In this performance I explore the notion of self love in contrast with Narcissism. At what point does one become the other? Can we ever truly love ourselves unconditionally? And by what means are women given in society to explore self love and appreciation without it being perceived as or being narcissistic?
Using only a mirror and a classic red lipstick as props, I apply the lipstick then kiss ever part of my body that I can reach. Taking inspiration from instances where lipstick kisses are left as mementos to lovers, either on the body or on napkins or letters, they act as a love note to the self, but even this has its limits, as there is only so much of the body that can be reached.
The lipstick acts as a symbol of outward femininity and female identity, but must be applied over and over and bought once it runs out, and requires a mirror to ensure it has been applied properly. These beauty routines, depending on perspective, can be seen as a liberating or encapsulating aspect of femininity and sexuality.
This generation are constantly criticised for constantly looking into mirrors, but self reflection can help tenfold with navigating within society. In contrast to the popular opinion that being preoccupied with ones self image as depreciating to the soul, “mirrors reflect everything and hide nothing. Unlike the voices of our minds that discuss the past and future, mirrors show only the present, demanding self awareness”-Spiritual reflection, from the “Living with Gods, Peoples, Places and Worlds Beyond” Exhibition at the British Museum.
In a society where, being a women especially you are judged and function in society based on your conjunction with current beauty standards, self reflection using mirrors in one opinion, could be a way to truly become aware of the self without interplay from the materialistic world. Any true self reflection will of course reveal both positive and negative aspects of self, as noted in this quote:
“Reflection is a key point: Mirrors are sometimes the harbingers of wickedness. The vanity they fuel is, it seems, damnable. The Russian icon painting could almost be Christ looking at his own image, but look too long into a mirror and you see the beast. The godless queen in Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm’s “Little Snow White”, who became the Evil Queen in the film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, stared into her mirror and saw a green, demonic version of herself.” From “The Story of Looking”, By Mark Cousins.
We will only ever see in our reflection what we believe or see in our selves, and modification of self image using make-up can be used positively or negatively.
The complex and overlapping nature of these issues is symbolised with the strange act of turning the love and appreciation often reserved for lovers and partners, people exterior to the self, back inward. The person we are, and the reflection in the mirror is almost as if we have two versions of the self, and this performance is a way of bringing them both together.
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