For October, we’re reading Made-Up: A True Story of Beauty Culture Under Late Capitalism by Daphné B. (translated by Alex Manley), a nuanced, feminist, and deeply personal take on beauty culture and YouTube consumerism.
Tune in to our podcast, Bookstorm, for an exclusive interview with the authors later this month. Buy the book here.
As Daphné B. obsessively watches YouTube makeup tutorials and haunts Sephora’s website, she’s increasingly troubled by the ways in which this obsession contradicts her anti-capitalist, intersectional feminist politics. In a looks-obsessed, selfie-covered present where influencers make the world go round, she brings us a breath of fresh air: an anti-capitalist look at a supremely capitalist industry, an intersectional feminist look at a practice many consider misogynist. Blending together the confessional, the poetic, and the essayistic, Made-Up is a lyric meditation on an industry in full bloom.
Made-Up explores the complicated world of makeup, from how it’s made to how we wear it, talking about gender, identity, capitalism, and pop culture in the process. Makeup doesn’t get a lot of serious attention; it’s often derided as shallow. But Daphné B. proves that it’s worth looking at a little more in-depth. The original French-language edition was a cult hit in Quebec. Translated by Alex Manley—like Daphné B., a Montreal poet and essayist—the book’s English-language text crackles with life, retaining the flair and verve of the original, and ensuring that a book on beauty is no less beautiful than its subject matter.
Poet and literary translator, Daphné B lives and works in Montreal. She published Bluetiful in 2015 (Les Editions de l’Ecrou), then Delete (L’Oie de Cravan) in 2017, in addition to writing in numerous magazines ( Nouveau Projet, Liberte, Vice, Spirale, Zinc, Estuaire, etc.). She co-founded the feminist platform Filles Missiles and is a regular contributor to the radio show Plus on est de fous, plus on lit, on Radio-Canada. Alex Manley is a Montreal/Tiohtia:ke writer and editor whose work has been published by Maisonneuve magazine, Hazlitt, The WalrusGrain, Vallum, and the Literary Review of Canada, among others. Their debut poetry collection, We Are All Just Animals & Plants, was published by Metatron Press in 2016.