Makeup From The Point Of Law By David Oluwasegun Ogundipe
Caveat: This piece takes off with duo mindset: to do an intellectual dissect of the fact in issue and to do so with a bit of humour. No attempt to malign the person of any individual. The use of ‘goods’ and ‘consumers’ do not aim to objectify any gender.
The idea of wearing makeup has been the trend for a long time. However, the trend has witnessed a trajectory increase in recent time. Fashion by its very characteristic is meant to enhance what is already there. It didn’t evolve to build something on nothing and create a podium for debate. This assertion will nonetheless be true to the letters years back, but not now.
With enthralled sense of endurance, I have watched the makeup trend with amusement. The said trend no longer looks like fashion to me, but some magic. As a man, you may walk your partner to a makeup artist, then maybe when work is about to start on her, you take a walk. On your return, you may not meet your ‘partner’ there anymore. She might even be the one standing right before you. It is that terrible. Maybe not terrible, but worrisome.
Now, shall we consider the makeup trend from the point of law?
You will agree with me that makeup in recent times effect fundamental changes to the face of an individual such as concealment of tribal marks, spots, natural skin colour, circumferences of eyelashes etc. Without an intention to be comical, with one or two of these features hidden or even substituted, one’s poison this minute can become one’s food the next minute.
In law, particularly law of contract, there is what is known as FRAUDULENT MISREPRESENTATION. To establish that a fraudulent misrepresentation has occurred, the following elements must be present:
1: A representation was made;
2: The said representation was false; 3: That when made, the representation was known to be false and the maker knew it was not true;
4: That it was made with the intention to project the said product in a light different from its true state I.e to deceive.
In applying the principles of fraudulent misrepresentation, the elements shall be considered one after the other. It should be noted that logically, one cannot go to the market, purchase an electric bulb and then expect it to turn to an egg. Such is the supposed nature of a lady and guy relationship. A guy goes for what he sees, he places his negotiation on that which he sees and knows he will keep seeing, at least for a reasonable time frame- say years. Of course, acts of God may set in.
Now, each time an individual is made up, a representation is made. E.g she is fair, has no tribal mark, no scar or spots etc. So, the first element is addressed. Secondly, assuming without conceding that Sewa, a lady with a tribal facial mark of Oyo is made up and there is no trace of the mark after the makeup- Sewa remains Sewa only to herself and the makeup artist. Jack, a handsome young man who just entered town may be drawn to Sewa’s ‘beauty’. Remember that a face with tribal marks is fundamentally different from one without marks. The representation becomes false the moment what a reasonable may can see with his bare eyes as former Sewa is different from what the same man can see as the new Sewa. So, the issue here is that Jack may never envisage that Sewa has tribal marks. Even someone who knew Sewa before then might take her for another person.
On the third element, if Jack who has reservation for tribal marks or certain factors concealed by the makeup approaches Sewa. Sewa should know that Jack is no sorcerer who might have adopted magnifying lenses to see the hidden. Hence, Sewa has the duty to remain with no scar or marks. The representation here is false because fundamental facial features of Sewa are ‘gone’ and there is no way Jack could know. It is unlikely that Sewa will make statements like: under the 7 layers of these pancake lies my ancestral identity.
Once a makeup goes to the extend of hiding tribal marks, and other facial features typical to an individual, the presumption is that what is hidden was intended to be by the ‘hider’. So, there is an intention to project Sewa as Agbani Darego or Tayo facially. Lastly, once Jack ignorantly believes no basic change has taken place on Sewa’s face, he subscribes to the contract with a mistaken belief.
Looking at the recent modifications makeup does, one can say that it has left many ‘consumers’ opting for ‘goods’ they will ordinarily not go near. E.g when you package Titus in a tin of Peak milk. Will it be a fault of the consumer to reject same and demand a refund?
Conclusively, I argue that the extent of makeups in the 21st century amounts to fraudulent misrepresentation under the law of contract. Relationship is a form of contract and the same way we have offer, acceptance and consideration in transactions involving household goods, they exists in relationships too.
Nonetheless, this illegality may be among the few subtle legal breach which will stand the test of time if a Jack does not subject a Sewa to legal battle for fraudulently misrepresenting herself. Who knows? A player might one day have a girlfriend, two side chicks, only to realize she has been cheating on his girlfriend with his same girlfriend in two other places. The difference will be the name and the venue…
David Oluwasegun Ogundipe
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