“Feminist” Rant: Your eyebrows don’t determine your worth, you can’t out-facial your face, your boobs are fine, and other things I have to remind myself.

I’ve never been very good at taking care of myself when it comes to beauty. I’m not good to my hair, or my nails, or my skin, or sometimes my teeth, or even my feet. I’m extremely lazy when it comes to shaving, I can’t be bothered with a skincare routine, and I often don’t wear any sunscreen no matter how high the UV Index.

The older I get, the more I feel myself falling victim to marketing messaging, and just society in general, on how to be a woman and all the things that are wrong with me and that I should worry about and that I’m not doing correctly. I’m realizing just how crazy this whole “being a woman” thing is. AND, just how many ways my value decreases because I don’t take part in the nonsense (or try not to).

Here’s a feminist inspired rant on just a small sample of things (9) that women deal with because if they don’t, they may as well crawl in a hole and die. 

EYEBROWS

I fill in my eyebrows every single day now. I don’t do it well because I have no idea what I’m doing, but I do it. Every day. Even weekends. Even to play beach volleyball. Even just to go to the store, or for a hike. Even for a red eye flight. Why? Because for me (and for other women, this has happened multiple times in their lives), about 5 years ago, society started putting an unnecessary amount of value on women’s eyebrows. Suddenly eyebrow memes were everywhere and women were filling them in and shaping them like art pieces or a very well-groomed dog. There were products made specifically for this — brow kits — and makeup tutorials out the ass. Every model in every ad had big, full, “proper” brows. We started saying things like “brows on fleek,” “brow goals,” and “Never trust anyone with bad brows.”

Suddenly, my eyebrows determined my worth as a woman.

Always behind on beauty, I definitely did not have brows that were “on fleek.” I still don’t. Mine are thin; they don’t grow in fully in some places and they aren’t matching. You can’t really see them in photos or if you’re just standing a few feet away from me. The messages creeped in. I started to feel self conscious. I started to look for ways to make my brows grow faster. I bought weird shit at Marshalls and Target and from Instagram ads. I read a lot of articles. I bought a brow kit. I watched tutorials. I started filling them in. I sucked at it. I started getting better.

I (discretely) check out the eyebrows of just about every woman I see everywhere. I fill mine in every day. I bring my brow kit with me incase they get messed up at some point. I even budgeted money into my very intricate budget for 2020 to include makeup because I knew I’d regularly need a new eyebrow pencil.

What in the actual fuck. 

My eyebrows don’t determine my worth as a woman, or a human. Who the fuck cares about my eyebrows? Before my eyebrows it was my ass. I don’t have a good enough one of those either. I guess tackling my brows was easier than my ass so that’s how I ended up here? I evaded one of society’s fucked up messages to women but fell victim to another. I know I basically can’t win this battle.

I miss when no one talked about eyebrows. Remember that? Literally no one talked about eyebrows. I don’t know what the next part of my body is that society will tell me isn’t good enough, (maybe my nose? my ears? my fingers?) but I kind of welcome it. Just so we can stop talking about fucking eyebrows.

SKINCARE

Skincare has garnered just about as much attention as eyebrows over the past several years.

Did you know if you don’t have a skincare routine, and that if it doesn’t consist of at least 5 products that cost no less than $100, you’re failing? 

It’s true. Everyone has a skincare routine. Or at least, that’s what society has led me to believe. I’m probably the only person over 11 and under 70 that doesn’t have a skincare routine. For many years, I took my makeup off with a Walmart brand wipe and then followed it up with a Neutrogena acne wipe to remove all the makeup that was still inevitably left on my face. I had not washed my face with water in…at least 6 years. After I used those two products, I was done. No creams. No serums. No masks. No peels. No lights. No rollers. No anything.

In the past view weeks I’ve found myself increasingly interested in skincare. In having a routine. In trying new products. I’ve asked around about facials. I scheduled one with SkinLaundry for next week because your first one is free. I had a friend send me like 7 different (surprisingly affordable) products she loves based on my “skin type” and “goals.” I asked for makeup remover towels that are reusable for Christmas so I could stop using wipes. I even started putting moisturizer on after I washed my face, every night before bed.

I have some Vitamin C serum I use sometimes. I bought it super cheap at Marshalls and am positive if I used it twice a day, every day, that I would lighten one spot on my skin in 10 years time. Oh and I bought a face roller. I think I also got it at Marshalls for $10. As you can tell, when I am willing to spend money on skincare, I’m only willing to do it at a bargain price. So, still failing.

Hey do you have one of those electric, vibrating face brushes that cost a fortune? Me too! I never use it. I actually have two. One I got in my first and only FabFitFun box. Why the fuck do I have this shit? Why do I put, essentially, orange juice on my face? Why do I “massage” the skin around my mouth with a “crystal” like I’m rolling out cookie dough? I still don’t know if I should eat coconut oil, use it to take my makeup off, or avoid it entirely.

How I look with AND without makeup also determines my worth as a woman. 

When I wear makeup it should look natural. When I wear it at work I get paid more (for real). And when I don’t wear makeup, my skin better be so flawless that no one thinks I need any. Behind my perfect skin should lie a $100+ line of products that are 1oz each that last for exactly 18 days. Despite being made up of largely the same ingredients, don’t worry, they all somehow do different things.

What in the actual fuck. 

This is all really just the tip of the iceberg. I also bought silk pillow cases because they are better for my skin and hair. They fuck with my quality of sleep because they make the pillows slip and slide around, giving me a stiff neck and just generally making me uncomfortable. But I’ve had them on for months and still haven’t switched back to the ones I actually fucking like.

I have a small collection of Asian face masks that I sometimes remember to use but not really, hence the collection. People give them to me as gifts, because I guess this is a nice thing to do. Or maybe they’ve noticed I don’t have a skincare routine.

I just remembered about peach fuzz. I have all mine. Since birth. Never touched it. Should I? I think I’m supposed to get rid of it and have a baby smooth face. I think I’ve seen products that are great at removing my peach fuzz. Wonder how much those cost.

Oh! And the new face vacuums! Have you seen them? They look like the thermometers that doctors put in your ears, but instead they SUCK the “dirt and oil” out of your pores, and collect it in a clear tube so you can proudly view your….skin? I had one in my Amazon cart at one point. Somehow I thought better of it and removed it.

Saving the best for last: acne scars. It makes total sense to try and fight acne scars while still regularly getting acne. That’s definitely not a scam at all. Especially because you never get a pimple in the same spot twice. Ever.

What in the actual fuck. 

Are we wearing makeup or aren’t we? Are we using makeup wipes or aren’t we? What do I do with my coconut oil? How do I safely get rid of my peach fuzz? Do the face vacuums work? Why do I have so many stupid questions?

It can’t actually be this hard to be a woman, right?

ANTI-AGING

Anti-aging has also become something I seem to be suddenly concerned with. I’m 27.

I own zero retinol products. Never have. What is retinol? Where is it harvested? I’ve assumed this whole time there is an actual fountain of youth and from it flows retinol. L’Oreal owns the fountain. This has always made sense and I’ve never questioned it. Don’t want to age? Buy retinol. Ta-da!

Collagen, too. Everybody wants to get more collagen. Which you can’t actually consume…so the products aren’t actually collagen, and you don’t need them. But better safe than sorry. (You can also get collagen at Marshalls, I’ve seen it many times.)

Don’t forget sunscreen. You’ll age prematurely and have loads of wrinkles if you don’t wear sunscreen. Skin cancer? Huh? No, I said wrinkles. But yeah I’ve heard sunscreen is good for skin cancer too. I think people mostly use it for wrinkles though.

What in the actual fuck. 

I can’t keep up. I’ll never be worthy. If I were a man I’d be all set. Like I said, I’m super lazy about shaving, am no good to my hair, nails or feet, and almost never wear sunscreen. Wait, did someone give me the wrong list? I feel like I’m succeeding from a male perspective, but utterly failing as a woman.

WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK.

HAIR

I actually have great hair. It’s probably my favorite thing about my outward appearance. And yet I don’t wash it regularly, I over utilize dry shampoo, ignore splits ends, get a cut every…year, and sometimes use box dye. When I heat style it’s somewhere around 400 degrees. Most of the time when I wash it I don’t condition it and I never deep condition, whatever that means. I’ve never done a “hair mask” but I’ve heard of them. I’ve never had a blow out or keratin treatment. I do have a Wet Brush though, if that earns me any points.

Have you seen the hair women have in commercials? I have great hair but it’s nothing like that. Should I be concerned about parabens? Or sulfates? Or “my body’s PH level”? Maybe I should get a custom shampoo that comes in glass bottles with great minimalist branding that’s especially for MY hair and has 4 steps that take an hour?

I switched to shampoo and conditioner bars recently to try and cut down on my plastic consumption, but I had them shipped to me so I think my environmental impact is probably the same. Regardless, there’s probably microplastics in them or something and I’m sending them back into the ocean to kill fish and so now it doesn’t matter that I got vegan bars.

I once paid $150 for highlights. I paid $80 + tip for a cut. And I didn’t get what I wanted. I actually got exactly what I said I did NOT want. But what do I know. The hairstylist would probably say I got what I needed. At least I don’t have to see her ever again, or at least not soon, since there’s no way in hell I’m getting it cut every 6 weeks like I’m “supposed” to.

Guys get their haircut in their kitchen by their girlfriend who has no idea what she’s doing and it costs them nothing. I read that the average woman will spend $55,000 on styling and grooming her hair in her lifetime. (We also spend more on dieting than we do on education…)

What in the actual fuck.

NAILS

Usually I spend anywhere from $55 to $35 a month getting my nails done, and I drive 45 min one way to the only place I like, which takes about a quarter tank of gas, which is $10-$15 in LA. My nails don’t grow out no matter what I do so I get tips put on them and then I get acrylics. Acrylics are bad for your nails but I figure since mine already suck I might as well get what I want for my money. After so many months I have to leave the nails off to let mine breathe and grow out/heal. Without the acrylics I get terrible hang-skins and my nails are constantly ripping and scratching me. They have a rough texture so they look dumb if I paint them at home, plus their super short and that also makes them look dumb. As soon as I can, I rush back to my fave nail place and pay the higher price to reapply instead of just fill. Sometimes I pay even more for a special gel that’s better for my nails but that’s softer and breaks easier. If I come back and a nail is broken then I get charged for them to fix the nail on top of the fill cost.

But have you seen Kylie Jenner’s nails though? Or like, anyone’s? They have a perfect manicure at all times. They post Instagram polls with Pinterest photos asking their followers which color palette they should get at their next appointment.

I once had a coworker who didn’t want to hire a job candidate she had just interviewed because the woman had chipped nail polish. Her reasoning was that the candidate obviously wasn’t detail oriented and basically wouldn’t care about her job enough because, I mean, look at her nails.

What in the actual fuck. 

TEETH

Look at anyone who’s ever been on the The Bachelor or The Bachelorette and explain to me how I’m supposed to compete with those teeth. I’ve done Crest White Strips even thought they are expensive and sometimes painful. I have a charcoal powder (from — you guessed it — Marshalls) that’s actually pretty good stuff but seriously? I brush my teeth with charcoal? I still don’t have as white of teeth as the women on reality TV.

I paid $800 for Smile Direct Club aligners even though I’d already had two sets of actual braces, with rubber bands and brief affair with headgear. I still don’t have as straight or even of teeth as the women on reality TV.

What in the actual fuck. 

BOOBS

Whenever I got a bra that wasn’t a training bra, I got a pushup bra. All I’ve worn since are push up bras and sports bras. Some of my sports bras are also push up bras. Whenever I try on bras and pick one without padding, it feels so unnatural I can’t stand to have it on. When I shop, I just squeeze all the bras as I go, ruling them out by padding level. I have B cup breasts. Nothing crazy. But also, not crazy enough. I gained weight recently — about 30 pounds — and my bras don’t really fit anymore. Every time I think about losing the weight I think about missing my boobs. When I was a young teenager I used to look forward to pregnancy and breast feeding because it would make my boobs bigger. “Nature’s boob job” I call it.

I see on Instagram all the time now that women are getting their implants removed. They start having all these health problems and make insanely long stories about how they figured it out their implants were making them sick, how they had them removed, how they’re so empowered now, etc. Which means they paid about $4,000 to get the implants put in, and then probably another $4,000 at least to have them removed.

What in the actual fuck. 

Why have I essentially never worn a bra that wasn’t a shelf? Why can’t I even wear one now because it feels so odd to not have my breasts on display? Why does the size of my boobs even matter anymore, I thought everyone liked asses and eyebrows now?

So I should stop wearing a bra, right? Free the nipples? But men and society sexualize/objectify women’s nipples just as much as the rest of their breasts, so not sure how this ends up benefitting me. I’m positive men support the free the nipple movement. But I’m concerned about chafing, chilly nights, sunburn and accidentally exposing myself when I don’t want to. Can we like, take a moderate approach to nipples somehow please?

CELLULITE

Oh boy, do I have cellulite (some new cellulite too since I gained weight). Some companies sell products called “scrubs” that say they improve cellulite. They must not know you can’t scrub your cellulite off. Or your stretch marks. Don’t even get me started on stretch marks.

Okay, I’ll say one thing about stretch marks: You don’t have to have had a baby or been obese to get them. They just happen. Because you go from being child-sized to being woman-sized. Okay, two things: One time when swimming in a pool with a young girl she asked me why I had spiderwebs on my legs. I had NO idea what she was talking about. Then I figured out she meant my stretch marks. Try having a nice time swimming/living another 70 years after that remark.

They also market collagen for cellulite but again, you don’t need it. No matter what year it is, no matter how much we try to assert ourselves as women and promote body positivity and stand up against the unfair and sexist expectations around aging/fat shaming, magazines still put blown up photos of women’s thighs and backsides on their covers with big red circles around the cellulite next to giant text that reads “GUESS WHO? 10 CELEBRITIES WITH CELLULITE.” They are all women. They pick on men too, but they show their beer bellies instead, never any cellulite. Cellulite is for women. Fat women. Old women. Women who don’t take care of themselves. And me.

What in the actual fuck. 

CLOTHING

Why do men make women’s clothing? What man, straight or otherwise, has ever understood a woman’s body? And yet, most of my clothes are made by men. And men are the creative directors/executives at the companies that come up with the trends that impact all my clothing.

Over the past few years I’ve been hard pressed to find shirts that I could wear with a bra, that I even understood how to wear, that had extreme cut-outs everywhere, or that were just totally see-through. And they never fit. I mean they fit enough that I don’t have to wear garbage bags as dresses, but they never REALLY fit. I’ve tried to fit them, and that didn’t work out so well.

It’s no surprise men make women’s clothing and it all comes out see-through, too small, or in some construction that kinda forces me to free my nipples.

Women also buy clothes that are too small. Partially because we’re always dieting and we plan to be that smaller size soon, and partially because all of our clothes are made too small. At the moment I type this, I have a garbage bag full of clothes to go to Salvation Army. A lot of it is clothing I’ve been hanging onto for a while now, planning on fitting into it. But I’m giving up since it’s become obvious that whatever size those dresses and jumpsuits are, I’m not going to be able to diet down to fit them.

In response, I will likely decide to buy more clothes soon (although I’m actively trying to not do that this year). This is a fun cycle. It involves me giving my money to companies that hire men to make women’s clothing and probably pay them more than women. In return, I get clothing that doesn’t fit or could never even be worn outside of a bar/club. I then DONATE these items, not sell them, so I do not get my money back. And then finally I go and give more of my money to companies that pay men to make women’s clothing and probably pay them more than women.

What in the actual fuck. 

END OF RANT

Look, I’m going to keep filling in my eyebrows. I’ve introduced them to far too many people to stop now. There’s a lot of people who never met or saw or knew no-brows Jenny. And I’m going to get my free facial, too. Because it’s free and I’m too lazy to cancel.

But I’m going to actively try and avoid these messages and traps more. I’m lucky. I caught myself early this time. I haven’t bought the new skin care products. I didn’t get the face vacuum. I haven’t bought any expensive facials, or even ones that cost more than $0. I don’t have any collagen, I’ve never purchased any miracle product for my cellulite or stretch marks either.

I think I’ll go ahead and switch my pillowcases back. And toss my face roller. And cook with my coconut oil. And drink my orange juice. And keep my peach fuzz. And buy comfortable bras. I’ll let my hair grow all year and wash it whenever I feel like it with whatever I want. I may never get another pedicure (I always have blisters anyway). I’m definitely done buying see-through clothing and anything that doesn’t fit. I might even add up what I spend on this shit and use it to get another degree instead. Anyone want my waist trainer? Or my fancy face washing brushes? I’ve never even tried one of them. I’ll trade you for a booty scrub that cures cellulite. Wait, no I won’t.

I will wear more sunscreen though. Because skin cancer, not wrinkles.

 

 

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