Liptember – September 2020

September

Who isn’t down to wear makeup for a good cause? In September, buying and flaunting a fun purple or bright pink lipstick color isn’t just a fashion choice. It’s a fashion choice that makes a positive impact. The Liptember campaign hopes that fun lipstick will start a conversation on women’s mental health. Their ultimate goal is to raise awareness and funds for the issue, and it’s easy to register online and receive support from friends and family. Just for wearing lipstick!

History of Liptember

The early history of women’s mental health was characterized by some rampant sexism and essentially no knowledge of how the mind and body function in emotional responses. From the ancient Egyptians to the ancient Greeks, most cultures blamed female emotions on some condition of the uterus. It was in 1900 BC that Egyptians decided women with poor mental health were suffering from “spontaneous uterus movement.” This was thought to be cured by wafting scents towards the vagina and uterus!

Ancient Greek doctors weren’t much better. One prominent physician believed emotional conditions in women were due to “uterine melancholy,” which essentially means the uterus feeling sad it didn’t have a baby. This strange line of thinking was even corroborated by Hippocrates, who suggested the hysterical women should simply get married and have more babies to rid themselves of negative emotions.

If a woman was lucky enough to be born after this pseudo-science had largely made its exit, females were still at great risk if they had emotional or mental health problems. For example, many women with mental health issues were declared witches, and burned at the stake or otherwise executed. While this does feel far away from the mental healthcare we have today, it’s still shocking to think of thousands of women being executed, simply for having mental illness that wasn’t understood at the time. 

Modern science has obviously achieved leaps and bounds since these ancient and misguided times. However, the word “hysteria” was not removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) until 1980! The DSM is consistently updated, and is the designated guidebook for psychiatrists and psychologists to define and diagnose mental illnesses. 

Today, women’s mental health care is largely equal to mens, though sexist strains remain in society. Gender stereotypes are pervasive in mental health, and can often be a subtle implication that women with mental health issues are “crazy” or “making it up.” Racism is still prevalent, as black women in America are 20% more likely to deal with mental health issues than the general population, and often encounter both racism and sexism in the healthcare industry.

Liptember timeline

2010
Liptember Launched

In its first year dedicated to raising funds and awareness for women’s mental health, Liptember was able to raise $55,000.

1980
“Hysteria” removed from the DSM

The DSM, the recognized guidebook for diagnosing mental disorders, finally removed ‘hysteria’ from its pages in 1980. ‘Hysteria’ becomes a demeaning and sexist term for mental health issues.

Early 1900s
Freudian Mental Health

With Freud’s rise to prominence in the psychological field, women’s mental health was viewed as a much more sexualized issue.

1500s -1600s
Men Come into Female Medical Professions

While it was historically women who dealt with midwifery and other female-centric medical fields, men began to enter the profession in the 1500s. Gradually, female doctors and caregivers were devalued and pushed out.

1900BC
Ancient Egyptians Had a Theory

According to Ancient Egyptians, women’s mental health issues arose only from “spontaneous uterus movement”!

Liptember FAQs

Where is Liptember celebrated?

Globally. The organization started in Australia.

Where do the funds raised by Liptember go?

A variety of organizations, including the Centre for Women’s Mental Health, Lifeline, Batyr, The Jean Hailes Foundation, and the Pretty Foundation all benefit from funds raised during Liptember.

Are there other National holidays about mental health?

Yes! October 10 is World Mental Health Day, January is Mental Wellness Month, and May 9 is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day.

How to Observe Liptember

  1. Pop on some lipstick

    Showing off a fun, bright lipstick color is the key outward symbol of the campaign. Throughout September, show support for the organization and raise awareness with this fun makeup fad!

  2. Take care of your own mental health!

    Whether this encompasses going for a run, calling a friend, or turning your phone off and taking a bubble bath, self-care is the basis of mental health. If you’re new to the practice, start with some journaling to help figure out what you’re feeling and what would relax you the most!

  3. Post #Liptember on social media

    Check out Liptember’s website for downloadable social media guides that will make your Liptember post that much more #relatable! Remember, a big part of the mission of Liptember is raising awareness, so spreading the word on social media can go a long way.

5 Interesting Facts About Women’s Mental Health

  1. It was originally just called “hysteria”

    “Hysteric” has long been a sexist term applied to women’s mental health. Dating back from Ancient Greek times, “hysteria” refers to anytime a woman is emotional.

  2. Organs were removed to combat hysteria

    Shockingly, physicians even well into the 19th century commonly removed ovaries to help cure “unruly” women.

  3. Jean Hailes studied mental health in elderly women

    This mental health study on aging in women shed great light on the mental health experience of the demographic of women.

  4. Liptember has supported thousands of women

    Since 2014, Liptember has been able to fund over 80,000 crisis support requests.

  5. Liptember helped fund a book series

    Established by the Pretty Foundation, the book series ‘Charlie’s Tales’ was funded with great help from Liptember! The series teaches confidence and hopes to instill body-positive thinking in young girls.

Why Liptember is Important

  1. It supports women

    Women’s mental health is an ongoing issue that many women and girls struggle with. From societal beauty standards to sexism in the workplace to historic boy’s clubs, women must overcome significantly larger challenges to find themselves on the same footing with male counterparts. Addressing women’s mental health enables them to keep fighting the fight for their equality!

  2. It’s beautiful & colorful!

    We love that Liptember is a great excuse to wear the fun lip color we didn’t think we could pull off. There’s not a more beautiful or fun way to start a conversation than a bright pout!

  3. It increases mental health awareness

    For many individuals, mental health wasn’t taught in schools or at home. It’s only been in recent decades that mental health has been largely destigmatized, and many of us are coming to terms with what it means to take care of ourselves mentally, not just physically. Liptember goes a long way towards increasing awareness of the issue.

Liptember dates

YearDateDay
2020September 1Tuesday
2021September 1Wednesday
2022September 1Thursday
2023September 1Friday
2024September 1Sunday