Though beauty pageants are not big business here in the UK, being more the preserve of our cousins ‘across the pond,’ there’s no denying that looks take top billing at such events – the title ‘beauty pageant’ puts across what the judges and spectators are looking for quite explicitly. I don’t know about you, but when I imagine what I perceive to be a typical beauty pageant contestant, I picture a tall, slim, shapely woman with long blonde hair – along the lines of Holly, Bridget & Kendra from ‘The Girls of the Playboy Mansion.’
One thing I don’t imagine is a contestant who is bald. I’m sure this is to do with my (limited) perceptions of what American beauty pageants are all about, and also to do with constructed ideals of beauty and femininity – nearly all of which involve long, flowing locks. But the current Miss Delaware may be about to change all that…
Feministing has declared December “Decembrow,” in response to Movember, a mustache-growing event that happens every November to raise money for prostate cancer. Except Decembrow seems to have less clear goals than Movember. Lori of Feministing says:
“While women in the U.S. generally rock two groomed brows, I say let’s be inspired by Movember and take this opportunity to let our facial hair grow…for a cause. This month, I encourage you to grow in your unibrow, or, if you don’t have one, use an herbal remedy or a pencil to fake it (as they do in Tajikistan), for the cause of your choice. (Need ideas? Check out last year’s feminist holiday gift guide for some great organizations and charities.) Challenging cultural norms …
Mail Online’s Hannah Betts, inspired by Gemma Arterton and Kelly Brook who both showed up at recent events make-up free, decided to follow their lead and eschew cosmetics for a full week. This is no mean feat, as Betts admits that she has been wearing makeup every day of her life since she was 11.
Her current routine is as follows:
My morning roll-call embraces: foundation, concealer, powder, eye shadow, kohl, mascara, blusher and lip balm. Should I be out on the tiles, matters become still more outlandish.
But Betts is not a full-scale beauty queen, arguing that makeup is the one area where she goes all out, and leaves the rest of her appearance to nature:
I am robustly low-maintenance in other respects: unfit, gnawed nails, schoolgirl hair.
So how did Cosmeticsholic Hannah survive a week without makeup?
Betts opens Day 1 by explaining to us what’s wrong with her and why she needs make-up in the first place:
But here I am. Day one of my challenge. I examine myself closely in the mirror. I am nearly 40 (unlike Kelly Brook’s 30 and Gemma Arterton’s youthful 24).
My skin could be worse, I have darkish eyebrows and lips, but sans slap my eyes vanish bar a pair of sooty crescents. I am ghoulishly pale, and my features become doughy, bland, blah.
Betts informs us that she feels ashen, invisible, characterless, bland and that her co-workers either ignore her, insult her or offer her sympathy. And yes, the alabaster Goddess on the top is Betts without makeup. Ahem.