Sunday, April 19, 2015

Animal Analogies in Makeup

In class Professor Freccero mentioned how the association of the feline with women could be an explanation for why women grow their fingernails in a long, claw-like manor. This can also be seen in makeup with the "cat-eye" look. With it, women make their eyes imitate the same shape that cat eyes tend to be, seen here:

 People constantly refer to how the cat-eye look is seductive and an easy way to look sexy, which makes it a very popular look for women. Could it be that it's considered to be seductive because of the way we view cats as nimble, independent, sensual, and mysterious, and these are also traits that we see as being "sexy" in a person? I'm also curious as to if these traits become associated to cats after the women-cat relationship came to be, or before (this leads into a question of why these traits become associated with cats)?


  1. In my opinion, the close association between cats and women could have come from a history of humans close interaction with large jungle cats. The professor has commented in the past about how humans tend to project their bias and assumptions onto animals; we've done it in our recent animal-centered rewriting of origin stories. More than likely, men and women saw attributes of beauty and grace in jungle cats and later domestic cats and expressed their opinions of one another or themselves via comparisons with said animals. Just as elephants are associated with leadership and strength in many African tribes, so too are elements of observed feline behavior transposed onto women.

  2. This is a really interesting point! I never would have thought of it on my own, but it is a very common thing in our culture. I just want to comment on how not only are women are sexualized to have cat-like features, but cats are also sexualized in popular media, mostly advertising. Has anyone else noticed how uncomfortably sensual advertising companies make cat food commercials? Here is an example:
    I have definitely seen others that focus a lot on the cat in a sexualized way, though I can't find any more right now. There is only so much time I can spend looking for sexy cat food commercials.