Girl talk

Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick.

Gwyneth Paltrow

clothes and jewelrySan Miguel has no Macy’s. No Saks. No Neiman’s. No Ross. No Marshall’s. No Gap. No Anthropologie. No Diesel. No St. John. No Bloomie’s.

It’s yet another reason I like it here. The nearest thing we have to those retail stores is Liverpool, which I’ve yet to visit.


Dodai Stewart wrote The Sephora Problem That Has No Name for Jezebel, a blog heavy on entertainment and gossip, but occasionally with insights such as Ms. Stewart’s.

Earlier this month, Sephora opened a flagship store in Shanghai, China. It has 7,000 products spread over five floors. FIVE FLOORS. Five floors of perfumes, eyeshadows, moisturizers, tweezers, serums, makeup brushes, lipglosses, teeth whiteners, eye creams, nail polishes, hair dryers and body glitter. My god.

Four things fascinated Ms. Stewart:

1. How addictive it is
2. How you will find women of all ages and races and socio-economic levels inside (in NYC at least)
3. The oh-so-public grooming on display
4. The complete and utter lack of a male equivalent

This is something women do. Gawk at packaging, test shades of lipstick, search for self-improvement, hope for the best. One mirror at a time.

She goes to state that:

Men do not do this. Men do not gather en masse and gaze upon their pores in magnifying mirrors. Men’s grooming is marked by its brevity; the barber shop may be a chatty hang out, but when it comes to services, guys are usually in and out — snip, snip, done. [They do not] wander, browse, search, look, read, question, [and] quest [as do women] in Sephora.


Laura Beck, also via Jezebel, wrote Face It: Going Gray Is a Fierce Act of Bravery.

The women in my family dye their hair. I dye my hair, my mom dyes her hair, my aunts dye their hair. In fact, when one of my aunts visits from the East Coast, what do she and my mom do for fun? They go get their hair dyed. I know not one relative with even a gray hair, and the original color of our locks is a mystery as deep as the ocean — who knows what terrifying truth lies dormant beneath the surface?

Beauty Blogs

I’m certain that none of my friends read any of the beauty blogs, but someone is. An average of over nine million monthly visitors to CafeMom Daily Buzz while Beauty Junkies Unite receives an average of 8,700 visitors. Listed in the Ultimate Top 50 are blogs such as Makeup Makes Me Happy?, A Mom in Red High Heels, afrobella, A Cowboy’s Wife, and Makeup Tips (MAC Cosmetics). Other blogs include The Southern Accent, and the Canadian Beauty Blog. I didn’t see any blogs listed targeting the Latina audience. If you’re interested in seeing hundreds of beauty blogs ranked in various categories, go to blogrank.

When Will We Ever Learn?

Rev. Catherine Torpey was visiting a friend in Mexico City last week and related some of their conversation. Her friend, whose work involves supporting abused and battered women, says that for some Mexican women the concept of abuse is so ingrained that they will ask their husband or boyfriend “do you want to beat me now or after dinner?” Another friend told me that it is difficult to get girls to continue on to high school because their fathers want them to go to work as soon as they complete elementary school.  A male acquaintance told us that a 9-year old girl, a friend of his family, was raped by her 15-year old cousin while they were at her grandmother’s house.

As in the United States, indigenous women in Mexico face even greater obstacles to free themselves from domestic and spousal abuse than do Mexican women of European descent. The Huffington Post‘s Latino Voices column highlighted a project taking place in Sierra Tarahumara in the mountains of Chihuahua where a group of rarámuri women have launched a campaign to stop the increasing violence they face (violence against women and girls has been on the increase across Mexico according to The Post). In many cases abuse is culturally accepted in the rarámuri communities and “involves physical, verbal, psychological and sexual aggression.”

However, abuse comes not just from within their communities. The author Louise Erdrich has written an essay, published in the New York Times, describing rape by non-tribal men.

More than 80 percent of sex crimes on reservations are committed by non-Indian men, who are immune from prosecution by tribal courts.

According to Erdrich, who quotes the Government Accountability Office, “federal prosecutors decline to prosecute 67 per cent of sexual abuse cases.”

The rarámuri women “come out [of the program] different,” program coordinator Vianney Salas said. “They come out of this program understanding the right to have a life free of violence.”

Said one indigenous woman on the Univision show Primer Impacto:

I thought it was normal to be worth less than men. I understand now that I have rights.

The Human Rights Watch wrote in its 2012 World Report that:

Mexican laws do not adequately protect women and girls against domestic violence and sexual abuse. Some provisions, including those that make the severity of punishments for some sexual offenses contingent on the “chastity” of the victim, contradict international standards. Women who have suffered human rights violations generally do not report them to authorities, while those who do report them are generally met with suspicion, apathy, and disrespect.

Because of this issue, you’ll find links in the adjacent panel for 100 Women Who Care, Mujeres en Cambio and Casa Hogar. These are all organizations who support or provide shelter and services for women and/or families in need.

The Song

Michael Feinstein has said of Girl Talk (a song written for the movie Harlow in 1965) that it is the

last great male chauvinistic song written in the 60′s.

While the lyrics might leave one speechless [hence the choice of Oscar Petersen’s instrumental version], the melody is lovely, and Oscar Peterson’s phrasing is delightful.


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