[Femme Theory] The Artificial is as “Real” as the Natural

Rather than considering my “natural” face, when lacking all cosmetic additions, as my “real” face, and my “artificial” face formed by cosmetic procedures as something “superfluous” or even “fake,” I prefer to think of what is usually considered my “natural” face to be but one face among many, albeit one that also has the additional property of functioning as a base for cosmetic transformation.

The cosmetic transformations constitute forms which are as legitimately real as the base from which they are derived, at least as far as immediate perception is concerned. Mediated perception, or thought through reflection, can analyze a cosmetic face to decompose it into the elements that constitute it, and can infer the operation of an underlying base hidden or obscured by the cosmetic additions even if it cannot be directly perceived. But the thing is, why stop there? Why not carry along the method forward, and realize that the underlying base is itself apprehended in the same way—as a mass of arrangements cohering into a recognizable face. If the cosmetic face is ultimately unreal, then so is the underlying base, for the very concept of a “basic, natural” face presupposes a “cosmetic, artificial” face, each which functions as the differential definition for the other (natural is not artificial; artificial is not natural).

Cosmetic additions can also retroactively influence their base, where the cosmetic forms can inform the process of re-articulating the base itself. The base can be transformed as to constitute a greater similarity with its ideal cosmetic form, allowing the base to facilitate in the expression of even more refined cosmetic forms. Potentially, this process could go on indefinitely, but considering myself, this process has a limit. Its limit is when it has exhausted its ability to contribute to my well-being.

The indefinite pursuit of a perfect cosmetic form is a pursuit of the practically impossible, and only imaginatively conceivable. Such a pursuit gives precedence to the cosmetic form at the expense of the underlying base; it would be like exploiting your own body in the pursuit of some impossible fantasy (at their extreme, death from cosmetic procedures like plastic surgery is possible and has happened).

An alternative conception of the perfection of form, is the perfection of the harmony between the empty base and the cosmetic appearance, where the empty base is fine just as it is when directly perceived, and can also facilitate in the aesthetic expression of a beautiful appearance that does not contradict the sensuous health of the base. With the establishment of this kind of perfect form—the form in which healthy base and beautifying cosmetics are in harmonious concordance—the society or person who constitutes it is in their most optimal state to help facilitate in the optimization of others’.

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