A Note on Transformers: Why Lip Color Matters and What It Has to Do with Fighting Aliens


4:12 a.m. Once again I’m up writing in the ungodly hours of the morning, and I swore I’d stop staying up so late once I finally finished college. Oh well. The problem is, I just got home from a late showing of the new Transformers. Dang what a long movie.

And while I could talk about the action overload that left you feeling like you’d just been thrown through a washing machine, or the attitudes of the individual Transformers and how they didn’t help the story, or the outstanding performances of Stanley Tucci or Mark Wahlberg, I’ll leave those kinds of topics to more dedicated Transformers fans.

With your permission, I’d like to talk for just a moment about something else.

It starts with Tessa’s lips.

Tessa’s lips caught my attention first because they’re a magenta that sets off her perfectly smooth, tan skin and classy dark eye makeup just right. In the beginning I can kinda buy it, because Tessa’s a pretty girl and, well, maybe she’s really good at doing makeup so that her day-to-day look just sort of magically looks as great as if she had a team of artists before, during, and after a film shoot to help her look her best. Ok, I guess.

But then Tessa’s lips start cracking me up, because no matter what horrifying debacle she runs into throughout the movie, the camera makes sure to get at least one close up to let you know yep, don’t worry, her lips are still perfectly magenta. It’s hilarious.

CIA agents holding her down in the grass with a gun to her head while she cries for her life? Still nice smooth magenta. Being chased by freaky murderous alien robot wolf things? Still magenta. Screaming in terror while stuck in a car being dragged up with Optimus Prime by the bad guys? Yeah, that scream is coming out of perfectly pouty magenta lips.

That’s not how it works. I have a very nice magenta lip color too, and I happen to know it stops looking good a matter of hours after I apply it, let alone days after sleeping in makeshift shelters with no showers and no makeup to refresh. Fighting with aliens, no less.

Same thing goes for Tessa’s exquisite dirty blond hair, which sort of kind of gets a little messy but really just ends up looking bohemian. And I think we all know thanks to Pinterest that that’s not a symptom of a days-long chase by aliens and the CIA—that’s a desirable quality girls slave for. Convenient. And somehow through all this, Tessa’s hair, in all its wild bohemian-esque glory, stays completely un-greasy. What, does Tessa keep a can of dry shampoo in the back pocket of those tiny shorts for emergencies? Or does her hair magically wash itself? Wish my hair did that.

This post is getting redundant, so I won’t go into her perfect clothes (on the run for days in those clunky heels?), her perfect little gold jewelry that stays on no problem through bombs and aliens and guns, her perfect periwinkle nail polish (days of Transformers action and it doesn’t even get chipped? SERIOUSLY?), or her perfect anything else.

The way Tessa looks at the end of the movie, with her perfectly messy hair and her nearly perfect mascara and eye shadow (oh yeah, for one frame it was almost a little smeared kinda, which makes it totally realistic) and her perfect magenta lips and her perfectly tan skin smudged with just a touch of perfectly attractively gritty dirt and her perfect nail polish, is not how a woman looks after a couple of normal days, let alone after a couple days of what Tessa went through.

I know, because I am one (a woman, that is), and I’m writing this in the middle of the night and by now I kind of resemble one of the zombies from World War Z, which I just watched the other day (yay for new movies popping up on Netflix, am I right?).

It would be one thing if Tessa’s perfection were just a slightly cheesy aspect of an action movie that really isn’t concerned with realism. Which, I get it, in some ways is the case.

But in another sense, it’s a symptom of a very serious disease our society has been stricken with basically forever. There are enough posts out there about the impossible standard of physical perfection set up by TV, movies, magazines, and the Internet, so I’m not going to go into the problem in detail. But Victoria’s Secret Angels, Vogue magazine covers—we hunger after achieving this impossible beauty that physically does not exist even though by now we all know it’s fake.

It’s 2014. Aren’t we past this yet? Haven’t enough passionate articles been written, enough Dove Evolution videos posted, enough picture collages compiled showing step-by-step the transformation from normal-looking girl to wildly different-looking glamorous model under layers and layers of Photoshop and makeup?

Haven’t we seen past the smoke and lights to the man behind the curtain yet?

We’re trying to keep our lips magenta in the face of aliens, and that’s just not possible. And it’s hard for me to just shrug off the issue and say it’s no big deal when according to Google 20 million women are currently sustaining eating disorders in pursuit of impossible beauty.

And also I just realized it’s 5:09 in the morning. Good night, world.



One thought on “A Note on Transformers: Why Lip Color Matters and What It Has to Do with Fighting Aliens

  1. Pingback: Six delirious, middle-of-the-night thoughts on Jurassic World | randilynnpedia

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