Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s makeup routine reflects the enduring power of lipstick

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s makeup routine reflects the enduring power of lipstick

Markets rise and fall, but lipstick has been inextricably linked to women’s power, potential and identity through the constant work of the cosmetics industry and media. Whether sheer, gloss, pearl or matte, this one small product has been a symbolic and measurable constant of consumer and popular culture. …

It was not always this way. At the end of World War I, lipstick-wearing was still something of a rarity among American women because of its association with sex workers. But in less than a generation, because of the exponential growth of mass media (such as film, radio and magazines), advertising, changing roles for women and the popularity of the concept of modernity, lipstick was adopted as an essential item — much like electricity or toothpaste. It became part and parcel of the whole package of being a woman in public.

By Ilise S. Carter

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