Exploring being female (for that's what we are) in a world of media myths, publishing incompetence, and marketing madness -- as well as the female submission and subscription to those messages.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

"Vintage Cosmetics & Beauty Accessories: Not Taken At Face Value"

I feel really weird making this post, but here it is: Pink Populace Paparazzi Parade Exposé makes ink because I, Deanna Dahlsad, was interviewed for a feature article in the March 2009 issue of Collectors News magazine.

It began with an email from Stephanie Finnegan, monthly columnist for Collectors News:

I enjoy reading your work at COLLECTORS QUEST, and would like to invite you to be the subject of an upcoming magazine profile.

My topic is "accessories and beauty," and I know from your writing that you are very articulate about these two topics, particularly in how they have been aimed at, and for, women.

Would you like to be the subject of my column?
Such a flattering request, how could I refuse? (Even when a photo of myself would be required! *Ugh*)

So there I am, in the "Collector's Spotlight" titled Vintage Cosmetics & Beauty Accessories: Not Taken At Face Value, covering two pages (24-25) in text with some photos of my collection. Just pages away from Wes Cowan (he's going to get a restraining order, I swear!)

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the article (and boy is it weird to quote myself).

How I began collecting in this area -- after falling in love with Marilyn Monroe and vintage Hollywood glamour:
There are few things as romantic as beauty products. They reveal such intimacy, both physically & emotionally. They connect you to women who have lived and dreamed before you. For example, take a tube of lipstick once tucked into a flapper's garter for late night reapplication on precise & lovely red lips. That woman once felt all the same hopeful excitement I used to feel going out -- and likely the same disappointment and rejection too. To hold that tube is to feel a connection across time.
How I began to look at things after feminism hit me:
I started to see the makeup as something more sinister. It was used to cover imperfections. Was that from the false perceptions formed of insecurities, or was it because of the violent bruising of abuse? Was it applied so that the world would see the 'brave, acceptable' face, or was it just a mask? Did we choose to put it on, or were we made to?

...I slowly started to work from one end of the continuum to the other. I still bought pretty pinup stuff and beauty products, but I continued to explore feminism in the text and the objects. I hoped my collecting and my research would meet, someday, in some middle truth.
On why I continue to collect and explore "beauty" and look at it in the constructs of culture and advertising:
Glamour is, after all, a noun defined as 'a charm affecting the eye, making objects appear different from what they really are.' It is also a verb, meaning to cast a spell over someone or something. We women use glamour to be attractive to potential mates, and to society in general for health and productivity is important to the whole group. The notion that there are biological components to beauty -- and that we'd dare to manipulate them to our advantage -- is political. And it is not so easily admitted. Humans like to believe they are not in any way animals. However, there's also a cultural overlay to the biology. How are women to behave? What is her role? What does the proper woman look like? It's a 'nature versus nurture battle' of beauty and gender roles.
But it's Finnegan's own words about my viewpoints and my "collecting acumen" which make me blush the most:
Dahlsad is a touchstone of where women have been, what they wore, and how they carried themselves to get there. She is a historian of how powder puffs and nail polish have both ensnared and enshrined the image of womankind.
Good heavens, I think I'm getting the vapors!

(Or maybe that's my head expanding.)

All photos of me and my stuff were taken by hubby, including the cover, so he's pretty stoked to "make a cover" too. *wink*

The only disappointment is that the article doesn't directly mention Collectors' Quest, which is where Finnegan found me. I feel bad about that. So I now direct you there, to see these specific articles which likely (I'm guessing) are where Finnegan found me to be "articulate".

Vanity Collectibles

True Confessions Of True Confessions

Collecting Female Uniforms: Vintage Aprons

Pick A Shelf, Any Shelf: Collections In Context & Construction

The More Things Change… Vintage Women’s Publications

Old Etiquette Books: How To Be A More Interesting Woman

And, when I have time, I'll add more photos to My Vintage Makeup & Beauty Stuff Collection in the CQ community.


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