I have a general policy that if something hurts, restricts my movement, or is likely to cause long-term health problems or discomfort, I won’t do it if that’s at all possible. I’m pretty sure that anyone who reads this will agree that this is a fairly sound policy, and one that dovetails with common sense and basic human instincts and tendencies. So why, then, do everyday women’s fashion and grooming practices seem to contradict such a simple set of guidelines?
I often wonder whether people will take me to be condemning women for choosing to wear revealing and/or restricting clothing and say that I’m adding to the problem of sexism by trying to add my own set of restrictions on what women ought to be doing. But that’s not really what I’m about. It’s my theory that, were it not for the fact that women are constantly inundated with the message that they are worthless if they aren’t sexually appealing, they wouldn’t wear uncomfortable and restrictive clothing anymore because the entire impetus for enduring the discomfort that wearing such attire entails would have been obviated. Really, why is sexiness the main criterion in choosing clothing, supplanting even utility and comfort?
I have a little test I apply when I stumble upon something I suspect is sexist or detrimental to women. If it’s media, I imagine that the woman being depicted is a man. If it’s a behavior expected of women, I imagine what a man would say to someone who suggested he do it. It almost never fails: if the switcheroo results in a sense of absurdity, I’ve found some sexist shit. If you think about it, fashion is kind of a catch-22 for women; men get to call us ugly (and therefore virtually worthless) if we don’t contort and torture our bodies in order to fulfill their standard of beauty, then they get to make fun of us for being insane when we do the things required to fit that model. Well, fuck that. I normally think this is a terrible idea, but when it comes to fashion and grooming, I’m advocating applying the test of “What would a dude do?” Here is a list of things that many women do regularly that most men would never consider doing, and that women should stop doing, with a handy little set of reasons why they aren’t cool and some alternatives.
- · The problem: Pube (or any) waxing
° Why it isn’t cool: I’ve never done it, but I’m pretty sure it hurts, like a LOT, and that alone is reason enough not to do it. But if your own physical pain isn’t enough to override the insidious influence of the porn industry, think about what it means when dudes prefer women with no pubic hair.
° What you should do instead: Date people who are attracted to natural adult women, not children or plastic dolls.
- · The problem: High-heeled and pointy-toed shoes
° Why they aren’t cool: Again, the main reason not to do this is that it causes physical pain, but it also restricts movement and causes long-term health problems. I used to work at a shoe store and I eventually got used to walking around for 8 or 9 hours in 4-inch heels with sharply pointed toes, but the sensation of wearing shoes like this for the first time should warn anyone off of doing it ever again. High-heeled shoes, especially those of the stiletto variety, vastly increase your likelihood of breaking your feet and ankles, and they force your toes into positions that will guarantee you bone spurs, bunions, and plenty of other heinous foot problems in middle and old age.
° What you should do instead: For fuck’s sake, don’t get your little toe shortened so you can keep wearing them. What would a dude do? He’d get some comfortable shoes and retain his ability to walk without fear of breaking his feet or incurring long-term damage, that’s what. Get some sneakers or flat shoes that at least somewhat follow the shape of the human foot rather than a garden spade.
- · The problem: Make-up
° Why it isn’t cool: Women still make 70 cents on the dollar for what men make, so why are we spending 15 times what they do on grooming products? Make-up is not only a waste of money, it’s also a complete waste of time. Even if it only takes 5 minutes, it’s still too much. You could spend that 5 minutes reading my blog, thinking about ways to take down the man-chine, vandalizing misogynistic bus-stop ads, smoking angel dust, or sleeping. And then you wouldn’t have to deal with feeling like there was shit all over your face all day. Just imagine a situation in which your eye itches and you can just rub it, worrying not about exacerbating the problem by rubbing mascara flakes into your eye.
° What you should do instead: Not wear make-up. If your own money/time/comfort aren’t important enough to get you to knock off the face painting, just think about the fact that women have to paint themselves in order to be attractive. That situation ought to change, since it means that nature has been subverted and we are no longer born with what we need to propagate the species.
- · The problem: Fake fingernails
° Why they aren’t cool: Let’s see… I can pay $30 to waste an hour of my life sniffing chemicals and making my hands less useful? Sweet! Although going to the nail salon does afford one the opportunity to get gossiped about in Vietnamese, it’s a waste of money and it isn’t good for you. The chemicals are carcinogenic, most salons aren’t sanitary, and they smell like a toxic waste dump. Plus, fake long fingernails make typing, dialing a phone, picking your nose, and… everything else you do with your hands harder. There’s a reason the only place you saw fake fingernails until about 20 years ago was in the porn industry: long fingernails are meant for people who do nothing but have sex and get looked at.
° What you should do instead: If you must have long nails, stick with growing your own pinkie nails out a la Chinese taxi drivers. But really, that’s also kind of stupid. Leave them short.
- · The problem: Restrictive and impractical clothing
° Why it isn’t cool: Uh, it restricts movement. Anything that is so tight that it keeps you from being able to run, do the Kid ‘n’ Play, or step over things, and anything that will expose your private bits if you move the wrong way is a ridiculous imposition. And then there are impractical items of clothing like those fucking ridiculous short sweatshirts that leave the midriff exposed and those turtleneck tank tops. If it’s warm enough out to not clothe your midriff or arms, why the fuck do you need a sweatshirt or a turtleneck? What that means is that either a) you are suffering being too hot in order to wear the silly garment, or, more likely, b) you are suffering being too cold on one part of your body in order to sexualize yourself in spite of cold weather. Either way, it’s even dumber than wearing flip-flops with jeans.
° What you should do instead: Get some pants and a t-shirt.
- · The problem: Plastic surgery
° Why it isn’t cool: The risks of death and disfigurement are pretty good reasons to not do something. I once had a neighbor whose friend had gotten a LOT of plastic surgery done all at once. For some strange reason, her body rejected the foreign objects she had implanted in her cheeks and chin, and didn’t respond well to having large chunks of flesh removed (imagine that!), so she ended up having to go through a year-long series of operations to try to correct the problems created by the first set, none of which were free of charge. She spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and came out looking vastly less attractive than she had been in the first place. People think that stories like this are rare, but the truth is that they aren’t. A much too large proportion of cosmetic surgeries require what plastic surgeons euphemistically call “revision”. What that actually means is that they come out so fucked up that more surgery is required to fix the scarring, misshapenness, or other such deformity caused by the first surgery. It is terrifically disturbing that we’ve reached a point in which people don’t seem to think it unreasonable to have surgery, an option usually deemed a last resort when it comes to actual physical disorders, in order to make themselves more porkable.
° What you should do instead: Get counseling. If you’re considering having an operation for cosmetic reasons, you’ve absorbed the more nefarious messages of our distorted culture to the point that you’ve completely lost the plot.