Beauty and the Feast: The Cosmetic Industry's Female Feeding Frenzy

The first thing you see is food. a breastlike dome of cake towers at the top of t­he ad, frosted pink with a raspberry on top. "It's like dessert for your legs," declares the text, and just in case this copy wasn't clear, below it a pair of cellulite-free gams balances a bottle of Skintimate After-Shave Gel in lieu of icing. A cartoonish, disembodied bald head floats in the background, licking his lips, orbited by three quotes: "In the shave aisle!," "Soothe and moisturize!," and "3 luscious flavors." The unexclamated "flavors" reveals a strange equivocation in terms of hunger and beauty. This shaving gel is inedible and can hardly claim more than a "luscious" fragrance, yet the ad presents the product as a kind of snack for the skin, an external form of nourishment that offers the...