Why women use cosmetics (the answer reveals much)

Summary: See the thinking of America’s intelligentsia. Not only does this psychologist explain why women wear cosmetics, but the essay also shows us what we missed by not voting in Hillary Clinton. This is the kind of people who would have been running America, reforming our culture according to the most advanced thinking in academia.

Team Hillary

A provocative article at the NYT: “Does Makeup Hurt Self-Esteem?

In response The Last Psychologist wrote a reply:

No Self-Respecting Woman Would Go Out Without Make Up.

This is an excerpt. The Last Psychologist had a large following.

“Let me offer a contrary position, unpalatable but worth considering: the only appropriate time to wear make up is to look attractive to men.   Or women, depending on which genitals you want to lick, hopefully it’s both. “Ugh, women are not objects.” Then why are you painting them? I’m not saying you have to look good for men, I’m saying that if wearing makeup not for men makes you feel better about yourself, you don’t have a strong self, and no, yelling won’t change this. Everyone knows you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, now you’re saying the cover of the book influences how the book feels about itself?

“I am not doubting that in fact you do feel better about yourself, I am saying that that fact is both pathological and totally on purpose. Since this cognitive trick does help you feel better about yourself, by all means go ahead, but at what point will you stop pressuring other women to go along with it? When will you stop “requiring” it, like when you say, “oh, she’s so pretty even without makeup” as if the default was makeup?

“The fraud women now believe is that it is wrong to look good for men only, as an end in itself; the progressive delusion is that looking good for men is synonymous with submissiveness, so while you’re allowed to look good tomen, it should always be secondary to looking good for yourself. This is madness. You are enhancing your outward appearance, which is great, but then you pretend it’s for internal reasons? …

“The trick to the makeup debate is that it pretends to want to be free of male pressure, yet the pressure to look a certain way is actually much worse from women.  So this result is that a ‘patriarchical’, controlling force, unacceptable if coming directly from men, is maintained by giving the whip to other women.  No boss man would survive if he said, ‘ugh, you should put on some makeup, doll yourself up a little bit’ but women say this to other women all the time — especially at work. ‘You look really tired,’ says a woman in MAC Greensmoke to another who isn’t.  Just once I wish the reply would be, ‘I am, your husband kept me up all night.’  Not very progressive, but hilarious.

“The evolution from ‘enhances sexual attractiveness’ to ‘doing it for yourself’ is definitely a regressive step, and by regressive I here mean ‘regressing to age two’, but it’s the next step which reveals the presence of a neurosis: recruiting science as a justification for behavior: “Study finds makeup makes you appear more competent.” Can’t wait to read about that study in a Jonah Lehrer book. Ugh. So here’s the evolution of feminist theory, take notes: “I want to look better” to “I want to feel better about myself” to ‘I want people to think I am better.’ Madness.”

————— End excerpt. —————

Science provides a more accurate explanation

Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty
Available at Amazon.

The Last Psychologist goes on in the same tone at length. For a clearer and well-told explanation about the science of beauty, see Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty by Nancy Etcoff (1999). Here is an excerpt. Women wear cosmetics to accentuate or simulate the physical cues that men are hard-wired to find attractive. There are more complex social dynamics involved, but they rest on this biological foundation.

“Makeup was an advanced art by the time of the ancient Egyptians. …In the British museum there is a woman’s cosmetics box from Egypt dating to about 1400 BC. …In fact, Egyptians had most of the cosmetics we have today, suggesting that the cosmetics business is hardly a modern invention or response to cultural pressures. …

{Whitening is used in many places, from Greece and Rome to China and Japan.} Over this pale canvas, women apply exclamation points of red to their lips and cheeks. Red. the color of blood, of blushes and flushes, of nipples, lips, and genitals awash in sexual excitement,  is visible from afar and emotionally arousing. …Red pigments were applied to the lips in 5000 B.C., placed in cartridges as lipstick in Paris in 1910 …Pots of red oxide of iron have been found inside ancient Sumerian and Egyptians tombs. …

“Fair, blushing skin is the skin of youth, of the female, of the woman who has never borne a child. It is why women of all ages have struggled so to maintain it for life. They are trying to mimic the beauty of the nubile adolescent …Women tend to be paler than men of the same race because women tend to have less hemoglobin in their blood and less melanin in their skin. …skin color differences between men and women are products of sex hormones and directly indicate a woman’s fertility.

“Young girls and boys do not differ markedly in skin tones. The dimorphism emerges only at puberty, when boys darken and girls lighten. Thereafter, women are lighter during ovulation than during the infertile days of their cycle. Their skin darkens when on the pill and when pregnant. …woman’s hair and skin tend to be permanently darkened after the first pregnancy, forever changing the girlish complexion of youth.

“…blushing, and flushing suggest sexual excitement. When coloring gets vivid, the skin is moist, the lips swell, and the skin generally signals “the likelihood that one’s courtship gestures will be reciprocated and consummated.” Red rather than pale lips and pink rather than white cheeks also advertise health. Anemia due to iron poor blood is a common illness in most countries, …

Nancy Etcoff is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School and a practicing psychologist at Massachusetts General. This is a brief excerpt from a long chapter, part of a heavily documented book. Please do not give rebuttals unless you have read at least the chapter.

The Last Psychologist and the Hillary Administration

Have you wondered who would have staffed the Hillary Clinton administration? Here is an example. Read and decide for yourself if this would have been good for America (that is, of course, a distinct question from the same question about Team Trump. Confident with un-grounded beliefs. A lover of abstractions, theories, and labels. Judgemental. Contemptuous of American society and the American people. A team of such people probably would run the nation off a cliff.

The Last Pirate

About “The Last Psychologist”

Per the associated Twitter account, the author is a “pirate” and lives in Los Angeles. It might be one person, or a group. See a collection of the theories here. The last post was May, 2014.

Some interesting slightly grounded posts: “What’s Wrong With The Hunger Games Is What No One Noticed“,”The Hunger Games Is A Sexist Fairy Tale. Sorry.” and “Hunger Games Catching Fire: Badass Body Count.” From the last post: 15 people are killed in Catching Fire, “{Katniss} kills one person, but she is responsible for all of their deaths.”

For More Information

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about Hillary Clintonabout liberalism, about Women and Society, and especially these…

  1. An anthropologist announces the death of liberalism.
  2. An anthropologist explains the causes of liberalism’s death.
  3. An anthropologist announces the fall of the liberal professional class.
  4. Clinton lost because fear failed, and voters disliked her Social Justice Warriors.

20 thoughts on “Why women use cosmetics (the answer reveals much)

  1. The more I know of Hillary the more I think that Trump should take his red hat off to Bill. Award Bill a medal of honor with a purple heart.
    Imagine him having to put up with her for the best part of his life.

    1. Bill made a Faustian bargain with Hill. You make me look like a real husband and family man throughout my presidency, and I will help you become the first woman president. But the pretense was just too difficult to maintain, and Bill’s escapades made Hill a much harder sale when the public had to make a choice.

      And now the smarter members of the public are breathing a huge sigh of relief!

    2. Jerome,

      “and I will help you become the first woman president.”

      That’s an interesting idea. Is there any evidence of this? I don’t know when Hillary was tapped for political power. It might have been near the end of Bill’s administration, or even after. She pretty much disappeared after her the debacle of her one time on stage — masterminding Bill’s health care proposal.

      Note the attempts to launch Chelsea into politics. Lots of firepower expended, with little results. So far.

    1. Gerard,

      You’ve obviously read more of TLP than I. Can you give some pointers to TLP saying things that are the “opposite of” feminist?

      Supporting my conclusion — see this excerpt quoted in this post. It could come straight from a Women’s Studies seminar. I attended a lot of them in college, so that’s a first person observation.

      “I’m not saying you have to look good for men, I’m saying that if wearing makeup not for men makes you feel better about yourself, you don’t have a strong self, and no, yelling won’t change this. …I am not doubting that in fact you do feel better about yourself, I am saying that that fact is both pathological and totally on purpose. Since this cognitive trick does help you feel better about yourself, by all means go ahead, but at what point will you stop pressuring other women to go along with it? When will you stop “requiring” it, like when you say, “oh, she’s so pretty even without makeup” as if the default was makeup? …

      The trick to the makeup debate is that it pretends to want to be free of male pressure, yet the pressure to look a certain way is actually much worse from women. So this result is that a “patriarchical”, controlling force, unacceptable if coming directly from men, is maintained by giving the whip to other women. …

      The choice to wear makeup is no choice at all, I know you think you came to it on your own but you live in America, you don’t make free choices here, freedom is a brand.”

      I could give similar quotes from TLP’s three articles about “The Hunger Games.” The second, “The Hunger Games Is A Sexist Fairy Tale”, is straight-line feminist analysis.

    2. Who bullies the bullies, is a good example, his analysis of feminism is from the perspective of how it is used to increase advertising. Most of his writing is in this vein, how the media and adverising companies manipulate our views to sell us stuff. His view on feminisim, is not whether it is right or wrong, his interest lies in how it is used to to drive advertising sales by short circuiting peoples critical facilties. He applies this same methodology to different ideologies as a way to highlight how adverting works, it seems to be the point of his blog. I worked in advertising for about 10 years, I found his insights to be very useful in understanding why some things worked and some didn’t.
      Many of his articles are interested in why feminism reasonates, not whether it is correct.
      As regards make up, hes saying that wearing make to make you feel good is pointless, in reality your lying to yourself, your wearing makeup to look good for men, he is railing against this lack of self awareness.

    3. Gerard,

      I agree with your description of his subjects. But that was not my point. All of those subjects are commonly found in feminist literature. I said that his perspective or analytical frame is straight feminist doctrine.

      Much of his work could be published in a Women’s Studies journal.

    4. Quoted from the very article that Larry is railing against:

      “To understand exactly why “feminism” or whatever Valenti thinks she has re-invented has not only stalled, but is damaging to all humanity, all you need to do is go to the source.”

      That certainly doesn’t sound like a pro-feminist line. Hell, if you actually read that article, TLP’s argues that gender/race are just smokescreens used by the elite to occlude them keeping power away from the masses; definitely not a feminist talking point.

      The “I took some Women’s Studies classes several decades ago” bit is a laughably weak appeal to authority. I’m not even sure where you disagree with him. You both assert that make-up is intended to make women look good to men.

    5. Alex,

      Feminism is not a unitary entity. Like every other movement, ever, it has factions and gradations. TLP is attacking mainstream feminism as insufficiently radical. This is commonplace on both Left and Right, as the radicals attack the mainstream liberals/conservatives. The commies addressed much of their firepower against liberals. The far-right hates the “republicrats” and “RHINOs” (Republicans in name only).

      TLP’s critique would not be feminist (broadly speaking) if, for example, TLP advocated a more moderate or traditional set of values. Instead TLP wants a purer or more radical form of feminism:

      “The point here is that they are branded as for women, this is what the Huffington Post Women thinks of women, they suspect, apparently rightly, that women will respond better to these articles if they are told they are “For Women.”

      From what I’ve read of TLP (a fraction of the massive body of work at that website), I’m unclear if TLP wants a purer female identify (without reference to male needs, gaze, identity) or a true gender-free identity. Or perhaps something even more radical. But I’m pretty sure TLP does not oppose feminism as too radical, or want any kind of return to traditional values.

    6. Larry, I think you’re pathologizing a simple point written in a circumlocutory style.

      Cut through the loquacious prose and Alone’s point is straightforward: when a person/group claims to change motivations and yet the set of behaviors remains constant, they are deceiving themselves. This is a common psychiatric observation – getting patients to change their actions is a helluva lot harder than leading them to gain “insight” into their condition – applied to a social context. The subconscious goal is to stay the same while being convinced something meaningful has changed i.e. their identity changes while the behavior doesn’t. Then the question becomes, “Who benefits from this situation?”

      Women claim that wearing makeup for men’s attention is degrading, but wearing makeup for themselves is empowering. Alone shows that the logic is inchoate and contradictory; furthermore, they are “oppressing” other women in the same manner as the so-called patriarchy. Most importantly, they are doing the same thing as before. So who benefits from this situation or rather, who stood to lose from these alleged feminists sticking to their principles? You quoted from the blog near the top of the chain post but missed the most important part:

      “Makeup is an $8B/yr industry, that’s face makeup alone, no way is it going to allow you to make a choice that doesn’t involve a credit card, fine, if you don’t like makeup here’s a remover for $30, just remember that you’re not doing it for men, you’re doing it for yourself.”

      Whether women wanted to stop wearing makeup due to self-determination or sheer laziness, due to liberal or conservative values, there is no way the cosmetics industry would ever let them make that choice. “Wearing it for myself” is the current position pushed to keep self-identified feminists hooked into the system. “Support our troops overseas” or “To prevent the grey men in Area 51 from telepathically scrambling my brain” would be equally acceptable as long as it keeps them purchasing lip gloss. Alone’s point is that this isn’t feminism, it’s advertising masquerading as feminism. He would provide the same criticism if it was advertising masquerading as a tradcon rally. Neither party would be acting according to espoused principles, but mere puppets for institutions that don’t care about said party’s welfare.

      Regarding his political orientation, TLP is best described as a libertarian with a conservative streak towards non-economic institutions and a liberal approach towards small-scale ones. He is largely liberal when it comes to criticism of capitalism and social discrimination; at least, he relies on tools like Foucauldian discourse analysis as his analytic lens. However, he is dismissive of globalism and quite disparaging towards feminism as a ideological movement (perhaps not as a political one). He is also fiercely protective of the nuclear family and stresses the importance of informal social institutions in producing healthy communities. He is heavily scathing of modern liberalism as an unintentional power source of narcissism (the primary focus of his posts), social alienation, and social/economic disenfranchisement.

    7. NEET,

      “I think you’re pathologizing a simple point written in a circumlocutory style.”

      I have no idea what that sentence means.

    1. One of the self-referential in-jokes of the blog is that he’s a total sexual degenerate, alongside being a chronic drunk and possessing a rather nebulous gender identity. You have to remember “TheLastPsychiatrist” is a fabricated persona akin to Nietzsche’s bombastic, inflammatory declarations (clearly one of his aesthetic and philosophical inspirations). He explicitly addresses this point in one of his entries.

    2. “Hopefully it’s both” is a joke. Pretending to be a lascivious boor is part of his online shtick; it has no relevance to the overall point nor reflects an actual position. It’s like accusing him of hating German pale beer in real life because he constantly mentions rum as his choice for drunken blackouts.

    3. NEET,

      OK, perhaps that sentence is a joke. Perhaps not. So what? It’s a trivial point. Four words in an excerpt of 495 words from a 5200 word article.

    4. I like makeup as it prevents me having to look at the raw and naked truth of a face that should never be shown in public. Like most bodies (mine included) they are best seen with clothes on. (Adam and Eve)
      Sure it may be more honest than pasting the makeup and clothes on but then who likes the truth anyway?
      Our pollies lie to us and and we expect them to… nobody expects a man to deliver on his promise of building a big wall between the US and the rest of the Americas. Even the Israelis were surprised to have Jerusalem openly declared as their capital. Lies and distrust are the currency of our lives and makeup is one facet along with fake news and Hollywood keep the demons of real life at arms length.
      We prefer the idea that the Russians jippoed the election through Facebook posts than to believe that Hillary was discovered.
      We have rejected the Truth so have to buy the lie and makeup is just a small facet.

  2. TLP is right about Katniss being carried along in the story. The question shouldn’t be “how dare the author do this?!” but a more deep looks at “Why is this our collective story narative?” I’ve give you an answer.. the same as Cathy Newman got – Lobsters. (go to youtube and look it up if you haven’t seen it already). But seriously we are structured this way to produce off spring. Anytime that doesn’t happen, those set of genes are dumped. Women as passangers is done because that has worked for women to get their genes passed on.
    ANYHOW, Katniss is atleast a little more valueable to the story the Indian Jones is in Ark of the Covenent where if he hadn’t been there the whole movie except for the Ark ending in the warehouse would have occured without him. If that isn’t a message of futility.

    As to the book “survival of the prettiest” excerpt, I’ll point out that before seeing red on human woman as a signal to men, understand our primate forbearers saw red on fruit as a sign of ripe fruit. Our sexual signals are piggy backing off that. – that isn’t to discard the observations just to point out it goes deaper and older than that.

    1. ACT,

      “TLP is right about Katniss being carried along in the story.” “Katniss is atleast a little more valueable to the story the Indian Jones is in Ark of the Covenent…”

      That’s not true — in several senses. She has two major influence on that world’s history. First, when her actions before and during the first Game make her a symbol. That’s a rare thing, and she fulfills that role. Second, when at the end she shoots Coin instead of Snow.

      TLP assumes that being kick-ass is all that matters. First, that’s daft. Second, she kills Coin. It’s a typical example of TLP’s shallow analysis.

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