Always Pack Your Lipstick

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This is more of a general gripe, and it’s no longer quite the overwhelming norm as it once was. I’m talking about women on TV always looking made up. Just out of bed, running after a bad guy, going through a friggin’ wormhole to another planet – all done while wearing impeccable makeup, and without a strand of hair out of place. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve cringed when female characters are put through the wringer and still look better than I do after simply walking a mile in a slight breeze.

Sam Carter from Stargate SG-1, for example,  wouldn’t really wear bright lipstick out in the field. Her hair has almost always been questionable (for my personal taste, heh), but there was also never any doubt that it took some styling time as well.

Women in law enforcement, when not in the office/station, would probably tie their hair back when they head out instead of letting it flow all gorgeous and shiny as they run (wearing high heels) after a suspect. Props to Numb3rs, because Megan often times at least puts her hair back into a ponytail when outside the office, in a situation where running after someone is likely to happen anyway.

I dunno. Maybe I’m the only one who finds it ridiculous. I do think the industry is getting away from it a little bit (I’ve seen promos for the new Battlestar Galactica, and several of the women don’t look prettied up), but the prettification of women in unrealistic situations is still prevalent.

Comments

  1. Jennifer Kesler says

    Uncanny! I was thinking this morning about Seven of Nine’s constant impeccable full makeup job and how she is the last person in the universe who would waste her time on makeup, given her obsession with efficiency. It’s not like Jeri Ryan wouldn’t still look fantastic without makeup (that is to say, with the same sort of “no-makeup” that male actors get).

    I find it very distracting when I know without question that this particular female character would not wear makeup that way. As you mentioned, Amanda Tapping is another very good example of someone whose character would not wear makeup in the field – and in fact she looks better the less makeup they put on her.

    BSG has done a pretty good job on that front, at least compared to everyone else. But for the most part, female characters are still coming out of swimming pools and waking up in the morning with full makeup. Male actors would never be saddled with such an obstacle to overcome for suspension of disbelief. But female actors aren’t there to play credible parts – they exist only to look pretty, apparently.

  2. says

    Seeing women on television doing stuff with evidence gathering or working in a lab with their long, gorgeous hair flowing down around their shoulders always wigs me out. Did they fail their lab safety course or what? Those lovely tresses could, like, contaminate something! Or catch on fire (which sounds absurd, but I actually know more than one person whose hair has ignited in a lab setting. It happens)!

    And I would love to see more women in action sequences wearing ponytails, braids, and hair clips – I teach a lot of girls and women in my martial arts classes (and the occasional boy or man with long hair), and the number of people with long hair who are willing to wear it down while fighting (or even just working out) is very small. It. Gets. In. The. Way.

  3. sbg says

    Revena said:

    And I would love to see more women in action sequences wearing ponytails, braids, and hair clips – I teach a lot of girls and women in my martial arts classes (and the occasional boy or man with long hair), and the number of people with long hair who are willing to wear it down while fighting (or even just working out) is very small. It. Gets. In. The. Way.

    Yes! I often wear my hair down in the winter (it’s easier to throw a hood up in case of rain when I don’t have my hair up), but I always have a band to put it in a ponytail when I work out, which I do immediately after work. 1) hair flies all around and obstructs my view, something I don’t want when I’m heading up and down a 300 step staircase and 2) hair is a fantastic insulator; it’s bloody hot if I don’t get it off my neck.

  4. sbg says

    BSG has done a pretty good job on that front, at least compared to everyone else. But for the most part, female characters are still coming out of swimming pools and waking up in the morning with full makeup. Male actors would never be saddled with such an obstacle to overcome for suspension of disbelief. But female actors aren’t there to play credible parts – they exist only to look pretty, apparently.

    I suppose one could argue it’s because men don’t generally wear a ton of makeup in the real world. Some guys are very conscious about what they look like all the time, but most that I know take about 30 seconds to get ready.

    It’s irritating. I can’t be the only woman who only take half an hour to get ready in the morning…actually, that’s not true. It’s 40 minutes, because my hair is long and I’ve got lots of it. It takes 10 minutes with a hair dryer and it’s still damp. I digress. If we’re out here, it would be nice to see us represented somewhat.

  5. Jennifer Kesler says

    But sci-fi isn’t “the real world”. It’s just as likely the men would wear makeup instead of the women.

    And in no world I can imagine do sane women wear makeup in combat.

  6. sbg says

    True, true. I wasn’t trying to excuse it, just trying to find the “logic” behind the trend.

    I’m picturing Sam out in the field, with a compact in hand…giving away SG-1’s position with the mirror’s glaring reflection of the sun as she reapplies her lipstick. Heh.

  7. says

    Makeup in modern-setting action sequences wouldn’t bug me, if we ever saw it being messed up. If the female cop goes tearing after a suspect, and afterwards her mascara is all smeary from the sweat, that’d be awesome. Because many women do wear makeup in their real, everyday lives – but very, very few have a makeup artist on hand to touch it up right away whenever it gets disarranged.

  8. Jennifer Kesler says

    SBG: I know you weren’t trying to excuse it. My best guess as to the logic is that the job of makeup artists got defined in the Golden Age of Hollywood, when it was perfectly acceptable for the leading lady to be fully made up in every circumstance, and it just hasn’t changed since then. It could be that directors (who have the authority to tell a makeup artist what they want) are so inured to the normal standard that they don’t even think to question it.

    If it’s not just a huge case of everyone overlooking, then I can’t imagine the logic.

    Revena: agreed. If the makeup would perform like it does in real life when you get sweaty or wet or what have you, I’d feel somewhat better about it. Though, I’d have to question how sensible I’m supposed to think the woman is if she’s wearing makeup knowing she’s likely to get into that situation.

  9. Patrick says

    One of the things I like about Farscape and Baybylon 5, is that Aeryn and Ivanova frequently wear ponytails – and have about the same level of makeup as the men. It’s appropriate to their characters because they’re both soldiers. And in Ivanova’s case, the makeyup issue is quite noticable on those occasions where she is clearly wearing makeup – occasions when makeup is called for. But you’ll never see her wearing it while on duty.

  10. Jennifer Kesler says

    Ah, you’re right about Aeryn (I still have to see Bablyon 5 someday). She had on maybe a TAD more makeup than the guys, but I think it was intended as a no makeup look, and it passed for one.

    Farscape got a lot of little things right.

  11. Maartje says

    Just to be fair on the stargate front: Teal’c wore lots of it too. Nowadays not so much, but in the first few seasons he had more make-up than Carter, in the field too. So maybe they did each other’s make-up in the morning ;)

  12. Jennifer Kesler says

    There is actually a fanfic about that!! It was hysterical. Teal’c was telling her she used too much eyeliner, and showing her how to get a softer look.

    You’re right, though – Teal’c and Apophis both wore makeup, and that’s something I wish we saw more of in sci-fi: cultures that do things differently from us, LOL.

  13. sbg says

    You’re right, though – Teal’c and Apophis both wore makeup, and that’s something I wish we saw more of in sci-fi: cultures that do things differently from us, LOL.

    Different from modern times, at least. The Goa’uld were basically following Ancient Egyptians when it came to kohl around their eyes. ;)

  14. Jennifer Kesler says

    Yeah, I started to point that out, but it had been so long since I had anything nice to say about Stargate that I didn’t want to mess it up. :D

  15. sbg says

    Yeah, I started to point that out, but it had been so long since I had anything nice to say about Stargate that I didn’t want to mess it up.

    *snort*

    I’m still snickering at the idea of Teal’c coaching Sam on makeup. It’s all so silly, though, thinking of how Sam (by all appearances) has a little makeup bag in her backpack.

    In normal situations, makeup’s fine. Like Revena said – it’s when women do something strenous and sure to cause sweating/makeup running that the flawless face makes me groan. Hell, by the end of the day my eyeliner is looking pretty sad, and all I do is sit on my arse for 7 hours.

  16. scarlett says

    Thewre was a character on CSI – I think her name may have been Callie – she had the most beautiful ass-length blond hair, looked like she could have been a shampoo model. Like hell she would have been able to do forensics without that hair tucked away. Whenever I watched her scenes, all I could think about was how easily hair like that could contamincate something.

  17. Maartje says

    It’s not actually the length of the hair that matters so much in a crime scene. It’s any and all hair that falls of a head that contaminates.
    I also always wonder why they can walk all over a crime scene and still only find footprints of murderers, but that’s my fault for wanting things to make sense.

  18. MaggieCat says

    Thewre was a character on CSI – I think her name may have been Callie – she had the most beautiful ass-length blond hair, looked like she could have been a shampoo model. Like hell she would have been able to do forensics without that hair tucked away. Whenever I watched her scenes, all I could think about was how easily hair like that could contamincate something.

    Calleigh Duquesne always drove me nuts, and that was one of the most obvious reasons why. Especially since she’s a ballistics expert because you’d think at the very least that after a day of test fires her pretty blonde hair would be covered in soot from all the GSR. I can’t imagine wearing your hair that long and down all the time when you live in freaking Miami- pretty much everyone I know who lives in a hot climate and has long hair wears a ponytail almost 24/7.

    “And in no world I can imagine do sane women wear makeup in combat”

    And now I’m hearing Eddie Izzard in my head “Not a lot of makeup in the Army. They only have that nighttime look, and that’s a bit slapdash.” Hee.

  19. Jennifer Kesler says

    Ah, Eddie Izzard could star in my sci-fi movie any day. There’s a man who knows how to wear makeup. :D That’s a great quote.

  20. scarlett says

    How do I get this thing to do quotes?

    As far as hair contamination goes – I get that it’s not the length of the hair. But surely hair that’s long and flowing has a much better chance of falling out/pulling on something then hair that’s short and/or tied back?

    Plus, I’ve only ever seen models have hair that long and healthy-looking. I’m a bit of a nazi about flyaway bits, and I can’t stand seeing so-called professional woman with sleek, long shiny hair – no way would you have time to maintain it unless you were being paid gazillions of dollars to, and had a team of stylists to help you.

  21. Jennifer Kesler says

    To do quotes, you copy the text into this box, highlight it, and his the button that says “b-quote”. That causes the word “blockquote” to appear between those lesser than/greater than sign thingies, so you’ll know it worked.

    Plus you can check it in the live preview below this box. And now you have edit abilities for 90 minutes after you post! :D

  22. Another Maartje says

    Re: Calleigh Duquesne.

    I’m thinking, actually it makes more sense to have employees with outrageous hair (not just blonde/ass length, but maybe purple and green too), because you immediately know where the hair came from if it contaminates a sample. “Oh, long&blonde, that’s probably our Calleigh.” vs. “Oh no! A short, nondescript blackish hair! Could be from any of the 500 guys that pass through here regularly, and from a nice percentage of girls, too!”

  23. says

    Another Maartje – Hah! I love the idea of color-coded crime scene techs.

    I think one of the main concerns with sample contamination, though, is not just that the contaminant won’t be identified, but also that it’ll show that the people doing the work were, y’know, contaminating samples. Which could be very problematic during a review of evidence at a trial.

  24. MaggieCat says

    What amazes me is that CSI is so hypocritical about the contamination of evidence. They never address the hair issue and they only remember to wear shoe covers about half of the time- but there was an episode where evidence was considered tainted because Warrick got out of his car to help at the scene of a car accident on his way back to the lab and didn’t lock his car for the two minutes he was out of it so the chain of custody was suspect. (Which is even more ridiculous if you take into account the short amount of time he was out of the vehicle and the fact that every single thing that had been collected would have had individual seals.)

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