#8 The Unmade Woman!
"I don't want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.” Alicia Keys
c: We say this word feminine, the reformation of feminine and we all have in our minds what feminine is and it’s usually something soft and sweet and frilly, rainbows, unicorns…
h: Sugar and spice and everything nice…
c: Yes, but that is not the feminine we talk about, it’s something far deeper than that, something far more sacred than that. If you’re the burliest, toughest, strongest, meanest man on the planet, you have feminine essence in you. If you're a woman who would punch out anyone who would suggest anything about you is traditional feminine, you have the essence of feminine in you. That is the feminine we talk about when we talk about he emancipation of feminine, it’s about drawing that forward. Humanity needs that. The piece we have been ignoring, putting aside for so long. We need that to move forward, and it’s in all of us, it’s not just in women, it’s in everyone. That’s what we’re talking about. When it comes to this name of ours — the Virgin, it’s not a trophy, men. It’s not a trophy. We're talking about a word people use to downgrade something absolutely sacred in everyone who chooses that for themselves. And when we talk about the Bitch we’re not talking about the woman who disagrees with you, the one you want to hold down when she rises up. We’re talking about the freedom for someone to speak their mind and for you — for us, to respect it. That’s what we’re talking about. And when it comes to Beauty, that’s what our show is about today.
h: I was really moved by Alicia Keys’ no makeup movement. She's decided not to wear makeup, not only at concerts, on tv on the voice, but in her day to day life as well. She feels makeup not only covers her face but her expression of self to fit a model of what society wants her to be as far as beauty goes, instead of what she truly is. The other underlying, vital point I feel really important exploring is she is not shaming anyone who does want to wear makeup. That isn’t the point of the movement, it’s saying that weather or not you want to that you should have the right to choose. That ties back to consent, having the ability, agency and autonomy to see what you want and you value, and having the means to be able to act on that.
c: I like this headline: Alicia Keys is refusing to wear makeup, refusing! Outrage! No, she is choosing not to put makeup on her face.
h: I love the way the media is spinning that. It’s like she’s letting all of the celebrity establishment down by exposing what we actually look like as human beings. How dare she.
c: I’m of two minds about this. The whole thing came about because Alicia wrote an article for Lenny Magazine. In it she says, “women and girls shouldn’t be forced to wear makeup. Public scrutiny has altered my perception of beauty and perfection. When I first started people would say, "I'm hard, I act like a boy, I must be gay, I should be more feminine! So, I wrote a list of all the things that I was sick of — one was how much women are brainwashed into feeling like we have to be skinny, or sexy, or desirable, or perfect. I was tired of the constant judgment of women.”
h: Amen sister.
c: Do you feel the same?
h: oh yeah, I feel like coming from a voice like hers with the pedestal we put celebrities onto and this sense that they are this almost untouchable standard of beauty, and she is really shining a bright light into a dark, dark room. She’s saying that I look normal like everyone else and I feel this pressure to continue this facade that’s being projected to women. She is seeing the consequences in her own life, and proliferating that feeling to other women. I really applaud her for the steps she’s taken. You must have seen the level of hate from women and men alike that she has made this decision.
c: Absolutely, but I also find it interesting that she originally had to be talked into doing this by her photographer. She came straight from the gym in her sweats and hat and the photographer said, I like that way you look, let’s shoot you that way and it was like, aaaaahhh. So the photographer told her, your music is raw, it’s fresh, I want you to look raw and fresh. Why don’t we give it a shot. And boom, a revolution is born. After the shoot she said, “It was the most empowered, most free, and most honestly beautiful that I have ever felt. I don't want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.” That was her moment of eureka! To be fair to Alicia, she does say, “me choosing to be makeup free doesn't mean I'm anti-makeup. I love my lip gloss, I love my blush, I love my eyeliner. 'It's not about that. At the same time, I don't want to feel beholden— to have to do it.” It’s a freedom for her. She’s cutting the chord; power to her for that. I see it though like the princess leading the peasant revolution. Alicia Keys is not your average girl next door.
h: Even without makeup she is absolutely stunning.
c: She won the gene pool lottery, the talent lottery and every lottery out there. This woman makes, on the low end $45 Million annually, or on the high end $130 — somewhere between there is what she takes home. She lives in a New Jersey mansion, $12 Million. Her husband comes home with a paltry $65 million. If I were a real cynic, and the music industry is an industry I used to work in, everything you do that is slightly different than the competition gives you an advantage.
h: Give you an edge. And even with her photographer’s idea of we want to do something different that you’ve never done before…
c: And it may have been from the heart and be absolutely pure, however, you can always spin it another way. I do applaud her and honour her for cutting that umbilical chord to her makeup. I wonder though how many women can do it, afford to walk away from makeup in their everyday lives. Could yo do that, walk away completely form makeup.
h: Yeah, I think I could, but like you said, if you’ve already won a genetic lottery, and as much as I’m the last person who wants to admit this, but when you look presentable and you’re carrying yourself with a certain confidence, and sometimes that's what makeup gives women, to not use it and you see how people treat you differently, and realize what opportunities, either perceived or real, were lost, there is something to be said to that. Do new and maybe better opportunities happen when you put the makeup aside and feel confided from within. Do you make different kinds of opportunities for yourself? It’s worth exploring. It’s all depends on how you’re getting that innate sense of self esteem. That can be complimented by makeup, but if you are relying solely on makeup to feel that way, again I think you’re setting yourself up for a lot of heartache.
c: However, how many women are given the confidence pill without having to apply it at the mirror every morning?
h: Hardly any.
c: You’re talking about opportunities. University of Michigan information scientists Markus Mobius and Tanya Rosenblat wrote In a paper called Why Beauty Matters. They came up with this really cool team, the Beauty Premium. They found that good-looking people make on average12% more money than less attractive people. Women who spend time doing their makeup and hair are proven to earn more in the workplace. It’s a proven fact.
h: Everything from how you look to how you carry yourself, how you are perceived.
C: Have you heard of the halo effect? It’s taking someone's appearance and using it as a standard for their overall character. We honestly believe that attractive people are more sociable, are dominant, more sexually and warm, are more mentally healthy, intelligent, and more socially skilled. They don’t have to earn it, we just grant them those favours. By the time a “cute kid” becomes an “attractive adult” they've benefited from years of biased treatment from teachers, coaches, family, friends — the result is superior levels of confidence that’s through the moon. The not so attractive kid that get’snone of these reinforcements how are they going to feel as an adult?
h: They are going to look in all the wrong places for the confidence they are lacking.
c: It’s a self fulfilling prophesy, the perfect feedback loop.
h: I’ve witnessed the halo effect and sometimes part of that is just presence. I find with men though there hasn’t been that attachment to just the one part of yourself being on ultimate importance.
c: We do it with men as well. If you’re athletic there are advantages to that too, but yes for women it’s primarily the beauty.
h: And if you don’t have that what good are you?
c: But I go back again to what do we input into that child? If we put nothing good in we’re not going to get much out when they are an adult. They are going to run to the mirror and apply as much makeup as they can to be what that beautiful person represents to them, of get the advantages society grants the beautiful. Cosmetics gives them that opportunity to reach that bar.
h: The industry is built off that gap, every commercial you see is about how to stand out in a crowd, and a lot of it is how do you get a male partner.
c: Of course. I was thinking about this, if you look in the animal kingdom, you may not be talking strictly about beauty, however, you’re looking for the strongest gene to mate with. Beauty is part of that for human beings. That beauty gene, we want that in our pool. It’s not just about being strong. We want to mate with, or we want someone to mate with us because we want that beauty gene. So we will do whatever we need to get that gene into our pool.
h: Making beauty gene babies, or at least look the part. And I just want to say with my previous comment that I was being facetious in saying so what good are you if you don’t have that beauty gene. That’s what we are really looking to deconstruct is that you have so much value beyond your external representation in this world.
c: So is wearing makeup a moral decision or a personal choice?
h: It seems to have become a moral issue.
c: I feel like the story of every woman can be told in the framework of one fairy tale. Tell me if this is not you.
Cinderella - had beauty of the heart. Kind, sweet and forgiving. Is that not you?
Cinderella - forced into servitude. Don’t you have to work like a dog night and day just to survive?
Cinderella - had abusive stepsisters. Most women carry those in their head with negative self talk of I’m not good enough.
Cinderella - she had the royal ball as her arena of judgement. Are you not judged every time you step out the door?
Cinderella - she had a fairy godmother to magically transform her into beauty. Your fairy godmother L'Oreal or Maybelline for your transformation into the most beautiful girl in the room.
Cinderella - ended up with the rich, handsome prince, but that's a fairy tale and you’re still working on your happy ever after ending.
c: Moral of the story. It's great to have intelligence, courage, good breeding, and common sense. These talents are handy, however, having a fairy godmother in your dresser drawer or purse is prudent if not wise.
h: I have a hard time swallowing that one. I just want to say screw all that and you can bring way more things to the table. That is why I think what Alicia is doing is so fascinating. That we’ve all become so accustomed to having that fairy god mother in our handbags, but what else can we use that is not just a coverup?
c: She’s attempting to turn you inside out. She’s saying I turned myself inside out. We begrudge her because everything about her seems beautiful. Some women don’t feel their outside is beautiful and they’ve not been encouraged to believe that their inside is beautiful so they don’t know which way to turn.
h: Do you think there’s a mechanism to try and feel beautiful from the outside in without makeup. The times that I have been able to harness that has been when I took on something new that was completely out of my comfort zone, sucked at it, kept at it and eventually got better. There is a confidence and self worth and self esteem in that. Cultivating different aspects of my identity. I’m just curious to hear what your thoughts are around feeling beautiful when you’ve never felt that before?
c: I really believe is starts when you are young and the people around you are encouraging you to believe in you, the whole you, not just one aspect of you. When we don’t have the self confidence we grasp at onto things we know people put value in, be it athletic, be it beauty. If we’ve never been motivated to dig deep inside to bring out our inner beauty, we’re going to reach out for the closest thing that we see people respond to.
h: I guess for people listening, as far as them being around kids as a parent of aunt or uncle, I would encourage everyone to take these words with earnest and find ways to help build the self esteem of the next generation. Not solely through their looks. Little girls from birth, so much of the compliments she receives is about her looks, or lack thereof. I even challenge that when speaking to another woman really finding things about that person that you admire. I actually notice how many times I do that with other women. Sometimes it’s nice to hear that, we all like to hear that. But making sure to explore the other facets of who she is and getting to know those better.
c: I’ll tell you something I do. I promised myself I would always do this. If I see something that stands out about a person, man or woman it doesn’t matter, I vowed that I would tell them right there and then. It’s amazing how sometimes I would go up to a woman — a stranger — and say to them, this about you is phenomenal, and they would completely ignore me. It’s like talking to a block of ice. So what I do now is say to them, are you a woman who can take a compliment?
h: Oh what a great interlude because there can be so many things going through their heads like what does this guy want from me, is he just trying to get me into bed. I like that it catches everyones social prescriptions and programming off guard. Wait, can I receive a compliment?
c: The best thing though men is that when you give that compliment, you walk away.
h: It’s like this is for you. I notice this about you and it’s for you to have. It’s something about themselves they get to keep. Very different what what women are used to getting.
c: I feel bad for women in that sense, they want feedback, but the feedback they get most is from a predator. Give those compliments only if they’re from the heart.
h: People pick up immediately if your being disingenuous.
c: I have a couple of quotes to share.
“I didn't have any confidence in my beauty when I was young. I felt like a character actress, and I still do.” Meryl Streep
“I never thought I was particularly good looking. But when I see old photographs, I realize that I was. I do wish I had known that at the time because beauty is power. I didn't realize how lucky I was to be young, beautiful and in Hollywood.” Joan Collins
“My greatest beauty secret is being happy with myself. I don't use special creams or treatments - I'll use a little bit of everything. It's a mistake to think you are what you put on yourself. I believe that a lot of how you look is to do with how you feel about yourself and your life. Happiness is the greatest beauty secret.” Tina Turner
“Beauty set up distance between other people and me. It warped their behaviour.” Candice Bergen
“The beauty of Makeup is that Makeup is indifferent to Beauty: Some women wear makeup, and makeup is their servant; Some women who wear makeup, and makeup is clearly their master.” Christopher
c: This topic is just fascinating because it covers so much of humanity and every single person has this vision of what beauty should be and will use whatever tools necessary to get there, and we forget what we truly are, what we are made of and what out potential can be without any of these props.
h: I find it quite interesting that with some of my guy friends feel jealous that women have makeup at their disposal. Men have blemishes, they have tings they want to touch up and they feel makeup is completely socially sanctioned against their using it. I actually have men that do my make up and they know way more than I do; they work with rows and rows of makeup, it’s absolutely endless.
c: Do you know what that industry, cosmetics, is worth about $178 Billions annually. And this is a growing industry with organic products, then there’s the baby boomers who are hanging onto youth for dear life and men.
h: How do we make men feel this lack of beauty?
c: Well look at what’s going on in the world today. More women are turning to their masculine while more men and turning to their feminine meaning a whole new group of men with an entirely new perspective on the use of makeup.
h: Are we talking makeup for beauty, or preserving youth.
c: It’s both. That’s an element of cosmetics is appearing younger that you are. It’s interesting that makeup used to be vilified because only prostitutes used makeup to appear younger and more beautiful to lure men.
h: It was immoral. Wow, we have completely flipped it on it’s head.
c: But these things shift over time and it can shift back, that’s what Alicia keys is trying to do. But we will always chase the beauty. That will never change.
h: But how we define it can change. Can every woman feel absolutely gorgeous without the makeup.
c: That starts young. That has to be infused.
h: It will be interesting to watch this movement develop. As far as all the disgust from individualswho are earthshaking that Alicia is doing this. Everything from big business to the men and women who believe this thing we call beauty is their greatest value.
c: The sad part of this is when a young girl believes that beauty is the only thing she has that is of value and she needs to replicate it day after day for the rest of her life.
h: Now I wonder if I’m judge every time that I go out without makeup. Sometimes I make the decision not to go through the ritual every morning to put of make up, but then you’re in the room with other people and even though you're wrapped up in what you were doing you’re still aware of how you look. I wonder what it would be like for women if they chose to not wear makeup, even one day, and see what goes through your mind; see how people relate to you.
c: That would be fun, just to see how your world responds to you without makeup.
h: It would be great to hear from women if they did this what their experience was.
c: I had this piece come through my head as I was researching for the show.
Beauty is a vacuum, it has no intrinsic value
Ugly is a vacuum, it has no intrinsic value
Neither has meaning, but for the meaning we give them
So Don’t blame beauty
Don’t scorn ugly
Blame our need to value the diamond more than we value the lump of coal — even though we know deep inside of us that its the coal that will keep us warm