Are we all vain fools?

Are we all vain fools? I have actually been so busy these last few weeks that I have been leaving my hair curly and pulling it back in a bun. I also haven’t been wearing my contacts. And I did get comments (they weren’t compliments). I woke up thinking I should probably get “entirely” ready this morning since I have kinda been a slob the last few weeks (as people felt obligated to point out). And then my friend, Erin, sent me this video.

My hair IS curly and poofy. I like it back in a bun because it makes it easier for me to type and work. Same with my glasses, my eyes don’t get tired and irritated like they do with my contacts. I DO have better things to do this morning than blow dry and straighten my hair for an hour and a half. I am a little ashamed to say I was contemplating what was more important: work/hobbies/goals vs. looking “presentable” today.

-E

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10 thoughts on “Are we all vain fools?

  1. I can really relate to this. I admire her very much for doing this on stage and hope people will genuinely be more accepting of the fact that it’s a woman’s right to look how she wants. That’s not all either, people with lighter coloured hair don’t always seem to have shaving imposed on them. I have jet black hair so if it’s there, it will show, and I have to get rid of it though i hate doing so. I don’t wear any make-up daily except to parties or occasions.
    She’s the perfect example of what we should be doing.

    -The Ace

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    1. Agreed! I love that at the end she makes it accessible to all women, as well. She’s not saying, “Stop wearing making up and doing your hair FOR GOOD!” Rather, she just tells us to evaluate our own grooming habits and get rid of what we can do without.

      -C

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  2. Coming from someone who spends a lot more time than 30min a day on “self-grooming,” as the speaker here says, I have to say I’m not quite sure what to feel. I understand the stats on productivity and the meaning behind this impulse to “pretty-up” but at the same time, I don’t feel like I am doing it so that I can “cover” myself up. Honestly, my makeup and my hair are part of my self expression. I have no problem walking around bare faced and hair down. I have no problems changing my hair, cutting it off, dying it different wacky colors. I feel like that is a part of who I am. I choose to wear makeup because, yes, it looks “put together” for the sake of society. But I also do it for myself. It is my one moment in the day putting on and taking off my makeup where I can reflect on my day-by myself and FOR myself. I don’t think I could do that without those things in my life. I still feel like the speaker is giving me a veiled “damned if you, damned if you don’t” dilemma. Like, its ok if I still choose to wear make up just make sure it doesn’t take over 30 min a day. And if it does, I’m being unproductive.

    Then what about men and the hours of sports they watch or the amount of beer that they drink or the amount of time they spend on doing those things? Isn’t it the same thing? I honestly do not think there is anything wrong with “putting yourself together.” (Nor am I implying the speaker is saying so). I am just arguing that women should be allowed to be a woman however way they choose. If you can express yourself through makeup, fashion, hair, then why complicate that with society? We are women. We are blessed with God-given beauty to be attractive. Yes, women should not have to slave away at these things for the sake of acceptance. And if that is the reason why they are pursuing these things, then maybe–as fellow women–we can have a chat about what self worth means. However, if you are a strong woman with a strong sense of “womanhood” then…why not?

    Sorry this post is so long…I just feel constricted whenever I see or hear issues about feminism and “being vain.” I feel that men are just as vain in different areas and don’t really get push back for it. I really just want feminism to be accepting of all TYPES of women with a message of embracing BEING a woman. Putting on make-up and doing my hair doesn’t mean I’m unproductive or doing less than I could. If I wanted to do it then I would. I am happy with what I am doing and have done in my life. I am confident in myself and can walk out of the house barefaced, messy bun, and sweats any day and still be confident and happy.

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    1. I completely understand where you are coming from! Part of the reason I consider myself a feminist is that I believe women should be able to make whatever choice they want in life and not be judged for it. I am also a feminist, however, because I believe that women’s (or anyone’s) choices shouldn’t be controlled by societal pressures. I think that people of all genders have the right to spend as much time as they want on grooming and should wear as much makeup as they like. I don’t think that women wearing makeup, spending time on their hair, etc. is anti-feminist at all, and I don’t think the speaker in this TED talk would say that, either.

      As you briefly addressed in your comment, I think that the main point of this talk was to point out the social pressure on women to look a certain way and thus spend more time on grooming. Why is it that women must wear makeup in an office environment in order to be considered “professional”? Why is it that when E goes to work wearing glasses and a bun, she gets comments on her appearance? This has been said again and again, but society places enormous pressure on women to look a certain way, and that just isn’t right. The way I saw it, the point of this talk was to point that out and to encourage women to evaluate both their grooming habits and their reasons for those habits. It’s always good to evaluate ourselves and our real reasons for doing things. For instance, I wear makeup everyday (but it’s pretty minimal, just foundation, a little bit of blush and mascara). Thinking about it, though, I wear makeup because since I was about 12 I’ve had lots of skin problems and I feel self-conscious leaving the house without foundation. That doesn’t make me a bad person at all, but I think it’s good for me to recognize my reason for wearing makeup and perhaps to challenge myself work out those issues. On the other hand, there are women who love the process of doing makeup — it’s creative and is really an art form (E, despite what this post might have you believe, is actually really good at doing both hair and makeup. She pretty much looks like a model all of the time… ;)). There is absolutely nothing wrong with women who enjoy doing makeup and hair to continue to spend time on that if that’s what they enjoy doing.

      I feel like I’m starting to ramble, so I will just try to wrap up! Haha. I guess in short, I appreciated this video because it’s main goal is to help women understand that they don’t NEED to spend so much time on grooming just to satisfy society. If they want to do that, they can, but they don’t need to and shouldn’t feel like they have to.

      Thanks for your comment, though, because this was one thing that I was thinking about as I watched it. I would never want any women to feel as though she were being shamed for putting time into her appearance.

      -C

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      1. I totally agree with you here (and thank you for sharing your own struggles with this particular sensitive topic!). I mean, I was explicitly told to wear makeup when I was waitressing, because I won’t get any tips. And honestly, it upset me but I did it anyway (gotta eat and pay the bills). So I know what it feels like to get comments about how I look. And I feel like those who DO wear makeup get the brunt of those comments because of the “before and after” effect. I just felt like taking a cautionary step away from the speaker making all these drastic changes on stage, to prove her point on how “vain” us women can be. I think that that example can equally leave many young women confused about just what being a woman means. There was too much focus on how much time we spend getting pretty for the sake of society and not enough time spent on what “professionalism” SHOULD mean for a woman or what “beauty” should mean for a young woman or what all that “armor” really represents for a woman who doesn’t realize it for what it is. I think there is a way for feminists to re-define these normally masculine dominated fields/identities/characteristics for women without focusing or quite frankly bashing us as beautiful human beings.

        You’re right though, we should always evaluate and re-evaluate why we do the things we do as women, and for whom all of that is for!

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