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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

My hair extensions and manicure - where should I stand?

7 replies

Writergirl · 05/05/2011 16:25

I'm delighted to have found this (new-to-me) feminist list on MN as Id love some opinions on my recent actions.

I have 3 kids and I run my own business. I earn a good salary and have created a super flexible job for myself that allows me to spend time with my kids and enjoy the world of work (yes, I don't live in the UK).

I recently had 2 kids close together and felt this took a big physical toll. I am now integrating gym sessions into my week, recently turned veggie, etc to combat this.

However, I also took the plunge and got some (ethically sourced,as much as poss) hair extensions as I had thin, falling out hair. I now feel like a modern-day Rapunzel. I also, because I have quite a corporate yet creative job, treated myself to a long-lasting French manicure, to look more 'polished'.

However, having been raised with quite hardcore feminist principles (lots of 'taking away' actions but not much explaining as to why - no barbies no makeup allowed), I am both slightly horrified at my vain actions, which are undoubtedly the result of social pressures to look a certain way, and both delighted that I look groomed and loads "prettier".

Am I a bad feminist? Am I a 'modern' feminist? I have empowered myself through my new looks, in that I feel happier and have got my mojo back,
but have I succumbed too much to conforming to a social image?

It's not that I want anyone to tell me what to think, I'd like to know the modern position of feminism and whether I should be investigating my 'beauty' notions more closely.

Thanks! Can't wait to read your thoughts.

OP posts:
MadameCastafiore · 05/05/2011 16:26

I think you are woman who is doing something that makes her happy - more power to you.

Deaddei · 05/05/2011 16:28

Just enjoy.
Don't overanalyze.
You feel good...that's what matters.

InmaculadaConcepcion · 05/05/2011 17:14

Yes, you probably are succumbing to decades of absorbed social pressure aimed at women where we are made to believe we can only really feel good if we look good. And the "looking good" is determined by the (patriarchal) culture we live in.

But hey - embrace the contradictions! If it's made you feel happy, then fair play!
After all, for all our feminist values, we don't exist in a vacuum.

(And "overanalyze" all you like - your OP suggests that's what you're interested in doing!)

TimeWasting · 05/05/2011 19:09

There's nothing wrong with being pretty and feeling good. As long as you actually do feel good about it and aren't making more work for yourself.

bucaneve · 08/05/2011 19:39

I read something great in a uni philosophy text book about beauty practises being part of women's culture.

Basically, it says even though we developed them under conditions of oppression (ie. living in a patriarchical society) they are still part of our culture. To say women can't enjoy them is like saying African Americans can't still enjoy soul music because it was developed in an oppressive society (the example from the book)

Now thats overanalysing! Blush

darleneoconnor · 09/05/2011 10:59

It's not your fault that the corporate world demands that women look a certain way. If tht small sacrifice is what it takes for you to have some financial independence then it is a necessary evil.

Dont beat yourself up.

Writergirl · 09/05/2011 18:47


Hopefully my feminist principles are expressed in other ways, particularly for my daughter, who sees me combining multiple roles and trying to be emancipated in every other area.

Appreciate your POVs.

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