Sign up for the Week in Patriarchy, a newsletter on feminism and sexism sent every Saturday.
Here come the beauty boys
Masculinity is getting a makeover. John Lewis, the British chain of department stores, recently announced that it is opening a permanent makeup counter for men. This follows a hugely successful trial in its flagship London store; demand for War Paint for Men, a range of male-focused cosmetics, was 50% higher than expected.
“We are finally starting to see men’s makeup become the norm and break the stigma that has been around for years,” said Daniel Gray, the founder of War Paint.
Male makeup hasn’t been entirely destigmatized. There’s a reason that the brand is called War Paint, after all. You’re not buying girly cosmetics, fellas, this is camouflage! But Gray is right; attitudes are changing fast. The male personal care market has grown exponentially over the past decade, and is expected to hit $166bn by 2022, according to Allied Market Research. Big brands have starting to cash in on the trend; the likes of Tom Ford and Chanel have launched male beauty products in recent years.
Social media has been a big factor driving this change in attitudes. High-profile male beauty influencers like Jeffree Star and James Charles, who became the first male face of Covergirl in 2016, have helped redefine the category, demonstrating that makeup isn’t just for women. The global rise of K-pop, known for its pretty boys in full faces of makeup, has further propelled the cultural shift.
The growth of male makeup is also linked to a broader shakeup of the gender binary. Younger generations are embracing gender-fluidity and there’s been an increased demand for gender-neutral fashion. According to Mintel, more than two-thirds of Gen Z males have said they’re interested in gender-free beauty products, rather than traditionally male packaging. So, when it comes to younger guys, War Paint may want to rethink its marketing strategy.
Generally speaking, the rise of male makeup is a positive thing. It’s a sign that we’re moving away from rigid gender role towards a more fluid future. However, there’s also a dark side to the trend. As male beauty standards evolve, men are under increasing pressure to conform to these standards, and are becoming more image-conscious than ever. Male body image issues are on the rise and studies suggest men are now just as likely to be insecure about their appearance as women. The only true winner in the rise of male makeup, it would seem, is capitalism.
Rose McGowan labels Natalie Portman a ‘fraud’
McGowan was not impressed by Portman wearing a cape to the Oscars embroidered with the name of female film-makers who had been passed over for best director nominations. In a Facebook post, McGowan accused Portman of failing to support female film-makers by hiring them through her production company and said she was the “latest in a long line of actresses who are acting the part of a woman who cares about other women. Actresses who supposedly stand for women, but in reality do not do much at all.” Owch.
Cupid is a capitalist
Valentine’s Day spending this year rose 21% to an average of $196.31 among Americans who said they were celebrating the holiday, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. Maybe I’m a grinch but that seems like an enormous amount to spend on a made-up holiday. Interestingly, the share of spending on significant others has gone down in the past decade (from 61% to 52%) while spending on co-workers (7%) and pets (6%) has doubled.
Barclays CEO, Jes Staley, regrets his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein
UK banking regulators are investigating whether Jes Staley truthfully disclosed his links to the convicted sex offender, AP reports. “Obviously I thought I knew [Epstein] well and I didn’t,” Staley said on Thursday. So weird how all these extremely powerful men had absolutely no idea about what Epstein was really like.
Female homicide victims in England and Wales at record highs
There were 241 female victims of homicide (murder, manslaughter or infanticide) in the year ending March 2019 – the highest number since 2006. The number of women (80) killed by a current or former partner also rose by nearly a third. An executive at homeless charity Crisis noted that “These figures are a devastating reminder of why it’s so important for women experiencing domestic violence to have somewhere safe to escape to, and how our continued failure to act is having fatal consequences.”
Iraqi women protest gender segregation
Hundreds of Iraqi women marched in the streets of Baghdad on Thursday after an influential cleric called for anti-government protests to be gender-segregated. Iraqis have been protesting against government corruption since last October.
Is animal rights activism a white boys’ club?
It’s been estimated that 79% of American vegans are women. “Yet often, the female activists that play an integral role in the biggest achievements of the [animal rights] movement have gone unrecognized,” writes Quartz.
The 1975 will only play gender-balanced music festivals
Sister Act: felon version
An Italian woman convicted of fraud evaded arrest for two years by pretending to be a nun and hiding in convents across northern Italy. Police were nun the wiser until a suspicious sister in Lombardy blew the outlaw’s cover.