The Vagenda

Make-up Tips for Feminists

In its trademark moderate and anti-scaremongering tone, the Daily Fail today lent us some more sage advice on feminism. ‘Why Holly’s BETRAYING women [their capitalisation, not mine] by going bare-faced, says Liz Jones, who argues that real feminists trowel on the make-up’ read the headline, attempting as usual to only attract the most discerning readership through its clever subtlety and nuance. What follows is a garbled article that attempts to relate itself to the aforementioned headline, while also making the opposite point entirely.

Liz Jones has put up a photograph of herself without make-up on, compared it to Holly Willoughby’s own attempt, and pointed out that the latter’s is most likely not entirely au natural – or, in Liz’s words, Holly’s lips are ‘so red and plumptious she resembles a drag queen.’ Plumptious. Yeah. Kind of ironic considering that Liz’s ‘glammed up’ (her words!) photo shows herself with poreless skin and differently shaped cheekbones, both courtesy of Photoshop, but I’m not one to nitpick.

Poor Liz doesn’t seem to know where she stands on the issue (if indeed there is one.) She hates women who claim ‘my husband loves me for who I am.’ She claims that such women ‘know men hate make-up’ and ‘so they pretend they need no help.’ And she ends on ‘putting on make-up is part of being a woman’, before slightly apologetically claiming that she has to wear it because her gene pool is in some way inferior (a sentiment I could be convinced to agree with, but not on account of her looks.)

Essentially, this is another ‘shock jock’ piece churned out by the Fail and one of its chief minions: a bait to which we should not rise. But the sad thing is that she ridicules the idea of a husband loving his female partner ‘for who she is’, to an audience that far surpasses that of almost every online UK publication in sheer numbers. The message – that every woman REALLY knows she’s not good enough unless she’s got at least two layers of foundation and mascara on – is as terrifying as it is mundane. And the claim that it is ‘anti-feminist’ to eschew this facepaint is just plain nonsensical.

Feminists come in many forms, and whatever Liz Jones would have you believe, they manifest as make-up artists and clean-faced hippies, high-heeled vegan lesbian photographers with blue eyeliner and barristers with foot fetishes who have never so much as hidden a blemish with concealer. Feminism has never and will never be about make-up. We are never betrayed by people who join our cause and believe in equality between the sexes. A glittery tube of strawberry lip gloss should never be an insurmountable barrier between us.

Make-up, as with fashion, can be a delightful use of self-expression. Undeniably, it has also become such a social ‘must have’ that there’s almost no use playing ball anymore on a playing field so out of kilter. A man is not expected to look radiant, wide-eyed, and plump-lipped 24/7 – we know this as much as we know that despite our wildest fantasies, your boyfriend is unlikely to find your underarm stubble as sexy as you find the stubble on his face. In other words: double standards exist. And it’s our job to challenge them, rather than attack other women who dare to address that fact in any way.

That authority on feminist theory, Beyoncé, once sang, ‘If I were a boy… I’d roll out of bed in the morning, and throw on what I wanted and go.’ In its own way, that was a desperately sad lyric to sing in the twenty first century (and you thought Tears In Heaven was a tearjerker!) But never fear, Beyoncé: you are a woman. And so you’ll roll out of bed in the morning, shriek at your own reflection, Liz Jones will berate you for looking in the mirror in soft light, and then she’ll emerge from inside your wardrobe, Spanx in hand, and let you know when you’ve applied enough slap to be officially considered feminist again.

Thank God for the Daily Fail, eh? We almost all got too big for our boots there.

10 thoughts on “Make-up Tips for Feminists

  1. Meh… read this as well… was super annoyed and posted about it on G+. Then I ended up getting into a trolling match with a guy friend where I told him to put on some lipstick and he said he refuses because it’s anti-menism.
    Best thing that came out of that article… at least we had a few laughs :)

  2. Sweet lord. Saying a man can’t love a woman for who she is? And why does a man disliking make up and loving a woman for who she is have to be mutually exclusive? Way to make all genders look like shit, Liz.

  3. Wholeheartedly agree with all you’ve said. When are women going to stop attacking other women? It’s getting so that we’re almost struggling to be equal with other women for goodness sake.
    I love make-up, my husband isn’t bothered either way about me wearing it – and I consider myself an ardent feminist. Oh, and I hate the daily fail!

  4. I took my make up off at 9pm. Does that mean I’ve clocked-off at being a feminist?

    I don’t like the sound of this woman. My sis the other day made snide comments whilst watching a morning telly show. It was about Holly.W having size 8 feet. Yes, Holly’s genetics give her large feet. Andd… are size 8 evil or ugly? Does that make her a witch? Do they drain her talent? Should she crush her feet in to size 6, my sisters size and seek surgery?

    All i can do is presume that the Jiz Jones is nitpicking women so make herself feel better or she simply has little to say but a big internet page to fill.

  5. This is from the same woman who had no morality issues whatsoever trying to force fatherhood on her partner and afterwards set out to warn boys and men around the world that women will try to steal their sperm at one point, right? If she’s not a poster girl for self-loathing, I don’t know who is.

  6. I really, really dislike Liz Jones as a journalist, (I’m feeling overly generous by even calling her that), for many reasons, and this is just another one to add to the list.

  7. As for the “lips are ‘so red and plumptious she resembles a drag queen.’” – that doesn’t mean they can’t be natural, we all look different. Sadly I’m not blessed with the same naturally red lips as my sister, mum and her mum. My maternal grandmother actually got grounded by her father for “wearing lip stick” – even though she wasn’t, but because of her naturally red lips.

  8. Yes, thanks for writing this … it makes me think of my Nanna. She was not allowed to wear makeup in either of her marriages. Her second husband wouldn’t even let her wear lipstick. He said it looked cheap. This is a man who liked Benny Hill, ‘tickled’ children whenever possible (I won’t get into that), and broke a pool cue across his stepson’s back during a good ole beating. When this delightful man died, my Nanna slowly started to enjoy fashion and makeup again. It’s not makeup then … it’s what people believe about it and the stories they tell. Thanks for bringing this to light, beautifully written.x