Posts Tagged ‘women’

I have a love-hate relationship with make-up. It began at a very early age. Well, the love part came about early, and now the hate pops up on random days. The women we grow up with in our families leave a heavy mark on us. Some of us may be successful in debunking those influences if we consciously oppose them and want to reach a comfort zone free from such opinions and routines. Most of us end up with an imprint, influence from the women who raised us up, rather we like it or not.

My mother wore make-up. My paternal grandmother wore make-up, always. (My maternal grandmother died while I was a baby.) I remember that my mother seemed to get self-esteem, the motivation to socialize through her make-up. She did the full-face… foundation to dark creamy eye shadow, to lipstick, and always lots of mascara. She never told me that I needed to wear it… my grandma is a different story. My grandmother always had on make-up and her hair was always perfectly coifed. She had a huge mirror mounted on the wall of her hallway that had two sides on hinges that would swing out so she could examine her hair from all angles, to be sure all was smoothed, no holes, no awkward pieces sticking out or up. Perfect. Now I don’t know exactly how big her contribution was to the thinning of the ozone, but before CFC’s were taken out of aerosol hairspray, I’m sure she socked it her share of damage.

Appearance was of moderate to high concern and we were coached, assisted, and reminded of this on a regular basis. The biggest beauty production of all occurred each Sunday, getting ready for church. The process began on Saturday evening. My grandmother would wash my hair, let it dry in front of the fireplace, and then she would roll it in big, squishy, pink rollers, and/or socks for me to sleep in. We had to style our hair, we had to wear stockings, we had heels on our shoes from a young age, and of course, we had to wear make-up.

My grandmother had a very passive-aggressive way about her. I remember visiting her once in my twenties and she made breakfast for me like she always did (she loved to cook for everybody and often and as much as possible.), so I got myself presentable enough to visit the breakfast table, or so I thought. No one else was visiting at the time or stopping by to join us for breakfast. I think my grandpa was out hunting or mowing the lawn.

I brushed my teeth, brushed my hair (which is about the most I do to my straight hair anyway), got dressed, and put on make-up. I walked down the hall and through the living room, reached my seat and began chit-chatting with MaMa as she prepared the food. The first thing she asked was if I was feeling okay. She said that I looked a little peaked (read: code word for Southern women which really means, “You look like shit darling!”), probably because I didn’t have my face on yet. Remember, I had on full make-up sans lipstick. After pointing that out, she said that putting on some lip color should perk me up. Oy vey.

I purposely did not put anything on my lips because I was going to be eating immediately AND the only person to see me was my dear, sweet grandmother. Alas, I still wasn’t pulled together enough for the occasion.

A few years ago, what the hell was she called? A motivational speaker maybe? She wasn’t. A lot of it turned out to be a joke, but she provided a free workshop for the staff where I worked. It was just ever so difficult for her audience to take her seriously, due to the fact that much of her spiel was focused on nutrition, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight… meanwhile we were all staring at – not a chubby woman – but a significantly overweight woman in poor physical shape. Back to why this is related to make-up. In the midst of discussing how we can feel better at work, she mentioned make-up. She was actually talking about being observant of your co-workers and recognizing when they may be getting depressed, in a rut with work, burned out, etc. Basically letting themselves go. What she said created a lot of upset among many of the women on staff. It was interesting to learn how differently some of us interpreted what she was saying. A few of the women were ranting and pissed. Yes, I have always been taught that putting on make-up is part of preparing to go out into the world, but I totally get it when women find that insulting. Here’s the thing, she wasn’t suggesting for women who never wear make-up to suddenly start wearing it. She was encouraging us all to pay attention to changes from the norm for a person. So if a co-worker who usually wears make-up and styles her hair a certain way, begins showing up for work with a naked face and hair pulled back in a messy bun, then something may be going on with that person… because it’s not typical for that person. No matter how I tried to explain that rationale, my co-workers were pissed!

I started wearing make-up way too young. I had on full make-up in my 5th grade school photo! It starts out fun. But then you feel like you need it… making one feel self-conscious without it… and that kind of sucks. No, it really sucks! I didn’t even need make-up when I was young. I always had great skin overall, no acne, no uneven coloration, but I thought I needed to paint on it. The real bummer is that right when I stopped enjoying putting on make-up and just got down right sick of the whole routine, I actually need it now. I mean, I don’t think I would stop breathing or anything, but I am aging and dealing with dark under eye circles and the other little not-so-cute things that happen. If I had a daughter, I wouldn’t want it to feel like an expectation of her, and I would not want her to build her self-esteem based on such at any age. I am actually envious of women who feel most comfortable naked-faced. The sick truth of it is, I still get all giddy shopping for make-up and trying out new products. Call me shallow, but it is ingrained in my brain… blame it on grandma!

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Main Entry: fem·i·nism
Pronunciation: \ˈfe-mə-ˌni-zəm\
Function: noun
Date: 1895
1 : the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
2 : organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests
Merriam-Webster, Feminism

Why do so many people think of “feminist” and “feminism” as negative words? An unflattering description. Men AND women think this, and I am reminded of it often. Have you had this experience? Someone referred to me as a feminist in a conversation the other day, and then immediately took it back, clearly indicating that he didn’t mean to insult me, and added that he knows I’m not really “one of them.” Oh dear. I mean how can people be so ignorant? Educated, worldly people, but yet so skewed on this topic. I’m not red-in-the-face fuming over this… it has irritated me from time to time… I’m just mostly, well, bemused. I don’t mean that in an insulting or condescending way (well maybe just a little), but DUDE!

With that said, I guess I understand where the confusion comes from… extremists have slapped a negative connotation on the word/cause. It happens. It sucks. People who take something and run with it, tipping over the edge of reason, and twisting the original meaning and intent. I do not approve. Allowing others to manipulate our vocabulary and just go along with new definitions, distant versions of the origin… not until the dictionary concurs at least.

Though you do not have to be a woman to be a feminist, you’re better off accusing most straight men of being a flaming homosexual than being a feminist… or they take it as pretty much one in the same, a shocking insult. Oy. The word is feminist because it is the belief of equal rights for females, not feminist = a female. Certainly any man that I would be with damn sure is one… now he may not have a bumper sticker indicating such label, but as far as the actual definition (see above), yep, we would have a problem if he were not.

Now, I was born and raised and still live in the good ole south. I honestly like some old-fashioned customs, manners typical of the region, that may be gender biased… BUT just because I allow a fella to hold a building door for me or open my car door doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be able to vote, earn as much money as a man, have less independence in any way, shape, or form… any education level, driving privileges, political voice or position, influence in whatever area I shall choose.

And I use the word “chick” to refer to myself or other women occasionally, but I promise that doesn’t devalue or diminish any of the equalities that I or any chick has and is entitled to keep. I am not opposed to several traditional scenarios between men and women. I don’t talk smack about women who choose to not work outside of the home. Nor do I look down on women who have children and then work full-time. I do, however, appreciate a woman who can think for herself. That’s all I ask sisters. You know, to represent and all. That we have a brain and deserve to be equals, no matter in which capacity we choose to carry out and deliver our contributions to family, work, society.

Believing in feminism does not mean that one hates or devalues men in any way. That notion bugs the bejeezus outta me! It doesn’t mean that we think we are superior to men… that men need to be knocked down in some way. It means that we should have the same rights and opportunities and be able to pursue those things free from discrimination and gender suppression. The option needs to be there. All women do not have to want those things, but they should support equality for women who do. Furthermore, men nor women should insult a woman if she does NOT want to be a CEO, senator, or other job or post traditionally thought of as part of the boys club. The entire point is that we should have CHOICES. The right to choose what suits us best, as individuals. No different from men.
Contrary to popular opinion, feminism and romance are not incompatible and feminism may actually improve the quality of heterosexual relationships…”
If you want to read more, the entire article is:
Feminism and Romance Go Hand and Hand
I happened upon the article and thought it fitting to share.
Okay, one more thing. If you find yourself being asked the question: “You’re not one of those feminists are you?”, don’t take the easy way out, just because it saves your breath and all. Nicely respond to the question with a question(s): “How can I be a woman and not believe in equal rights for women? I am a feminist. What rights do you think women should not have?” If you ask this in a non-pissy way, suppressing snarky attitude in tone and expression, it can be amusing to watch the person come up with an intelligent response… and you may just teach somebody something, or in the least make ’em think twice before piping up like that again. I suppose the above advice wouldn’t work well for you in the event that you are not a feminist. But in that case, you probably shouldn’t be reading my blog anyway… because you won’t like it and stuff.
I invite you to share any related stories or thoughts that come to mind!

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I was reminded of this little adventure while talking to a friend the other day…..

A girl friend and I were in San Francisco a few years ago. This was my second trip to San Fran, but it was a very different experience than the first go round. The first time, we knew locals and they drove us around in their car(s) to their favorite spots, which was kind of boring. This time we were explorers. We used public transit to get everywhere, and those journeys, no matter how brief, provided colorful memories each and every time. I love that city! Just thinking about it makes me squeeeal!

We set out one evening to go to an Italian restaurant. We had asked around to figure out which one we should patron. A local guy we had met was emphatic that we must dine at one in particular. This was in the area that tourists call “Little Italy” and the locals make fun of it being labeled as such, and they never refer to it the same… or so we were told. Anyway, we made a reservation and then hit Union Square for some pre-dinner shopping. We were caught a little off guard when the streets of Union Square abruptly went from congested with other shoppers, hustling and bustling about, to completely abandoned in the matter of 2 minutes. Everything had closed and we needed to catch a bus. 

We figured out our route to the bus stop, but before we reached it, a scruffy guy on a bicycle started following us. He was circling around us as we walked and wanted to know where we were going. He kept repeating: “You are the most beautiful woman I have seen, just tell me where you need to go and I will get you there.” Really, all 3 of us are gonna pile onto your bicycle mister? By this point, we had had many encounters with “street people” and the homeless of the city. But this guy wouldn’t go away! Something about a person feeling the need to tell you, “I’m not dangerous… you don’t have to be afraid” tends to make one uncomfortable. We ditched that bus stop and set off to find another one.

We jumped off the bus in the area we had set out for, but we didn’t really know how to find the restaurant. We were late. This area of the city was still very active and loud. As we made our way down the street, we were stopped by a few flamboyant guys who were working the doors of other restaurants. Well, we needed directions, but they spinned me around and danced and tried to sweet talk us into dining at “their place” instead. This was fun and cute in the beginning, but was quickly getting annoying by the 3rd twirl. I was hungry. Anyone who knows me well knows that when I am really hungry, I get cranky! And it ain’t pretty.

We found our destination! Of course I do not remember the name. We asked the guy out front about our reservation… without verbally responding, he grabbed me and kissed me, almost on the mouth, but I jerked just quick enough that his lips landed just to the side of my mouth. I must have shot him one hell of a dirty look.

Keep in mind that I was separated from my ex and going through a divorce. I was in my “men need not exist” phase… and it irritated me when men assumed I wanted their attention.

He then proceeded to get pissy with me because I didn’t kiss him back in return. Are you kidding me? I want food. I do not want to stand out in the street playing kissy-face with some cocky Italian stranger!

We were soon to learn that this place had a reputation… we may have been the first girls to show up for dinner and not melt over the advances of Mr. Kissy-face.

We were seated upstairs where we had a view of the entire restaurant around and below. It was so nice to drink a glass of wine. Only men worked at this place, and every one of them was Italian, complete with thick accent. Each one that stopped by the table flirted and fawned over us. I mean, they do work for tips. I will skip some of the boring details, but I couldn’t help but notice that most of the diners were women.

At this point, we had our food, which was yummy, were on our second glass of wine, and feeling much better. Then, the lights turned off. Uh-oh, power failure? Dammit! Oh… not so much. Club lights began spinning around and the loud music kicked on. An Italian voice from the microphone announced: “It’s Tiffany’s birthday and we are gonna help her celebrate!”

Tiffany was seated in a chair in the center of the restaurant and was quickly being surrounded by the waiters taking off their shirts. One of the guys spread his legs and jumped on her lap! Tiffany was getting a full-on-grind-dry-hump in the middle of my dinner. My friend and I looked at each other and both had the light bulb… THIS is why the local guy enthusiastically told us we “would love this place.” That was the first and last time this vegetarian “had” Italian sausage during dinner.

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