Make-up and feminism… a tricky subject?

Today, I read an article in the Daily Mail by Liz Jones in which she says that wearing make-up is “feminist”. Now, I’m neither a DM nor a Jones fan, but I read this article because I’ve had people leave comments on the blog implying that feminists shouldn’t wear make-up. (Also, I’m not going to link to this article, as I reckon the DM could do without the clicking and income it brings.) Jones also argues that those women who, shock horror, self-identify as feminists and/or don’t wear make-up are arrogant. Apparently, all mere mortals should admit we need a bit of help and if we don’t, we’re a bit deluded.

Personally, I think making sweeping gestures is a bit arrogant. My stance on this issue is this (and I’ve said it before): feminism is about choice. If you want to wear make-up, do. We’ve evolved to a point where make-up is acceptable in all areas of society. If you like wearing it, playing with it, buying it or reading about it, then go ahead. If you don’t want to wear it, fine. Feminism is about your views, not what may or may not be on your face.

What I find galling is that Jones works for a paper that regularly attacks women on their appearance (whether that’s celebrities wearing too little/too much make-up, not losing baby weight ‘fast enough’, whatever.) I think, rather than denouncing women for what cosmetics they may or may not use, a feminist should be questioning the way the media is influencing girls and young women. By focusing on whether someone wears make-up means that we conveniently steer away from the role that writers like Jones have in representing positive images.


3 thoughts on “Make-up and feminism… a tricky subject?

  1. Cords says:

    I really dislike “feminism” as a word because people have given it some bad connotations these days. It’s perfectly ok to want to be the best a woman can be, valued as much as a man and yet still want to LOOK like you take care of yourself. Surely being feminine is ok, if you’re a feminist? I always thought women who dressed like men and shunned things like bras were masculine and the very antithesis of what they were fighting for. I think like you said, sweeping statements are ridiculous. A bit like Bobbi Browns claim that all women are yellow toned and that there is no such thing as a pink toned woman. It’s easy to spit these things out but a hell of a lot harder to take them back!

    • stephaniepomfrett says:

      I self-identify as a feminist, but I know that some people don’t and that’s fine (I reckon you can have feminist beliefs regardless of whether you term yourself one or not.) I’m also a make-up obsessive. I think the stereotypical idea of a feminist is still stuck in the 70s, but each to their own! I like playing with make-up and wearing skirts and I don’t think that this stops me from believing certain things. I think making ‘camps’ (i.e. pro- or anti- cosmetics) is just a waste of time really.

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