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.