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Full Version: The Other Bush: The Politics of Beauty Maintenance.
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venetia
I like it when my bf points out that I somehow got spaghetti on the underside of my breasts, I must admit.
amazing_bass
Any time I have a stain or something that makes me look like a slob, I appreciate having it pointed out so that I can fix it before I embarass myself. Beyond that, I don't care much about fashion, so I'll pretty much take any trustworthy woman's word on what looks good on a man.
ginger_kitty
Yeah I definately want stains pointed out. I don't follow trends, I've always had my own thing going on, but I stains make me feel dirty.
tesao
bump because of some recent comments in the forum about women and feminism and how feminism and beauty are not incompatible.
maddy29
hey there tesao-thanks for bumping this one-i think this is the correct thread for some of the things i've been thinking about- such as wearing heels, makeup, getting a boob job, waxing your legs, etc etc. all the little "trivial" stuff that I think does matter in some ways.

i guess i'm wondering-how much can we participate in beauty culture and still call ourselves feminists? of course we are all bombarded with messages about how we "should" look, and no one can really escape that. still, how do we balance being a feminist who doesn't want women to be judged by how closely they fit the mold that society requires of us, and just liking to paint your nails, or shaving your legs, or liking high heels, or whatever.

[i know that some people will say "well, the whole point is that we shouldn't have to worry about any of this-we should just be able to make a choice about it, and not be forced in any specific direction." so yeah, we "should" be able to just make a choice, but since we don't live in a vacuum, it's just not that easy. ]

this isn't about judging other feminists, or ourselves, or anything like that. it's not about being a "better" or "not as good" feminist. BUt, it's about how we reconcile living in this society with our feminist beliefs, at least when it comes to beauty.
nickclick
i hear ya on this dilemma, and i think it's a dilemma with most feminist personal choices... should we co-opt the majority's perspective (of beauty, in this case) and improve upon it and make it feminist? or should we totally discard and create our own standards?

for me, in this case at least, it's a balance. i like high heels, but i wear them on special occassions when i want to be dressed up, not to the mall so every schmo can think i'm trying to be sexy.
greenbean
Here's how I feel about this manner: Theres a difference between making looking good your life mission, (even if it causes suffering to yourself, such as having an eating disorder) and everyday taking care of yourself, like brushing your teeth and shaving your legs.

Like Nickclick, I only wear heels to special occasions. I think I only have twice this year, one was a wedding and one was a friend's art opening. Neither time did I feel unfeminist, I was simply dressing up because I enjoy the tradition of looking your best at special gatherings,..and its not just women, I personally think men look tons better when they are in suits and dress shoes (and black socks! Gah, I love men in black socks!) seriously, I can't stand how some guys dress. Guys that leave the house in flip-flops and calf-length pants really bother me.

To use your phrase Maddy, I have reconciled living with certain beauty standards society has given and still believe in feminism. I suppose because I like sex, shit, I love sex, and understand that since there are certain standards I expect for men, its only natural for me to enjoy simple upkeep of myself. And I mean SIMPLE. Shaving is easy, doing my hair and makeup takes 20 minutes tops, and if I feel like it I can slack off some days if I so choose. I don't go overboard, especially with spending. I could give two shits about designer clothes or the fact that I'm flat-chested. Any girl with my chest who spends loads on implants, I do feel sorry for, cuz I don't think they need it. (different sitch for transpeople tho, totally different)
Anyhow, my personal maintaince doesn't change how I feel about the REAL issues of feminism.

I guess the feminist thing comes in when we are concerned over how far some women take it, and yes, I do think some people take beauty too far. Starving yourself to be a model is not feminist. Pseudo-celebs that have nothing to do all day but shop and pose for paparazzi are not feminist. People that prey on barely legal girls for free tit flashes are not feminist.

There are some high-powered women who embrace the beauty standard and profit off of it (like the fashion industry, or hey, maybe a female plastic surgeon) Some of those women may consider themselves feminist, since they are in business (a prodominantly man's world). That issue I go back and forth on. Can they be feminst if their business is to set a high standard for women to want to live up to? Or are they just giving us the choice ...and as smart, critical thinkers we can take it or leave it?
octobersky
Bump, bumping, bumped!

The other night I got sucked into watching some show on women who were addicted to plastic surgery - it was like watching a train wreck. This one woman had put her entire family so far into debt to finance her plastic surgery addiction. The family was having to sell their gorgeous house in order to finance her next $55, 000 surgery. What I couldn't believe was that her husband went along with her crap. Drive your family into debt because of some imagined beauty flaw? What kind of person does this?

To echo greenbean, there is a balance that you have to strike in life between spending every waking moment grooming yourself to taking care of basic hygiene. I have known women that wouldn't dare walk out of the house without full hair and makeup to run a 5 minute errand and I've known others that look like bagladies on a daily basis. I've tried to strike a healthy balance between the two, but I tend towards the more low maintenence end.

That said I like makeup, smelly good bath products, perfume (I'm a BPAL addict) and sparkly, shiny stuff. It's fun and makes me happy, I do it because I like it, not because I fear that society will perceive me as less than the feminine ideal. When I was younger I used to really care about not being taken seriously academically, romatically or at work if I didn't look a certain way, but then I realized that regardless of how I looked people would perceive me however they wanted. I don't like being pegged as well I'm a feminist so I must look like .... or well I'm an alt chick so I have to look like this...or I'm a hippie and... you get the idea.

Okay rambling here I'll stop.
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