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IN AMERICA, lipstick is the foundation of  

empires. It’s a signature of identity; it’s  propaganda, self-expression, oppression,  freedom, and rebellion. It’s a multibillion-dollar  industry and one of our most iconic accessories  of gender. This engaging and entertaining  history of lipstick from the colonies to the  present will give readers a new view of the  little tube’s big place in modern America, from  defining the middle class to building Fortune  500 businesses to being present at Stonewall and  being engineered for space travel. 

Lipstick has served as both a witness and a  catalyst to history—it went to war with women,  it gave women of color previously unheard-of  business opportunities, and it was part of the  development of celebrity and mass media. In the  twentieth century alone, lipstick evolved from  a beauty secret for a select few to a required  essential for well-turned-out women but also  a mark of rock ‘n’ roll rebellion and a political  statement. 

How has this mainstay of the makeup kit  remained relevant for over a century? Beauty  journalist Ilise S. Carter suggests that it’s  because the simple lipstick says a lot. From  the provocative allure of a classic red lip to the  powerful statement of drag, the American love  affair with lipstick is linked to every aspect  of our experience of gender, from venturing  into the working world or running for the  presidency. The Red Menace will capture all  of those dimensions with a view of American  history that makes it a must-read for lipstick’s  fiercest disciples, harshest critics, and everyone  in between.

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