I had the privilege of studying excerpts from The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women , by Naomi Wolf, in a class last year. If you are in the beauty industry, consume beauty products, or care about women, it is a must read. The premise is that the idea that there is one standard of beauty, to which we must all aspire, is harmful, and just plain false. For many years, the American beauty industry contributed to this idea. And for many years, American women poured endless dollars into a beauty industry that was harming our bodies and souls. Does this sound like crazy talk from a beauty blogger?
First, I am a feminist.
To me, that means I have compassion and respect for all women. It means I support businesses and causes that act with compassion and respect for all women. And I am proud to say that the beauty industry is rapidly coming around! The stereotype of a “certain kind” of feminist does persist. You know what I mean. The angry, unkempt, hairy woman who refuses to care about her appearance, because she is so busy protesting? Those women are out there, and good for them. They live their values in the way they see fit, and I respect it. I wouldn’t be much of a feminist if I didn’t. However, the picture of modern feminism includes so much more. It includes women who love beauty products and fashion, like me. It is women who love to wear makeup, but demand diversity and ethics in exchange for their dollars, who have changed the beauty industry for the better. It is women who love stylish clothes, but refuse to conform to runway sizing, and want to know that enslaved girls did not sew their garments, who have changed the fashion industry for the better.
So, how do we continue to improve?
Every woman has a different path and different priorities. I can’t presume to say what we should “all” do. What I can do is share some of my ideas, and hopefully launch a discussion. That is the backbone of this blog.
THESE ARE FIVE FEMINIST BEAUTY CONCEPTS I HOLD DEAR:
* Debt is bad for women. If a product is outside of your budget, don’t feel you need to buy it, even if it is “organic”. Cheaper alternatives are always ok, if that is what you need to buy.
* If a fierce highlight makes you feel powerful, or you express yourself with a bright red lip, you are no better or worse than a woman who does not wear makeup. Self-expression and choices are what is important, not what you look like.
* If a woman has made a secure place for herself in this world by running a business or creating a brand, support her. It’s not an easy thing to do. The more savvy, powerful, women in the world, the better.
* Animal testing is outdated and yucky. Cruelty free products are way more budget friendly then they used to be! Buy them whenever you have the choice.
* Always learn more. An educated consumer is a powerful consumer. It is our dollars that demand change.
Oh, and get yourself a copy of The Beauty Myth here:
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