Patriarchy is a pedophile – Why else does “feminine” always mean “sexualized little girl”? **TW rape** by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir

I used to love to wear makeup. My mother (Goddess rest her wonderful soul) wore a ton of makeup; she was known as a beauty – compared by friends and acquaintances to Elizabeth Taylor her entire life. So when I neared puberty, I happily reached for the mascara, eyeshadow, and lipstick, assuming this was just a natural and fun part of growing up. It being the 80’s, eye shadow was plentiful… much of it blue.

I got better at making my painted face look more “natural” throughout the 90’s, but I still wore makeup almost every day, as a routine part of getting dressed. It seemed fun, but harmless. Then I dated an abusive man for four years in college, and he encouraged (pressured, shamed) me to wear yet more makeup, in much more dramatic (sleazy) styles. To please (appease, placate) him, I was soon sporting shiny red lipstick, long red-polished fingernails, high spiky heels, bleached hair, and tiny dresses from the Frederik’s of Hollywood catalog. And lots, and lots of makeup. I perfected the posture of chin down, eyes looking up through my lashes, dainty steps and swaying hips, voice soft and high pitched. I knew at the time that he demanded I look and act that way for two reasons: Continue reading “Patriarchy is a pedophile – Why else does “feminine” always mean “sexualized little girl”? **TW rape** by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir”

Participating in Beauty Culture

I…liked how we were neither dogmatic in our judgments (i.e., no one played the role of feminist fashion police), nor laissez-faire in thinking that ‘anything goes’—after all, feminists were the ones who had popularized the slogan the ‘personal is political.'”

At the most recent Society of Christian Ethics annual meeting, I got into an impromptu late night discussion with several women friends about why some of us participate in “beauty culture” and how we feel as feminist Christian ethicists and moral theologians about our decisions. Each of us shared why we have chosen to wear make-up (or not), keep up with fashion (or not), dye our hair grey to mask the signs of aging (or not), or put in the effort to maintain a certain physique (or not). We also addressed what role our own mothers and larger communities have played in our decision-making processes.

Since it is certainly not my place to reveal what others disclosed behind closed doors over wine, let me expand upon a few things I shared that night. Continue reading “Participating in Beauty Culture”

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