Tactility and Feminism

I recently gave a lecture at DePauw University on Beauty Youtube videos, mostly because when your friends are real faculty members this is the kind of thing you can get away with.
Unfortunately this seminal video from Ms. Lisa was not released in time for me to subject the class to its genius. Skip to 5:20 if you want to see the pure pleasure of the “Facial Massage”:

I presented the thesis that these vidoes are important because they are about tactility and the visual experience of watching a woman touch herself in a non-sexual manner. You feel her skin and her skin feels good. In this way it turns the highly objectified surface of a woman inside out by allowing you to enter her very tiny tiny pores.

It was fascinating how much the 19 year olds hated these videos. They found her voice pretentious, they hated all the talk, the slipperyness of her sss’. But most importantly, they hated the way it reminded them of their mothers who spend hours getting ready in the morning and evening. I realized part of my attraction to these beauty processes is that I never saw women attending to their faces obsessively as a kid. It is a foreign territory for me

But if I have inspired one 19 year old to make facial massage performance art, my work is done.

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2 thoughts on “Tactility and Feminism

  1. Oh man, I have already watched this one at least ten times already. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a more comforting video.

    And yes, this is definitely not something I grew up with. I honestly can’t think of a single memory of my mom applying makeup, or really doing any kind of self care.

  2. I think there a lot to say about the weird way Youtube replaces/makes up for parenting. Think of all the “how to fix your leaky faucet” videos. Without these videos I would need to call my parents. I feel like Lisa is my spirit guide on the path to womanhood. But if she was my actual mother I would hate her for being so beautiful and self-obsessed.

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