Why women should wear lipstick … and not be afraid to smudge it.

As a woman of a certain age I lose count of the number of debates I have listened to and sometimes participated in about stockings, cinched waists, and the associated betrayal of the sisterhood. Apparently there are some people who believe that a woman is to be pitied if she feels compelled to apply mascara and eyeliner  of a morning … because in doing so she is enslaved to the evil desires of men, no more than the cherry on the top of a cheap tart.

It should come as no surprise that the exponents of this doctrine in my experience tend to be other women, of the barefaced variety. Rarely have I heard a man decry a female’s accoutrements and decorations in favour of a sexless option; sadly it seems it is only women who tend to have a problem with other women. Twas ever thus.

In my hedonistic days working in central London I was surrounded by females who sneered at the sight of a pencil skirt and who would become positively apoplectic if they thought you might have been wearing a push-up bra …What sane woman would possibly want to dress like that? So much more acceptable to join the clan who drowned themselves in shapeless, colourless garb in an attempt to look like a man and, in many cases, succeeding. Of course, if you wore clothing that accentuated your female form, you had to be sleeping your way to the top … 

Now it would be positively churlish of me to suggest that our gender should all be donning a boned corset and six-inch stilettos on a daily basis, but what is wrong with wanting to look like a woman? I can say hand on heart that I don’t apply make-up for a man’s benefit, I wear it for me. I work at home on my own most days, so when I start talking to myself in the mirror in attempt to break the solitude, it’s nice to see a half-decent face looking back  (sadly, I have done that …) There is no escaping the fact that I feel uncomfortable in leggings and a T-shirt, yet I’m ready to take make short shrift of any charlatan that crosses me when I’ve got my lipstick and heels on. 

I see no good reason why we need to turn ourselves into androgynous beings who wear brogues and pretend we like football to succeed in our chosen professions, although an understanding of the offside rule does tend to impress when you nonchalantly drop it into a conversation over a business lunch. Without a doubt, this touchline extends way beyond hemlines and hairspray.

There is of course, always someone who cries “foul” when they push their femininity to the point that it has perceived to have overtaken their ability. Caroline Flint made comment in her resignation letter to Gordon Brown that he saw her as little more than window dressing. All I might add on the subject is that if you type “Caroline Flint” into Google and hit “images”, you could see why GB might be forgiven if he occasionally looked at her  …. in the way a man might look at a woman. If you wear black leather boots and a thigh-high split in your pencil skirt, you have to expect that a man will try and look up it whilst he pretends to listen to what you have to say. Similarly, appearing in glossy magazines in slinky red satin numbers does tend to deflect from any other agenda you might have that is drab in comparison.

The moral to my story is this: ladies, let us by all means adorn, decorate and celebrate our womanly forms publicly and without shame, but let us ensure our heads drive our curvaceous vehicles, not the other way round.



Filed under Life, Women, Women in business

13 responses to “Why women should wear lipstick … and not be afraid to smudge it.

  1. Once again you’ve put a smile on my face – love your blogs, keep ’em coming you fabulous woman you!


    • debsylee

      Hey Karen,

      I’m glad you enjoyed it; what’s life if you can’t crack a gag or two (and offend a goodly part of your gender in the process!!)

      D x

  2. Steve B

    Deb, I don’t think there is a man alive who will not agree with this, and probably plenty of women too!
    You’re on fire, girl!

  3. Seán

    Splendid piece Deboráh!! …”the sisterhood…” “a cherry on the top of a cheap tart..” “barefaced women…” are particularly appealing to a mind that wishes he could think up such…

    & introducing the “offside rule” was clever…as was the fearless use of begging numerous questions…

    Beware the backlash…of the the eyelashless!


    • debsylee

      Thank you Seán … as ever your feedback is much appreciated and valued.

      Perhaps I should encourage a new breed to emerge from this ultimately ….. womán ….. I rather like that idea.


  4. Seán

    I do too…

  5. Hi I think this is a fantastic blog, keep up the good work…

  6. kgodden

    Extremely well-written, not to mention amusing. Wish I knew what a pencil skirt was, but other than that I had a lot of fun reading this.

    • debsylee

      Thanks for dropping by, and for your encouraging comments.
      A pencil skirt is a slim-fitting skirt to the knee; I’m guessing this is not a term used universally (I’m learning so much through writing this blog!)

  7. After connecting on Twitter I wanted to learn more. I’ll tell you what, this article helped me understand you better. I think this is a great article. You go, girl!

    I love your writing style and wit!

    • debsylee

      Thank you Dale!

      Writing can be a lonely pastime but when encouraging comments are forthcoming like yours, it makes it so very worthwhile 🙂

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