On the list of questions viewers have for medieval and apocalyptic adaptations, why are all the women so well-groomed? tends to be pretty high on the list. The question becomes even more troubling when we consider that baby-smooth pits and legs aren’t exactly fitting for medieval time periods known more for their infant mortality rates than for their skincare routines. (The nobility we so romanticize was probably skipping the serum—and the shower.) Even more egregiously, women also frequently wear nude makeup in apocalypse scenarios. (You can’t find food but you snagged some waterproof mascara? Sure.) When fictional women’s personal grooming defies logic, we can assume that patriarchal beauty standards play some role.
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The Walking Dead in particular emphasizes the divide between women and men’s appearances in situations where personal grooming products should be about as scarce as drinkable water. While the men sport rugged beards to demonstrate increasingly harsh conditions (and also, presumably, to prove that they’re masculine and sexy), women are consistently clean-shaven. Impressively enough, women are frequently able to find sheer lip gloss and nude eyeshadow in life-or-death situations. Is this because the writers are predominantly men? Or is this because even the end of the world couldn’t end the reign of patriarchal beauty standards? Cockroaches and beauty standards, that’s all that will remain. You’ve probably assumed the answer to the question of why does every woman have tidy armpits? was sexism, given how often it’s the answer to other questions. You may not have expected a different answer: the actresses like to feel clean! Sophie Turner has opened up about her experience on Game of Thrones.
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Sophie Turner, A.K.A. Sansa Stark, is known for her great hair (and her great everything else, including acting talent). It’s hard to believe she could have a bad hair day—but apparently, she had a few bad hair years. “For the first few seasons I was allowed to wash my hair because I was an aristocratic young girl,” Turner recently revealed. “Towards season 5, they started asking me to not wash my hair, and it was really disgusting.” Her hair would often become so oily that fake snow from the set would get stuck in the grease, which must have resembled some otherworldly dandruff. Looks like the winds of winter weren’t kind to Turner’s look.
Fortunately, Turner and staff finally reached a compromise: WIGS. Now, thankfully, she can “wash [her] hair whenever [she] wants.”
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