Okay, so this is a little bit of a rant I’m going to go on here.
I have a pretty cool head even when I’m feeling particularly passionate about something so you don’t have to worry about being visually assaulted by hordes of angry caps lock letters if you scroll further down.
Let’s get right to the point. Recently I read an infuriating blog post which was written with the sole purpose of bashing girls that like fashion, make up, magazines and binge watching America’s Next Top Model.
The post was spilling with assumptions, generalisations and just plain bitterness. Apparently this person hates all things considered traditionally ‘feminine’ because they are in her opinion un-feminist.
If your goal as a woman does not include becoming the next Hilary Clinton or becoming a CEO then it is very obvious that you are a daft, brainwashed, airhead who is an embarrassment to feminism.
And that’s not all! If you even dare to like getting your nails done or *gasp* shave your legs, then you are to be sent to a facility for immediate sterilisation.
Now if you do any of these things, or anything remotely related to these things, you can’t sit with her at lunch. I mean not just you but like any of us.
So there I was reading through this article and feeling myself getting angrier and angrier the more it went on.
There was so much arrogance oozing out of the words that at that moment eating a razor was looking more appealing to me than continuing to read any longer.
Safe to say I couldn’t wait to click the little ‘x’ button, end the torture, continue my Friday and never look back.
However, it has been gnawing at me all day and unfortunately this is not the first time I’ve come across this theme. So as a result I’ve decided to do some healthy ranting as my first blog post. Good idea? Perhaps not, but hey, here goes nothing!
I believe that it is opinions and ideas like these that hurt women.
This is polarising women.
It is labelling that makes us look like simple beings that can be easily categorised based on our most basic likes and dislikes.
I am a firm believer that a woman should be able to do whatever she wants, look however she wants and like whatever she wants. As long as you’re not into things like acting dumb to impress a guy, incest and killing puppies you’re pretty much good in my book.
Now let’s clarify a few things. Women are humans (duh). Humans are complex beings – most of them anyway. Complex beings have complex thought processes. Complex beings are multi-faceted and layered. Now unless you’ve just recently time travelled from the stone ages, I’m sure you’ve seen Shrek and are well acquainted with the concept of layers. In a nutshell. You have your likes and dislikes. That’s one layer. There’s also beliefs and values. That’s another layer. Then there’s things like experiences, upbringing, environment and prominent figures. All of these layers (and more!) shape an individual. A living breathing human being.
Making assumptions about an individual or multiple individuals based on their most basic attributes is plain and simple narrow-mindedness. The ultimate stupidity.
According to the blogger in question, in order to be a feminist you must adhere to the following strict rules:
- No makeup – don’t even ask why, you should know by now.
- You can’t like fashion – I mean why? It’s pointless and stupid. You’re better off tattooing ‘Slave 4 Men’ on your forehead it gets the point across quicker.
- No doing your eyebrows, nails, or waxing. You wouldn’t want to be a weak little trophy wife who is incapable of thinking for herself now would you?
- No liking Sex and the City, Gossip Girl, Youtube Beauty Gurus, Rom Coms or any other light hearted form of entertainment that exists in the visual medium.
- Read 50 billion books – otherwise you’re really just dumb.
- Aspire to be a CEO, future president/prime minister, lawyer etc – anything else is an insult to womankind and you may as well chain yourself to the kitchen and start popping out some healthy sons.
- Stay away from stay-at-home-mums *shivers*. If you can’t avoid them then it is absolutely imperative you take extra precautions and make sure you have a hazmat suit on you at all times. You just never know.
Okay now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against those who genuinely are not into the things that are outlined in the seven rules above.
Don’t like fashion? No big deal. Not into make up? Not a problem.
However, when this is used as a way of dividing women into feminists and bimbos, well, that right there is indeed a problem.
It echoes the polarisation of women with regards to sexuality. The classic virgins and whores. The ‘innocent’ and the ‘asking for it’.
The idea that a woman can only be respected if she behaves modestly has been ripped to shreds more and more lately and I get the sense that society is finally beginning to grasp that concept.
Why then is it so difficult to grasp the idea that a woman interested in fashion, make-up and shopping should still be treated with the same respect as one who has zero interest in such things?
My point is not that I think we should encourage women and little girls to only care about their appearance and have little to no other qualities that they foster in life. Nor am I suggesting that we stop encouraging women and girls to aspire to having top careers. I am however warning against creating yet another category for women to pressure themselves to fit in to in order to feel that they are worthy of respect.
I grew up with a multitude of female role models in my life, all of them brilliant in their own ways. My mother for example. She married my father, her first ever boyfriend when she was 23 and she had me not so long after. They fled a war torn country two years later and managed to get themselves all the way over to New Zealand. They had to overcome the immense challenge of knowing little to no English, travelling half way across the world and leaving their families with a squalling two year old and the clothes on their backs. And it didn’t end there. After that came the culture shock, learning a new language, building a life and raising a child all the while keeping an eye on the terrifying situation back home.
Twenty years later my mother just landed a big promotion within her very corporate job. She is smart, respected by her colleagues, fiercely good at her job and extremely hard working.
Here’s a shocker: she’s also blonde. She gets her hair done exactly every six weeks. She is well dressed. She regularly paints her own nails with a selection of Chanel nail varnishes and is a former Bold and the Beautiful fan. I think I’ve made my point.
Now repeat after me:
If a woman has an interest in fashion that is entirely her right.
If a woman has zero interest in wearing make-up that is entirely her right.
If a woman likes reading Cosmo that is entirely her right.
If a woman wants to be in the army that is entirely her right.
If a woman wants to be a research scientist that is entirely her right.
If a woman likes watching The Simple Life that is entirely her right.
If a woman hates wearing dresses that is entirely her right.
If a woman wants to be a stay-at-home mum that is entirely her right.
The list is never ending.
It is not okay to put down other woman and call yourself a feminist because you reject the traditional ideals of femininity.
You are entitled to your own opinion of course. As I’ve already made pretty clear, you don’t have to like dressing up and doing your make up. You don’t have to thread your eyebrows and get a body wax – Hell go ahead and let a national forest grow in your pits and call it a day. Myself and I’m sure most personal grooming addicts don’t really care.
But do not for one second believe that it magically makes you better and in some twisted way gives you licence to call other women talentless bimbos for having interests that you consider beneath you.
Human beings are much more complex than that. Anyone that fails to acknowledge that are either ignorant or simply not the brightest bulb. Or you could just be mean.
As for me, I love fashion and stupid teen shows. I indulge in celebrity gossip and regularly get my nails done. I have friends who also indulge in such things and friends who honestly couldn’t care less.
I also love reading among other hobbies. I have a degree in Psychology and I have my own set of values and aspirations that make me an individual.
Loving make up and shopping is only one tiny aspect of who I am as an individual. To judge another on a minuscule fraction of what makes up who they are is simply ridiculous.
So. All of you out there that like watching contouring tutorials and Gossip Girl – keep on doing just that!
For those of you who would rather practice balancing a textbook on tax law on your head than have anything to do with fashion and beauty – also totally fine. You don’t need to like those things and if anyone tells you that you should, tell them to go watch paint dry. I do actually mean that, here’s the link .
Last but not least, to those that think fashion, style, make-up etc is pointless and only for stupid boys and girls – please let me refer you to the iconic ‘cerulean sweater’ speech performed by the uber talented Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada.