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Last Updated: 02 July 2021

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Something interesting happens when words that suggest action are applied to beauty: It recasts beauty as something that can be done pulled off, not just possess. On Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter, when Flawless is used as praise, it implies friendly interest in workmanship in brow arch just so, in contouring cream ingeniously apply, in effort and experimentation as much as final effect. True, Flawless has its own conventions and idiosyncrasies: It usually refers to certain kinds of regal woman, think Beyonce, Rihanna, Michelle Obama with sculpted look that feel achieve. But its abiding spirit is generous and even vaguely campy; It honors artifice in all beauty and is skeptical of anything wanly natural or authentic that conceal trouble It take. Its ethos could be Simone De Beauvoirs observation that one is not born but rather become woman. The idea of beauty as performance and as successful gender performance is not whats new. Women are all female impersonators to some degree, Susan Brownmiller wrote in the 80s; Flawless has been part of drag argot for years. Joe E. Jeffreys, historian of drug culture who teaches at NYUs Tisch School of Arts, told me he can trace the word back to at least the 1960s. It underground word, he say. People sometimes say that they spook your beard, meaning they can see through your makeup-foundation to your facial hair and see that youre guy. To be Flawless is to be the opposite of that. Theres nothing to see through, It so perfect. This usage, he say, can probably be linked to one individual: Flawless Sabrina, legendary godmother of American drugs William S. Burroughs was her lover; Andy Warhol, supporter. Diane Arbus photographed her in Central Park looking gaunt and glorious, with her narrow body and bright bulb of hair. In years when cross-dressing could get you arrest, she established a national circuit of beauty pageants for drug queens, traveling across America in their 50s and 60s. Jeffreys suspects that the term Flawless follows her. Flawless Sabrina, now in her 70s, cautiously agree. It was tongue in cheek, she said of her name. She was attracted to the irony of it, she add. This idea of the paragon of perfection. God knows I was anything but perfect. In its current life online, however, word has shed some of this irony; It is now deployed with earnest self-satisfaction. The Video for * Flawless contains a clip from the televised talent show Star Search, with 12-year-old Beyonce and her girl group keeping their smiles in place as they learn that they have lost the contest. Adult Beyonce, looking at once tomboyish, severe and sexy, delivers a scattershot message of feminism, gratitude to her family, strong words for detractors. Her sardonic refrain, I wake up like this, winking at major production involved in making her camera-ready.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions.

* Please keep in mind that all text is machine-generated, we do not bear any responsibility, and you should always get advice from professionals before taking any actions

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