Makeup (with Ilise S. Carter)
It’s both a method of empowerment and a tool of control — but it sure is pretty! Today’s episode delves into how makeup reflects and perpetuates society’s conflicting views on femininity, with the help of historian Ilise S. Carter, author of The Red Menace: How Lipstick Changed the Face of American History. From its historical roots, like ancient Egyptian eyeliner and the opulent courtiers of Louis XIV, to the modern-day pressures women, POCs, and gender-nonconforming people face to adhere to impossible ideals, we uncover the dark side of makeup’s impact. Hope you’ve got your no-makeup makeup on, ’cause this is one cute selfie we will not delete later.
Pick up Ilise’s book, The Red Menace: How Lipstick Changed the Face of American History.
Em Ford’s “You Look Disgusting” video:
Citations and further reading:
- Why Did We Start Wearing Makeup? | Britannica. (2023). In Encyclopædia Britannica.
- The last mammoths died on a remote island. (2019). ScienceDaily.
- Saint Louis, C. Up the Career Ladder, Lipstick In Hand (2011). The New York Times.
- Dolan, E. W. (2020, January 30). New study finds women wearing heavy makeup are viewed as having less human-like traits. PsyPost.
- Aguinaldo, E. R., & Peissig, J. J. (2021). Who’s Behind the Makeup? The Effects of Varying Levels of Cosmetics Application on Perceptions of Facial Attractiveness, Competence, and Sociosexuality. Frontiers in Psychology.
- Jones, A., & Viktoria Mileva. (2016, June 10). How makeup makes other women jealous. The Conversation.
- Jones, A. L. (2016). Sex Differences in the Perceived Dominance and Prestige of Women With and Without Cosmetics – Viktoria R. Mileva, Alex L. Jones, Richard Russell, Anthony C. Little, 2016. Perception.
- Korichi R; Pelle-de-Queral D; Gazano G; Aubert A. (2022). Why women use makeup: implication of psychological traits in makeup functions. Journal of Cosmetic Science.
- 5 Research-Backed Reasons We Wear Makeup. (2015). Psychology Today.
- Smith, R., Yazdani, E., Wang, P., Soleymani, S., & Anh, L. (2021). The cost of looking natural: Why the no-makeup movement may fail to discourage cosmetic use. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science.
- Parisa Hashempour. (2022, May 20). Why Do Men Hate It When Women Wear Heavy Makeup? Refinery29.
- Bame, Y. (2017, May). 63% of men think women mainly wear makeup to trick people into thinking they’re attractive. Yougov.com; YouGov.
- Brooke Erin Duffy. (2021, March 11). Piers Morgan accusing Meghan Markle of fakery is steeped in politics of racism. Vox.
- Lubitz, R. (2018, August 23). Is “Gender-Neutral” Just A Beauty Buzzword — Or Something Greater? Refinery29.
- Intner, K. (2021, December 23). A Brief History of MAC’s Iconic Viva Glam Campaign. Harper’s BAZAAR.
Ashley: Makeup might not seem like a taboo from the outside. I mean, you can buy it everywhere. People are wearing it all around you, and ads of beautiful women wearing it are all over the place.
Ashley: It’s only when you examine the experience of wearing makeup that things start to look strange. Online beauty influencers are ground zero for this kind of experience. Take Em Ford. She’s a London-based beauty YouTuber with acne who started posting makeup tutorials as the channel MyPaleSkin to help others suffering from acne.
Ashley: She would post a lot of pictures, some with a full face of makeup, some barefaced showing the marring effects of her acne. You might expect that internet trolls would hit the comment section to be cruel about her acne, but people were equally cruel about her makeup selfies. In 2015, she posted a video entitled You Look Disgusting, that shared the comments she received in the three months she’d been posting those bare-faced images. Things like You look disgusting. W T F is wrong with her face? And I can’t even look at her.
Ashley: Then in the video she uses foundation to cover the acne, contour to shape her facial features, lashes to accentuate her eyes, and a pretty shade of pink lipstick to top off a soft glam makeup look.
Ashley: The comments shift to become complimentary, but only for a second. Suddenly, comments appear like, this is amazing, but so gross. This is false advertising. This is why I have trust issues. Imagine waking up next to her in the morning. Trust no bitch with makeup.
Ashley: These are the contradictory messages femme presenting people get about makeup. If you don’t wear it, you don’t care. You’re not feminine, you’re not professional. You look tired, are you sick? If you do wear it, you’re fake. It’s too much. You look like a whore. Have some self-respect. False advertising. Trust no bitch with makeup.
Ashley: These messages have been there since women first started wearing makeup. They’re in private relationships. They’re in public society, they’re in the science.
Ashley: I’m Ashley Hamer and this is Taboo Science, the podcast that answers the questions you are not allowed to ask.
Ashley: To explore how our attitudes about makeup have and haven’t changed throughout history, I talked to a historian who knows a thing or two about changing her face.
Ilise S. Carter: my name is Ilise s Carter. I am, um, oh God. Now we’ve, we talked a little about sideshow in the preamble. Now I always wanna follow that with I’m the sweetheart of the sideshow, which is my stage spiel.
Ashley: Yep. Under the stage name Lady Aye, Ilise will eat fire, swallow swords, walk on glass, escape straight jackets, and do all sorts of other unbelievable things while wearing a frilly dress and a full face of glamorous stage makeup.
Ilise S. Carter: as a performer, my friend who is biologically female, refers to what you do on stage as being a female, female impersonator. If you’re biologically female and you’re up there wearing all that makeup, like the way you present yourself. And I was like, yeah, that, that’s kind of it. Like, gender is such a bizarre construct when you stop and think about it.
Ashley: But when she’s off stage, Ilise is a respected historian.
Ilise S. Carter: I am the author of The Red Menace, how Lipstick Changed the Face of American History, which was really just about using lipstick as a lens to look at the way America has treated women, has treated people of color, has treated gender nonconforming people.
Ilise S. Carter: And so it was just a way of like looking at America and looking at the American experience. Yes, largely for women, but it’s interesting cuz I find that it’s so gendered that every time I’m even interviewed by a man about it, they always, always have to cram in, I’ve never worn lipstick, but. And I’m like, A,
Ilise S. Carter: I don’t care. You know, like that’s your business. And b, like it’s a hard sell to men cuz they’re like, oh, I don’t wear lipstick, I don’t need it. And I’m like, well, you’re a per an American who lives in the world, so.
Ashley: What do you think that is with men having to say that they’ve never worn lipstick? And like everybody telling you what their stance is on lipstick? That makes it sound like it’s, it’s a very kind of hot button issue. What, what’s going on there?
Ilise S. Carter: Well, there are a couple things going on. This is such a, a gendered item that for some men, they just really feel like they need to be like, I have no experience of this. In a way that you wouldn’t say about another chunk of history.
Ilise S. Carter: Like you wouldn’t say like, well, I never fought in World War II and yet I have read this book, you know, about fighting Nazis. Is that okay? And… So, the conversation around gender in general is getting better, but sometimes I think people still feel like they need permission to step over that threshold.
Ilise S. Carter: They’re like, what if I like it, then I wanna wear it. And it’s like, well what if, you know, like, again, I’ve read books about the Hindenburg, it does not make me wanna travel by airship, you know?
Ilise S. Carter: Even for some generation of women, rejecting it was very powerful for them. So they feel, you know, this is, they’re rejecting it again. They are maintaining that distance.
Ilise S. Carter: And so I understand that and I respect that. But also I want it just to be treated as, treated as history. Just treated as what it is. It’s not an infomercial for like lipstick being this magically transformative object for you.
Ashley: May I just say that it sucks that stuff coded as female is just not taken as seriously by society, which means it’s harder to sell history books about it or get people to download podcasts about it. Oh, am I subtweeting? The fact that I absolutely know this episode will get fewer downloads than the rest of the season because a lot of male listeners will think it’s not for them.
Ashley: Of course not. Oh my God. Why would you think that?
Ashley: And anyway, makeup is not just for women. It isn’t now, and it certainly wasn’t throughout history.
Ilise S. Carter: I think preening, it exists in the natural world and animals fluff and they preen and they do whatever they do to attract other animals. So that is a very natural human instinct.
Ilise S. Carter: And throughout time, it depends on the culture, it depends on the era. Painting oneself, and so I’m gonna draw makeup just in incredibly widely. You know, you talk about everything from Native Americans, you know, painting themselves when they go into battle, to assume the powers of spirit animals, to take that with them to, you know, the courtiers of Louis the 14th, and it’s just this, it’s opulence and it’s actually health. It’s making oneself look not so pox ridden or poor or starving. And that your skin is pale because you don’t have to go out and farm for your living.
Ilise S. Carter: it’s such a wide experience of things, but I do think the instinct at it’s just very foundation is very natural and it is flipped back and forth as to gender, as to whether it is okay for men or you know, whether it’s a show of virulence or whether it’s absolutely the opposite of that, whether it’s weakness or something perverse.
Ilise S. Carter: So I think just the idea that we paint ourselves and that we preen ourselves and we present ourselves is just a very human need. It’s attracting a mate, it’s declaring your wealth, and it’s all of those things that people put out in public.
Ashley: We’ve been wearing makeup since Woolly mammoths walked the Earth. Classic Egyptian eyeliner look appears on engravings from as early as 4,000 BCE on both men and women. Makeup is mentioned in the Bible, notably in a passage dated to around 600 BCE, and obviously in a reference to how sinful it was.
Ashley: Romans were also known to make up shame. While bathing, skincare, and body hair removal were all fine, makeup was a thing sex workers used and not appropriate for nice ladies.
Ashley: In fact, that’s kind of all I knew about the history of makeup before talking to Ilise. Egyptians, shame, sex workers. Turns out there’s a lot more to it.
Ashley: I know that there is kind of commonly believed that lipstick really wasn’t something that good girls wore until like the 1920s. Like before that it was sex workers. What is wrong with that belief?
Ilise S. Carter: Uh, it’s not true . It does not match the historical record for one. Um, I think that largely grows out of corporate mythologies, specifically Elizabeth Arden. You know, they repeat this like every election cycle, especially when it’s an election cycle that a lot of women are running in that Elizabeth Arden gave the suffragists red lipstick and then they started wearing red lipstick and that made it okay.
Ilise S. Carter: And I was able to go back to, uh, one of Benjamin Franklin’s papers , in the 1760 and find a advertisement for Rouge on Powder, which was the early form of lipstick. So people were painting, women were painting, and the reasons that they weren’t doing it had less to do with moral judgment, although that was always there to a certain extent.
Ilise S. Carter: A lot of it has to do with, it’s just a really impractical item. I mean, long-wearing lipstick remains, you know, the holy grail of, of the industry. But America was a frontier country, so it’s a very expensive item. You have to have it imported or made or reapply. You know, if you work on a farm, which most American women who worked outside the home did, they worked as domestics, they worked on farms. It’s a really unnecessary item.
Ilise S. Carter: And also women just did not appear in public outside of upper class women who had balls and theater and the opera and, and had more sort of socialization in the way that we are used to it. You work six or seven days a week, you know, your one outing might be church.
Ilise S. Carter: And, you know, people dating for, for example, is a very modern concept, it’s a very post-industrial concept. It’s a very urban concept. And so there just wasn’t the need, the opportunity or the money to be wearing it. It was out there. Upper class women did wear it. They did have it. It was less about self-expression, like, this is my color, it makes me look good.
Ilise S. Carter: Or, this is the trend we’re all about, you know, deep tones this season, whatever. It was more about recreating that youthful blush that children have. They have rosy cheeks, you know, their lips are still looking, you know, you’re not pale. So it was out there and there was a section of women wearing it, but it was a small section cuz it was so otherwise unnecessary and expensive, for the bulk of American women.
Ilise S. Carter: So, the reasons they were not wearing it had very little to do with this idea of it being a moral wrong.
Ashley: Well then where did, where did the morality come in?
Ilise S. Carter: Yeah, there always was that element. I mean, America is, has always had a puritanical element and it was considered deceptive cuz it’s like you’re gonna fool someone into marrying you because you’re, they think you’re pretty and it’s all paint.
Ashley: huh? Sounds familiar.
Ilise S. Carter: One of the things that women buying and wearing makeup starts to represent is women’s freedom and women’s autonomy and America moving from a more rural economy and space to a more urban space. So definitely even in the twenties, you see men in the pulpit talking about whether it’s okay to wear makeup.
Ilise S. Carter: And I think the idea is that you would stray too far from home, you would get ideas in your head. And like anything else, it, you know, there’s always this phobia that people have in America that’s based in the idea of the traditional family breaking down and that women getting, um, uppity, for lack of a better word.
Ilise S. Carter: because the factors that come together for most American women to own it are having enough pocket change to do it, to being seen in a public space. As we get more modern and more urban and women go into the workforce or become more middle class with some expendable income we create this culture.
Ilise S. Carter: The movies help a huge amount in this regard in creating an item that women can buy. They can buy for themselves. The car is a huge game changer. Women having pockets or purses. Uh, the invention, I talked 1917, an incredibly important year for lipstick. It’s the year that the tube is invented, the pushup tube, so you can take it. Until then, it was not only not worn by most women, it was a boudoir item.
Ilise S. Carter: It was like your toothbrush cuz you applied it at home and you really couldn’t travel with it like you could, but it would melt, it would get on stuff. It was big pain in the butt. So the massive change in the consumption of lipstick is not women applying a lipstick. It’s reapplying it and reapplying it in public.
Ilise S. Carter: I think, you know, there’s always an element of morality to everything. Cuz we are a, we can be a very religious nation. But I think a lot of it really just boils down to more of, things are changing and I don’t like it. And especially when it comes to women and empowering women and women, you know, women’s expression of themselves.
Ilise S. Carter: Economically, you know, through fashion. You know, giving up the corset was, it was, oh, forget it. It was the end of the world again. As was wearing the corset when it first was adopted, it was gonna crush you. So, you know, something comes in, we get used to it, and that’s the way it is. And then things move on slightly. And there’s that period of adjustment.
Ashley: The exact same thing happened with lipstick. Society clutched their pearls about women wearing it, more women started wearing it anyway, and eventually society clutched their pearls about the women who didn’t wear it. You can’t win.
Ilise S. Carter: we go within like a generation, a generation and a half, 20, 30 years at the end of World War I, not everyone is wearing lipstick by the time the depression hits. If you’re reading the papers, the magazines, women’s magazines, and you are not wearing lipstick when you go out and look for a job or when you go out and meet your friends, what the hell is wrong with you?
Ilise S. Carter: Like, it is crazy. So it goes from being something that, like your hat, your gloves that you, you can’t leave the house without. It’s just not proper.
Ashley: Eventually the sixties rolled around and feminists started rebelling against these kinds of beauty norms and lipstick stopped being something that was required of a decent lady.
Ashley: But that game of femininity, pinging pong was always being played. Whatever women are doing is wrong, and you’ve gotta stop doing it to be ladylike. Then whatever women have stopped doing is wrong, and you’ve gotta keep doing it to be ladylike. And on, and on and on. Makeup is a way to express yourself and claim your power, but it’s also a way to be controlled.
Ilise S. Carter: We have just this, you know, like a dog track. Like the dogs are always running after this rabbit. They never catch it. Femininity is that rabbit. Cuz like when I was in college, Kate Moss was all the rage and you were never gonna be that thin.
Ilise S. Carter: Like, if God gave you hips, you could just die. It was the worst. And that was the ideal female body. And now, I don’t know, maybe it’s more of a Kardashian thing, and that is not achievable by natural means for the most part. And then there’s a whole layer of race and class on top of that.
Ilise S. Carter: But what the feminine ideal is, is this rabbit that you are supposed to chase and that rabbit will keep moving.
Ashley: More on that rabbit chase of femininity when we come back.
Ashley: Ilise mentioned that the feminine ideal is a dog track where you have to race after the rabbit that you’ll never catch, which brings us to today in the popularity of no makeup selfies, the brave symbol of women reclaiming their feminine power by showing themselves barefaced on the Gram. This trend got its start in the late aughts, but really hit its stride in 2016. That’s when Alicia Keys declared that she’d be going makeup free from then on. She said she’d become addicted to makeup and didn’t wanna cover up anymore. Tons of women followed suit.
Ashley: That would be worth celebrating if that’s all it was, but of course it wasn’t.
Ilise S. Carter: every once in a while I see the headline like, So and so, so brave posts a makeup-less, un retouched, unfiltered post of on Instagram, and they’re so brave and it’s like, well, it’s a person who’s had good nutrition all their life and probably a dermatologist and a facialist and stayed out of the sun and like, good genetics and bone structure and it’s like, look good for you.
Ashley: Because no makeup, selfies are only really celebrated if you’re conventionally attractive to begin with. They’re supposed to cast off modern beauty standards, but what they actually do is raise the standards you have to hit to be considered beautiful. Search hashtag no makeup selfie on Instagram, and you’re not exactly seeing the Em Fords of the world showing off their acne scars.
Ashley: You’re seeing people with incredible skin and bone structure who can go without makeup while staying within the standards of conventional beauty. And that’s if they’re actually not wearing makeup, which is often not the case.
Ashley: Alicia Keys’ makeup artist even admitted to filling in her brows with false lashes and enhancing her freckles with cosmetics. Most often what you’re seeing in no makeup selfies is a whole other trend known as no-makeup makeup. That’s a way of applying makeup to look like you’re not wearing any, that you’re just naturally clear skinned and dewy with sparkling eyes and balanced brows.
Ashley: In fact, when researchers compared the evolution of the no makeup selfie trend with makeup industry performance over the same period, they found that makeup sales actually increased. It’s just that people were buying BB creams and soft mascara rather than contour palettes and bold eyeshadow.
Ashley: Instead of casting off beauty standards, natural beauty trends just present an illusion of less effort. Because as it turns out, the less effort we think a beautiful person has put into their appearance, the more beautiful we think they are.
Ashley: When University of Georgia researchers showed a bunch of people the same selfie of a woman wearing makeup, but said she was wearing makeup to some people and that she wasn’t to others, those who thought she wasn’t wearing makeup rated the image as more beautiful than the other group did.
Ashley: So not only do you need to spend time, effort, and money on your appearance, you also need to keep that fact a secret.
Ilise S. Carter: I think the no makeup, makeup thing, it’s just another one of those ways in which you’re like, you know what, run for it. I’m holding up the golden ring, you know, jump.
Ilise S. Carter: I think what we have to do is raise a generation of not just women, but people who wear makeup, cuz it’s a lot wider now, to just, you need the critical thinking that you would apply to the news. You need to apply it to beauty news. Like, if you like it, you wanna wear it, by all means, go nuts.
Ilise S. Carter: If you wanna opt out, that’s fine too. And you don’t have to lay awake at night just being like, why God, do I have freckles? You know, or not have freckles. Or not have freckles in the right places. Or, I’m too dark, I’m too light. Like we have to teach critical thinking when it comes to beauty as, as well as any other news.
Ashley: Some of that critical thinking needs to be applied to the science on all this, because there have been a ton of studies about how people perceive other people wearing makeup, and the results have been all over the place.
Ashley: A 2016 study found that makeup made women appear more dominant to other women, but more prestigious to men. That is, both considered her to have an elevated status, but for men it was because they thought she possessed the kind of merits and skills that made her a better person while women just thought she was kind of threatening. I feel that. When I use that heavy makeup bold glamor filter on TikTok, I look like I’m about to say something so mean, it’ll ruin someone’s life.
Ashley: A 2011 study found that women wearing either a moderate amount or a heavy amount of makeup appeared more likable and competent, though they also found that heavy makeup made you look less trustworthy.
Ashley: But a 2020 study found that women with heavy makeup were seen as less human, less moral, less competent, and less warm. The less human part is particularly funny to me because in this study, they used augmented reality to apply makeup to images of women’s faces. So the made-up faces were literally less human than the bare faces.
Ashley: And it turns out that the way that researchers apply makeup in these studies has an effect. Most studies either have a makeup artist apply the makeup or use computer tools to generate a makeup look, and those studies often find that wearing heavy makeup takes a toll on people’s perceptions of you. But a 2021 study
Ashley: decided to let the participants apply their own makeup. And wouldn’t you know it, they found that when those participants had heavy makeup on, they were actually seen as significantly more attractive than with light makeup. The participants knew what made them look good, and it wasn’t necessarily what a makeup artist would’ve done.
Ashley: All of these studies leave me with a bad taste in my mouth because they’re so outwardly focused. There are studies about how makeup makes people feel on the inside, but not nearly as many as the ones that have a bunch of undergrads play hot or not with digitally altered selfies.
Ashley: The studies that do examine how makeup affects self-esteem are kind of mixed. Basically, it depends on why you’re wearing it. If you’re wearing it to cover up, it’s not as good for you as it would be if you were wearing it to show off.
Ashley: But like I mentioned at the top of the show, there’s also an element of mistrust in the mix. In a 2017 U gov poll, 55% of Americans surveyed said that women mainly wear makeup to trick people into thinking they’re more attractive. And the same wasn’t true when they were asked whether they thought men grew beards to hide weak chins or thin lips.
Ashley: Accusations of women faking it are nothing new. Just think about how many female politicians have been called inauthentic, and then try to name one man who fits that description, but they’re even more common against women of color and trans and non-binary people. The pressure these groups feel to adhere to a particular white, cis feminine standard of beauty is just as intense as the backlash they get when they try.
Ilise S. Carter: in America, for the longest time, the standard of beauty was based in whiteness, period. Not hedging on that at all. And so you even see in the black owned to the black press them talking about like, be careful where you, how you wear your lipstick as to not make your lips so large. Which is heartbreaking, because it takes a very long time for women of color, any color to embrace that the way they were born is okay, and it’s its own standard of beauty. And to not, you cannot chase the ideal of something that you’ll never be and wouldn’t please anyone anyway.
Ilise S. Carter: and we’re still fighting that fight about seeing people who are not assigned female at birth as beautiful, and then that has its own layer of struggle on it, because passability shouldn’t earn respectability. so race and gender nonconformity and oh, race on gender nonconformity together,
Ilise S. Carter: continue to be this enormous struggle and I sometimes, look, I, not to bring up the Kardashians again, but I kind of have to, it’s like I sort of look at them and I see Sam Phillips picking up Elvis’s contract to sing because Sam Phillips, who founded Sun Records in the fifties when he was trying to sell rock and roll to white teenagers, he’s like, give me a white kid who can sing like a black kid, and I’ll make a million dollars.
Ilise S. Carter: And I sometimes see like the Kardashians, and they’re European. They’re, I know they’re, um, half they’re largely white. They’re at least half white. They’re certainly not black. They’re Armenian, that might be Middle Eastern.
Ashley: As we covered in the race episode, it doesn’t really matter where they come from. Race is more about how you’re perceived, and they are definitely not perceived as women of color.
Ilise S. Carter: But I see them selling things that on other people, on other, less European people would be considered too ethnic.
Ilise S. Carter: Like, you know, the full lips, the big bottoms were things we had discouraged for years because it was associated with color. I look at it and I sometimes see Elvis singing That’s All Right, Mama, because it’s repackaging it in a way that’s less frightening to some people.
Ashley: But things are changing. We’re seeing more types of makeup made for more types of people, and we’re seeing more types of people held up as beautiful and worthy of admiration.
Ilise S. Carter: I think the makeup industry is becoming extremely segmented, which I don’t mind at all. Like I’m very pro small business and it allows people to see themselves and to speak with their dollars. You’re seeing more micro brands and more smaller brands. If you know, you were looking for LGBTQ representation for years, it was kind of like, Mac and that’s it. There really wasn’t a lot out there. And now even Maybelline has had gender nonconforming spokesmodels, which is wonderful. And you’re seeing brands like Mented and Beauty Bakery and .Juvia’s Place, which are, are owned by women of color, black women. And so, seeing it segmented more, I think is a good thing.
Ilise S. Carter: but it allows people to see themselves in what they buy. I mean, there are companies that are now specifically catering to non-binary people, and that’s great.
Ilise S. Carter: You know, I am old enough to have grown up with Boy George and I, nobody ever picked him as a makeup model. You know, like it was, it was such an obvious, like I would’ve bought the hell out of Boy George makeup, but it just wasn’t, it never occurred to anybody.
Ilise S. Carter: And I think as the conversation gets wider, like seeing RuPaul for Viva La Glam was revolutionary.
Ashley: Viva Glam is a long running social campaign by Mac Cosmetics aimed at raising money for HIV/AIDS organizations through the release of a yearly collection of lipsticks and lip glosses . It began in 1994, and that first campaign starred RuPaul in an incredible red vinyl jumpsuit, making it the first time in history that a global beauty brand was represented by a drag queen.
Ilise S. Carter: That was a big deal, but that was 30 years ago, and it’s time to kick that conversation open even wider. How does the beauty industry relate to people with disability? Like, if you have low vision, how can you tell your shampoo and conditioner apart? L’Oreal just put out the first lipstick for people with dexterity issues, so, how do you invite those people into the circle? Cuz they deserve that too.
Ilise S. Carter: So the idea is that we recognize that consumer is not one thing. It’s not one shade, it’s not one trend, but it’s a much wider spectrum. So seeing women with wrinkles would be, you know, I love Helen. I love me Helen Mirin, I do, and she models for L’Oreal, but she’s pretty smooth in the ads, and I’m like, you know, when is the last time you saw someone who aged like a human in a makeup ad? So America’s getting older, you know, where are older women in the conversation?
Ilise S. Carter: So I think the really important thing is to keep thinking about these and keep opening the boundaries. Like, yes, let’s see more people who are gender nonconforming. Yes, let us see more women of color, but also to think about, you know, people with disabilities, people who are older, people who you know, all of these things.
Ilise S. Carter: And to keep pressing the openings and keep pressing what it is to be beautiful. Cuz we’ve gotten a little better about not making it 20 and blonde. Okay, so how can we expand that even further?
Ilise S. Carter: Makeup has really, I hope, gone from something that’s less about conformity, moving the conversation away from you will not be loved, you will not be acceptable.
Ilise S. Carter: You will not be economically viable if you know, if your skin isn’t a hundred percent smooth and glowing and, to something about like, well, how do you express yourself with it? And what does that look like? And that looks like a lot of things.
Ashley: Thanks for listening. Big thanks to Eli Ss Carter for speaking to me.
Ashley: Her book is The Red Menace, How lipstick Changed the Face of American History, and you can find a link to pick it up in the show notes.
Ashley: Taboo Science is written and produced by me, Ashley Hamer. The theme was by Danny Laka of D L C Music episode. Music is from Epidemic Sound. If you need music for a project, use my referral link, which is in the show notes and it’ll help out the show.
Ashley: I would love it if you would leave the show a review on Apple Podcasts. There’s a link in the bottom of the show notes that’ll take you straight there. If you do, I’ll read it on the podcast. And if you’re a podcaster, tweet at me at smashleyhamer. Or email me at email@example.com with a screenshot of your review, and I’ll mention your podcast on the show.
Ashley: Anyway, that’s all. The next episode will be out in two weeks. Tune in then. I won’t tell anyone.