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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Mailbag: Aug. 30

    Feminism isn’t about makeup, dresses

    In response to “Independent women: The power of femininity”: Although Jacquelyn Abad makes a valid point about how women have changed in order to compete in today’s economy, her argument is generally flawed. Unfortunately, her article highlights only one definition of femininity, creating yet another obstacle for readers to overcome.

    For instance, Abad implies that to be a woman someone should “care about their outer appearance,” refrain from dressing “like a man,” and above all, never act like one. Where does this definition leave men? Do real men need to conform to a “masculine” dress code and be aggressive? Are all men prohibited from caring about how they look? Such rigid notions of male and female ignore the fact that what it means to be a woman and what it means to be a man is increasingly more complicated; the concept of gender is being challenged. This means that gender is more than whether a person wears dresses or pants, acts passive or aggressive, orders the steak or the salad. I’d go so far as to say that gender is even more than anatomy.

    Furthermore, telling us females that we need to embrace mascara in order to be truly feminine only reinforces oppressive gender roles. Some of us prefer the pantsuit over a pencil skirt, and some of us love the way our eyes look without makeup. Some of us are in between. That’s the point of the Western feminist movement: to allow both women and men the opportunity to acknowledge their own multi-faceted sexuality, embrace it and live it.

    So, have we really lost something as Abad suggests? Or have we liberated something else? I prefer to think that although women have sacrificed in order to compete as Abad says, we haven’t forsaken our femininity. In fact, we’ve grown to understand our gender in a new, more comprehensive way. Hopefully, as we continue to expand our views of the feminine and the masculine, we will learn to be comfortable with our own gender identity, regardless of whether it is male, female, or something else.

    _— Savannah Martin
    Journalism sophomore _

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