Ladies, the next time you apply your red lipstick, step back, look at yourself, take in the boldness, embrace the femininity that it exudes, and know that in that very moment, you are a part of a movement of defiance.
Red lipstick in all its hues and tones throughout history has been used to symbolize different things.
It was often associated with morally dubious women; impolite, sexually amoral, even heretical.
In the Dark Ages, red lips were even seen as a sign of commingling with the devil.
But all that changed in the 20th century when it became a symbol of defiance and feminine strength.
Rachel Felder, author of Red Lipstick: An Ode to a Beauty Icon describes the red lipstick as “completely female” and “powerful”.
The suffragettes wore red lipstick, the flappers donned the red lipsticks, and as women’s rights movements spread across the United States, Europe, New Zealand and Australia, the red lip became the symbol of solidarity among them.
During World War II, red lips had their bold second act of defiance. Adolf Hitler “famously hated red lipstick,” Felder said.
And so, in Allied countries, wearing it became a sign of patriotism and a statement against fascism.
As men went off to war and women filled their professional roles back home, they donned red lips to enter the workforce.
And when the patriarchy imposed taxes that made lipstick prohibitively expensive in the UK, women stained their lips with beet juice.
Over in the United States, in 1941, red lipstick became mandatory for women who joined the US Army.
As the colours and textures develop over time, its use as a symbol of resistance remained constant.
In 2018, Nicaraguan women and men wore red lipstick and uploaded photos of themselves to social media to show their support for the release of anti-government protesters.
Last December, nearly 10,000 women in Chile took to the streets wearing black blindfolds, red scarves, and red lips to denounce sexual violence in the country.
By wearing red lipstick, women all over the world, and throughout time, have impacted history. Fully embracing the boldness, and femininity wrapped in this beauty statement.