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Making Women: A Look at the Darker Messages of Cosmetics

LePage, Zoe

Makeup is worn by many women on a daily basis and yet the messages behind makeup and the effects these messages have on how women see themselves remain largely unexamined. Makeup is an important way in which young girls are initiated into the role of proper women and reinforces the belief that a woman’s body is something to be examined and judged. Furthermore, makeup suggests to women that their physical appearance is naturally flawed and therefore needs to be concealed or altered. Such messages deny women the opportunity to be their authentic selves. Makeup is often described as a enjoyable pursuit for women but a deeper look reveals makeup’s close connection to patriarchy. These darker themes are nowhere as prevalent as with aging products. Aging is cast as a disease and the cosmetic industry capitalizes on the anxiety it creates in order to sell women expensive beauty products. This research merits further attention in order to understand what thoughts motivate women to use makeup and the anxieties created when women are denied the use of makeup.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Psychology (Barnard College)
Degree
B.A., Barnard College
Published Here
February 6, 2013
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