Caitlin Jenner’s coming out is a huge inspiration and support for the transgender community – may we all express our insides on the outside so beautifully ;>) And yet, her first comments in her new Documentary Series, I Am Cait (watch promo) makes me sad. Women ARE under pressure to “look” a certain way. A professional came in and “did her makeup” – now #CaitlynJenner feels better with a mask on. So many women can’t leave the house without “putting on” their face, and the cosmetics manufacturers are raking in the dough because we all bought the hype.
A friend responded to my post on Facebook: “I think she is excited to play in the dress up and glamor and beauty associated with female adornment she deprived herself of for so long. And, like it or not, her glamourous look helps neutralize the judgment in this scenario. That’s where we humans are today, and the trans journey needs the help her attractive personage lends to opening the door a little wider on this subject”
Agreed. And yet… This just goes to show how deeply embedded “makeup” has become in the daily lives of women – it’s more than adornment – it’s the pressure of meeting standards of “beauty” set by the cosmetics industry, and it’s emptying our pocketbooks and polluting our bodies. It’s pervasive. It’s why so many girls have self-esteem issues. And it’s very possible that all the makeup we’re “playing” with is making us sick and screwing up our environment with microscopic pieces of plastic and nasty toxic chemicals. It’s one big nasty ball of wax wrapped with a pink “girly” ribbon.
My issue is the PRESSURE on women in our culture to look a SPECIFIC way – an “acceptable” way. It’s not artistic, like the depiction of the female form in paintings and sculpture. It is an artificial camouflage to meet a cultural perception of beauty. And that perception in *today’s society* is created by the Beauty Industry, not by the Artist. Women are being brainwashed by Media MadMen and feel ugly and unacceptable unless they “got the look.” I’m afraid it’s much deeper than sex and the desire to appear “desirable” – many women judge each other on looks alone, thus perpetuating the Myth. We have bought into an artificial dream created by men who are making Big Bucks off women’s need to feel accepted, and they’re laughing all the way to the bank. :>(
The definition of beauty keeps changing per the next gimmick Industry comes up with. This has been eating away at my psyche since Teen Magazine told me in 1965 that I needed to be a 5’6″ blonde with minimum 6″ length straight hair and no glasses or braces in order to be considered a “Surfer Girl…” What are young girls being told today? It’s got to STOP. Even Jon Stewart agrees with me.
How do we create change? It’s all about raising awareness – we each have to closely examine those little thoughts running through our minds that effect the way we feel about our Selves, and others. Methinks it’s time for some good old-fashioned “consciousness raising” again. Instead of bra-burning, let’s start setting toxic makeup and glamour magazine bonfires. While dancing in the streets.
It’s gotta be MASSIVELY more difficult for transgender women – they feel female on the inside, and appear male on the outside. Now they have to deal with the cultural perception of female beauty as well. What a rat’s nest.
ADDED June 6 2015: Caitlin Jenner could embrace being female without posing in underwear. There’s another image of her sitting on a couch that I think shows off her new identity with grace and style: one doesn’t need to publish boudoir photos in order to express femininity – bedroom shots belong in Playboy or Playgirl, not on the cover of Vogue.