“On the other hand, a lot of anti-makeup sentiment– particularly anything that starts talking about how “frivolous” and “shallow” makeup is– is also misogynistic and femmephobic. Makeup is a form of visual art. If making your face beautiful is shallow, so is making a canvas beautiful or a block of marble or a hunk of plastic. If you understand why someone would feel satisfied and happy when they make a gorgeous print, you understand why someone would feel satisfied and happy when their makeup looks perfect. I do not think it is accidental that the form of visual art almost entirely practiced by women is the one that gets accused of frivolity and where the talent exhibited by many of the artists is ignored or denigrated.”
I feel this so much, these convos happen so much in intro women’s studies classes.
this is cool and all but what about the social context of makeup as it relates to women’s lives where sculpting marble obviously doesn’t
or like any context at all
why are we still shooting these fish in barrels instead of actually discussing how processes of beautification, however individually ~*empowering they may be, have consequences for women as a whole
reblogged for the commentary. I saw this quote going around earlier, and as appealing as it seems at first glance (the misogyny and double standard of dismissing women’s creativity and expression!), something fundamental seemed to be missing from the analysis, so I’m glad to see this critical discussion happening.
because let’s not deceive ourselves into thinking that expressing yourself and being creative with your body is the same as conforming to sexist standards about how women should look to be acceptable to the male gaze. the latter is the context in which makeup exists, and women who do not make themselves “beautiful” are punished for failing in one of their duties as women. in a society where women are valued for their looks, it’s no surprise that “someone would feel satisfied and happy when their makeup looks perfect.” (and not just because she’s pleased with her skills with eyeliner.)
and let’s not ignore one of the huge differences between men carving art out of marble and women carving “art” out of their own bodies: what constitutes the “object” of art (and I don’t use that word unintentionally). in the case of men’s art, according to the quote, you have a canvas, a block of marble, or a hunk of plastic. in the case of women’s art, you have women’s bodies.
the take-home message is not that we should shame women for using makeup or participating in beautification rituals. but let’s not kid ourselves by pretending that the societal pressure to paint our faces is indistinguishable from the artistic drive to carve David.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. I’ve seen a lot of people say things “make up is just another tool of self expression”, but when you hear someone say “she needs to wear makeup”, what’s supposed to be taken away from that statement? It certainly isn’t “she needs to express herself more”. There’s a lot of stuff thrown out there about awesome to be feminist and have mastered perfect eyeshadow contouring, but I almost never see anyone saying it’s just as acceptable to be a feminist and not be all that interested in wearing make up? I dunno, it seems like a lot of justification for this and a lot of other things seems to ignore the context of patriarchy and idk, day to day realities of women’s lives.
Yes! If “other people’s makeup use” was really “none of your business”, no-one would hound me for NOT wearing it.
The women who won’t go up the shops without a full face of makeup aren’t doing it because they’re “artists” for god’s sake. When I was a teenager I would wear crazy eyeshadow in my favourite colours. And also I would slather my face in foundation and powder because I didn’t want anyone to find out the shocking truth - I’m a mammal and I have pores. There’s a difference and anyone can see it. And even if a feminist does think all makeup is bad, she’s not going to steal all yours and throw it away is she? And she’s certainly not going to be your employer who sacks you for wearing it. But men do sack women for not wearing it, all the time.
1. I believe women use makeup in 99% or more of the cases because we feel pressure to adhere to certain standards of beauty. Those standards are dictated by a society that oppresses women.
2. If you use makeup in the “wrong” way (too much, too creatively, too little, in the “wrong” places), you are shamed for not conforming to the above standards. The impossible ideal is to “use makeup in such a way that it looks like you aren’t using any makeup”.
3. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t - if you use makeup you’re possibly a slut, if you don’t use makeup you’re possibly ugly.
4. This is a pattern that happens in so many other things women do! Career and family choices, consumption of pop culture, favourite colours … You’re encouraged to do something and then shamed for doing it.
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