As you know, I thought a lot about what beauty items I needed to bring with me on this trip:
And I revisited this topic later on the US portion of the trip:
Then we went to Europe.
Women seem to use a whole lot less makeup and hair products in Europe. All of a sudden, I didn't feel odd for not wearing makeup. I was surrounded by beautiful, natural women who looked like they got up in the morning, took a shower, put on nice clothes and walked out the door just like men.*
So not only did it make me feel normalized to be surrounded by women with seemingly similar beauty regimens, but it changed the way I viewed women. They became more real and more beautiful to me.
This got me thinking seriously about the "beauty" requirements in our country** and I came up with a system to help me decipher which ones are one sided. I am calling it WMDT: Would Men Do This?
Let's give it a try, shall we?***
Women, what did I miss? Oh, I remember another one: shaving the tops of our feet and toes. I actually didn't even realize that was somewhere I was supposed to shave until a guy pointed it out to me in my 20s. You know, letting me know what beauty standard I wasn't adhering to. The standard of hairless feet and toes. WTF?
I am not against makeup and hair products and shaving legs (or feet or toes). I am against the homogenization of beauty and the one size fits all standard. I guess I just want the men and women in our society to reject the manipulative and unsatisfying standards fed to us by corporations and others vying to make us feel insecure so that we will buy more stuff.
Is that too much to ask? :)
*Just in case anyone out there wants to argue with me, I am not saying that no one wears makeup in Europe, just that there are more women going either without or with considerable less than I am used to seeing.
**As I am a white woman, I am attuned mostly to the beauty standards I feel apply to me. I know that there are additional costly and sometimes unhealthy standards and requirements for women of color.
***I used the typical male that I interact with on a daily basis as my yardstick. For simplicity reasons, I left out the groups of men who do engage in one or more of those beauty tasks. These men choose to do so in the face of a societal mandate that to be a man is to wear Old Spice and shun all things feminine. Props to those men; anyone who chooses to challenge the societal status quo, whether it is women rejecting the beauty standard or men adopting customs or behaviors that are labeled as feminine gets a big vote of support from me.
Photo courtesy of eflon