“She is so shallow!” : Devaluing a woman’s work.

Society looks like it is on a mission to delegitimize every single platform in which women can express themselves, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop anytime soon, so grab your popcorns because this post is about to get really, really angry.

If I tell you to stop and think of the ONE thing that women have more say than men, what will you come up with?

Go on, I’ll give you 30 seconds.

Did you get it?

You probably came up with a couple (maybe not too much), but in this particular post, I’m going to ramble about the fashion industry.

VOGUE

Ta – da.

Although more recently a lot of men have become more and more conscious of what they are wearing, the art of fashion remain something that is inherently female.  For centuries, women have created trends and set them on society. From long and puffy dresses with ruffles to crop tees and shorts, women have long been able to make art out of pieces of cloth. The same is true with makeup, women are using their own bodies as platforms of expressing art, and they have essentially perfected the art of eyeliner.

 

ALIS

I will never achieve this level of dexterity.

Yet, what do we say to people who are trendy and wear makeup?

We call them ‘shallow’.

If they happen to be guys, we call them ‘girly’. And also ‘shallow’.

Why is it that although we call ourselves feminists, although we believe in the equality of the genders, we criticize probably the one and only platform in which the works of a woman can be as legitimate, even more than, that of a man?

Why is something that is a generally acceptable form of expression for women labeled as ‘vain’?

Well, remember when I said sexism against women exists in almost every level of society? Even amongst women? This is something that has been so internalized that if you don’t know what to look out for, you wouldn’t even know it’s there.

The dismissal of fashion as something that is trivial is a very, very, very subtle form of sexism. And yet it is still sexism. Women have few enough forms of expression as it is, and with fashion, women are allowed an uncharacteristic amount of freedom.

Which is of course why our patriarchal society must devalue it. Because it is a ‘woman’s art form’.

Yes, I know that a lot of guys are into fashion as well, and more to those guys. You go, boys. Rock those chino pants. However, like it or not, being stylish is something that is very primarily female, and this is why society treats it as trivial.

Because society treats women as trivial.

What makes me really sad is that labeling stylish women (and men) as ‘superficial’ is mostly done by fellow women. I cannot even begin to describe how internalized sexism has become that women judge other women (and some men) according to standards that are set by our misogynistic society.

GOSIP

(There is also the silly, silly, and almost idiotic notion that women dress up stylishly for men to see, for male approval. This is not true for a lot of women. Women dress up to express themselves, not to grab men’s attention. Not to be hit on while walking down the street because she is wearing a cute summer dress, and ultimately, NOT TO BE RAPED BECAUSE HER SHORT SKIRT WAS ‘ASKING FOR IT’.)

So the next time you see someone with full on makeup wearing a fancy little black dress, stop muttering “That person is so shallow” under your breath. The next time you see someone maybe wearing hoop earrings and a mismatched cardigan, stop that sniggering. The next time a person, man or woman, tells you “I really want to be good at applying eyeliner”, don’t roll your eyes, because a person should not be discouraged from expressing his/herself, because no form of art should be devalued just because it is primarily female.

Anyways, down with the patriarchy.

Now, what did you say about me being an angry feminist again?

Cynthia Natalia Ongga – 016201200122

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