Urban legend has it that back in 1770 British Parliament passed a law banning the ensnarement of a (poor, defenceless) man, by a wanton woman (scarlet harlot) through the use of cosmetics; especially lipstick and perfume; apparently classed as witchcraft. Its laughable, and quite, quite untrue . Still and all, an ‘alluring’ story line!
In the traditional sense, the word glamour refers to a magic spell, enchantment and illusion. Women are glamorous, they are enchanting, beauty is an illusion, and women still are depicted across society as devious and deceptive. Glamorous women are magic; therefore engaged in deception and sorcery, ergo women are witches; obvs!!!
According to legend, glamour spells are the domain of shape-shifting faery changelings, as ‘real’ faeries have to make themselves more appealing because they were culturally depicted as deformed and ugly! Let me think…does this remind you of anybody in our society? It seems that women cannot win, if a woman makes an effort she’s a witch, if she doesn’t bother, then she’s an ugly old crone!
Glamour, and therefore makeup is tied to witchcraft, because both faeries and witches are female assigned roles and socially maligned as ugly, duplicitous deviants with many evil enchantments at their disposal including red lipstick; when in fact health and beauty are realistically associated with natural cures, remedies, herbs, hydrotherapy, crystals, minerals, muds and clays. All of these subjects, and many more, are of interest to the free women and witches of the twenty-first century. Long live Liberty, Fraternity, Equality & Glamour, Blessed Be )O(
Let us not forget or make light of the torture and persecution that so many innocents endured during the middle ages when female nurses responsible for women’s health care needs, especially maternity and child birthing in the community where ruthlessly slaughtered, charged with witchcraft. Many of these women would have had a sufficient knowledge of herbs to know how to bring forth a miscarriage; as the field of medicine became more main stream (sorry that should probably read man stream) and began to be taught in universities to men only, women were ousted and the witch hunts went unchallenged for centuries.
The number of women killed during this time is unknown, but estimates run between forty thousand to one million women, these killings were carried out in the name of God, Jesus, Church and State. As control over women’s lives and bodies increased to a stranglehold, abortion was prohibited, women’s voices were silenced, they disappeared from public sight until the first waves of feminism rumbled in 1792 when Mary Wollstonecraft wrote ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Woman’ calling for women to be allowed third level education; she was classed as a radical feminist, the then British prime minister called her a hyena in petticoats. I don’t remember his name, but I do recall what he called Mary Wollstonecraft! Incidentally, Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to qualify as a doctor in 1849, after struggling to be accepted in a university.
Health and beauty have been important in women’s lives since Cleopatra’s era, she was known not only for her ritual baths of milk and honey, rosewater, clay masks, perfume oils and crystals that were all utilised in the daily quest for beauty, but also for her book ‘Cosmetics’ although it seems to have been more about hair loss than red lipstick (see https://recipes.hypotheses.org/3434), she too suffered from a bad reputation on the global stage. Ancient Egypt is probably the best known civilisation for its association with magic; it is the home of the first known grimoire ‘The Book of the Dead’.
Hydrotherapy for both men and women was popular in Roman times, but there does not appear to be any Roman Caesars associated with magic or witchcraft although some Popes were called out for practising magic.