It’s never been so confusing to be a feminist says EMILY HILL
If a man told me that I don’t look “real” or “human” in my makeup, I would be furious.
So, in the name of gender equality, I must also defend my right to paint my face with all kinds of cosmetics against the brilliant actress Vicky McClure.
Promoting her role in the crime thriller Trigger Point, the 38-year-old revealed she’s stripped bare in the name of authenticity.
“I didn’t want the character to make a big deal out of his looks,” the 38-year-old told Radio Times.
“She is real and human. There is so much pressure on people, especially via social networks. I would like to send a kind of message, showing people that you don’t really need makeup.
Vicky McClure, 38 (pictured) went nude for her role in ITV crime drama Trigger Point to show people you don’t really need makeup
Emily Hill (pictured) admits the modern feminist movement has made her wonder if she’s a feminist, while saying Vicky McClure’s so-called feminist assertion could be seen as decidedly anti-feminist
You can see where she is coming from. In an era of digital enhancement, where women are flaunting hyper-smooth skin and unrealistic pouts on social media, and little girls believe they should aspire to it, Vicky is, I think, trying to redress the balance.
This message from a celebrity may make some women feel liberated, but it may also hurt those of us who wear makeup.
After all, we women know we don’t need makeup. But many of us really like it. We want to wear it – and not because men tell us to. In my experience, too many things terrify poor darlings.
The boom of Instagram and selfies, and the consequent demand for lavish makeup, may have turned the cosmetics industry into a multi-million pound giant, but the truth is that women have been wearing cosmetics for eons, from Jezebel and Cleopatra to contouring queen Kim Kardashian.
Makeup is not a modern assignment. However we use it – to hide blemishes or mask a lack of confidence, or simply to play with the image we present to the world – these magic makeup brushes help us feel better about ourselves. . And that doesn’t make us “inauthentic.”
I don’t think I need to look a certain way for men, nor will I be deterred from looking the way I want because it offends other women. I do it for myself, for my own pleasure, like so many women do. And I don’t see why it’s so shocking. Do you advise me to take a bath only for the good of someone else?
So I can’t help but think that McClure’s supposedly feminist assertion could be seen as decidedly anti-feminist.
Emily said no matter what you decide, someone will tell you you’re wrong. Pictured: contouring queen Kim Kardashian
Other women go further, telling makeup lovers like me that we give up our gender by primping ourselves.
There is a puritanical tendency in the modern feminist movement, which has moved away from the simple struggle for rights.
So much so that I’m starting to worry about not being a feminist, if my reaction to “fashionable” feminism is that I mean feminists to let women make their own choices – whether to wear false eyelashes or want to stay – Mom at home.
In fact, faced with the minefield that feminism is for the modern woman, it is difficult to know what this term means. Once upon a time, Julie Burchill wrote that there were two types of women: feminists and idiots. Either you were for freedom and equality with men, or you were against it. And for a moment, it really seemed that simple.
Women should be able to make their own choices
Now you are faced with terms like “intersectional” feminism [how women’s rights cross with issues including race and sexuality], ‘pretty privilege’, TERF [trans-exclusionary radical feminist], and any other kind of enlightened naming. Confuses? I certainly am.
Even more disconcerting, no matter what you decide, someone will tell you that you are wrong. Like supporting the creator of Harry Potter, JK Rowling. You’re a bad feminist if you do, because she supports women-only locker rooms (a feminist cause if ever there was one) and is seen as anti-trans.
You didn’t want Hillary Clinton to be president of the United States? You’re a bad feminist because you should always support sisterhood.
Emily said the Spice Girls (pictured) fought for our right to wear anything in the 1990s, while followers of the Gloria Steinem School of Feminism believe all women should avoid bras , makeup and body sculpting exercises.
Don’t you think we’re living in a modern-day handmaid’s tale? You’re a bad feminist because you don’t believe that every man has the capacity to be a rapist.
So is it any wonder that a growing number of us find this kind of feminism a bit, shall we say, off-putting?
Part of the frustration is that we thought – we hoped – that we had resolved so many of these feuds decades ago. Crucial advances were made in the 1980s toward eliminating the Madonna versus whore distinction that discriminated against a certain type of woman who reveled in her sexuality. The Material Girl herself is proof of that.
In 1990s ‘girl power’, the Spice Girls fought for our right to wear anything from babydoll dresses, power suits, Union Jacks, bare baby bellies and tracksuits – plus some pretty fabulous makeup — without even raising an eyebrow. Born in 1983, growing up with Margaret Thatcher carrying handbags to her opponents dressed in pussy-bow blouses, for me feminism was about gaining equality with men, while removing the weight of their judgments and expectations.
Bras and cosmetics make us sexier
But in realizing the first, we seem to have experienced a schism over the second – an intractable clash between our “freedom from” and our “freedom from”.
Disciples of the Gloria Steinem feminist school want to be “liberated” from the male gaze.
They don’t want to be objectified, so think all women should avoid bras, makeup, and body sculpting exercises and celebrate themselves in their natural state.
Meanwhile, others want “freedom from.” Freedom to wear what we want (plus say, do and think) regardless of the male gaze or feminist frowns.
Emily (pictured) said she always considered herself a feminist until she realized she wanted to decide for herself what she wanted to do
In short, some of us love bras and makeup because they make us feel sexier. Sex, after all, is what the human race is all about, and we don’t understand why we should be ashamed.
I always considered myself a feminist until I realized that I wanted to decide for myself what I wanted to do – and some forms of modern feminism seem determined to tell everyone exactly what to think.
Equality of opportunity is what is important, not equality of results. Maybe men and women want different things – and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Not to mention that most feminists whose views dominate are middle class and privileged.
That said, I understand what Vicky McClure is saying. Women should be allowed to look whatever they want, and if that means wearing no makeup, that’s great.
And I worry about girls getting lip fillers, Botox, and breast and butt implants, which are hard to reverse. However, makeup can still be removed and does not cause lasting damage.
I squirm at the green eyeshadow of my teenage years – but young girls need to have fun and experiment. So even if Vicky gives up her makeup brushes, I won’t give up mine.
The only thing I know is that, in the face of this charged and confusing new cultural battleground, I will do it with a painted face.
Like my grandmother always said, it’s my war paint.