pink + spackle = ?

Been a bit busy with that whole “work” side of life, but two choice morsels from my favourite spinster aunt, for your greater delectation:


On wearing makeup and its effects on others’ perception of competence/professionalism/trustworthiness. Or, as Jill puts it:

the trustworthiness, warmth, approachability, and competence of women wearing varying amounts of spackle. The spackle levels were “barefaced,” “natural,” “professional,” and “glamorous.”

Dude Nation translation: “lesbian,” “lazy,” “Patty Hewes,” and “slut.”

Apparently the more makeup you wear (and of course buy), the more awesome people think you are when making snap judgements about you. Snap judgements, as you know, are the main kind of judgment people make about women. […]

The New York Times article reporting on the study contains the following assertions made by an assortment of certified beauty experts:


“The pursuit of beauty is a biological as well as a cultural imperative.”

On my home planet, the planet Obstreperon, this statement translates as “Women are hardwired to align their appearance with pornographic fads as a reflection of their one true purpose as cosmetics consumers and sex toilets.”

[…] Who among us has not been afraid to go for just a little more luminosity […] ? Well, dudes, for one. When a dude wants to give an “I’m in charge here” kind of impression, he’s not reaching for a deeper lip color. How many straight dudes do you know who give a flip for luminosity? Dudes don’t yearn for beauty. Their yearnings are more realistic: they wish to be rock stars, astronauts, international playboys. Theirs is a world of action. Ours is a world of passive shininess.

This study and its results have been bouncing around the net for a while. Me, I’d like to see more men wearing makeup. As you’ve probably worked out by now, I like and trust Eddie Izzard. Possibly cos he wears makeup, and wears it well.

Obviously the results were skewed: women wearing more makeup = untrustworthy, less = more trustworthy but also less professional. Few people sem to have cross-compared the results for gender difference. To me, it looks like for men, less makeup / an attempt to look less made-up = perceived as more professional and competent. But hang on a minute. Look at what all those competent professional types have been up to, what sorts of jobs they’ve been doing so well, and where they’ve landed us. Give me honest + unprofessional any day. So: less of the golf-club look, more guyliner. A cheeky grin wouldn’t hurt. Maybe even a bit of gurning. That goes for us women too: what’s with the looking serious = being serious = to be taken seriously nonsense?

Factor in other research data (from a professional organization, re. first job interviews): in the case of us pale blue peeps: we look unhealthy, possibly consumptive, certainly not as pink-cheeked pouty-lipped as would indicate fukability and suggest reproductive guarantees. I’ve actually been told to wear foundation *of a different shade* all over, and to tint my hair–either going blonde or a darker reddish-auburn-brunette–to increase chances on the employment meat -market. I compared notes with friends/colleagues of my cohort who were also on the market at the same time; including friends of Chinese, Korean, Indian, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Nigerian, Ghanaian, Kenyan, and Zimbabwean origin; and my best-looking friend, who’s an international Caribbean hybrid of marvel and mystery. We’d all been told variations on “look more standard and middle-of-the-road,” less ethnically specific, and generally more beige.

Or, as one of the commenters (nails) puts it: “the lady tax.”

Go read the original I Blame The Patriarchy post: New study shows makeup is not optional.*  And the comments. A joy as ever.

* (content licence: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licence)

As for the ginger: Still in employment, lucky me, for the time being. Though who ever knows how stable that is in this day and age… for anyone, even some of those in the 1%…

Still wearing black. And not wearing foundation. Nor, indeed, blusher and other things that make people feel less ill about looking at me au naturel. Eyelashes remain resolutely black, and yes, I’ll wear some lippie. Because I like it and it feels like the “real me underneath,” the one that’s not got invisible lashes and is slightly pinkish-reddish of the mouth. Kind of regarding absolute facial nudity as a fake surface on top of the real–and one way to restore the real is to repaint it on top, given I can’t dig off that superficial layer without damaging myself.

* (content licence: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licence)

Care to reply?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s