Sunday, 13 June 2010

Women's lib, anyone?

On Thursday I giggled my socks off reading a blog by GoonerJamie. He's a house-husband and decided he'd up his game by following the well-meaning advice from a 1950s guide for housewives - you know the sort of thing, greet him at the door with fresh lippy* and sparklingly clean house, g&t at the ready, dinner on the table, no knickers (oops, not sure how that last bit crept in)

Anyway, I'll just wait a while while you go off and read Jamie's blog.

*taps fingers, humming to self*

Ok? You've read it?

I was more than a little surprised, then, to read a piece in the Guardian (maybe I'm wrong, but I thought all us Guardian readers were feminist lefties!) on Saturday which seems to show those days are actually alive and well!

I quote: (full text here)

As I stand waiting for my children, chatting to the other mums, I'm often secretly studying them and thinking, "When did you all stop looking in a mirror?" Ten-year-old tapered M&S jeans, baggy T-shirts, navy anoraks, Crocs – or, worse, flipflops – and not a pedicure in sight [...]

(by the way, be grateful I didn't use the first google image I found - search pedicure *shriek*)

It's not just about the lack of stylish clothes or make-up (although, really, how hard is it to apply some tinted moisturiser?), but the complete lack of respect for themselves. When did these women stop caring? Why? And what do their husbands think? It's hard to believe they walk in and think, "Phwoarr, unwashed hair, tracksuit bottoms and eyebrows that meet in the middle… I've got to have her now!"

[...]I can't help feeling that the somewhat downtrodden attitude that seems common among the mums I meet isn't helped by the fact they often don't even bother to do their hair each day.

Or...just maybe...could it be some other reason? Like the recession, or 24/7 childcare, or friends like you? Or maybe *just maybe* they've got interesting lives and don't wish to waste their time tarting themselves up for the playground witches when they've got a great afternoon of fun planned with their children.

When I was a young mum I found it a very messy job (paint, playdoh, sandpits, baking etc) and certainly didn't waste my time dressing up to impress people like this writer. Neither did my self-esteem depend on her opinion.

*Jamie assures me he doesn't wear lippy. Well, not on a weekday.


Deborah Champion said...

it's funny, I have the same harsh judgemental attitude to the orange people I see
'why do they spend so much time turning themselves orange?' I wonder
'Isn't it a shame they don't feel sufficiently comfortable in themselves they have to apply so much make up they look slightly furry and frankly, worse'
'you know, they say high heels make you look better, but she'd look better if she could walk'
My husband hates orange furry types anyway ;)

Ruth @ Love It said...

Good call. I'm ready with the bras and the lighter fluid whenever you are, sister.

Kitty Ballistic said...

I don't think not wearing make up and nice clothes shows a lack of respect for yourself necessarily, but more a change of priorities. A lot of mums just don't have the time, energy or inclination to spend time putting on make up and putting together an outfit. And there's no rule that says women *should* wear make up and 'trendy' clothes anyway. Some women do, and that's fine. No need for judgements either way, is there?

By the way, I'm not a mother, and I rarely bother to put make up on these days. That's due to laziness and allergies to mascara more than anything and I wasn't exactly a glamour puss when I met the Hubster, so he's not missing anything. :D

Heather Leavers said...

OOOH, the longest comments ever - thank you! I used to wear make-up back in the fact I was a dab-hand at doing one eye in biba fashion (somehow the other eye never worked out the same, so I was in profile a lot)

Then several married decades without. A few years ago I decided it was time for a revamp, so bought one of those multi-packs with gazillions of shades of everything. Husband's comment? It makes your eyes look smaller.

Back to the no-make-up look then!

Swirlyarts said...

Hah I read that article in the Guardian too. I have never worn make up (apart from a brief stint in my teens - hello silver eye shadow!) and my hair is quite often pulled up into a messy ponytail. It's less of not caring about myself and more of I really can't be arsed to put that crap on my face and I've got better things to do with my time! Oh and I never wear tracksuits - I'm a skirt and dress girl all the way :)

Unknown said...

I'll get my soap box.....

marvellous points, well made, Ms Nifty. I will use this a the excuse I need for looking frankly dreadful most of the time in the week ;)
I had been feeling a bit like I was letting my 1950's alter ego down, but, hey, it's because I have other priorities. Also, I ran out of orange tan...

I must admit I never used to wear makeup at work, anyway. I subscribed to the idea that whenever there was a social or a night out etc I'd go fully tooled up and make peoples jaw drop. Used to work, too. When I got compliments I'd reply 'it's amazing what you can do with a bottle'.

Thanks for introducing me to that blog, it's brilliant ;)

Heather Leavers said...

Loving these responses - I feel all "sisterhoody" :-)

jennyflowerblue said...

My Mum always said you could tell if a woman was having an affair if she started shaving her legs again- nuff said!

Lyn said...

Very funny post, I agree! working in a school you see the mums and dads as they come to pick up their cildren and well sometimes I just Hide!

Kitschy Coo said...

Hmm, lots of food for thought. I had a conversation with my mom recently as to why, after thirty years of life without, I've started wearing (a little bit of) makeup, doing my hair, and caring about my clothes. She's quite a feminist and I think she considers those things as a betrayal of the gender, that it is our unadorned selves that deserve respect and admiration. I'm not sure why I've started caring (and I'd like to state for the record that 'caring' rarely gets any further than moisturiser, a quick brush of the hair, and the cleanest jeans off the floor!) but I suppose in part it's because of the school gate thing. I felt self-conscious being slobby when everyone else wasn't, and after I started spending a little bit more time I discovered that it helped my confidence a lot. I don't judge people if they're not dressed to impress though, and they're the ones I'll try to befriend as kindred spirits :)

Unknown said...

Glad to read you're not one of 'those' type of mums, I love tormenting that type. Thanks for the plug and the laugh. Great piece. Oh, and of course I don't wear lippy during the week, it clashes horribly with my painted toenails.

Nicole's Homemade Treats...The Blog said...

Great post! I could go on and on and on..... however I am sure no one wants to read it! Rest assured what I do or do not do is for me, nobody else!

Glassprimitif said...

Oh no! If I don't wear makeup or my best clothes to pick up the kids - won't I get a man? Gutted!
And that article was in The Guardian? Shame on them. (although I have to agree about crocs)

Unknown said...

Heather, I have definitely found, in all my travels, that liberalism does not equal forward-thinking when it comes to feminism or womens' rights.

Heather Leavers said...

thanks everyone for your comments - I can tell I've touched on a subject we all have an opinion about! I think KittyBallistic deserves the last word: "No need for judgements either way, is there?"