Sex Roles

, Volume 56, Issue 9–10, pp 591–600 | Cite as

Truly Toffee and Raisin Hell: A Textual Analysis of Lipstick Names

Original Article

Abstract

The appeal of lipsticks named Triple Chocolate Parfait or Hot Mama and what they communicate to women and, by extension, others are the subjects of this article. Based on Goffman’s concept of presentation of self and impression management as theory and Barthes’ semiotic model as method, I studied the names of 1,722 lipsticks of 52 national brands. The findings show, beyond simple color names, that most of the lipsticks are named after food, beverages, sex, and romance. The American cultural imperative of beauty prompts many women to doubt their self-worth and keeps attainment of the beauty ideal just out of reach. Understanding how meaning is constructed through lipstick naming is an important step toward apprehending the role of cosmetics in conflating femininity, self-esteem, and body image with the goals of patriarchal hegemony.

Keywords

Lipstick Femininity Semiotics Names Beauty Cosmetics Branding 

References

  1. Abramson, E., & Valene, P. (1991). Media use, dietary restraint, bulimia, and attitudes toward obesity: A preliminary study. British Review of Bulimia and Anorexia Nervosa, 5, 73–76.Google Scholar
  2. Ackerman, D. (1993). A natural history of the senses. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  3. Anderson, D. R., Huston, A. C., Schmitt, K. L., Linebarger, D. L., & Wright, J. C. (2001). Early childhood television viewing and adolescent behaviour: The recontact study. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 66, 1–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barthes, R. (1982). Myth today. In S. Sontag (Ed.), A Barthes reader (pp. 93–139). New York: Hill and Wang.Google Scholar
  5. Baudin, P. (1885). Fetichism and fetich worshippers. New York: Benziger Brothers.Google Scholar
  6. Beausoleil, N. (1994). Make-up in everyday life: An inquiry into the practices of urban American women of diverse backgrounds. In N. Sault (Ed.), Many mirrors: Body image and social relations (pp. 33–57). New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Berger, J. (1977). Ways of seeing. London: British Broadcasting/Penguin Book.Google Scholar
  8. Betsky, A. (Ed.). (1997). Icons: Magnets of meaning. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.Google Scholar
  9. Black, P. (2004). The beauty industry. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Bordo, S. (1993). Hunger as ideology. In J. B. Schor & D. B. Holt (Eds.), The consumer society reader (pp. 99–114). New York: New.Google Scholar
  11. Borzekowski, D. L. G., Robinson, T. N., & Killen, J. D. (2000). Does the camera add 10 pounds? Media use, perceived importance of appearance, and weight concerns among teenage girls. Journal of Adolescent Health, 26, 36–41.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Botta, R. A. (1999). Television images and adolescent girls’ body image disturbance. Journal of Communication, 49, 22–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bourdieu, P. (1984). Distinction: A social critique of the judgment of taste. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Bourdieu, P. (2001). Masculine domination. (R. Nice, Trans.). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Brownmiller, S. (1984). Femininity. New York: Fawcett Columbine.Google Scholar
  16. Brumberg, J. J. (1998). The body project: An intimate history of American girls. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
  17. Cusumano, D. L., & Thompson, J. K. (1997). Body image and body shape ideals in magazines: Exposure, awareness, and internalization. Sex Roles, 37, 701–719.Google Scholar
  18. Davis, K. (1991). Re-making the she-devil: A critical look at feminist approaches to beauty. Hypatia, 6(2), 21–43.Google Scholar
  19. de Certeau, M. (1984). The practice of everyday life. Berkeley, CA: University of California.Google Scholar
  20. Douglas, M. (1970). Natural symbols: Explorations in cosmology. London: Cresset.Google Scholar
  21. Ethridge, M. (2003). Madshopper column. Akron Beacon Journal. Retrieved January 20, 2003, from Lexis/Nexis, January 13.Google Scholar
  22. Face lift (2002). Advertising Age, Retrieved January 20, 2003, from Lexis/Nexis, April 15.Google Scholar
  23. Field, A. E., Cheung, L., Wolf, A. M., Herzog, D. B., Gortmaker, S. L., & Colditz, G. A. (1999). Exposure to mass media and weight concerns among girls. Pediatrics, 103, 214–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Foucault, M. (1979). Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
  25. Foucault, M. (1980). Power/knowledge: Selected interviews and other writings, 1972–1977. New York: Pantheon.Google Scholar
  26. Furman, F. K. (1997). Facing the mirror: Older women and beauty shop culture. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. Gage, J. (1999). Color and meaning: Art, science, and symbolism. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  28. Gamman, L., & Makinen, M. (1994). Female fetishism. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Gobé, M. (2001). Emotional branding: The new paradigms for connecting brands to people. New York: Alworth.Google Scholar
  30. Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. New York: Anchor Books.Google Scholar
  31. Goffman, E. (1963). Behavior in public places: Notes on the social organization of gatherings. New York: Free.Google Scholar
  32. Hall, S. (1996). On postmodernism and articulation: An interview with Stuart Hall. In D. Morley & K. H. Chen (Eds.), Stuart Hall: Critical dialogues in cultural studies (pp. 131–150). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  33. Hargreaves, D. A., & Tiggemann, M. (2002). The effect of television commercials on mood and body dissatisfaction: the role of appearance-schema activation. Journal of Social And Clinical Psychology, 21, 287–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Harrison, K. (2000). Television viewing, fat stereotyping, body shape standards, and eating disorder symptomatology in grade school children. Communication Research, 27, 617–640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Harrison, K. (2001). Ourselves, our bodies: Thin-ideal media, self-discrepancies, and eating disorder symptomatology in adolescents. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 20, 289–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Harrison, K., & Cantor, J. (1997). The relationship between media consumption and eating disorders. Journal of Communication, 47, 40–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hayt, E. (2005). Kiss my puffy lips. New York Times, p. E3, August 4.Google Scholar
  38. Holbrook, M. B., Block, L. G., & Fitzsimmons, G. J. (1998). Personal appearance and consumption in popular culture: A framework for descriptive and prescriptive analysis. Consumption, Markets, and Culture, 2, 1–55.Google Scholar
  39. Jhally, S. (1990). The codes of advertising: Fetishism and the political economy of meaning in the consumer society. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  40. Kahn, B., & Miller, E. G. (2005). Shades of meaning: The effect of color and flavor names on communication. Journal of Consumer Research, 32, 86–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Klink, R. R. (2000). Creating brand names with meaning: The use of sound symbolism. Marketing Letters, 11, 5–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Langman, L. (1992). Neon cages: Shopping for subjectivity. In R. Shields (Ed.), Lifestyle shopping: The subject of consumption (pp. 40–82). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  43. Levine, M. P., & Smolak, L. (1996). Media as a context for the development of disordered eating. In L. Smolak, M. P. Levine, & R. Streigel-Moore (Eds.), The developmental psychopathology of eating disorders (pp. 235–257). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  44. Lipsticks provide a bright spot in a dull economy (2001). (Corporate press Release). Estèe Lauder Companies, New York, November 28.Google Scholar
  45. Morris, D. (2004). The naked woman: A study of the female body. New York: St. Martin’s.Google Scholar
  46. Mulvey, L. (2001). Visual pleasure and narrative cinema. In M. G. Durham & D. M. Kellner (Eds.), Media and cultural studies: Keyworks (pp. 393–404). Malden, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  47. Owen, P. R., & Laurel-Seller, E. (2000). Weight and shape ideals: Thin is dangerously in. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 30, 979–990.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Pallingston, J. (1999). Lipstick. New York: St. Martin’s.Google Scholar
  49. Peiss, K. (1990). Making faces: The cosmetics industry and the cultural construction of gender, 1890–1930. Genders, 7, 143–169.Google Scholar
  50. Peiss, K. (1998). Hope in a jar. New York: Holt.Google Scholar
  51. Peiss, K. (2002). Miss America [Television series episode]. In M. Ferrari (Writer) and L. Ades (Director), American Experience. Retrieved June 11, 2003, from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/missamerica/filmmore/index.html.
  52. Platt, M. (2004). Lip wardrobes. In Style, p. 459, December.Google Scholar
  53. Ragas, M. C., & Kozlowski, K. (1998). Read my lips: A cultural history of lipstick. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.Google Scholar
  54. Richlin, A. (1995). Pornography and representation in Greece and Rome. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  55. Shilling, C. (1993). The body and social theory. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  56. Singer, N. (2005). Season of the painted lady. New York Times, p. E3, August 25.Google Scholar
  57. Smith, D. E. (1990). Texts, facts, and femininity: Exploring the relations of ruling. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  58. Spicer, E. (2002, December 31). Lipstick can be applied as war paint or a prelude to New Year’s allure. Canada.com. Retrieved January 6, 2003, from http://www.canada.com.
  59. Stice, E., Schupak-Neuberg, E., Shaw, H. E., & Stein, R. I. (1994). Relation of media exposure to eating disorder symptomatology: An examination of mediating mechanisms. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 103, 836–840.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Turner, B. (1984). The body and society: Exploration in social theory. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  61. van Dyk, D. (2001). The recession is here. Sales are up. Time, n.p. Retrieved May 08, 2002, from Lexis/Nexis, December 10.Google Scholar
  62. Vlahos, O. (1979). Body the ultimate symbol. New York: Lippincott.Google Scholar
  63. Walker, R. (2005). Color coding. New York Times Magazine, p. 17, July 31.Google Scholar
  64. Williamson, J. (1978). Decoding advertisements: Ideology and meaning in advertising. London: Boyars.Google Scholar
  65. Witz, A., Warhurst, C., & Nickson, D. (2003). The labour of aesthetics and the aesthetics of organization. Organization, 10, 33–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Wolf, N. (2002). The beauty myth. New York: Harper Perennial.Google Scholar
  67. Wordnet. (2005). Retrieved June 15, 2005, from http://dictionary.reference.com.
  68. Zakia, R. D. (2002). Perception and imaging (2nd ed.). Boston: Focal.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Journalism & CommunicationUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA

Personalised recommendations