FACT CHECK: No, British Parliament Didn’t Ban Lipstick In 1770 For Fear It Had ‘The Power To Seduce Men Into Marriage’

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook more than 900 times claims the British Parliament banned lipstick in 1770.

Verdict: False

The U.K. has never passed a law banning lipstick.

Fact Check:

Dianna Agron, an actress known for her role in popular television series “Glee,” tweeted the claim in 2014. The Facebook post, which has been shared more than 900 times, features a screen grab of her tweet. (RELATED: Is J.K. Rowling The First Person To Fall Off The Forbes Billionaires List For Charitable Giving?)

“[Fun Fact]: In 1770, British parliament banned lipstick, saying it had the power to seduce men into marriage, which was classified as witchcraft,” reads the screen grab.

However, neither the U.K. Parliament nor its precursor passed a law banning lipstick in 1770 or any other year. The Daily Caller found no record of any such legislation in JustisOne, an extensive legal database that contains British parliamentary acts dating back to 1707.

A member of parliament (MP) introduced a bill against the “vice of painting” in June 1650 but it never received a full reading, according to U.K. National Archives spokeswoman Clare Kelly. It was “likely introduced at the behest of a Puritan MP but the Council of State chose not to pursue it,” per the U.K. National Archives.

Furthermore, fears of witchcraft were no longer widespread in late 18th century Britain, making it unlikely that MPs would have pursued legislation on such issues.

“One of the areas of witches’ believed subversion was, indeed, male sexuality; and so such a claim had some credibility – a century and more earlier,” said Phillips Stevens Jr., an anthropology professor at the University of Buffalo, in an email to the Caller. “By 1770 the witch fears had pretty well subsided.”

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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