Fall of the House of Blusher – The Truth Behind Wearing Make-Up

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Foundation, lipstick, eye liner, mascara; the products found in any make-up bag. The question is why? Why are they essentials? We all know of one Oompa-Loompa lookalike who went a little over the top with the bronzer in high school so we already know that too much is just as bad as too little but in reality is there such a thing as too little?

Women are constantly bombarded by adverts, models, newspapers and all other media platforms that they must always wear make-up when leaving the house. Even business women are portrayed as wearing lipstick and mascara implying that make-up leads to success. I can officially say that if an employer is more interested in the products meticulously applied to one’s face then I would not want to work for them. The conformity to what is seen as beautiful should not be what people are hired for because no matter what way you look at it, women would still be objectified by it.

Of course it isn’t a matter of equality exactly. There are products for men such as manscara and guyliner on the market but obviously men who do use them are a minority and therefore are not goaded to do so by society. In fact, we are seeing the need for make-up backwards and inside out. Why should women (and men) wear make-up at all? It is fitting to call one such make-up product ‘concealer’ because it does just that; conceals real beauty. Beauty is down to the imperfections that we all have. Just like the flaws within a snowflake makes it beautiful, the uniqueness of our bodies is what truly makes us attractive.

My good friend Bry once told me that the key to make-up is to wear it without anyone knowing so obviously some feel that make-up gives them confidence or makes them feel good which is a valid point however we must remember that true beauty lies underneath. We shouldn’t rely entirely on cosmetics to define who we are. If we create a society that puts more importance on façades created by the application of foundation and lip gloss where would that leave us? Who would be running our country? (Null and void question – all politicians rely on façades). The truth is we must be sure not to objectify ourselves just to feel normal because as much as we all deny it to each other none of us are in fact normal.

It is time we stop forcing our ideals of beauty on each other, cliché as it may sound, we should be accepting everyone as they are; be it in what they wear, their sexuality or, indeed, what they look like without make-up. It should be up to all of us to decide what empowers us, not those around us. After all pretty is as pretty does.

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NT Live: ‘Medea’

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Hell hath no fury than a woman scorned. That is most definitely the case as Helen McCrory takes the stage in Ben Power’s adaptation of Euripides classic play Medea. It is an age old story that has been adapted for centuries yet still resonates in our society today. The tragedy follows a single mother coping with the loss of her unfaithful husband by attempting to get revenge on him. It explores what happens when the loathing of someone is stronger than the love for your own children so much so that it brings to light a taboo that no one wants to accept happens; mothers murdering their own children.

With such a disturbing narrative, the play’s disconcerting atmosphere is intensified through the use of the scenery most significantly a fog ridden forest. However what truly exemplifies the tragedy is the chilling performance given by the cast members. McCrory’s regal persona strongly emphasises Medea’s royal connection to the king of Colchis and adds an emotional ferocity to the character in which her exile from her own father and country and the abandonment of her husband; Jason (of the Argonauts) causes her ultimate destruction. Of course, we expect nothing less from McCrory since she began her career inside the National Theatre’s very own walls.

Power’s adaptation adds a tremendously powerful depth to the play with help from Gregory and Goldfrapp’s musical scores. With the use of a repetitive, piano tune throughout (first played by one of Medea’s ultimately doomed children) the 1 hour 30 minute tragedy keeps the audience tense throughout. Additionally the use of choir music at extremely important and disturbing moments adds to an already intensive hair-raising atmosphere which emanates the grandness of certain acts taken. This is also seen clearly when coupled with the disturbing dance-like twitchy movements the Greek chorus named the women of Corinth use when the play nears its dramatic finale as if to represent Medea’s own frantic and unsettling frame of mind.

Power has seamlessly placed this ancient Greek play into modernity and has also expertly kept the tragedy intact as to leave the entire audience disturbed by the scenes that have just took place in front of them. Yet what is most magnificent about this National Theatre performance is that it not only parallels with nowadays but also the decade long scholarly debate surrounding Euripides’ tragedy by allowing the audience to decide who is to blame for the finale. It leaves the viewer unsure as to who to actually feel sorry for since ‘terrible things breed in broken hearts’.

The F Word: A Crash Course in Feminism

So true! It worries me how many people still accept the stigma put on the word

The Bee's Knees

Run for your lives! Sound the alarm; call Scotland Yard; release the hounds! She’s mentioned the F WORD! Holy Moley, cover the little one’s ears from this abominable filth!

Feminism. There I’ve said it. Brace yourselves…no the world hasn’t ended and we’re all still seated with all our teeth limbs lives and morality intact. Feminism there I said it again. How dare devil am I?

After a good few years of jeering, sniggering, out and out prejudice, and misguided banter, I’m taking a pre-emptive strike. I am neither a scholar nor expert on Feminism and its various histories but I am a feminist. And so are you. No don’t choke, it’s ok, most people are. Here, take the sick bag, deep breaths; now head between your knees while I explain. Some of you may already be familiar with journalist Caitlin Moran and her book How To Be A Woman. While…

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Gays vs. “Gals” – Recognising the Common Enemy

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It is interesting what a weekly gossip and catch-up session can uncover. Amongst the social hubbub of drowned out voices and the clattering of teacups found regularly in one of my favourite haunts; the Costa Café hidden inside Waterstones, a friendly discussion between myself and my close friend Bryony took place. The question, you may ask, was most likely one that very few would even think to consider. As a gay man and a straight woman (please ignore the cliché) we discussed which group had been more oppressed in Britain; the rape of one’s wife was once legal whereas homosexual men have been arrested and even killed for their sexuality and both still find derogatory terms used towards them and are generally treated differently than the dominant heterosexual man.

Of course this discussion was in jest but it remains a curious thing that we both felt the need to compare a form of sexuality against a gender instead of seeing the similarities in our oppression. After coming to a stalemate, we finally came to the agreement that we should not be discussing the oppression of different groups but instead uniting against a common enemy; patriarchal Britain. I must make it clear, I do not mean all heterosexual men form this hegemonic ideology against women and gays but that it is generally societal norms and conservative views continued from generations before which have led to the continued subjugation we argued about.

In fact, it is difficult to pinpoint certain forms of sexism and homophobia as you truly cannot put oneself in another’s shoes exactly unless, of course, you are both. Since I am a male who defines himself as a feminist, I was shocked to discover that there were certain sexist things that I had not picked up on which Bryony had opened my eyes to. One of these revelations was that female tennis players are discussed by the commentators for what they wear as well as their relationships with men (Eugenie Bouchard’s interview at the Australian Open this year about which celebrity she would like to date comes to mind).

Men (and women) are naïve to so many forms of sexism because we have grown up surrounded by it at all times and so can find it problematic to identify it. Similarly, homophobia can sometimes be dismissed easily as well because it can be left unnoticed or unchallenged; the most obvious example seen within schools is the word ‘gay’ being used for describing something as negative, wrong or simply as an insult. But how many people notice how the majority of homosexual men are stereotypically portrayed on television, if at all, or how homosexuality is described in rap music? With lyrics such as ‘You fags think it’s all a game’ and ‘so gay I can barely say it with a ‘straight’ face’ in Eminem’s ‘Rap God’ it is clear that homosexuality remains stigmatized. I don’t mean to accuse Eminem or the majority of rappers of homophobia but rather blame society for allowing the practice of using homosexuality in derogatory terms, which rap exemplifies due to its gritty style.

From a childish argument between two best friends, a rather serious issue of overall oppression from heterosexual patriarchy was revealed. It is too easy to remain self-indulged in how the groups we belong to have been oppressed in both the past and present but we must open our eyes to how others are also being oppressed, after all, we both want the same outcome; a society that treats us all as equals no matter our gender and sexuality. If we accepted the fact that heterosexual patriarchal Britain oppresses all then we can join together to destabilize a repressive, backwards view from infecting another generation. It has been over 200 years; don’t you think it is time for a change?