Hello dear readers. It’s been awhile. I know. I got busy. I’m sorry. I’d like to tell you it’s never going to happen again but, frankly, that would be a lie. Anywho, I realize I clickbaited you a bit with this sensational title, but I have something to say and I think it’s pretty important. It’s something that I hope you’ll share with your sisters and daughters and nieces and it’s about what it means to be (gasp) a feminist.
I’ve been a feminist pretty much my whole life, before I even knew what feminism was. I remember asking a bishop who visited my elementary school (insert Catholic school girl joke here) why women couldn’t be priests. I remember starting an argument with my Grade 6 teacher about why only the boys were allowed to leave class to shovel and water the hockey rink. This pattern of behaviour has pretty much followed me throughout my life because I just can’t wrap my head around any system where people are considered less than not on their merits but on their gender, colour, sexual orientation, or for any other boneheaded reason. I think it’s ridiculous and unacceptable that a man with equivalent education and experience to me should be paid more money to do the same work just because he has an extra appendage between his legs. But, I digress.
I was moved to write this post after reading a great article on Hello Giggles by the lovely Alyse Butler. In it she talks candidly about her struggle with makeup guilt, which I think is a feeling that many a feminist can relate to. Makeup is often seen as something women wear because we feel insecure or we’re trying to make ourselves more appealing to the opposite sex and, in some instances, that can be true. But it doesn’t have to be.
Growing up dancing and doing community theatre, I pretty much saved my makeup for the stage. In fact, I didn’t really start wearing makeup until my mid twenties. I’m pretty sure I owned one lipstick through all of high school that I’d bust out on special occasions. (If you’re curious it was from jane cosmetics and it was an original 90s nude brown lipstick.) The reason I started getting into and loving makeup is because of it’s transformative properties. On stage, I’ve seen people become little old ladies, men become women, women become men, people become animals…..it’s really incredible what makeup can do. More than just for attracting a mate, makeup can truly be a form of self expression, an art, and frankly a lot of fun. I love to throw on a vintage 50s look or a sexy smoky eye or a bright lip. For me, it’s not something I do because it’s a necessary social convention, it’s something I do because I love the way it makes me feel and I enjoy it.
I think young girls today say things like “I’m not a feminist but…” because they don’t understand that feminism is about equality, not about suppressing your femininity. Never want to wear a stitch of makeup? Want to wear a full face all the time? Love dresses? Hate dresses? Feminism doesn’t care! Feminism says these things should have no bearing on whether or not you receive equal treatment in society! So if you love your makeup, wear it proudly and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Anyone who would accuse you of being less of a feminist because you wear makeup clearly has a poor understanding of the word. Feminism is the freedom for us to be women however we choose to be and not to be discriminated against because of it. It’s equality of the sexes, plain and simple. There’s no makeup guilt here. Not anymore.