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The Red Menace: How Lipstick Changed the Face of American History



In America, lipstick is the foundation of empires; it’s a signature of identity; it’s propaganda, self-expression, oppression, freedom, and rebellion. It’s a multi-billion-dollar industry and one of our most iconic accessories of gender. This engaging and entertaining history of lipstick in America throughout the twentieth century and into the present will give readers a new view of the little tube’s big place in modern America; marching with the Suffragettes, building Fortune 500 businesses, being present at Stonewall, and engineered for space travel.


Lipstick has served as both a witness and a catalyst to history; it went to war with women, it gave women of color previously unheard of business opportunities, and was part of the development of celebrity and mass media. In the Twentieth Century alone, lipstick evolved from the mark of the underclass, to a required essential for well turned-out women; a sophisticated statement about race, class, gender, consumerism, and sexuality.


How has this mainstay of the makeup kit remained relevant for over a century? Beauty journalist Ilise S. Carter suggests that it’s because the simple lipstick says a lot. From the provocative allure of a classic red lip to the subtle sophistication of a neutral to the powerful statement of drag, the American love affair with lipstick is linked to every aspect of the female experience, from venturing into the working world or running for the presidency. Red Menace will capture all of those dimensions, with a dishy dose of fabulosity that makes it an amusing read for lipstick’s fiercest disciples, its harshest critics, and everyone in between.

The Red Menace - with SIGNED bookplates!

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