April 27, 2014

Mouthy and Marvelous for #NoBareLips30

My hero, Grace Jones, wearing Whatever The Hell She Pleases on her lips.
My hero, Grace Jones, wearing Whatever The Hell She Pleases on her lips.

By Alexa Day

Midnight Stroll. Revolution. Rise and Shine. Mistress. Scott.

They’re all names of lipsticks and lip glosses. Even Scott, who’s a nude from the e.l.f. Ex-tra Lip Gloss line.

I’ll be getting better acquainted with all of them and more in the next few weeks for #NoBareLips30. For the next 30 days, I’ll be taking to Facebook with photos of my mouth in various lip colors to celebrate my personal concept of beauty, to inspire other women to expand their beauty horizons, and to honor the memory of Karyn Washington.

In the face of critics who complained that dark-skinned black women shouldn’t wear red lipstick, Karyn started the #DarkSkinRedLip Project. She asked women of color to send pictures of themselves proudly wearing red lip color. Her goal was to inspire women of color to rock their own beauty choices, without fear of criticism and without bowing to stereotypes.

Blogger Keiko Kaveri also embraced the cause with #NoBareLips30, encouraging women of color to take on their stash of lipsticks and lip stains and lip glosses and spend a month experimenting with them. The idea is to restore the sense of fun and possibility to something as simple as lipstick. For the next 30 days, lipstick won’t just be for dates or special occasions. Purple will be a viable option. That scandalous red color, previously earmarked for late-night assignations and underground parties, might make an appearance on a weekday.

Maybe we’ll discover something new. Maybe we’ll decide never to wear the purple again. Maybe nothing different will happen. But we’ll play and experiment for 30 days, and then we’ll know for sure.

Karyn’s work was geared toward women of color, but I think women of every color sometimes allow vocal, misinformed criticism to dictate their beauty choices. Even the most confident women sometimes look in the mirror and wonder if they can actually pull off that one daring look. This project encourages us to try, and it encourages us to encourage others by doing so.

I also want to briefly address the notion that it is somehow unfeminist to get this wrapped up in makeup. My particular brand of feminism is about choice. At the very least, it’s about your choice to do what you want with your appearance. It means we can choose the plain lip gloss or a subtle pink or something like Mistress, but as feminists, I think we must choose that for ourselves. I think that allowing other people — even other feminists — to make that decision for you is as unfeminist as making that decision for other people.

#NoBareLips30 starts tomorrow, on April 28, so there’s still time for you to join up. You’ll need to gather up your lipsticks and glosses, and the goal is to have at least a red color, a pink, a nude, and a fun color. If you’re feeling unsettled about wearing one of those colors, this is your chance to go for it! You won’t know until you try.

There’s a schedule you can choose to follow if you’d like. There are participation guidelines you can choose to follow if you’d like. And if you’d like, you can see all the fun on social media under the hashtag #NoBareLips30. Check out Keiko’s post for all the details.

Pucker up, buttercup! And follow Lady Smut. We’ll never give you the kiss-off.

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  • Post authorC. Margery Kempe

    Hear hear! Feminism means trusting *everyone* to make their own damn choices. And I <3 Grace Jones, too! Awesome woman.

    Reply to C. Margery Kempe
    • Post authorAlexa Day

      Yeah, if I have to grow up, I think I want to be Grace Jones. She seems to have it all worked out. 🙂

      Reply to Alexa Day
  • Post authorMadeline Iva

    Women of color????? What about women everywhere having misinformed fashion decisions made for them? Like what brain, for instance, decided women suddenly couldn’t have pubic hair?

    Ahhh, you hit my funnybone here. But I’ll stop foaming at the mouth.

    Purple lipstick rocks, btw.

    Reply to Madeline Iva
    • Post authorAlexa Day

      You heard it here first: Madeline Iva starts #NoBareCoochies30! 😀

      Reply to Alexa Day
  • Post authorLeah St. James

    What a great idea! I’ll be following!

    Reply to Leah St. James
    • Post authorAlexa Day

      Whoo hoo! I need to get on the stick (so to speak) and get my lipstick on.

      Reply to Alexa Day

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