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The collected opinions of an august and aristocratic personage who, despite her body having succumbed to the ravages of time, yet retains the keen intellect, mordant wit and utter want of tact for which she was so universally lauded in her younger days. Being of a generation unequal to the mysterious demands of the computing device, Lady Bracknell relies on the good offices of her Editor for assistance with the technological aspects of her journal.

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Location: Bracknell Towers

Friday, July 13, 2007

"But, then, she didn't NEED to..."

Lady Bracknell has of late been passing such leisure hours as she can spare in the company of a number of novels, penned by Mr Peter Robinson, and detailing the successes of a certain Inspector Banks in the pursuit and eventual capture of a variety of villainous murderers.

Lady Bracknell has remarked in the past upon the fact that, when one reads several works by the same author in a short space of time, one tends to notice various verbal tics and idiosyncracies which might otherwise have passed one by.

For example, in Mr Grisham's courtroom dramas, his characters invariably "sip" their drinks. They never swig them, or gulp them, or drain them down "in one". Were a Grisham character to emerge after forty days in the parched wilderness, there is no doubt in Lady Bracknell's mind that he or she would sip the charitably-proffered glass of cold water in a delicate and refined manner.

Mr Robinson, on the other hand, appears very interested in maquillage. But not merely in the paints and powders themselves. No, Mr Robinson is of the opinion that some women need make-up and others don't. (The sub-text being, Lady Bracknell suspects, that beautiful women can "do without", whereas their plainer sisters would be well-advised to plaster the muck on for all they are worth should they wish to be accepted by their peers.)

Leaving aside the vexed question of whether make-up makes one look more beautiful, or simply more "made-up", Lady Bracknell finds the notion that some women "need it" more than others morally repugnant.

What gives any man, be he a novelist, a senior policeman, or a camp television presenter from the Far East, the right to judge which women are "passable" with naked faces, and which should wear a bag over their heads if they have run out of lipstick? What gives him the right to suggest that any woman of his acquaintance should paint her face to please him? Where is the equivalent demand placed on him by the women he meets? (That question is, of course, rhetorical: a man who would treat women as lovely objects in the first place is hardly likely to take their wishes seriously.)

Lady Bracknell, having never worn a great deal of make-up, and that very rarely, eschewed the whole notion herself some years ago at the point when it became clear that she had a choice between standing at the mirror for fifteen minutes applying the stuff, or having the energy to go out.

Whilst Lady Bracknell considers make-up to be a nonsensical frippery, she would never attempt to persuade another lady out of a decided preference for it, if she used it for her own pleasure. If, on the other hand, the products were being applied merely to placate a man who has been reduced to "making do" with someone he considers to be of sub-standard facial perfection, Lady Bracknell would willingly assist the lady in question to throw the tubes and brushes into the noisome depths of the nearest wheelie bin.


Blogger Fire Byrd said...

Well said Lady B.
I love make up and lotions and potions and would never go without just cause some bloke thought I looked better.

9:07 pm  
Blogger BloggingMone said...

Tell that Mr. Robinson.

8:04 am  
Blogger DD said...

I think Mr Robinson would look better in this makeup.

11:49 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Lady Bracknell knows nothing of Mr Robinson's appearance.

She does not accuse him of being particularly sexist. Rather, of sub-consciously absorbing an attitude of which he has, perhaps, never stopped to consider the implications.

If he were overtly sexist, Lady Bracknell would not enjoy his books.

She does, however, find the implication that

a) the way women look is important, while the way men look is not; and

b) there is one, and only one, universally-accepted scale of feminine beauty


11:58 am  
Blogger The Goldfish said...

I went through a long phase of feeling that I needed to wear make-up in order to disguise my acne and look less dead. It wasn't about being attractive, it was the idea that my appearance might actually be offensive to people without it.

I think a major realisation came when it took a significant reserve of courage to visit the doctor for a discussion about my wayward hormones without make-up so that the guy could see what condition my skin was really in (which really isn't bad at all; it's not even severe acne).

But this is the danger with beauty stuff; human beings have always decorated themselves with paint as well as nice clothes and jewellery, but we can be sold the idea that this is a need. And some men, alas, are brought up with a sense of entitlement that women are under obligation to ornament their worlds.

There is also a weird thing in books generally where authors, both male and female, feel compelled to do visual descriptions of women, their hair and clothes but never refer to what men look like at all.

1:59 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I'll stay out of this discussion and stick to what I know :<))


11:49 pm  
Blogger fluttertongue said...

I am partial to a bit of slap. However! I can't be doing with thie 'natural look' business. If you're wearing make up it's not exactly easy to hide it so you may as well make it fun. Women, in all their diversity, are universally beautiful.

9:46 am  
Blogger Heo said...

I second pixie's "Well said," Lady Bracknell.

I'd also like to inform you that I have nominated you for a thinking blogger award, which you may of course ignore is you choose.

9:38 am  
Blogger Jemma Brown said...

Hi LB!!

hope you are well and still loving my blog (you probably wont be after this tho)

you have just been tagged!!

(blame Zepher for tagging me!)

erm check out my blog to find out more and apologies for this being off topic!


5:49 pm  
Blogger Katie said...

Mr Robinson looks like this:


Just so you know.

I only ever wear make up as part of a costume - bright pink eyeshadow to go with disco outfit, for instance - and can't be doing with subtle or natural make up. I *never* wear it to make myself look more attractive (or less ugly), only as part of a costume I am putting together...

2:29 am  
Blogger kimber said...

I applaud you, Lady Bracknell, on your good sense and austere nature -- one's appearance need not be painted for those of good character and quality breeding to note, with pleasure, the beauty that can be found within. Let the fair sex pursue maquillage for their own enjoyment, and not rush about in the headlong pursuit of attracting the sort of gentleman-caller who can not appreciate them for their humour, intelligence and natural loveliness.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to read something trampy and cheap. Toodles!

6:35 am  
Blogger marmiteboy said...

Ah, but you see Mr Robinson hails from the Northern English county of Yorkshire.

He is probably of the opinion that women are getting far too above their station these days. Why, some of them are even going out to work. How is a man supposed to eat if his woman isn't at home to cook his tea? Is he supposed to go to the office in a crumpled shirt or unpressed trousers?

In Yorkshire I believe many men are of the opinion that 'ladies' should wear make up and perfume because they have a duty to look lovely and fragrant for their man.

I find that well known radical feminist writer Ruth Rendell is also of a similar opinion. Her books are often full of 'ladies' who stay at home and do the ironing and housework and ensure that their tired husband has a glass of something waiting for him whilst he sits and relaxes waiting for the evening meal. I fear she is NOT being ironic either.

Her villians, quite like Mr Robinsons are all common people from council estates and those shifty foreign types aren't to be trusted either. Obviously apart from the token black policeman/woman, who isn't allowed to solve the case but is there just to prove the author is enlightened

8:05 pm  
Blogger Katie said...



I know I know I know I didn't want to either.

3:10 am  

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