Saturday, October 14, 2006

Hot Enough to be Feminist (see also: tough enough to wear pink)

Feminist Ashley Judd

My 13-year-old male cousin is a jock -- a guy's guy. According to him, there are two kinds of guys who wear pink: 1) the homo-or-metrosexual and 2) the secure-in-his-manhood tough guy. He and his friends are the latter. They actually have pink shirts that say "tough enough to wear pink". And yes, they are considered to be the tough guys in school.

How the heck does this relate to feminism? I often get surprised looks when people find out I'm a feminist. They don't expect someone like me (skinny, blonde) to wear that label. They have blindly accepted the conservative rhetoric that only ugly butch chicks are feminists. And the only reason they're feminists is because guys don't think they're hot. Right?

I completely disagree. If you're an ugly straight chick looking for a man (any man), your best strategy is to not be a feminist.* Face it: you're not going to get a guy based on your hotness. My advice is to bend over and take it, and maybe some guy will bite. Better learn to cook, sweetie, and of course you need to swallow. You must also get an A+ in Ego Stroking 101.**

That is.... only if snagging a man is your #1 goal. If not, then ignore my advice!

This is not to imply that women who enjoy cooking and swallowing are doormats. Many women, including feminists, enjoy these activities. But these things are not required unless you're... you know.

But if you're ugly and landing a man isn't your top priority, then your best strategy is to be a feminist (and by feminist I don't mean member of NOW, I just mean you demand to be treated like a human being). You can do whatever you want because you'd rather just be yourself than change yourself to meet someone else's demands. And since not all men are jerks, it's still quite possible you'll find one who loves you despite the fact you're neither attractive nor a personal maid.** He may even appreciate your brain, which would mean you found a really great guy.

Now that I've covered the ugly chicks, let's move on to the attractive ones. Everyone knows that if you're attractive, you can do whatever the frak you want with regard to men. You can be feminist, anti-feminist, or spoiled princess. Many guys (not all) will want to date you regardless of the path you take.

I am not drop-dead-gorgeous, but people consider me attractive enough to "get away with" being a feminist (remember I live in Iowa where like 85% of the population is unattractive, so the bar isn't set real high). This point was driven home in comment #84 by twf on this Feminste post:***
And yes, there are certain men who like “guy’s girls,” the ones who drink and belch and watch football, but as others have mentioned, it only counts if she’s also conventionally beautiful and does the beauty work. Women can only defy one stereotype at a time and still be considered attractive by men socialized in a certain way.
To which I replied in comment #94 (emphasis added here):
Oh crap, that’s me. And it’s something I never wanted to admit. The only reason it is acceptable for me to play drums, watch football, and belch obnoxiously is because guys think I’m attractive enough to get away with it. Being attractive can give you the freedom to do the things you really want to do - the “boy” things, that is. I think that’s why I can’t bring myself to cut my hair, even though I know it would make my life easier and would give me more time for all my manly hobbies.
To which zuzu replied in #95:
Yeah, seriously. See how comfortable guys are with football lovin’, beer drinkin’, belchin’, scratchin’ bulldykes.
And when arwen brought social class into the mix, I said in #100:
Even as a working class feminist, though, looks mattered. Not only could I get away with having manly hobbies, I could also get away with being a feminist. This was mostly due to being skinny with long blonde hair. Guys still wanted to date me and even pretended to be feminists, just so they could parade around with a skinny chick who had ample boobage. I remember the first time I posted a feminist opinion on a message board and got all these hostile reactions. I couldn’t figure out why…. guys had always thought my feminist opinions were cool. Then I figured it out. These message board guys couldn’t see me. They assumed I was the hairy butch feminist and were therefore hostile to any feminist opinion I had.
Which is how this relates to being "hot enough to be feminist".

Obviously, not all hotties take the feminist path. Some choose to be doormats because they need the constant approval and are afraid to challenge the status quo. Or perhaps religion has convinced them they're inferior (yeah mom, I'm talking 'bout you). Other hotties may choose the princess path (the "it's my world and you're just living in it" approach). The princess path isn't about equality; it's about thinking you're better than someone else. It's not real feminism, it's just reverse sexism. But I suppose that's the lure of being the Empowerful Woman. And achieving empowerfulness is probably why so many naturally plain chicks try so! hard! to be pretty and engage in expensive, time-consuming beauty rituals that don't produce much of an effect.**** (Yeah, I said it. Your glitter lipgloss and fake tan don't hide your assymmetrical features. Okay?)


*I believe this is the approach anti-feminist Charlotte Allen has taken, and for good reason!

**All of this is null and void if you have money. If you have money, you can always afford a man. I recommend a poor-but-hot young college student. Then trade him in after he graduates and starts to make money. Unless he majored in liberal arts. If he majored in liberal arts, he'll still need your money.

***The post I'm referring to was written by Jill (who is drop-dead-gorgeous) and it has helped me face my own demons with regard to being a "fun feminist".

****If you're a beauty product junkie, I recommend reading Paula Begoun's work. This isn't an attempt to reform you of your beauty habits, but rather to inform you of which products and procedures really work -- and which ones don't. Begoun's work is based on independent, scientific reseach as opposed to hokey marketing ploys.

Comments:
Dearest Redneck,

You seem like a nice person. Literate even. But this post isn't nice at all.

You're suggesting that women who aren't conventially attractive are somehow less valuable, and must settle for what they can get. That isn't true.

If a woman is awesome, then she is awesome whether or not any man ever recognizes her worth.

And really, unless a woman is in show business she doesn't need to be attractive to most men. All she needs is that one special man, who truly loves her and appreciates her for herself.

Haven't you noticed that many conventially beautiful woman like Christie Brinkley never find lasting love, while many less conventionally attractive women like Rhea Perlman and Maria Shriver seem to have it all?

Thiks about it!

Fondly,
Awesome Goddess
 
"You're suggesting that women who aren't conventially attractive are somehow less valuable, and must settle for what they can get."

That is exactly what I'm suggesting. I am trying to approach this from the perspective of the chauvinst pig and expose his/her logical fallacies. This is how we rednecks are raised!

"If a woman is awesome, then she is awesome whether or not any man ever recognizes her worth."

Yes, dearest goddess, you are correct. I am happy to have brought out the inner feminist in you. That is, in fact, the reaction I was trying to get.

Perhaps I am not so literate if I wasn't able to get my point across.
 
I think that’s why I can’t bring myself to cut my hair, even though I know it would make my life easier and would give me more time for all my manly hobbies.

In other words, female empowerment derives from your attractiveness to men. Feminism is an entirely independent variable from that. The way you are treated by others correlates to your hotness, not societal beliefs (this applies to men as well).

Which is the whole evolutionary dynamic that leading feminists tried to overturn. Because they were unattractive, they wanted to remove the beauty advantage (by deriding it as "objectification") and handicap beautiful women so they could compete with them better. To be honest, they simply hated beautiful women and the men who loved them.
 
Thank you for commenting on my blog, byrdeye. I welcome all viewpoints here, and especially appreciate dissenting comments that are also respectful.

There are pros and cons to being attractive. I still think that, even in 2006, people have a hard time accepting that a pretty woman can also be smart. And I think that is sexist. One thing I like about feminism is that it recognizes attractive women are more than just nice T&A. I also think I wouldn't have a degree, a good job, or a drumset if it wasn't for the opportunities feminism has given me.

There are probably some radical anti-sex, anti-beauty people out there who call themselves feminists. I don't waste my time on them, though, because life is too short!

I agree that there are valid criticims of mainstream feminism like NOW and FMF. I am not a member of any organization, probably because I am too individualistic. This is OT, but I bet you would be surprised how I feel about bias against fathers, alimony, and child support. I hope you will keep an open mind to other kinds of feminism.
 
"How the heck does this relate to feminism? I often get surprised looks when people find out I'm a feminist. They don't expect someone like me (skinny, blonde) to wear that label. They have blindly accepted the conservative rhetoric that only ugly butch chicks are feminists."

Anyone who actually understands feminism knows that this is not true.

People who understand feminism know that is the elevation of the feminine. That it is the expression of the female psyche and soul.

Anyone who argues otherwise, saying that thin blondes cannot be feminist are full of shit.
 
"There are probably some radical anti-sex, anti-beauty people out there who call themselves feminists. I don't waste my time on them, though, because life is too short!"

And also, because they are not feminists!

All feminism is based on sexual liberalism, and as such cannot be "anti-sex".

As for "anti-beauty feminism".. did you coin that just there!?!?
 
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