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Eyeliner by Zahra Hankir
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Eyeliner

A Cultural History
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Narrator Soneela Nankani

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Length 10 hours 55 minutes
Language English
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Brought to you by Penguin.

A dazzling exploration of the intersections of beauty and power around the globe, told through the lens of an iconic cosmetic


From the distant past to the present day, humans have been drawn to lining their eyes. The aesthetic trademark of figures ranging from Nefertiti to Amy Winehouse, eyeliner is one of our most enduring cosmetic tools; ancient royals and Gen Z beauty influencers alike would attest to its uniquely transformative power. It is undeniably fun - yet it is also far from frivolous.

Seen through Zahra Hankir's (kohl-lined) eyes, this ubiquitous but seldom-examined product becomes a portal to history, proof both of the stunning variety among cultures across time and space and of our shared humanity. Through intimate reporting and conversations - with nomads in Chad, geishas in Japan, dancers in India, drag queens in New York, and more - Eyeliner embraces the rich history and significance of its namesake, especially among communities of colour. What emerges is a delightful, surprising, and unexpectedly moving journey through streets, stages, and bedrooms around the world, and a thought-provoking reclamation of a key piece of our collective history.

ยฉ2023 Zahra Hankir (P)2023 Penguin Audio

Zahra Hankir, a Lebanese British journalist and the editor of Our Women on the Ground, writes about the intersection of politics, culture and society. Her work has appeared in publications including Condรฉ Nast Traveller, the Observer, Times Literary Supplement, BBC News, Al Jazeera English, Bloomberg Businessweek, the Los Angeles Times, and The Rumpus. She was awarded a Jack R. Howard Fellowship in International Journalism to attend the Columbia Journalism School and holds degrees in politics and Middle Eastern studies.
@zahrahankir, zahrahankir.com

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Reviews

Cosmetic, tool of rebellion, status signifier: Eyeliner has been all these and more. Moving through millenniums and across civilizations, Hankir gives the makeup its eye-opening due Hankir makes a compelling case that, far from an inconsequential vanity, eyeliner is not just about beautification but protection, and even politics, for men and women across the world and through the ages Fascinating . . . In my line of business (being Miss Universe), eyeliner is more than an item in a makeup kitโ€”itโ€™s part of an artistic palette. This simple tool gives us the power to command a room, to make a personality statement, and to change our entire look on a whim. As Zahra Hankir shows, none of this is new or even modern, but has been part of a legacy of powerful women for millennia A beautiful read, a thought-provoking one, and, unlike many history books - endlessly entertaining A beautifully written deep dive into something that so many of us use on a daily basis with little to no thought. You will never use an eyeliner in the same way again Expand reviews
Celebrate our 10th Anniversary with giveaways, merch, and more! Learn more