Skin Deep, Only Deeper

How people have used makeup to define—and defy—their roles in society

Jef Harris/Flickr
Jef Harris/Flickr

For something that seems so simple, the act of adorning one’s face with a smudge of lip color or a flick of eyeliner can mean getting a promotion, getting home safely, and being taken seriously—or not. As journalist Rae Nudson writes in her new book, All Made Up: The Power and Pitfalls of Beauty Culture, from Cleopatra to Kim Kardashian, makeup has, for better or worse, shaped cultural narratives and standards of beauty for centuries. Red lipstick is patriotic—and it’s an act of protest—and it’s a sign of sex appeal—all depending on when you lived, and who and where you are. Nudson joins us on the podcast to talk about the choices we make when we wear makeup, and whether those choices are ever entirely ours to make.

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Stephanie Bastek is the senior editor of the Scholar and the producer/host of the Smarty Pants podcast.


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