It is a well known fact that, in the EU (actually in the whole planet), women are paid less than men for the same jobs. More accurately, in France women earn, as an average, 21% less tan men. I won't discuss the absurdity of this gap right now, since this blog is about fashion and not politics, but this is incredibly unfair; especially because women have a lot of (superficial) expenses exclusive to the feminine sex: waxing, hairdressers and other head gear, beauty treatments, anti-aging creams, anti-aging creams meant for specific zones of the body, scrubs, lotions, potions and...makeup. Have you ever actually calculated your makeup budget? I started calculating mine and stopped in the middle of it: it's just monstruous.
The question is, do we really need makeup? My boyfriend always tells me he likes me best in the morning, when I look all sleepy and don't wear any makeup (those hungover, smudged-mascara mornings don't count); and many girls wear very little makeup. Andy Warhol used to say the most kissable lips were those wearing nothing. He also said Marilyn's lips were not kissable, but photographable. And what a picture she took! Makeup may not be essential to everyday's life, but it helps if you want to become a pop culture icon. So, just in case, I won't stop wearing my fetish lipstick, Mac Pro longwear in "Lasting Lust" (I don't know which I love most, the colour or the name).
Makeup is no different than fashion: you can create your very distinctive look through it. Also, it enhances beauty (that is if you want it to. I love Amy Winehouse, but sometimes I'm not so sure about her ultra-chunky eye-liner. Having said that, it has made her famous wordlwide).So yes, we love makeup, true; maybe not so surprising since there is an industry that helps us love it even more... It seems makeup ads and absurd products we don't need at all and covet more than anything are everywhere these days (mini lipgloss we can attach to our mobile phones? glittery grass-green liner? chocolate tablet-shaped face powder? Seriously. Is there anything in the world we need less than that? Yet I find myself thinking about buying that Urban Decay glittery grass-green liner). But the industry was just as developped almost a century ago. I've seen some of the Bourjois products of the 20's: they're just as useless as the ones nowadays. And just as lovely and desirable (I actually wonder why they don't do some vintage edition; they would outsell, it would be the only thing girls lack in their "trousse de maquillage").
But does my obsession with makeup make me a "superficial bitch"? There have been many mixed feelings about this throughout history: it is sort of a tradition to think that "ladies pinch their cheeks, whores put blusher on". Otherwise said, to be tasteful, makeup must be discreet. Charles Baudelaire didn't agree on this (well, he also quite liked prostitutes). He even wrote an exquisite short essay entitled "Eloge du Maquillage" ("Le Peintre de la Vie Moderne"), in which he stated that makeup should do what nature didn't do, create an artificial, almost otherworldly sense of beauty. The whole fashion world thinks the same. Most of the iconic fashion photographs of all time feature incredible makeup. Why shouldn't we do the same? Yes, makeup may be one very expensive pleasure, but it makes us dream... It is makeup that transforms David Bowie into the fabulous Ziggy Stardust!