Thinking Like A Gender Studies Major?
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Thinking Like A Gender Studies Major?

Can Feminists Wear Makeup?

Thinking Like A Gender Studies Major?
Jennie In A Box

I recently watched a documentary called Miss Representation in one of my classes. It introduced and discussed the socialization of girls and boys at young ages, and how this leads to objectification and self-objectification. In other words: girls and boys are raised to act a certain way by their parents and society starting at a young age, which leads to women being treated as objects, also known as objectification. Self-objectification, in this context, is when a woman is made to feel that her intelligence is nothing compared to her body. The media, such as movies, TV shows, social media, and music perpetuate the image of the “perfect woman”. Although this is a broad topic within itself, I have one question I wanted to discuss:

Can Feminists wear makeup?

The most logical answer would be “yes” because it is just makeup and many women wear it. But, using the information above, what have you seen on TV, on commercials, on actresses, and Instagram that offers physical improvements? Anything come to mind? Cover Girl, L’Oréal, M.A.C.; places like Sephora and Ulta seem to be popular. Isn’t wearing and buying makeup supporting the corporations that prey on a women’s insecurities? Or is it the “war paint” that women can wear whenever they want and feel empowered and in control of their bodies?

There isn’t really a right answer, but I’ll discuss some points that I think are interesting to analyze.

I acknowledge that in the twenty-first century, men are seen wearing makeup more frequently. Off the top of my head, I can think of at least three male YouTubers that post makeup tutorials: Jeffree Star, Manny MUA, and James Charles. They are ultimately breaking the binary, which can be very inspiring. But these makeup tutorials, the “awesome” displays of skill that can make a man (who is exposed to socialization as well) beautiful, it leads back to the brands that made it possible, but not for the right reasons. Corporations need to make money to continue running. Even if the new messages seem more uplifting, there is no mistake that in the past, hyper-feminism was everything.

In this progressive period, there is still the issue of the ideal woman. In Miss Representation, it is explained that objectification can cause depression, increased thoughts of suicide, lower grades and ambition, and much more. Those strong chicks like Lara Croft and Selene in Underworld are originally there for the male viewers' pleasure and entertainment.

In addition, humans need exercise and healthy diets. What about those commercials for exercise gear or fad diets like Weight Watchers? They have "before and after" pictures. Commercials for makeup and fashion include models who are more than likely painfully thin. Where is the average female?

Or better yet, where are the commercials for brain training/improvement machines?

Any way you look, It all circles back to appearance; to get rid of undesirable hair or wrinkles, or build a better butt and thighs, lose cellulite or varicose veins, and more. The Corporations have creams, Botox, workout gear, everything they claim to help you achieve desirable youth and beauty, whether you want flawless skin or to lose weight in a pursuit of perfection.

Another thought: We wouldn’t need acne treatments if it wasn’t taught at a young age that pimples are disgusting and ruin attractiveness. Everyone has pimples. Some have it worse even if they clean their faces every day. Others get one or two a month or year. Some, the entirety of their face is covered. They are bullied for something they barely have any control over.

Even in politics, women are set to a different standard than men. Their appearances are prominent parts of elections. For Example, there is Sarah Palin. I am sure you can look up all the crude remarks made towards her because she was a fairly attractive woman in the midst of a male-dominated political ring. Hillary and her “haggard” appearance were mentioned in the current election of 2016. What about her kids? How's her rationality; if she's on her period, she might be a little too emotional to run the country, right? Did she get a boob job?

Sometimes, I wear makeup. I have nothing against it. I think that it is a choice for anyone and everyone.

In the bigger picture, socialization is an important issue in our society for all men, women and everything in between.

Teaching kids that they aren’t good enough can be detrimental. Just read your history book.

It isn’t about the makeup, it is about what's behind the makeup.

What do you think?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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