A phenomenological exploration of gothic eyeliner

In 2021, during a period of illness, I was unable to wear eye makeup. This caused me more distress than I would have expected, and prompted me to think about what my makeup choices mean and why my sudden inability to wear eyeliner had such an impact on me. A paper grew out of this, which was then published in Existential Analysis. It presents a phenomenological exploration of my relationship with makeup — specifically, with gothic eyeliner, which I have been wearing to various degrees since I was a teenager.

Abstract

This paper presents a phenomenological exploration of my relationship with eyeliner. I draw parallels between the loss of possibilities in Heidegger’s being-towards-death and the cutting off of the possibility of wearing eyeliner through illness. I discuss Sartrean and Kierkegaardian views of the self and how, through illness, self can become Other.

The full paper can be downloaded here.

Published by

Scarlett de Courcier

She/her. Existential psychotherapist and writer based in West London.

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