Friday, October 14, 2011

Beauty Blogosphere 10.14.11

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

From Head...
The new face of MAC: Miss Piggy. You know, I used to be skeptical of MAC because it was trying to seem terrifically edgy while simply being an arm of one of the biggest cosmetics companies in the world. And I maintain that advertising can never be subversive, so I'm not about to do the Internet equivalent of pat MAC on the back. That said, between its makeover campaign in the UK and Miss Piggy, the company has officially won me over. Its brand managers have a keen appreciation of the fantasy aspect of makeup, and even though I wear makeup in a pretty straightforward manner, I like that MAC isn't asking me to buy its product to make a better version of myself.

...To Toe...
As a disliker of most things remake (with the possible exception of the Joe Cocker "With a Little Help From My Friends") I remain appalled by the new Footloose, and DOUBLE APPALLED by Deborah "Traitor" Lippmann's polish collection inspired by the remake. My feet will remain tight.

...And Everything In Between:
Big hair: Hairstylist Bashar Brown opened up a UK salon catering specifically to plus-size clients. The idea makes sense—larger chairs and drapes, for starters—but some salons are just snooty anyway regardless of one's size, and I'd hate to see salons seizing this as an opportunity to further snootify their offerings since "they have their own salons now."

Backpedal: Procter & Gamble assures shareholders it doesn't support political causes—and then reveals its $40,000 donation to conservative causes in Ohio, including support of Senate bill 5, which would restrict collective bargaining power of public employees.

Gross violation: In other assuring Procter & Gamble news, the district attorney in Scranton, Pennsylvania, assures the public that "No Procter & Gamble products were contaminated" in the case of the P&G employee who has been injecting his semen into coworkers' yogurt containers. 

Latin American biodiversity: Colombia's plan to become a major cosmetics player: Bank on its biodiversity, which, in conjunction with the call for natural ingredients, could easily prove a boon to the nation's economy.

What I see in the mirror:
Wonderful series at The Guardian in which well-known people are asked to share what they see when they look in the mirror. (via Already Pretty) For as Elissa at Dress With Courage reminded us this week, "Your body image is how you perceive, think and feel about your body. This may have no bearing at all on your actual appearance." 

Dirty politics: Interesting twist in Massachusetts politics: Senator Scott Brown posed nude in a 1982 Cosmo spread to help pay for law school. When his likely rival, Elizabeth Warren, commented that she "kept her clothes on" to pay for her own degree, Brown later responded to her jab with, "Thank God." I don't care what Warren looks like or how Brown paid for school; what's interesting is that people thought Brown's words were unkind, as though it would be a compliment to say that we should all want to see a politician nude. Can't we just fast-forward to the sexy stuff like S.139, the Equal Access to Tax Planning Act?

Stuck on you: Beauty Redefined is offering their fantastic body image media literacy billboards as sticky notes. "You are capable of much more than being looked at" is a success writ small as well.

Sunspot: Nail polish that changes colors in the sun! I was all over "mood polish" in the '80s so this is catnip to me.

The best dry shampoo: Two of this week's Beheld topics are magically synthesized this week at Persephone magazine, where Tuesday's interviewee Golda Poretsky writes about not washing her hair. (Her secret hair powder trick made me snort out loud, and it's one I guarantee you haven't heard of yet.) 

What a drag: Rachel Rabbit White asks why we don't love drag kings as much as drag queens. I'm not into most drag queens—most of the ones I've seen seem to be co-opting the sucky stuff about femininity and presenting it as sheer fabulousity instead of truly engaging with it or critiquing it. (In fact, the only drag queen I've seen and truly loved is...a woman, the World Famous BOB, who is a self-described "female female impersonator" and manages to be both fabulous and critical of the feminine role.) My quick answer to her provocative question is that we're used to seeing women take on the hallmarks of masculinity but not the other way around; I suspect that if we had a more culturally equal society drag queens would lose much allure as well.

Small pleasures and the new Dr. Pepper slogan: Finally, someone says something intelligent about the "lipstick index" other than note its existence. (Lipstick sales haven't gone up in this recession, leading to patter about a "nail polish index.") Thank you, Molly Lambert.

"Self-consciousness isolates and cancels": Sally works her magic at Already Pretty to weave together a few of my favorite topics: self-consciousness, projection, and the words we speak to one another about our appearance. 

Beauty, Disrupted: Supermodel CarrĂ© Otis's memoir is out this week, and though the number of celebrity memoirs I've read I can count on one hand (I was once stranded in a cabin with nothing to read except Shirley Maclaine's Out on a Limb), this seems promising. She touches on something in this interview with ET that you rarely see acknowledged in talk about domestic violence: "I think that that initial meeting [with ex-husband Mickey Rourke, who was arrested in 1994 for spousal abuse] was an immediate familiarity. It was sort of recognition of somebody who I knew there was an incredible charge with, and energy between. So in a way it was that 'dangerous at first sight' ...and now I think, I know better —those are the red flags." Also, it's cowritten with Hugo Schwyzer, who always takes a fresh spin on questions of appearance and gender in his own work.

Daredevils, from left: Annie Edson Taylor, Maria Spelterini, Maud Willard

*I spent most of said week taking in a different sort of beauty—upstate New York and Niagara Falls—so this roundup isn't as complete as usual. In compensation, I offer you an off-topic collection of daredevils: Annie Edson Taylor (the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel), Maria Spelterini (the first woman to cross the Niagara gorge on tightrope, in 1876, shown here wearing peach baskets on her feet during one of her three follow-ups to her first successful crossing), and Maud Willard, a dance hall actress who perished in 1901 while trying to shoot the rapids in a barrel. She was accompanied by her fox terrier, who survived, presumably by shoving his little nose inside the single air hole in the barrel.


  1. "(with the possible exception of the Joe Cocker 'With a Little Help From My Friends')"

    Isn't it great? His "Bye Bye Blackbird" is another favorite.

    Here's a nice quote from Chrissie Hynde's "What Do You See In the Mirror?":

    "Someone told me that what you see in the mirror is nothing like how you really look, and I think that's true. Well, you don't pose and pout to strangers on a bus do you?"

    Autumn, she's onto us.

  2. I didn't know Carre Otis had written a memoir! And that she wrote it with Hugo Schwyzer, too! I'm buying it immediately.

    Also, I <3 the World Famous BOB.

  3. "I like that MAC isn't asking me to buy its product to make a better version of myself."

    That's why I like MAC. Their makeup seems to be more transformative/edgy/do whatever you want than touchy-feely brands like Clinique who want to make you a better person LOL

    One thing I don't like is how they put out collections every week. So hard to keep up with!

    Did you see the recent Cindy Sherman collection they did? If you liked Miss Piggy, then you would probably like that one, too

  4. Rebekah, when River Phoenix died I had a get-together--I would hate to call it a party--at which my friends and I watched his movies, and my father got a kick out of coming into the room and putting on Joe Cocker's "Cry Me a River." (And thank you for the Hynde song. EXPOSED!)

    Caitlin, I saw her do a reverse striptease once that literally left me in tears, it was so poignant and such a comment on the performance of femininity--it was solemn, a little sad, a little hopeful, and altogether striking.

    Courtney, it's funny: I rolled my eyes at the Cindy Sherman campaign because I was feeling all anti-corporate at the moment and felt it was a shoddy trick to appear edgy when it's, you know, Estee Lauder. But in the ensuing weeks (and it is nutty that it's weeks and there are already three major campaigns overriding the Sherman collection) and seeing how each one has been truly unique and not preying on our emotions, instead just showcasing the product in a creative way, I've certainly come around.