In Defense of Vanity
Why Not Caring About Your Appearance Is Overrated
Last year, a study by L'Oréal showed that older women who applied makeup in the morning stood straighter and had fewer falls than those who didn't. Of course, you could argue again that women shouldn't need makeup to stand straighter, and that the confidence or strength that makeup offers should be something that comes from within. But that's, well, ridiculous. And it doesn't allow for the possibility that taking pride in your appearance is something a woman wants to do (for herself), and not something oppressive that she has to do.
Although I still like to give the impression that I haven't spent too much time on my appearance (and most of the time, this is the case), I believe that caring about your appearance is closer to dignity than it is to vanity.
I see this in my grandmother, who is 91 and always out of breath. She needs help with the smallest of tasks—opening a bottle of water, getting out of her chair. When I visit and ask if she needs anything, she tells me lipstick. (She already has three barely-used lipsticks in varying shades of pink-red.) The next time I visit, I bring two more shades, because I know she's particular about the color. The first one she opens and sets aside. The next one, she tries on and looks to me for approval. I nod. It suits her. And I'm relieved. That she likes the lipstick I've chosen, that wearing lipstick still matters to her, and that she has not lost this last vanity.
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