Throughout her career, Hillary Clinton‘s appearance has been scrutinized by the public. She’s been criticized for smiling too much, smiling too little, for the pantsuits she wears and for her makeup or lack thereof. While this ridiculous kind of inspection gives beauty a bad rap, there’s another side to beauty that may surprise you. Often seen as frivolous and without substance, the importance of strength that comes from feeling beautiful is regularly overlooked. In particular, there is one beauty product Hillary fans sought out that may hold more significance than meets the eye—her lipstick.
As eager Redditors hunted down the power shade, Refinery29 came to the rescue and identified the lipstick as Votre Vu Champs-éLIPsée Lip Crayon in Spark. Why is Hillary’s lipstick of interest? Well, for one, it’s practical.
“A lipstick that lasts through a 90-minute debate while being subtly feminine and not detracting from her overall message is definitely a lipstick I’d love to deploy in my real life,” Reddit user musicmuse1122 says.
“Holy cow this red is vibrant, sophisticated, powerful. What shade is she wearing, and if I buy it will I turn into a fearless advocate for women’s rights?”
Finding strength in lipstick, and beauty while we’re at it, isn’t a new phenomenon. Elizabeth Arden was a dedicated champion for equality and in 1912, marched together with 15,000 suffragettes to advocate women’s rights. The women all wore red lipstick, provided by Arden, as a sign of solidarity. During World War II, despite all other cosmetic rationing, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill allowed lipstick production to continue because he felt it boosted morale.
Fast forward to 2015, where thousands of protesters in Macedonia fought against the cover up of the passing of Martin Neskovski, 22, who was beaten to death by an interior ministry policeman. In a now iconic photograph, protestor Jasmina Golubovska is seen applying lipstick using a policeman’s shield as a mirror, before kissing it. “I wear red lipstick only when I need to repair the tired look of the systemic suppression of freedom,” says Golubovska.
This woman is everything pic.twitter.com/XKySELebVT
— Molly Crabapple (@mollycrabapple) May 6, 2015
“Lipstick has psychological benefits. It empowers the wearer and one of the reasons I got together with Women For Women was because they work with women around the world in war-torn countries and create these centres that help empower them. They teach them about human rights, crafts and life skills. One of the things these women ask for most is lipstick. It’s a powerful thing; it makes women feel put together, strong and confident.”
Executive director of Women For Women, Brita Fernandez Schmidt, says women in war-torn countries want lipstick to challenge their oppressors.
“Women told us that they wanted the snipers to know that they were killing a beautiful woman – for them it was an act of defiance and an expression of their strength and beauty. This story has always stayed with me.”
And women aren’t the only ones using lipstick for their empowerment. In a Tunisian protest, men painted their lips to bring awareness to violence against women.
But back to Hillary’s lipstick. The unwavering shade that lasted throughout this entire tumultuous election, that endured ridiculous insults and a surprising defeat. Hillary stayed calm and collected all while that power lipstick remained confidently painted on her mouth. And there is comfort in that stability.