While there are people out there who worry endlessly about cookies and what info goes out on the Internet, I really appreciate websites that count my stats and recommend things for me to read/see/hear. Amazon for example, has introduced me to countless books and CDs that I wouldn't necessarily have found on my own. The Thirteenth Tale, for example, was an Amazon recommendation, and I loved it.
Now that I have discovered Google Reader, I have a whole slew of recommended blogs to read. And today, I scored big, landing at Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog. It's a wonderful collection of FAQs regarding feminism, including this gem:
“Feminist” all too often conjures up images of “ugly”, hairy legged, makeup hating, flannel loving, short-haired, boyish women. Namely, women who embody the rejection of the patriarchal beauty standard and all of the trappings that go with it. There are, obviously, feminists who fit into some, or all, of those categories. Of course, there are also conventionally attractive, shaven-legged, makeup wearing, short skirt loving, long-haired, feminine feminists as well (and not all of them are women). The claim that women have to reject shaving, wearing makeup, and other beauty regimens to be a feminist (or a “good” feminist) is a myth that obscures the actual ideological issues that feminists have with beauty standards.
According to feminist thought, a woman shouldn’t be judged by her attractiveness, and this myth of the “ugly, hairy-legged feminist” does just that — both as a cautionary tale to would-be feminists, as well as a strawfeminist argument that many feminists often feel the need to debunk by citing how attractive they are — all of which just proves how pervasive the beauty myth is.
Thinking about it in another way:
Not all feminists reject femininity, but most reject the notion that it should be a prison and many of us have complex and self-reflexive relationships with our own femininity or lack of it.
[Winter (Mind the Gap): Springing the Traps: On Countering Anti-Feminism.]
What it comes down to is this: dismantling the beauty myth and challenging women’s status as the sex class is a rallying issue for many feminists. However, this is an ideological issue that doesn’t preclude an individual’s choice regarding what to do with her body. This is an important distinction because it intersects with the idea of bodily autonomy, which is a cornerstone of feminist thought. Because, really, feminists don’t care if a woman is feminine or not, but they do care when her supposed attractiveness is used to judge her worth.
If you go on to read more, it offers anecdotes on the topic, along with sections of recommended reading. This is really fantastic. I could spend all day reading this site.
The best part of this is being able to add to my repertoire of feminist arguments, for the next time a certain someone (ahem, Nate, this would be you) tells me that when a woman is hired for a job, she's taking a job away from a man.