Tag Archives: make up

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Augustine (and friends) on the evils of wearing make up

Augustine quotes a couple of his friends use of the majestic voice (a style of public speaking that appeals to the emotions) on the subject of women wearing make up. Here’s a hint. They don’t like it.

On the insult make up does to God’s artwork

“Suppose a painter should depict in colors that rival nature’s the features and form and complexion of some man, and that, when the portrait had been finished with consummate art, another painter should put his hand over it, as if to improve by his superior skill the painting already completed; surely the first artist would feel deeply insulted, and his indignation would be justly roused.  Dost thou, then, think that thou wilt carry off with impunity so audacious an act of wickedness, such an insult to God the great artificer?  For, granting that thou art not immodest in thy behavior towards men, and that thou art not polluted in mind by these meretricious deceits, yet, in corrupting and violating what is God’s, thou provest thyself worse than an adulteress.  The fact that thou considerest thyself adorned and beautified by such arts is an impeachment of God’s handiwork, and a violation of truth.” 

On Hair Dye

“Thy Lord says, ‘Thou canst not make one hair white or black;’ and dost thou wish to have greater power so as to bring to nought the words of thy Lord?  With rash and sacrilegious hand thou wouldst fain change the color of thy hair:  I would that, with a prophetic look to the future, thou shouldst dye it the color of flame.”


On wearing make up being worse than adultery

“Hence arise these incentives to vice, that women, in their fear that they may not prove attractive to men, paint their faces with carefully-chosen colors, and then from stains on their features go on to stains on their chastity.  What folly it is to change the features of nature into those of painting, and from fear of incurring their husband’s disapproval, to proclaim openly that they have incurred their own!  For the woman who desires to alter her natural appearance pronounces condemnation on herself; and her eager endeavors to please another prove that she has first been displeasing to herself.  And what testimony to thine ugliness can we find, O woman, that is more unquestionable than thine own, when thou art afraid to show thyself?  If thou art comely why dost thou hide thy comeliness?  If thou art plain, why dost thou lyingly pretend to be beautiful, when thou canst not enjoy the pleasure of the lie either in thine own consciousness or in that of another?  For he loves another woman, thou desirest to please another man; and thou art angry if he love another, though he is taught adultery in thee.  Thou art the evil promptress of thine own injury.  For even the woman who has been the victim of a pander shrinks from acting the pander’s part, and though she be vile, it is herself she sins against and not another.  The crime of adultery is almost more tolerable than thine; for adultery tampers with modesty, but thou with nature.”