There’s a Pandora’s Box full of questions that escape once the colloquialism lipstick is appropriated as an adjective that may be applied to other groups. (Please see Lipstick for list of possible associations.)

One of the most obvious questions we already considered, i.e. Why do we presume group affiliation by an individual’s appearance?

Perhaps a more compelling question is why are we suspect of each other’s affiliations? In John Irving’s The World According to Garp, the infamous nurse, Jenny Fields, asserts that she is a sexual suspect because as a woman she rejects conventional marriage, and also chooses to raise a child on her own. Fields goes on to write her memoirs in an autobiography and becomes a celebrated, feminist icon. This social compulsion we have to suspect each other seems to have a lipstick link as clear as a blood stain on white linens.

First, consider that an unsavory connotation lurks beneath the adjective lipstick: “Being able to pass.”

Secondly, ponder that the majority economic and political stakeholder is still (and for 200+ American years running) a white, heterosexual male.

I surly don’t want to pass for any color of man, regardless of his orientation. I also reject all those gestalt, default boxes society uses to categorize un/married woman (of a certain look or age) that often include whore, dyke and bitch. Please note, in all derogatory cases the sexual suspicion.

I fear I sound silly, but reconsider the list below:

lipstick Pro Choice
lipstick Democrat
lipstick Pro Life
lipstick Republican
lipstick racist
lipstick homophobe
lipstick misogynist
lipstick liberal
lipstick conservative
lipstick Soccer Mom
lipstick alcoholic
lipstick philanthropist
lipstick rapist
lipstick friend
lipstick Christian

Under the litmus of suspicion, I also wouldn’t want to pass as a racist, homophobe, misogynist, alcoholic, or racist even if I look like one.

And that’s just a response to the loathsome idea of being judged as a group member clearly abhorrent… How awful would it be for Christians or philanthropists were a brutish pig to pass as one of their own?

Contradictions aside, I never outgrew my academic inclinations… I don’t want to pass, I want to excel. I wanna be Valedictorian, baby.

What blisters is the social, hierarchal judgment: It’s deemed better to be male than female. It’s deemed better to be white than a person of color. It’s deemed better to be straight than gay.

If simply being who we are was good enough, we wouldn’t have the linguistic ability to express the idea of lipstick or being able to pass.


People looking at other people like they know what God they love, party they vote for, or folks they invite into their beds are absolute Hallelujah breakers.

And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!