On Our Lips
Original title: Sur la bouche
Lipstick represents women’s liberation and oppression simultaneously. Its history mirrors the condition of women.
Lipstick, queen of the land of beauty. Both controversial and eternal, it is intrinsically paradoxical. Both a fashion statement and a megaphone, it has been a symbol of both women’s liberation and their submission to norms. In wartime, it was an emblem of both patriotism and betrayal, conformity and resistance. Whatever its role, lipstick represents women in the public sphere.
This essay sheds light on the insolent history of a seemingly banal item, which, when used, takes on great meaning. Painting one’s lips red is not as trivial as one might think. Without judgment, this book covers the product from the first lipsticks of the 1870s to the post #metoo era and from all points of view: literature, history, sociology, feminism, and pop culture. All in a shiny red package!