I love coloring outside the lines, especially in my Ruth Bader Ginsburg coloring book, but if the barista taking my order has nostril hair extensions or is wearing glitter on their ears, I’m probably going to find another coffee shop. Unless, of course, they’re wearing a nose hair net and baggies over their ears to keep the glitter out of my cappuccino.
Don’t get me wrong; I believe that we should all get to do whatever we want to our own bodies. For example, I have had four piercings and one tattoo (a.k.a. tramp stamp, a.k.a. “this is the part of my body least likely to sag in 15 years” tat), so who am I to suggest that wearing flashing LED lights in your eyelashes or painting your lips to look like they’re dripping blood is unwise? However, in certain circumstances – funerals and surgical suites come to mind – those looks can be (how should I put it?) off-putting.
A quick review of the research (a.k.a. a Google search) turned up all these subsequent “beauty” trends:
- Wild eye art – Mona Lisa on your eyelids, anyone?
- Half-face make-up for those days you can’t decide whether to doll up or remain a natural woman.
- Hairline plucking. Ouch! Sure, Queen Elizabeth I may have done this, but she had ladies in waiting to fan her fiery forehead afterward.
- Studded eyebrows (do not wear these in an MRI!).
- Furry lips (no, not the ones you thought of first.)
My question is, why are women constantly being led to believe we need to obsess over our faces and try new things to stay interesting? My older woman’s face has enough going on already, so I’m not falling for this crap anymore. But, as someone who once went to high school with her nose painted blue (it was a thing!), I can attest to how hard it can be to resist the call to “fit in” by standing out.
I’m also old enough now to look at beauty trends and think, “Ah, yet another way to distract us from lack of gender justice!” After all, if you can’t see past your eyelashes or the hair extensions in your nostrils, how are you going to see that your paycheck continues to come up short, or that the name on the office door you’ve been coveting is still not yours? And sure, more men these days are trying beauty treatments (at least according to my sources – Google and this hipster guy I spoke to on the bus), but the most bizarre facial trend for men this year was tiny holiday beard lights. I believe the company making those sold two; one to the hipster guy on the bus and one to a woman who wanted to decorate her pubic hair for her gyno visit on December 23rd. It wasn’t me – I swear!
What if beauty trends in the 2020s took a feminist turn? Instead of distracting us from what’s important in life, they helped us communicate what’s really on our minds? I have some ideas!
- Are you tired of random men telling you to smile? Why not snap on a pair of blood-splotched fangs and let them know how you feel about their insistence that you make their lives “prettier” and “more pleasant” by showing your teeth?
- Crows’ feet painting. Stop trying to hide your laugh lines, your frown lines, and your “I’m tired of banging my head against this glass ceiling lines” – show them off instead with face paint applied directly into the deepest grooves around your eyes and mouth. Imagine the beautiful artwork you’ll leave behind on someone’s pillowcase the next time you get laid!
- Eyebrow marionettes. Take threading to a whole new level by basting several stitches into your brows and leaving 2-inches of loose thread dangling on either side of your face. This will allow you to manually raise and lower your eyebrows without straining your facial muscles. Then, when someone mansplains your job to you, you can yank your brows down into a furrow. And when you find out your birth control has tripled in price, you can arch them up to your temple.
- Baby poop lipstick. Tired of men suggesting you blow them because you have nothing else to do on your 5-minute walk from your car to your office? You’ll definitely want to try baby poop lipstick, available in pea green, “Is that squash?” yellow, and good old shit brown. In addition to coloring your lips, the product would be lumpy – sure to turn off all but the most desperate incels.
- Handmaids’ faces. By painting your forehead white and the rest of your face red, you can tell the world you will not tolerate conservative politicians trying to take away our bodily autonomy. BONUS: No one will complain about your resting bitch face!
Now these are some beauty trends worth trying! And if you do, please tag The Syndrome Mag in your selfies! We were afraid to try these out ourselves.