Sunday, July 12, 2009

Stereotypical Women

Recently, I have irked some people by notating that

The responses varied. One claimed that she was simply looking forward to being able to wear non-maternity clothes for the first time in a year. One agreed but had been afraid of the ire of the mommy bloggers to broach the subject himself. Another seemed to think it is ingrained in us and that is what I tend to believe as well. For the record, yes I did ask Crocs to provide me with a free pair of shoes and I would espouse their wonderment. Some seem to think this is a two-faced act based upon my statement. But I clearly put myself in the same group as everyone else, as I too am wondering if what I wear to each party will help me to "fit in".

BlogHer was rough for me last year, and I have repeatedly vowed to myself that I won't let that happen again. That I won't let myself think other's are more deserving than me, that I don't fit in or belong in their company because my blog is small. But then I see tweets and blog posts about all the new clothes and shoes and hair do's and manis and pedis and waxing that so many are doing and I think, really? Why, can't we all just be the same person we are online?

What initially started the feeling of "amazement" for me was the fact that Tim Gunn of Project Runway fame will be at BlogHer this year (as will Carson Kresley from Queer Eye). It put women into a tizzy over what will Tim Gunn think of their outfits. On top of that there is a contest on the website to put up your pic of what you'll be wearing. Again, a conference that is supposed to be empowering women, is focusing on clothing and looks.

When will women be respected for everything but their looks? Will they then feel insulted that someone didn't notice their new harido even though they praised them on the vaccine they created?

Recently, Megan was putting on makeup in my car and asked me why I didn't wear any. I told her I didn't need it. She asked if I didn't want to "feel pretty". I told her that not only did I feel pretty but I knew I was pretty. She countered with but make up makes you feel even prettier. Having that conversation made me sad. Sad that girls are still feeling obligated to "feel pretty".

Erin had a quandry not too long ago regarding shopping with her daughter, she has always taught her to be independant and know that she can do anything her brother does, that their gender has nothing to do with who they are or what they can become. However, her daughter asked to "go shopping like girl's do", and it threw mom into a tizzy. Is she failing as a feminist if she enjoys a girlie shopping day with her daughter? Does it make her a proponent of female stereotypes? No, it makes her a mom.

I guess, we just all need to pick and choose who we are and who we want to be. And if that means, you wear make-up to make you feel pretty, or play dress up to feel girlie or go for tea lunch and shopping to bond with your daughter, then so be it.

Speaking of dress up, how freaking cute is Caity?


  1. Dear Adrienne,

    Consider to join us for A Wonderous Woman Retreat
    on August 13,14,and 15

    The Wonderous Woman retreat program leads and encourages every woman to connect to all facets of her purpose and value. Our approach is to create experiential retreats in beautiful venues where you can connect to your mind, body and spirit.

    It's easy to take care of everyone else in our lives, but we tend to forget about ourselves.

  2. Honestly, I'll be wearing jeans and t-shirts. It's what I wear at home, it's the real me, so I'm just going to be authentic. But I think if some women naturally love a chance to get dressed up, well rocvk on. That's them being authentic.

  3. Hi Adrienne,

    Thanks for a very thoughtful post. As someone who has bought new clothes for BlogHer and wears makeup when I want to get dressed up, it not only makes me feel like I'm putting my best foot forward, for me it's also fun.

    I know it's not for all women, but for some it is, and that's okay.

    And honestly, I don't think the conference's purpose of empowering women is negated if there's an acceptance and a celebration of women who like fashion as well as being geeky.


  4. I agree with Summer and Megan that clothes and make-up are a part of a whole woman. We want all girls to be the most they can be in this society, that there is nothing holding them back but their own natural abilities and what they do with them.

    In society, we bathe so that we do not offend others, wear clean clothes, someting pressed and sometimes starched, in order to keep from giving offense to others. It is a civilized thing to do. As anybody who has studied pictoral art can tell you, color, line and shape are important and good artists can make a viewing more pleasing. Make-up and clothing are the enhancement of color, line and shape for a discriminating person. Less sophisticated people do not understand this at all.

  5. I don't know who Tim Gunn is, and frankly don't care. The first rule of reality television, is that it has nothing - absolutely nothing - to do with reality.

    While I was at Disneyland, I took a peek in the Princess Store that has the salon in the back for the under 3 foot crowd. While a part of me sees the magic and wonder of it, clearly we are teaching the girls in this society that they NEED stuff to get a man to live happily ever after.

  6. I think some of the other commenters above are missing what I felt was the point of your post. I didn't feel that you were saying wearing makeup or dressing up is "bad" or anything remotely like that.

    It's about how BlogHer has, for many of the participants, turned into a mini beauty pageant in their minds and the (unnecessary) pressure that puts on people who are going there for completely different (and somewhat incompatible, for some) reasons.

    Because, like you and like Summer, I plan to be me at BH. I am a person who wears makeup regularly and that's part of who I am. I am not a person who wears dresses regularly, so I'm not running out to buy one for next weekend.

    The problem is when you being authentic and true to yourself turns into being judged and potentially ridiculed by the women who have gone there with this pageant attitude. To a conference that is about empowering and celebrating women.

    Do I want to look good? Yes. In a social setting, of course I do. But I'm starting to feel hesitant about how well my version of "good" is going to be received by women who are flipping out over showing up to impress Tim Gunn. If they're not accepting of my efforts, or I am hyper-critical of theirs, it's not going to be a successful conference for me.

  7. Wow. There was nothing sophisticated NOR discriminating in that snarky post by Marcel above. Just WOW.

    I wear make-up sometimes, and other times I don't. I'm pretty sure my level of sophistication is a constant.

    PS: I was a Studio Art/Art History major in college; I'm also a painter and photographer. Anybody who has studied Art should understand that there is a wide range of what is considered aesthetically pleasing.

  8. I would like to believe that we have passed the point where a woman is judged as if she were a piece of art. That is not called sophistication but chauvenistic. A more sophisticated person recognizes that a human does not need to be enhanced to be beautiful. That what appears on the outside is not always indicitive of what is on the inside.

    I personally am not comfortable wearig make up, so don't. Others feel naked without, fine for them. Do I think eyes with mascara and eye liner are more appealing, absolutely for both genders. However, I would rather spend time with someone who is honest, funny, intelligent, and thoughtful than with someone whose best quality is their ability to put on eye makeup.

  9. That's right, Uncle Marcel, I haven't see you enhancing your lines and colors with makeup. But I haven't seen you in a while so maybe you have become enlightened. You might look great with some earrings too. :)

    I have body parts that make me a "whole" woman. I have intelligence, wit, charm, and humor, that make me sophisticated and a pleasant person to be around. I can certainly appreciate art and I appreciate people that enjoy me for my company and not for the "art" that I bring to the room.

    It is very telling that you say "we want all GIRLS to be the most that they can be." GIRLS? Really? We are not 16 years old (well, most of us aren't--Hi Megan!) and we do not need a man to tell us how pretty we are to have self-worth.

    Also, you completely misunderstood Summer and Megan above. They certainly did not say that wearing make-up makes you a whole women. They said some women enjoy wearing make-up and some don't. Hurray for diversity.

  10. p.s. OMG Caity is freakin' adorable! She looks natural and beautiful and like she is having a great time. You go girl!

  11. I love this post and it's really making me think. Now I'm wondering what makes me a woman. I might blog about this and link back to you!

    By the way, I got really really really super excited when I saw the badge for the July conference in Chicago. Then I saw it was for 2009. Now I am really really really super bummed! lol

    I'm bookmarking your blog and adding it to my daily blog routine!