It was only until recently (in the latter half of the 20th century) that is became socially acceptable for women to wear colour on their lips. Since then it has become one of the most commonly used cosmetics, and every aspect of lipstick, from its wearing to its application is associated with femininity and sexuality.
Use in comics
As early comics were aimed at children and as the presentation of female cosmetic application was generally not relevant to story lines, the presentation of female cosmetics, including lipstick was a rarity in the golden age of comics. This changed briefly in the late golden age due to the rise of romance comics where it was relatively common to see the presentation of female characters preparing themselves for dates. This was used additionally as an additional time in which the characters could think of the repercussions to their romantic lives. The blatant use of cosmetics in comics is still a relative rarity though, as the medium is still primarily dominated by male readership and thus the use of cosmetics is often tied to a form of sexuality. For instance it might be shown in the rare cases where there is a character or characters whose occupation has what is considered an overly sexual role as defined by society (such as a stripper or cheerleader) and it is therefore relatively common for the application of lipstick to be shown with these characters. The application of lipstick can also offer a rare glimpse into the private life of female characters.
Most female characters are drawn with a finished makeup look already in place. This includes such aspects as lips always been made up despite any reasons they might have for losing their colour (smudging or just general wear.) Although this applies to other facets of female characters (notably in the eye with eyeliner and mascara) lip colour is often endemic to female characters more so than male characters. It is equally relatively rare to see a female character of any kind apply lipstick at any time. One manner in which lipstick is shown, although indirectly, is by leaving rubbed-off trace of lipstick on the cheek of a kissed person (generally a man.) This is a relatively common occurrence in Archie Comics.
The 1960s version of the character Batwoman carried a number of Bat-inspired devices much like Batman with the exception that hers were modified feminine beauty items. She occasionally used lipstick as a modified weapon.
As with many forms of fiction, lipstick on the collar or lipstick left on a man's lips is an indication of some infidelity.
A 1992 series by Rip Off Press named Lipstick had nothing to do with the cosmetics and instead was an erotic comic series.
Wonder Woman Line of Cosmetics from MAC
In 2011 a series of cosmetics was released by the cosmetics company MAC with Wonder Woman as the inspiration. This included a wide range of cosmetics choices, including eye liner, eye shadow, mascara, nail polish and of course, lipstick, and all of it adorned with decals and other indentifying insignia as being related to Wonder Woman. In late 2011, the company subsequently chose Miss Piggy as a celebrity for inspiration to coincide with the release of the Muppets Movie.
In January 2013, it was announced that MAC's newest celebrity inspiration would be Betty and Veronica.