For all our feminist views it seems the question of whether women’s beauty is faked or au natural is still very much a topic of debate. On this past Sunday’s episode of the HBO series Girls, Hannah and her BFF Marnie debate the “pretty person job.” Marnie has nabbed a job as a hostess at a swank restaurant/club where she’ll bank because being pretty is a benefit, while Hannah notes that she would never cash in on the “pretty person job” since in essence, that’s selling out.
In February’s Elle magazine, the story “Pretty Little Liars” tackles a similar topic. Society pushes women to play up their attraction and rewards them for being pretty (whether you have a pretty person job or not) but at the same time we value the natural look.
Seems women who won’t enhance their beauty may not get as favorable an outcome in work–or in life– yet when we enhance too much we’re vain and narcissistic, says a psychologist in the piece.
So which is it? Play up your beauty or go with the natural look? In the name of journalism, the author tries three beauty enhancers to see how they affect her life: hair extensions, false eyelashes and contouring make up.
Ironically, she is mortified to let anyone know she actually has hair extensions, fake lashes or makeup that makes her cheekbones pop; less they call her a phony and protest that she misrepresents.
The author experiences a mixed bag of results from her three beauty trials. The hair extensions seem to garner her extra male and female attention but she spends much of her time obsessing if others can tell she’s wearing extensions.
The contouring makeup makes a good impression with a man at a rooftop bar until he erroneously guesses her age as four years older. Oops.
And the falsies turn out to be a lot more trouble than they’re worth. Until you get the hang of expert application, you end up in a sweaty Brooklyn bar bathroom at one a.m. with falsies clinging by a few drops of glue and perched precariously midway from your lash line (no dear, no one tells you!)
But no matter where you fall on the pretty vs. natural spectrum, it’s really an individual choice. Wear extensions, get highlights, go gray, skip makeup, get a spray tan, be proud of your “ugly person job”…we’re all women doing the best we can with what we have and how we feel about it. Right Marnie? Now that’s feminism.