Friday, June 21, 2013

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.


  1. If you charged admission to read your Friday post, I'd pay it. Your links and commentary are that valuable.

  2. "Researchers working with Proctor and Gamble..." Yikes. On the one hand, I'd love to think that this was a wonderful partnership--the people making the products many people use conducting research to find the root of a problem they claim to solve. After all, that seems like a reasonable role for a company. But all I can think is that they're creating a new problem to fix. Which was your point but I guess I thought it'd be buried deeper in the article. :-)

    1. Exactly! I mean, points for transparency, but it's like, what's next?

  3. hmm ... do you really think that painting someone's toenails while they are asleep falls "under the umbrella of abuse"? or maybe i'm misreading you ...

    1. Hi Megan! You're not misreading me; I really do think that. I mean, of course it's contextual--if two people have a shared history of playing such jokes on one another and it's all understood to be in good fun, of course that's not abusive behavior. But something doesn't have to be violent for it to fall under that umbrella. If you look at a comprehensive list of abusive behaviors, it includes things like controlling behavior and humiliation, and while of course I don't know these people from jack, my hunch says that this fellow would take painted tootsies on a man as humiliation. (Not that it's inherently humiliating; it's not. But plenty of men would find it as such; that's why hazing often includes things like men wearing makeup.)

      I just feel like if I'm in this space arguing that the way we adorn ourselves is a form of self-expression and sends all kinds of signals, that includes looking at the ways it can be actively used as a tool of manipulation in ways that fall outside of the normal (i.e. media manipulating women to feel bad about themselves, etc.).

  4. Just a note - the pictures of the Reluctant Femme polish I put in that post were of my nails, so I HAD tried it. Loki's Lacquer made me a mini size so I could show it off.

    1. Of course you've tried it! I meant that *I* hadn't done so. It looks gorgeous!

    2. Ahhh, right, the blogger as in YOU, not me. With you now :)

      Also, it IS gorgeous, and all sold out! o.0

  5. The makeup tutorial was meant as a sarcastic mockery of feminist stereotypes, I believe.