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Showing posts from December, 2018

A Year in Beauty Demands

At this time of year, magazines urge us to dress in “perfect party dresses to hit the dance floor in” (Marie Claire), and to buy “Christmas makeup sets ALL beauty lovers will want” (Cosmopolitan), not forgetting “the best fake tans for surviving the winter washout” (Glamour).
It all sounds somewhat exhausting! Why not instead look back at our blog and see what our contributors have said and done about beauty in 2018? 
We began the year, appropriately, with Heather Widdows musing on how New Year’s resolutions had changed over time to focus on appearance rather than character improvement, and the potential harms of this; an idea also explored by Ajmal Mubarik. Throughout 2018, various other themes have emerged: Social Media As a primarily visual environment, social media is impossible to ignore in relation to appearance. Knowing that social media images are idealised does not make us less susceptible to their effect, according to Jasmine Fardouly. However, the impact is not clear-cut wi…

Blending in and standing out: Comfort and visibility in beauty practices

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When I was about twelve years old, a schoolfriend said I had beautiful eyes. “You should outline them in black!” she said. Encouraged by the compliment, the next morning I attempted to follow her advice. I didn’t own any black eyeliner, so I tried to create the recommended effect by layering blue and brown eyeliner on top of each other. On the school bus, my friend smiled and gave me the thumbs up. I had succeeded!
The pleasure was short-lived. Over the course of the day the liners separated and smudged, leaving me with multi-coloured panda eyes. A boy with whom I was usually friendly passed me a note on which he’d written a humorous poem mocking my makeup skills. I was not a figure of beauty. I was a figure of fun.
Decades later, most days I still don’t wear makeup. Occasionally, though, I do apply it. Sometimes I regret it instantly: my skills aren’t necessarily up to the job, and I end up wiping it all off. Other times, knowing my limitations and working within them, I achieve a …