essos (essos) wrote in vaginapagina,
essos
essos
vaginapagina

Making non-feminist choices

If this question is off-topic, please let me know--I didn't really know where else to ask.


I absolutely believe that you can be a feminist and wear make-up, shave your legs, get your nails done, etc. However, I don't believe wearing make-up or shaving your legs are feminist choices, because they require buying into or condoning sexist social norms.

Here's an example: I don't usually wear make-up. I believe that if men are considered presentable, professional and attractive without make-up, then women should be as well. I don't think my looks are the most important thing about me, I don't think I should look differently than I do or be made to feel bad for not looking "better", and I don't want to blow money on mascara and lipstick. However, there are times that I do put on make-up, because I'm having my picture taken and other women will be wearing make-up so I don't want to be the only one to look pale/tired/ugly. Or I'm going to an interview and think "Well, make-up makes me look more feminine and attractive, so I'll have a better chance."

I know these situations don't make me a bad person, or strip me of being a feminist, but I also know that they are not feminist choices. I'm kind of in a constant state of deep intellectual crisis over this. It's like being a vegetarian animal rights activist, but occasionally eating a hot dog because your boss and coworkers are doing it and maybe you won't get promoted otherwise. And I feel like my giving in to wearing make-up, for example, is just a matter of me not being able to completely break free of our culture's expectations. Well, of course, because culture permeates everything and I'm trying to fight it. My plan has always been just to pick the battles I'm willing to fight, because I can't fight them all. For example, I haven't shaved my legs in three or four years. It really hasn't been that big of a deal in my life and was a easy battle to fight. But lately I've felt sick of people staring at my unshaven legs, sick of my mom telling me that they're hairy, and sick of feeling unfeminine and unattractive because my AMAZING LEGS that take me on 15 miles runs have hair. I'm at the point where I'm seriously considering shaving them, and I just feel defeated.

So, my question: how do you reconcile being a feminist with making choices that are not necessarily feminist?
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