The Intersectional Feminist Impact on Antiquated Beauty Standards

By Concetta Ciarlo

 

Idealized stereotypes perpetuated in the media have long excluded any diversity. If you think otherwise, leaf through the pages of virtually any magazine to see a lack of representation of women of color, varying body types, sexuality, or gender identity.

 

The beauty industry and intersectional feminism often don’t see eye to eye. In a recent study, it was found that only 4% of women consider themselves beautiful. Despite a challenged track record, the two can and should coexist, when proper awareness is placed on the issue at hand.

 

Intersectional feminism recognizes that feminism is not solely about gender, and includes the perspectives of women of color, and all marginalized groups.

 

There are many aspects of identity that contribute to our lives and experiences as women. The beauty industry should be no different, and deliberately embrace women of color, varying age, gender identity, sexuality, body types, and ability.

 

True equality may not yet have been achieved, but consider some significant feminist impacts on beauty:

 

 

Guess what? Women have body hair.

Much to the dismay of some beauty traditionalists: women grow hair in locations other than on their head, eyebrows, and eyelashes. Next time you spot a woman with underarm hair, remember although it might not be your preference, it is still perfectly natural.

 

Invest in beauty brands that empower women.

Not all makeup and skincare are the enemy who perpetuates harmful ideals. When you’re in the market for new products, invest in brands like Glossier, who embrace all women.

 

You don’t have an expiration date.

So much of beauty is centered around maintaining youthfulness as women age. Though there’s nothing wrong with keeping an active skincare regimen, this doesn’t mean that it must be used as a preventative measure to stop the natural course of life, nor do women become less attractive with age.

 

Body positivity is a major key.

Contrary to popular belief, your jean size doesn’t matter, and body types shouldn’t be trivialized as a trend. No one has the right to judge a woman’s body, or how she chooses to dress.

 

Practice beauty democracy and individualism, not assimilation

There is no one definition of “feminine.” Sometimes, we forget that society’s non inclusive and unrealistic standard of what is considered to be attractive should not impede our personal definition of beauty.  Remember this, women of every color and walk of life are beautiful.  

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