Society admired a woman’s delicate nature, so women aimed for an ‘interesting pallor’ instead of a rosy-cheeked look. With makeup frowned upon, women drank vinegar and ate chalk to achieve a pale complexion. They also nibbled wafers of arsenic. ‘An excellent medicine,’ promised one advertisement for arsenic, ‘for giving to the complexion a clearness and brilliancy not obtainable by external methods.’ A woman who ate arsenic did indeed gain an increasingly pale, bluish tone, as the deadly poison affects the body’s red blood cells.
Brandon Marie Miller, “Evolution of ‘Sensible Dress’,” Dressed for the Occasion, 1999 (quote refers to the late 19th century)
in case you were wondering, this “look a certain way—but do it without makeup!” thing has been going on for hundreds of years and people have literally poisoned themselves trying to achieve this goal
Every important decision that I have made in my life was not so that I could become an atrocious person.