work from Jan Connett...
‘I pluck and polish and powder and paint
I soap and soak and deodorise and re-perfume
I lather and rinse and colour and shine ….’
The 21st century woman’s talisman is her houseful of cosmetics, beauty products and accoutrements. They offer her a disguise, protection against the physical world (sun, wind, rain, late nights) and the imagined (‘I can’t let anyone see me until I’ve got my face on’). And so the superstitious daily routine of preparation for the outside world binds her into the creation of the Body Beautiful, according to the image and rules imposed by her society and transmitted by media and the global cosmetics/ beauty products industry.
Why do women wear corsets, when these constricting garments are the most widely-recognised symbol of their subjugation?
Actually, for many reasons:
§ in pursuit of the Body Beautiful, as a means of conforming to a body shape that they, and their society, conceive to be perfection;
§ in defence of the Body Beautiful, as a representation of modesty and sexual abstention (the chastity belt);
§ in constraint of the bulging Body (un)Beautiful;
§ in celebration of the Body Beautiful, alluring and seductive;
§ in liberation of the Body Beautiful, by applying a mask that permits the wearer to adopt novel behaviours under cover of a bodily disguise;
§ in danger of the Body Beautiful: a weapon to be used in the chase; the powerful woman toying with, devouring, then spitting out her lovesick counterpart.