Throughout my women’s studies courses in college I have learned a lot about the standards of beauty and the way that it affects young girls and women across the globe. It wasn’t until I began writing this blog, however, that I was truly able to analyze the roles that race, class, and gender play in the culture of beauty and how it affects our ideas of beauty. The culture of beauty is complex and can be an extremely sensitive subject, which is why there is always so much buzz surrounding it. It takes a lot to keep up with all the latest trends, hairstyles and diet & exercise fads. This blog has made me realize that what we really need to do is put down the magazines, take time to slow down, clear our heads, and realize that we only should be doing things that make us happy. With this blog, I was able to take what I have learned from my classes and further explore the way that feminist theories play out in every day life. It was interesting to see with each week’s theme how all of us chose different topics to discuss and I learned a lot from each one.
The main thing that I took away from writing these blog posts is that as young women, we need to keep writing and exploring so that we continue to have a voice in the feminist movement and can potentially influence other young women as well. The culture of beauty in our country is increasingly dangerous. We still live in a patriarchal society in which men determine what an idealistic woman should look like: tall, thin, blonde, and usually white. This in turn is hammered into our heads in the media and leaves women striving for something that is ultimately unachievable. In order to move away from this standard, we must continue to educate girls early on that you don’t have to look like Blake Lively or Beyonce to be beautiful. There are many shapes, colors, and sizes that make up the world and each one of them is beautiful. It’s important for women to explore theories because each woman has a different experience. Feminist theorists like Audre Lorde explain this by saying that it is impossible for someone to fully understand the experience of a black lesbian feminist unless she or someone with a shared experience is educating you about it.
“Being yourself is the prettiest thing a person can be.”
The most important thing we can do as women is to continue to theorize, speak up, and educate others and ourselves about what it means to be a feminist and how we can strengthen and spread the movement and revolutionize what it means to be beautiful.