Is red lipstick unprofessional

Red is the color of the revolution

Women who wear red lipstick are often smiled at.

But the Lipstick Feminism is as old as the women's movement. Viva La Glam!

I must have been about eleven when I first wore bright red lipstick. It fell into my hands while searching the bathroom cabinet at my aunt's house during a boring summer vacation afternoon. I can't remember the brand, but the lipstick is in a heavy gold-colored shell, smelled of margarine and tended slightly towards coral in color, as was the fashion in the 1980s. Fascinated, I looked at my work in the three-part mirror above the sink: I thought I looked like a woman. A beautiful woman on the cover of a magazine. But my own image, which suddenly seemed so strange, also frightened me. The color looked too bright, too aggressive-erotic for my child's face. A flush of shame rose in my cheeks, I hastily wiped the lipstick off again and ran into the garden as if nothing had happened. That afternoon I learned that red lipstick is not for little girls who want to play, but rather adult women who mean business. Lipstick was invented about 150 years ago, and it is still the best-selling cosmetic product in the world. But long before mass-produced lipsticks were in the glass cabinets of department stores, women exchanged tips for pastes and tinctures that gave their lips the coveted red hue - which was not well received by the guardians of morality. In 1770 the British Parliament passed a law against the red lips, stipulating that women who had helped seduce a man into marriage could be charged with witchcraft. The Hanover Intelligence Journal wrote at about the same time that the "application of the beautiful red color" promoted the natural tendency of women to be vicious, to excess and to be wasteful. A perfect advertising claim.

When the French actress Sarah Bernhardt cultivated the habit of applying her lipstick in public with the help of a pocket mirror at the end of the 19th century, it caused a huge scandal. A lipstick gate. These examples show that red lipstick wasn't something women wore to please men. Red lipstick was a code that meant: you can slip my back with your etiquette. I do what I want. The red lip was more of a punk statement than a beauty measure. When the suffragettes became the first in March 1913 Women's March on Washingtonorganized in which thousands of women demanded (and later got) the right to vote, they wore red lipstick as a symbol of revolution and self-determination. Elizabeth Arden, an early business woman who had just started her own cosmetics business, marched along and provided her sisters with free samples of her lipstick in the now iconic shade Red Door. Red lipstick says: I have to be reckoned with. I am here and I have no plans to go again anytime soon. That is why it is the perfect accessory for women in positions of power. Theoretically. In fact, style guides in women's magazines usually recommend avoiding delicate pink or nude tones for important business appointments. Women in positions of power are expected to downplay their femininity, because otherwise they make themselves vulnerable in two ways: First, one might get the idea that a make-up doll is not competent enough for a demanding job. And secondly, even in the event of success, one could still accuse her of having achieved her position only through the immoral manipulation of her appearance. It is unfair that women have to keep thinking about what they look like and how others might interpret it. It also costs valuable time, energy, and money. Men in positions of power wear the same thing every day and are considered well-groomed when they have no dirt under their fingernails and no egg yolk stains on their ties. Women, on the other hand, have to paint, do hair, pluck, cream, coordinate, combine and much more. But in the end - and that's the trick - it should look as if all this beauty work didn't even take place. Because you don't want to be seen as vain, complacent and superficial.

Painting your lips devotedly the color of your skin is a bit like spreading a few crumbs again after vacuuming so that nobody thinks you are crazy about cleaning. Or like going jogging every day, but deliberately moving slowly so that nobody notices that you are doing sport. It is an attempt to disguise the effort made. Women who want both power and glamor are appropriately named Lipstick Feminists.Its representatives believe that women can only really be given equal rights if traditionally feminine traits are no longer viewed as weak and unprofessional. For them, red lipstick is a challenge - today as it was a hundred years ago. In the fall of 2018, the 28-year-old activist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman everelected to the US Congress. Then it was not beneath her dignity to answer the question about her favorite lipstick on Twitter (Stila Stay All Day Liquid in Beso). The shade was sold out within minutes. That is why some criticize Lipstick Feminism would uncritically celebrate consumer capitalism. In general, it is a poor testimony that smart power women like Ocasio-Cortez still make the headlines more because of their appearance than because of their political statements. Of course, a woman doesn't have to wear red lipstick. But those who would like to and may not trust each other should be encouraged. Red lipstick is a clear commitment to independence and self-determination. It means standing in line with historical women who have made a difference. To pay respect to a movement that is responsible for making it much easier for women to get into positions of power today.

If you want to have a clear conscience while shopping, buy the Mac Viva glam (preferably in color I). The entire amount is donated to aid for AIDS. It has raised more than $ 400 million over the past 25 years. As far as human history is concerned, a hundred years is just a tiny instant. For many, women in positions of power still take getting used to. Not least for the women themselves, who have to grapple with dress codes and style codes that are holdovers from times long past. This is why it is so difficult for women to find the right look for a leadership position, because they were simply not originally intended for this role. Of course, stupid sayings about looks are a very cheap tactic to make women insecure and to stir up a mood against them. You can choose to sit it out. As Angela Merkel did: at some point everyone was joking about the corner of their mouth and one could turn to more profitable topics. But you can also take the bull by the horns. A woman who appears at a business meeting with bright red lips is daring. She shows that she is not afraid to attract attention. And almost more important: she's not afraid of being put in a drawer labeled “stupid” as a woman. Leadership qualities always start with having confidence in yourself.

Images: Arcin Sagdic

Text: Diana Weis

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