Hot MESSages: The “F” Word

“I like pink. I like boys. I get excited over lipstick names – but I’m still a feminist”, says Laura Wadsworth in her article “Feminine Feminism” found on the f word, a contemporary UK feminism site. She argues feminists can still be “girly” even though society in general considers this idea contradictory to equality and women’s rights. When it comes to gender inequality, our

society has decided that feminine women are the supreme offenders.  Irish author Frank O’Connor emphasizes this contradiction in the following quote: “No man is as anti-feminist as a really feminine woman.” What Franky is trying to say here is that feminine women in general are looked at by feminists in a negative manner, more so than your average man.

Just because I like to wear high heels and put a little eyeliner on in the morning doesn’t mean I’m brain dead. I do these things because they make me happy – not because it makes men happy. Society’s ‘beauty standards’ are not the driving force behind my makeup addiction. I choose to wear makeup because I enjoy feeling womanly and, damn it, I think that’s OK. Wadsworth backs me up in saying, “Some people may argue that being girly is only a way of attracting males, thus becoming male dependant – and where’s the equality in that? But wanting to feel feminine, to me, is a means of self-confidence.”

Maybe you don’t care to wear mascara or lip-gloss to feel prepped for the day, but even something basic like brushing your hair or putting on a nice shirt can be a confidence booster. Recent research even supports it. This is not vanity, just a desire for self-assurance and

happiness within yourself.  “Looking good” should not be defined from what we see in magazines or on television, but by simply feeling good. I feel smokin’ hot in my Mighty Ducks T and jammies, but I also enjoy dressing up sometimes too. Feeling good is subjective; it’s different for every person.

Fashion in general, however, has gotten a bad rep in regards to feminism. Certainly no intelligent woman could care about Michael Kors’ new spring fashion line or watch America’s Next Top Model. How silly. Wadsworth makes a valid point, insisting that “No matter what we wear, we seem to get criticized. Wear something ‘different’ like a fluorescent green leather skirt and get called a weirdo, but wear something ‘normal’ i.e. a pair of regular jeans and get labeled as ‘boring’.

Feminism doesn’t mean we can put other people down for being “unqualified.” We’re better than that. If we really want to make significant changes for women’s rights, we need to start respecting each other, girlfriend. Feminism obviously doesn’t belong to any one type of woman, so there is absolutely no need to exclude.

A feminist can recycle. She can have many tattoos or none at all. She can be a conservative or liberal. A feminist can like celebrity gossip or read books about the Cold War (though this is not my style). She can love deer hunting. She can have short hair. She can have long hair…with highlights? She can eat organic or make frequent visits to Taco Bell. She can wear fake fur or she can collect stamps. She can do anything.

Being feminine doesn’t mean you’re plotting to ruin the women’s movement. It also doesn’t make a woman any less intelligent. It’s okay to like being called “babe” or wear pearls while still being proactive in the quest for equality. In agreement Wadsworth writes, “I feel that we do not need to lose our female identities just to prove a point.” Feminism can be glamorous. How about the Spice Girls or Lady Gaga? These women wear high heels while also promoting high standards of equality.

Feminists don’t need to be defined by old-fashioned stereotypes. Wake up and smell the girl power. It’s the 21st century and we can finally be ourselves while still promoting fairness.

Now that’s something revolutionary.


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