The Slightly Disgruntled Scientist

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Disproved: Lesbians Wearing Makeup

A tweet by ProfessorFunk brought me to this article on The Science of Makeup, explaining that the reason women wear make-up is all about sex.

First, there’s some science showing that women do, in fact, undergo barely perceptible changes in appearance in relation to fertility. And then, there’s this:

Study after study has found that when shown pictures of women with and without their makeup, men consistently rate images with makeup as more attractive, confident, and healthier. Men also think women wearing makeup come off as more intelligent and having higher earning potentials and more prestigious jobs. I’m not saying wearing makeup is more likely to get you hit on at a bar… but Nicolas Guéguen is. He found women wearing makeup were approached sooner and by more men.

There is no way a connection between these two things can be posited as science.

You see, for something to remotely qualify as science it should have either a control group or — if a control is impossible or unethical — at least some attempt to account for conflating factors. So let’s see:

  • Control group: a group of men (the survey subjects) who have NOT been raised through decades of exposure to gender roles and stereotypes… no.
  • Accounting for conflating factors: being raised through decades of exp— okay, they can’t possibly account for that. Where would you start? Interleave the pictures of women with pictures of clowns?

There is actually some degree of a reasonableness test that can be applied to science. Not as in neutron stars are WAY too trippy to be real, but more like extrapolating a bunch of small, ethnocentric surveys relating to commercial products with sustained, targeted billion-dollar psychological campaigns backing their uptake in order to explain inculcated behaviour IS INCREDIBLY DUBIOUS, COME ON NOW.

Lastly, there is a real whiff of sexism here. Why would a woman deliberate over how to wear make-up? Could it be because it’s a well-established custom, a nearly invisible part of our culture that nonetheless requires careful execution to avoid judgeme— wait, no, they do it subconsciously to pick up! Because that’s what defines a woman, is the inexorable need to find a mate! Right, everyone go home.

Consider this: if this article is, in fact, valid and correct and scientifically sound… Why the hell would any lesbian ever wear make-up?


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