01/04/2013 09:52 am ET

When Is Wearing Makeup A "Choice"?

In most if not all contexts, I don't really think wearing makeup is a "choice." At least, it's not a choice in the sense of a decision where the branching options are neutral and equally weighted and carry few, if any, negative social consequences, the way making a ham sandwich or a veggie wrap for lunch is a choice. Culturally speaking, the playing field is tilted pretty heavily in makeup's favor.

The New York Times is hosting an online roundtable discussion of the question of makeup and women's self-esteem today. Makeup is a consumer product, but rather than thinking about who profits from it and how it is sold to us, let's think about how it makes us feel. Okay. Inevitably, one talking head writes:

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