Tuesday, April 26, 2011

♥ you don't love a woman because she is beautiful, she is beautiful because you love her.

a few weeks ago i read naomi wolf's feminist manifesto,
the beauty myth and ever since then i have been racking my brain trying
to think of the best way to approach this subject with my fellow
fashion writers, beauty bloggers and lovely readers.

as a modern woman living in today's society (sounds cheesy, but true)
i have been completely engrossed in this culture of female beautification
ever since i was a little girl and i have loved it all along- without ever
questioning why i loved it. i have filled makeup bags to the brim,
searched endlessly for the mascara that will change my life, longed
for a brand new look or to make over a complete stranger,
to share with you a simple "glimpse of glamour..."
and yet hardly stop to ever think about why
(like most girls i know) i have this utter
preoccupation with beauty.

one of the culprits that naomi wolf addresses in her masterwork
is something so subtle, so part of a woman's every day life that we
would hardly ever believe that it can be so helpful yet so poisonous
all at the same time-- and that is women's magazines.

" the voice of the magazine gives women an invisible female authority
figure to admire and obey, parallel to the mentor-protege relationship
that many men are encouraged to forge in their educations and on the job,
but which women are rarely offered anywhere else
but in glossy magazines." (74)

according to wolf, women's magazines play a contradictory role in the
way that we see ourselves. they want us to feel empowered on one hand,
while simultaneously putting us down with the other. we are pitted against
each other for a piece of this invisible pie- so much so that we don't
know a thing about female camaraderie because our magazines tell us
to hate the girl who has it all.

we have no idea what a regular-sized woman looks like;
we have accepted surgically-altered faces into our realm of beauty's reality;
we completely shun the idea of aging and fight it tooth and nail with all
kinds of creams and gadgets; we feel guilt-ridden with every bite of food
that we ingest and everything we are not doing to be perfect, but we never
stop to ask-- in whose eyes are we trying to be perfect for?

as a blogger who loves and lives for fashion- i have to say that i am
having a tough time finding solid ground when it comes to where i stand on
this subject matter. i want to write a blog that is thoughtful and not just riddled
with pictures of skinny models and actresses no one will ever look like-
i want to discuss trends in beauty and fashion that are relevant- yet without
the added pressure of having to go out and spend money in order to
attain that perfection. i want to enjoy beautiful things for their own
sake, and to seek out beauty in things that are not
necessarily thought to be beautiful.

in her book, naomi wolf lays out the groundwork for what
she imagines would be an ideal magazine. i think from now
on it will be something i will model this blog by.

"imagine a woman's magazine that positively featured round models,
short models, old models- or no models at all, but real, individual women.
let's say that it has a policy of avoiding cruelty to women, as some now have a
policy of endorsing products made free of cruelty to animals. and that it left
out crash diets, mantras to achieve self-hatred, and promotional articles for
the profession that cuts open healthy women's bodies. and let's say that it ran
articles in praise of the magnificence of visible age, displayed loving photo essays
on the bodies of women of all shapes and proportions, examined with gentle
curiosity the body's changes after birth and breast-feeding, offered
recipes without punishment or guilt, and ran seductive
portraits of men."(83)

10 ♥ love notes.:

  1. Girlfriend, no wonder we share the same name! I was a Women and Gender Studies Major in college and this post is exactly how I felt after reading Naomi Wolff for the first time. I look forward to seeing your blog evolved into a platform for you to inspire other women to feel empowered and most importantly, beautiful, on the inside and out! More power to you! xo Samantha

  2. All the best! We could all use this perspective :-)

  3. wow, thanks for sharing, I'm going to add that to my reads!
    what a necessary perspective to see.

    great post,

  4. it is a very complicated issue! i think she hit it right on the nail when she says women's magazines are VERY contradictory! i usually buy magazines to look at the "pretty" things but time after time i'm left feeling worse because i'm not doing the things the magazine says and i don't look "perfect." i definitely think women should be healthy, but i think we all need to realize that "healthy" doesn't always "look" the same for everyone. i for one would love to see a magazine like the one she describes! and i look forward to what you'll be posting on your blog regarding these issues :)

  5. this definitely rings true and i'm happy that you've created a platform for addressing these issues. XX

  6. I read that book in college, and it totally changed my life. I still read magazines, because I cannot escape how important and influential fashion is to my life. But I look more closely to the models and how they're portrayed. It's a long, crazy journey for women. But I'm glad there are smart women like you who are bringing this issue up :)

  7. wow her persepctive seems really influential!

    <3 steffy
    Steffys Pros and Cons

  8. This sounds like a very interesting book. I'm going to need to add it to my reading list. Based on the summary you give, I have to agree somewhat with her assessment of women's magazines and their perpetuation of unrealistic standards. I think it's important that women have access to all sorts of opinions and role models, which is why i really like the style blogging community as a compliment to fashion magazines. The blog community is filled to the brim with intelligent, beautiful women of all shapes who all have different opinions on beauty and style. Almost makes it sound like fashion blogs should be required reading when you put it this way!!

  9. I'm definitely adding this book to my list as well. This was a brave subject to tackle, but as you can see, many women feel the same way. This might sound corny, but kudos to you for sharing.

  10. Doesn't make much sense to me, since women have been attaining to beauty LONG before magazines, or even cameras, came into being. Where did the ancient Egyptians get their ideas to line kohl around their eyes? Does she explain that? I think we just inherintely crave beauty.

    And as a side note, I find many of women's magazines a little artificially interested these days in "championing the causes" of the every woman. Sure, health comes in all shapes and sizes, but I don't necessarily want to look at a size 18. There's nothing aspirational about that.


♥ tell me how you really feel!