With The Walking Dead returning for the second half of its ninth season next week, the show’s biggest mystery still remains to be solved: how are all these people still so good-looking in the middle of the zombie apocalypse?
Specifically, the women.
Most dudes, like Daryl (Norman Reedus) are still sweaty, stubbly messes (relatively speaking), and everyone is routinely covered with a thin layer of attractively glowing perspiration and grime. But nobody has split ends, and the women’s eyebrows are all flawless.
My brows seem to start creeping back towards each other before the wax marks have faded, but these ladies have been running around in an apocalyptic wasteland and their arches are still so clean and sharp you could perform emergency surgery with them.
And my feet are, like most regular people’s, a patchwork of healing blisters and callouses and dry skin. But remember how Andrea had a perfect, fresh coat of peachy-nude polish on her toes in her final scene?
Almost as if she knew there’d be a close-up.
I have enough trouble not looking like a gnarled, furry crone living in a mostly-functioning major city with a salon on every corner, with an income and spare time and never being chased by the undead.
It hasn’t been lost on Twitter, either.
I’m not saying women wouldn’t want to feel and look a bit nice in the apocalypse – I doubt I’d still bother shaving my legs, but I can’t guarantee I’d be above taking a quiet moment to pluck my unibrow if I happened upon a quiet, half-looted Sephora a few months into the end of the world.
But it’s downright silly for these woman to look like they have a team of professional hair and makeup artists trimming and tweezing and shaping and shining – which, of course, they do.
And it’s not just about beauty standards.
It’s also ridiculous when a character who, say, doesn’t have the full use of her hands somehow has hair in neat French braids, or a woman who’s locked in a windowless room with her hands tied is wearing fresh lip gloss, or someone takes the time to not only change into her superhero costume on the way to the emergency but also change her hair and completely reapply her makeup to look more badass.
It just doesn’t make sense.
And it’s not only that it’s unrealistic, to the point of being distracting once you notice it.
It’s downright disrespectful to the hours and the effort women put in to looking effortlessly great every day. That s**t takes time – thousands of hours over a lifetime, even if you’re on the lower-maintenance end of the scale.
And when TV and movie characters walk around with a full face of makeup on but we never see them put it on – when women get out of the shower wearing mascara and wake up with a full contour – it warps our grasp of the difference between what human women’s faces actually look like naturally, and the version of them we create with brow powder and GHDs and the help of trained professionals.
A couple of TV shows recently have highlighted what actually goes into putting on your face. Season one of Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs Maisel (which is set in the 1950s) has a running bit where the main character goes to bed in a full face, hops up once her husband is asleep to apply thick globs of wrinkle cream and rag-curl her hair – then wakes up before him to reverse the process and put on her blush and lipstick, and pretends to wake up after him, so he’s none the wiser.
Obviously TV and film actresses are going to have fresh blow-dries, perfect skin, and tailored clothing – they’re professionally hot.
But surely we can make their brows look a little less perfect while they’re having their fake grime and sweat applied in the makeup chair.
They’re running from The Walking Dead, not walking the red carpet.