1. Read up on makeup’s feminist history. You can swipe your Sephora rewards card with confidence because of the hard work our feminist foremothers did to change the perception of female beauty. Businesswomen like Mary Kay, Helena Rubinstein, and Estée Lauder did more than bring matte lipstick and shine-free powder to the marketplace. They gave women an opportunity to achieve financial solvency and the motivation to start their own enterprises.
2. Know what your brands stand for. No one wants to find out that her favorite brightener contains lead, or that her go-to beauty brand outsources to third-world countries that employ child labor. But consumer empowerment is a feminist requirement — especially considering how aggressively beauty products are marketed to women. There is power in our purchases; we ought to wield it appropriately.
3. Pay attention to the advertising. Does the ad for your favorite perfume feature a naked woman (possibly crying) being dominated by a man? Does your lipstick maker package a women’s body parts — rather than her entire face — to sell its product? Is there an overabundance of cleavage in that commercial for acne wash? These things matter. The images of women used in advertising and media write the script for our culture. Embracing the right ones (and rejecting the wrong ones) goes a long way in changing that script.
4. Find a positive beauty role model. We idolize pop culture figures for their intellect, ambition, and fearlessness — why not their signature beauty? Whether it’s Elizabeth Taylor’s smoky eyes (there are wicked smarts behind that sex gaze), or Gwen Stefani’s red lips (girl power personified), find inspiration in a powerful woman to develop your own beauty calling card.
5. Think globally. Environmentalism is feminism because of the way climate change and waste affects women in the world. Natural disasters hit the poorest citizens hardest, and more often than not, those citizens are women. Plus, finding products that don’t poison your skin or drinking water is generally a good idea. Study up on ingredient no-nos, and bookmark sites such as safecosmetics.org and cosmetic-products.net to understand those big words in the ingredient labels.
Photo: Rex USA
- 1 of 2