In a 1991 issue of Vogue, Woody Hochswender says "is a fashionable image empowering or does it undermine authority?"
This is triggering to someone like me who was always told by guys that surely I couldn't be feminist because I wear bodycon dresses, tight jeans and listen to hip hop music (a genre often said to hate women).
Such misconceptions come from the fact that misogyny boxes women in these stifling one-dimensional categories. Men tend to equate a full makeup bag with an empty mind. Why? Because how dare a woman be pretty AND smart?
The patriarchy always feels the need to furnish us with unsolicited advice on what not to do to our faces, bodies and hair because, yep, you guessed it – they feel they can. They feel entitled to comment.
When our testosterone fueled counterparts feel threatened by us, they latch onto the one thing they were always wrongly taught matters the most to us – our appearance.
So what do they do? They police us in an attempt to “humble” us. Look at how a woman as accomplished in her field as Hillary Clinton still had to deal with comments about the size of her derrieré during the presidential elections.
Because forget the fact that you may qualify to run a country efficiently, but baby do you got back, though?
Women are constantly reduced to the outcome of their genetic lottery regardless of how successful and powerful they are.
Take former parliamentary leader for the DA, Lindiwe Mazibuko, for example, who is another woman who had to go through this appearance-shaming publicly.
Lindiwe often wore red lipstick to parly and donned a weave – something which seemingly bothered a fellow male member of parliament, as he interjected while she spoke on one occasion, asking “Lindiwe, what is that on your head?”
This wasn't the first time Lindiwe Mazibuko was personally attacked for her appearance in parliament, as seen in the video below.
The level of disrespect and irrelevance was incredibly irksome to say the least.
It also saddens me to think how local music legend, a man admired by many, keeps telling women what to do with their hair. Hugh Masekela has repeatedly stated that black women shouldn’t wear weaves because it is, for lack of a better word, “unAfrican.” He refuses to be interviewed by journalists with weaves and has denied weave wearing fans photo opportunities with him.
And recently another fave, Adam Levine took it upon himself to beauty shame Alicia Keys for wearing makeup. The songstress announced last year that she’s ditching the magic of highlighting and contouring for a bare-face – a personal choice that she was not imposing on anyone else.
So when Alicia Keys’ co-host noticed that she had applied makeup for an episode of The Voice, he chimed in as men often do. However, her “I do what the f*ck I want” clapback did make my mascara filled lashes dance a little.
We live in a society which has only recently started explicitly vocalising the fact that women were not put on this earth to please men and its’ still a tough truth for some to adjust to. Nadine Strossen, former president of the American Civil Liberties Union, put it so aptly when she said, “the more empowered I am, the more I dress to please myself.”
Women are multi-faceted beings who can wear 22-inch weaves and false lashes, tweet about Kim K’s adorable children, while pursuing a Masters degree in biochemistry.
You can’t keep viewing the aesthetics and the intelligence of a woman as two mutually exclusive entities. We’re full packages, fam.