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sex strikes
March 20, 2009 11:09 PM   Subscribe

rethinking the lipstick index - a nice find: there's an old Greek play called Lysistrata, in which the women of Greece go on a sex strike to stop the Peloponnesian War. Did it work? The play maybe was just a play, but in the last decade there have been (successful?!) sex strikes in Liberia, Colombia, Naples, Sudan... this site gets into some research about ancient women's ceremonies being a coordinated sex strike to get the men to hunt, and that they painted their faces red to suggest menstrual blood... and now i can't help but think of lipstick, and blush, and then there's the lipstick index, the idea that lipstick sales go up during hard times, (supposedly) because its the cheapest female self-indulgence product; but now i wonder... some primal impulse...
posted by jojo-dancer (31 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
You didn't notice The Lysistrata Project(s), where some classics professors read the play to protest the Iraq War.

It's okay... nobody else noticed it either.
posted by shii at 11:13 PM on March 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


this lady likes her lipstick.... (NSFW, but so, so awesome)
posted by sexyrobot at 11:43 PM on March 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


You aren't affiliated with Spectre by any chance, are you jojo?
posted by katillathehun at 11:52 PM on March 20, 2009


I could have so done without seeing Amanda Lepore at 3am. Bitch is scary.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:04 AM on March 21, 2009


3AM is the best time to see Amanda LePore. In fact, if there is an appropriate time, that would be it.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:18 AM on March 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I worked on some version of that play in college. It was terrible, but it was worth it to see everyone walking around with giant foam hard-ons.
posted by runcibleshaw at 12:22 AM on March 21, 2009


sorry for the derail...actually, love the idea of a lysistratan sex strike being used to help bring peace...there's some old adage about all pusuits ultimately being just the pursuit of more sex...
also reminds me of a short story by pamela zoline about a group called 'the mothers of invention' who bring about world peace by kidnapping babies and young children from all over the world and swapping them around...would you bomb a country that might have your kids in it?
posted by sexyrobot at 12:45 AM on March 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


this lady likes her lipstick.... (NSFW, but so, so awesome)

Lady?
posted by delmoi at 1:44 AM on March 21, 2009


but now i wonder... some primal impulse...

I always thought it to be a representation of a sexually aroused woman's engorged labia. And how a man driving a Ford F350 with jacked-up suspension has a small dick.

Hardly definitive links, so I would be surprised if this is totally wrong.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 1:50 AM on March 21, 2009


"leading lipstick indicator". coined by leonard lauder...chairman of estee lauder.

Yeah...kinda like "burgers make you feel good" coined by the hamburglar and ronald mcdonald.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:06 AM on March 21, 2009


I think you're really talking about two different things here. I can't read the whole article that you linked to about 'ancient lipstick,' but the part I saw didn't say anything about menstrual blood.

Anyway, yes, it's not exactly a new idea that lipstick derives from, and takes advantage of, primal sexual impulses. But the withholding of sex to stop violence is, in terms of wrestling with primal impulses, pretty much going the opposite direction.
posted by bingo at 2:43 AM on March 21, 2009


From stylist.com in November 2008.

Beauty industry insiders believe that sales go up when the economy goes down. [...] The bad news? Cosmetic sales are up 40%. The good news? We found a list of fall's most popular shades.

I laughed.
posted by seanyboy at 4:00 AM on March 21, 2009


All I could think about during the Amanda Lepore video was how hard it was going to be to get all that lipstick off...and how the video director was going to explain to his friend just what the hell that was on the hood of his Rolls...
posted by Xoebe at 5:32 AM on March 21, 2009



"All I could think about during the Amanda Lepore video was how hard it was going to be to get all that lipstick off...and how the video director was going to explain to his friend just what the hell that was on the hood of his Rolls..."


I think the video director was Dave LaChapelle...

"Lady?
posted by delmoi at 9:44 AM on March 21"


just what are you implying?
posted by kolophon at 7:10 AM on March 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


If I were into fake everything, I would think that Amanda Lepore is pretty hot and I'm as straight as the line from A to B.

Isn't the goal of liberalism to give people choices? Trangengerism is OK in my book because the transgendered are implementing their choice to be what they want to be.

As for the actual subject of the post, no sex make Hulk ANGRY!! Hulk SMASH!!
posted by double block and bleed at 7:47 AM on March 21, 2009


I have no comment.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 7:58 AM on March 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Not every woman is Lysistrata: The Order of the White Feather and feminism.
posted by Grangousier at 8:05 AM on March 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


No. Just no.

Anything that includes the phrase "ancient women's ceremonies" is instantly fail on any degree of science, genuine anthropology, or reality.
posted by jokeefe at 10:53 AM on March 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Thanks for stepping up, jokeefe. There's not much that makes me angrier than the use of evolutionary models of culture to "explain" current society.
posted by anarcation at 11:36 AM on March 21, 2009


Anything that includes the phrase "ancient women's ceremonies" is instantly fail on any degree of science, genuine anthropology, or reality.

The ouroboros of statements that make me go: "What?"
posted by cmoj at 11:38 AM on March 21, 2009


I hate lipstick; it feels like, well, waxy gunk clogging up your lips. Gets on the man, gets on the drinking glasses, requires constant touchups, smears and makes you look like Courtney Love, stains, melts in your purse. Smells perfumey, also, which bothers me that close to my nose.

Not a real woman, I guess. Also, menstrual blood? Like all blood, does not dry red, but brown. Not a great cosmetic, unless you are talking "shit-eatin' grin" which I'm guessing you're not.

Lipstick draws attention to the mouth, which is used for kissing and other intimate things. It makes you pout and open your mouth a little (so as not to smear it) and along with blush can, I guess, be used to imply sexual excitement and flushing of the skin.
posted by emjaybee at 1:01 PM on March 21, 2009


Hmm, I read the Power and Watts article, but I'm not convinced that it's much more than a 'Just So' story. So sorry.

But if you can't be bothered to read it, here's a breakdown in an accessible form:

Him: What's that stuff on your face?

Her: The red stuff?

Him: Yeah, reminds me a little of blood.

Her: There's a reason why it might...

Him: Oh, soooo you're...hmm.

Her: Yup, it's probably best if we wait a week til we try form babby again.

Him: A week! What am I going to do to pass the time?

Her: You could always fetch me a doner.

Him: A doner? This is 70,000 BCE, Mahmut Aygun isn't even born yet!

Her: Well, you'd best figure something out soon, I'm hungry, and not for sweet loving!

Him: Right, I'll see what I can do. Back soon.

Her: Laters. Oh, and don't bother trying Tracy down the road as her face is red too.

Him: At the same time? Funny how that works!
posted by Sova at 1:03 PM on March 21, 2009


"... A critique of cosmetics (by Judy Grahn, among other feminists) contends that makeup mimics on a woman's face the effects of a beating. Blackened eyes, bruised cheeks, and bloody lips are another way of viewing 'looking sexy.' ... "
posted by Carol Anne at 2:30 PM on March 21, 2009


another explanation might be that lipstick makes it look like you've just eaten a whole big plate of ribs and therefore they don't even have to buy you dinner.
posted by sexyrobot at 3:22 PM on March 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


*dodges handbags*
posted by sexyrobot at 3:59 PM on March 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


True story: My 6th grade teacher was going to have us perform Lysistrata as part of our studies about Greek history.

Our parents were not amused.
posted by jenny76 at 5:55 PM on March 21, 2009


"Blackened eyes, bruised cheeks, and bloody lips are another way of viewing 'looking sexy."

So, zombie porn is like, really, really, sexy. Definitely NSFW.
posted by Xoebe at 7:26 PM on March 21, 2009


> an old Greek play called Lysistrata

That's like calling Shakespeare "some old English geezer"...
posted by Mephisto at 8:52 PM on March 22, 2009


Anything that includes the phrase "ancient women's ceremonies" is instantly fail on any degree of science, genuine anthropology, or reality.

Why? You don't think there were any ancient women's ceremonies, ever?
posted by bingo at 10:54 PM on March 22, 2009


The problem here is really the potential for an extreme degree of generalization that implies causation where it's likely none exists. How do we know what people were doing - let alone how they conceptually organized their lives - 70,000 years ago? Can you accurately describe the intervening social processes that took place between the creation of a paleolithic petroglyph and current lipstick use?

"Social sciences" like archaeology and paleoanthropology are still sciences, so you have to be able to prove your claims beyond a reasonable doubt. Notice how all the New Scientist article does is raise the question of the possibility of a connection; beyond that they have no evidence to make any kind of credible claim.

So, sorry jojo-dancer, but it's nearly impossible to prove something as nebulous as a universal "primal impulse" as linking cultures' symbolic systems across such vast distances of time and space. The social/cognitive sciences have a hard enough time describing the brains of people they can study - no way we have any clue how people really worked in the distant past.

However, it is comforting to tell ourselves such stories. Lipstick? Sex/gender-based inequality? "This is the way it's always been... no worries, it's natural..."
posted by anarcation at 12:59 AM on March 23, 2009


i don't think anything's been proven, just interesting to think about
posted by jojo-dancer at 11:44 AM on March 23, 2009


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