Saturday, August 02, 2014

Nudity, Dirty Energy, Cosmetics, and the nature of being Human.

Robyn Lawley is a celebrity model with 66,000 more Instagram followers than I have.

She's a lot better looking than I am, so I'm not mad about it; and while some may see what I'm about to write as a direct criticism of her, it isn't. 

I'd like to shine a light on a behaviour the vast majority of we who call ourselves human share, that being denial, and maybe a peppering of ignorance also.

Let's get to it...

We live on a molten ball of iron and rock, hurtling through space at thousands of kilometres per second, surrounded by a tenuous wisp of atmosphere; beyond that? Endless, dark, vast, unknowable space. There is only one planet we exist on. Finite resources. Finite atmosphere. Danger everywhere.

So maybe a dose of denial is a necessary prerequisite to human happiness?

While looking at horrible faux-news clickbait sites that survive on ad revenue from page views, I saw this picture:

It's from Robyn's Instagram account, and is in protest of current and proposed coal mining here in Australia. If you read the comments (some of which will make you want to kill yourself if you have a brain and understand things like logic), you will get a feel for both sides of the argument.

I, myself, support Robyn's side of the argument. The Abbott Government removing funding for renewables and throwing open contract after contract to their friends in big coal is definitely worth the scrutiny of a future Royal Commission. It feels like every move they make is a short-sighted grab at cash from those who destroy our environment most, and it's pretty heartbreaking to witness not just that, but the brainwashed small-minded idiots who argue that jobs are more important than the environment (as if there is only one type of job available), or that 'clean coal' isn't an oxymoron.

So- Robyn made her point (I see how getting naked to make that point was guaranteed to get her message out their quickly and effectively. It's a shame that that's what guarantees virality, but she didn't make the rules, she's just using them for everyone's benefit).

Here are her words-

OK, so, to my mind, fair point. 

Robyn spoke her mind from a perspective of feeling that she couldn't sit on this information any longer. So she used her considerable social media reach to spread her message, using a proven trick of advertising 'sex sells' to guarantee virality (and to no doubt win her social media accounts a few new followers also).

I agree with all of this so far.

But what I don't agree with is not the fact she posed naked for the picture, but that she wrote her message in lipstick. I posted a comment (which I will include below), but Robyn didn't reply. I'm sure she has more important things to do than reply to every comment, so I understand. But I would have liked to have heard a response from her about what I thought.

I'm not going to go into detail about the negative impact of lipstick on the environment, on animals, or on human health, but I have linked relevant Google searches to each so all of you intelligent humans can do your own research and not just believe everything I say.

But if massive de-forestation, cancer, lead-poisoning, negative effects on unborn children, or vivisection aren't reason enough to evaluate what it is you're smearing across your mouth, let's look at this instead:

Lipstick has one stated purpose- to make women to feel glamorous and desirable. It does this (apparently) by using colour and texture to highlight the mouth area, thereby bringing attention to it. 

Glamour is a matter of perspective, as is desirability. My personal perspective is that women's mouths are perfect exactly the way they are, and don't need any help to make them more so. Also, I just won't kiss anyone who is wearing lipstick (not even Robyn Lawley). Some guys fetishise it, but some guys also fetishise drinking piss or having sex with their sister, so that doesn't strike me as a solid basis for argument. Having said that, I don't claim to speak for all men- I'd just like to make some points for people to consider.

And of course there are the girls who say "I don't wear makeup for boys, stupid!", and I see them all the time grossly exaggerating their lip lines as if we are idiots who can't see, and asking "Why can't I get a boyfriend?" when the lower half of their face is covered in a layer of whale fat, preservatives, lead, and oils (for no reason other than vanity).

I know for a fact that those girls wouldn't do it at all, and would never have thought of doing it if someone before them didn't tell them to. Like people's choice in religion- if they were raised in isolation with a family of scientists, none of them would be Christian, Muslim, or Shinto. They'd just be well informed people who weren't lied to.

Just like smoking (zero benefit to the user, great financial benefit to rich people who couldn't care less about you or the planet you live on), cosmetics is a staggeringly enormous industry that feeds on insecurity, and invents new ways for you to feel bad about yourself so they can sling you some new potion for youth/hotness that you not only don't need, but is actively bad for you.

And women buy into it, not only supporting it, but defending it.

So here's my statement- Lipstick isn't a necessary thing. It doesn't serve a real purpose (unless you fetishise it). It is a product that has a negative effect on people, animals, and the environment; solely for the benefit of rich people you wouldn't like if you met them. A huge number of men don't like it, and some actively avoid it. Just like diamonds, they have been marketed to you as a crucial element of femininity, when the thing that makes you feminine is the way you carry yourself (it's not exclusively therefore, sole property of women).

If you know all of this, and you still elect to wear lipstick, then that's your business. I'm not here to criticise people like that. If you're armed with information, and you make choices after gathering that information, then I respect the fact you went to the trouble to inform yourself. I may not respect your decision, but a person's decision is their own, and other people don't get a say in it. 

But a decision isn't a decision unless, armed with the facts, you have decided.

But don't be like all of the stupid girls on Robyn Lawley's comment section for the above picture, saying how stupid the Government is for destroying the environment by being pro-coal, while their Instagram pages are packed full of selfies where they are never seen without (forest eliminating Palm Oil packed) lipstick. Where they say they love animals and would never hurt them, but wear a product that is the main reason why species of animals (including apes) are threatened with extinction from habitat destruction.

Don't be like the even more stupid girls who for some crazy reason think that Rihanna is worth taking life advice from, or who is worth any kind of adoration. She's not a 'Queen'. Seriously you guys.

Just because someone tells you something, doesn't make it true. Like religion. The cosmetics industry, the fashion industry, the tabloid press, your Sisters and Mothers and Cousins; they have all said lipstick equals glamour. And because you trust these sources, you simply believe it. This is not what critical thinkers do! People you love can be ill-informed or wrong, so simply swallowing whatever they tell you is a terrible way to find your way through life. 

People influence people, and that is my problem with Robyn Lawley. She's a woman who thinks, is passionate about causes, is successful- there is so much about her to admire. But she took the bait that lipstick is a positive thing, and through her influence, passes on that message subconsciously to anyone who listens.

This is the greatest marketing trick in history, and the shame of it is, the people who do it are in the main completely unaware.

I posted to Robyn's comment section because, as a thinker and environmentalist, I believe if she knew the full story behind the lipstick industry and the product itself, she would re-evaluate her stance on it. Would she become anti lipstick? No one knows but her. But like I said before, knowing the full story is always a good place to start.

I wish this conversation would spread, that more women became aware of the facts, and made their minds up not from peer pressure or viral marketing, but from facts.

And I wish women who are inspirational and influential for others would stop helping the cosmetics industry get rich by destroying the environment, poisoning people, and testing on animals- all based on a lie, that you need their products to be beautiful.

I should mention Megan Gale here too. She's the brand Ambassador for L'Oréal's 'Colour of Hope' campaign. 

The campaign is basically a way for the company to sell more product and get an edge over their competitors. In reality it's a way to give yourself cancer. The sad part is that a portion of the proceeds of lipstick sales go to Ovarian Cancer research. Is that irony? Ever since Alanis Morisette I haven't been able to tell.

So Megan Gale (who I have hung out with, who is beautiful and hilarious, and who I am 100% confident has no idea), is getting paid to sell a product containing cadmium, mercury, aluminum, cobalt, titanium, manganese, chromium, copper and nickel, which both cause cancer, as well as harm the development of your baby’s brain, kidney and nervous system, create learning or behavior problems, and/or cause you to miscarry.

So who loves a 'strong red lip' now?

Some people know the risks and do it anyway. Like Lily Allen who happily smoked through her pregnancy and then looked really sad when her baby died in front of her. Was it a direct result of her smoking? I'm not the coroner, so I can't say. But I can say she rolled the dice, and that makes her a terrible person.

Even if you use a vegan lipstick, that doesn't make it safe for you or your baby. And even if you crush berries from your garden onto your lips as a lipstick that has no negative environmental or health effects, there is still a negative ethical effect:

People may copy you. And if they don't know how you do it, or if they don't have access to that method, or if they're just lazy, they may buy products that do have negative effects. Same reason why vaping isn't harmless- it continues the glamourisation of something negative, thereby creating a demand/market for cigarettes or lipstick (my two least favourite things that people use).

Basically, if you buy into the bullshit that lipstick is sexy, you're one of those people who believe that diamonds are rare and valuable, or that Tony Abbott isn't a liar. People only believe those things because someone else said it was true, and you never checked your sources.

Some people have asked me "What about eye makeup, do you ate that too?" Actually, I really like it and enjoy seeing it on people. The main difference being (if it's ethically sourced) that you don't ingest the component chemicals leading to long-term exposure/poisoning; and it doesn't go in my mouth if I kiss you.

As for anti-ageing creams etc- do some research! Most of it is utter horseshit, some of it actually exacerbates the problem, and a teeny tiny number of products actually work.

I'm not trying to tell you what to do, or how to think here... I'm just begging you to think. To actually think. And to share your thoughts with other humans.

You want glamour? You want sexy? Nothing is more glamorous or sexy than a woman who thinks for herself.


Here is my comment to Robyn: