How can I be a confident feminist who also loves beauty and fashion?

I am a feminist. I fundamentally like myself. I love makeup. I love my hair. What gives?

I used to feel some sort of conflict between loving traditionally feminine things and feeling a desire to adorn and enjoy my appearance with being a feminist (which everyone should be) and loving myself for who I am. So how can I be a confident feminist who also loves beauty and fashion?

1) Feminism is about choice. I should be able to wear all the makeup I want, and I should never have to wear makeup if I don’t want to. I shouldn’t be fired because not wearing makeup is “unprofessional” and I shouldn’t be denigrated for loving red lipstick and outrageous eyelashes. Men should be able to wear makeup. Sometimes I hear people point to cultural norms such as a bias against men wearing makeup or skirts as proof that there’s sexism on both sides and feminism is outdated, but this only proves that anti-woman sentiment is ingrained in our culture and feminism is as needed as ever. Men aren’t supposed to wear skirts or makeup or be stay-at-home parents because these are seen as traditionally female activities, and traditionally male activities and attributes and more valued in our culture than traditionally female activities and characteristics.

2) Human beings love beauty. Show me someone who doesn’t love a beautiful sunset, a great song, or a lovely scent and I’ll show you someone in the throes of a deep depression (which I have been in the past, no judgies here) or who is dead. People love beauty. We see it in other people, in landscapes, in animals, in art, in nebulas and stars and galaxies, in cells under a microscope. Beauty is everywhere and we fucking love it. It’s an important and enjoyable part of the human experience. So why wouldn’t we want to touch and see and smell beautiful things on ourselves? I love the feel of my curly hair, the look of my red lipstick, touching my glossy nails, smelling my coconut perfume.

3) I do what I like and I don’t listen to anyone. I don’t hate anything about my appearance. Nothing. I’m 5’6″ and a size 10, really pale, and I’ll never get a Brazilian. I don’t like my body because it’s perfect according to cultural beauty standards, I like my body because it’s a human body. It’s fascinatingly complex, helps me experience the world, and constantly surprises me. I did nothing to deserve being born, I fucking lucked into it. So I’m not into beauty and fashion because I want to disguise features that I hate or conform to a cultural beauty standard. Wear shoes your boyfriend doesn’t like, get a tattoo your mom hates, play football. Whatever.

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When I was three I asked my mom to take my picture because I felt pretty that day.

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Love ya.

Outfit Post: Jetset Pink and Green

I didn’t have anywhere to go yesterday but I reached my sweatpants limit and got dressed just to clean my room and read half of the internet.

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You’ve seen the dress before but not the scarf and I tell ya, I felt like a genius when I stumbled upon this combination.

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I called this jetset pink and green because a cute scarf around the neck reminds me of 60’s flight attendants. And look at my nails! They’re painted, but NOT red! I’m branching out! And I have on PINK lipstick (which I think I’ve only done once on the blog so far, hated, and apologized for).

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Love dat scarf. I also tried something different with my makeup which I ended up really liking. You may or may not know that I am very into the Titanic and other early 20th century maritime history – you probably don’t know, seeing as I haven’t told you – but I wanted to try a makeup look inspired by the early 1900’s – flushed, rosy, glowy, yet natural. I mixed a highlighter in with my foundation, put on powder and blush, then on my eyes I just put a little bit of champagne eyeshadow all over and some rose colored blush near the lashline. Topped off with mascara and rose-colored lipstick and it’s an extremely light makeup look but I really felt beautiful.

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Oh and that bracelet snagged my dress. Go to hell, bracelet.

I have something I simply MUST share with you. Do you watch Mad Men? Well, you should. But regardless, you should read the costume analysis on Tom and Lorenzo. They go through essentially every outfit on the show and analyze it based off of what it says about the character (in general and in the moment) and give them some historical context. It’s totally fascinating and I’ve spent hours catching up on the archives. Watching fashion change from the late 50’s to the point where you can see the 70’s around the corner is absolutely fascinating and if you care about historical fashion at all, you must read it. I can tell from their analysis, though, how little of a “modern” eye I have for fashion. They’ll talk about the clothes that still look good today versus those that were stylish in the 60s but appear dated now and I always seem to love those outfits. Whatever, it’s cool. Somebody’s gotta be your grandma, might as well be me.

All You Need Is Lipstick and a Hairstyle

Dresses and stockings are great but some days you either can’t or simply don’t want to put so much effort into getting ready. The other day I had an improv show late at night and I’d just taken a shower after the gym. I didn’t particularly want to get all dressed up just for this hour-long show and then go back home and go to sleep, but I also know that when I don’t dress up at all I tend to feel unattractive. And why put myself through that?

I therefore introduce my patented look-great method of: All You Need Is Lipstick and a Hairstyle.

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Casual jeans and a hoodie I bought in the Target boys’ section suddenly become an outfit. (And it has a cute sailor vibe, don’t you think?) It’s by no means a dressy outfit but it allowed me to dress down without feeling schlubby.

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When I first started wearing vintage I noticed that no matter what I was wearing, if I was wearing lipstick and any sort of hat people would comment on how “fancy” or “dressed-up” I looked. It made me self-conscious at first but now it reminds me I’m doing something right.

 

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The bow is of my very own creation! I’ve been knitting like a madman recently and I made this for myself and I really like it. What do you all think?

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And thus concludes this extremely simple style lesson.

New Years and Some Serious Hair

Happy New Year!

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Here’s my roommate and me!

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And some pals. We look drunk, even though I am stone cold sober.

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And the party we went to! I wore my 70s red shirtdress and my new espadrilles – perfect for dancing and I didn’t want to wear anything too nice to get that sweaty in. A ton of people told me that red is my color, so that was exciting.

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And one of my only pictures from my birthday (the night before, actually). I’m not a drinker so I had one and a half and then I was done. I probably have five drinks a year and that is quite enough.

It’s taken me four days into the new year to write a new post because I’m having trouble taking pictures during the daytime! I’m not what you would call an early riser and now that the sun goes down at four fucking thirty in the afternoon, I have precious few daylight hours. So please forgive me that all my photos are taken in the dark, as I didn’t get ready for my evening until it was dark out.

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When I got ready last night I realized I had a pretty “severe” look – pulled-back hair, buttoned up shirt, strong brows, strong eyeliner, bold lips. But I really like a severe look on myself, it’s a bit more fun to me than looking soft and feminine (which is also fun sometimes. I’m indecisive).

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I think it’s funny you can see my iPhone in this picture. The hair was very easy and took about ten minutes. I made a strong side part and brushed out my pincurls. Started twisting from the front of my hair, adding hair as I went and trying to keep it tight but not close to my head – twists can be very subtle and I wanted this to be a stronger look. I inserted bobby pins along the length horizontally – you open it up and hold it perpendicular to your scalp, push back a bit, and then push forward.

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I then twisted my hair at the back so I’d be able to form it into a perfect bun, then pinned it to my head with bobby pins all around (try and get hair on your scalp and hair in the bun).

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I have an antique pocket watch my grandma gave me – I’ve never worn it before and keep it in a box for safekeeping but I realized I really wanted to be able to wear it and enjoy it. I’m going to take it to a watch repair shop today to have it cleaned.

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I love cat-eye liner on myself. I also applied my lipstick with a brush, which makes it stay on longer. And when I was doing Today Is History, my makeup artist did my eyebrows with brown shadow first and then black on top. It was such a strong look (and kind of made me more “ethnic” looking – all of a sudden everyone was asking me if I was Italian) so I’ve been doing it on myself. My natural hair color is pretty close to black anyhow. All in all, it was a look I really liked. The only thing I’d change if I could is I was wearing my flowery jeans and I’d really like to have a pair of more classic jeans (like Freddie’s – ugh I might have to splurge and buy some).

I hope you all had a wonderful New Year’s and I’ll send you off with a few pictures of myself with my siblings and our donkey, Luke.

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My Retro Christmas Tree and a Very Important Warning

Check out my first-ever (as an adult) Christmas tree!

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By night it’s a Christmas tree. And by day it is…

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Also a Christmas tree! The tree itself isn’t retro – I bought it at Target for $40. But a lot of the ornaments are! About half of my ornaments look like this:

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All bunny-themed. For the last several years my aunt has given me a bunny-themed Christmas ornament taped to my Christmas present. She’s very sweet.

The other half of my ornaments were my grandma Elaine’s from right around 1950, when she got her first Christmas tree as an adult. When my mom cleaned out Elaine’s house after she died in 2007 she was just going to throw them away (my mom is an anti-hoarder and wonderfully unsentimental) but I requested that we keep them. They were among the few possessions I packed in my Toyota Corolla when I moved out here three years ago and now I finally get to use them!

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So fifties!

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I t hink this one is my favorite:

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Skiing Santa!

And now, time for a very important PSA. Ladies, get serious about throwing your makeup away. I haven’t ever been very diligent about it and this week I got a sty, which is an infection of one of the glands in your eyelid. Disgusting, right? And horrible timing, because I AM SHOOTING MY PILOT THIS WEEKEND. One of the biggest events of my career thus far and I have a swollen, red, gross-looking eye. I’m pretty sure I got it from some liquid eyeliner that I hadn’t used in a couple months, so it was probably too old for me to be using. Mascara and liquid eye liner are supposed to be thrown away after three months, and I assure you I will be doing that from now on. If you’re worried about the price, I’ll just tell you that my antibiotic cost $30 so you can spend $30 on an antibiotic ointment for your eye or on new makeup. I know this message is a jarring change of pace from the first half of the post, but I didn’t exactly want to write an entire post on my disgusting eye sty. There are some things you can do if you get a sty but really just don’t share your makeup, clean your brushes, and throw your shit away after three months. DO IT. Love ya!