Monday's presentation from the Cosmetics group got me thinking. I am thinking about cosmetics' role in our culture and their effects on all of society, but most importantly, on women. The Cosmetics group did a great job explaining the health hazards of cosmetics, along with the compulsion that women feel to wear makeup because of an impossible beauty ideal created by our culture. I think we can all agree that the media plays a huge role in this because of its pervasiveness into all aspects of our lives; media has become a major component of the "spectacle" that has become our culture. (Do I need citations in blog posts? It's from Debord's Society of the Spectacle) We, as women, absorb these images of manipulated bodily perfection and, hard as we may try, are unable to block them all out without internalizing them. Also, maybe as a result of this internalization or maybe not, a lot of us use and consume cosmetics. The larger question is what to do about it? Should I just stop wearing makeup as a rejection of sexual objectification of women? ...Coloring my hair? ...Wearing clothes that make me look nice? ...Participating in mainstream culture whatsoever?
I ask these questions rhetorically because I think there are other, more effective solutions than we as individual women turning our bodies once again into the battleground. So instead of placing the center of debate on my body and those of other women, I propose putting the central focus on alternative ways of fighting the impossible, male & heterosexually defined, harmful definition of beauty on those who disseminate it at a larger level.
Here are a few cool ways that people have targeted these harmful messages on a larger scale:
1. No Makeup En Masse: This woman decided to go without makeup for a week and gained a huge following of other women who abstained from makeup for a week. More people more power! Combining efforts helps strengthen the cause. Plus, a week is much more doable than trying to swear something off forever.
Girls at a Texas high school have decided to be makeup free every Tuesday.
2. No Photoshop: Photoshopped images are terrible! Well, when the media uses them in place of real people and we see them all the time they are.
This company refuses to use photoshop in its ads and its catalogues.
This is an alternative website to get your funny feminist news and celebrity gossip from that doesn't use photoshop.
Does anyone else have some other ways to effectuate change on a larger level than just not wearing makeup/using cosmetics? Or does anyone see a hole in my reasoning? Other ideas and possibilities are always welcome because this objectification of women has got to stop at point, somehow.