The Ugly Side of Beauty: SChurchill

“The Lady’s Dressing Room” by Jonathan Swift focuses on man’s perceptions of female beauty. Swift writes about Strephon’s perusing of Celia’s room which is  full of miscellaneous objects that help her become the beauty she is known to be. He takes notice to the “pomatum, paints and slops, and ointments good for scabby chops”. His attention is solely on what is in Celia’s room and not how she appears in the flesh. Her beauty has now taken on a different meaning for Strephon. No longer is Celia, or any other woman for that matter, a natural beauty but they are the epitome of deception. Celia’s beauty rituals, which take five hours to finish, is an example of extreme pressure to achieve an unrealistic perception of beauty set by men like Strephon. His reaction is just as, if not more, unappealing and repulsive than the make-up application, hair manipulation, sweating, and defecation done by Celia. The poem exposes the misogynistic views of 18th-century England and the toils women will endure to achieve that unrealistic standard of beauty. In fact, you would think that by the 21st century we would have made some progress with the concept of what true beauty encompasses. Sadly, even in 2012 beauty is still viewed as one-dimensional when it should be multifaceted.

The above pictures capture the beginning and end of a 3 hour hair and make-up transformation I did on Kaitlyn. Similar to the topic of deception explored by Swift, Kaitlyn’s before picture captures the truth whereas the after pictures captures a lie. I started with the goal of replicating an image that many women create when going out, whether that be to a party or club. Generally parties/clubs are a place where women can put themselves on display in hopes of finding potential partners. The image men, but mostly women, are displaying in these environments is not who they truly are. In Kaitlyn’s case, the last two images is not the same person that is in first two images. What is on display to the right is only her exterior. What is displayed to the left is still Kaitlyn’s exterior but you can see her personality shining through. Notice how she is laughing in the first two photos but seems more reserved in the other two? I did not stage this. My belief is that because Kaitlyn did not have her appearance to hide behind in the first photo, she had to use her personality to create an appealing picture. She let her true self show through rather than relying on the aesthetics to create the image and that is far more beautiful than slathering chemicals on her face and hair.

I am going to be bold and say that the photo will likely not shock the majority of the women in class since many are familiar with the amount of products it takes to create the above image. I am, however, hoping it may strike a cord with the men just as Celia’s transformation had a profound effect on Strephon.

Also, to get a sense of just what went into taking Kaitlyn from start to finish, I listed all 33 products below. Yes, 33!
Face: Primer, BB Cream, Green Correcting Concealer, Yellow Based Correcting Concealer, Deep Brown Contouring Concealer, Matte Foundation, Under-eye Concealer, Facial Powder, Finishing Powder, Bronzer, Blush, Highlighter, Setting Spray, Eyebrow Pencil, Eyebrow Gel. Eyes: Primer, Shimmering Eyeshadow Base (all over from lid to brow bone), Pale Pink Eyeshadow (on the brow bone and in the inner corner), Gold Eyeshadow (inner 3/4 of the eyelid), Matte Brown Eyeshadow (through the crease & on the lower lash line), Shimmery Brown Eyeshadow (on the outer 1/2 of the lid),  Shimmery Black Eyeshadow (on the outer 1/2 of the lid & into the crease), Brown Eyeliner (top and bottom waterline), Black Liquid Liner (top lash line), Glitter Eyeshadow, False eyelashes, Mascara. Lips: Lip Liner, Lipstick, Lipgloss. Hair: Thickening Serum, Hairspray, Hair Extensions (6 pieces in total).

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