We can’t talk about feminism without giving a nod to our foremothers; Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Ida B. Wells, and the hundreds of other women who devoted their lives to making the world a better place for women, children and minorities. Susan B. Anthony spent her adulthood in the city where I currently reside, and her home is one of my favorite museums. It’s just a standard middle-class Victorian house, but what happened within its walls literally changed the world.
I identify as a feminist; I know the label carries a lot of negative connotations, but I embrace it. I believe there still exists real inequality in the world for women, people of color, the LGBT community, religious minorities, etc. I acknowledge the privilege that I have, being a middle-class white woman in a heterosexual relationship in the U.S. and know that we’ve come a long way, but there’s still work to be done. The beauty community is no exception.
One day recently I was sitting in my living room accidentally watching the Stephanie Nicole video in which she talks about her perspective on the Tarte controversy, which I wasn’t really interested in hearing because let’s be honest, it’s been done to death. Her take on it is also kind of weird to me; you’re saying that it makes sense from a financial standpoint but that Tarte could have done a better job and the fact that they didn’t is ignorant? How do you take both sides of an argument like that?
Anyway, I don’t normally watch her videos but somehow this ended up in my auto-playlist. One minute I was watching Grav3yard Girl test something weird, and the next minute I’m listening to Stephanie Nicole. Normally that would be fine, even if I have to listen to another person talk about Tarte. What struck me was, within the first minute, she mentioned changing her hair and said that her subscribers could keep their “backhanded compliments”, like that it looked better than before, to themselves. Ok, I get that people can be shitty, but that seems like an extra defensive thing to say. But then she said “Especially if you have ‘feminist’ anywhere in your bio. Then you can lick the entirety of my ass.”
So this makes me think some things. First, it makes me wonder what the hell kind of people comment on her videos. If this is something you need to say in the first 60 seconds of your video, are the trolls after you in force?
Secondly, why are you taking issue with feminists in particular? Have feminists done something to you? Do you feel personally victimized by feminists?
That might be kind of a silly question; I know that certain schools of feminist thought are vehemently opposed to things like makeup and the beauty industry in general, but it seems like they’d have better things to do than comment on beauty videos. I watch a lot of beauty YouTube and I’ve never seen comments like this from feminists, but I guess they could exist. I know that I personally have been accused of being a bad feminist for wearing makeup and advocating for others to do the same. Something about giving in to societal pressure to be ornamental, or the male gaze, or something.
What the people accusing me of this don’t seem to understand is that I wear makeup for me. I think that I look fine without it, but I enjoy wearing it and playing around with it. When I’m going into unfamiliar situations it becomes my armor. I’m chronically ill and I spend a lot of time faking it ’till I make it just to be a person in the world, and makeup helps me do that. Not that some mascara and lipstick help my illnesses, but I at least feel like I can face the world when I’m wearing it. It’s not just makeup to me.
What do you think about feminism vs. beauty? Can we co-exist? Do you identify as a feminist?