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Beauty In Retrospect: What This Century's Lipstick Trends Say About Women

Lifestyle

According to Li Edelkoort, one of the world’s best-known trend forecasters, there is an interesting connection between body, lips, and time frame, influenced by focus and proportion. Many factors come into play when analyzing lipstick trends: emphasis on particular body parts, celebrities of the time, and most importantly, the economic and financial status of American society in general. Perhaps you knew that the length of a woman’s skirt is dependent upon the economy, but who knew the color and shape of a woman’s lips could be so telling of the times?


The ’20s – Prohibition and Rebellion
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A matte-finished, heart-shaped mouth is the expression of the seductive, coquettish woman of the Roaring Twenties. Taking their cue from the scorned-yet-sought-after flapper, women go out to dance, drink illicitly distilled whiskey, and push the envelope of their independence.

Black-and-white movies present the mouth in daring, feminine shapes—the “Cupid’s bow” style of Clara Bow, the “vamp’s lips” of Theda Bara, and the sexy “bee-stung” lips of Mae Murray. Edelkoort notes that because the focal body part of the time period is the legs, “breasts are smallish, and girls are boyish.” Eyes are large and lips are thin. Lip colors are black and garnet red.

The ’30s – Economic Depression

A mouth drawn outwards with square edges emphasizes the stern, perfectionist appearance of the sober ’30s. Women, having witnessed the financial battery of the Great Depression, are thrifty and austere.

Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich—powerful, yet glamorous women who are not afraid to determine their own fate—are idols of the time. Their steely and androgynous appearance personifies the adult woman. Lip color is a silky/glossy reddish brown.

The ’40s – Wartime

A full mouth formed with symmetrical curves represents the courageous, self-assured look of the ’40s despite wartime privations. While men are at war, women are forced to fill their roles, giving them a newfound sense of identity and responsibility.

The Hollywood heroines of the silver screen, such as Rita Hayworth, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, and Katherine Hepburn encourage the idea that women are equally as capable in filling roles formerly occupied by males. Lipstick becomes an instrument of individual morale, symbolizing strength while disguising sorrow. Lip color is a brilliantly glossy vermillion.

The ’50s – Post-War Period

A voluptuous mouth with the lip line extended beyond the natural shape is reflective of this period of reconstruction. The look is seductive and feminine, revealing the ambivalence of women. On one hand, they oppose the traditional role of women—one they fought to suppress during wartime. On the other hand, they long to embrace their sexuality and femininity.

Consequently, there are two strongly opposing role models: the voluptuous and feminine Marilyn Monroe, and the cool and self-confident Audrey Hepburn. Lip colors are bright red or pink. Edelkoort says that in this period of rebuilding an entire economy, the focus is on the body, and the face is seen as one whole element in perfect proportion.

The ’60s – Flower Power and Rebellion

A full, soft pout goes hand in hand with the rebellious habits of hippies in the sixties. The period is characterized by the exploration of outer space, the sexual revolution, Woodstock, and the anti-war movement.

The youthful, anorexic chic of Twiggy and the provocative pout of Brigitte Bardot are symbols of the rejection of conventional beauty, prosperity, and consumption. Hence, lipstick is still applied, but discreetly. Lip shape is large and colors are shimmering beige-like mother-of-pearl, baby pink, and silver/white. Li attributes this to a sudden shift in sexuality, noting that the most focused-upon body parts are the breasts and butt.

The ’70s – Disco Rules

An outlined, shiny mouth reflects the shimmering iridescence of the ’70s disco look. Saturday Night Fever, Studio 54, platform shoes, and soulful divas like Gloria Gaynor and Diana Ross define this decade. Women break social conventions and explore boundaries.

They are not afraid to become single mothers or fight for their social and political rights, and they are especially unafraid of their sexuality. Lip colors such as glittering crimson or burgundy red convey self-confidence.

The ’80s – Emancipation

A dark, wide mouth represents the provocative punk look of the ’80s. Punk, as a musical statement and a culture, is the first anti-beauty movement. In fashion, women and men alike play with the idea of reverse gender roles. The transvestite chic of Boy George and the fashion of Vivienne Westwood convey “tribal identity.” Influenced by music videos such as Madonna’s “Vogue” and Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me Baby?,” strong eyes and dark lips become a popular trend. Lip colors are dark to black with metallic effects.

The ’90s – Individualism

A clearly outlined mouth painted in natural colors, either shining or matte, documents the grunge-turned-pop look of the ’90s. Internet, cell phones, Pearl Jam and plaid, piercings, tattoos, hip-hop, and the fitness wave set the tone for this decade socially and commercially. Fashion trends change quickly—everything is allowed. The introduction of supermodels—Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, and Linda Evangelista—permeates women’s idea of beauty. Brown undergoes a revival, but both dark and bright lip colors are in demand.

2000 – The New Millennium

“Cocooning” is the buzzword for the transition into this new millennium. The term expresses a longing to return to intrinsic value and friends and family: a harmony that does not stop at lip fashion. The shape of the mouth is natural. Soft and warm shades are prominent. Pastels and shimmering shades of beige, pink, and apricot (so-called non-colors) reflect women’s desires to embrace their natural beauty and the quest for eternal balance and happiness. It’s about a return to our basic needs, and in a declining economic climate, a new appreciation for the bare essentials.

So what will the future bring? According to Edelkoort, history will continue to repeat itself. She predicts that, for now, generous, whitish beige lips will reflect our nurturing desire to live at a sustainable, slower pace. “Thinner lips will take us into the 2020’s,” she says. “Eventually, perfect red lips with harmonized proportions between the eyes, lips, and body will balance our beauty in the new era of post-recession and reconstruction.”

This article first appeared on Beauty Matter.

Career

Male Managers Afraid To Mentor Women In Wake Of #MeToo Movement

Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.


In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.

What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.

Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.

Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.

While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.

According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.

In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.


Source-Alex Brandon, AP

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.

Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.

The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.