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Posts Tagged ‘feminism’

At the beginning of the semester, I had no idea what to expect to learn in this class. It took me a little while to get used to thinking about the body in different ways, but I can say that I’m glad I did. From the information I have learned in this class, I’ve been able to look at issues in the world with a different lense, and I think that is so imortant.

Because I’ve learned so much about all of these topics, I’ve actually gotten in some interesting conversations with my mom. (more…)

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If you’re a Marvel fan – be it comics, movies, or television shows – and you’ve been active on the internet in the past few months, you may have noticed a new feminist phenomenon sweeping through your newsfeeds and dashboards. As you may have already read in this post about comic book women, breasts and bums are often the focus of entire panels and covers. The Hawkeye Initiative takes offense at that, and is fighting back, one illustration at a time.

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I have a confession to make.  I do not shave my arm pits.  Hell, I only shave my legs if I’m feeling saucy and have clean sheets because nothing is better than smooth legs in clean sheets.  (That’s a lie, a lot of things are better than that.)

While I like to think of myself as a badass feminist who says fuck you to anyone and everyone who tries to tell me what to do with my body – especially in regards to body hair—I am not.  That’s my second confession.  I wish it was that simple.

I don’t think it’s ever that simple.

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Have any women out there felt a conflict or contradiction between their feminist identity and desire to adorn their bodies? That is, can I shave my legs and simultaneously protest patriarchy? I know of many women (including myself) who have struggled with this and similar questions. In a culture so rampant with images of plucked, primped and worked-out women and men, it’s sometimes hard for me to decide if I want to display my feminist protest on my body or wear pretty clothes, shoes and jewelry.

When I read Gala Darling’s post “Am I A Hypocrite For Professing Radical Self Love While Wearing 5 Inch Heels?” or “Can you call yourself a feminist and still wear lipstick?” I was thrilled to read her take on these very questions. As a woman who blogs about fashion and style and who also boasts a “Radical Self-Love Bootcamp” program, Gala Darling’s work may seem to contradict itself. So she asks the million-dollar question about lipstick and feminism, and raises very good points about bodies, body adornment  and our selves.

Gala points out that when we (women and men alike) display our bodies the way society wants us to, we are rewarded for this behavior. This could be by wearing makeup, stylish clothing, shaving, etc. Gala calls this “beauty” privilege.”  Beauty privilege can be as simple as a smile from the person ringing up your groceries! In a lot of ways it’s easy and comfortable to conform to beauty standards when you can in order to access beauty privilege. Of course, not all bodies have equal access to this privilege. It is overwhelmingly easier for able bodies, thin bodies and white bodies to access beauty privilege. Access to money helps beauty privilege too!

Further on the subject of beauty and feminism Gala explains, “I’ve spent some time recently thinking about “beauty” & trying to reconcile that with truthful feelings about myself. A major & difficult piece of the puzzle is that none of us grew up totally free from societal influence, & so it is almost impossible to separate what we really want from what we think we want…. The place I keep coming back to is that even when I recognise that my ideas of beauty have been passed down to me from society, it doesn’t feel good to me when I choose to deny myself something which provides me with genuine enjoyment….

Gala argues that body adornment is akin to art. People are attracted to aesthetically pleasing objects, whether natural or manufactured, and enjoy being surrounded by them. Of course there is variety in peoples’ tastes, but I think it’s fair to say that most of us like having pretty things around us!

She further notes that “wanting to feel beautiful does not make you a bad feminist or a bad woman. It does not mean that you are being oppressed or that you lack the ability to think for yourself. Wanting to adorn ourselves is natural & normal — very few of us live in houses that are all function & no form, & while we COULD all drive boxy Volvos, the truth is that most of us are attracted to beauty — however we choose to define it.”

Lastly, I found this point quite persuasive: “Some women say that if we wear lipstick, we’re only doing it because society has told us to. I would argue that the woman who tries to buck society by NOT wearing lipstick is just as influenced! No one exists in a vacuum, & almost all of our decisions are effected by external sources.”

I find Gala Darling’s discussion of beauty, bodies and feminism quite persuasive. I like wearing clothes that flatter my shape. I like having smooth legs and putting glittery eyeshadow around my eyes. I love earrings and bracelets. This doesn’t make me less of a feminist, right? What are your thoughts?

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