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December 23, 2008 10:20 AM   Subscribe

Is the new feminism lipstick and fashion? “I think the proper reaction to a beauty pageant these days is to be bored by it. I would have thought that old version of feminism, which was violently opposed to lipstick and high heels, had died out by now. It’s an extinct image of feminism — that you can’t be both frivolous and serious or care about clothes and read books at the same time. And, in a way, it’s sort of depressing that these same old-fashioned battles keep on being recycled.”
posted by four panels (141 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I think the proper reaction to a beauty pageant these days is to be bored by it.

Actually, the proper response to a beauty pageant is scientific curiosity about the engineering genius behind the fake boobs and all the other cosmetic surgery.

(although, my wife enjoys watching pageants more than I do, but I never went for the Homecoming Queen type, which is what always wins these things)
posted by jonmc at 10:26 AM on December 23, 2008


Take heart, sisters, for there is a new breed of feminist out there that is reinventing the ideology. Subscribing to the original feminist theories of equality (equal pay, equal rights and the importance of a right to choose), they pick the fights that mean something to them, ignoring the elements of feminist politics they find irrelevant.

... Because other, old-fashioned feminists "pick fights" about things they find irrelevant.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:32 AM on December 23, 2008 [5 favorites]


It’s an extinct image of feminismany recent intellectual movement — that you can’t be both frivolous and serious or care about clothes and read books at the same time.

Actually, strike the "intellectual" and "movement" both. When a person is defined by their group membership ("feminist", "scientist", "black person", etc) it is easy to imagine that they have only the characteristics that are (stereo)typical of the group. Senators are supposed to be boring old guys in suits, why is that one singing? Engineers have flat hair and sliderules, so what's he doing in an art museum? Feminists burn bras, so why does this one enjoy fashion shows?
posted by DU at 10:35 AM on December 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


So they're saying that the word "feminism" is basically meaningless now, and that you can make it mean pretty much whatever you want?
posted by hermitosis at 10:36 AM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not a feminist; I just believe in the right of women to have political, social, and economic equality with men.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:47 AM on December 23, 2008 [13 favorites]


Man, I remember when we lefty men started using pro-feminist, instead of feminist.

I'm not pro-feminist. That's fucking ridiculous. I don't know why we didn't also call ourselves pro-anti-racist.

I'm feminist and proud.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:56 AM on December 23, 2008 [14 favorites]


I generally distrust anyone who describes themselves as a [blank]ist or who believes in [blank]ism. The world is way too complicated to be explained by any one theory.
posted by jonmc at 11:02 AM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


The irony being, of course, that this same argument has aways been present within feminist discourse, even when the supposedly extinct feminists were first out burning their tyrannosaurs.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:02 AM on December 23, 2008


The world is way too complicated to be explained by any one theory.

Feminism doesn't seek to explain the world. Just make a case that women should be equals in it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:04 AM on December 23, 2008 [21 favorites]


"The new feminism." Oh, you kids always make ol' grandpa Nanojath laugh. Are feminists arguing over the pitfalls of traditional gender iconography these days? My lands!
posted by nanojath at 11:06 AM on December 23, 2008


Feminism doesn't seek to explain the world. Just make a case that women should be equals in it.

But as the second link in the original post states, there's enormous disagreement over what that actually means and how to accomplish it. and I just have a general distaste for ideologies on general principles. I have my opinions and beliefs, sure, but so does everybody.
posted by jonmc at 11:07 AM on December 23, 2008


As a woman, you can’t not buy shoes and wear dresses.

riiiiight. because butch women aren't *really* women, right? you aren't really a woman if you aren't obsessed with shopping and shoes? fuck you too. is that feminist enough for ya?
posted by RedEmma at 11:07 AM on December 23, 2008 [31 favorites]


fuck you too.

That's not very lady-like.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:10 AM on December 23, 2008 [5 favorites]


It’s an extinct image of feminism — that you can’t be both frivolous and serious or care about clothes and read books at the same time.

"If feminists are supposed to be flying unicorns, how come they don't have horns, eh?"

Enough false dichotomy to mold into a giant statue of Andrea Dworkin.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:11 AM on December 23, 2008 [5 favorites]


i'm having a pretty ambivalent reaction to this. on the one hand, we have women standing up for their right to engage in whatever lifestyle they choose, even if it's pageantry. and good for them. on the other hand, we have women stereotyping and dismissing women who more closely resemble 1st and 2nd wave feminists for engaging in a different lifestyle choice.

i suppose the only thing I can really claim to be certain of is that the article is a poorly written piece of garbage.

Their strand of feminism shuns gender altogether. “For us, it has always been about equality for everybody in our workplace,” says Knezevic. “We are fighting for rights for both male and female models.”

and bully for them, but let's be clear about something. that's not feminism, that's union organizing. it's like saying just because i'm against Capital Punishment that means that every time I go to work it's an anti-capital punishment statement. seriously, this article is profoundly stupid.

At the same time as being more emancipated than ever, we have never been more obsessed with youth, thinness and celebrity. Ask any woman if she minds being judged on her looks, and she will say yes. But ask her if she would like to look better, and she will also say yes to that.

no red flags going off in the author's head, here, huh? nothing? no lingering thoughts about the creeping state of oppression in the media? no questions about what "better" means, or distress over the idea that women come to look at themselves as being objectively qualified on a beauty scale? don't you think someone writing about feminism should in some way be familiar with at least some of its central precepts?

“As a woman, you can’t not buy shoes and wear dresses.

teehee! yes you can! that's the whole point! you can buy or not buy whatever you want!

Plus all of that stuff is fun — it doesn’t take away from your power as a woman.”

it doesn't have to, but it can. especially when someone tells you you have to do it because you're a woman.
posted by shmegegge at 11:12 AM on December 23, 2008 [11 favorites]


> As a woman, you can’t not buy shoes and wear dresses.

riiiiight. because butch women aren't *really* women, right?


... butch women don't buy shoes? How do they walk around when it snows? They must be heartier than I thought.
posted by barnacles at 11:12 AM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


and I just have a general distaste for ideologies on general principles.

Feminism isn't an ideology. It's a way of allocating social and economic resources. It's also an objective statement about the world (women are disadavantaged) coupled with an duty (we should change the allocation of resources so women are not disadvantaged).

Anyway, this article is silly. It's old news that you can be feminist and wear lipstick, as long as you're not doing it because some man makes you.
posted by footnote at 11:12 AM on December 23, 2008


Do they ever stop to wonder WHY they happen to like wearing lipstick and the other trappings? It's because these were presented from a very young age as important rites of passage and badges of womanhood. Attachment to these things is not a personality trait, but they act like it is. Claiming that it's somehow not conformity as long as you really happen to genuinely like whatever it is you're conforming to is one thing. Pinning a de facto nonconformist appellation onto that, however, seems like pretty murky logical territory.

I believe it's what Janeane Garofalo calls "thong feminism."
posted by hermitosis at 11:15 AM on December 23, 2008 [8 favorites]


Feminism isn't an ideology.

Ok, I have a general distaste for -isms on general principles.

... butch women don't buy shoes?

No. They make them themselves out of the tanned hides of Payless employees.
posted by jonmc at 11:15 AM on December 23, 2008


I'm in favor of women wearing lipstick, for without lipstick, there is no rainbow party.
posted by maxwelton at 11:15 AM on December 23, 2008


As a woman, you can’t not buy shoes and wear dresses.

better watch that - being barefoot is only one step from being barefoot and pregnant
posted by pyramid termite at 11:16 AM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Do they ever stop to wonder WHY they happen to like wearing lipstick and the other trappings?

The same reason some guys spend hours combing their hair and do zillions of sit-ups to get 'six-pack' abs. Vanity and inflated self-regard.
posted by jonmc at 11:17 AM on December 23, 2008


jonmc: people have different definitions of feminism, but it is not necessarily a comprehensive totalitarian ideology with something to say about every issue. Would you extend [blank]et statement you made to anti-racism, to non-cannibalism?

Personally I find it stupefying that a majority of people hold men and women to such wildly diverging standards of behavior and privilege. So I have more hormones in my bloodstream than a woman, and a higher testosterone/estrogen ratio, and they fluctuate slower, do those hormones define who I am so much that I am supposed to exist in a completely different set of social rules?
posted by idiopath at 11:18 AM on December 23, 2008


But what a step!
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:18 AM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm in favor of women wearing lipstick, for without lipstick, there is no rainbow party.

Why does it have to be women wearing the lipstick to have a rainbow party?
posted by Pollomacho at 11:19 AM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Would you extend [blank]et statement you made to anti-racism, to non-cannibalism?

Those are actually both anti-isms, sir. and I generally don't like movements, either. I don't like crowds, period.
posted by jonmc at 11:19 AM on December 23, 2008 [4 favorites]


Well, I think we've established that Jon doesn't brook no groupthink.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:21 AM on December 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


Astro Zombie: maybe getting past seeing our fellow human beings as walking points-of-view is a good thing. call me crazy.
posted by jonmc at 11:23 AM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


The same reason some guys spend hours combing their hair and do zillions of sit-ups to get 'six-pack' abs. Vanity and inflated self-regard.

Exactly... because of the binary patriarchal culture that is constantly pressed upon us. Men are victims of it as well, but since we also reap most of the benefits of it, it's a lot harder to convince us that it oppresses us or that anything should be done about it.
posted by hermitosis at 11:23 AM on December 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


Exactly... because of the binary patriarchal culture that is constantly pressed upon us.

or because of the natural human flaw of vanity and narcissism. or, most likely, a combo platter of both.
posted by jonmc at 11:25 AM on December 23, 2008


I've always sort of thought of you as a walking point-of-view, jonmc.
posted by hermitosis at 11:27 AM on December 23, 2008


I wear it myself, when I remember, and I'm in favor of men wearing lipstick, too. And I have a dress somewhere here, I know I do, and shoes, some of which have heels. What the heck does any of that have to do with feminism? We feminists as a group were never much opposed to lipstick or high heels; it's just that the people who vehemently believed in lipstick and high heels seemed to think those accessories were Sacraments of some sort and kept waving them at us. "Here! See what you are sacrificing? A tube of carnauba wax with pigment! The opportunity to make your mouth look as succulent as a Jello mold!" Oh, yeah, and girdles. Wah hoo.

It isn't that long ago* that women were expected to quit their jobs when they got married, because otherwise they were taking jobs away from men, who were the real breadwinners. And when middle class women could be either nurses or teachers, while lower class women had to be maids or housekeepers. It kept us in "pin money," which we could theoretically spend on lipstick. :)

*When I was in high school.
posted by Peach at 11:28 AM on December 23, 2008 [5 favorites]


I suppose you can call me a feminist because I have the radical notion that fish should be able to ride bicycles.
posted by ND¢ at 11:29 AM on December 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: vanity and narcissism. or, most likely, a combo platter of both
posted by jquinby at 11:29 AM on December 23, 2008


It kept us in "pin money," which we could theoretically spend on lipstick. :)

No. That money was earmarked for pins. I mean pinmarked for pins.
posted by jonmc at 11:30 AM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Whenever anyone talks about some kind of "movement" I can't help but think of my bowels, and how closely most so-called "movements" resemble the same "movements" my bowels engage in on a regular basis.

In case you are dense, that means this is a crock of shit.
posted by daq at 11:32 AM on December 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


I think the main issue that the article only mentions in brief is that many younger women who down deep are feminists, dislike the older generation telling us the choices we make aren't valid. And because of that may be less likely to identify themselves as feminists. I mean, the backlash from the old school feminists about Hillary Clinton was insane. I had women I'd worked with and who knew exactly how strong my feminist street cred was challenging me and saying that the only reason I'd vote for Obama was because I was a sheep to the patriarchy. Bullshit. Those same women also seriously question my "womanhood" because I don't want children. Again, massive steaming piles of bullshit. I've worked hard for gender equality, I try to be aware of the pre-existing shit in my head that's only there because our culture put it there, but damn it, sometimes I want to wear lipstick and heels. Sometimes I want to wear jeans and baggy shirt. Why does how I dress, or what I'm interested in validate or invalidate my political and social ideals? Can't we just be more complex than a silly binary on/off, feminist/not-feminist, male/female paradigm?

It drives me mad that because I've made different choices than them, they feel compelled to question how dedicated I am to the cause of equality. Feminism or the pursuit of equality should never be about the limitation of choices, but about the expansion of choices. But then again, I'm just as guilty as they are when I see my younger peers choosing to take their master's degrees and go home to have babies. I'm dismayed and a little bit appalled at their choice, but by god, it's their damn choice and I'm delighted that they can make it. So I shut the fuck up and support their choice.
posted by teleri025 at 11:35 AM on December 23, 2008 [21 favorites]


I guess I don't need this anymore.
posted by Alison at 11:40 AM on December 23, 2008


Phoebe Frangoul, 27, editor of Pamflet, a self-styled “feminist fashion zine”, is also keen to embrace just such a brand of modern feminism and has campaigned heavily for the right to be both a feminist and glamorous.

I'd like to be totally ageist here for a minute and say: 1988 is calling, and would like its "new feminist approach" back.
posted by rtha at 11:43 AM on December 23, 2008 [12 favorites]


I think the main issue that the article only mentions in brief is that many younger women who down deep are feminists, dislike the older generation telling us the choices we make aren't valid.

I'd say many of these women are feminists all the way up to the surface, too. What bothers me about this article is it takes what is a perfectly natural occurence in any social movement - reform, in the sense of change, initiated by newer generations, to the chagrin or even anger of the older guard who claim the "one true" definition - as being special to feminism. That's clearly not the case, and there are numerous social movements you can look to for examples.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:44 AM on December 23, 2008 [4 favorites]


You know, in this joyous season I think everyone could take a step back and show some appreciation for jonmc and Astro Zombie reminding us what Metafilter is really all about: a couple of dudes arguing over what feminism means.
posted by nanojath at 11:47 AM on December 23, 2008 [33 favorites]


and another dude scolding them for it.

(sorry, too easy)
posted by jonmc at 11:47 AM on December 23, 2008 [7 favorites]


Feminism 2.0
posted by liza at 11:49 AM on December 23, 2008


Is the new feminism lipstick and fashion?

No.

Lipstick and fashion are not the issue; all this verbiage just obscures it. The real issue, imo, is when lipstick and fashion are mandatory, and that a woman is judged far more on her compliance to societal ideals of feminity and beauty than on any genuine accomplishments or abilities that she may have. Wearing lipstick is neither here nor there. But Greta Van Susteren getting disfiguring plastic surgery before she started her job at Fox News, and that fact that the felt the need to do so, is an issue. So is ESPN holding an online poll about whether or not she looked "better". The continual surveillance of women's bodies is an issue, the constant critique. Somewhere in all of that there's this little space where a woman dresses up, looks in the mirror, says "I look fine!" and gets a rush of self-confidence: I'm all for that. That this dressing up is an instrument of social judgement is not.
posted by jokeefe at 11:53 AM on December 23, 2008 [21 favorites]


My new masculism is going to involve guns and horses and banging on drums in the woods and endless poetry and stuff. It's time we moved beyond those old masculinists with their... whatever.
posted by Dumsnill at 11:54 AM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


That this dressing up is an instrument of social judgement is not.

The waters are further muddied by the fact that most of 'dressing up' is done for social judgement. Men dress up to attract women or other men or to impress people and women do too. Ask yourself, if nobody cared what you wore, would you bother putting any effort into your appearance at all?
posted by jonmc at 11:56 AM on December 23, 2008


The same reason some guys spend hours combing their hair and do zillions of sit-ups to get 'six-pack' abs. Vanity and inflated self-regard.

Exactly... because of the binary patriarchal culture that is constantly pressed upon us. Men are victims of it as well, but since we also reap most of the benefits of it, it's a lot harder to convince us that it oppresses us or that anything should be done about it.


Oh for fuck's sake. I don't wear lipstick because of inflated self-regard or binary patriarchal culture; I wear it because it's fun and because then no one takes my fucking wine glass thinking it's theirs.

You seem to think no one would wear lipstick or work out just because they might want to for their own reasons. It's because they've been brainwashed by patriarchs! That's a beautiful example of dogmatic faux-liberal groupthink in and of itself. People do all kinds of stuff for all kinds of reasons, and assuming that you know why without even bothering to take the time to find out why a particular individual might do something is intellectually shallow and lazy.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:56 AM on December 23, 2008 [4 favorites]


You seem to think no one would wear lipstick or work out just because they might want to for their own reasons.

No, I'm saying that 'their own reasons' are usually excessive self-regard or vanity.
posted by jonmc at 11:59 AM on December 23, 2008


Metafilter: would you bother putting any effort into your appearance at all?
posted by Dumsnill at 12:02 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Who doesn't like to look freshly dipped on occasion?
posted by Divine_Wino at 12:02 PM on December 23, 2008


dipped in what?
posted by jonmc at 12:04 PM on December 23, 2008


The same reason some guys spend hours combing their hair and do zillions of sit-ups to get 'six-pack' abs. Vanity and inflated self-regard.

or, you know, to get laid.
posted by shmegegge at 12:07 PM on December 23, 2008 [4 favorites]


or, you know, to get laid.

which is what I addressed in this comment.
posted by jonmc at 12:09 PM on December 23, 2008


I get laid to remind myself how awesome I am.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:10 PM on December 23, 2008 [5 favorites]


which is what I addressed in this comment.

i'm just saying it's not all vanity and inflated self-regard. it makes sense to want to attract a mate. it doesn't have to be about judgment for the sake of self-worth. it can be a sacrifice of time/energy in pursuit of a goal.

now, often times getting laid is about self-worth. no denying that. of course, it's often times also about hormones.
posted by shmegegge at 12:17 PM on December 23, 2008


it makes sense to want to attract a mate.

that's what I was saying. People (male or female) get dolled up to attract a mate, which makes sense. The ones who do it for other reasons are generally doing it out of excessive self-regard.
posted by jonmc at 12:19 PM on December 23, 2008


I am working on a new line of feminist lipsticks. Gonna give them cute names like "Gloria"(a mauvey shade), "Betty"(a peach pink) and "Susan B"(a darkish red). I'll make Millions. Millions I tells ya!
posted by flipyourwig at 12:25 PM on December 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


grind that axe, four panels!
posted by delmoi at 12:27 PM on December 23, 2008


Is the new feminism lipstick and fashion?

There are so many more interesting things to talk about regarding feminism than this, but thanks for making a facile post about a complicated issue so people can make their asinine rainbow party jokes and feel that they're contributing to any sort of discussion.
posted by jessamyn at 12:28 PM on December 23, 2008 [24 favorites]


that's what I was saying. People (male or female) get dolled up to attract a mate, which makes sense. The ones who do it for other reasons are generally doing it out of excessive self-regard.

oh hey. word up.
posted by shmegegge at 12:31 PM on December 23, 2008


How do I know if I have just the right amount of self-regard?
posted by everichon at 12:31 PM on December 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


People (male or female) get dolled up to attract a mate, which makes sense. The ones who do it for other reasons are generally doing it out of excessive self-regard.
Lovely generalization, but based on no particular evidence as far as I can tell. People do, I'm sure, get all dolled up to "attract a mate," and I'm sure others do it out of self-regard, but some people dress up because it's fun and they get to adopt another identity, and some do it as a competitive sport, and some do it for the same reason people used to put on a hat and gloves to go into the city, because that's what you're supposed to do. Lipstick makes a pretty good protection against chapped lips, too. But I wear it (when I remember) because I have a professional job and it goes with the blazer and earrings and because dressing casually and not caring for my appearance implies disdain for my colleagues, my clients, and my job.

When I was in the attracting-a-mate business, I seem to recall I mostly wore T-shirts and baggy patched jeans covered with paint. Been married 32 years now.
posted by Peach at 12:32 PM on December 23, 2008


backlash from the old school feminists
Dang--you work with some hard-core types, huh?
posted by Peach at 12:33 PM on December 23, 2008


How do I know if I have just the right amount of self-regard?

If you don't hate yourself, at least a little bit, you probably have too much.
posted by jonmc at 12:34 PM on December 23, 2008 [6 favorites]


jessamyn: oh, snap! (and hear, hear.)
posted by nosila at 12:34 PM on December 23, 2008


people can make their asinine rainbow party jokes and feel that they're contributing to any sort of discussion

Whoa now, I hope that no one reading my assenine rainbow party joke above read anything other than ridicule for the assenine nature of original comment. Please delete if that is not the case.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:35 PM on December 23, 2008


The Miss University London Beauty Pageant that sparked the protests and the Times article.

India Knight's December 7th Times counterpoint essay: "Never mind feminism or postfeminism or any variants thereof. The question is whether it is right to split female students, who have gained entry into their various places of learning on academic merit, into the attractive lot and the plain lot."
posted by terranova at 12:42 PM on December 23, 2008


But I wear it (when I remember) because I have a professional job and it goes with the blazer and earrings and because dressing casually and not caring for my appearance implies disdain for my colleagues, my clients, and my job.


in other words: the judgement of others. a different kind from mate-attracting, but judgement just the same.
posted by jonmc at 12:43 PM on December 23, 2008


But I wear it (when I remember) because I have a professional job and it goes with the blazer and earrings and because dressing casually and not caring for my appearance implies disdain for my colleagues, my clients, and my job.

Seriously, if you showed up well dressed but without lipstick, would you get fired? Or without earrings?
posted by marble at 12:44 PM on December 23, 2008


grind that axe, four panels!

Dumsnill's going to need a good sharp axe for his Iron John party.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:45 PM on December 23, 2008


jon: It's pretty absurd and sexist to say that women wear makeup and perfume solely to attract a mate. Sometimes they just want to make each other feel bad!

*backs away from thread with fingers crossed to ward off cooties*
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:00 PM on December 23, 2008


It's pretty absurd and sexist to say that women wear makeup and perfume solely to attract a mate.

No. I'm saying that men are the same way. There's only two reasons anyone expends any effort at all: sex and money (or occasionally-and not unconnectedly-power and ego).

Sometimes they just want to make each other feel bad!

There ya go!
posted by jonmc at 1:02 PM on December 23, 2008


Wow. All that work Miss Lynnster did talking up how far we have come, and here we are hitting reverse on the boyzone truck as hard and as fast as possible.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:05 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Was just thinking the same thing, AZ.
posted by hermitosis at 1:06 PM on December 23, 2008


In case you couldn't tell, I was being sarcastic. I for one welcome our lipstickied overlords, and I was saying Boo-urns.
Something something I'm a viking?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:12 PM on December 23, 2008


India Knight's essay is great, and sensible:
[C]lever women, in 2008, do not stand around having their breasts measured – even if it’s with an ironic wink; even if the contest is a knowing nod to those 1970s Miss World-type events; even if every one of them is in on the joke.

The joke’s on them. If you are not a glamour model and someone is measuring your breasts in order to assess your physical attractiveness, you are the punchline. End of story – and never mind if you think that, by objectifying yourself, you’re the one in control. That doesn’t really wash any more. [...]

The idea that bright female students may be grateful for this kind of attention is peculiar, as is the notion that, having been judged satisfactory in the torso department, your reward is to parade around sashed and with a cheap tiara on your head. No matter what anybody says – and no matter how many television programmes try to reinvent the beauty queen formula, as Gok Wan, the stylist, recently attempted on Channel 4 – a young girl being stared at, judged and picked apart while she stands there, anxious in her underwear (or her outerwear, for that matter), is not a good thing.
posted by jokeefe at 1:12 PM on December 23, 2008 [4 favorites]


They're saving a place in heaven for you, AZ. I hear they have homemade garnishes on the cocktails there.
posted by jonmc at 1:13 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


God damn it. I reserved a room in the other place.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:15 PM on December 23, 2008


There's only two reasons anyone expends any effort at all: sex and money

Wow, really? So now that I'm married and have a stable job I can stop bathing and start my all Fritos and cupcake diet?

Sometimes it's fun to dress up. Sometimes it's fun to use the good china.

(The ooky thing about pageants isn't the dressing up, it's the judging.)
posted by JoanArkham at 1:26 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Seriously though, in regards to this question, I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don't have maps and I believe that education, such as in South Africa, and the Iraq, everywhere, like such as. And I believe that they should our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S.--or should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future for our genders. Amen.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:29 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


I reserved a room in the other place.

I think the other place is just a waiting room. Behind the door, you hear the agonizing screams of those who came before you. The TV in the waiting room plays an endless loop of all of your sins and failings, and your TV-B-Gone won't work, and all of the magazines feature nothing but perfume adds. And you sit there for eternity, waiting for your turn, until actual torture would seem like a mercy. But there is no mercy in the other place.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:33 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow, really? So now that I'm married and have a stable job I can stop bathing and start my all Fritos and cupcake diet?

That's what I've done. (and not being able to work for the next month has made that that much easier).
posted by jonmc at 1:33 PM on December 23, 2008


Is rainbow party something I can google at work? If not, can someone explain it?
posted by desjardins at 1:36 PM on December 23, 2008


"A rainbow party is purportedly a group sex event involving oral sex and the subject of an urban legend. At these parties, said to be increasingly popular among adolescents, females wear various shades of lipstick and supposedly take turns fellating males in sequence; this leaves a "rainbow" of colors on their penises. The idea was first publicized by Oprah Winfrey's talk show in 2003. Deborah Tolman, director of the Center for Research on Gender and Sexuality at San Francisco State University writes: "This 'phenomenon' has all the classic hallmarks of a moral panic."
posted by jessamyn at 1:38 PM on December 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


Here's a SFW Wikipedia link about the subject, but it is an urban legend and a distraction from the subject of the thread.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:39 PM on December 23, 2008


I AM WISHING TO UNSUBSCRIBE THE BOYZONE
posted by everichon at 1:40 PM on December 23, 2008 [5 favorites]


How do I know if I have just the right amount of self-regard?

I'm sure jonmc will let you know.
posted by dersins at 1:40 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


The joke’s on them. If you are not a glamour model and someone is measuring your breasts in order to assess your physical attractiveness, you are the punchline.

You are also the focus of attention, which can be turned into money. There is no political/social movement that is not at its core economic. The reason some
"bright female students" may participate in events like this is because their sex appeal can be used to promote them.

Sex sells soda, cars, and deodorant. The objectification was using attractive women to sell something else, i.e. for a corporation or product to co-opt any economic benefit of the women's beauty.

But is it really objectification if you are using your own sex appeal (which everyone inherently has to some degree or another) to promote yourself?

But look at the subtitle of the article. It isn't about feminism as a movement or ideology. It's about feminism as a brand-Feminism(TM). It's about the new crop of bloggers who are the self-proclaimed voices of the new feminism, simply because they chose to brand their blogs as Feminist. They say it's okay for feminists to wear lipstick, and they run a Feminism blog, therefore modern feminists think it's okay to wear lipstick.

In the interests of Godwinizing this thread, Isomeone could start a Nazi blog, call it Hotsie Nazi, and declare that it's okay to love Jews. Then a reporter would declare that 21st century Nazis are turning over a new leaf.

In other words, journalism on the internet, while often insightful and brilliant, is just as often no more than a heaping pile of bullshit for Google to shove Adwords billboards into.

Also, whoever coined the term Noughties should have their typing fingers severed and their retinas repossessed. Merry Christmas.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:41 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


"A rainbow party is purportedly a group sex event involving oral sex and the subject of an urban legend. At these parties, said to be increasingly popular among adolescents, females wear various shades of lipstick and supposedly take turns fellating males in sequence; this leaves a "rainbow" of colors on their penises. The idea was first publicized by Oprah Winfrey's talk show in 2003. Deborah Tolman, director of the Center for Research on Gender and Sexuality at San Francisco State University writes: "This 'phenomenon' has all the classic hallmarks of a moral panic."
posted by jessamyn at 4:38 PM on December 23


Females? We were supposed to invite females? Oh, for crying out...GUYS, GET UP OFF THE FLOOR! WE'RE DOING IT ALL WRONG!
posted by Pastabagel at 1:43 PM on December 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh, man, the Bruce La Bruce film that was never made but should have been.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:45 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Females? We were supposed to invite females?

Yeah, I thought this was about gay guys and I was trying to figure out how lipstick on women entered into it.
posted by desjardins at 1:45 PM on December 23, 2008


If I didn't carry lipstick and wear stillettos, when misogynist fucks crossed my path, I wouldn't know what to do! I mean, what would I pull of my foot and stab them in the eye with - pop? How would I scrawl "fagulous" across their stupid faces?

By which I mean to say, it's easy as falling out of bed to be feminist and glamorous if you're a damned bitter drag queen without a cock even, nowhere to sleep but a glittery gutter. Will camwhore for fishnets.

By which I mean to say, ain't no prescribing performance of sexuality in feminism. That would make it consumerism.


From the article's sidebar of ads:

Party diet
[A women wearing a corset, being measured]
Shape up for the party season with our plan


See? How queer is that? The party plan!? In a corset? ROCK! I LOVE THAT DIET zomg stoli.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:46 PM on December 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


1: Plan an event.
2: Claim to be a "feminist"
3: Make disparaging strawfeminist remarks about older feminists
4: ???
5: Profit
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:13 PM on December 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


As a woman, you can’t not buy shoes and wear dresses.

riiiiight. because butch women aren't *really* women, right?


If any butch dykes need a footrub from walking around barefoot all day, I am more than happy to oblige.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:13 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


How about butch ladies who like teh cock?
posted by jessamyn at 2:17 PM on December 23, 2008


So this is what these threads turn into. Butch straight women meat markets.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:27 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


wait, what? ... whoah. i skimmed over the rainbow party comment early in this thread, assuming it was some kind of reference to the green-rainbow political party, because i live in the boston, ma, area and cannot see over the plow berm in my driveway with my limited scope of attention.

*blink*

well, then. um. those wacky kids and their urban legends.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:33 PM on December 23, 2008


I think India Knight got it right. I also think it's sad that smart women are so easily exploited by emphasizing their beauty while pretty women can be exploited similarly by praising their brains. Emotional intelligence needed!
posted by Maias at 2:36 PM on December 23, 2008


astro zombie: pretty soon, you end up with women striving to be butcher to get that foot-rubbing goodness. but that flannel-wearing scruffy butch look doesn't just happen. it takes WORK, maaaaan.

and then, too, you end up with the butch ladies trying to get foot rubs and TEH COCK. and that's just sheer debauchery. foot rubs and deep dicking. DOGS AND CATS LIVING TOGETHER. MASS HYSTERIA.

luckily, i have been wetware hacked to be biologically incapable of hysteria. HAW HAW HAW.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:36 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


How about butch ladies who like teh cock?

Maybe if they're.... oh I dunno... moderators of Metafilter. But you had better be wearing shoes, jessamyn. I've seen that snow.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:49 PM on December 23, 2008


not just shoes. SENSIBLE SHOES.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:52 PM on December 23, 2008


Are crocs sensible?
posted by jessamyn at 2:56 PM on December 23, 2008


depends on how many inches.

of snow.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:58 PM on December 23, 2008


shit. i just song-virused myself with that song "informer", off of "12 inches of snow"
posted by rmd1023 at 3:00 PM on December 23, 2008


Hey, looking butch does require work. Some of the most clothing-obssessed people I've know have been butch dykes. [/apropos of nothing, really]

And Pastabagel, what?

You are also the focus of attention, which can be turned into money. There is no political/social movement that is not at its core economic. The reason some
"bright female students" may participate in events like this is because their sex appeal can be used to promote them.


Um.... how does particular event create money for the winners? Do they get cash and prizes? Is so, so what? It's pretty transitory. I'm all for the economy of attention, but, you know, that idea's mostly metaphorical. There's this impression that good looks=money, but not without some kind of mechanism to exploit them.
posted by jokeefe at 3:14 PM on December 23, 2008


shit. i just song-virused myself with that song "informer", off of "12 inches of snow"

Some day, rmd1023, maybe next week, maybe years from now, someone will tap you on the shoulder. And that someone will be me. I am going to get you for this.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:15 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


that's what I was saying. People (male or female) get dolled up to attract a mate, which makes sense. The ones who do it for other reasons are generally doing it out of excessive self-regard.

So, I only wear makeup to job interviews. Why? Because I don't want to lose a job opportunity because I'm not conforming to the norm/pretty enough. Other than that, I've never worn makeup in my professional life, and I get hell from other women for it. How many men here have worn makeup to a job interview? Anyone? Oh, what was that thing you guys are expected to do just to be presentable that takes so much time? Bathing?
posted by threeturtles at 3:25 PM on December 23, 2008


Actually, being clean shaven is a prerequisite for a number of jobs.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:28 PM on December 23, 2008


Not saying it's really the same thing, mind you, but yes, in the professional world, men are also expected to conform to specific standards of attire and grooming. My neatly trimmed beard has disqualified me for jobs in the past (this was years ago, mind you, but I'm guessing it still happens more than you probably think).
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:32 PM on December 23, 2008


of snow.

I don't mean to be all creepy about this but I'm actually up the street from you right now if your Flickr is to be believed. So, you know all about the inches I'm seeing. But don't mind me, I'm on my way to Liquor World and I've put on sensible shoes for it.
posted by jessamyn at 3:34 PM on December 23, 2008


Liquor World??? Finally, a theme park I can get behind!!!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:37 PM on December 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


Finally, a theme park I can get behind!!!

A word to the wise: avoid the Tilt-A-Whirl.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:40 PM on December 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


HELLO JESSAMYN! WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD.
posted by rmd1023 at 3:41 PM on December 23, 2008


Christ, what a useless piece of "trend" journalism. This reads like something from the mid-nineties. Oh, wait- it's a barely trussed-up version of Tad Friend's February 1994 piece in Esquire, "The Rise of 'Do Me' Feminism." Same stilted dichotomies, different decade.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 3:46 PM on December 23, 2008


I fear that jokeefe knows me too well.
posted by ltracey at 3:48 PM on December 23, 2008


Eleven years ago, Backlash author Susan Faludi (India Knight role) word-wrestled Lipstick Proviso author Karen Lehrman (Gemma Soames role) about neo-feminism. Plus ça change.
posted by terranova at 4:04 PM on December 23, 2008


I'll take an unpopular stab at defending the New New New Feminists.

Feminism threatens some men, men who like having more power than women. These men insult feminists, call them ugly, butch, bra-burners, unfeminine, etc. Sadly, these epithets stick.

So along comes the latest generation of young women. They've heard those epithets. They don't want to be one of *those* feminists. They like boys and want boys to like them. And yet they'd also like to be treated like a human being.

So they proclaim, "I'm going to be a feminist who isn't one of the ugly, unfeminine ones!" Which is perfectly understandable. And it's not their fault that the "ugly, unfeminine feminist" is largely a myth created by men who are scared of women.
posted by straight at 4:20 PM on December 23, 2008 [13 favorites]


And bees.
posted by flabdablet at 4:37 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


straight, I think you have it totally right. I just remember when people were OMG-ing about this same topic in the early Nineties as foxy_hedgehog mentions.
posted by jessamyn at 4:38 PM on December 23, 2008


Yeah but I still feel like women who throw the Feminism baby out with the Manhating Bitches bathwater are featherheaded, poorly educated and weak-willed people-pleasers. So, way to confirm the oldest stereotypes of women for me, there, "I'm not a Feminist" crowd.

I guess I would rather have the word broadened by crappy writing nearly to the point of meaninglessness, pried open to allow inclusion of these purportedly empowered, informed, decisive adoptions of objectifying, consumerist pursuits, than outright disavowed. Its work is not done.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:49 PM on December 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


forget the word "butch", but what about being a woman who doesn't pay particular attention to things like shoes and shopping? I am female but sort of gender neutral in broad ways, in that I wear cords or jeans, and sneakers, and no make up and get my hair cut at super cuts. I don't think that much about girly stuff, or boyish stuff (i'm not a big time sports fan or video game player or whatever, either). I usually like things that people of either sex can be into - books, movies... metafilter, etc. I'd say I'm a feminist because it's important to me that my being female isn't an impediment to opportunities.

I have, on occasion, dressed up in a girly way (just like I've on occasion gone to baseball games or boxing matches, just for random "let's try this" fun) but it's not something I do regularly or consider part of my everyday personality... When I've done it, I almost feel like I'm dressing in drag, that I'm making a spectacle of myself. You're no longer just a participant in the world, but you feel as if you are the object of attention. I would think it alters the mode of interchange one has with the world to live in that frame of mind. Which is not to say people can't choose to live that way, men and women, but simply that no one should feel that they ought to simply because of the sex they were born into...
posted by mdn at 4:52 PM on December 23, 2008 [5 favorites]


MetaFilter: You know all about the inches I'm seeing
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:54 PM on December 23, 2008


I hate fashion, and old wave feminists at least gave me something of a credible club to bash it with. Now the feminists are for glittery heels. Fuck.
posted by saysthis at 4:59 PM on December 23, 2008


Feminism threatens some men

It threatens a lot of women, too, and the most in-your-face of first- and second-wave feminists weren't shy about providing some pretty harsh criticism of other women's choices. The (fourth? fifth? new?)-wave feminists are, I think, working really hard to not only be less alienating to "regular guys," but also to mainstream, non-politicized women.

I think there is a lot worth criticizing about this approach, but at the same time over the years this has tended to be the strand of feminist thought that speaks most strongly to the women my age I have known the best, so I've had a lot of chances to talk about it and reflect.

To me, its best feature is its embrace of contradiction -- the acknowledgment right up front and center that there is a tension between the pleasures and costs of, for example, dressing sexily, and that there is power in this tension. Done wrong, it's a facile attempt to "have your cake and eat it, too"; done right, it has a tremendous connection with where and how many younger women are living their lives every day.
posted by Forktine at 5:02 PM on December 23, 2008 [6 favorites]


When I've done it, I almost feel like I'm dressing in drag, that I'm making a spectacle of myself. You're no longer just a participant in the world, but you feel as if you are the object of attention. I would think it alters the mode of interchange one has with the world to live in that frame of mind.

And ltracey, I think that mdn knows me too well. Heh.

On a more serious note, I can't help but be bothered all to hell about women who say that they're not feminists while quite happily making use of, and taking for granted, the hard won freedoms and recognition of their rights that their foremothers marched, fought, went to jail, and in some cases died for. The day you feel like giving up your property, your vote, your job, your freedom of movement, your contraception, and your education, then you can reject feminism all you like, say I.
posted by jokeefe at 5:17 PM on December 23, 2008 [7 favorites]


Some day, rmd1023, maybe next week, maybe years from now, someone will tap you on the shoulder. And that someone will be me. I am going to get you for this.

Are you saying you'll licky his boom-boom down?
posted by stet at 5:23 PM on December 23, 2008


Well done, Forktine.

Yes, to me it's the embrace of contradiction, living life as much as possible in a generative synthesis of self and culture, which is, I think, to some extent a product of that "feminine" attribute, social intelligence. When the ability to read cultural cues is ardently applied, and combined with the forward push to equal access to power, a panoply of varying performances are possible.

As for the power this creates, and I'm not claiming to be a poster girl for this ideal, but I'm a pretty dressy feminist, though hardly a fashion plate, more overdetermined than trendy, I'll certainly attest to feeling this, and thriving on it for 15 years now. I was "intimidating" through high school and college, as a very assertive, smart and flirty/dirtytalking girl in done-up hair and heels. Pretty much blew boys out of the water, I guess. Not always a good thing. I have... pretty much never... been asked out. I've done the asking. So one of the downsides of marrying coded-feminine "glamour sex-object" projected image with a personality that clearly communicates NOT A SEX OBJECT, PWNAGE IMMINENT is losing that "feminine" approachability, I think.

You're no longer just a participant in the world, but you feel as if you are the object of attention. I would think it alters the mode of interchange one has with the world to live in that frame of mind.

Well, sometimes I up and forget that I'm wearing something weird or that I'm "overdressed" for the occasion, and then someone remarks on it and I get a little shy, but I always try to costume for my own mood and pleasure, you know? I do own t-shirts! We can't rely on other people to make us feel beautiful, or cute, or confident, or whatever. May as well do it ourselves, all the way, all the time!! That's one of the messages from old-fashioned feminine dress-sense that I truck with: it can make you feel put-together. It's paying attention to yourself, which yes, models that behavior for others.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:29 PM on December 23, 2008


Seriously, if you showed up well dressed but without lipstick, would you get fired? Or without earrings?
Nope. I do forget to wear lipstick and occasionally leave off the earrings. I'm a department chair and I have spectacular job security where I work. Taking one's profession seriously isn't generally motivated by the fear of getting fired, or if it is YUR DOIN IT RONG.
posted by Peach at 5:49 PM on December 23, 2008


in other words: the judgement of others. a different kind from mate-attracting, but judgement just the same.
Nah, it implies I'm judging THEM :)
posted by Peach at 5:53 PM on December 23, 2008


Oh, what was that thing you guys are expected to do just to be presentable that takes so much time? Bathing?

Being clean-shaven, and dressing up in a fucking three-piece monkey suit for anything that isn't unskilled labour. (Because people can see how I dress over a phone....!?) But yes, you're spot-on, clearly my only requirement is to arrive, de-loused, with a pulse and an operational opposable thumb. (They used to demand both thumbs worked; someone complained.)

We all have our stupid-ass dances we have to do, to prove we're "the right person" before we even open our mouths. Please don't pretend otherwise.
posted by Dark Messiah at 7:27 PM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


-oneirodynia: You seem to think no one would wear lipstick or work out just because they might want to for their own reasons.
-jonmc: No, I'm saying that 'their own reasons' are usually excessive self-regard or vanity.


Have you ever worn lipstick? I think not, or you would realize how wrong your broad sweeping statement is. Putting on makeup can be a lot of fun. Maybe you should give it a whirl.
Wanting to make yourself presentable whether you are male or female isn't a bad thing and it can be a lot of fun. Just don't carry it to extremes.
posted by silkygreenbelly at 10:55 PM on December 23, 2008


Putting on makeup can be a lot of fun. Maybe you should give it a whirl.

Only if that job at Ringling Brothers comes through.
posted by jonmc at 8:02 AM on December 24, 2008


Lipstick lesbians. Lipstick feminists. Lipstick politicians.

I smell a conspiracy.
posted by rokusan at 10:18 AM on December 24, 2008


I smell a conspiracy.

Shhh! Big Lipstick has spies everywhere.
posted by electroboy at 10:44 AM on December 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


There are so many more interesting things to talk about regarding feminism than this, but thanks for making a facile post about a complicated issue so people can make their asinine rainbow party jokes and feel that they're contributing to any sort of discussion.

Oh for fuck's sake. I made a crappy joke in reference to a fully debunked phenomenon discussed in a lengthy metafilter thread (that, as I recall, I made a couple of comments about how retarded the idea was) and now I'm some sort of boyzone dipshit?

Jesus.
posted by maxwelton at 3:42 PM on December 24, 2008


dressing up in a fucking three-piece monkey suit for anything that isn't unskilled labour

Men don't really wear three piece suits anymore. (In D.C., anyway.) The fact that you don't know this does not seem to have gotten in your way, professionally.
posted by onlyconnect at 10:01 AM on December 26, 2008


Men don't really wear three piece suits anymore. (In D.C., anyway.) The fact that you don't know this does not seem to have gotten in your way, professionally.

The fact I don't live in DC, and you don't know my profession doesn't seem to get in your way of being a snide prick.
posted by Dark Messiah at 1:35 PM on December 26, 2008


With all due respect, dude, even if, as this article suggests, the three piece suit has recently made a small comeback since the seventies, wearing them to work everyday is certainly not de rigeur, even in Ontario. Unless you are Justin Timberlake or P. Diddy. Men don't "need" to get dressed up in "three piece monkey suits" anymore. They have more freedom. I think you are adhering to an outdated, forty year old fashion standard, and my point is that this is a luxury that most professional women are not afforded when it comes to fashion.
posted by onlyconnect at 5:56 AM on December 27, 2008


MetaFilter: angry young women in duffel coats protested at cute young women in ball gowns.

It's in the article. Seriously.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:10 AM on December 27, 2008


*sighs, links to Sarah Bunting's essay "Yes, You Are" and leaves*
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:14 PM on December 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Actually, I think men have less freedom than women when it comes to work attire. Appropriate male office attire is pretty well defined (button up shirt, slacks, sometimes tie and jacket), appropriate women's office attire is much less rigid.
posted by electroboy at 7:58 AM on December 30, 2008


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