Feminist Aspie

On fitting the mould

on October 12, 2013

Earlier today I was concerned that I’d planned to blog once a week, but that week had passed and I really needed to write a post about feminism. Turned out I needn’t have worried, because the good old cliché of “it came to me in the shower” just actually really happened in real life. See, tonight there’s a huge party (eeeeeeek!), so I shaved my legs, which I onky bother with when people might see them, and I realised I always feel guilty for doing so, because it’s an attempt at conforming with one of the ridiculous patriarchal beauty standards for women so I’m probably complicit in all that, right?

Then I realised how fucked up that line of thought is. From a young age, women are taught they have to “fit the mould” or face ridicule and rejection from others; then, when we attempt to fit the mould, we’re shamed for that too. Take all the jokes about women taking ages to get ready or that advert (I think it’s for Head & Shoulders, please correct me if I’m wrong) that begins with “Girls – why so many beauty products?”; erm, maybe it’s because most girls have to use so many beauty products just to look like what the media calls “normal”?! (Incidentally, I really like this song about the whole thing) It should be said that a great deal of this body policing can sometimes come from within feminism too, though; the idea that all women who wear make-up, wear sexually revealing clothing, shave, or do anything else the patriarchy expects us to do with our bodies are, therefore, complicit in these patriarchal expectations. So, if women don’t look 100% perfect all the time they are harassed and ridiculed, and if women even try to evade this they’re told they’re vain and silly and setting back feminism. In other words, women can’t win. For a change.

In addition, it’s important to consider that, well, women should be able to choose what they do with their own bodies, and some women actively choose to do all this stuff. HJ Street wrote a post about shaming women who wear revealing cosplay costumes a while back, and the same principles apply here. Yes, it should be noted that these choices aren’t made in a vacuum, but that’s not the fault of these women, it’s the fault of the culture surrounding them. That’s what should be criticised here.

If a woman chooses these things under her own free will, to shame her for this removes her bodily autonomy. If she only “chooses” these things under the constant pressure of patriarchal beauty standards, to shame her for this is victim-blaming.

Right, now to fix my hair…

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11 responses to “On fitting the mould

  1. invisibleautistic/Robin says:

    I remember hearing the joke that women take ages to get ready. Never did that when I was in high school. I wore jeans and a t-shirt, maybe tied my hair down into a ponytail. Done. Even though I’ve expanded my options more, the concept is still the same: put on a simple dress with just the back zipper (I’ve seen ones with some complicated zippers!), wear a jeans jacket, maybe grab a random bracelet or necklace hanging somewhere, done. Don’t even need to think about mixing and matching. I still get lazy when it comes to putting on just lipstick, so I frequently go without makeup of any kind.

    Do you follow the webcomic Sinfest? It’s been pondering some of these issues recently.

    • Will have a look at that at some point 🙂 I’m the same, I’m not really a make-up person either xD

      • autisticook says:

        I realised about two years ago that because of my advancement up the career ladder (becoming supervisor), I would have to start dressing more professionally, and unfortunately for women my age that includes make-up. Seriously, it’s a sexist and an ageist thing. Women over 35 are supposed to wear make-up.

        So I hired a make-up artist for a private tutorial at home. I gave her some details in advance (very light skin, freckles, extremely sensitive, no patience to spend hours in front of a mirror… not having a mirror, in fact), and she was BRILLIANT. Taught me how to apply stuff, gave me tips on products to use, etc. I still don’t wear make-up from day to day, but if I need to go out in full battle uniform, I now know how to do it.

      • 🙂 Yeah, the age thing is a really good point too. Because women aren’t meant to *age*, right? It’s really not on. I’ll be honest though, that tutorial sounds like it was really useful and possibly a lot of fun! xD

      • autisticook says:

        It was! And even though I didn’t know I was autistic yet, it ticked all my comfort boxes: not having to go somewhere with bright lights and lots of noises and huge mirrors, but staying in my own home; having the tutorial by myself and not with 15 other women; and the make-up woman being very understanding about my preferences (like foundations and creams that feel sticky) and not arguing that I should do this or that.

  2. lioor says:

    The problem with looking perfect is that of course, you will be expected to be like that all the time. And that’s a problem since no one has to. Women who dress too well all the time are setting standards that are too high..And not in a good way.
    n.Women who like to wear make up and clothes don’t ever wonder about the kind of pressure they are putting on others. They are not “looking good” they are just fueling the rat race.
    Feminists are spot on.

    • autisticook says:

      That’s the same kind of argument as saying that I shouldn’t excel at my job because it makes others feel incompetent. I refuse to buy that argument.

      Tackling the media for portraying an unrealistic, fake kind of perfection? Sure. But I refuse to attack other women for wanting to feel pretty.

      • lioor says:

        Have I said or written that anywhere? that?The pressure is on those who do that. If you look perfect all the time what will happen the day you can’t?
        I just said “you do not have to”.But if you read otherwise, you’re right of course.

  3. lioor says:

    And you know… Women’s magazines are about one third advertising, two third disguised advertising. The funniest thing is that women who work for these magazine get paid to wear and try that stuff. They don’t have to pay. Idem for the statrs and celebrities:: eveything they wear has been lent or given. Too bad if some people think it’s real.

  4. lioor says:

    In fact, I think make up looks much better on men…

  5. […] infodumping about Doctor Who, either!!) It really made me think. This is far from a new occurrence. That post I wrote the other week in which I mentioned a party that night? As it turned out, I didn’t actually even make it there, because everyone had already gone […]

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