Saturday, April 14, 2007

War Paint

Ladybird and I talk about this all the time - about how neither of us feels "dressed" without make-up on.

Now, a lot of discussion about the patriarchy happened at my suburban Seven Sisters college when I was a student. I listened. But I still never went to class without eye make-up. I just didn't feel awake, prepared, fully present without it.

According to feminists, that probably means that I am not fully individuated, or that I am oppressed by men. And they could be right.

I think of make-up as war paint, body decoration that readies me for the battles I get into every day. It is a ritual I undergo each morning. I don't have to look perfect, but I have to show the world that I am ready. By applying eye-liner, I am defining my eyes and myself as ready to go.

Warriors from lots of different cultures apply war paint. I studied them, and wanted to do my undergraduate thesis on body decoration. That wasn't in the cards, but I learned lots about the Melanesian peoples, their personal ornamentation and warfare. And that's why I don't think that wearing make-up is a bad thing.

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