Friday, January 14, 2011

DC and M.A.C. Team up on Wonder Woman Make-Up Line

M.A.C. Cosmetics and DC Comics are collaborating on a fascinating consumer product. Wonder Woman Cosmetics.

On the left, you will see the only consumer product for Wonder Woman I have a memory of as a child, and lordy did I look. I had a paper crown and a piece of rope and thank goodness her plane was invisible. I also have fond memories of my mother driving me to Burger King not once but twice in a week, an fairly unheard of event because neither of us cared for Burger King's food, and purchasing not just one or two, but three of these figures. One went to Mom, and two to me. I painted one up and the other was a staple figure in my doll collection who endures to this day in storage.

One step above a hoop and stick toy, clearly.
Today you can find plenty of Wonder Woman toys online, a little girl who wants to play with Wonder Woman has a lot more options that I did. So, how do I feel about a make-up line aimed at adult women? The answer is a restrained, grown up, totally internal 4-year-old's squeal of glee.

The World Would be a better place if everyone's job made them feel like this.
 Someone over at Allure (pictured above) Got to try it out.
Comic-book characters and beauty companies don't often cross paths (though a line of Superman hair gels and shine sprays could have really taken off, we say). Now M.A.C. is bringing the two together with its limited-edition Wonder Woman makeup line. Along with bold lipsticks and shadow quads, colored mascaras, and jumbo-size—Ms. WW is, after all, an Amazon—lip glosses, bronzers, and liners, the collection also contains quirky metallic accessories: No lasso of truth hangs from the gold utility belt, unfortunately, but it is equipped with small makeup pouches on each side. And the "Invincible" hand mirror (which you can see me modeling above in my best attempt at a Wonder Woman pose) is, well, pretty awesome.
This consumer product seems well thought out. Not only is it capitalizing on the fangirl market, but the woman who is putting on her strongest, most powerful face when she puts on makeup. For many women, makeup is more than an attempt to look prettier. For many, makeup is considered a quotidian and essential part of work attire, something that will go unnoticed unless it isn't there and often, becomes a ritualistic part of preparing oneself to face the world for the day.

The aesthetic component of the materials a woman uses for that ritual is an important factor in how she feels about her day and about herself. Not to mention an essential component of distinguishing products from one another in a glutted market.
Pictured: 10,000 names for "pink"
Contrary to many opinions, makeup is as much for the person putting it on as it is for the person they encounter. From this abstract, that is representative of tones I've seen in many papers on masking: 
 There are four broad ways of approaching the definition: masks as theatrical, figural, spiritual and/or utilitarian. Even within these categories, however, there two further types to be investigated: the hard mask and the soft mask. As far as differences go, the hard mask and the soft mask produces varying levels of intensity and psychological effects, which I've shown through the example of pantomime and Bamboozled. Furthermore, masks have frightening power over the human psychology by which they can effectively create a new identity. Masks are distinguishable from the face in that they are not the truth as Aristotle and Plato claim that the face is, but instead create a new image, material or immaterial. An example of an immaterial mask would be stereotypes. Though masks act as an extension of the body in that they add layers to the skin, they are complexes of reduction in that they amputate a person's soul. Masks become both a medium of understanding and misunderstanding. 
And much hay is made about how people act in masks soft and hard alike, in phenomenological theory as well as sociology and philosophy. Cosmetics are essentially selling a mask, and the person using those materials are applying one that they are determining based primarily on its aesthetic packaging presentation. MAC has made its brand on having bold pigments and carrying a wide range of colors not carried by other product lines. This makes it a perfect fit for a comic book license.
Beyond that, selling a cosmetic line that will create associations of strength, beauty, amazonian power and play to childhood affections is a smart move. Playing to the growing subculture of woman who enjoy cosplay, the integration of functional costume elements, the Utility Belt, is insightful and will pay off massively. The lack of power bracelets makes me hope that they will do a follow up to this special edition line.
This sort of association between a consumer product and the narrative of Wonder Woman, is a perfect example of how to consider the fantasy fulfillment and sensory experience that translates from narrative to object. Whether you love Linda Carter or Justice League, or if you're an old school comic book fan, or if you primarily played with a cup holder for your youth you can experience some of the feelings that Wonder Woman invokes when you use this makeup.

Great Hera! won't someone tell me where I can actually buy this?

Update: Not until February at Sephora.

No, Falling from the sky does not count.


  1. "The collection will be on MAC counters February 10 through mid-April, with prices ranging from $14 for Nail Lacquer to $21 for Pigment powder and $35 for Mineralize Skinfinish."

    (Warning: this page has an autoplay video at the bottom.)