Feminist and Feminine: My Struggle with Performing Femininity

There is a concept, deep in the recesses of second-wave feminism, that to be a “good” feminist, one must eschew patriarchal beauty standards. I understand that, I understand the principle of rejecting beauty ideals set up for us by men (and women!) for profit and pleasure. It makes complete sense to me that we should not have to exemplify these standards, especially when nobody is telling men to wear makeup and spend an hour curling their hair in the morning. And yet, I just can’t do it. I love my makeup and my hair straightener and my designer clothing, even though I know it’s just a show.

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