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Not Without Her Makeup (Oppression of Western Women)

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DuctapeFatwa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 02:31 PM
Original message
Not Without Her Makeup (Oppression of Western Women)
...I soon discovered I had to conform to the dress code everyone else followed. I had to have my hair highlighted and defrizzed. I had to spend between fifteen ad twenty minutes every morning brushing it and putting on clips and hair ties. I had to make it into a ponytail one day, a braid the next and a bun when I went to dinner parties. I was coerced to wear short skirts and tight tops, with a push-up bra to give me cleavage. My legs had to show, smooth and unscarred, and everyone had to be able to make out my waist.

They told me I had to fit in. Part of the ritual of fitting in meant that I had to paint my face with what they called make-up everyday. I discovered that Australian females liked to attract as much attention as they could to themselves, by hiding behind their make-up...While many parts of the world have seen development, Australia has dragged behind, especially with regards to the status of women...I fear that Australia is a second America in the making...not allowed to wear loose clothing..it is preferred that they show as much of their bodies as possible. Women who break this rule face harsh penalties...deemed unattractive and given unequal treatment...Her sexuality must be available for everyone to consume. She cannot choose to whom she will disclose her intimate parts or excercise her sexuality...the fundamentalist regime insists that it must be available for display in a certain manner, she must follow these rules...women are brainwashed into believing that their Creator is to blame for their deficiencies in not automatically meeting these standards.

In accordance with these oppressive impositions, the countrys commerce has developed...Australias delayed development causes it to prioritise looks over the fact that millions of people in the world go hungry....These poor women must shampoo, condition and colour their hair in order to legitimise themselves. They need the perfect curl, the right bounce and the shiniest colour. Their value to society is directly linked to their hair...A woman is required to perform the ceremonial going out, which can span any period of time from a day to ten years...All the men she goes out with are allowed to touch her and sleep with her...status and acceptance in society is determined by how many of these men she has accommodated..young girls have little to contribute to their own identities. Their identities derive from who they go out with and how many boys they go out with...cannot legally marry until she is eighteen years old without parental consent. It is socially expected, however, for girls under eighteen to lose their virginity...accepts these girls as mothers before eighteen but does not allow them to have husbands, who could also take responsibility as fathers to the children born. While women must bear the responsibility of parenthood, men can get away with it...Marriage requires the woman to play multiple roles. She must be wife, mother and often a breadwinner of the family. She shoulders the responsibility of taking care of her husband and children at home while also earning money not only for herself, but also for the family. Whatever she earns is not solely her property. Unlike Islamic societies, her husband and her family have a claim to her income and she even pays for groceries!

Often, she is not given the choice of whether she wants to stay at home or work. The society she lives in enshrines materiality and money..she must go out and work and make her family richer. On top of that, her position in society is judged on her ability to work outside the home. She must suffer the greatest burden in society. She really does not have the right to choose. Can you imagine a life where your identity is judged by everything you have and not everything you are?...the widespread cultural practice of women changing their surnames to that of their husbands once they are married....in previous times, this act symbolised the transfer of all of a womans rights and property to her husband from her father...denied the rights that are basic to any Muslim woman....They do not even know of their plight...educated Muslims - have begun programmes to educate others around them. They are asserting themselves by breaking out of the confinement, wearing loose clothing and denying just anyone access to their sexuality. I see their efforts as a glimmer of hope...

http://www.e-mela.com/lekha/article/Without_Her_MakeUp_...
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Maple Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 02:34 PM
Response to Original message
1. Satire or not
they are valid points.
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Woodstock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 02:45 PM
Response to Original message
2. She's mixing up issues
Edited on Sat Dec-06-03 02:47 PM by Woodstock
There are valid statements about the lack of social equality among men and women. But earth to her, she can do her hair the way she wants. She can wear what she wants. I think we've come THAT far. Lots of us like the natural look. And we wear what we want. I think I look good, but even if I didn't, so what? Perhaps she missed one important lesson in western culture. She's obviously never learned how to tell someone to bug off.
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bearfartinthewoods Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 05:05 PM
Response to Reply #2
28. the article is satire
"This is a satire written to mimic articles, reports and stories generally written about Muslim women by women from Western non-Muslim backgrounds. It is, to some extent, an attempt to convey to the readers how it feels to be 'othered' and to be judged superficially in accordance with only one's own perceptions. I hope you take it for what it is - a satire. "
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Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 05:51 PM
Response to Reply #28
34. Lousy Satire
Edited on Sat Dec-06-03 05:51 PM by Nederland
This attempt at satire misses a rather key point. Women in Western countries are "forced" to wear certain clothes by virue of the fact that if they don't they may suffer the horrible fate of having fewer men finding them attractive or hearing an uncomplimentary comment now and then. Women in Muslim countries are "forced" to wear certain clothes by virue of the fact that if they don't they may be executed.

Is the difference lost on the author?
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 02:45 PM
Response to Original message
3. I think choice is a big matter.
Having spent the majority of my life being too busy to bother with much primping, I still enjoyed the choice I had to get my hair done, put on makeup, perfume and jewelry, just to look pretty when the occasion arised. It was my choice.

I can actually see the advantages of wearing a sheet out in public. One can have a bad hair day, zits, bags under one's eyes from a sleepless night and no one has to see it. Also, if your husband beats you, no one has to see that either.

So, in all, I will always prefer to be enslaved by my Western customs than another woman's custom of purdah.
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Skittles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 02:46 PM
Response to Original message
4. I don't get it
why women paint their faces so much and decorate themselves like Christmas trees (check out the ears - 99% of women have to wear jewelry). How they so easily give up their identites (surnames). I admit: I just do not get it.
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1monster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 03:39 PM
Response to Reply #4
17. But our surnames came from men too...
We didn't choose it. We do choose whose surname we use when we marry... I like my married name far better than I did the one I was born with.

And my ears are not pierced. I wear jewelry for me when I want to and for no other reason.
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Skittles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 05:22 PM
Response to Reply #17
30. women should just start keeping their names
Edited on Sat Dec-06-03 05:23 PM by Skittles
PERIOD and to do that you have to start somewhere. It's a matter of identity, not what f***ing name SOUNDS BETTER. Do you think MEN would ever give up their names? Not only are women EXPECTED to give them up, they do so with no thought at all. IT IS SAD.
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Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 05:34 PM
Response to Reply #30
33. Wrong
Edited on Sat Dec-06-03 05:38 PM by Nederland
Do you think MEN would ever give up their names?


Yes. I have a friend who liked the sound of his fiancee's name better than his so he took her name. Apparently you are under the delusion that all men are pigs. THAT IS SAD.
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Selwynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 02:46 PM
Response to Original message
5. Of course woman who perfer to wear make up and wear...
Edited on Sat Dec-06-03 03:04 PM by Selwynn
..tight clothes are then ridiculed and harasshed as not being "real feminists" just for having the independance to dress and look who they want becasue they want to - not because some control group - mainstream society OR modern feminism, tells them what to do.

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maxanne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 03:24 PM
Response to Reply #5
14. horse hockey
but a nice myth to use to bash feminists.
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enough Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 04:05 PM
Response to Reply #14
21. I don't think this writer is anti-feminist.
Edited on Sat Dec-06-03 04:10 PM by enough
She's pointing out that the societal demand put on women to look a certain way is another form of oppression of women.

Certainly there are many women who feel free to step outside the prescribed "look." It gets easier and easier to ignore all this as you get older.

But a LOT of young women feel these pressures acutely. It results in their spending a tremendous amount of time focused on their looks, often with great anxiety. And it can definitely skew their sense of who they are.
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Selwynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 04:48 PM
Response to Reply #21
24. Umm.. I AM a feminist
However, true social feminism is about freedom and equality for women as well as men. Meaning if I want to wear make-up and a skirt becuase I enjoy doing so for myself and not for anyone else, than I WILL and I'll ignore the condemnation of any group that has a problem with that. :)

I think it is tragic that this society puts women into such an inhuman and oppressive box. However, liberation is about actual LIBERATION - to make personal decisions for yourself with no condemnation from others - on any side of any issue.
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Maple Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 02:51 PM
Response to Original message
6. Women are the only
sex that are always half-dressed.

You can always pick them out in a big group photo. Even in suits.

Just look for bare legs.

PS...and if you people think you are 'exercising choice' you are unaware of your cultural conditioning.

Also known as brainwashing.
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absyntheNsugar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 03:03 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Oh god....
Skirts are oppression! Skirts are opression!

Weak argument - women aren't brainwashed into wearing skirts. In fact, most women I see in the workplace wear slacks and sensible shoes. And I work at a business, not a bakery.

Women wear skirts for one reason - they look attractive in them. I'm a guy and I wear tank tops during the summer because, you got it, I look good in them!

Where women are brainwashed is not in what they wear, or the makeup they wear - but in body image. I swear if I meet another size 8 or 10 that thinks theyre 'too fat' I am going to start throwing donuts at motorists!
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DuctapeFatwa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 03:09 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. LOL I don't think you intended to prove the opposing point

"They want to look attractive"

Think about it :)
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absyntheNsugar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 03:10 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. ..and what's wrong with wanting to look attractive?
I want to look that way and I'm a guy. We all do, and theres nothing wrong with that.

Wearing a sackcloth and mud is fine for those who want to, but there are those out there who feel good when we feel we look good. Nothing wrong with that.
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DuctapeFatwa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 03:15 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. You feel good when you look good. OK

Think about it some more :)
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absyntheNsugar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #10
19. Trust me - I've thought this through
Wahabbist Islam is an attempt to go against human nature. (Two of the reasons) they make a woman wear a burkha because they (1) do not want men to be tempted by her beauty and (2) because they are trying to deny physical appearance to others. Basically, they are trying to subvert our natural desire to associate looking good with appearance. This, in addition to being completely unnatural and impossible, is destructive and removes our humanity with it lock stock and barrel. They also make a woman wear a burkha because they want to deny her humanity as well, seeing her as property. Sorry if this is being culturally insensitive, but it is the reason behind it.

Man is a visual creature - we base a lot of our opinions, fears, wants and needs on visual stimuli. In this sense we are very different from dogs, who base a lot of their decisions on olfactory stimuli. To tell us all "don't base attractiveness on the way a person looks" is like telling a gay man "just marry a woman, have a kid and be happy." It's unnatural, and cannot be changed. Period.

Now - my problem is where we narrowly define what's attractive to an unreachable goal. Media holds up someone like Paris Hilton and says 'this is what is attracive.' No woman in the world could ever reach that body size if they don't already have it, thus creating an unhealthy body image in the mind of Americans.

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catzies Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 03:16 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. For me it lies in who wants you to, andy why they want you to
If I want to look a certain way it's because I like myself, who I am and what I stand for.

If I think "I want to/have to 'get a man' so I have to look a certain way," then that says something else entirely.
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KFC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 03:18 PM
Response to Reply #8
12. Who doesn't want to look attractive?
This has zero to do with the EVILS of Western Society.

Pick a culture: aboriginies, native americans, peacocks... efforts are made to be as attractive as possible.
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absyntheNsugar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 03:40 PM
Response to Reply #12
18. Yes! Finally!
You are dead on KFC!
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maxanne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 03:27 PM
Response to Reply #7
15. so Barbara Bush Sr.
wore those skirts because she looked attractive in them?

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maxanne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 04:53 PM
Response to Reply #7
26. women are brainwashed
about clothing, makeup, and body image. You may not be aware of it as much since you aren't female.

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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 03:19 PM
Response to Original message
13. Huh?
Did someone just time travel here directly from 1955, or maybe 1603?

The writer is wrong, wrong, wrong about women being "required" to do all of the things listed. Being neat and well groomed applies equally to the sexes, and means bathing regularly, wearing clean clothes, and not having too strong a body odor. Perfumes are another issue altogether. Personally I like them.

And I really don't notice the women who voluntarily change their last names on marriage complaining about being oppressed. Although personally, I didn't change my surname when I got married 23 years ago and I'm quite frankly astonished at the women who do.

What I'm most offended by is the statement that when a women "goes out" with a man he's allowed to touch and sleep with her. Excuse me? Are you discussing prostitutes here?

I don't have the patience to refute this drivel point by point, but it's pretty stupid.
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buddhamama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 03:36 PM
Response to Original message
16. i have told by other women to wear make-up
to color my hair because i am graying, to dress in cloths that make me appear taller,etc.,etc., all to make myself more attractive.

if someone wants to do all that, that is their business. i'll put on make-up sometimes if i am in the mood-a special occasion- but i refuse to do so for the sake of making someone else 'feel' good about me.



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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 03:51 PM
Response to Original message
20. Interesting satire
about differing cultural norms between the west and the muslim world. By talking about our "dress code" this author is also pointing out how condescending we westerners can seem when talking about muslim women's issues.
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Maple Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 04:11 PM
Response to Original message
22. Ah yes, you look attractive
and you have 'choice'....and skirts to show off legs, and highheels so you have to walk on tiptoe all day, and can't run... they certainly aren't nasty old 'oppression'

I mean, everyone wants to look 'attractive'. Never mind that 'attractive' is the image you've gotten from TV, magazines and popular culture. 'Attractive' even changes with the year you're living in anymore.

Well, in the Muslim world the same psychology is used.

You look mysterious in a chador, no one can see you so their imaginations run wild. Everyone does it, but it's your choice.

You can flirt with your eyes, make gestures with your hands...make men want to know what's under the chador, drive them wild.

I mean without it, you'd look naked, and just be displaying yourself, and men would harass you depending on whether they liked your appearance or not, so this is to protect you from that...heavens it's not nasty old 'oppression' Why, that's 'respect'

Same technique...basically the same result in spite of the 'nearly naked' to the 'chador' difference in looks.

It's all cultural conditioning...and there is no 'free choice' about it.

We see it in other cultures...we just don't see it, or don't WANT to see it in our own.

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Nikia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 04:36 PM
Response to Original message
23. My make up issue at work
Maybe this is a little off topic, but certainly related. I initially did not wear make up at work. I did that because I was told that I was working in a man's industry and must be careful not to appear like a sex object if I were to be taken seriously. The company that I work for is more sexist that any other workplace that I encountered and I saw harassment as well. I did not continued not to wear make up. One day, a female coworker did my make up to see if it would help my confience. She said that I should not be afriad to assert my womanhood in a male dominated environment. It was a high anxiety day as everyone looked differently. One woman said that I looked like "a fancy secretary" where many guys looked at me like they wanted me. I discussed the experience with my anxiety support group who said I should not be afraid of that. I wore it again. A male friend coworker then told me that if I want to be taken seriously that I shouldn't draw attention to my "differene" by wearing make up. I discussed it with my father who agreed and said that female professional women should not be "superficially girly". Later, after having to wear glasses because of tearing my contacts, I found that I liked having color around my eyes. I talked to my former female boss who said that if I liked how it made me look that I should not be afraid to wear make up. Now, I wear make up although toned down from the look that my female coworker gave me. Although, some of the guys stare at me, perhaps they would have anyway. I don't think that I am really taken any less seriously. Does anyoone else have that problem?
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 04:49 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. Sorry, but I have to say what dickheads.
Makeup or no makeup you are going to be hit on because you are few amongst many. I once worked in the automotive department, all male then, of a well known department store. No women were allowed to wear slacks or flat heeled shoes then. The store wanted some sort of image kept. Okay so this was fine in the cosmetics and lingerie department, but you can imagine how it wouldn't work in automotive especially when I had to climb ladders to do inventory.

So I fought long and hard to get them to allow me to wear slacks. In the meantime I wore polka dotted bloomers under my skirt as a joke. It actually went up to the headquarters. Finally I was allowed to wear pants and flat heeled shoes as long as I wore a shop coat. I guess they heard about the bloomers. I was the first woman who was allowed to wear pants in the whole store nationally. When the other women saw that I could, they started to complain too and the store eventually had to change their policy. This was back in 1970.
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Selwynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 04:56 PM
Response to Original message
27. I like to wear make-up, and I'm a man... so am I being oppressed?
Am I trying to fit some societal expecation of men? Or do I do it because I like it?

Why are some other human beings not allowed to think the same way (ie. woman)?

The pressure of society on people to fit into a stereotypical mold to be accepted is sad, but its not all or nothing. If you like it, wear make up. If you don't, dont.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #27
29. Didn't men wear make-up, ruffles and lace back in
the eighteenth century? I think we should bring that custom back. Men should be able to ornament themselves and embellish the lily as much as they like just like women.
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Selwynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 05:25 PM
Response to Reply #29
31. Men ARE ABLE TO :)
What's stopping them? :)
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spooky3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-03 05:29 PM
Response to Reply #29
32. I always thought Adam Ant looked great in makeup. He can't
be the only one who does!
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