I bring this up because as I was reading Kitty Lovett's post on lipstick today and I have so many thoughts (not on lipstick colors, I mean sometimes, but on beauty/fashion rules in general) so instead of writing a comment-novel I am posting here. If you wear a lot of makeup or extreme or dramatic makeup (like cool-colored or black lipstick) at some point it will be man-splained to you that guys don't really it when girls wear a lot of makeup, which is a) BS, b) almost astonishingly hetero-normative, but if you shrug and say "what if I don't like guys" dude will stammer and then swear that he also has his finger on the pulse of lesbian sartorial preferences, and c)it is pretty much guaranteed that the person saying this to you is not someone you want to sleep with anyway. The best part is how often this guy will act like he is a feminist hero for saying this, liberating the ladeeyz from their make up routines. We are supposed to respond by thanking our man-splainer and realizing the folly of our ways and going home to clean off our makeup and buy an equal quantity of products which effect a natural look (because as Miss Kitty rightly said, nude lipstick is every bit as artificial as dark turquoise). What I suggest you actually do, is look said dudebro in the eye and say "I don't care if you like it"*.
As women we are socialized to try and be like-able and to not stand up for ourselves and the things we like if they go against popular opinion. We are socialized to try to please everyone all the time. We are encouraged to: make ourselves up to look like we aren't wearing makeup, but never to not wear make up, to carefully dress in order to minimize large breasts or maximize small breasts (is there an okay breast size? I don't know), or butts, or hips, to re-shape our actual, not just clothed bodies, by any means necessary, and it goes without saying, to dress in the latest trends while avoiding being "a slave to fashion" or a "brainless trendoid". Often the carrot for this epic battle of contradictory expectations is supposed to be some dude who doesn't even appreciate us for who we actually are, because he can't; he's never met that person.
I think the path to liberation comes from being ready and willing to say to all comers: "I don't care if you like it". Of course there are some people whose opinions you do care about. That's fine. Really life is better if you have people you care about whose opinion you respect, but that's not what I am talking about. Just remember that you get to choose whose opinion you value, no one automatically gets that status. Women's choices about what we chose to do or not do with our bodies are often policed by random dudes on the street, or at a party, or just by the fear of the reactions of people we don't know or really care about, not really. We feel like we ought to because humans are social animals and women are encouraged to be extra-social and pleasing, but really, you don't care if they like it.
Additional Reading: You Don't Have to Be Pretty.
|"Over" made up and under-concerned|
* Or, if you are in an un-safe situation, just think it because the really important thing is to remind yourself.
PS: This may be incoherent rambling as I currently have a mild cold and a fever. If that is the case, just follow the link at the bottom and read Bossypants.