In Defense of Going Barefaced

I get tired of the whole gender, gender, gender business.  I especially get tired of the idea that since I am a woman I always wear high heels, make-up and love pink.

For the record I prefer purple and running shoes.  I don’t remember the last time I wore make-up.  Maybe on a job interview but even then I feel like it is false advertising since since chances of my wearing make-up to work ever day hover some where in the range of slim to zero.

The whole gender queer thing leaves me feeling as though people are putting me on because it give credence to the stereotypes sold by corporations are real instead of advertising.  I sometimes wonder if the realization that advertising is the projection of a fantasy world and bears no connection to reality makes some of us gifted with the ability to see beyond the spectacle to reality.

From Cafe:

by Deborah Copaken
Thursday, November 13th 2014

A couple of years ago, just before Facebook went public, I was sitting with its COO Sheryl Sandberg in a green room off the Museum of Natural History, just prior to an important presentation she was giving to the New York advertising industry. (I’d written an article about how Facebook had saved my then four-year-old’s life, and Sandberg had reached out and invited me as an example of the actual good social networks can do.) The excitement in that green room, pre-IPO, was palpable. Sandberg looked radiant in her blue dress, raring to go. This despite the fact that her face—the face of Facebook—was completely devoid of makeup.

I wanted to hug her for this. To stand up and jump up and down and shout, “Yes yes yes! You go, girl!”

I don’t remember exactly what we were talking about when the assistant with the clipboard walked in—it was either Sandberg’s upcoming book, Lean In, or the release of my latest novel, which I promised to send her—but I do remember we were deep in our conversation and enjoying ourselves and our beverages when the assistant said, “Okay, Sheryl, you’re needed in hair and makeup.”

Sandberg’s face—her beautifully unpainted face—fell. “It’s crazy, isn’t it?” she said, seeming to read my mind. “And so unfair.” Many of the other speakers that day, all of them heads of various departments at Facebook, were male. They weren’t needed in hair and makeup and never would be. I didn’t have a tape recorder with me that day, so I can’t quote the rest of what Sandberg said directly, but suffice it to say we shared some choice words on the topic of the wasted hours we women lose to primping, just so that we can be taken as seriously as men. A man without makeup is a man. A woman without makeup is making a statement that can grossly interfere with how she is viewed, paid, and heard.

A man without makeup is a man. A woman without makeup is making a statement that can grossly interfere with how she is viewed, paid, and heard.

Neither of us, however, had any quick solutions to this conundrum. It would require the type of feminist awakening, we decided, that no women’s magazine would ever touch. In fact, I told her, I’d tried pitching some version of this story to various women’s magazines over the years, even though I knew they’d never buy it, as they are financially dependent on ad sales from L’Oreal and Maybelline, and you don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

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4 Responses to “In Defense of Going Barefaced”

  1. Edith Pilkington Says:

    The woman who wrote this lives across the street from me:

    I remember reading it a few years ago and wondering what to think. There really isn’t that much to think about.

    Over the years I have found that dress codes are swords that cut both ways. All of the women I knew when I was in my late teens, early twenties were adamant about not even shaving legs or plucking eyebrows. I have found, since, there are no simple do’s and don’ts. I will always be very resentful of anyone who tries to impose any kind of dress code, though. Life can be hell but there is no reason it has to be, in most circumstances.

  2. Edith Pilkington Says:

    Are you confusing Soloman for Copaken?

    I live in East Egg. I can’t explain.

    Glad to see you put up NLCR again. Love Mike, Tom and Uncle John. Always get them confused with the NCLR.

    I am confused, though. I know Anna well enough to say hi to at the end of the driveway. The only book I am aware of that she’s written is The Little Bride. Am I missing something?

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