Tutus and Tattoos: State College's Real-Life Whip It
Photos by Susan Keen
At a State College Area Rollers routine Monday night practice, women on roller skates are practicing falling, getting back up, and falling again. Girls with neon fishnet tights, eyebrow piercings, and mouth-guards drop and slide across the wooden floor at the call of the outnumbered male referee: “Left knee fall! Right knee fall!”
During the next drill, in which the women skate in a circle while one weaves in and out, a young woman with “Suenami” written on her hot pink helmet falls so hard she busts a skate. She gets right back up and keeps skating.
Looking around the roller arena, mostly everyone’s helmet is decorated with a clever nickname. There is a “Melee Cyrus” next to “Bombshell” and “Fuck Off.” All of the women are completely different. They’re a mix of athletic to average build, college students to mothers. They wear gym shorts or frilly skirts.
Zeger is a junior at Penn State majoring in kinesiology who inline speed skated for seven years. She opted for roller derby because there is no inline team in State College, but admits she “got disqualified a lot” when she speed skated. Now Zeger is the treasurer of the organization, and her twin sister is involved, too.
She explains the concept of roller derby. They use a flat track, as opposed to the bank track in the 2009 rollergirl film Whip It. That means different rules for contact; they can’t elbow, and there are certain hitting zones. “You get away with what you can,” Zeger adds. “If the refs don’t see it, fair game.”
Rebecca Wagner, a graduate student studying ecology, was eager to join the league. She played on the women’s rugby team, but wanted a sport for the offseason. “We can’t play in the winter. So I thought, rugby’s a contact sport, so a contact sport on wheels? Makes sense.”
Wagner says there’s no typical rollergirl. Some come from athletic backgrounds, but part of the league’s recruitment allows for a grace period where interested future rollergirls can learn how to skate, even if they’ve never done it before. She believes the camaraderie she’s found in SCARS is similar to that of her rugby team. “I think it’s bonding when you beat the crap out of each other and sweat,” Wagner said.
SCARS practices take place twice a week, and the physical demands are intense. The women who participate in roller derby are tough. Cota, who goes by “Show Pwny” in the rink, has gotten ankle injuries and even broken her wrist. Cota describes roller derby as “part sport, part punk rock, part DIY culture.” The elaborate costumes and the nicknames that range from pop-culture jokes to feminist statements are part of the rollergirl persona, but the bouts, or roller derby match-ups, require enough training and athleticism to rival a Penn State football game.
“I've found myself redefining where my limits are and what's ‘too much’ for me, and the same thing goes for my mental barriers,” Cota said. “It's all about creating an awesome space for ourselves to feel comfortable taking on this hardcore, slightly dangerous sport.”
Walking the Penn State campus, every girl should have confidence in what she is wearing. Even if she isn’t into the way she looks, it is very easy to be fashionable. This year many things are in style for young ladies to sport even on the simplest days. The most popular would be long cardigans, leggings, off the shoulder shirts or sweaters, and trendy scarves. Since it is fall, clothing is mostly earth tones, or neutral colors, nothing too flashy, except for colorful leggings. Chestnut browns, creams, ivory, dark blues, greys, and blacks are definitely popular colors for the seasons. For outerwear, leather jackets, peat coats, and trench coats are a season favorite. Combat boots are also becoming very popular. This season’s theme seems to be “business chic.” Ladies are beginning to dress more professional on a regular bases. Not necessarily dress worn for an interview, but a sense of sophisticated style. This can be seen with wearing blazers, tights/stockings, button down shirt, and high waisted skirts.
Style & Trends according to the students
Chanell Dunham, a Penn State freshman takes fashion very seriously. She says her inspiration for the way she dresses is Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. They follow a bohemian style of dress. “I don’t really have a distinct style. I just throw on what I feel looks good and fits me, but I just don’t wear anything. I like baggy clothes” says Dunham. In her opinion, knee high socks, stockings, and neutral colors are in this fall. Another Penn state freshman, Alexandra Howell, believes floral patterns, animal print on shirts and jackets, chunky jewelry and metallic leggings are in style this season. Dunham and Howell’s advice for places to shop during the fall season is asos.com, American Apparel, H&M, Nordstrom’s, Juicy Couture and thrift stores. No matter what your style, you can rock elements of the hottest fall fashion this season.
Dress to Impress
Self-expression is a valuable quality that we have as human beings. In some cases, it is more powerful than the freedom we have to create, verbalize and write about our ideas and emotions. The way that the world perceives us at first glance can provide more information than what we say after we open our mouths.
With that said, isn’t it important to take pride in how we look?
A typical day of walking on campus is a depressing one. There is very little individuality, creativity or thought put into many of the attire worn by students here. On this campus, couture has only one definition: sweats.
Girls and guys alike all roll out of bed and into the classroom in sweatpants, which is actually an upgrade from people that can be seen wearing pajamas. What is the point to this style of dress? I agree that it is cozy, convenient and cheap. But it is also careless, uninspiring and a fashion catastrophe.
I don’t entirely blame college students for this lack of a fashion sense. Most websites and blogs that give tips on preparing for college do not enforce dressing up. For example, in Ehow.com’s article How To Dress for College, Aly Wright blatantly enforces her readers to dress down for class. She states: “Skip dressing up for class. This is something that many freshmen do during their first few weeks of college and many upperclassmen can spot a new student from a mile away. There will be plenty of opportunities to dress up for parties and socials in college. Wear comfortable clothes to class. Jeans, shorts and T-shirts are smart choices.” Hmmm…am I the only one who sees something wrong with this advice?
She clearly says that only freshmen dress up for school, which consequently singles them out for being so fashion-conscious. So I guess upperclassmen look down upon them for wanting to look nice around campus? And the only worthy occasion for dressing up is attending a party?
That is terrible advice! Students shouldn’t be motivated to dress up only when they are hitting the club or going to a house party. Going to class is 10 times more important than partying with friends, and for college students to dress up only when a party is involved shows that the academic work ethic is extremely low. Why should students wear sweats and dirty sneakers to a class that they can get an A in, but look nice for a party that will possibly get busted and won’t have any positive effect on school work?
I will not completely downplay the writer, however. She makes a valid point at the end of her article that redeems herself. She says that students should not come into class with pajamas, explaining that professors will be disgusted at such a low incentive to be physically prepared for class. I agree with her entirely. Going to class involves more than making sure you read last night’s 150 pages or remembering to bring your pen and notebook. It also includes looking physically appropriate and exuding an aura that proves you are ready to learn and get down to business. Impression is everything, and we express it by how we carry ourselves.
I am not preaching that college students should stroll into class as if it is Project Runway or America’s Next Top Model. No one will receive a failing grade or get kicked out of class for not dressing in a certain style (but I do appreciate and admire students who dress all out for class). But coming to class in the baggiest sweatpants and hoodie you can find can definitely hinder your performance in class. Such comfortable attire can make one feel lethargic, uninterested and ultimately sloppy and disoriented. In other words, you’re not as motivated to learn and do your best when you’re wearing the same clothing that you do at home.
There are other artistic, physically conscious and practically annoyed souls like me out there who are becoming disgusted with this notion of sweats. On the world’s biggest social network, Facebook, you can easily find a group called “Anti Sweatpants For College Students.” Inspiringly enough, they have a wonderful introduction within their description box that embodies the purpose of the movement: “This is a group for all college students who believe that sweatpants are counterproductive to studying and education in general. College students have to pay and achieve to be able to even attend college, and I believe it's time that they start dressing like it.” I couldn’t have said it any better.
With that said, sweatpants are not a horrible thing. They effectively catch sweat. They keep us warm when we’re cold, cool us off when we are working out. They are adequate for doing all physical activities in a comfortable manner. But, point-blank, they are NOT fashion, even if there is a Penn State logo on the side, or if there is a signature paw print. Victoria’s Secret can’t make them that sexy either. They cannot be tucked into rain boots or paired with your cutest flats or decked out with a matching Penn State tee or hoodie.
On a side note, let’s talk about the dreadful sock-slipper combination. What a contradiction that is…to wear slippers, made for the purpose to show feet, then wear socks, which cover your feet. That style obviously displays laziness by not wearing a pair of sneakers or boots. Save that attire for walking down to the commons to grab food or simply doing your laundry. They definitely do not belong in the classroom.
But let’s return to the major issue at hand: sweatpants! Throw them in the back of your closet and pull them out when you are working out or when it’s raining. If you’re having a crappy day or a hangover, you can also throw them on. But don’t make it a habit. It is NOT fashion and there is nothing expressive and unique about it. Remember what you are trying to tell the world about yourself every time you dress in the morning. Our style of dress speaks volumes about our personality. Especially on a college campus, you want to be heard, recognized and distinguished. Sweatpants do not signify much about a person, unless they’re neon green or have plaid stripes. But nonetheless, be unique! Take pride in how you dress in the morning. After all, college is our stepping stone into the real world.
References: Anti Sweatpants For College Students: http://www.facebook.com/
Community Artist Breaks Gender Trends
Gyekis, 2009 alumnus from The Pennsylvania State University, has completed various projects, including three community-based murals. Gyekis enjoys these murals because everyone is involved with the project and its representation of the city.
“I try to get the community involved every step of the way,” said Gyekis explaining the meetings she holds in the community to discuss ideas and draw up sketches. She first meets to form an idea of what the mural should represent and then finalizes a drawing with the approval of the residents.
“The point is to have that process to build networks and understanding of each other and then the finish result is a reminder of that process,” said Gyekis.
The technique is much like the “paint-by-numbers” workbooks for children. Each resident chooses a color that correlates with a number. The drawing on the wall is divided into numbered sections so that every resident is able to paint a piece of the final image.
Gyekis learned this community mural technique during her participation in the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and has since integrated her own methods to the project.
In State College, Gyekis is planning a mural on the side of McLanahan’s on Allen Street that will hold the theme “Dreams Take Flight”.
Besides murals, Gyekis also creates ceramics, sculptures, paintings, photographs and textiles. She said she values her mastery in many areas and its part of the reason why she came to Penn State.
“It’s a challenge to define myself in art, but I know I enjoy working with my hands,” Gyekis said.
For Gyekis, the lack of female artists’ work on display is something she hopes will rapidly change as she enters the art world. Although, she has not been directly affected in art by her gender, Gyekis is aware and observant of the disparity between genders. For now, she is tentatively making plans to start a non-profit organization in State College, and to further pursue creating art outside of the academic realm.
Even though, Gyekis is starting to feel the pressures of finding a job and maintaining her work without a class structure, she remained optimistic about her future.
“I think I’m gonna make it work,” Gyekis said.
Go to http://elodyg.com/ to view Elody Gyekis’ work.
The Price of Fashion
Every year, models walk down the runway in heavy fur coats, a preview of the winter clothing lines. Fur coats are expensive. They can range anywhere from hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands, but the real cost is much higher.
According to Furisdead.com, animals like foxes, minks, coyotes, rabbits, raccoons, bobcats, lynxes, otters and muskrats are brutally murdered in the name of fashion.
CEASE (Citizens to End Animal Suffering and Exploitation) says that over 30 million animals are killed in fur farms each year. In the U.S. alone, three million are killed on farms and over four million are trapped in the wild every year.
However, fashion designer Karl Lagerfield promotes the use of fur. He says that fur is okay because the “beasts” we take it from would “kill us if they could.”
He also says that it’s childish to even discuss fur in a world where people eat meat and wear leather shoes. But he doesn’t mention the fact that animals killed for fur are not eaten and are used for no other purpose than providing fur for the fashion industry.
When they are stripped of their fur, their carcasses are discarded. In the days of indoor heating and manmade fabrics, fur is not required to keep humans alive. Most animals are farmed. When it is time to harvest their fur, they are electrocuted anally or vaginally, poisoned, gassed, skinned alive or have their necks broken. The rest of the animals used for fur are caught in the wild in traps that will ensnare them until the animal dies from wounds, starves, freezes, drowns or is beaten to death. (CEASE)
Household pets, along with other wildlife not intended for the fur market, are sometimes caught in the wild animal traps and can be killed.
In Wayne County, Pa.; a trip to the local animal shelter shows the effects of trapping. A black and rust tortoiseshell cat with large green eyes lay in a cage in the sick cat room. Her front and back paws are mangled from being caught in a coyote trap.
Thankfully, someone found her and dropped her off at the shelter. Her future is bright as her feet heal and she can be adopted.
A few weeks after the arrival of the tortoiseshell cat, two more cats were brought in with the same problem said The Wayne Independent, the area’s local newspaper. They both had mangled legs after being caught in fur traps. One was found by the coyote trapper himself and brought into the shelter. The tortoiseshell cat was “lucky” to have only her feet mangled but no limbs lost. The other two cats were missing legs and one a tail. Dogs are also commonly hurt in fur traps. “Anytime you buy fur from a trapped animal—like a coyote, fox or a raccoon, you support the placement of devices in the woods that regularly injure or kill pet dogs and hunting dogs,” said Pierre Grzybowski, manager of The Humane Society’s fur-free campaign. Coyote, beaver and otter trapping are very popular rural Pennsylvania. Coyotes get their legs stuck in the steel jaws of the traps and die in excruciating pain while beaver and otter traps are laid underwater and cause the animals to drown. Make sure to check the label for a material list. It should say 100 percent faux fur. But be careful. Some companies may market a garment as faux fur when in fact it contains animal fur.
Lord and Taylor recently settled a lawsuit filed by the Humane Society last year alleging that several of the nation’s largest retail chains- Lord and Taylor, Dillard’s, Andrew Marc, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus- engaged in false advertising and mislabeling their fur products.
The Humane Society found that garments labeled faux fur actually contained real fur, mostly from raccoon dogs. They also found garments that claimed to be fox, rabbit or raccoon fur to be raccoon dog fur instead.
Lord and Taylor decided to settle and promised to ban the use of raccoon dog fur in its products. They also promised to reform their advertising and garment labeling practices so that consumers are aware of what animal fur is present in a garment.
Three of the retailers who still have not settled- Macy’s, Saks and Neiman Marcus- will face trial this year.
According to the Humane Society, raccoon dogs, members of the canine family that resemble raccoons, are killed en masse in Asia to be used in the fur industry.
Most are skinned alive. Asian fur is cheaper than American and European fur, and thus some of it sneaks into faux fur and into garments that claim the fur to be from another animal.
“Several sources have documented raccoon dogs skinned alive in China,” said Grzbowski in an e-mail. “Raccoon dog fur is commonly used to trim jackets sold in the United States, where it is commonly mislabeled or falsely advertised as raccoon or faux fur. According to our findings and analysis, raccoon dog fur is the most commonly misrepresented type of fur.”
Asian countries also participate in the merciless slaughter of millions of domestic cats and dogs each year to be used in fur products.
The United States does not allow the import or export of dog and cat fur as of 2000 and the European Union, one of the world’s largest consumers of fur, finally outlawed the same which came into effect January 1, 2009.
Australia signed the practice into law in 2004. These laws came into effect after the national and international Humane Society investigated Chinese fur practices and witnessed a person skinning a German shepherd alive in public and strangling cats in front of their cage companions.
China has absolutely no animal welfare laws and exports animal fur throughout the world. More than 2 million cats and dogs are killed in China each year for the fur trade (Humane Society International).
The Humane Society tested random samples of fur in the 1990s in Europe, Australia and the United States, and found cat and dog hair among fur labeled as coming from other animals or labeled as faux fur.
Retailers knew that customers did not want to buy products made out of their cat and dog companions so they intentionally lied on the on the labels. China is the largest supplier of fur in the world and conducts the greatest massacre of cats, dogs, raccoon dogs and other animals for the fur industry.
Lax laws in the United States actually allow for dog and cat hair to slip into the country. Fur garments are not only labeled incorrectly, but some are not labeled at all.
This is the reason why six major retailers have been able to lie about their products to consumers for years.
Next time you shop, support the welfare of animals by shopping fur-free and make sure the faux fur garment you buy instead is actually fur-free. Millions of animals around the world will be grateful, and with more support, millions of lives can be saved.
Finding the Fashionista in You!
It’s the start of a new semester and everyone is digging deep into their closets. The debate is: what to wear? Boots or shoes? Polka dots or plaid? A dress or jeans? Studs or hoops? You’re leaving that small-town girl look behind and heading to the big city. Aside from looking and feeling your best, you want to wear something presentable but express you from head to toe. Who knows? There’s a possibility you could meet your crush during English class. Remember, first impressions are always the last so you want an outfit that will prepare you for the worst case scenario. As you take those last ten minutes weighing your options, keep in mind that it’s okay to stand out and not fit in. This is what style is all about!
Today’s colleges and universities have become the melting pots for fashion. Style from the streets of New York, to suburban areas and overseas have made their way to HappyValley. Whether you’re style is chic, preppy, artsy, laid back, punk rock or still stuck in the 80’s, every individual is taking away from the campus a distinct looks while giving it some taste.
Let’s make statements, and not just verbally. We often dress according to our mood. Fashion sends messages through everything we wear. Our choice of textures, colors, patterns and materials say a little bit about who we are. Believe it or not, tattoos, piercings, and bleached hair are saying just as much. The great part about it is that we’re in control of how we want to say it! Though we are not mind readers, it's obvious to understand the many messages given through style. Just as our clothes speak for themselves, our choice of accessories do as well. Take a good look around and today you’ll spot trendy bows, buttons, and bulky chains. Someone somewhere is even sporting a pair of leopard frames.
Marilyn Monroe once said “It’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” Don’t be afraid to take risks! Go for the neon green Tee that screams “notice me!” or the black boots that have got you dancing in your reckless path.
One thing you’ll benefit from college is being able to express yourself inside the classroom and out. Weather you’re headed to a social, spending the night on the town or dressing up for theatre, there’s always an opportunity to look your best. Let’s just say that piece of clothing that’s been hiding in the back of you closet has a reason to be seen.
Sometimes 8 a.m. classes can be the worst. Go to class wearing something that says “I want to be here” (even if you don’t). This is just an easy way to show that you’ve made the effort.
Trends vary form campus to campus, but one trend that doesn’t seem to fade is collegiate gear. Today, students are giving the typical school logo a twist while promoting school pride. Victoria’s secret PINK sells college-sponsored items in the form of shirts, flip flops and loungewear for more than 50 colleges and universities. The next time you stop by your school’s bookstore, grab a few items with the logo on it. It’s the one thing you’ll be able to get away with any time of the year. Let’s not stress about what to wear, but the message we want to send when wearing it!
Stop in for a BITE
Vampires. They’re not only associated with Halloween and horror movies anymore. What used to frighten people into a sleepless night has now become the hot topic of discussion. Instead of giving nightmares, vampires have become idols. Why?
It’s because vampires today are nothing like Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Today, they’re beautiful compelling creatures. Some people wish they could be like vampires and many wouldn’t mind hooking up with them, especially because of the recent film, Twilight, based off the saga written by Stephenie Meyer. The young heart-throb, Robert Pattinson stars with Kristen Stewart in this movie about a romantic vampire who falls in love with a human and will stop at nothing to keep her safe. With the movie’s $70 million rake-in on opening weekend in November 2008 and the three million copies sold the very first day it was released in stores, it’s obvious that today’s youth is crazy about the stunning ‘vegetarian vampires.’
That’s not all. Not long after the release of TwilightTV introduced the series “True Blood,” which is based off the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. Sookie, a telepathic cocktail waitress falls for a vampire who lives up the street. This horrifyingly addicting series repeatedly kept millions of people waiting on the edge of their seats on Sunday nights.
Now, don’t forget about the Vampire Diaries series that just premiered this September. This television show is also based off a book series,Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith. What high school girl wouldn’t want to be like the main character, Elena, who has two very attractive vampire boys fighting over her? The problem: the last girl the immortal brothers fought over wound up dead. The two dangerously handsome brother vampires still manage to attract quite a crowd, though.
Are some vampire fans taking their love for fantasy a bit too far? Just days after the release of Twilight in stores, police had been called to Boston Latin School on account of rumors of vampires taking over the school. Two law enforcement officials had to respond to a call about students spreading rumors about vampire sightings. It’s believed these rumors were directed toward students who dressed in “goth” attire whom many students would crack jokes about. Whatever the case, it seems that the sudden vampire craze may have some strange side effects to it.
Body Trends Through History
By Steph Dorman
Fashion and the female body image have continually been based on cultural, societal and political events of the time. Whether talking about the designs of Christian Dior after World War II, the onset of the miniskirt, or women wearing trousers, fashion has evolved along with the rest of the world.
Women’s fashion has been largely influenced by the position of women in society at the time. During World War I, most men were fighting in the war, so women worked in their places.
As a result, women joined the workforce in factories and required more sensible work wear. Trousers were donned as this sensible work wear; however, they still were not worn outside of the workplace.
Nonetheless, this did expose women to the comfort and versatility of trousers. Even after the war, women continued to wear pants to work, as they were still essential when many men did not return home from the front.
After World War II, the general populace was looking for a comforting return to “normality.” With this, came the highly disputed designs of Christian Dior. Men loved his designs because they hearkened back to the pre-World War I “traditional” woman.
However, women were not as thrilled. The designs included tiny waists, large voluminous skirts, and softer shoulders. The skirts required uncomfortable petticoats and the tiny waists necessitated the revival of the restrictive corset.
Women were not okay with this return to unpleasant fashion after their war-time exposure to more sensible clothing. This heralded the first resistance of women to undesirable fashion; although, it was not necessarily very successful.
Women’s skirts have shortened becoming closer and closer to thigh length over the past centuries. This shortening however, really took off in the mid to late 1920s via flappers. These women were well known for their resistance to the traditional and flaunted this with their revolutionary fashions. They sported heavy makeup, short hair and dresses, and open backs.
Though this fashion was not well-accepted, its successors were. After several decades of hemlines shortening and then lengthening again, Mary Quant brought us the miniskirt in the 1960s. This time, it was a fashion for a new financially secure younger generation.
Like never before, teens and young adults were influencing the economy, which brought on the evolution of fashion to appeal to a younger demographic. This fashion was carried out by the famous model Twiggy, who exemplifies the perfect shape for the miniskirt.
This was the new body image, which was very skinny. The miniskirt, though alive and well-known today, is much shorter than its predecessors.
Fashion and body images will continue to change throughout subsequent generations, but luckily, today’s society contains styles which are at least somewhat broadly accepted. Women have the choice of wearing clothes that fit their particular body types and are not forced into tiny corsets.
Still, body image continues to be an issue, as the majority of mainstream fashion hires models that do not reflect the average body size.
Picture Caption: The bra has been the biggest assistance to the desired body image for women. It has changed over the years from flattening (at its onset) to a rather pointy and bust emphasizing model in the 1950s to a more natural bra. Today’s bras run the gamut of shapes and sizes, just as our style has come to do.
Makeup, It's My Choice!
Why do women wear makeup? Fear of our natural beauty. Insecurity. Blemishes.
Some feminists say makeup is a component of our patriarchal society that only forces women to subjugate themselves to beauty standards they will never reach. Women must constantly “beautify” themselves to perfect the ideal look that men want. Or so they say.
Makeup is an art to me. It’s layers of paint I gloss over my already beautiful sculpture to enhance my natural beauty. I can accentuate my big brown eyes or fluff up my juicy lips. I do this because I enjoy it. I’m not spending those extra minutes for anyone else but myself. Believe me, I wouldn’t lose sleep over something I didn’t enjoy.
I work with my art everyday that I feel up to it. Some days its softer than others but it's still beautiful and it's still me. Because I want to enjoy looking at myself and saying, “Damn, this girl is hot!”
If guys/girls give me attention, its their pleasure and I can rejoice a little in the fact that someone else thinks I’m beautiful, but I do not paint myself for them or their attention. If my standards don’t fit with them that day (whether it’s the color, shade, or lack of any makeup) then I will still carry the same confidence I had when I was noticed.
I accentuate the parts of my body that I am proud of. My sexiness is for me. I own it and I am dominate it. Although, I wouldn’t mind being dominated at times, too;)
A large question now is how young is too young to start “maturing” into the makeup scene? 5-year old girls love getting their hair and nails done. The desire to define themselves as “woman” only gets stronger as the years progress. Where are these ideas of being truly feminine coming from? Why do we shelter young girls from makeup....is it fear of corrupting them at too young an age? When is this “corruption” acceptable to encounter and if it isn’t, then why does our society make it so common? There are millions of makeup ads on TV each day.
Is it so awful that some of us might enjoy makeup? The fact remains that we as women still have the choice to wear makeup or to not wear it. That option, is Feminism.
I started wearing makeup in 6th grade to define myself. I went to Catholic School and couldn’t wait to wear the craziest colors of makeup on the weekends. I had bright green, blue, brown, and purple. I was looking to express myself and escape the rigid standards of identity imposed upon me with my schooling. I was figuring myself out and what my beauty was. Makeup was a way for me to express that.
I’ve toned it down a lot which I credit to being lucky enough to find out who I was early on. Since then I’ve only added to that definition of self with makeup, piercings, haircuts, and fashion. Sometimes I refuse to admit that appearance portrays who we are. Other times, I enjoy this and embrace it, yet I don’t play it up as much as I did in high school when I changed from “punk rock” to “ghetto fabulous” within months. I’m a little bit of all those styles so I’ve thrown away the labels altogether.
I used to never feel comfortable going out in public without makeup. This is something a lot of women have confronted.
Was this a fear of being ugly placed on me by society’s standards of what is beautiful, as many fellow feminists like to tell me? I never felt sexy unless I received some form of attention by at least one guy. It seemed like I fit the definition of a subjugated woman in a patriarchal society. Yet, I realized, I just didn’t love myself enough to be comfortable in anything.
If I caught sight of a girl looking hot in a skirt when I was too lazy to get out of my sweat pants, I was jealous. Competitive. And undoubtedly, she was labeled a slut.
This is completely ridiculous. Women judge other women when they look beautiful and sexy because woman are insecure with themselves. Don’t blame guys for the double standard because we women, have yet to look beyond it.
The idea of competing for a male’s interest/desire/attention is absurd. If we loved ourselves enough, it wouldn’t matter how other people looked or what guys noticed. After all, shouldn’t men be competing for our attention!
So makeup has played a role in my perception of beauty and self-respect. Now, I rock days with or without makeup. I wear what I want, when I want. I do this for no one else but myself. If anyone else thinks I look hot, great. If not, I still love myself.
For those gorgeous ladies I became so jealous of, keep being yourself. That guy/girl that’s checking you out is just blown away by your confidence and beauty. Let ‘em look! I hereby promise to never call you a slut. Say it with me ladies!
So makeup...wear it, don’t wear it. It is all just about comfort and confidence. I say a woman can still wear makeup and the miniskirt AND be a feminist. Just because I’m beautiful doesn’t mean I don’t have self-respect. And it most definitely doesn’t mean I’m not demanding respect from you either.
So Let’s all be proud of the bodies we have.
I challenge any of you who are uncomfortable without makeup. Try one day without it. You might notice that freckle you always hid and find it sexy. You might decide you like those extra 5 minutes of sleep and never wear makeup again. Maybe, you’ll be one of those only-wear-makeup-on-the-weekend girls. Or maybe you will continue to wear makeup but realize it’s for different reasons than before. Regardless, I will be right there testing myself with you. Be confident. Love yourself. Don’t let the makeup define you, you define it. You are the artist after all.