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Foundation of equality? October 6, 2006

Posted by Winter in beauty myths, race matters.

Hello, I’m going to try and get back into regular blogging, the summer has been rather busy for me, as it is for everyone else and I don’t think I’ve posted for quite a long time now. Frankly I don’t really have a good excuse for my absence, but I’ll try and make up for it.

Considering I’m the kind of person who has struggles to get out of bed in the morning, and is doing well if they manage to have breakfast, a shower and get to work on time, it’s ironic that I’m going to attempt to blog about makeup. I don’t wear makeup often, for two reasons, reason one being I’m too lazy, and reason two being I’m fairly lucky with my skin and don’t feel compelled to cover up. I never waer foundation and as a result am slightly bewildered by the whole subject, but I’ll give it a go. I don’t really want to get into the “should feminists wear makeup?” question because I actually don’t think it’s very interesting. To my mind, if wearing makeup is something that people do because the feel they have to, then thats bad. (Bad patriarchy! Go to your room!) However, if it is a choice, I don’t see a problem. I think that we should be supporting women’s choices and if wearing makeup is one of then then I’ll support that too. Anyway I’m beginning to waffle, you can see I’m out of practice.

Ok, what I actually wanted to talk about was foundation. After reading Hannah Pool’s column about makeup for brown skin recently I was struck with this thought; If I was the kind of person who wore foundation, I would have over 20 brands to choose from just in my local Boots. Hannah Pool listed just three for brown skin, Bobby brown, MAC and Maybelline (I think). Going along the supporting women’s choices route, I’m going to ask, where are the choices for black, and asian women? And what does that say about our society? I was struck by some of the languge that surrounds the current age discrimination debate. Many of the commentators some obout the battles against racism and sexism in the past tense. Looks like we’re out of the loop. Apparently those battles allready been won ladies and we are hanging behind the times. And yet, with there being no racism in the UK and all, black women still only have a choice of three brands when it comes to choosing foundation. If black and asian women face such a limited choice in something as simple as picking out foundation, what can they expect from the choices offered by the rest of society?



1. Winter - October 7, 2006

I usually feel like I’m going a bit mad when feminists start getting into rows about “choice.”

If we’re having a fight about the “choice” to wear, or not to wear makeup, are we assuming that women in general can afford make-up? Why do we assume this when cosmetics are very expensive and most women on this planet are poor?

And why are we assuming that all women have equal choice when it comes to cosmetic products, when, as Hannah Pool has pointed out, the “choices” are actually being offered to white women?

2. Sarah - October 9, 2006

It’s a bit of a ‘strawman’ as well since as far as I know no feminist has ever said that women should not be allowed to wear makeup if they choose to. Of course many feminists have said that we should think about it and examine our reasons for the choice we make, and many of us choose not to wear it at all.

But I don’t see any feminists with placards protesting in the makeup aisle in Boots, trying to prevent access, pushing for legislation to restrict women’s choice etc. There are far more important choices that affect real women’s lives, and on those issues, like reproductive rights, feminism is strongly pro-choice.

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