Bits 'n Bobs

Hello. I Like Makeup and I Believe in Gender Equality

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When I read articles or watch YouTube videos on makeup, beauty, and fashion and inevitably there will be the comments that say that such things are frivolous and/or such things subvert the messages of feminism and gender equality. Basically, telling females that they cannot be taken seriously unless they forgo make up and dress like a man. Which is utter bs really. Isn’t the whole point of feminism to fight for our right to do what we want to do (bearing in mind what is legal and moral) without being made to feel less? So if I love make up, love talking about it and reading about it, I should be able to do it without being judged as a brainless female. If I refuse to have my actions and thoughts dictated by males, I certainly do not want my actions and thoughts to be dictated by other women.

This probably comes across as a not very thought-out rant, but the basic idea is that as females, we shouldn’t be pushing our own ideals of what gender equality or feminism on other females, because the moment we do that, we’re missing the point in this whole struggle.

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12 thoughts on “Hello. I Like Makeup and I Believe in Gender Equality

  1. I agree – it’s such a ludicrous idea. Across every culture in the world, adornment is part of life for…in many places for males as well. Not so long ago in the West men wore makeup too and nobody questioned their abilities.

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  2. :Isn’t the whole point of feminism to fight for our right to do what we want to do (bearing in mind what is legal and moral) without being made to feel less?”

    The point of feminism is to dismantle the patriarchal structures and ideas in society that oppress women and men.

    “So if I love make up, love talking about it and reading about it, I should be able to do it without being judged as a brainless female.”

    Performing femininity is part of women’s survival routine. Your application of make-up and how you use should not be criticized. What should be criticized is the socially constructed notion that women, to increase their f*ckablity in the eyes of men, should be required to put toxic substances on their bodies to “enhance” their appearance.

    “If I refuse to have my actions and thoughts dictated by males, I certainly do not want my actions and thoughts to be dictated by other women.”

    Your actions are dictated to you by both women and men – that is they are socially constructed – both implicitly and explicitly in terms of what society considers appropriate for your sex. By complying with what is considered “acceptable” female practice you avoid negative social attention.

    Feminist criticism is directed toward the actions that women, as a class, are expected to do. It most unfortunate that you’ve experienced it directly on a personal level. 😦

    we shouldn’t be pushing our own ideals of what gender equality or feminism on other females,

    Gender equality is poop. Aspiring to be part of the class of gender that oppresses – that is wanting to be an oppressor yourself – is a pretty low bar to aim for.

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    1. I do understand where you’re coming from. However, I take offense at the way women are berated for liking and applying make up because it’s seen as buying into the patriarchal notion that it’s something that they have to do to attract men. I’m pretty sure that most women who put on make up don’t stand in front of the mirror after putting it on and examine their fxxxbility scale. Most of us put on make up because we like the way it looks on us to us. So don’t treat us like we mindlessly buying into this “socially constructed notion” and talk down to us like you’re superior because you see through this notion. Treat us like we’re capable women who are self-aware enough to understand what we are doing when we put on makeup.

      On the point of oppression, my point is that no one, not one group should be the oppressor.

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      1. Most of us put on make up because we like the way it looks on us to us.

        And why do you think that most women like it? Which qualities do you think it effects? Why are those particular qualities so important to women?

        So don’t treat us like we mindlessly buying into this “socially constructed notion” and talk down to us like you’re superior because you see through this notion.

        I said:

        1. “Performing femininity is part of women’s survival routine.”

        2. “What should be criticized is the socially constructed notion that women, to increase their f*ckablity in the eyes of men, should be required to put toxic substances on their bodies to “enhance” their appearance.”

        1. Is a sad fact of female existence within patriarchal society.

        2. Social constructs apply to women as a class. I specifically said that you should face no ostracism for choosing to wear make up or not.

        This is not talking down to your position but merely stating a social fact. My apologies if offense was taken.

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  3. You should be able to follow your interests and hobbies without others turning it into politics. There are plenty of strong, confident, independent women out there who are also interested in fashion and make-up. It’s pretty condescending for others to explain to you why you’re doing it. Just do your thing.

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    1. @ericjbaker

      It’s pretty condescending for others to explain to you why you’re doing it.

      Because analysis and reflection on issues is wrong.

      Do tell me. Eric, how politics isn’t relevant to people’s lives.

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      1. It’s also condescending to quote everything people write and then add your own didactic responses. In your reply, you told her that her personal choice to apply make-up should not be criticized then followed it up by criticizing women as a whole who apply toxic substances to appear attractive. So, essentially, you are criticizing her. How are you helping the cause of gender equality by criticizing any woman who makes choices you disapprove of?

        Of course, politics are relevant in people’s lives. That doesn’t mean politicizing every thought and action is required. Maybe she wants to buy a tube of lipstick without going on trial every time. Anyway, what would be your ideal solution? That all women throw away all their make-up and all the make-up companies go out of business? Which is fine if that’s the future societal state you’d like to see, but it would be a bit dictatorial on your part to impose your preferences on the whole world.

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  4. @Ericjbacker

    Hi Eric.

    It’s also condescending to quote everything people write and then add your own didactic responses.

    Actually Eric, quoting what people said and directly responding is a method used to enhance communication in a medium that is prone to misunderstanding and misinterpretation. Luckily for us (woo!) you provide a sterling example of just the situation that the practice of providing a direct quote attempts to avoid.

    Here is what I said:

    Arb: “Performing femininity is part of women’s survival routine. Your application of make-up and how you use should not be criticized. What should be criticized is the socially constructed notion that women, to increase their f*ckablity in the eyes of men, should be required to put toxic substances on their bodies to “enhance” their appearance.”

    And then here is what *you* think I said (I’ll helpfully bold the part(s) where you are pulling things out of your ass):

    “In your reply, you told her that her personal choice to apply make-up should not be criticized then followed it up by criticizing women as a whole who apply toxic substances to appear attractive. So, essentially, you are criticizing her.

    1. If you read very carefully you will notice what I actually say is the “socially constructed notion […]” and most definitely not the author of the post.

    2. So, if you’d like to argue against what I actually said versus what think I said – that would be great.

    Eric: “How are you helping the cause of gender equality by criticizing any woman who makes choices you disapprove of?”

    Well asking questions based on the assumptions you’ve made, rather than what I actually said is sorta problematic don’t you think? I mean really, arguing with yourself can only be fun for so long.

    Anyway, what would be your ideal solution? That all women throw away all their make-up and all the make-up companies go out of business?

    It would be a start. Billions are made on promoting and marketing cosmetics to women based on their fear of being perceived as ugly and not socially acceptable. So hey, adornment by choice – no problems here. Adornment based on shaming women about their bodies and playing on their insecurities – not so much.

    Which is fine if that’s the future societal state you’d like to see, but it would be a bit dictatorial on your part to impose your preferences on the whole world.

    You mean the state in which women are regarded as fully human. You’ve got me dead to rights Eric, guilty as charged.

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