The Beheld, like all blogs hosted on Blogger, has been experiencing technical issues—recent posts have disappeared; I'm still hoping/waiting to get them back. In the meantime, please enjoy my usual Friday roundup on this Monday.
And let's kick things off by agreeing to refer to Crystal Renn as a model, not a plus-size model, shall we? Daily News style writer Lindsay Goldwert lays out the history in this piece chronicling Renn's explosive rise as a "plus-size" model: "It's undeniable. The smaller she gets, the more famous she gets. But she can't get too bony—or else she'll lose her former plus-size allure, which made her a star in the first place. So why not put the whole plus-size argument to rest?" If we're ever going to have true body diversity we need to stop thinking women come in two sizes, plus or "straight," as it's called in the modeling world. Hell, even pantyhose comes in three sizes!
What else is going on in beauty this week, from head to toe and everything in between.
Locks of lit-love: Snippets of hair from esteemed writers, via The Hairpin, which is absolutely correct when they note that Walt Whitman could've used a deep conditioner.
The day Selma Hayek became a plush toy: "Better still, Hayek circled the table so that each editor could touch her skin." WOW am I glad I'm not a celebrity hawking my own makeup line. (Though all of you are welcome to touch my hair if you wish.)
No more dirty hair: Alexandra Spunt of No More Dirty Looks, one of my shampoo-free compatriots, washed her hair. Egads! Amusing writeup here.
Cyber pedicure: Now you (well, your six-year-old niece) can put on a pretend pedicure. Okay, I admit I don't get the point of ANY video games, unless it's Tetris on your cell phone for the occasional subway diversion, ahem. But what is the reward of a pedicure that lives in the cloud, not your feet? I mean, I get that girls are supposedly more into elliptical games like The Sims instead of the shoot-kill-race games, but this is just odd.
...And Everything in Between
Stop saying skinnyfat: I've always hated this term but could never quite identify why. Luckily, I didn't have to, because Ragan Chastain did it for us all!
Food as rebellion: Tori at Anytime Yoga puts a fine point on something I've experienced: Knowing that there's a certain cultural power in eating "bad foods" and claiming that power because WE ARE BODY-LOVING FEMINISTS DAMMIT, but internalizing shame about it regardless.
On beauty and acceptance: Interesting post at The Blog of Disquiet on the uses of beauty and the ways we choose to include or exclude the world by the choices we make surrounding beauty and appearance.
"I remember sexy": Brittany Julious at This Recording on sexiness and bodily agency--it's also a nice complement to all the "slut" talk happening around Slutwalk.
On makeup as a green light: This writer is upset because a man smiled at her when she looked "like crap," and though unless the piece is satire (please?) it's basically a screed of misanthropy, I'm interested in some of her reasoning. "A woman might spend hours, nay, days during any given week with straightening irons, makeup.... For women such as myself, this process is how we prepare, how we ready ourselves to be acknowledged." A slightly maddening take on the way we believe we can control our image--and the dissonance that happens when we find we can't.
More maddening material from excellent sources: This SNL clip on "Tina Fey honoring women writers" was cut from the last time she hosted--and thankfully. It's supposed to be a comment on prizing women's looks about their talents--looking at great female writers and giving crass voiceovr commentary on their looks--but it just comes off as mean. It's "funny" to refer to Liz Lemon as unattractive, because Tina Fey is obviously pretty. The joke falls flat when you're making jokes about talented female writers like Eudora Welty...who look like Eudora Welty.
Beauty inflation: A professor of "Economics of Sex and Love" argues that because we can select the best pics of ourselves to put on online dating sites, that this creates "beauty inflation" in which we price ourselves out of the dating market. Besides the sort of gross leanings here, I call invalid on this theory because most people I know who do online dating put up representatively pretty pictures of themselves, not necessarily the "best" pictures, for fear of letting someone down. No word on whether overuse of "[insert clever headline here]" leads to irony inflation.
The house that beauty built: Johnson & Johnson (Neutrogena, Clean & Clear) heiress buys one of the most expensive townhouses in Manhattan. Its previous owner? Beauty.com founder Roger Barnett.
30 for 30: Fashion blogger Megan at Another Zoe Day's "30 Days to 30" is chronicling the 30 days leading up to her 30th birthday on May 30. Lots of us have turned 30—but she's doing it only weeks after uprooting her cozy expat life in Berlin (with a job, boyfriend, apartment, and routine) and moving to Brooklyn (apartment-less, job-less, boyfriend-less, and craving a greater sense of center as she embarks upon this next decade). It's a neat spin on the "Turn Your Life Around in 30 Days!" type of stories you see in the ladymags, and I'm looking forward to reading more.
Drugstore markup: Drugstores need to mark up their goods; that's how they turn a profit, and I'd rather have a markup on lipstick than on cold medicine. But it also seems like they're literally banking on their ladycustomers being willing to pay whatever they price their goods at, doesn't it?
Splitting hairs: Luckily, the U.S. Justice Department intervenes from time to time to make sure we're not paying more than is strictly necessary, as happened when Unilever (Dove, Suave, Tigi, Pond's, etc.) acquired Alberto VO5. Without antitrust law coming into play, Unilever would have had undue control over bargain shampoo, meaning they could have made them not quite as bargain. Thanks, U.S. Attorney General!
Latina cosmetics leader dies: Mirta de Perales, one of the first Hispanic women to find success in the U.S. cosmetics market, died last week at age 88. Exiled in 1962 from Cuba, where she was wealthy and well-known as a salon owner, with $5 in her purse when she was afraid her business would be seized from her (which is exactly what happened), she started from scratch in Miami as a beautician, eventually becoming a major player in the Puerto Rican and U.S. Latina beauty market.