Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Are All Natural Beauty Celebrations The New Tupperware Party?

21st century ladies are spending less time playing with plastic and parabens and more time nurturing their natural beauty. The 1950s marked an era where plastics were proclaimed to empower women as they returned from working in warzones to hosting tupperware parties and earning their own income in the private sphere of the home. Though the traditional Tupperware party – where a host invites over all their friends to see the product, earning profit from any sales made – still has its aficionados, the modern woman is shifting away from plastic and progressing towards purity.

Though acclaimed business-wymn Brownie Wise was the Vice-President of Tupperware and the mastermind of the Tupperware Party, this does not negate the questions raised by some feminist theorists who critique the Tupperware era for restricting women to the private sphere of the home, reinforcing traditional female roles (cooking, cleaning, homemaking) and using women as tools for consumerism and marketing. The Tupperw-era has been declared by some as a way of “preserving domesticity” (Vincent, 2008: 171) or commodifying identity and “reinforce the sexual division of labour in the family” (Banks and Zimmerman, 1987: 85). Thankfully, the modern take on the tupperware party is filled with women liberated not by food storage but by the celebration of all-natural beauty.

Spa pamper parties, natural beauty retreats, natural makeover suarez, organic pamper parties – you name it – are finding their way into women’s lives throughout Canada. Unlike the tupperware party, these gatherings contain no harmful chemicals, preservatives or synthetic additives. Nicole, a natural beauty babe from Victoria, B.C. boasts:

“We host our natural beauty parties to celebrate our respect for ourselves based on the all-natural products we choose to use on our skin. We share products, tricks (have you tried coconut oil in your hair?), tips and ultimately just enjoy the company of like-minded women who are doing something for themselves!”

Many natural beauty parties go beyond consumerism into a realm of healing and creativity. They provide a space for women to share their understandings of natural beauty. Natural beauty parties often integrate the use of natural products in massage, facials and aromatherapy and can even incorporate herbal teas, yoga, chanting and crystal healing rituals as well. What does this say about the wymn of today? Has she ditched the polymers of the past in the pursuit of purity? Judging by the attendance at our first ever Thann Natural Beauty Bash, I would certainly say so.

Until next time,

Ashley McEachern, Thann Canada


Vincent, Susan. May 2003. Preserving Domesticity: Reading Tupperware in Women's Changing Domestic, Social and Economic Roles in Canadian Review of Sociology, 40:2, 171-196.

Banks, Jane and Patricia Zimmerman. January 1987. The Mary Kay Way: The Feminization of a Corporate Discourse. Journal of Communication Inquiry, 11:1, 85-99

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