian team before the Khroma line became a reality in order to talk collaboration. In related news, Kim got a blood facial.

Ask and we shall receive: A couple of weeks ago, Baze Mpinja at Beautycism asked why Adele doesn't have a beauty industry endorsement deal. Answer seems to be she has actively shunned endorsements—until now

Ch-ch-ch-changes: Shiseido president is stepping down for health reasons, leaving the current chair to figure out what to do in the midst of a projected 52% cut in revenue.

Windy city: Chicago has the most stressed-out hair in the nation, according to Head & Shoulders, which has absolutely zero investment in the outcome of any such survey, yes'm.

Avon's calling: Avon emerged from their conclave with a refinancing plan, which should help get them out of their lingering debt.

Dosha do: If you're at all interested in the beauty market in India, this in-depth Q&A with Shahnaz Husain, founder of the eponymous beauty line, is a must-read.

Hair care: Plenty of black women have a legacy of connecting hair with identity. But what does that mean when you find out in mid-adulthood that up until then, you weren't exactly sure what kind of hair you really had?

Holy See: Not beauty-related per se but way too cool to not mention: Pink smoke released over the Vatican to protest exclusion of female priests.

Wonder workers: Loving these "butch heroes" cards: celebration of butch women through history done in the style of Catholic saint cards. (via Feminist Philosophers)

Breaking the box: This PSA from the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault hits all the right notes. It's aimed at preventing sexual assault, and in doing so it weaves in broader gender stereotypes and the not-immediately-evident ways they show up in our lives—and the ways we can reject them.

Les Authentiques: Color me bowled over that Jennifer Lawrence and Anne Hathaway have inspired so much thoughtful ink on how we view women. From Christianity Today, this piece on "authenticity": "The more we mock and dissect the 'falseness' of women like Anne Hathaway, the more we force each other to downplay our actual, authentic selves in favor of an impression of a girl who's 'keeping it real.' We can't all be that person. In truth, most of us respond to the pressure and judgment of others more like Anne Hathaway than the perfectly 'real' Ms. Lawrence."

Quantity, not quality: I don't think it's random that the writer of this reflective post on self-quantification—that is, tracking activities and habits à la exercise journals—begins with an anecdote about calorie tracking. The point here is that as much as we believe we rely on the "just the facts" quality of self-qualification, in truth we bring our desired narratives to self-quantification and interpret the data accordingly. And we bring a lot of desired narratives to calorie tracking, eh?

Through the vine: Congratulations to Angela Washko, the first artist to sell a Vine-created video as art; Tits on Tits on Ikea sold for $200. It's a video of tits in front of tits of a woman sitting on Ikea. (Thanks to Lindsay for the link!)

Actress Chanel Preston, made over by Melissa Murphy

Money shots: It's one thing to stereotype porn performers as false-eyelashed, spray-tanned, and petunia-lipped (though we already know the average porn actress is a 5'5" B-cupped brunette), but it's quite another to see exactly how that look comes to life on smiling, just-washed faces. These fascinating before-and-after shots from makeup artist Melissa Murphy featuring adult actresses show exactly how manufactured the porn "look" is, and what goes into creating it. I wonder what the experience of being made up is like for the performers—does sitting in the makeup chair allow you to get into character? does looking in the mirror post-makeup? 

Miss takes: Excellent reporting from Katie J.M. Baker at Jezebel on sexual coercion in exchange for breaks in Miss USA pageants. It's easy for us—okay, me—to laugh at pageants because, well, do I really have to explain? But they remain a source of capital, status, pride, and identity for a good swath of women, and treating them like a circus doesn't help. What's galling here is that the perpetrators don't seem to understand how unethical their actions are: "She told me she would do whatever it takes, and now she's throwing my help in her face," says one of the men in the article (though he denies asking directly for sexual favors).

Tweeze me: The story behind Dal LaMagna, better known as "Tweezerman," the first entrepreneur to recognize that the true tweezer market lay in beauty, not health.

Glitter food?: For those of you who are intrigued by nail art but find the lingo on how-to blogs intimidating, check out this (hilarious) glossary of terms.

Natural beauty: I'm glad to see someone challenging the idea that "natural" beauty products are better because they just are, but I wish the writer had looked at other ways natural products influence how we could think about beauty. I remember interviewing Siobhan O'Connor, coauthor of natural beauty guide No More Dirty Looks, and digging what she had to say about the connection between feeling good about her products and feeling good about herself: "Something inside both of us transformed over the course of writing and constantly thinking about beauty and our relationship to it—every woman’s relationship to it. We’ve seen a lot of people fight their natural look. And it’s cheesy to say, but you know what it’s like when you see a really healthy woman, regardless of the shape of her nose or her body, and you’re like, whoa. There’s health and joy, smiles and truth—it’s one of the most beautiful things in the world. Natural beauty can go beyond products; it’s about stripping all that other stuff away and just taking joy in the natural curl of your hair or the natural glow of your skin. It’s about not hiding."

Objection: Laurie Penny for Jacobin disabuses us of the notion of the news reporter's "view from nowhere" by giving a sliver of how her sources interact with her, a young, attractive female journalist: "I was wearing my second-nicest tights and a bit of makeup and holding a recorder, and hence appeared old enough and professionally polished enough to be someone they felt the need to impress—but not so much older and more polished that they didn’t suspect there might be an outside chance of me shagging one of them in the hostel bathrooms later on."

Inspired: As someone with zero skill in putting together outfits (why do you think I wear dresses so frequently, skirts never?), I'm forever mystified by those "get this outfit inspired by_______" pages in magazines. So I love this piece from The Closet Feminist that shows exactly what "inspiration" can mean, from a variety of perspectives.

Pretty smart: Something that comes up in conversation a lot when I mention what I write about is the idea of not-beautiful people "compensating" for their lack of beauty by becoming smart or funny or talented or whatever—the unspoken (and sometimes spoken) equivalent being that gorgeous creatures don't develop those traits. But as Elisa points out: "Guess what, all the combinations are possible! It’s just that when you start selecting for rare traits (very beautiful, very funny, very intelligent, etc.) it starts to get unlikely that you’ll run across people with multiple 'gifts.' That’s not sociology or psychology, it’s statistics."

Hustle/bustle: Historic fashion blogger Cassidy takes an evidence-based look at the idea that fashion becomes hyperfeminized after periods of female liberation. This is held to be fact in feminist-minded women's studies—and certainly the idea of feminist backlash holds true, sadly. But when looking at the micro-changes in fashion through these periods of history, the story isn't quite so linear.

Under wraps: Maryam Monalisa Gharavi has us look at the effect a covered face has on its viewers, in a photo essay that asks larger questions of the veil than the same old oppressive-or-not-oppressive.

Sky high: Nothing insightful on my end on this, just holy cow these 3-D-printed high heels are amazing.

Beauty Blogosphere 3.1.13

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

I love a man who isn't afraid to show a little deoxyribonucleic acid. (via)

From Head...
In your face:
"Information artist" Heather Dewey-Hagborg reconstructs faces from shreds of DNA—and in doing so, calls attention to genetic surveillance.

...To Toe...
Toeing the line: I try not to be alarmist about these things, but I was genuinely disturbed to learn about these sneakers—for girls as young as toddlers—that have a hidden wedge heel inside. It's one thing for girls to mimic adult women in an overt way, because that can prompt discussions about self-presentation, maturity, sexuality, and appropriateness that kids could benefit from as they navigate the world. But heels disguised as sneakers? Ugh. So I was particularly pleased to be called upon for comment by writer Misty Harris for her piece in the Vancouver Sun covering the matter.

...And Everything In Between:
Inglot founder dies: The founder of Inglot cosmetics, chemist Wojciech Inglot, died unexpectedly last week at age 57. He started the company in 1987, when Poland was under communist rule, using military equipment he purchased after a dictatorial command that unneeded equipment be sold off. After the fall of communism, his fledgling company floundered a bit before he hit upon the idea of allowing women to test makeup before purchasing it, a concept unheard of in Poland at the time. Inglot found unexpected success with Muslim women with the development of a nail polish that allows water and oxygen to reach the nail, allowing compliance with a pre-prayer washing ritual that states water must run over the hands, including fingernails. (More background here.)

Americas divided: In North America, "prestige" beauty products (like department store brands) are driving industry growth; meanwhile in South America, mass brands (i.e. drugstores and the like) account for 90% of sales, as opposed to 65% up north. Now, I'm not trying to suggest that prestige brands aren't worth it if you like 'em, but whenever those crass "countries with the most beautiful women" lists are published, don't South American nations always top the list? Just sayin'.

Emerging markets: The ins and outs of marketing cosmetics in Africa. (Who knew South African men would go wild over Vaseline for Men?)

"The treatment of Sarah Bartmann during her life and after her death speaks of suffering, dispossession, sadness and loss of dignity, culture, community, language and life. It is a symptom of the inhumanity of people."  —Marker at the burial site of Baartmann's repatriated remains

A tale told too late: The story of Saartjie Baartman—or, as she's sadly better known, the Hottentot Venus.

Mating game: Some fascinating findings on attractiveness and coupling up. Contrary to popular belief, women don't tend to trade their beauty for men's status—in fact, people tend to trade their attractiveness for...attractiveness, since similarity across all measures is what largely guides partnerships, according to the study findings. That doesn't mean That Episode of Girls is any less real, though, thankyouverymuch. (Thanks to Parisian Feline for the link!)

Purim's beauty myth: Purim was last weekend, but it's not too late to learn about (well, "learn about" if you're goyim like me) the link between female beauty and the celebratory Jewish holiday; apparently Esther's milkshake brought deliverance to the yard.

Lululemondieu!Yogapantsgate was last week when I was away, but in case you missed it, check out Caitlin Constantine's response to it. Like her, I wear form-fitting workout clothes not so that my ass will be checked out by strangers, but because form-fitting clothes don't get caught in equipment (like baggy pants do), don't slide down when I'm moving around (like the more generously sized yoga pants do), don't reveal too much when I'm doing floor exercises (like baggy shorts do), and keep me warm enough when going to and fro (like fitted shorts don't). To be told by a man that I simply couldn't be wearing them because I actually like wearing them is—hmm, more insulting or annoying? Not sure.

Mirror mirror: There's this idea out there that women are competitive about their looks and bodies—so what is it like to be in a same-sex romance and feel that competition? The Hairpin's Queer Chick takes it on.

Best for Last: Given that Adele was the one person at the Oscars whose beauty every woman in the room at the Oscars fête I attended commented upon, Beautycism's question is well-taken: Why doesn't she have a beauty products contract? Perhaps she doesn't want one—or perhaps companies are still hesitant to have a non-rail-thin woman as their spokesperson, even when she's as utterly stunning as Adele. (Seriously, any makeup company that could promise me her lipstick's staying power would at least get my trial dollars.)

Body shop: Why do maternitywear retailers target women in their seventh month of pregnancy, when women's bodies start showing significant changes at the fifth?

Actually, my mom did tell me, which was horrifying in 1982 but which I appreciate now: Listen to the Stuff Mom Never Told You podcast on vaginoplasty, then take a moment to love your labia in whatever way you choose. (Light a candle? Sing "O Vagina" to the tune of "O Tannenbaum"?) A neat complement is the episode on a population that may get vaginoplasty for reasons that aren't exactly cosmetic: transgender folks.

Darling Nikki: The average porn star is a 5'5" brunette B-cup brunette named Nikki. No, really.

Exhaust: Hey, did you hear that the Oscars and assorted happenings were a misogynist shitshow? Among the incredible amount of ink that's been spilled this week on the matter is Lindy West's fantastic piece titled "Sexism Fatigue: When Seth MacFarlane Is a Complete Ass and You Don’t Even Notice." This was sort of my experience: I wasn't terribly worked up over many of the things that so many people have been enraged about, like the "We Saw Your Boobs" song, which I actually saw as being a comment on the expectation of female nudity in film. But I think the deeper reason I didn't get too worked up is exactly what West is describing here: I saw MacFarlane's airless jokes about women as simply being par for the course—and that, my friends, is sexism fatigue. There's also the question of why so much ire has been (understandably) directed at MacFarlane as an individual when, as Cassie points out, the Oscars are a highly choreographed event involving a lot of people.

Pretty as a picture: One of the arguments for photo retouching is that the principle has been around for centuries—unless, of course, royals through the ages were perpetually rosy, unlined, and sparkling of eye. But as this "unretouched" portrait of Elizabeth I shows, that was hardly the case.

Eye catcher: Rachel Hills at Daily Life on fashion and the "attention economy." (Apparently there are "street style stars" who change outfits several times a day to maximize social media exposure. Who has the time?)

Oh my god Becky look at her bustle: Baby got behindativeness.

Pink think: I'm not a fan of Valentine's Day myself, but Nahida frames it in a way that almost makes me want to defend it: Which sex is it that's supposed to put in the labor for Valentine's Day? Hint: Not the sex that's expected to create Easter baskets and Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas decorations. 

Reality check: Elisa poses some intriguing questions on beauty (some of which provided fodder for my two cents on the "why can't women say they're pretty?" discussion). Have you ever, like, ever seen a group of men actually get all tongue-tied ga-ga when a good-looking woman walks into the room? I haven't either, so why is the male reaction to beauty in films always painted in this way? And in a follow-up post: Do women tend to know how good-looking they are, objectively speaking? (If such a thing as "objectively speaking" exists, that is, which is a whole other question itself.)

Critical reading: If you enjoy fashion criticism, check out this meta-fashion-criticism of sorts, with an entire issue of journal Fashion Projects devoted to examining criticism, including interviews with critics like The New Yorker's Judith Thuman.

Smile, baby: Thanks to The Closet Feminist for making me question why I got crabby about seeing Kristen Stewart's lack of smileyface at the Oscars. I enjoy her as an actress but was like, C'mon, girl, you're at the Oscars, would it kill you to smile—in other words, I was doing what I hate having done to me: C'mon, baby, just gimme a smile.

"Junk in the trunk" is a pain in the ass: All in favor of banning the phrase "junk in the trunk," say aye (aye!), and then read Anytime Yoga's Tori guest post here about why it's problematic.

Beauty Blogosphere 2.8.13

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

Also instantly makes your hair look amazing. Like, really fucking amazing, don'tyouthink?

From Head...
Blow dry: Admittedly, I've never tried to smuggle 24 pounds of liquid cocaine into Logan International, but I'm still surprised that pouring it into hair product bottles would be described by the feds as "creative." Like, wouldn't that be the first thing anyone would try? (Have I missed my calling as a drug mule?)

...To Toe...
Sole sisters: Word aficionados will delight in learning about the turn-of-(last)-century shoe brand Sorosis, whose name may have stemmed from sisterhood, or pineapples, take your pick.

...And Everything In Between:
Whiter shade of pale:
A reminder from the Philippines that even when a nation manages to implement cosmetics regulation, that doesn't mean retailers stick to the rules. (The culprit here is skin whitening creams, of course, which made another international appearance this week with the report that prescription dermatitis creams—which have a lightening effect—are being sold on the Ugandan black market to consumers with no prescription, and little to no guidance on usage.)

All ages!: Once again, e.l.f. is hosting an open-call modeling contest themed "Beauty at All Ages," in which hopefuls can enter in one of four age categories: teens, 20s, 30s, and 40s+. Ahem.

In your face: Interesting debate about the Pretty Girls Making Ugly Faces subreddit at Feminist Philosophers. My first reaction here is that by showing how the same woman can both "play pretty" and "play ugly," the meme reveals not only how much of beauty is a performance, as Feminist Philosophers points out, but how much it's about being caught at any one particular moment. I mean, obviously the women in these photos are specifically making grotesque faces. (And commenters rightly point out that there are plenty of women whose faces naturally have some of these features without "playing ugly," though I think to read this through that lens is sort of willfully misconstruing what's being toyed with.) But I know one of my bigger beauty insecurities is that someone who had previously thought I was attractive would see me at a certain moment—eyes half-open, double chinned because of an angle, ruddy-skinned, slack-jawed—and see that no, they'd been wrong all along, I'm actually monstrous. This meme sort of blows that up—it's really about revealing what you might call the elasticity of beauty.

What men really want: How on earth can you brand a beauty product to men?! Just remember this: "Research has shown that men will stick with a product if it is effective," unlike creatures comme moi, who is still wondering why this huckleberry jam has done jack shit for my bikini line. 

On scruples: The Beauty Brains makes an appearance with Amanda Marcotte at Slate, talking about the science behind the (ripoff?) that is Proactiv. In addition to what the Brains say here, something my beauty editor interviewee pointed out was that kits that are sold as acne "systems" are often sold that way because you can't get the ingredients in one product. To have both salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide (both effective acne fighters, though for different causes and stages in life, from what I understand) in a product is highly irritating, so you can only get products containing both ingredients by prescription. But! If you sell a benzoyl peroxide product alongside a salicylic acid product and package it as a kit, you're in the clear. (And in fact using both products may be fine, depending on your skin—but it could also be way too harsh.)

Great of a passing: Stuart Freeborn, the makeup artist responsible for Yoda, has died at age 98. While the Star Wars enterprise is his most famous work (he was also responsible for Chewbacca and Jabba the Hutt), his Hollywood legacy had long been established by the time he came on board there—he transformed Peter Sellers into multiple characters for Dr. Strangelove, and worked with Kubrick on other projects, including 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Moves like Jagger: Quantifying the attractiveness of hip-wriggling. (Word to the ladies: Your "hip-knee phase angle" will bring the boys to the yard.)

Sixth sense: If you don't really know what you look like because you're blind, how do you "see" yourself in your dreams?

Makeup bag: If you live in the San Francisco area and "like" Make Up For Ever on Facebook, you can reserve a live makeup tutorial with their artists—using products you already have. (Normally The Beheld doesn't include flat-out promos in roundups, but if this actually is as described I think it's cool. Obviously the idea is that you'll think kindly of Make Up For Ever afterward and spend your cash there, but still.)

On recovery: Margaret Wheeler Johnson, who writes of her eating disorder recovery with a courage one rarely sees on the subject, has an essay up at HuffPo on getting rid of her "thin clothes." At least, that's the topic, but the real story is about allowing her identity to grow beyond that of a person with an illness—one that's pathologized in tragic tones that can make it all the more alluring to someone already prone to the disease.

Virtual funds: I 100% Do Not Get This, but apparently if you play interactive video games you can set up a webcam so people can watch you play? And while most people who do this are men, there's a number of women who stream themselves—and who have set up a donation account so viewers can contribute to the cause, whatever that cause may be. The women in this article seem to have a keen understanding of the risks (and not-dramatic payoff) of doing this, but at the root...I don't get it. Any girl gamers want to explain this to a non-gamer (unless you count playing Tetris on my phone, which was purchased in 2007)?

Also, Butt Taco: Slideshow of the most cringe-worthy makeup color names. Camel Toe?

Flex: Feminist Figure Girl lives up to her name by documenting the beauty labor that goes into bodybuilding competition—something that's expected of male bodybuilders as well, but not nearly to this extent.

Big gulp: You know why I don't drink Diet Coke? The packaging just ain't femme enough for me. Marc Jacobs to the rescue! (Thanks to Lindsay for the link.)

Vinegar Valentines: Happy Valentine's Day, dickweed!

Fan(g)irls: Not only are snaggletooth dental implants en vogue in Japan, but there's an entire pop band based on the look?! (A dentist specializing in the procedure plays Maurice Starr, natch.) Also from Cristen Conger: More than a year ago I mentioned her then-upcoming series at Bitch on the male beauty industry—or grooming industry, if you will—and you can read the whole series here.

And they all look like torture devices: The eyelash curlers that Could Have Been, courtesy Wild Beauty.

Fresh fruit: As much as I like to have my figure flattered (why, thank you!), it took me thirtysomething years to figure out how to do so, because I'm neither apple nor pear nor hourglass. Had I read Sally McGraw's book Already Pretty, I might've saved myself from all that head-to-toe black. Excerpt on how to really flatter your figure here.

Hijab hurrah: I have some mixed feelings on this astute post about World Hijab Day from a Muslim woman who wears hijab. To don hijab as a non-Muslim woman is meaningless if you don't actually talk to real! live! Muslim women (both hijabis and non) about their own practices, and to claim that wearing hijab for a day somehow gives you an understanding of the experience of Muslim women is disingenuous, to say the least. That said, the practice can be worthy in its own right—as it is for Muslim women. We live in a culture that's pretty confused about women's bodies, surveillance, "responsibility," the gaze, and sexuality. Wearing hijab can lend a person insight about her own experience of those concerns, in a way that has little to do with religion or Muslim life. Like mirror fasting, or not wearing makeup for a year, or not shopping for clothes for a year, or whatever, the idea shouldn't be to come down with full force on one "side" or the other, but rather to allow experimentation to illuminate our experiences with being seen in a way that we couldn't if we simply kept doing the same old routine. (via The Closet Feminist)

Public hair: Using "intimate cleanser" as a shampoo? Why not! (Or why, I suppose, but if you have it lying around...)

Girl's best friend: I could give exactly two figs about diamonds, yet this list of diamond factoids from Closet Feminist had me at "mean reds."

Tet a tet: Happy Lunar New Year! It's the Year of the Snake, and the Makeup Museum has some slithery photos from the MAC collection designed to celebrate (market) it.

Beauty Blogosphere 2.1.13

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

From Head...

Hat head: I don't enjoy wearing things on my head—scarves, hats, fascinators. I like the look of them, but they always slide around and leave me with a headache. So I was particularly intrigued by this account from a Jewish woman who wanted to cover her hair after marriage to fit in better with her community, but who found it a pain, quite literally—and the response of Maya Resnikoff (who does cover) is equally interesting.

...To Toe...
Babies underfoot: Can getting a pedicure induce labor? (Spoiler: No.)

...And Everything In Between:

Under cover: Fascinating Q&A with the designer of Stealth Wear, a counter-surveillance collection of clothes and accessories that subvert thermal-imaging technologies used in citizen surveillance. "I see a future where individuals are more in control of their privacy. And I see fashion as a vehicle for getting there. Conformity is what surveillance wants and fashion is anti-conformist. And I think the decision to conform or not happens on a personal level. The projects I’ve been working on act upon surveillance in a way that exploits a vulnerability and makes this vulnerability accessible through using something ordinary (hair, makeup, or fashion) in a non-conformist and legal way." (Big thanks to Nancy for the link.)

Work it: Not beauty-related directly, but some good solid career advice from the global chief marketing officer of Revlon.

Body lines: What is it like to be in art school when you're not allowed to draw or sculpt nudes, as has been the case for art students in Egypt since 1979?

On comfort: Always cold in your office during the summer? Blame The Man. 

Powder puffed: The Lingerie Football League—excuse me, the Legends Football League—has listened to its critics. With one tin ear. (Also from Fit and Feminist, which, if you're, well, a feminist interested in fitness, you should absolutely be reading: a fitness discussion group, and a Goodreads book club "covering everything from athlete memoirs to historical books to cultural criticism to fiction.")

On bravery: Ekaterina Sedia on something that can't be said often enough about eating disorders: It's not the same thing as wanting to be thin, and by framing it as a "battle" or "fight" in which one must be "brave," we equate illness with choice.

SWF seeking giant: Even adjusting for the general height difference between men and women, people still like to pair off in taller-man-shorter-lady combos. What gives? (Busted. I've never dated a man under 5'10"—something I just wrote off as "my type" until a friend pointed out that wasn't so far from "no fat chicks" dudes saying that was just "their type." The realization didn't change who I was attracted to, but it did make me question where my preference came from.)

What's that smell?: Maxim magazine is partnering with Omni Scents to create a new fragrance, featuring notes of leather, vetiver, and douchebag.

Me, in my head, upon donning a slip

Slipped my mind: If you, like me, are a lover of the slip, read this interview with lingerie blogger A Slip of a Girl now, and then put her blog on your radar. Many interesting bits from the interview, but this stood out to me because it made me think of a part of Rosie Molinary's book Beautiful You in which she encourages readers to use the item you've been saving for a special occasion (you know the one): "The reason we have so many of those lovely pieces left is because they were truly special-occasion items to be worn with a specific dress or when the lady of the house felt she deserved to wear it. We find many of them still wrapped in the original boxes and tissue paper because a bride might get a beautiful chemise or slip and then maybe put it away for a special day. And she never felt she was worthy of it. It breaks my heart, but that’s the perfect-condition stuff we have today."

Welcome to the dollhouse: Poignant, solemn portraits of adult women with their childhood dolls. (via Final Fashion)

Life is plastic: Human Barbie and Human Ken don't play Dream House well together, it turns out. (This story has to be a joke, right? Please?)

One color fits all: Brittany Julious rewinds her elegant prose to her junior year of high school—the first time she was handed a package of "skin tone" tights for dance team.

Pride and prejudice: How can we express pride in our bodies when we're on high alert for women who think they're "all that"?

Real men: There's been some talk on the blogosphere about the term "real" when applied to women's (imperfect) bodies—talk that made me rethink my own use of the term. (In ladymag lingo, "real" is used to describe any woman pictured in the magazine who isn't a model, no matter how "perfect" she looks, so I picked it up from there. It's problematic nonetheless.) But I hadn't thought about what it means when applied to men; luckily, Hugo has.

Phoenix rising: What does it take for a product or brand to have a community form around it? Cassandra at The Reluctant Femme looks at the question through the lens of perfume company Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. (Which, by the way, is totally awesome.)

Beauty Blogosphere 1.25.13

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

House of Vestal Virgins, Rome. (The best hairstyles are ones you get to imaginate!)

From Head...
When in Rome:
Video on re-creating the intricate braid style of the Vestal virgins. Awesome. (via Maya Resnikoff)

...To Toe...
Toeing the line:
An undercover cop in Iowa got a pedicure and then busted a salon owner for illegally serving alcohol to clients, and the nation stays safe for another day.

...And Everything In Between:
Going glocal: With the news of Chinese and Korean brands surging forward despite competition from established Western lines, it's easy to forget that smaller economies don't have the marketing power of their Chinese or Korean counterparts. The domestic Vietnamese cosmetics market is ailing, with Western corporations like Unilever buying out local lines and cannibalizing them entirely.

Green machine: What the "greening" of the beauty industry (or at least, of consumer tastes) means for larger, more established brands.

Agency provocateur: Victoria's Secret model Constance Jablonski is being sued by her former management agency for breach of contract; Marilyn Model Management claims that her new agency poached her under dubious circumstances. Agencies actually lose money on a good portion of their models, the idea being that if even one of them scores big—say, becoming a Victoria's Secret model recognizable by name—those multimillion-dollar contracts make up for the paltry (or nonexistent) payment of editorial work. So this isn't just big business for agencies; it's the business.

Le roi de lipstick: Profile of France's young "cosmetics king," Bris Rocher, heir to the Yves Rocher company. (And since when are 34-year-olds "digital natives"? They remember landlines, right?)

On politics: I'm Barack Obama and I approve these bangs.

Israeli gears: Remember when it came out that Yes to Carrots may have been covering their ties to Israel? Turns out they just aren't manufacturing products in Israel any longer.

Where does it begin?: Deeply compelling piece about November's garment factory fire in Bangladesh that led to the deaths of more than 100 workers—from the designer of the cheap garments the factory specialized in. "My point is, this fire was lit by me. I am the one who asked our factories to make a $9 blouse, and, by default, Bangladesh is one of two countries in which clothing can be imported duty free."

Facing up: The nice thing: Vogue Italia featured an Asian model on their cover (a feat that American Vogue has yet to do). The not-nice thing: The editor says that discrimination doesn't exist. Discrimination in fashion? What are you suggesting, my sweets?

Got MILF?: Intelligent debate on the term MILF, of all things (is it just me, or is Canadian radio way better than American radio?). Is it a way of saying "For a mom, you're not bad...for a night" or of acknowledging that a woman can be maternal and sexual at the same time? (A commenter once called me a MILF and I admit I thought it was sort of cool. I liked the nod to the fact that I'm no spring chicken but can still turn a head or two; for whatever reason it seemed more of a compliment than something that didn't acknowledge my age, despite its crassness. But I'm also not actually a mother, so I didn't take it as anything other than a comment on age—and the fact it's only happened once means it's amusing, not annoying. Thoughts?) 

Lifting weight: Should you do anything as a gym-goer when you suspect a fellow trainer has an eating disorder?

Tattoo you: At last, an equivalent term to that nasty little term used for lower-back tattoos—exclusively on women, of course: gramp stamp.

Go here to learn more about The Illusionists.

Attention, New Yorkers: The Athena Film Festival (which has some awesome-sounding films about women and leadership) is previewing The Illusionists, which longtime readers will remember from director Elena Rossini's guest post. Get (free) tickets for the February 10 showing here. I've seen the preview, and it's making me super-jazzed for the full documentary: Rossini's interview subjects really get to the heart of beauty culture and advertising, with a keen, penetrative perspective that goes beyond the stuff most readers of this blog would already know and likely agree with.

On subjectivity: Thought-provoking interview with feminist philosopher Ann Cahill. The whole thing is worth a read, but in particular readers here will like chewing on her thoughts on beauty: "[A]spects of common practices of feminine beautification have the potential to enhance women’s subjectivity and flourishing.... these processes provide women with an opportunity to care for each other’s bodies, to share expertise and insight, to honour and pay attention not only to their own embodiment, but to their intercorporeality. ... The problem, as I see it, is that almost all of those aspects of that process that I find to be enhancing of one’s embodied intersubjectivity pretty much disappear once the beautified woman walks onto the public stage. Now her beauty is seen not as the admirable result of some communal aesthetic process, one that requires judgment and creativity and care, but rather as a kind of gendered duty that gains its primary meaning from how it positions her in the heterosexual marketplace." (Thanks to Badaude for the link!)

No more denim leg!: Finally, a cure for the dreaded denim leg. Oh, you know what I mean—how denim notoriously dries out your legs. But luckily the Denim Spa brand came along to offer moisturizing jeans (or, if you prefer, "moist slacks"). At last, chickadees, we may begin to live.

Modest talk: Love this interview with modesty fashion site Mode-sty founder Zahra at Already Pretty: "Instead of feeling like you have to choose to either be stylish or dress modestly, now many women are looking for options where they don’t have to choose."

Beauty queened: Meli at Wild Beauty muses on beauty pageants—particularly intriguing because of her personal history as a feminist raised in the South, a region far friendlier to beauty pageants than Yankees are. Bonus: short Q&A with a real! live! beauty queen!

Blushing brides: It's not wedding season at all! But two nice wedding pieces this week nonetheless. Take it from the recently married Lexie of Beauty Redefined: You don't have to do the whole bride freakout thing pre-wedding. Then read Kate Fridkis on her sudden decision to shoo away her makeup artist at her wedding (warning: may make you tear up, if you are like me and a sucker for a good wedding story): "A perfect bride with a perfect face was nowhere to be seen. Instead, here was a woman who had been a little homeschooled girl running around in the woods pretending to be a warrior princess with a spear she made out of a stick, who had never learned how to be properly sexy or care about cosmetics."

Face slimmer?!: Two intrepid bloggers take Japanese beauty devices to the streets of Nashville (and in true Nashville style, they're serenaded by a guitarist who improvises an ode to Japanese beauty products).