Academia and the art of abusers

Posted on October 17, 2017 under Thoughts

This has always primarily been a beauty blog, a fun escapist corner for me to explore a low-stakes, creative hobby. But today I feel compelled to share something different. I will be talking about sexual assault in this post, so feel free to scroll past if necessary.

I’ve always been politically engaged – even as a kid, I was interested in what was happening in the world. My parents talked to my brother and I about politics when we were growing up, and as a result I developed a robust understanding of the world by the time I was a teenager. I’ve always been interested in world events. Now, though, I feel incredibly fatigued. I find myself wanting to avoid the news, because I’m afraid of what I might find out. The avalanche of allegations against Harvey Weinstein converging with Donald Trump “joking” that Mike Pence wants to hang all gay people makes for a very upsetting moment in history.

There has been an overwhelming, exhausting amount of discourse about Harvey Weinstein, sexual assault, and complicity in a culture that usually allows abusers to get away with their behaviour. I’ve been conflicted about all of it – on the one hand, it’s gratifying to see my female friends finding strength in sharing their experiences. On the other, we shouldn’t have to open ourselves up, to expose our darkness and our trauma, to make men understand how prevalent and how serious sexual violence is with little to no reciprocation in the form of men publicly unpacking their complicity in the horrendous system that leaves every single woman with the ability to participate in “#metoo”. (Because, of course, for every woman who shares her own experience with harassment and assault, there are plenty who don’t want to or who aren’t safe to but who certainly share with us these experiences.)

While we may celebrate the personal and professional consequences Harvey Weinstein is now facing, a question on a lot of our minds is “So are people going to stop working with Woody Allen and Roman Polanski now?” It seems that the tides have turned so overwhelmingly against Weinstein that it’s not only easy to speak out against him but almost an imperative of performative allyship. But when Ben Affleck posts that we must “condemn this type of behavior when we see it“, I have to wonder… where is his condemnation of his brother Casey, who has faced no professional sanctions for his sexual misconduct and who in fact recently won a fucking Academy Award? And since we’re talking about the Academy, well… they kicked Weinstein out, which is great. But they apparently decided that Mel Gibson – a prominent anti-Semite who physically abused his wife – could lie low for a decade and then receive several nominations for Hacksaw Ridge in 2016. Oh, and what about Woody Allen? His last film was nominated for four Oscars, for god’s sake.

I keep coming back to Allen and Polanski, because they are amongst the most prominent abusers whose work is still celebrated. When are people going to stop working with them? Well, when their work stops being a part of the cinematic canon, perhaps. I’m in film academia and I have witnessed this firsthand, to my utter dismay. The same professors who teach feminist theory in their classes have screened Allen and Polanski films. At the time, in my undergrad, this bothered me but did not enrage me. Looking back at it now, I’m mad.

As a relatively young form of art, film is still in the process of being canonized to the same degree as literature. Allen and Polanski, despite the public knowledge of their sexual abuse of children, are well on the way to being canonized – and academia plays a pivotal role in this. When I’ve had to watch films by these men, the professors introduce them sheepishly, knowing, knowing that we know. But they screen them anyway, because they’re art!

What a myopic view to take! Art is political, art has always been political! Art curation is political, too. Semesters are short; valuable texts are cut because there is only so much a second-year undergrad can read in thirteen weeks. Choices must be made – choices as to what students are exposed to. Apparently, in a class on Marxism a single week about Marxist feminism and Marxist postcolonial theory is sufficient – but god forbid we decide not to screen Annie Hall.

Do these films have artistic value? Sure, yeah. When I took a class on horror in early 2014, Rosemary’s Baby provided a great springboard into discussion of complex horror theory and the role of allegory in the genre. But it’s impossible to watch that film divorced from the knowledge that Polanski raped a thirteen-year-old girl. (I’d wager that the themes of the loss of bodily autonomy are all the more chilling knowing that…) The professor acknowledges this obliquely only because it is less awkward than letting it go unannounced, the ultimate elephant in the room. But I have to wonder – in the rich tradition of the horror genre, surely there are plenty of other films that could illustrate seminal horror theory just as well.

Our academic perspectives are shaped considerably by what we are exposed to in the classroom. My preferred analytical frameworks are Marxism, feminism, and postcolonial theory, and I would probably only have the toolkit for feminist analyses without the specific education I received. Professors make choices about what to omit and include in their classes, and these choices are not neutral. These decisions perpetuate a generation of film students having a worldview based on the work of known abusers, and that is political.

There are so many conversations that recent events have sparked. This is just one. I don’t feel that I have the authority or strength to add my voice to a lot of the conversations happening. As a grad student in film and television, I do feel that this is a niche topic that I can speak about. This seems like a small gripe in comparison to the larger discussions happening, but if there’s one thing I know it’s that oppressive structures are made up of small, tightly-interlocking parts. This is a part that I have witnessed. I would like to see it change.

Quarter 3 Beauty Product Consumption Accountability Checkin

Posted on October 13, 2017 under Thoughts

This is going up a bit later than I wanted, but I’ve been busy with school and the constant greyness of Glasgow makes it difficult to get good photos. A lot of these pictures are shitty and out of focus, but IT IS SO CLOUDY ALL THE TIME and I have no idea when the sun will come out and allow me to retake them. So I am putting my mediocrity out there!

Here’s the drill, as always:

  • All prices are listed in CAD, or in the currency they were purchased in plus a CAD conversion that is accurate as of the time of purchase.
  • Products that have one price and a second in brackets reflect the retail value and what I actually paid with my employee discount.
  • Products that I ordered online will be listed with the date that I actually received the package.
  • I will still be calculating my totals in CAD even though I’m living in the UK right now, because it’s the easiest way to consistently track my spending.

Skincare purchases

Products purchased between July 1, 2017 and September 30, 2017

  1. 06/27: Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation – Alabaster – $56. Forgot to include this in last quarter’s roundup! I liked it a lot but I ended up returning it because I realized I have no need for a full coverage foundation in my daily life.
  2. 07/04: Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer – Fair – $13.99 ($9.79). Replacement.
  3. 07/07: Ardell Individual Lashes – $4.29. For the wedding I officiated.
  4. 07/07: Quo Blending Sponge – $8 ($5.60).
  5. 07/09: Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish in Poppy Patch – $10.99 ($7.69). Bought for the wedding because somehow I didn’t have anything in my collection that I liked with the dress I bought.
  6. 08/01: Marc Jacobs Le Marc Lip Creme in So Sofia – $38.
  7. 08/01: Make Up For Ever Metal Palette – $13.
  8. 08/08: The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 – $6.80. Replacement.
  9. 08/08: The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG – $6.70. I wanted to see if this actually did anything for my undereye circles!
  10. 08/08: The Ordinary High-Spreadability Fluid Primer – $7.90. My mom recommended this primer and we usually have pretty similar tastes in makeup, so I thought I could shell out eight bucks to try it.
  11. New brushes
  12. 08/08: Princeton Select 6 Round Blender brush – $6.06. I bought some brushes from the art store! My mom has a 10% discount there so that’s why the prices are weird. I thought this one would be good to apply crease colour precisely, and it totally is.
  13. 08/08: Princeton Select 5/0 Spotter brush – $3.83. I wanted to try this with gel liner, because I don’t have any brushes this fine. Unfortunately it’s a bit too flimsy to work with easily for this purpose.
  14. 08/09: ColourPop Blush Brush – $9 USD ($11.47 CAD). I like having a variety of blush brushes so I can keep them colour-separated – i.e. one for plums, one for peaches, one for neutrals, one for bright pinks…
  15. 08/09: ColourPop Blending Brush – $6 USD ($7.65 CAD). You can’t have too many blending brushes!
  16. ColourPop Pressed Powder Shadow in Muscle Beach, Paper Tiger, and Stay Golden – $4 USD or $5.10 CAD each = $12 USD or $15.29 CAD. Fun colours for cheap! Who can resist?!
  17. 08/09: ColourPop Blotted Lips in Candyfloss, On A Stick, and Sucker – $5 USD or $6.37 CAD each = $15 USD or $19.11 CAD. I have no justification for bringing more lip products into my life. I’m sorry.
  18. 08/09: ColourPop Ultra Blotted Lips in Split – $6 USD ($7.65 CAD). Of course, I had to try the Ultra Blotted Lips formula as well, so that I could compare it to the Ultra Satin and Ultra Matte lips formula. For science.
  19. 08/09: ColourPop Lippie Stix in Trixie – $5 USD ($6.37 CAD). I really have no excuse for buying this. I wish I hadn’t. I completely forgot I had ordered it and bought Marc Jacobs So Sofia in the meantime, which rendered this pretty much useless for me. This plus the fact that I got charged $18 of customs on this order means that I have gone off ColourPop… until they release something else that sucks me in.
  20. 08/10: La Roche-Posay Respectissime Eye Makeup Remover – $19.50 ($13.65). Replacement. Used Optimum points.
  21. 08/10: Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Solution (100mL) – $6.95 ($4.87). I wanted a travel-sized micellar solution and I know I like the Bioderma Sensibio. Used Optimum points.
  22. New hair products
  23. 08/10: Nuxe Rêve de Miel Lip balm – $17 ($11.90). I wanted to stock up on a few things with Optimum points before I leave the country. I’ll probably run out of my current jar in January, when I’m in Scotland.
  24. 08/10: Essence Lash and Brow Gel Mascara – $2.99 ($2.09). Replacement. Used Optimum points. I like the L’Oreal brow gel better but it’s $15, which seems a bit absurd.
  25. 08/10: Lancôme Le Lip Liner in 378 Rose Lancôme – $30 ($21). I was looking for a good warm-toned fuchsia lip liner that wasn’t too dark, and this was the closest I found. It’s obviously a stupidly priced liner, but I used points so whatever.
  26. 08/10: NARS Audacious Lipstick in Angela – $40 ($28). Murale has expanded the range of Audacious lipstick shades that they stock – I’ve been interested in Angela for a long time, but I didn’t think Murale carried this shade. When I saw that they did, I knew I had to get it. By the way, I used Optimum points for this (of course).
  27. 08/10: NARS Audacious Lipstick in Annabella – $40 ($28). When I went up to Murale I planned to get Annabella because, believe it or not, I don’t have any warm red lipsticks and I wanted to fill that gap. I used Optimum points.
  28. 08/10: Lise Watier Eye Contour Brush – $23 ($16.10). I have one of these brushes already and I love it for detailed crease work, so I picked up another one. I used my points.
  29. 08/10: Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask – $34 ($23.80). Replacement. I won’t need this until my skin starts getting super dry around November, but I thought I might as well get it while I still had an employee discount (and while in Canada, since cosmetics are usually much pricier in the UK).
  30. 08/31: Urban Decay Liquid Moondust in Solstice – $29. Used Optimum points.
  31. New face products
  32. 08/31: A-Derma Exomega Balm – $33. Replacement. Used a gift card.
  33. 09/02: Wet N Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio – Spoiled Brat – $2.97. I didn’t have a silver eyeshadow and this trio was the best bang for my buck. I depotted it into my MUFE palette and kept the hot pink shade as well, but I tossed the sparkly black because I know I won’t use it.
  34. 09/04: Annabelle Skinny Brow Liner in Universal Taupe – $10.49. I wanted a brow pencil for travel, since my usual pomade is a bit unwieldy and requires bringing a separate brush. I used a gift card for this.
  35. 09/06: John Frieda Sheer Blonde Tone Correcting Shampoo – £5.99 ($9.93 CAD): This is one of the first things I bought when I landed. I can’t get my usual blonde shampoo (Light Blue Shade) here, so I went back to an old friend. Bonus: this is quite a bit cheaper than in Canada, where the usual price is $13.99.
  36. 09/06: Toni & Guy Damage Repair Mask – £5 ($8.29 CAD): I needed a deep conditioner; bleached hair is no joke.
  37. 09/06: Toni & Guy Instant Refresh Dry Shampoo – £5 ($8.29 CAD): My hair loves the soft water here, but it does tend to get oilier faster, so dry shampoo is essential. The Superdrug I was in didn’t have Batiste (or maybe I was just super jetlagged and couldn’t find it), so I picked up Toni & Guy instead. Not my favourite, but it’ll do.

Total value (CAD): $548.02
Total spent (CAD): $235.48

Year-to-date value (CAD): $1357.75
Year-to-date spent (CAD): $745.45

New eye products

New eyeshadows: ColourPop Paper Tiger, Muscle Beach, Stay Golden; shadows from the Wet N Wild Spoiled Brat trio

Products received at no cost between July 1, 2017 and September 30, 2017

  1. 06/27: Bite Beauty Amouse Bouche Lipstick in Beetroot – $30 full size – $10 sample value: Sephora point perk. Forgot to include it in the last roundup.
  2. 08/01: It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream – Fair – $49: PR promoting the recent Canadian launch of IT Cosmetics.

New lip products

Total value: $59
Year-to-date value: $1748.39

Miscellaneous purchases, photographed terribly

I did have fun with my Optimum points, but a lot of my purchases this quarter were staple replacements, and none of my UK spending this quarter was frivolous. I was surprised to see that I spent more this quarter than last quarter ($178.10), but it is less than the first quarter ($334.84). Percentage-wise I spent less than half of the total value of the products (43%), which is exactly on par with last quarter’s 43% and way lower than quarter one’s total spend, which was over 80% of the retail value of the products. Most notably, the decrease comes in the form of gratis, which is to be expected. Quarter two I received $1200 worth of product as gratis because spring is training season in cosmetics retail; this quarter there were no brand schools and I left my job in cosmetics at the end of August. I predict that my gratis category will be a lovely $0 next quarter unless a brand sends something over.

What’s in my bag? (Matt & Nat Elle)

Posted on July 28, 2017 under Thoughts

There is cat hair in this picture, which is an accurate representation of my life.

I’ve been toting around a Forever 21 crossbody bag that I got for £18 in Glasgow for over two years now. (Before that I had a £10 Primark bag that predictably lasted about 5 months.) I’ve been looking to upgrade my bag for the better part of a millennium, but nothing was meeting my specifications. I wanted a crossbody that could fit a decent amount without being too big, I wanted it to be black, I wanted it to be simple (i.e. sans fringe or bling), and I absolutely needed silver hardware. Gold metals do not enter my home, and I see so many otherwise beautiful black bags that are ruined by gold hardware. This is really a matter of personal preference, but it’s one of those things that just is a dealbreaker for me.

Discovering Montreal-based company Matt and Nat was a revelation for me. Their pieces are simple, attractive, and functional; they have silver hardware; and they’re vegan. I’m a meat-eater, but I draw the line at wearing dead animals on my body. That just seems needless. And of course I loved that they’re a Canadian company – they even have a bag named after my old Montreal neighbourhood! Matt and Nat pieces are also quite reasonably-priced for the quality and their commitment to sustainability.

After browsing their website I finally decided on the Elle bag, which met all of my specifications and basically looked like an upgraded version of my shitty Forever 21 bag. I held off ordering for a very long time, but finally the old Forever 21 bag disintegrated completely and so I bit the bullet.

Matt and Nat Elle compared to my Forever 21 bag:

You could say I know what I like!

The Matt and Nat Elle bag has one outer slot and three inner pockets, one of which zips. The back pocket and middle, zipped pocket both have smaller pockets on the side perfect for holding little things that tend to migrate to the bottom of the bag if not adequately contained. There’s a magnetic flap which covers the three main pockets, which I think is very cool.

I’ve had this bag for about two months now and I’ve found it great: it’s small enough that I don’t feel weighed down but large enough that I can reasonably bring everything I need with me; it’s very sturdy and well-made; the way it’s organized makes sense to me; I think it’s a sharp-looking bag. With bags I favour simplicity 100% of the time, and this is a simple, versatile piece that I can wear with anything.

Size reference, using the book I’m currently reading.

When you see the random junk I’ve been hauling around in here, you’ll see why I limit myself to a smaller bag.

Front Flap

Earbuds – I have these tucked into my bag at all times because the worst thing ever is to leave your house for a long commute without earbuds. These are just the default Apple ones, which fit my ears well. (I think I have small ear holes, because a lot of earbuds really hurt!)

Bic pens – These are the cheapest, most common ballpoint pens and I adore them. Real stationery nerds probably think I’m uncultured swine, but they write so smoothly! I buy them in bulk and keep multiples in all my bags. It is never a good idea to be without pens!

Mini notebook – I mainly make notes on the Evernote app on my phone, but I’ve been out and about and wished I had a notebook handy plenty of times so I just keep one with me. I don’t use it that often, but it’s teeny tiny so I figure why not. My friend Ashley did the hand-lettering on this years ago!

TTC tickets: Funny story! After I graduated high school, I kept buying student tickets for public transit because I figured nobody would know the difference. In the past five years, that theory has proven true 100% of the time. I actually switched to paying adult fare in the past year, figuring that I was pushing my luck, but out of habit I went to my corner store and asked for ten student tickets, so I’m working my way through this stack of them.

Wedding keepsake: When my friends got married, all the guests got these little paper hearts infused with seeds. I tucked mine into my bag for safekeeping, where it has remained for the past two weeks.

Movie tickets: I’ve known for over a year that I would be seeing Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk when it hit theatres, since Harry Styles is in it and obviously I support anything he does. My brother and I saw it on Saturday, and then we went and saw it again with my parents on Wednesday. Before the positive reviews started coming out, I didn’t necessarily have high hopes for it, but it was great: so expansive, intense without being manipulative, and singular in its lack of focus on character backstory. Beautiful cinematography, music, and sound-mixing too!

Phone: I always put my phone in the front flap for ease of access. It’s a white and silver iPhone 6S with an unnecessarily expensive case from Sonix. (My entire iPhone-owning career I have only ever bought cheap $10 cases from mall kiosks, but I saw this case from ACROSS THE TELUS STORE and knew I had to have it. Roses are my birth flower and I have two rose tattoos!)

Front pocket

Programme and receipt from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: I went to the MMFA with my friends Katie and Caitlin when I was in Montreal earlier in the month and I have not cleared my bag out since then.

YSL Lipstick: Lest you think I have managed to only hoard one lipstick in my bag, this is the only lipstick in this pocket.

House key: Self-explanatory. No idea when or where I got the keychain.

Disposable camera: Every summer I like to buy a cheap disposable camera. It’s a lot more fun than the instant gratification of iPhone pictures. I only have one picture left on this roll and I am hemming and hawing over what is special enough to photograph before I get the film developed. The last camera I got developed was disastrous: only seven of the photos turned out. I’m hoping this one fares better, because I took a lot of pictures at my friends’ wedding.

Middle pocket

Wedding officiating script: I do not need this anymore!!! I also didn’t even use this copy on the actual day of the wedding, so it was a waste of printer ink.

Thank you card: My friends wrote me a card and bought me a bottle of rosé as a thank you for officiating their wedding, which was super sweet because I was absolutely buzzing to do it just for the extreme and utter honour of it all. The rosé will make a lovely sangria!

Grocery store receipt: I bought a bottle of water for $0.89. Exciting stuff.

Sunglasses: I knew I became a real adult when I bought prescription sunglasses! These are the Sunset style from EyeBuyDirect. I got them during a BOGO with a pair of clear frames. The case came with them.

Lipstick: Told you! Here I have two Revlon Balm Stains, in Lovesick and Romantic, and a Buxom lip pencil in Hush Hush. (This one lives in my bag pretty consistently since it’s my favourite everyday lip colour at the moment.)

Wallet – This is the Matt and Nat Vera wallet, which I got for 40% off at Marshall’s. (I bought this pre-bag – it was my first Matt and Nat piece, and what convinced me to bite the bullet on the bag.) It’s simple, but I like the front flap detailing. It has enough slots for my cards (a perpetual struggle for me in the era of loyalty cards) and a zippered-off compartment for change. Those are my wallet must-haves, so this works very well for me.

Card holder – I put my most-used cards in this so I don’t have to cart my whole wallet around at all times, and just for general ease of access. This was $30, which I feel is slightly steep for something so tiny, but card holders seem to be pricey in general. Most of the ones I’ve seen online are real leather, too, which is a no-go for me, so I decided to just go full throttle with the Matt and Nat theme and throw Max into my cart when I ordered my Elle bag. I like that this one has a middle pocket that you can stick bills into. I don’t know how I ever got by without a card holder – it’s so convenient to have all my must-have cards in one tiny wallet that I can easily slip into my back pocket when I don’t want to carry around my whole bag. For the record, I have my driver’s license, debit card, credit card, and Optimum card in it.

Back pocket

MMFA ticket: There really is no rhyme or reason to where things end up in here: why did I not tuck this ticket away with the MMFA programme and receipt? Who knows! Anyway, if you happen to be in Montreal soon, the Revolution show is very cool. Most of the MMFA is free, and the exhibitions cost $15. This ticket also got us into the Jean Paul Gaultier wedding dress exhibition, which was very neat as well.

Blotting papers: These are from Joe Fresh and they work as well as any other blotting papers. I mainly use them on my nose, which is the only part of my face that gets oily.

Compact mirror – I have many of these Sephora mirrors that come with gift cards, as you probably do too. At this point I just have one in every bag I own so that I never have to switch them over. Maybe one day I could get a cool/cute/pretty compact, but when I have like 900 of these lying around what’s the point?

So, today we have learned that I hoard receipts. Based on all the junk I carry around in my bag for indeterminate amounts of time, you can probably see why I deliberately go with small bags. Can you imagine the strain on my shoulder if I had a big bag? NO THANK YOU!