POST: 'War Paint' - "defy the mirror to tell her otherwise"
What's it about?
The women warriors behind the red lipstick.
What I experienced:
Alright, let's get the misogynistic makeup jokes out of the way, because I know those people really need this moment to revel in their 'cleverness'. Take her swimming on the first date? Wow, I've never heard that one before. That's so original.
Really? Ever heard of waterproof, buddy? Ain't nothing coming off in the water. Might as well be a damn mermaid, thank you very much.
Hate to break it to all the people out there that think girls wear makeup for guys - it's usually for themselves and if it's ever gonna be for another person, chances are it's gonna be for other girls who knows the difference between fuchsia and hot pink.
Makeup has changed a lot since Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubenstein were the top dogs, but the reasons for wearing it haven’t.
Elizabeth Arden herself had been reluctant to credit her husband as VP of her company, because at the time of building her empire (early 1930’s) and throughout her whole career she was well aware of the unfortunate discredit all her work would suffer from. Being that she was an independent women doing it all on her own, it was seemingly unbelievable to the rest of her business peers. It seemed to be worse for Ms. Helena Rubinstein, who wasn't married at the time and was far more untraditional than Arden, like she said so herself, she sells the science of beauty. She didn't concern herself so much with the pretty pink packaging that Elizabeth did, but instead focused on the science behind her products.
I hadn’t heard much about Helena Rubinstein before seeing War Paint, but I’m pretty sure her picture can be found next to the definition of not giving a shit. My kinda girl. Being an "untraditional" beauty was something else assigned to Helena (by men, of course) since she had what she referred to as a trademark jewish nose, and she was nowhere as dainty or as the gentile as Elizabeth Arden. Being the determined and ambitious women she was, she created her own philosophy of beauty. Most of her philosophy, to me, was based on the fact that there really wasn't one and if there was, there shouldn’t be. Who even knows what the hell beauty means? Helena Rubinstein was quite the character and likely the best source of one liners I have ever known. She's so damn quotable. She reminds me of that fabulously single aunt that comes to the obligatory Christmas family party and passes you the wine without realizing you’re 12 years old. Anyone else? Just me... ok.
Her one liners would get their own damn applause, and one in particular stuck with me. She recounted that every morning as part of her morning routine she would look into the mirror and call herself beautiful, then “defy the mirror to tell her otherwise”. Of course, I picture the opening scene of American Psycho - because I can’t escape from serial killers ever - but I’m gonna assume Helena wasn’t as creepy about her shit, but did care about the pH of her cleanser drying her skin out. Wow, I just compared Patrick Bateman, a serial killer psychopath, to a middle aged women obsessed with makeup and beauty. Unlike Bateman (it’s an awkward segway... just let it happen) Helena wouldn't allow her beauty to be defined by anyone but herself, she was the only one who had to live with her face, so girl had a valid point. Also I have no clue how I’ve managed to get this far in and fail to mention the fact that I went in completely oblivious to the fact that this (like most musicals I go to) was a damn musical. I'm not gonna say, “I'm not a musical person", purely out of the fact it makes me sounds like an a-hole, but I should just throw it out there that it's rare for me to be at one. But dayummm Patti Lupone, how does your voice do that?
I’m glad that I unknowingly chose this musical, because it didn’t allow for me to judge the show too soon. This story embellishes itself just like women do in makeup, but deep down it’s more than just some superficial need to be pretty. Makeup for Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubenstein was about letting girls know that makeup is a secret weapon to showing the world how women were badass warriors underneath the blush and lipstick. Elizabeth had infamously given out lipstick tubes to suffragists, and when women were called to war Helena created lipstick cases that would keep the product intact no matter the harsh working condition a women was working in. A lipstick may seem trivial to many, but it could hold the power to making a women feel like a damn warrior.
That’s why I think it’s pretty ignorant to tease girls for wearing makeup. Not only is it nobody's concern how someone decides to express themselves, but saying something negative about it could be taking that confidence a women needs to face society. People can say that it’s dramatic to rely on makeup for confidence, but is no different to all the luxuries guys get to show off, the cars, designer suits, and money, etc. It’s truly the war paint women bare on their face as they go out there into the world trying to make it a better place for the rest of their sisters.
The best part is it’s not just girls wearing the war paint anymore….#everyonecanbeonfleek
Want to see it?
What did you experience?
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