An Excerpt: Makeup and My Feminism

I am often questioned as to why I wear makeup – more specifically, the statement: “But you are a feminist, I thought feminists don’t wear makeup?” To answer that: ‘Everyone can be a feminist while presenting their bodies in whatever way they wish – whether that be with their eyebrows drawn on or not’. This is a conversation I wish I did not have to have.  As someone who wears makeup almost daily, I find myself distraught when people tell me that my makeup wearing is a system of oppression. Their argument is that I am unconsciously oppressing myself because according to them, I am wearing makeup to “impress somebody” (And yet, people who do not wear makeup receive just as much commentary) – as if having this argument was not bad enough, now I have to deal with people deciding that my therapy is not for me but for someone else *insert appropriate eye-roll here*. Let us consider these questions:

Isn’t makeup a tool of the patriarchy to keep us so obsessed with narrow beauty standards that we can’t focus on revolution? And isn’t it a little frivolous and ridiculous of a hobby to find enjoyment in something so decidedly feminine? And how can one proclaim themselves anti-capitalist if they throw money toward thirty-dollar tubes of lipstick? (Fabello “My Makeup Isn’t Inherently Anti-Feminist“)

If I were to be honest with you, I don’t always know what to say in these cases, especially when they are said by other feminists. Sometimes I am told that I am wearing too much or too little makeup, or that I should put some on when I am not wearing any at all. Where do I draw the line? When I first ‘came out’ as a feminist, I was given the impression that it is something empowering, that it encourages body positivity, that it encourages confidence – I lacked a lot of that when I was younger. It was not until I reached my first year of university that I started wearing makeup on a daily basis however, it was not until two years ago that I discovered my true love for cosmetics. I had a lot of fears and hatred towards my skin. I hated my freckles and what little acne I had. I hated my dark circles and large pores and just about every minor blemish I thought existed.

These thoughts derived from the institutionalized ideals of what the media considers to be perfect, despite the fact that ‘perfection’ does not exist. These thoughts derived from images in advertisements, and comments made to me about my appearance. I have flipped through magazines quite a lot and more often the advertisements directed at those who have dark circles, include models with too subtle discoloration to notice. I have been told that I would look ‘better’ or ‘nicer’ if I covered those circles up. Makeup was said to ‘fix’ or ‘hide’ these blemishes.

However, when I started wearing makeup more often, it was not about hiding my blemishes – not anymore – it was about accentuating a part of me. The more comfortable I was with my new found identity (as a feminist) the more I found that makeup enhanced my features, I felt better wearing it- I felt more confident. Now that I am much older, putting on makeup is more of a therapeutic process (quality time with me, myself and my face) – my therapy if you will. I love the way the brushes feel against my face, the beauty blender dabbing against my skin, experimenting with color and glitter – lots of glitter – I love the finished look: highlighted and ‘brows on point’. It makes me feel good; it enhances the features I have come to call beautiful. I do not see the blemishes like I used to – those dark circles yes, even to this day I still hate them – rather, I see myself and my skin.

There are so many factors that allowed me to see myself in a new way. First, the act of wearing makeup and skin care enlightened the way I see my skin. I discovered new ways to treat my face with organic masks and scrubs and lotions that aided in smoothing and softening my skin. Second, my identity and experience as a feminist allowed me to come to terms with my body and the policing that surrounded it.

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Life and Blog Updates – why I haven’t been blogging

It’s been a long time since my last blog post. I’ve been really struggling lately and here’s why.

I recently completed my Masters and I’m left in this state of limbo where I know what I want to do next – but I’m not a 100 percent sure about it. For instance, in November I will be taking the Teaching English as a Foreign Language seminar. I have also decided to take some French in December (to enhance my spoken language – otherwise, I’m pretty good with reading and writing).

I’ve been really hard on myself lately. Most of my friends are back to school and I’m ‘taking the year off’ or so to speak. I haven’t been able to focus on writing or reading or anything but this sense of loss and confusion.  I’ve been feeling bored and that I should be using my time wisely. But fuck it. I need the time off. I need the break I didn’t get to take over the summer, and I need to just accept that this is only a phase and that it will be worth my while in the end.

For the longest time I was looking for a word to describe how I felt. I was looking for something to describe this feeling of displacement and then I found it.

Monachpsis:  “the subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place, as maladapted to your surroundings as a seal on a beach…”

A few nights ago, I was out at a bar mingling with friends and some new people when I was asked what I was doing with my life – in a causal and non offensive way of course. I answered that I had a Master’s degree, and that I worked in a pharmacy for the time being until I went back to school for my PhD. I was surprised at how easily I answered the question – without a moment of hesitation.

Then it dawned on me. I had been telling people that ‘I just completed or was done my masters’ but never that I had the degree. It put a smile on my face. It felt good to finally say it.

So. Fucking. Good.

Reading Challenge

Every year, I set myself a goal for how many books I’d like to read in a year. The number for this year was a lot smaller than most mainly due to the fact that I was working on my research project – which is thankfully almost done. By the end of the month, I will have a lot more time to read things for pleasure rather than academic purposes.

Here are a few books that I hope to complete by December 31st.

  1. Neil Pasricha, The Book of Awesome
  2. Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love
  3. Mindy Kaling, Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me?
  4. Jim Butcher, The Dresden Files: Grave Peril 03
  5. J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone
  6. Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
  7. Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Le Petit Prince
  8. Chris Nihmey, Two Sides To The Story

Quick Blog Update

Hello lovelies,

I just wanted to fill you in on some blog updates. I am done with my thirty-one day beginner blog challenge. I had a lot of fun writing each post, some a little more than others but that’s pretty normal I guess. You can probably guess which posts were more forced than others…  Anyways! Writing used to feel like a chore when I was in school. I had no motivation to do anything outside of school work. Now that I am almost done, and have more free time to write about the things I want to write about. I’m more motivated and frankly, it’s a lot more fun.  I am looking for new, inspirational, and exciting challenges to try. I’d also love it if you gave me ideas, and prompts that you’d like to see me attempts. I’m open to just about any suggestion.

See you around,

B

 

 

 

Quirky

#31: Weird quirk of mine.

This is kind of like the bad habits post right? But more so something I don’t mind? I don’t know… here are some of my weird quirks I guess:

  1. I like wrapping myself tightly in blanket burritos.
  2. Despite my brutal honesty in certain situations I always happen to think of something better to say hours later. I don’t know if that’s a quirk, but it happens.
  3. I turn the sound down in the car when I’m trying to park, find an address, or when it’s really dark and I can’t see well – as if it will help me focus better.
  4. I phonetically sound out certain words to help me spell them.
  5. I will notoriously listen to the same song over and over again until I get sick of it. Then claim to dislike the song later, only to listen to it over and over again.
  6. I will check my phone consistently if I’m bored or placed in a really awkward situation – hoping that something on it might rescue me.
  7. Checking my purse for my wallet and keys even when I just placed them both inside. And checking the stove before leaving the house – I don’t know if that’s a quirk or just paranoia.
  8. I sometimes bite my lip when I’m thinking – focused as fuck.
  9. I have a serious sweet tooth.
  10. I karaoke sing in the car.
  11. I really like puns – puns are funny.
  12. I can’t think of anymore.

Shit I want to do before I die

#29: Top things on my Bucket list – updated

  1. Be a leader in my field.
  2. Be a tourist in my own city.
  3. Climb a fucking tree (to the top).
  4. Create a piece of art and sell it.
  5. Dive/jump off the high dive board.
  6. Do a push-up handstand – without assistance.
  7. Do a themed run.
  8. Do more feminist-y things
  9. Drive a seadoo. 
  10. Drive a snowmobile.
  11. Dye some of my hair an unnatural color.
  12.  Eat alone at a restaurant.
  13. Fall in love.
  14. Find a new hobby
  15. Find treasure with a metal detector.
  16. Fly first class.
  17. Get my abs back.
  18. Go Bungee Jumping.
  19. Go cliff diving.
  20.  Go ‘ghost hunting’ with friends.
  21. Go on a Hot Air Balloon Ride.
  22. Go on More than one Road Trip.
  23. Go Scuba Diving.
  24.  Go Sky diving.
  25. Go to a bonfire/build one.
  26. Go to Movies by myself.
  27. Go wine tasting.
  28. Graffiti something.
  29. Have my blog recognized.
  30. Host a game night (make it 1920s themed).
  31. Knit a scarf.
  32. Learn something new and be good at it.
  33. Learn to play poker like a champ.
  34. Learn to skateboard.
  35. Master a new language.
  36. Meet Someone Famous.
  37. Paint something at Paint Nite.
  38. Party in a forest.
  39. Plant a tree.
  40. Play a game of paintball.
  41. Race a go-kart again.
  42. Read a banned book.
  43. Read a hundred books in a year.
  44. Ride a bike across the city.
  45. Ride a camel.
  46. Ride a Horse and Carriage.
  47. Ride a Zip line.
  48. Road-trip across Canada.
  49. Survive my five to six years as PhD candidate.
  50. Swim in a Pool at night filled with glow sticks.
  51. Take a self-defense class.
  52. Take a train across a country.
  53. TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) certificate.
  54. Throw a themed party.
  55. Unplug for a week.
  56. Visit the seven wonders of the world.
  57. Walk a Suspension Bridge.
  58. White Water Rafting.
  59. Write my name on wet cement.
  60. Continue being a bad-ass queen.
  61.  

Sad or Just Angry

#28: The last time I cried

This was a difficult post for me to write. I’m a very sensitive person so I cry about a lot of things. I’ve cried about shared stories, happy endings, and heartwarming tales; I once cried because of how cute a kitten was – and it wasn’t even mine. Heck, I’ve even cried for absolutely no reason. I was just sitting there and the tears started falling.

Yesterday was different though. I felt like I was on an emotional rollercoaster that had no end. I had to deal with people I didn’t like, drive around the city, for unnecessary things, and then help a friend with who was having some relationship problems. Talk about emotionally draining.

Said friend came over late in the evening and was asking for advice. They had me read a letter they were writing for someone they cared about and requested my opinion. It was tough to tell them what I really thought because I was never placed in a situation like theirs. I couldn’t tell them what to say or how to say it – then it wouldn’t be their feelings and emotions, it would be mine.  Mine don’t even make sense right now.

As they were leaving, I was reminded about where I was, what I was doing, and who I wanted to be. Despite everything good that is happening in my life, I feel like I still haven’t accomplished as much as I would have liked to accomplish. Imposter syndrome hits again.

I sat there being mad at myself, pissed off that I had done nothing but write my Research Project this summer. I was pissed that I didn’t get to go out as much and enjoy some time off. I was pissed that I didn’t get to go to the places I wanted to go because I was stuck writing my Research Project, I was pissed because… life has been shit and I haven’t had enough ‘me time’.

So I broke down and cried about it. I haven’t cried like this in a long time and to be honest, it felt so good once the tears stopped streaming. I felt like a giant load had been taken off my shoulders and I was just left alone with my thoughts.

I wanted to write this post yesterday, but I just wasn’t able to put my thoughts into words. I wasn’t able to focus on how I was feeling besides being angry and sad. I feel better today though, more free and clear headed.

I promised myself to do some more self care,
and that is exactly what I am going to do.