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Question re making yourself look pretty....

(134 Posts)
AliGrylls Tue 21-Jun-11 19:28:20

Why do women still subject themselves to pain to make themselves look pretty? I am talking with reference to eyebrow plucking, waxing of all body parts and wearing high heels that have the potential to cripple. Also make-up - what do feminists say about make-up?

I ask this question because since I have given up work and had kids I have not bothered to subject myself to any of the above (bar the occasional eyebrow pluck) and I feel liberated by it. I have realised that making yourself look good is actually a pain in the bum and also DH doesn't care very much about what I look like (obviously not as much as I thought he did when we met anyway).

Thoughts please.

MrsKarbonara Tue 21-Jun-11 19:34:38

Hmm not much time at mo but basically, yes. I agree. Someone more wordy will be along soon!

AnyFucker Tue 21-Jun-11 19:37:55

I don't make myself look pretty

I make myself look not-dead smile

I don't wax nor wear high heels

But I do wear a little make up and pluck my eyebrows, because it makes me look better (but not pretty )

madwomanintheattic Tue 21-Jun-11 19:39:40

you need to read the resisting compulsory femininity thread. smile

PssstOverHere Tue 21-Jun-11 19:40:54

My DH wouldn't know if I'd plucked/shaved/waxed and doesn't care if I wear make up or not. I do still do all of those things though, nothing to do with men though, I think if I turned up at toddler group/preschool with a mono-brow, hairy legs and a moustache I would be judged far more harshly by the other mums than by any man.
I want to fit in with the crowd, want to make some friends in my new area so I play along with the 'beauty' regime.

MarionCole Tue 21-Jun-11 19:45:47

Agree with AF - I do the stuff I do to make myself look healthy. A bit of tinted moisturiser, blusher, occasionally fake tan on arms/legs, not much else.

ilovedora27 Tue 21-Jun-11 20:21:41

I dont wax anywhere or shave my legs. Do my armpits but thats it. Its a whole lot easier than my husband who has to shave his face especially when he had a job where he had to shave every day or get shouted out. I do think it depends more on how hairy/dark you are though than gender often.

PuppyMonkey Tue 21-Jun-11 20:41:09

What about brushing your teeth, are you allowed to do that?

AliGrylls Tue 21-Jun-11 20:54:33

Is that sarcastic PM? One is about hygiene and one is about what we put ourselves through to be accepted into "society". Will definitely read thread about compulsory femininity.

InmaculadaConcepcion Tue 21-Jun-11 21:06:06

You're allowed to do anything you like (within reason) when it comes to your own body and the prettification thereof.

What's interesting is to examine why we do the things we do.
(Cleaning teeth would seem to be the best way of warding off tooth-decay, gum-disease and halitosis, PuppyMonkey - the cosmetic aspect is a long way below those things in importance. But you knew that, didn't you?)

We live in a society where women seem to be valued to a large extent because of the way they look - which is why the whole "pink princess" thing is so insidious - it's being shovelled into girls from the moment they're out of the womb.

Capitalism and the patriarchy both have a vested interest in keeping us image-obsessed - we are encouraged to shell out loads of money on our looks and our daughters' looks and it keeps us from recognising our own and each others' true worth. This obsession feeds directly into our self-esteem and is another way of keeping us down IMO. And in case I'm sounding a bit sanctimonious about it, I'm definitely not immune to the "look good, feel good" mantra.

I would say there is a difference between "prettification" and grooming, but it can be a fine line and it's very subjective.

biryani Tue 21-Jun-11 21:32:42

Mm - interesting question. Absolutely agree with Immaculada about vested interests, but I don't think there is a definitive answer to this dilemma. Yes - perhaps it is liberating for some women to NOT prettify themselves, but i suppose it depends on what we prettify ourselves FOR? I'm a self-confessed "prettifier" who loves clothes, makeup etc and for me it's empowering as without all my cosmetic trappings i wouldn't feel remotely good about myself.

I'm happy to be considered a "prettifier" as this is how I express myself as a person. I'm envious of those who do not feel they have to conform to certain expectations, however, particularly now I'm getting older!!

TimeWasting Tue 21-Jun-11 22:02:26

I saw a make-up ad earlier and growled 'I'm worth more than that!' at it automatically. grin

falasportugues Tue 21-Jun-11 23:31:34

i like the feel good, look good mantra!

anybody know where the resisting cumpulsory femininity thread is?

celadon Tue 21-Jun-11 23:36:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Well there is a difference between putting yourself through painful and even damaging procedures in order to 'look good' and choosing to adorn and celebrate yourself. Being a feminist doesn't mean you have to wear crimplene drawstring trousers and stop washing your hair. Painting your nails blue or green or silver, dyeing your hair pink, wearing clothes that are brightly coloured or patterned or indeed look nice while being comfortable are all things that people like to do, and if anyone calls you a Bad Feminist for wanting to tie your hair back with a brightly coloured ribbon instead of an elastic band, or for buying a pair of green and red stripy trousers because they amuse you, then they are the ones with the problem.

msrisotto Wed 22-Jun-11 06:58:06

Why do women wear make up and perfume?
Because they're ugly and smell.

I don't tend to wear make up, only for special occasions. I guess I am just happy with the way I look au naturale.

MrsKarbonara Wed 22-Jun-11 06:58:57

TimeWasting I like that! Going to nick that response grin

exoticfruits Wed 22-Jun-11 07:14:18

Because I feel 100% better for it.
I have lost weight, go running, drink plenty of water, have better skin.
If I then wear clothes that suit me, shoes that don't make my thick ankles look thicker, make up to make my small eyes look bigger, do not have horrible hairy legs, I feel ready for anything.
Not taking care of myself would make me feel depressed and grey.
I like my perfume too.

exoticfruits Wed 22-Jun-11 07:15:33

I agree with SCGB.

exoticfruits Wed 22-Jun-11 07:17:36

In fact, after ready SCGB's post I shall call it 'celebrating' myself and use it for justification-not that I think I should need any for personal choice.

exoticfruits Wed 22-Jun-11 07:18:03

sorry reading not ready.

Bunbaker Wed 22-Jun-11 07:33:48

"We live in a society where women seem to be valued to a large extent because of the way they look"

Don't you think that this applies to men to some extent? How many men with beards do you see these days?

I can't believe I am writing this, but I agree with SCGB. Being a feminist doesn't mean you have to conform to most people's stereotype by looking like you don't give a fig about how you look. I make an effort because it is a kindness to people who have to look at me.

queenofthecapitalwasteland Wed 22-Jun-11 07:41:39

I go through phases personally, I tend to do minimal make up when I can be bothered and tend to pluck eyebrows when they start to look uneven, but I know I'm not doing it for me, it's so I can fit in sad but this last week I've not bothered and I feel better for it. No one has screamed at my pale (and slightly spotty) face and I fee better for it. Just wish I had the confidence to carry on like that.

flippinada Wed 22-Jun-11 07:48:55

I've just read SGBs posts and nowI want some crimplene drawstring trousers,

TimeWasting Wed 22-Jun-11 07:58:28

Bun, rock music is filled with beards. And they are hot. grin

I haven't shaved anything since the 'resisting compulsory femininity' thread and really feel like that is celebrating myself for who I actually am.
I also love painting my nails, wearing jewellery and clothes that look ok for my figure, when it suits me and I have time.
Any of the things SCGB listed actually.
But not scraping the top layer of skin from my legs and armpits daily to remain unnaturally smooth and painting my face to make it look less like what I look like.

I may well decide to shave my legs again in the future and wear make-up, I might not, but not doing those things for this short time so far has been so liberating. I recommend it even for a short experiment.

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