Saturday, August 25, 2007

from Feministe

I was greatly enjoying a bit of back and forth with La Lubu at Feministe in this thread, but I can't publish my latest comment, so here it is. Please feel free to continue it, comment, etc... Please do NOT feel free to bring up that tired, old, ad hominem nonsense about different types of feminist that plagued the original thread; I honestly don't care.

La Lubu @ 546:

It was heady—the idea that I too, could be beautiful—just by going with (instead of against) my natural hair. And all it took was a couple minutes with a comb. … Even the beauty culture can be a site of resistance.

I think this is important – and it’s part of why a multitude of women with a multitude of appearances doing a multitude of things and having both positive and negative characteristics – including racial appearance and culture, and body-ability levels like blind and wheel-chair bound characters.

560: What is feminist beauty? Where are the lines drawn? Who draws those lines? That’s a conversation we need to be having,

Good questions!

I’m an aesthetic, which means I value beauty over just about anything else, morally speaking, so I’ve some serious time invested in defining and understanding beauty as I see it. I think one major facet to feminist beauty as personal expression is that it be coming from an authentic place and that the entire process of being beautiful is enjoyable in of itself, not just as a means to an end. The “live in” aspects of the body needs to be central.

I think the lines are fuzzy around the edges and should be. Personal standards vary incredibly widely; for instance, I adore funky, high contrast looks, even if I can’t wear them (and I can’t – le sigh) but others don’t. The fact that others don’t doesn’t mean that funky, high contrast looks should suddenly be deemed not-$foo.

I think the lines are drawn where the individual meets the society, and change with individuals and the strength of their inner conviction. I can personally find something attractive in the appearance of any person I meet if I look, and while droll and snot completely gross me out, I can admire people who inadvertently do both (babies, for example) with a clean cloth in hand. ;) I'm particularly ofnd of sub-culture conforming appearances, though, like very punky Punks or very gothy Goths.

To tie this back into women and their appearance, there was a recent thread here (I think?) where hair was discussed, and Pam (of Pam's House Blend) 's experiences with her hair and how she found finally a reasonably easy, attractive style for her hair by listening to it, after years of trying to have it conform to an external standard. There is something in taking what one has and building off of it instead of detracting from it that I think is incredibly beautiful, both in appearance and action.