Recently I found my old photo album and looking through it made me wonder many things about the art of eyebrow making.
I viewed the picture taken for my university yearbook in which I was dressed in a hat and a gown. What horrified me was the excessive amount of bright blue eye shadow I had put on my eyes but even more than that, my eyebrows. They were black as coal thinly stenciled on. Today it is hard to believe how I roamed around like that in public exhibiting such confidence.
Although my past eyebrow experience turned out to be quite mortifying, I noticed I was not alone in the excruciating obsession of eyebrow liners. Obsession with eyebrows comes to me culturally. Walking down the streets I see so many women each with a different shape to their eyebrows, some arched, plucked, waxed, tweezed or shaved artificially. Some were highly arched and paper thin, others soft and thick however the worst were the mysterious stenciled eyebrows. Compared to all the human body parts eyebrows probably are least convenient but treated as a necessity, at times the most significant facial treatment. The question that arises is that why do women spend time getting rid of a part of their eyebrows just to draw them again?
Eyebrow shaving deems different significance in various cultures and races. At the time when the pharaohs ruled Egypt, shaving eyebrows was a symbol of mourning. Wikipedia states that in olden Japanese times a woman’s beauty was defined by her powdered face, blackened teeth and shaved eyebrows which were drawn again high on the forehead.
History shows many influential women who treated their eyebrows. Queen Elizabeth I used to tweeze her eyebrows excessively and soon almost non-existent eyebrows became the symbol and trend of the nobles.
The ‘Mona Lisa’ is one of the greatest pieces of art ever painted. Not only the popular smile but the missing eye handles influence people around the world. This fashion came into being in the 1930’s when a thin exaggerated brow became widespread. This eyebrow was so difficult to be shaped naturally that many high-ranked actresses including jean Harlow and Marlene Dietrich got their eyebrows shaved redrawn by black liner just above the sockets. Coming out of Hollywood, the stenciled on eyebrow is also considered to have a negative effect mostly because of its association with the heavy-line faced Cholas of the Californian Latina low-rider and gang scene.
Even though eyebrows culturally and historically had great influence there is a baleful approach to it. It is basically a condition called trichotillomania, it obliges people to pull, pluck or shave hair from different parts of the body. In American cultural history the most noticeable brows were Whoopi Goldberg’s because he did not have any. In 2007 Perez Hilton interviewed her asking the reason why she shaved off her eyebrows and she simply replied that they itched when they grew. It is very easy to make comments at a passing by woman’s eyebrows but the real reason why women remove their eyebrows and draw new ones is what I like to call the pringle potato-chip affect that is also known as obsession. Once you pop a piece of hair, you just can’t stop just like one chip leads you to have many more chips. In cultures where hair is generally loathed it may be even easier to become addicted to it.
My obsession with shaving eyebrows started once I created the perfect arch shape. After that in order to make my eyebrow the same way I tweezed, plucked, waxed and soon shaved out of desperation to achieve the same result. It never happened as I kept tangling deeper in the net of eyebrow obsession that I weaved, so I had to force myself to get out of it.
The best part is that the eyebrow mayhem may come to an end sooner than we think. According to a study conducted there is a much lesser percentage of women who tweeze their eyebrows and slowly eyebrows have been moving down closer to the eyes over the past 60 years. Many sources say that the trend of high arched brows is at its lowest and a more masculine look is probable to suffice ahead. I agree to the change and look forward to new faces with better trends to follow the first one being the masculine look that also says that you don’t give a damn.