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Update on Beauty: WMDT?

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


  1. If you shave your legs you have to shave your toes and the tops of your feet or you'll look like you're wearing hair socks and who wants to sport that look?

    I shave my legs, my toes, the top of my feet and the parts of my back I can reach with my razor; which means there's probably a big think patch of curly back hair somewhere between my shoulder blades. I'll have to ask Andrea if she's seen it.

    I'm guessing you weren't thinking about the male "characters" from Jersey Shore as your average male. Those guys wear more make-up than a clown and look like one. I've only seen snippets of Jersey shore but I have visted Pennsylvania, which is close to New Jersey and actually seen people who look like the characters from Jersey Shore. It was like being on safari except you couldn't shoot them. To bad.

  2. I think you can add "Plucking eyebrows" to the list. (Although, men trim nose and ear hair...and we don't do that).

  3. Jay - I was actually thinking about all you cycling/triathalon guys shaving your legs. Props! And although I haven't seen the Jersey Short but I really do support people doing their own thing!

    I do take umbrage with your over-generalization about feet and toe hair though...I don't look like I'm wearing hair socks!!

  4. Taben - yes! Plucking eyebrows may be another one although I might want to do a survey on that. Jon shaves between his brows every so often and has me pluck a few stray hairs when they appear.

    Thank goodness that I don't have excessive nose and ear hair!

  5. Yay Ellen! Welcome to my world!


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