Make-Up Works: Exaggerated Beauty Gets Noticed

Also in the December issue of Psychology Today, Mina Shaghaghi reports on the findings of a series of studies by Richard Russell of Gettysburg College which explains the “allure of dramatic eye makeup and va-va-voom red lips on women has biological roots.”

It seems that what glamor girls do (whether they know it or not) is increase the contrast of the eyes and lips against the rest of the face — and such contrasts communicate femininity and attractiveness.

psych-beauty

These studies indicate that it’s not so much the colors of your cosmetics, but that they darken the eyes and lips, making the rest of your complexion pale even more by comparison.

For more on this, visit Richard Russell’s Research page (scroll to the bottom for the Artificial Enhancement of Facial Signals studies).

When Beauty Is A Crime

I have a modest collection of vintage vanity items. (My collection and I have even been featured in Collectors News magazine.) And indeed, I’ve often wondered about the vast popularity of Rachel as a powder shade. I’d rather believed the hype that this particular shade was named after a popular actress at the time — but in Antique Personal Possessions, Silvia Druitt gives another possible reason:

In the very limited colour ranges obtainable then and up to the 1930’s, one frequently finds the colour Rachel. This takes its name either from the actress of that name, or, more probably, from a certain Madame Rachel who set up a Salon in New Bond Street, London, in 1863, and had a great success. Alas for her many clients, most of whom wished to keep their visits dark, her most lucrative profession turned out to be a sideline in blackmail. After mulcting many, she ended her career as a beauty specialist in prison.

antique-personal-possessions-cosmetics-beautyThe blackmail was possible because at that time, colored cosmetics were not for ladies, only for prostitutes and/or actresses — the latter of which was equally reviled and in fact, the words ‘actress’ and ‘whore’ were synonymous to many.  This whore/Madonna beauty thing is partly why I began collecting/studying such things, so how intriguing to discover Madam Rachel!

For more on Madam Rachel, I send you to Madame Rachel: Beautiful for Ever at Victorian History, and to Internet Archive for The extraordinary life & trial of Madame Rachel at the Central Criminal Court, Old Bailey, London : on the 22 23, 24 & 25, September, 1868. (If the link doesn’t work; search Archive.org for “Madame Rachel at the Central Criminal Court” and you’ll find it.)

I now eagerly await the publication of Helen Rappaport’s Beautiful for Ever: Madame Rachel of Bond Street -Cosmetician, Con-artist and Blackmailer for more information on this woman who spurned society and spawned so many powdered faces.

Reporting On The Mayan Predicted Demise Of Our Planet

Early in 2010, Greta Sandler smelled the green, envisioning great commercial success in the “green” environmental movement. She cut and pasted digitally merged Shamanistic traditions and historical beauty tips, “recycling” non-attributed native sayings and public domain beauty advice into an ebook, Creating Inner Peace & Outer Beauty While Saving The Earth, published in April of that year.

One of Sandler’s most promoted save the earth beauty rituals was “100 Strokes For Healthy Hair & Animal Habitats.”

Before bed, give your hair 100 brush strokes while chanting: “Honor the sacred. Honor the Earth, our Mother. Honor the Elders. Honor all with whom we share the Earth: Four-leggeds, two-leggeds, winged ones, swimmers, crawlers, plant and rock people. Walk in balance and beauty.”

After completing the 100 strokes, remove the loose hairs from the bristles of your hairbrush and set them free outside as a gift to the earth and her creatures. As you give your offering, whisper your thanks and well-wishes for the creatures who may use your gifted hair to create homes and beds for themselves.

However, Sandler underestimated the viral nature of her YouTube video depicting the hair ritual. The video’s success led to Oprah Winfrey giving away Sandler’s ebook on her ridiculously popular “Oprah’s Favorite Things” holiday episode, which generated even more video sharing and adoption of the book’s philosophies. The cumulative effect was millions of vain and ‘proud to be green’ posers stroking their hair the requisite 100 times and setting the hairs free outdoors.

Such massive amounts of worldwide gifted hair would have disastrous consequences.

Giant hair storms appeared in America. The Bleach-Blonde Tumbleweeds of Los Angels, steady fodder for late night talk show jokes and Fark postings, quickly proved more than comical nuisances as they both fed and spread the flames of the September forest fires. The Grey Geezer Aqua-Nets killed thousands of dolphins and other marine life off the coasts of Florida and Mexico, leaving rotting corpses infecting waterways and spreading disease.

Sandler, now inspiring and empowering stay at home moms to sell her ebooks and line of green beauty products, such as wooden hairbrushes made by ‘indigenous peoples’, went on the media circuit, stating the free market had decided that neither she nor her movement were responsible for a few freak accidents.

Hipster environmentalist groups responded with t-shirts, bumperstickers, canvas tones and other activist merchandise with slogans like “Earth: Hair today; gone tomorrow. ” Their devotion to the cause consisted of public awareness campaigns — pithy practiced sound bites raging at the machine, designed to expose the public to their own swag more than expose the issue; full of sound and fury, signifying nothing except for sales. Sales of their t-shirts and totes — and more of Sandler’s books and philosophies.

Sandler’s business grew; Creating Inner Peace & Outer Beauty While Saving The Earth achieved international success.

In India, Sandler’s book was met with controversy. The progressive youth latched onto the work, twisting the casting out of ‘body waste’ hair into the process of ridding the country of the caste system. The movement was so successful, it resulted in the Black Blizzards of India, which looked much like their namesakes — the American dust storms of the 1930s.

By this time, ecosystems and weather conditions worldwide were affected; yet the Chinese, unable to view Snopes for The Truth of the results of those following Sandler’s philosophies, were eager to adopt this Western fad in the name of their Chinese Nationalist Shamanism Revival — which also served the government’s quest to present to the rest of the world the appropriate enthusiastic environmental consciousness. En masse the Chinese sent their hair offerings, blessing the world with additional clouds of hair the cumulative affect of which blocked out the sun.

Such agricultural damage left no natural anchors to keep the soil in place; combined with weather conditions and other ecological damage, the earth was rapidly becoming one giant Dust Bowl.

By 2012 the world suffocated in hair and dust.

The cockroaches happily survived on the plentiful amounts of hair, biodegradable cotton tees and totes etc., and corpses for water.

Whatjamacallit Wednesday, For Fans Of Blowdryers

A vintage (circa 1920’s-1930’s) photo of a model “using a then state of the art modernist hair dryer”; photo taken by illustrator Charles Gates Sheldon.

vintage-charles-sheldon-flapper-using-early-hair-dryer-photo

Somehow, it sort of makes Madonna’s armpit drying scene in Desperately Seeking Susan (even) more poetic, doesn’t it?

(If you’re into that scene, or Madonna in general, Madonna Celebration: The Video Collection was just released; yup, that hand-dryer-applied-to-sweaty armpit clip’s on it.)

Being Frank About Female Insecurity

“If I had as many love affairs as you give me credit for, I would be speaking to you from a jar at the Harvard Medical School.”
~ Frank Sinatra ~

Ahh, Frank. Everybody loves the Frank. Or at least he was convinced of that.

Is anything as suave & steeped in romance as Frank crooning to you as you eat spaghetti? Maybe… But at least you like pasta, right? Or at least eating…? No? Well, you can’t please everybody.

So even if Mr. Sinatra had as many women as rumored, he wouldn’t have pleased all of them either. And he likely wouldn’t have cared.

But women care. We can please 4,566,782 people, and we worry about the one we didn’t please. Why is that?

Thinking about all that just makes me want some pasta. Or Frank, crooning in my ear as I swirl around a dance floor…

…I hope I dance well enough… that guy over there is looking at me funny…

See? Even in my fantasies, someone isn’t thrilled with me.

That’s why, I guess, we see women’s magazines & television talk shows pander to and exploit female insecurities. Even while they profess to be helping women get over their self-loathing, they sensationalize — ridiculing the person, mocking the appearance of the body part they already are insecure about. Sometimes they even make fun of the women who are proud of the way they or their body part appears. Just look at these casting calls from the past two days:

Can a Snuggie or long nails or body fat really be such a relationship problem? I argue that whoever thinks these things are (or can be) relationship problems is the one with a real problem. And I don’t say that glibly.

Whoever gives the status of the Snuggie so much importance that it not only becomes a “constant source of arguing in your home” but you’d be willing to go on television and argue it some more clearly has a carnival-fun-house-mirror view of reality.

If this is how you see yourself, you have a toxic relationship with yourself.

If this is how you see and treat your spouse, you have a toxic relationship with them.

And clearly the media that exploits these people for (they hope!) the money in our pockets has a toxic relationship with their guests and their audiences.

And if you can see just how distorted that is (and I pray that you do!), then you ought to be able to replace the word “Snuggie” with “hair,” “weight,” “fingernails,” or whatever silly appearance-obsessed insecurity-driven show topics show up in casting calls later this week.

I refuse to watch these shows, to prey on the insecurities of others as entertainment. And whenever someone in my fantasies starts to look at me funny, I give them the boot.

I may not be as full of myself as Sinatra was; but I sure as hell won’t be so insecure with myself (or my spouse, for that matter) that I’d consider myself freakish enough to participate in one of these shows — or be in a jar at the Harvard Medical School.

Odd Curator’s Notes & Whatjamacallit Wednesday

Consider it stuff I could have tweeted if I weren’t so long-winded & too lazy to work within the 140 character limit; yes, you can take the title to mean the following are odd notes by the curator, or notes from the odd curator.

Upon donning my new bra, making adjustments & checking self out in mirror: Why aren’t bras made in as many flesh tone shades as makeup — they are both the foundations of “beauty,” right?

Eldest daughter is selling magazines for high school choir. Upon paging through the catalog & spotting Horse and Rider magazine: They should have Horse & Writer magazine… I still don’t have a horse, but I’ve never outgrown my appreciation; I can’t be the only one…

Reading to hubby the latest Tweet from @shitmydadsays. Post giggle, I say, “Ah, if only our dads abused & confused us more… Well, my biological dad probably would have, but he died when I was little.” I would have added on a glib, “What’s your dad’s excuse?” but hubby’s face but the kabosh on that.

And now what you’ve been waiting for… This week’s Whatjamacallit Wednesday.

I found this in a box full of old pinbacks at a local antique shop — the pin reads “Menopausal Women Nostalgic for Choice.”

menopausal-women-nostalgic-for-choice

See, if you are crazy enough to diligently pour through the hundreds of things in a box or pile, you can find an awesome surprise.

Cheap Thrills Thursday: Throwing Out Body Issues

They say you can tell a lot about a culture by their garbage — “they” being anthropologists, social scientists, & historians (their amateur varieties too), folks who monitor consumerism, as well environmentalists & “green” eco types. And dumpster-diving garbage pickers like me & my family.

Yes, I dumpster dive and “rescue” things found curb-side — and I’m not embarrassed to admit that we teach our children how to appropriately do the same. Especially during our city’s annual cleanup week; that time of year when folks are assisted in their spring cleaning (and post-flood clean-up) efforts by being allowed to rid their homes & garages of things that normally cannot be left curb-side for the municipal garbage pick-up.

This year, during our city’s annual cleanup week, among the major appliances & numerous vintage toilets (presumably so plentiful this year due to flooded basements resulting in insurance checks to refurbish basement bathrooms), we scored big time (including, not shown there, boxes of books and antique farm items). But there were also number of things I just took photographs of because they were too telling about our society…

One was this old personal home sauna — one of those kitschy retro icons of weight-loss & female self-es-steam, er, self-esteem — modeled here by my daughter Destiny.

retro-home-weight-loss-sauna

(Probably the grossest thing she touched that day; imagine the sweaty, possibly nude behinds, that sat in that seat! Hand sanitizer to the rescue!)

retro-vita-master-sauna

Another day & neighborhood away, we found this orange nightstand covered in food, fashion & weight-loss clippings.

kitschy-decoupage-weight-loss-clippings-orange-nightstand

Both girls both, 13 and 20, loved this & were planning a battle for which one would get it. *sigh*

Unwilling to allow either girl to absorb the sorrow of such a “motivational” piece of furniture, I forbade either of them to get it.

But, willing to concede the cool factor of reinventing a shabby piece of furniture, I told them to keep their eyes open (curbside or at thrift shops, rummage sales &/or flea markets) for a small piece of functional yet ugly furniture and I’d show them how to transform it with paint, magazine clippings & decoupage glue. They’ll just have to select some other theme.

Because there’s no way I’m adding more female body issues to the world; not with my kids, and not in memorabilia for future trash collectors & anthropologists.

An Ugly American Watches A Beauty Pageant

After an incredibly busy & exhausting weekend (this was just part of it), I spent a few hours just loafing on the couch Sunday night. Channel surfing, I happened upon the Miss Universe Pageant — I wouldn’t have watched, expect for they were announcing that the female part of Spidey, Heidi Pratt, would be performing a song. Like Scooby-Doo, I say, “Guh?!”

She can’t sing’ she can’t dance — she can barely put more than three moves together & looks like a clomping horse (no offense meant to horses!) while doing it. Don’t believe me? Watch it.

But by the time her performance was over, I was hooked on the train wreck qualities of the show.

Aside from Dean Has-been Cain (and Heidi, who I wish would just go away) the only person I recognized was Tamara Tunie — which surprised me because I’ve always seen her play intelligent women (a lawyer on As The World Turns; a coroner on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit). When Tunie and others asked their questions, they did try to bring up important issues:

  • Should AIDS testing be mandatory?
  • How does it feel to compete in a pageant wearing a bathing suit when some women are not allowed to wear bathing suits?
  • Are women equal to men?
  • Has being beautiful meant you have been taken less seriously as a business person?

Watching the contestants struggle to not answer the questions, to avoid the meat of the issue, was painful. It would be easy to call them robotic Stepford wives, but honestly, how could any of them answer the question directly (let alone honestly) and win the competition?

Watching them give placid answers designed to inflate the room’s already high testosterone levels was to witness a horrifically powerful thing.

It reminded me of the unspoken issues we women have to keep mum about — or risk loosing what places, ground, we have as well as those we aspire to. Watching beautiful young women play that game in a pageant setting was astonishing. Especially in front of La Donald, Mr. Trump. :shudder:

But there was plenty to enjoy too — if your enjoyment, like mine, tends towards the perverse.

I enjoyed the fact that at least one contestant didn’t take not moving on up with the ever shortening list of finalists as gracefully as she’s supposed to. Look at Miss Switzerland’s sad slump of despair!

miss-switzerland-is-sad

I enjoyed watching when Miss Venezuela won — making “history” by giving back-to-back wins for Venezuela in the Miss Universe Pageant — and the former Miss Universe was so excited that she threw the 2009 Miss Universe crown off & over the winner’s head. (This is different coverage than I saw, but you’ll see the crown fumble — and note the unfortunate caption “clinches the tit” as the word title is shortened.)

In looking for photos from last night’s pageant, I found a great number of complaints about the racism in the Miss Universe pageant — especially with regards to Asian women. I haven’t watched a beauty pageant in probably 30 years, so maybe I shouldn’t take the claims as true… But it sure looks like nothing has changed. Except for the internet providing more place for public outcry against the Miss Universe Organization, predictions of which countries will no longer participate, and viewers vowing to switch to other pageants like Miss World.

If I am allowed to make one “purely girlie” observation (one more likely to please La Donald), it’s that Miss Kosovo, Marigono “Gono” Dragusha, is nearly as externally beautiful as Audrey Hepburn. Not only does she physically recall Hepburn, especially around the eyes & in her ball gown performance, but I believe she had stated that she intends to become a counselor to help children affected by the violence in her country. (Miss Kosovo finished as the 2nd Runner Up, aka 3rd place.)

finalists-miss-universe-2009

I don’t have any plans to watch another pageant; but then again, I didn’t plan to watch this one… I do think checking in every 30 years or so might just be enough.

Of Farrah Fawcett & The Trouble With Feminism

I was kitsch-slapped myself, reading this line (in one my feeds) from Linda Lowen’s post regarding Farrah Fawcett’s death:

Considering the fact that Fawcett was one of those impossible-to-live-up-to female images that feminists rail against, there’s been surprisingly little commentary about her passing or about her role in pop culture history from feminist circles.

Ugh, where do I even begin?

farrah_fawcettI could try to rectify the “little commentary from feminists” comment by showing all the other posts I’d read (and skimmed in feeds) in which feminists eulogize Farrah; but I’m a bit too lazy — and hot under the collar — to gather them all.

Then there’s the matter of this, Lowen’s response to Lisa Westerfield’s “feminist Farrah Fawcett” piece (originally published prior to Fawcett’s death; republished the day the actress died):

Still Expected to Cook Dinner
Westerfield doesn’t make this point, but Fawcett’s marriage to actor Lee Majors (who played the Six Million Dollar Man) was more of the same old ‘Cinderella marries the Prince’ story than a fresh, modern tale of a strong woman controlling her own destiny. (Westerfield, however, does acknowledge that Fawcett had to leave the show in time to go home to make dinner for her husband each night.)

Sorry, but this is not the stuff that feminist icons are made off.

So marriage makes one less of a feminist? Or is it just specific kinds of marriages, left undefined, that Lowen doesn’t like? I can’t tell. And then she mentions the whole “making dinner for her husband thing.” So boring. But more upsetting actually that here I go again…

farrah-fawcett-lee-majorsThe truth is, we cannot know exactly why Farrah wanted out of Charlie’s Angel’s… Whether if was for “bigger bolder career reasons” or if she “had” to be there to make Lee’s daily dinners, or maybe, and this is too often left out of the conversation, Farrah herself wanted to be there make, serve & enjoy those meals with Majors more than be on TV. If she wanted to be there to make his man-meals after work or instead of her own career, that was her damn choice.

That’s what feminism is about; a woman’s right to choose the life she leads.

And yes, that includes the right to play 1950’s atomic “mommy” to her man. It may be, for some folks, harder to swallow than that retro lime Jell-O with its suspended carrot shavings; but suck it up & choke it down, because that’s still an option a woman has the right to choose. You have no more right to tell her she can’t than anyone else can tell her she must.

If she made that choice to be “Mrs.” rather than focus on a “career,” that is the stuff feminist icons are made of.

If she didn’t really, or freely, make that choice, as many claim, let’s look at why that would be… She went, as most women then did (and many still do — or are expected to), from Daddy’s Little Girl to The Little Woman. Breaking out of such family dynamics isn’t as easy as marching on Washington, you know. It is an individual act, done in isolation, railing against a patriarch you love; while the latter is undertaken en mass, railing against a The Patriarchy. Standing up to a man you love (whose face you adore), as opposed to standing up to The Man (who is anonymous & faceless), requires a maturity most women, especially without personally accessible role models, do not achieve until they are in their 30’s or beyond.

This Farrah did.

Isn’t that the stuff feminist icons are made of too? Or must we only be recognized if we are born with the power of rebellion, railing against things we don’t yet understand?

But what sticks in my craw most, are all the assumptions packed into one neat line in Lowen’s article: “the fact that Fawcett was one of those impossible-to-live-up-to female images that feminists rail against.”

Fact?! Who the hell says that all feminists rail against beauty? Most of us may rail against the need &/or pressure to conform to (white male) versions of “beauty,” but many of us are wise enough to realize that when a female is beautiful, impossible to live up to or not, she’s, well, she’s just beautiful.

Beauty, by itself, means nothing more, nothing less; no objectification necessary.

Nor is there a need for hatred or jealousy, or whatever pretense the stereotypical snark is supposedly serving. Such things are patriarchal constructions to divide & conquer women; crap I, and others, simply won’t perpetuate.

Some of us are also wise enough to see how beauty can & will be used against the one who possesses it. Not just in Hollywood, which rakes in money exploiting fair face & figure, while unfairly limiting actresses (such as Marilyn Monroe, Farrah Fawcett, Lucille Ball, and, recently, even Tina Fey) to (stereo)type; but everywhere.

Farrah fought against such things, not just with her stage & screen roles which eventually earned her some respect, but in her own life. Why diminish her to mean-spirited comments disguised as wit, like this comment left at Correctly Impolitic:

Here’s why the hoopla about MJ and not FF:
Michael Jackson was a spectacular talent who had mediocre hair.
Farrah Fawcett was a mediocre talent who had spectacular hair.

To mock a woman & diminish her value to only that of an icon of beauty, or “spectacular hair,” is abusive. Like an abusive spouse, such devaluation at the hands of an individual or a group culturally is an attempt to isolate and control.

To mock a woman & diminish her value to only that of an icon of beauty, or “spectacular hair,” is objectification. You are objectifying her.

farrah-fawcett-playboy-cover-1978And don’t give me this BS that she’s asking for it; no one, Playboy fantasy girl or not, wants to be viewed solely for their occupation or one facet of their life.

Fawcett fought to have others see her many facets. She fought to make some decidedly feminist productions. But even if she had opted to make a career out of jiggle TV & silly bimbo roles (stuff our culture digs with a big spoon, allowing “dumb bimbos” to laugh all the way to the bank), she’d still be a feminist in my book. As long as she had choices to make & was exercising her right to choice, she was a feminist.

A beautiful feminist.

Why is that so difficult to accept?

farrah-fawcett-july-1997-playboyYou know, it’s so damn weird that people actually spend time discussing whether or not so-and-so’s hair coloring is real — and if she colored/bleached it, if she’s doing it for the patriarchy. Why waste your time on that? Isn’t it enough that there’s an asshat ready to call you old, fat & ugly the minute you stand up for yourself or dare to assert your rights as a female? While their words are no sticks & stones that can break our bones, they are designed to hurt us, discredit us, and I resent the attempts. Are my words less important if I am ugly? No. Making oneself ugly to be taken more seriously or make one “more feminist” doesn’t work either. So beauty, even great amounts of it, do not remove one’s ability to be smart or dilute one’s ability to be a feminist.

It’s such a damn mess being a judged woman. You can be a bitched at beauty, or simply dismissed as a bimbo, one minute and then called a fat cow the next just for asserting yourself or educating another with some fact or other (maybe even for daring to mock Sanjaya). It happens at Wal*Mart, in academia, in the blogosphere, at family reunion picnics… Everywhere & anywhere. And I’m sick of it.

Stop this incessant bitching about who is and isn’t being a good feminist or feminist role model. Stop worry about who wears lip gloss, bleaches her hair, & why. Stop making snide gossipy comments about who is a stay at home mom, a working mom, or a true career woman; who does or doesn’t have kids; who does or doesn’t have a man — who doesn’t even want a man — and why. Just stop worrying about what people choose to do (99 times out of 100, it has nothing to do with anyone’s safety or your life) and start worrying about whether people have equal rights to control their own lives.

That’s what feminism & true equality are all about.

farrah_fawcett_poster_1976And if you’ve got spectacular hair, a killer smile, and only-too-happy-to-be-seen perky nipples, good for you. You’re beautiful! Why on earth should I make that your cross to bear or discuss if that makes you “feminist enough?” I’m only worried if you’ve got the right to make your own choices in life.

And to hell with the rest of ’em who want to put you in a box.

Especially when the only box you really are in is your coffin.

Farrah exercised her ability to choose how to live her life as best she could; and that’s as feminist as it gets.

Can’t Be A Sleeping Beauty On Real Issues

Via Teacups & Couture I found the works of photographer Dina Goldstein which follows up with fairy tale princess and their “happily ever afters.”

dina-goldstein-fallen-princess-cincer

Goldstein shares her exploration of Disney Princesses in Fallen Princesses at JPG Magazine:

These works place Fairy Tale characters in modern day scenarios. In all of the images the Princess is placed in an environment that articulates her conflict. The ‘…happily ever after’ is replaced with a realistic outcome and addresses current issues.

The project was inspired by my observation of three-year-old girls, who were developing an interest in Disney’s Fairy tales. As a new mother I have been able to get a close up look at the phenomenon of young girls fascinated with Princesses and their desire to dress up like them. The Disney versions almost always have sad beginning, with an overbearing female villain, and the end is predictably a happy one. The Prince usually saves the day and makes the victimized young beauty into a Princess.

As a young girl, growing up abroad, I was not exposed to Fairy tales. These new discoveries lead to my fascination with the origins of Fairy tales. I explored the original brothers Grimm’s stories and found that they have very dark and sometimes gruesome aspects, many of which were changed by Disney. I began to imagine Disney’s perfect Princesses juxtaposed with real issues that were affecting women around me, such as illness, addiction and self-image issues.

There are 2 more to be shot for this series which is going on exhibit on Oct. 15/09

The images are striking; the subject matter near to my heart.

dina-goldstein-fallen-princess-rapunzel

dina-goldstein-fallen-princess-jasmine

I did some work in college on the messages in Disney images & stories. My project, Damaged By Disney, was similarly inspired by watching my then very young daughter digest Disney images — and now that I’ve had nearly two more decades of additional experiences I find I am only more interested.

dina-goldstein-fallen-princess-not-so-little-riding-hood

I had to talk with Dina to see just what the two planned photographs would be about.

dina-goldstein-fallen-princess-belle

I was hoping she’d use one of the last two works to explore violence against women — it’s such a huge problem, one that’s not very well understood, in large part because few want to discuss it. Domestic violence and sexual assault of women are not covered as often as they should be; they are dismissed from discussion, deemed one part “taboo” and one part “drag.” But as both a survivor of domestic violence and a victim of date rape, I was hoping Goldstein would use her considerable talents to bring up the subjects.

dina-goldstein-fallen-princess-snowy

When I asked Goldstein, she confessed that the two planned photos, featuring Ariel and The Princess & The Pea, would not address domestic violence or violence against women.

:sigh:

But I do think that I’ve planted a seed — Nay! I’ve placed the Domestic Violence & Violence Against Women peas beneath her mattress, and now I must just wait to see how many sleepless nights it takes to convince the photographer to lend her visual voice to the issues.

dina-goldstein-fallen-princess-sleeping-beauty

“Milwaukee Blue”

In the 80’s, I worked in the cosmetics area of a department store — but not just for any cosmetics brand, it was Estée Lauder; and not just any department store either, it was Marshall Fields. Hence I had a lot of training, including district training sessions, which meant traveling to or training with people outside of Milwaukee.

One of my first large training sessions I learned that Milwaukee was famous for more than being America’s Dairy Land, known for more than the land of beer & brats and its associates sports teams; Milwaukee had a bad rap beauty wise.

The other Lauder beauty advisers teased us all for having named a particular type of customer after our area. These customers were those who were stuck in a decade or two prior to the one we were all living in now — most commonly seen as the swipe of blue eyeshadow across the lid. This 1974 Aziza Eyes ad illustrates the look.
1974-aziza-eyes-advertisement

This look began in the 60’s & had a resurgence in the 70’s, so it was completely dated in the 80’s, prompting the other Lauder girls (mainly those from Chicago who kept looking down their powdered noses at “small time” Milwaukee — grrr) to dub the beauty faux pas “Milwaukee Blue.”

If this post serves any purpose it is to remind you that many of those cosmetic girls are indeed talking about you & your dated makeup look.

I suppose “Milwaukee Blue” has left the vocabulary of most women in the beauty business by now… Which makes me wonder what the latest local beauty slur is.

Vintage Roadshow

Now, be careful; there’s a monster at the end of this post…

Couture Allure shows how to stretch your wardrobe with a vintage sheath dress.

Debutante Clothing introduces Vintage Style Muse Helsinki Pinup, Freelancer’s Fashionblog.

Glamoursplash has a customer win a prize in a vintage beach bathing beauty contest.

Here’s Looking Like You, Kid talks about the history of rompers & playsuits.

The Bobbypin Blog shows us how to get a fingerwave look like Keira Knightley.

Things Your Grandmother Knew has tips on darning stockings.

Now, here’s the monster at the end of the post!

retro-stuffed-grover

How Can Any Man Love A Listless Cranky Woman?

By drugging her, I guess. At least that’s the impression I get from this vintage ad for Jayne’s Tonic Pills found inside the 1941 Jayne’s Almanac,published by Dr. D. Jayne & Son, Inc., Philadelphia, PA. (Yup, the image gets big enough to read if you click it. So click it and follow along with the class.)

Well, I guess it is just pushing iron and B-1… But still, check this out:

If your husband isn’t as attentive as he use to be; or, if you are single and the telephone never rings any more for dates, the chances are it is your own fault.

Wow. It couldn’t possibly be that hubby’s a jerk, having an affair, or secretly hiding the fact that he’s gay (maybe all three?) It couldn’t be that the guy in 2A who waits for you at the mailbox every day has cut your phone line. Nope. It’s you, babe.

Whatever men do — or don’t do — it’s your freakin’ fault. So even when you’re continually complaining about being so tired, don’t check all the facts or see a doctor — take the tonic. And like it.

Oooh, tiny, pleasant pellets, in a small handy package… Wait! Isn’t that how I got into this marriage in the first place…?

And when the iron binds your intestines tighter than a Chinese foot in a lotus-shaping shoe, just as effectively forcing you to hobble about, I’m sure Jayne will have another tonic for that.

But only take it if your hubby is unhappy with your hobbing about &/or constipation. Because if it ain’t bothering him, it just doesn’t matter.

You Can’t Cover Your Fingernails In Velvet, Even When You Want To

I thought I was going to have this fab-u-lous Valentine’s Day beauty project for you, but I ran into a few problems along the way…

I had the concept: Wrapping your fingernails in red velvet.

Ridiculously impossible sounding as far as living with them goes — they’d be sure to get full of gunk and even showering would be a disaster. But the idea of one romantic night where you could both look and feel so glamorous that practicalities were of no consequence was seductive… What would it feel like to run bits of velvet along my skin… His skin… So unexpected!  Plus, I just lurve red velvet, so practicality be damned!

I knew a few things would be problematic going in to this project… Like fabric itself was going to be a real bitch because getting it to adhere and keeping the edges from fraying were going to be too monumental for my wee crafting skills. So I immediately thought of flocked paper — the very same paper used by altered artists and scrapbooking folks. I headed out to Hobby Lobby.

But it was February 11th, and if they ever had red flocked paper, they were out. So I went to Michael’s. Even worse, no flocked paper at all.  So back to Hobby Lobby again to buy the pink flocked paper — and a paper with a red flocked pattern because, I figured, with the size of fingernails, I could get a few out of those wide areas and maybe a stripe of red ‘velvet’ would be cool too. (OK, and I bought a few other sheets of a pink pattern because it was on sale at 50% off. And because I could.)

I went to Wal Mart, intending this to be a quick run-in for a box of Lee press-on nails — only to find that the world of fake nails has become much larger and cheesier than ever. No Lee press-on nails either. So I carefully selected fake nails that did not involve the dreaded acrylic powder (which would render my very temporary red velvet nails far more of a mess at removal time than making them would be) and ended up with a box of 100 Kiss Active Oval glue-on nails for like $5.

I got all my items together and ambushed hubby when he came home for lunch today to take the pictures — because I knew with my hands busy, someone would need to snap the photos.

The plan was relatively simple:

1 Select the nail that fit you, file off that center ‘prick’ with a nail file. Shape it a bit if you wanted to.

2 On the back of the flocked paper, trace the nail — rolling it as you did so, in order to get full coverage of the fingernail.

3 Cut out the fingernail shape you traced, staying just slightly inside the tracing line so that you’d fit the nail and not end up with discolored edges along the sides of your nails.

All that went swimmingly; now it was time to for step 4: glue them on. In order to better assess which type of glue would be best (and to inspect the fit of the flocked paper nail), I placed the paper cut-out nail on the top of the curved plastic Kiss nail. Quickly I discovered that the paper was too thick; it would not nicely curve around the plastic nail without leaving a bump or fold-like area. Hmmmm…

Hubby suggested I tear off the white paper backing, removing a layer to make it thinner. So we did that and it curved much better. As a razor was required to get the separation started, I decided to cut a section from the flocked paper sheet & separate if first, then trace and cut. Now I had two pink flocked paper nails to apply.

I figured the Super Glue would be problematic; be too fast drying for all the curving & smoothing required, that the glue might seep through the paper making an unsightly mess of the paper, or that I’d end up gluing my fingers to themselves or attaching them inappropriately to the fingernail. So I decided to try US ArtQuest’s Perfect Paper Adhesive 8 Ounce-Matte first. (It’s my favorite glue/adhesive.) I applied an even, medium coat to the plastic nail and formed the pink flocked paper over the top of it. The edges just didn’t want to remain down.

I briefly considered a few other options, such as making larger pieces of the paper nails to fold around the edge — but then I’d have to cut sections to fit the curves. Ugh.

I decided that we were close… but not quite there… Maybe the Super Glue would work. So I used that on the second try. The bad news was that it worked even worse. The good news was that I was right about how much more troublesome the glue would be — and that even with a few scary moments, I did not end up glued to anything.

(Nail on the left was created with Super Glue; nail on right using PPA.)

So, I’ve not yet found a way to get red (or any other color) velvet fingernails. Not for this Valentine’s Day, anyway.

Got any ideas on how to do this? Hit me with ’em.