Posted by TCW
I’ve watched a video by Scarlett Rose Turner titled “I’m a feminist & why you should be, too!”
The video wasn’t particularly obnoxious, but I left a comment anyway. And since I don’t post much on this blog lately, I decided to repost my comment here.
Watch the video first, my comment is posted underneath it.
If you want equality of the genders, races, sexual orientations, and religions, why don’t you call yourself an egalitarian?
And your speech about society telling us how we have to dress and look… The original idea of feminism was that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities, i.e., discrimination on account of sex should be prohibited. If there was a law that women aren’t allowed to wear pants (only skirts), that would be an example of discrimination.
However, there is no law in western democracies about how you should dress (with a minor exception of public nudity laws). Nobody is forcing you to wear make-up.
Sure, there are some informal rules on what most people find pretty and fashionable (they change with time though), and YOU with your beauty channel on youtube are one of the role models that young girls learn these rules from (some standards of beauty are innate, but others are learned).
You say women should “dress up because they want to, not because society is telling them that they have to”. Cool, but you don’t have to be a feminist to say this. You just have to respect individuality and reject herd mentality. The same can apply to almost any issue. The most trivial example I can think of: people should throw birthday parties because they want to, not because society is telling them that they have to!
Scarlett seems to be a perfectly fine young woman. She also likes to dress nicely and make fashion tutorials – I have no problem with any of these things.
Being part of the “beauty community” and having a Youtube channel dedicated to fashion, she probably also realizes that she does influence young girls who look up to her and want to emulate her. So, she felt obliged to make this video and assert that a woman should only dress up, if she wants to. I don’t object to that, either.
The only reason why I wrote my comment is that she’s pushing feminism into that. And modern feminism sees everything through the lens of patriarchy. So, soon it could become: “patriarchy is telling women that they have to dress up.”
In some places, women have to be covered – patriarchy is definitely telling women in Saudi Arabia what to wear. But, in the West, women don’t dress up because men force them to look as sexy as they can (which would be a reverse Saudi Arabia scenario).
No, they dress up, because that is a natural development in a world where men value physical beauty, and women compete for social status and the attention from men (and are free to do so). Scarlett inadvertently gives a clue on this when she says in the video that women have a pretty hairstyle or wear some red lipstick because it empowers them.
Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and no man values exactly the same physical features – some may prefer a more natural look. But, certain generalizations can be made.
And this is not because of the patriarchy; women have their own standards of what they value in men, and men have to compete for their attention. So, it is fair to say that we are equal in that regard.
*Gone with the Wind quote