So, tonight, a Beauty U student brings in the newspaper because the front page story is “Local Madam Arrested for Terrorizing Sex Slaves.”
“I can’t believe I went into that place!” she says. “I didn’t know what it was!”
She thought it was a nail salon. Because that’s what it said on the sign.
Our teacher has already seen the newspaper and is more world-weary. “You have to know the signs,” she tells us. Front windows painted up? A back room for “massage?” And — this is the part nobody quite says but we all know it anyway — Asian-owned and operated? Check, check, and check.
Let’s back up for a second. Read more…
From New York Magazine’s The Cut (because, seriously, they dig up all the best beauty talk):
British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman: “I defy anyone claiming there should be an age limit on bikini wearing. Certainly with the loss of muscle tone and wear and tear that women’s bodies suffer as time passes, the bikini becomes an increasingly difficult option the older we become. But as in so many things, the divide between one-piece and bikini wearers is less to do with age than attitude.”
So your age is not the issue. Phew! All we really care about is how skinny and toned you might be… got it? Isn’t that sooo generous? If you can have the body of a sixteen-year-old at 50, then you have nothing to worry about!
Ahem. Read more…
So remember how last week, I told you that I was down to my last 18 nights at Beauty U?
Then I went to school and Miss Susan told us that we forgot to count snow days. Which Beauty U “doesn’t hold against you,” (as in, charge you extra money for) but does require you to make up by pushing your graduation date back a day for every snow day missed. State rules about how you have to have precisely 600 hours to qualify for the state board exam and what not.
I only dimly recall it now that we’re in the height of summer sweatiness, but we had six snow days between December and February.
Which means, my graduation date rolls back a whole week and a half. (Plus those pesky 9 hours that I’m still chipping away at in Make-Up Time.)
I was pretty grouchy about it last week because I had my one graduation date (August 17) so locked in my head and it was really keeping me going. But now it’s July 26, which means my new graduation date (August 26!) is now exactly one month and 20 Beauty U days (80 hours + 7.5 make-up hours!) away.
Yes, this is my third video post this week. Oh come on, you love it. But unlike Lookism Goes Pop (which is filled with terrifying statistics about how our looks impact our ability to hold a job) and the Story of Cosmetics (which is filled with terrifying facts about all the toxic chemicals that go into our beauty products while the FDA laughs and goes to lunch), this one is just… terrifying.
For real. I thought Jezebel was overreacting a bit at first, and then I watched it and now I am maybe scarred for life.
It’s like if Lady Gaga and the entire NYU freshman film class collaborated on a weight loss drug commercial. After first smoking entirely too much dope.
It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these and now here’s Christy Turlington, interviewed in the Telegraph, as excerpted by New York Mag’s The Cut:
On whether she considered her looks a curse:
“I used to think so, but I don’t any more. When I was 18, and my looks were what I was – and all that I was – it did feel very limiting. It got to the point where I wondered what I was doing. But modeling gave me the kind of confidence that a lot of girls in their teenage years don’t have. In the end, I think that the industry saved me from having to be self-conscious.”
You know, like when you had a sub at school, so all they did was show movies? Maybe that post title didn’t need this follow up explanation?
Well then, moving right along, because THIS video is maybe even better than the one I posted yesterday. Great, clear, concise explanation of the whole “why should I care what chemicals they put in my beauty products?” issue from Story of Stuff creator Annie Leonard.
I’m about to go hop on their press call about it, and THEN I’m gonna go hop on the industry’s response press call after that. How’s that for some afternoon excitement? Stay tuned, I’ll tell you more things soon.
Newsweek’s “Looksism Goes Pop” does a pretty awesome job of summing up all the research in their zillion-word package.
Everyone on top of your assigned reading? That would be the Newsweek “Beauty Advantage” special report I told you about yesterday. It’s all about how the beauty standards have gotten stricter than ever, and new research shows that your appearance still translates to how much money you make and how beloved you are by peers and supervisors of both genders.
It’s pretty much a big downer.
Because we haven’t made much progress on this (the numbers are almost identical to the stuff Naomi Wolf talked about in the Beauty Myth oh, almost twenty years ago) and in some ways —Heidi Montag, Heidi Montag! — things are getting worse. (If you’ll recall, a lot of us feminist bloggers cottoned on to that back at the end of last year.)
The Pretty Price Check: Your Friday round-up of how much we paid for beauty this week.
First up! Thank you to the lovely commenter over on this Sociological Images post, for giving Beauty Schooled a big shout-out — and hi to all of you new folk who have traveled over from there!
If you’re looking for the post she referenced (the story of Client Nine and the Parent-Supervised Eyebrow Wax) click here. To be honest, it’s a lot less dramatic that the Toddlers & Tiaras clip over at Sociological Images — but that maybe makes it that much creepier. Because Nine’s mom wasn’t a reality TV-hyped pageant mom, where you expect her to say outlandish things so you get to scoff and judge her. She was just a normal mom, wearing faded nursing scrubs and not much makeup. And Nine’s dad was this average-looking guy in old cordoroys. And they thought getting her eyebrows waxed was just what you do when she gets to a certain age, so she can look a certain way, and we can all relax about it. Judging that mom felt a lot more uncomfortable because it meant also judging myself.
And while we’re at it, I have to ask what good it does for us to get all up and arms about that pageant mom and say she’s a bad parent or wildly insecure or whatever? Tearing down other women for their choices about the beauty myth is just never productive. (Even when it’s funny. And I’m as guilty of this as they come.)
Tearing down the industry that sells us that myth, on the other hand… is our raison d’etre here at Beauty Schooled. So let’s get our Price Check on! (Yes, it’s Monday not Friday and I’m late again. It is summer, you know.)
There are a lot of Tip Jar stories that I haven’t told you, either because they seem kind of run of the mill (yet another European facial on yet another middle-aged lady for yet another $5 tip) or because I’m just not quite sure how to explain the encounter or what conclusion we can draw. I’m solving all these problems by giving you this (not at all chronological) list of some of the latest, with the salient facts, but not much else. It’s like Choose Your Own Adventure day, only you can Draw Your Own Conclusions instead.
- Client Twelve: Is a middle-aged woman with red hair, who comes in for a European facial. I leave her to change and step back in a few minutes later. “Don’t be alarmed — I took my hair off!” she says cheerfully, now wearing the kind of black nylon head wrap I usually associated with a more shall we say urban aesthetic? Tips me $6. Comes back three weeks later for a salt scrub where she tips me $10.