Tag Archives: Beauty

The Sexy Lie

23 Jan

This is a pretty great TED Talk about sexual objectification and beauty.


Being Beautiful

9 Jan


I recently discovered beautyredefined.net. Perhaps some of you have already heard of this jewel, maybe I’m the last one to hear of it- this wouldn’t be the first time. I live under a rock. I read through a lot of the pieces posted to the site, specifically a brilliant article about ditching resolutions. Well not necessarily all resolutions, but any that have to do with your weight or how you look.


After I read this article it really got me thinking. I had a lengthy conversation with my boyfriend about some of the issues brought up in the article. Women overly think of themselves as items for viewing. I know that sounds radicle and out there, but think about it. We greet each other often by commenting on how great we look, how cute our hair is, whether or not we look like we’ve lost weight, how amazing some new outfit is. More often than not we focus on our looks even when we address each other.


I’m not a man, but I have a feeling that their encounters with each other don’t mirror those listed above. I somehow doubt they frequently comment on one another’s new haircut or tan. Here’s an example- over the holidays I got my bangs cut. It’s a big deal, completely changes how your face looks. Am I right? I’m always excited and apprehensive when I get any haircut, but especially when I take a pair of scissors to my bangs. Clearly I was a little nervous about returning to New Orleans and hearing what my friends and yes my boyfriend thought of my new do.

Well here’s exactly what happened. I spent an entire day with my boyfriend; he did not notice the haircut. When I pointed out the bangs he blamed his lack of recognition on the fact that my hair was up all day… which obviously has no effect whatsoever on my bangs. Alternatively, when I got home the next afternoon the first thing my female roommate said to me involved a comment on how cute my new bangs looked.

My point in this anecdote, which is by no means representative of all female-male interactions, is that there was a major difference. One interaction ignored appearance entirely, while the other one was almost completely focused on it.

I’ve realized that this anecdote is representative however of almost all of my interactions with my boyfriend. What’s more is I’ve noticed that I have become more relaxed about my appearance when I am around him. Alternatively, when I go to hang out with my female friends I stress more over what I’m wearing and how I look. When our conversations reflect our appearance, even in positive ways, we focus more and stress more over how we look.

So, I have made a decision. This year my only new years resolution involving my looks is that I will no longer focus on them. I am going to try my best to refrain from making any comments about my own appearance, specifically negative ones  – i.e. pointing at various body parts and stating that I need to go to the gym, a frequent comment that escapes my mouth. I also want to refrain from remarking too much on the appearance of others.

How great would it be to have relationships that in no way involve how we look? Relationships that focus on our shared histories and stories, our sense of humor, our intelligence. Those are the relationships I want to surround myself with this year. That’s my new years resolution.

The Hobbit: My Ladylike Review

5 Jan


I can’t pretend I haven’t been a fan of LOTR and the Hobbit since childhood. The Hobbit was one of the first books I read, I always imagined myself as Bilbo; A bit off-kilter but ultimately a hero you could respond to.

The book was no more a feminist text than the movie was a feminist film, but the book had one thing the movie lacked. Quality. I am nowhere close to a movie expert or critic, but I know what I like. Any movie that has me checking my watch multiple times throughout isn’t a good one in my book. I mean, I am not entirely being fair. There are worse movies out there… Gigli anyone? But I expected so much more from Peter Jackson. And we still have two more to go. Yay.

So, I might have left this movie alone, not given it a feminist critique if it had a little bit more value behind it. But it didn’t, so here I am.

There was a whopping total of ONE female character with a speaking role in this movie. That blows LOTR out of the water. The beautiful Galadriel is perhaps one of the flattest characters in the entire series. She has no flaws. She is the epitome of the perfect, ethereal, beautiful, wise, motherly woman. I mean, the women in the other movies aren’t much better but they at least come a tiny bit closer to mimicking actual women.


What’s more is Galadriel is alongside, you know, some ugly ass dudes. The men are allowed to be dirty and grimy and have faults and different facets to their personalities. But not Galadriel.  Also, she barely speaks. The only time she really says anything of importance is through her little mind reading trick. This is a pretty kick ass power, but what this silence represents, what it perpetuates is the silent, polite woman. She manifests her power in being silent. Maybe I’m a little off on this, but I don’t like the message that it sends out. She’s the only female character with lines, but even she is mostly silent.

Oh and please don’t get me started on the meaning behind that all white, virginal outfit (that somehow never gets dirty, does Middle-Earth have bleach?) she’s always wearing…

Basically Galadriel’s value lies in her beauty. I guess my lesson has been learned. I too can hang out with burping, dirty, smelly, adventurous men if I am a beautiful, tall, silent, clean blonde.

Damn my life sucks.

Make Me Up

3 Jan

So I was perusing Slate magazine this afternoon, and they did a piece on makeup and whether or not it was degrading or empowering to women. Actually, they did a piece in response to a recent New York Times Room for Debate bit on the same issue.



Slate criticized NYT’s for not really landing hard on either side of the issue. Actually, they basically stated that this is a non-issue, which is why no one could land on a side. They also criticized the bit for getting opinions from men, as if men have any insight into how it feels to be a women in today’s society. I agree here.


I do however disagree with the idea that this is a non-issue. Anyone who’s read Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth knows just how much of an issue this is. The struggle to fit a standardized beauty image keeps women down emotionally, psychologically, and financially as we continue to strive for some out of reach ideal. The problem is that it is an issue so deeply ingrained in our society that it is difficult, if not impossible to come up with a solution.

I myself have recently started steering away from using makeup. But not everyday, I have my days where I wear it too. I get a zit- I cover it up. My skin looks a little dry, pasty, etc., I cover it up. Sometimes I just want to mix things up, I throw on a little eyeliner, a little mascara, hell maybe even some eye shadow. There is nothing inherently wrong or degrading about any of this.

It does suck however, when as a women you feel like you HAVE to put on makeup before you leave the house. Not because you lack self-esteem, or think you aren’t pretty (not that this doesn’t happen as well) but because for whatever reason the society that you are apart of makes you feel like you have to, that if you don’t you are somehow less of a woman.

I think the peak of my makeup wearing days were my first two years of college. I didn’t wear it at all in high school, and I don’t wear it much now. But those first two years I was dying to fit it. I joined a sorority my sophomore year because I wanted to make new friends. This was when I really felt the pressure to wear makeup. We had to, and we had to do it right. I remember showing up to an event with a bit of eyeliner and some blush on, and one of the girls in charge came by and FIXED my makeup. She added more blush, more eyeliner, and some mascara. I thought I looked like a clown, but I kept it because she said it looked better.

This wasn’t what caused me to leave the sorority, there were many other factors, but this was a contributing one. And to me this is an example of one of the kinds of communities that pressures women into feeling inadequate if they aren’t ultra-feminine. I have no problem with ultra-feminine women. I think it can be empowering in its own right, but I am not one of them. And I think those differences should be admired and celebrated, rather than marginalized to the point of shame.

My point is, I think makeup can be empowering. Not just for women, for men too. If a guy wants to put on some eyeliner to feel a little extra sexy one day he should be able to. That doesn’t mean he is. And I think that’s partly where this idea that makeup is degrading comes from. If its only a female thing, how can it not be a form of oppression? I think it can be a tool of empowerment, and a tool of oppression depending on who wields it.

If a waitress feels like she has to wear makeup to make decent tips, while her male cohorts go without, that is a form of oppression. But it doesn’t have to be. I can’t really offer a solution here, except to say that if more communities celebrated all kinds of women, then the women who chose to wear makeup would feel more empowered and less like they were conforming to societal norms.

I’d love to hear any thoughts on this.


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