3.03.2012

By Women, For Women, For Men?

Feminism has become a dirty word, and it's no wonder why. Like any social or political movement, the image has been exhausted, and overcome with stories of extremists and photos of topless women holding signs that more closely resemble an anti-men movement than a pro-women one. The phrase "I'm not a feminist or anything" is tossed around more often than that picture of Miley Cyrus smoking pot, and it is no longer cool to be associated with the word 'feminist'. And while I understand the connotation, I also recognize that the biggest prevention from rebuilding an image, is disappearing all together. Greater still, I fear that in an effort to disassociate with the "crazy side" we are now living in a society that is moving backward in the realm of women's rights.

I recently read an article entitled 'Beauty mistakes that turn men off' and in case you were wondering, your perfume is too strong, your foundation is too heavy, your eyelashes are too 'spidery', your skin is too dry, your legs are too prickly, your teeth are too yellow, your lip gloss is too sticky, your skin is too orange, your hair is too stiff, your eye makeup is too dark, your lip color is too bold, your hair is too accessorized, and your nail polish is too dark. For who, though? Men. Men as a whole - an entire gender - hates your lip color. Obviously this offended me (not just as a woman, but as a human being) for a number of reasons, but in the whole thing - I was most disappointed to see that this article had been written by a woman. 

It is widely accepted that men are the biggest hindrances to women being valued as equals in society, but I'm not so sure. I've spent enough time on the internet to know that when you read something that upsets you, the next logical step is to read more things similar and get more upset...so that's what I did. And do you know what? I'd say that, conservatively, 80% of these articles picking women apart to make them more attractive to men are written by women. For women. For men. WHY. Who are these hypothetical men that we're all so concerned about pleasing? I once tweeted in jest, but in all honestly, it's not that far of a stretch. Every article everywhere is telling you how to change yourself be more appealing to a hypothetical man that apparently hates dark nail polish, but for fun, let's explore the idea that you don't need a man the same way you don't need a woman. Forget the fact that it's a ridiculous notion to assume that an entire gender likes or dislikes anything based solely on gender, because at the end of the day - even if they did - it does not matter. If you like Yahoo!'s beauty tips, take them. But take them for yourself, and not for a supposed hypothetical who is going to be turned off by you otherwise. Let people take you as you are, not as they would like to see you, and let your "self improvement" be motivated by your own standards.

I am a feminist. And sometimes my eyelashes are a little spidery.

9 comments:

Tiffer said...

Paige- I really couldn't agree with you more on this post of yours. The only things is... It's really easier said than done to realize these things sometimes. I think I (at least in my generation) was conditioned to grow up reading magazines like Cosmo (remember YM?!) Reading this post was a confidence booster and a great reminder that "Hey- I'm going to have days with prickly legs or spidery eyelashes and you know what?! That's totally ok."
--Tiff--

suzy said...

YEAH YEAH YEAH.
{please write more often. i want you i need you oh baby oh baby.}

kalie brynn. said...

Paige! I am just...so happy. That you are here, writing. And just here, period. Because you are so so amazing- I LOVE this! Aaaaaaaaamen.

nova said...

That is so true! I'm sure most of those dudes and most ladies wouldn't even notice yellowish teeth or stiff hair unless you pointed it out to them. It's just a big ol' marketing ploy to make us buy the non-spidery mascara or whatever.

nova said...

That is so true! I'm sure most of those dudes and most ladies wouldn't even notice yellowish teeth or stiff hair unless you pointed it out to them. It's just a big ol' marketing ploy to make us buy the non-spidery mascara or whatever.

joy t. said...

OMG my hair tends to be over-accessorized. that's why i'm not married.

Sarah Rooftops said...

Here here! Not one of my male friends could care less how women dress and apply their make up - if they like spending time with us, that's all that matters to them. I rarely hear anyone but women criticise a person's appearance.

Suzy Marie said...

YES! I once read an article (I use the term loosely) about women leaving the house in the morning 'feeling like a million dollars' but by mid morning feeling bad because their hair and make up was less than perfect. This led to women being regarded by men as looking a bit worse for wear by mid-morning. I was so surprised that it was written by a woman and I was so disappointed! It was probably the most pointless gender-based article I have ever read and it made me pretty angry haha.

Kaylee Hinrichs said...

Thank you for writing this! It's so awesome to see people talking about gender equality again.
I think it's fair to say that both men and women put pressure on each other to appear certain ways to appease societal expectations. It's a cyclical pattern that is never ending. Specifically for women, I think we should try to re-discover the beauty of women when they are not covered in makeup, shaved hairless, and dieting. A new perspective of appearance/beauty needs to be developed.
Thank you for a great read!