Project 2: The Subverted Object – Lipstick

Component 1: Literal Meaning of object

For this component, I wanted to emphasize on the original context and function of lipstick.

The first picture shows the usual cosmetics that lipstick is associated with, such as eyeshadow. Through the placement of many other types of lipstick, i want to show variety in the colours of lipstick which is available and how everyone uses different types of lipstick depending on the event they go to.

The second picture shows a third person perspective of me putting on lipstick, as the action of me applying lipstick is shown through a mirror instead of directly from my face. The context is shown to be a room and i have other cosmetics placed at the side of the mirror, which shows that that table is a place that i usually put on my makeup before i leave the house.

The third picture shows a first person perspective of the application of lipstick. It is taken at eye-level to show the point of view which i see when i am staring at the mirror while i put on my makeup and lipstick and the redness of the lipstick, in contrast to my skin, brings attention and focus to my lips.


Component 2: Subversion of object

In this component, I have subverted the function and appearance of lipstick to portray the ugly side of beauty.

In the first picture, I subverted the lipstick into paint by cutting off the lipstick pigment and using a palette knife to smear it on a piece of paper. The action of cutting, mixing and smearing of lipstick emphasizes on the thickness of the lipstick, suggesting how much makeup is being put on women’s faces everyday. However, putting heavy makeup does not necessarily enhance the beauty of a person, despite what the stereotypes are suggesting. Thus, this picture can also bring about the crushing of stereotypes of beauty, to promote natural looks as the prime form of beauty.

In the second picture, I subverted the lipstick into a blade and used different shades of lipstick to show the freshness of the wounds on my wrist. The subversion can suggest how people who get criticized for their looks and beauty resort end up hurting themselves for the sake of looking beautiful (e.g through plastic surgery, intense dieting, etc.) and it is almost as hurtful as self-harm, shown through the cutting of the wrist, and if the cut goes too deep, the person will die. This image can be shown as part of a campaign to go against harmful methods of achieving “beauty” when there is no gain towards the injured party.

In the third picture, I subverted lipstick into nails to show the viciousness of trying too hard to achieve the “ideal beauty look”, that it leaves a mark ( scars, burn marks, stretch marks ), which is shown literally through the scratch marks made with the lipstick nails. This picture can be part of a campaign to show awareness of the danger of certain beauty products or methods.

Component 3: Addition of text

In this component, I have decided to use the third picture from my component 2 to create a poster about self defense. The primary audience is women and the message behind the poster is talking about how women should learn self defense, for moments when they get harassed. The anchorage in the words “Don’t be a victim. Fight back.” helps to support the image where the scratching can be seen as a way of protecting oneself in a harmful situation. The relay is the small text at the bottom showing worldwide statistics of women who have been harassed and thus telling women to take the initiative to learn how to protect themselves.

Improvements to the poster can be made through changing the context, such as making a mark on a man’s arm or showing injuries on the woman’s hand.