Femme Appreciation Day

TRACEY-SPICER-p90-2-1bbtls0So, a day or two ago I shared a Tracey Spicer TED talk in which she goes on an on about how much more productive women would be if we weren’t held to ridiculous beauty standards and didn’t spend so much time on them. I made some wry comment about how judging from myself I don’t think women would be doing much more than fighting even more with strangers on the Internet.

Folks responded at length, and I realized that I had more to say about this: I think women get enough shit from society without getting EVEN MORE SHIT for being girly, which honestly is what I sort of felt like she was doing. (I will admit I did not have the patience to watch it all; her endless litany of self-loathing at the beginning for merely working out and putting on makeup and support hose was too offputting for me. Perhaps she later gets more compassionate toward other women like her. EDIT: a friend who actually watched it all says: “The end of the video is about self awareness and mindful choice of what rituals of feminine conformity are worth it.” Great! I am truly glad to hear this. I still think the intro to the video, and the reams of other femme-shaming stuff out there, is a problem.)

I know there is much more pressure on women in other professions to meet a beauty standard than on freelance writers. This is a real problem.

But one of the examples she gave was that it takes the average woman 27 minutes to get ready for work in the morning. Um. It takes me way longer than that, and all I have to do is shower, slather goo on my face and in my hair, throw on some possibly dirty jeans and a Tshirt, eat, and drink tea. If women are doing this amazing other regimen she describes in 27 minutes, hats off to them! Maybe she’s right and a woman with that sort of ruthless efficiency of movement WOULD be able to take over the world with that time added to her day. I have no idea. I am not one of those women.

I guess I just want to say this: femininity is as genuine, real, and lovable as masculinity. Femmes are GORGEOUS, smart, and celebratory of who they are as people. One of my favorite femmes is also wicked good with power tools and carpentry (oh hai Dena Landon Stoll). Many of them are also queer as fuck.

Women who really enjoy the ritual and sensual pleasures of grooming should not be made to feel as if they are somehow less because of this. It pisses me off.

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6 thoughts on “Femme Appreciation Day

  1. “Women who really enjoy the ritual and sensual pleasures of grooming should not be made to feel as if they are somehow less because of this” – please don’t forget, this applies to us Butch sorts who love the rituals and grooming that apply to us as well.

    I think the true issue under all this is not whether the person enjoys the ritual, the look, etc., but that we are JUDGED by others based on whether and how we do it, both positively and negatively.

    • This, so much. I’ve grown up consistently hearing from my parents “You *would* be so pretty, *if only* you’d wear makeup!” I’ve never enjoyed the whole makeup/nails thing. If other women do, great, I’m not gonna tell them they can’t. But it’s not my thing, and never has been. My husband frequently tells me that one of the things he loves about me is that I’m a “low maintenance” gal. Why do my family members, and others, think that what I look like is more important than what’s in my mind and in my heart?

    • Not forgetting butches. But this piece wasn’t about butch women. It was about femmes, and feminine-appearing behavior/dress/makeup.

    • (Not trying to be dismissive; perhaps some day I’ll write about people demanding to know if I’m a boy or a girl, screaming: LESBIAN at me in the school hallways, and my own mother’s horror at the way I presented my gender. This piece was just not about that.)

  2. Normally I would never comment on someone’s blog with a link to some other article, but I clicked through (from your AMAZING story in Apex — congrats!!), after I had just this morning read a wonderful article by a novelist, asking why smart women weren’t supposed to be well-dressed and well-groomed.

    http://www.elle.com/life-love/personal-style/personal-essay-on-style-by-chimamanda-ngozi-adichie

    I love what she wrote and how she wrote it. And I loved what you wrote and how you wrote it, so I thought you might appreciate her piece, too.

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