Friday, August 5, 2011

Beauty Blogosphere 8.5.11

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

"I feel I'm anonymous in my work. When I look at the pictures, I never see myself; they aren't self-portraits."
—Cindy Sherman (Right, because sometimes they're ads.)

From Head... 
MAC's newest spokesperson: Oh, MAC! You ever-loving high-concept owned by one of the world's biggest cosmetics companies (Estee Lauder) but appearing to be so indie and edgy! You've done it again, with a Cindy Sherman ad campaign. 


...To Toe...  
Barack Obama will personally paint your toenails: Or so says Fox News contributor Sandy Rios, because that's clearly the next logical step after mandating health insurers to cover birth control. "Is the White House out of their mind? ...We’re $14 trillion in debt and now we’re going to cover birth control, breast pumps, counseling for abuse? Are we going to do pedicures and manicures as well?" 


...And Everything In Between:
The beauty biz: 2011 beauty trends from the business end—masstige, time-savers, online retail, green beauty, and heavily engineered products. (Like magnetic hair.) 

Hilton head: How hotels wind up with the shampoo/conditioner/soap brands that they do. (Also: Hilton once had its own brand of wine??) 

Shiseido staying afloat: Even after the March disasters that disrupted domestic production, Japan-based Shiseido nearly broke even in Q1, with a $3.6 million net loss. The prescient company had recently expanded its overseas markets and acquisitions, including Bare Escentuals, which performed well and was able to absorb some of the losses from the catastrophes in Japan. 

Chinese prestige: Business-end review of the Chinese relationship to high-end beauty brands, namely Estee Lauder. The analysts even say that they don't anticipate Chinese women or men to withdraw from the market despite the brand's recent 10% price hike. 

Beauty school: Manhattan College to launch an American first—a master's program in cosmetics engineering.

Reading Letterman's own fat jokes back to him, after whipping the list from her cleavage. Magic!

Letterman's big fat zero: I've never been a big Kirstie Alley fan, but her classy callout of David Letterman and his jokes about her weight is a winner.

Wine as sunscreen?: I can't tell if we're supposed to drink wine or apply it to our skin, but I know which one I'll do. Side note: I once befriended an elderly Sicilian gentleman who insisted that he'd been using beer as sunscreen all his life, and indeed poured a 12-ouncer all over my back when I realized I'd forgotten my sunscreen for a day at the beach, and indeed I did not burn. So! 

"I do not have an eating disorder": Fantastic comics-style graphic series about developing and beginning recovery from anorexia. 
 
The vagina monologue.

Summer's Eve and its anthropomorphic vajerge: Stephen Colbert takes a long-awaited stand on vaginal puppeteering and marketing to the ladies. It's particularly irksome to the women of color some of the ads were targeting, which Wise Latinas breaks down, complete with a group photo of the trainees entering the branding sector of the agency that created the ads. (Guess how many of them appeared to have firsthand experience being brown?)

Just can't get enough: Speaking of vaginas, Tits and Sass goes to a Vagina Pageant. Meet Miss Beautiful Vagina 2011!


Fucking-a: Y'all know I love a good word post, which is why I'm into Hugo Schwyzer's challenge to his students: Start using fuck to mean sex, or fuck as an expletive of anger, but not both. "If 'fucking' is the most common slang term for intercourse, and 'fuck you' or 'fuck off' the most common terms to express contempt or rage, what’s the end result? A culture that has difficulty distinguishing sex from violence." I'm a fan of fuck as expression of emphasis or anger, and so I'll take option B, and the rest of the time I will stick with befriend the beast with two backs.


Run, Tori, run!: Tori at Anytime Yoga just wanted a pair of running shoes for her underpronation—but salespeople kept pushing her toward the "adorable" shoes. I really hate to say it, but this has happened to me too, and I've overwhelmingly found that running shoe salesmen are less likely to do this than saleswomen. Maybe there's a difference in training? Maybe female sales staff feel like bonding with female customers over "cute shoes" can give them an edge that their male colleagues wouldn't necessarily have? I don't know. I just know that men tend to point me to the ugly shoes that feel good more often than women. C'mon, ladies, step up!

Mind/body: Cameo at Verging on Serious had to give up aggressively working out because of a rare muscular disease...that she might not have had all along. The official diagnosis is still in the air, but "I might have 'loathed myself' into a metabolic myopathy as a result of (years spent) disordered eating and over-exercising." A compelling read that speaks to the intersection of mind and body.
 

Instant perspective: Rebekah at Jaunty Dame gives a lesson—however unfortunate—on indifference, gender, and vulnerability. With her just-shaved head, she was mistaken for a man twice in one day, then attacked the next.

Body image billboards "lack newsworthiness": Beauty Redefined's billboard campaign in northern Utah that promotes bodily self-acceptance is the first of its kind that I know of—but their work was deemed unnewsworthy after a news organization had sent out a reporter to interview members of the team behind the billboards. And, you know, I get it—"rah rah" news stories aren't my cup of tea either. But the way Beauty Redefined breaks down the messages the rejection actually sent shows what's really going on here. (A news story that ran the week the billboard story was supposed to: yoga for dogs.) 

"Manufactured discontent": Sally at Already Pretty on that underarm-beautifying deodorant that Dove "love your body until we tell you not to" products invented, because there's not quite enough products out there for us to be buying yet. "I use concealer on my zits and dark circles....I shave my legs and paint my toenails and someday I’m fairly sure I’ll dye my gray hairs. And I’m generally pretty grateful for the products and procedures that I utilize to gently alter my appearance. But I try to keep an eye out for manufactured discontent, stealthy marketing that targets my body confidence."

Workout Spanx: You know, one of the very few downsides of reading all the fantastic blogs on my Google Reader is that sometimes, because of all the spot-on feminist critique my favorite writers do, I learn about the existence of things I wish you hadn't known of. I was able to introduce mandals to a handful of readers here (apologies all around), and now Virginia lets me in on...workout Spanx, which will look great paired with my glamorous armpits.

9 comments:

  1. LOVE this line-up, A! First off, the beer sunscreen had me L-ing OL. Second, Colbert! How I love thee! He is a genius. How did I miss those ads. Oh, and I actually like Kirsty Alley (watched her HBO series and developed a soft spot) she is very funny and open minded. What a great way to take back her pride!

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  2. Many thanks for the shout-out, my friend!

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  3. What a roundup! You're amazing. I think "befriending the beast with two backs" is a wonderful alternative. Dying!!! And thanks for the billboard love! Every radio and TV station in SLC seems to think it's newsworthy enough to have us on, but I guess yoga for dogs is more Reuters' hard-hitting style.

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  4. Cameo, Sal, and Lindsay--thank you all for creating such awesome content!

    Lindsay, on second read I realized that it might've seemed like *I* was agreeing with the news editor, so I'm glad you saw it the way I meant! Like, sure, if there's something with more immediacy, something pressing--yeah, then billboards, however awesome and important, aren't "newsworthy," fine, whatever. And then...yoga for dogs. Call Edward Murrow! We are America, people.

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  5. Thanks so much... this is indispensable!

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  6. Thanks for the link love.

    The workout Spanx idea has been sort of irking me this week. Not just because they exist but also because they only go up to a size XL. Which, for some people with larger bodies and/or jigglier bits, they might find working out more comfortable in compression sportswear. But Spanx doesn't manufacture its product in a full range of sizes to make good on that.

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  7. Okay, so these are some really great links, but your commentary is the most entertaining thing I've read on the internet this week, Autumn.

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  8. Hugo, but of course!

    Tori, you'd think they'd realize that there's a market there, right? I feel like the lack of capitalizing on bigger bodies is one of the few exceptions that prove the rule that Americans will try to make a buck anywhere.

    DD, obvs you are referring to "befriending the beast with two backs," and so, with a courtly flourish, I say, you're welcome.

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