Why do we wear makeup?

4 answers of philosophers proposed by Caroline Pernes on Philomag bring a 5th.

Plato: a false adornment intended to conceal her true nature. Cosmetics is a “perverse, deceptive, vulgar and servile activity, which deceives by the looks it gives”.

Montaigne: “The whole world is acting”. Makeup is a way of distinguishing between its social function and its true nature.

Beauvoir: Makeup is a marker of female alienation. The woman is supposed to be an “erotic object”, to offer herself “as a prey to male desires”.

Butler: Makeup is a “performance”. The one who wears makeup engages in the society of the spectacle. It performs sex and gender.

4 answers devoid of the slightest magic, in which the one who wears makeup will not find hers, very simple: she wants to be pretty, to attract the eye. Bringing the world to oneself.

So aren’t these philosophers the ones who actually disguise the world? And why do they do it? An observer immediately sees the simple answer: like the one who wears makeup, they seek to attract the eye.

As for the metaphilosopher, she will say that they have something to extirpate from themselves. Finally, perhaps there are as many makeup boxes on the shelves of libraries as on those of boudoirs?

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1 thought on “Why do we wear makeup?”

  1. The first two views are, roughly, similar I think. Face make-up is an old practice;,people who are older want to look younger, i. e., better. On occasion, those who are younger want to look older, wiser, smarter, etc. A disguise, in these and other cases. It is also connected strongly with theater, or theatre, if you prefer. The disguise aspect here is often less important than a dramatic one. The comment regarding the vulgar is probably another instance of preference on the part of the commenter…sarcasm is an old form too. In whatever the mode may be, the effect of intention is somewhere present. Interest, preference and motive are powerful drivers of behavior. They have been on or in the scene as long as we have.

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