With regards to feminism and feminists.
A huge part of feminist thought, or so I’ve been led to believe, is body acceptance for women; the thought that a woman should be encouraged to feel comfortable in her own skin and not deride, dislike, or disdain her own body and appearance. There is a great deal of encouragement for women to learn to if not love, at least like or accept their appearance, and dress in whatever manner they choose, wear their hair as they like, “go natural” (not shave, avoid make up, ect) as they choose. And you know, I think this is great. I really do. If a person is happy with and accepting of their looks, whatever they look like, I think it’s wonderful.
There is also the thought that a woman should not be judged or mocked for her appearance, and while her choices with regards to how she presents herself or what she may or may not do to modify her natural body can be questioned, she should not be judged or made fun of or disregarded because of those choices. One can ask why (or why not) a woman wears make up, or gets body waxes, or gets tattoos, works out or diets, gets piercings, dyes her hair or gets a nose job, exploration into the “whys” is…acceptable…but I’ve often seen feminists say that a woman, no matter who she is or how she looks or what beauty rituals she does, or does not, engage in, well, she should not be judged, mocked, or made fun of.
But that happens, even amid feminist circles. And rarely is the woman who does not shave, or diet, or wear make up who is mocked, it is the woman who does. Often times being thin, via nature or diet or time in a gym is thought of something horrible. The intelligence of women who wear make up or get any sort of cosmetic surgery is guestioned, and often they are made fun of. Women who enage in any sort of “Patriarchy Approved” grooming or body ritual, well, when they admit it, they appologize for it. They are appologetic or ashamed of being thin, or wearing eyeliner, or having blonde hair.
And I wonder why. If a woman is comfortable and happy not shaving, should we not be happy for her and support her? If a woman is comfortable and happy with a body she has because she works out three times a week, should we not be happy for and support her? If a woman likes her “cranberry frost” lipstick and the way it makes her look and feel, shouldn’t we just be glad she is happy with it? If a woman is happy and comfortable letting her hair go grey as she ages, shouldn’t we just say “great”?
I understand that with conventional beauty standards it is important to instill in women and girls that there is more to body comfort and beauty that what the media dictates, because truth is, women of all shapes, sizes, ages, colors, and “styles” are beautiful and that wider realm of beauty and comfort should be encouraged to flourish and grow. No woman should feel ashamed of the way they look or what they wear, but I often feel as if perhaps this has spun slightly out of control in some aspects. When a woman who is naturally blonde or naturally thin is applogizing for it, it seems to me as if something his gone wrong here. It seems like an odd sort of backlash to what was supposed to be a mode of thought that would make women more comfortable in their own skins, no matter their shape, size, mode of dress, or alterations. One can read feminist lit of all types, from books to blogs, and see this odd backlash, feminist people calling women bimbos, porno barbies, sticks; women disdaining their own natural attributes that fall within the realms of conventional beauty, things such as being tall, or thin, or curvy or blonde…
And it makes me wonder whatever happened to women, all women, being happy with their bodies?
Or is this just one of those things I find myself pondering? And if so, what did I miss?
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