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Cosmetics and the female body. A critical appraisal of poststructuralist theories of masquerade


Negrin, L, Cosmetics and the female body. A critical appraisal of poststructuralist theories of masquerade, European Journal of Cultural Studies, 3, (1) pp. 83-101. ISSN 1367-5494 (2000) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2000 SAGE

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Recently, there has emerged a new paradigm, informed by poststructuralist theory, for the appraisal of cosmetics. According to this approach, earlier critiques of cosmetics have been based on a mistaken premise that there exists a 'true' self independent of the masks one assumes when, in fact, the self is constituted by these very masks. Thus, in contrast to previous critics who proposed a return to the 'natural' body, these recent theorists advocate a cosmetics which openly declares its artificial nature. However, as will be argued in this paper, in their concern to dismantle 'essentialist' notions of the self, poststructuralist theorists have unwittingly fallen into the embrace of the cosmetics industry with their promotion of the notion of the self as masquerade. In our postmodern culture where the cult of appearances has become ubiquitous, the advocacy of a hedonistic experimentation with various guises is complicitous with contemporary capitalist consumer ideology.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords: appearance, cosmetics, female body, masquerade, poststructuralism, self-identity
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Gender studies
Research Field:Gender relations
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Arts
Objective Field:The creative arts
UTAS Author:Negrin, L (Dr Llewellyn Negrin)
ID Code:19876
Year Published:2000
Deposited By:Art (Hobart)
Deposited On:2000-08-01
Last Modified:2013-04-05
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