Hello so long time no hear right (sorry my soppy attempt of apologising for not posting in so long) but life has been pretty exhausting lately, with school work, having to move flat twice in less than two months, on top of paid work. If you are reading this then your views will probably differ on the extent of how tiring we should allow these factors to be, or even if they should be tiring at all. However on the topic of being tired, one thing we should all agree on is that there should not be so much misogyny in society that it leaves us feeling exhausted! Or sexism, or any type of discrimination, and you would think by now we would have moved a little further forward than what we have. Because should we all be so worried as to how we present ourselves, in case we don’t comply enough with our stereotype, or even if we end accidently complying too much? Should we really be anxious to partake in certain activities, for these same reasons?
This post may sound slightly strange coming from me, considering I am the person who barely bothers to wear makeup, refuses to wear heels at all costs, and is rather good at “forgetting” to shave my armpits! Yet I do like the odd dress, while I may even want to wear pink from time to time. So while I am certainly not immune to to the patriarchy (though it would be nice), I do think it is important to do our best in sticking to what we want. Even if one side complain that we are taking it all a bit too far, while others say we are taking it into the wrong direction…
The Makeup Dilemma
Most likely, when thinking about makeup (as a female, sorry), then it might be as another essential part of your morning routine. Alternatively, it may be something you are fundamentally against, feeling it is destined to only belittle women, as girls feel pressured to wear it at such a young age. Amongst all this lies the shaming off other women, for how they wear it, the amount they wear or even about how “ugly” they look without it…
But is it just me who thinks it is sad that all this undermines any positive use out of makeup, like for self expression? This way it doesn’t, and certainly shouldn’t be exclusive to girls either! Because just like we (should) choose the way we dress to express ourselves, makeup should be used in the same way. This way there shouldn’t be any fear around wearing makeup, providing that it is it out of choice rather than constraint. But we need to understand why many first and second wave feminists objected to the ideas of wearing makeup, before we go any further. Because in the past, there was enormous pressure on women to wear makeup such as in the workplace, while it was thought that men were attracted to women who wear it. This way, makeup was seen as a constraint on the woman, even being demeaning. While even now, there is distinct pressure on women to look a certain way. Additionally nowadays lots of women may make the claim that they are wearing it for themselves, which is excellent. However many feminists counter that it’s very rare due to the illusion of wearing it for yourself when realistically women are under a bigger constraint.
Can we Wear Pink?
The traditional colours representing males and females are blue and pink. The apparent reason for this may be unclear because pink and blue are basically two colours, although while depending on the tone of the colour as well as just the strong differences between the two, these do depict different moods. Though in reality we all associate pink to be related to feminity to some degree, yet there shouldn’t be shame in any gender choosing to wear pink because of shame about this.
Don’t Wear Dresses!
These days, there are far more of us choosing not to wear skirts or dresses on a higher number of occasions. Some of these reasons are perfectly understandable as it is not always comfortable or convenient to wear an especially long dress, while there is actually so much freedom to wear trousers now! Yet there may be other reasons, including the fact that many women who are insecure about their bodies may be reluctant to wear something that will reveal too much- contory to what many feminists promote! Therefore while often we may not want to wear a skirt for practical reasons, I still think there shouldn’t be any shame in wearing one out of choice. Meanwhile I’m not sure but I feel there is is a fear of looking “too feminine”, leading to shame about wearing a dress. Which may be a valid point until we ask ourselves why there should be any shame in embracing too much feminity.
“Punch Like a Girl”
Yeah who else vaguely remembers this movement? Great cause though I do often find myself questioning the impact that this has actually had. Because still there are so many assumptions about girls playing sport, still there are far less girls choosing to partake in certain activities due to fear it will be make dominated (vice versa for men) and while that advert may have been effective, it hasn’t exactly provoked change in quite the way we would have liked. For instance boys aged 5-16 are 20% likely to be active everyday, while girls of that age are only 14% likely to be.” And while for various reasons girls may actually benefit from what sport has to offer compared to boys, due to factors which have reduced their confidence in the past.
Very Unpopular Opinion: You cannot be a real feminist if you deny the problems that other genders face!
Because while it is crucial to consider the extent of constraints there is us girls, it is essential to recognise that those of other genders are also heavily affected by sexism today. Pressures on men to be “so masculine as to not show any emotion” are so bad that almost three quarters of suicides are by men. While life is still incredibly difficult for trans people and for those of other genders, with inaccurate judgments being made from all sides. This way, we have a role to ensure that feminism is as inclusive as possible, as not only will this make life better for those affected by our personal judgements, but an inclusive movement is the only way that women can be truly freed from the constraints which we face.
These themes outlined here are only a few of the arguments which have merely been touched upon, nevertheless they do outline some of the issues which we face and need to unpick as feminists. And while it may be very difficult to get to the bottom of these debates in order to know what we really want, it is important to question every decision we come to. While continuing to be open, honest and tolerant.