Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The politics of beauty writing



I am delighted to announce that I have added a new string to my bow. Today is my debut as a guest ranter for Jossbox, a website run by a very good friend of mine. My first piece is a snark-filled rant about a ridiculous new advert Penelope Cruz has created to sell her line of lingerie. It is an advert full of unintentional comedy and, as such, it was an easy joy to disparage it mercilessly.

Beauty products are sold via Jossbox and it also runs articles about the wondrous world of beauty. So why is an avowed feminist like me writing for such a site? Surely I have become some sort of feminist Uncle Tom writing for a site that sells things that are used to make women attractive?

Oh, please.

Anyone who thinks that lipstick is the enemy needs to grow up and go fight some genuine oppression. If you don't want to wear make-up, that is your choice. If you do, that is also your choice. If you wear make-up some days but not others, that is fine too. Hell, in any given week, my face will range from unadorned-and-if-you-don't-like-my-uneven-skintones-then-you-can-bugger-off to more-red-lipstick-than-the-Joker-in-Batman. See? Choice. It's all about choice and respecting all choices.

Ages ago, a stupid row on Twitter broke out because somone objected to an article on the Jossbox site. The offending article was simply a vox pop of a group of women on whether or not they apply make-up in public. It's not a debate that will end up in Parliament, it was not meant to be a political statement for the ages, it was just a selection of views on the kind of subject that might pop up in casual conversation among women. Or it might not. Some women talk about nothing but politics. Or art. Or church architecture. Or cricket. Or whatever the hell they damn well please.

But some tweeter whose name I have forgotten and I can't be bothered to find out again singled out this one article as some sort of example of everything that is wrong with the world. Why anyone would be shocked to find an article about make-up on a website that sells beauty products should be a mystery to anyone with a functioning brain stem. A Twitter argument broke out and she blocked me, despite being the original troll who picked a moronic fight in the first place.

Instead of raging about a post that fell squarely in the categeory of no-shit-Sherlock, it was pathetic that the angry dullard on Twitter sought to tear down Jossbox. The website is a business my friend has started from scratch. I am proud to support her in that endeavour and if my little rants help get a few more clicks and sales going her way, that would make me very happy indeed. She has worked incredibly hard to get it to where it is today and she continues to work hard. If that isn't an example of an empowered, determined woman, then I will eat my lipstick.


Image courtesy of courtney murray rhodes

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