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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Cosmetics

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Author Topic: Cosmetics
Aela 57
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Just been thinking about makeup, and how I've been told I look greatly improved with it, as many other people also believe.

Please note this isn't me posting to want to discuss the pros and cons of it. My point in posting is, why is it that we are seen as more attractive with these products?

Logically by nature, animal instinct, etc I'd imagine people would be more attractive in their natural form (ie with no makeup) especially considering most makeup is obvious when used, especially eye makeup like mascara etc.

Is is all the media that makes people think makeup is so desirable? Or is it that it exaggerates our naturally attractive parts, like our eyes? Or something else?

Thanks for any contributions [Smile]

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Aela. 19, 5'9. Often confused.

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KittenGoddess
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Well, there is some indication that various forms of makeup (temporary, permanent, whatever) initially served much the same purpose as the mating displays of many animals. With some animals, individuals who wanted to mate engage in flashy, colorful physical displays or have specialized patterns and colors to help attract the attention of potential mates. Since humans don't really come equiped with special feathers or something, it's possible that they learned to utilize cosmetic products to attract attention and to highlight their healthiness and readiness to engage in mating behavior.

Regardless of why we started using these products, there definately is a cultural aspect to it as well. But it's interesting to consider as well where it came from initially.

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Sarah Liz

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Ikeren
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Well, sex began with genetics - you looked for somebody who had physical features that implied good genes. So it stands to reason the thing it came from originally was people trying to emphasize characteristics that implied good genes, or trying to hide characteristics that implied bad genes.

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19, male, interested in Sadomasochism (BDSM) and some bisexual tendancies.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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quote:
Well, sex began with genetics - you looked for somebody who had physical features that implied good genes. So it stands to reason the thing it came from originally was people trying to emphasize characteristics that implied good genes, or trying to hide characteristics that implied bad genes.

That's not something set in stone, nor something I know that anyone can say with any authority -- sex "beginning" with genetics and procreation.

We also have plenty of anthopological and practical evidence to support the fact that sex is, was and has always also been about bonding, about comfort, about pleasure. To whit, we also have plenty of evidence that bisexuality and homosexuality aren't anything new, and procreation isn't an issue there with sex, so.

Per the cosmetics issue, one thing to also bear in mind is that "face paint" and the like, while in Western culture primarily is popular among women, isn't that way in all cultures. In many others, through history and now, it's been more unilaterally shared between the sexes. And to relate it to what Ikeren was postulating, when we look through a historical lens, again, I'm having a hard time supporting how makeup was about hiding genetic flaws. Certainly, we see a lot through history per replicating the appearance of the sexual flush: darkened lips, brightened eyes. There's a lot of history per cosmetics about their use to appear of a higher or high fiscal/social class. But we also have evidence of cosmetics being used for things as simple as protecting skin from the sun.

Historically, we'll also find very few people and polulations where cosmetics were a daily constant until the last century or two. Heck, it still isn't for many people.

Just food for thought.

[ 06-19-2006, 07:47 PM: Message edited by: Miz Scarlet ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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faifai
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quote:
Originally posted by Aela 57:
Is it all the media that makes people think makeup is so desirable? Or is it that it exaggerates our naturally attractive parts, like our eyes? Or something else?

I don't think the media does make makeup, by itself, desirable (in fact, I'd go so far as to say that the media looks at obvious, excessive makeup as being unattractive).

Rather, the media makes looking flawless desirable. Now, people's perceptions of what constitues a flaw CAN be attributed to the media--for example, most magazines use heavy retouching/staged sets/etc. to get the skin looking smooth, to reduce visible hair, to "clean up" the hairline, whatever.

Some people see that, wish that they could look like the model in the magazine, and stress out about it when they can't seem to compare. However, not even the original person could compare, if you think about it logically! The wrinkle-free, hairless, lush-lipped model was enhanced by computers, all in the pursuit of looking absolutely perfect (though what defines "perfect" is fairly arbitrary).

"As Cindy Crawford once said, 'I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford.' She can't, of course. This is a look achieved in the past by cosmetics, camera angle, lighting, airbrushing...and now by digital retouching." --from a news article about how far retouching can go.

And makeup is just one of the easiest ways to get to that goal of looking "perfect." Your everyday basic makeup is used to highlight the features you like and hide/alter/improve the features you don't, basically the purpose of it is to improve what you got until you reach your desired effect.

The side effect of all this, of course, is that in the pursuit of being perfect, flawless, and forever youthful, you begin to lose what makes you YOU. Open up a Vogue one day and look at all the models--though they all may be quite different-looking from your average person on the street, they all tend to resemble each other as well. What you see as a flaw to be covered up with makeup can often be what makes you unique.

Now, I'm not knocking makeup at all. In fact, doing people's makeup is one of my hobbies and joys, because it is quite fun to transform myself and others into whatever I want. But there's something to be said about how people's views of themselves can be changed just because of what makeup can do for them. I'm not, and I don't ever want to be one of those people who wakes up early just to "put her face on," so to speak.

And I'm saddened when others think that they aren't fit to step out of the house unless they're wearing their everyday war paint, or believe it when others tell them that they'd look oh so much better (and what, somehow be of more value?) if they just swiped on some lipgloss and waxed those brows. Like so many things, that whole attitude needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

[ 06-19-2006, 08:18 PM: Message edited by: faifai ]

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disconnect and let me drift/until my upside down is right side *in*

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nali
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From around 7th grade and on I always wore lots of makeup. It took a long time (and some really good friends) to convince that it's fine to go without it. Going without makeup has also made my skin a lot happier!
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summergoddess
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quote:
why is it that we are seen as more attractive with these products?
--we are seen more atttractive with these products because of the way it is protrayed in the mass media especially in magazines with the airbrushing and etc so it makes us want to apply make up to our faces when we really don't need it. The media has a way of pulling people in doing what they want them to do so it makes it like it's by choice when it's not. People just need to understand that they are allowed to not to sport makeup on their face. Love goes beyond looks. People like you for what you are, not for what you look like. Society knows that sex always sells so makeup ups portrays sexiness in you when there's already you sexy naturally.

I had to learn the hard way for a long time in my teens. I used to wear tons of make up in my younger years because i thought it made me look more beautiful when really I am already beautiful without it. For the last five years, I haven't wore make up much. I even go to work without it on my face. Really, the only time that I want to be makeup sexy is when i go clubbing or a formal event like a wedding or formal dinner/dance event. My husband likes me the way I am and so do I. The true sexiness is your own natural look.

[ 07-18-2006, 06:17 PM: Message edited by: summergoddess ]

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~Jules

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