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Voorkant Jeffreys 'Beauty and misogyny - Harmful cultural practices in the west' Sheila JEFFREYS
Beauty and misogyny - Harmful cultural practices in the west
London-New York: Routledge, 2005; 206 blzn.
ISBN: 02 0369 8568

[De auteur is hoogleraar Politieke Wetenschappen aan de University of Melbourne, Australia met als opdracht politiek van seks, gender, feminisme.]

(1) Introduction

[Deze inleiding is de perfecte samenvatting van het boek. Vandaar een zeer uitvoerig citaat:]

"In the 1970s a feminist critique of makeup and other beauty practices emerged from consciousness-raising groups. The American radical feminist theorist Catharine A. MacKinnon called consciousness-raising the "methodology'' of feminism (MacKinnon, 1989). In these groups women discussed how they felt about themselves and their bodies. They identified the pressures within male dominance that caused them to feel they should diet, depilate and makeup. Feminist writers rejected a masculine aesthetics that caused women to feel their bodies were inadequate and to engage in expensive, time-consuming practices that left them feeling that they were inauthentic and unacceptable when barefaced (Dworkin, 1974). "Beauty'' was identified as oppressive to women.

In the last two decades the brutality of the beauty practices that women carry out on their bodies has become much more severe. Today's practices require the breaking of skin, spilling of blood and rearrangement or amputation of body parts. Foreign bodies, in the form of breast implants, are placed under the flesh and next to the heart, women's labia are cut to shape, fat is liposuctioned out of the thighs and buttocks and sometimes injected into other sites such as cheeks and chins. The new cutting and piercing industry will now split women's tongues in two as well as creating holes in nipples, clitoris hood or bellybuttons, for the placement of "body art'' jewellery (Jeffreys, 2000). These developments are much more dangerous prescriptions for women's health than the practices common in the 1960s and 1970s when the feminist critique was formed. It might be expected, then, that there would have been a sharpening of this critique and a renewed awareness of its relevance in response to this more concerted attack on the integrity of women's bodies. But this is not what happened. Instead, the feminist perspective, which caused many thousands of women to eschew beauty culture and products, came under challenge in the 1980s and 1990s.

The challenge came from two directions. Liberal feminists, such as Natasha Walter (UK) and Karen Lehrman (USA), argued that there was nothing wrong with lipstick or women making themselves look good, with all the products and practices of beauty culture (Walter, 1999; Lehrman, 1997). Feminism itself had created choice for women, they said, and enabled women now to "choose'' lipstick where once it might have been thrust upon them. Meanwhile the influence of postmodern ideas in the academy led to some rather similar rhetoric about "choice'', usually in the form of "agency'', emanating from some feminist theorists and researchers (Davis, 1995). Bolder propositions were made as well, such as the idea that beauty practices could be socially transformative. Postmodern feminist theorists such as Judith Butler (1990), with their ideas on gender performativity, inspired the notion among queer theorists that the beauty practices of femininity adopted by unconventional actors, or outrageously, could be transgressive (Roof, 1998). Other postmodern feminists such as Elizabeth Grosz argued that the body is simply a "text'' which can be written on, and that tattooing, cutting, let alone lipstick, are just interesting ways of writing on it (Grosz, 1994). It is in response to this recent defence of beauty practices against the feminist critique that this book has been written.

In Beauty and Misogyny I suggest that beauty practices are not about women's individual choice or a "discursive space'' for women's creative expression but, as other radical feminist theorists have argued before me, a most important aspect of women's oppression. The feminist philosopher Marilyn Frye has written incisively of what makes a theory feminist, and why it is not enough to rely on women's individual assurances that a practice is OK with them and in their interests:

One of the great powers of feminism is that it goes so far in making the experiences and lives of women intelligible. Trying to make sense of one's own feelings, motivations, desires, ambitions, actions and reactions without taking into account the forces which maintain the subordination of women to men is like trying to explain why a marble stops rolling without taking friction into account. What feminist theory is about, to a great extent, is just identifying those forces . . . and displaying the mechanics of their applications to women as a group (or caste) and to individual women. The measure of the success of the theory is just how much sense it makes of what did not make sense before. (Frye, 1983, p. xi)

In this book I attempt to identify some of the "forces which maintain the subordination of women to men'' in relation to beauty practices.

I seek to make sense of why beauty practices are not only just as pervasive 30 years after the feminist critique developed, but in many ways are more extreme. To do this I use some new approaches that are suited to explaining this escalation of cruelty in what is expected of women in the twenty-first century. One impetus towards my writing this book lies in my growing impatience with the western bias of the useful United Nations concept of "harmful traditional/cultural practices''. In United Nations (UN) documents such as the Fact Sheet on "Harmful Traditional Practices'' (UN, 1995), harmful cultural/traditional practices are understood to be damaging to the health of women and girls, to be performed for men's benefit, to create stereotyped roles for the sexes and to be justified by tradition. This concept provides a good lens through which to examine practices that are harmful to women in the west - such as beauty practices. But western practices have not been included in the definition or understood in international feminist politics as harmful in these ways. Indeed there is a pronounced western bias in the selection of practices to fit the category such that only one western practice, violence against women, is included (Wynter et al., 2002). The implication is that western cultures do not have harmful practices such as female genital mutilation that should cause concern. I argue in Beauty and Misogyny that western beauty practices from makeup to labiaplasty do fit the criteria and should be included within UN understandings. The great usefulness of this approach is that it does not depend on notions of individual choice; it recognizes that the attitudes which underlie harmful cultural practices have coercive power and that they can and should be changed."(1-3)

(5) 1 - The 'grip of culture on the body' - Beauty practices as women's agency or women's subordination

"In the 1960s and 1970s the new social movements of feminism, black power, animal liberation, lesbian and gay politics came into being in response to a mood of hopefulness about the possibility of social change. These social movements were fuelled by a belief in social constructionism and the idea that radical social transformation was possible in the pursuit of social equality. These ideas underpinned the thoroughgoing radical feminist critiques of beauty that emerged from that period.

In the 1980s, however, the ideas of radical feminism, like those of other socially transformative ideologies, were treated to the contempt of rightwing ideologues who called them "political correctness''. A new ideology of market fundamentalism was developed to provide the ideological support for the expansion of a newly deregulated rogue capitalism. This stated that the free market, controlled only by the choices of empowered citizens, would create an ideal social and economic structure without interference from the state. Citizenship, in this new worldview, was not about rights but about responsibilities, and the citizen was empowered by consumer choice (Evans, 1993).

By the 1990s these ideas about the power of choice influenced the thinking of many feminists too. The idea that women were coerced into beauty practices by the fashion/beauty complex (Bartky, 1990), for instance, was challenged by a new breed of liberal feminists who talked about women being empowered by the feminist movement to choose beauty practices that could no longer be seen as oppressive. The new language that penetrated feminist thinking from the pervasive rightwing rhetoric was that of "agency'', "choice'' and "empowerment''. Women became transformed into knowledgeable consumers who could exercise their power of choice in the market. They could pick and choose from practices and products. Feminists who continued to argue that women's choices were severely constrained and made within a context of women's relative powerlessness and male dominance were criticized with some acerbity as "victim feminists''; that is, making women into victims by denying their agency (Wolf, 1993)."(5)

[Ik heb blijkbaar goed aangevoeld dat daar een serieus probleem speelt. Ik vind dat veel feministische analyses vrouwen te veel als slachtoffer neerzetten. Er valt wat te kiezen, ook wanneer de machtsverhoudingen voor vrouwen absoluut niet gunstig zijn. Maar ik vind tegelijkertijd toch ook weer niet dat het voldoende is om te zeggen dat die keuzemogelijkheden er zijn naar die consumentenideologie.

Wanneer alle vrouwenbladen je niet bevallen kun je er voor kiezen ze niet te kopen. Maar dat maakt die vrouwenbladen nog niet beter en doet ook niets aan de omstandigheden die maken dat die vrouwenbladen er zijn maar niet de vrouwenbladen die je eventueel wel zou kopen omdat ze bv. kritischer, inhoudelijk vooruitstrevender of wat ook zijn. Dat je als consument producten niet koopt zegt niet dat de producten goed zijn. Dat niveau van keuze is niet zo interessant. Interessanter zou een totale boycot zijn, activisme om de producten als samenleving niet te willen, om regels te maken waardoor ze wettelijk verboden worden, en zo verder. Postmoderne ideeën helpen hier niet: er moet juist meer gemoraliseerd worden. We moeten weer durven zeggen wat goed is en wat niet, beargumenteerd op basis van normatieve rationaliteit, en op basis daarvan politieke en sociale keuzes maken die door de meeste mensen acceptabel gevonden worden. Absolute ideologieën en dogma's zijn gevaarlijk, maar relativistische opvattingen ook. Ze maken allebei denklui. Je kunt gewoon niet goed vinden dat iedereen gelijk heeft en maar moet doen wat hij wil doen. Als je dat inderdaad economisch vertaald naar het laissez-faire van het neoliberalisme en neoconservatisme winnen de mensen met het meeste geld of de grootste bek het altijd weer. Er moet gereguleerd worden en dat kan alleen op basis van moraal en normatieve rationaliteit.]

[Op een gegeven moment is het zinloos om over een 'male dominant culture' te praten. Mannen zowel als vrouwen zijn uiteindelijk het slachtoffer van een 'capitalism dominant culture'. Het gaat uiteindelijk niet meer om mannen of vrouwen maar om bepaalde waarden die mensen er op na houden.]

[Jeffreys heeft een liefde voor de opvattingen over 'beauty practices' van Andrea Dworkin. Dat is de 70-er jaren kritiek van het toenmalige feminisme. Het is ook duidelijk dat ze niet veel ziet in het postmoderne feminisme.]

"Sandra Bartky, who also developed her ideas in those heady days of the 1970s when profound critiques of the condition of women included an analysis of beauty, addressed the issue of why women could appear to "choose''. She explains why no exercise of obvious force was required to make women engage in beauty practices."(7)

[Wat is keuze? Wat is dwang en onderdrukking? Psychologische onderdrukking is ook mogelijk, vindt Bartky.]

"The psychological oppression of women, Bartky says, consists of women being "stereotyped, culturally dominated, and sexually objectified'' (1990, p. 23). She explains this cultural domination as a situation in which, "all the items in the general life of our people - our language, our institutions, our art and literature, our popular culture - are sexist; that all, to a greater or lesser degree, manifest male supremacy'' (1990, p. 25). The absence of any alternative culture within which women can identify a different way to be a woman enforces oppressive practices, "The subordination of women, then, because it is so pervasive a feature of my culture, will (if uncontested) appear to be natural - and because it is natural, unalterable'' (1990, p. 25)."(7-8)

"Bartky explains how this works: the wolf whistle sexually objectifies a woman from without with the result that, "The body which only a moment before I inhabited with such ease now floods my consciousness. I have been made into an object'' (Bartky, 1990, p. 27). She explains that it is not sufficient for a man simply to look at the woman secretly, he must make her aware of his looking with the whistle. She must, "be made to know that I am a 'nice piece of ass': I must be made to see myself as they see me'' (p. 27)."(8)

[Betrekkelijk. Waarom mogen mannen alleen maar stiekem naar vrouwen kijken? Ik vermoed omdat een vrouw anders zou merken dat ze bekeken wordt en dan kan ze zichzelf alleen al daardoor geobjectiveerd voelen. Maar mensen bekijken elkaar nu eenmaal, vrouwen bekijken mannen ook, het hoeft niet opdringerig, het hoeft niet geil, het hoeft niet al te opvallend, maar het hoeft toch zeker ook niet stiekem? Wanneer mensen elkaar niet meer mogen bekijken wordt het onmogelijk om nog samen te leven.

Wat moet ik dan met vrouwen die dat nafluiten en opdringerig bekijken hebben overgenomen? Dat is net zo vervelend. Het gaat dus ook hier niet om mannen of vrouwen, het gaat om waarden en normen. Ik objectiveer als man een vrouw / als vrouw een man als ik haar/hem alleen maar bekijk en belangrijk vind op uiterlijke kenmerken: heeft ze grote tieten, is hij gespierd en zo verder. Ik vind alleen het lichaam belangijk, verder niets, niet de uitstraling, niet de persoonlijkheid, niet de talenten en vaardigheden en deskundigheden en kennis.

En wat met vrouwen die er helemaal geen last van hebben dat ze nagefloten worden of bekeken worden? Dat kan ook een groot zelfvertrouwen betekenen, lekker in je lijf zitten, geen moeite hebben met ook als seksueel gezien te worden, geen problemen hebben met je aantrekkelijkheid - zolang dat tenminste anoniem op afstand is, zoals het nu eenmaal zo vaak is. Je wordt toch ook geobjectiveerd omdat je jezelf tot een ding maakt.]

Over Wolf gaat het op p.8 ev. Jeffreys is bijzonder hard in haar oordeel. Als radicaal feministe veroordeelt ze het liberale feminisme van Wolf.

"Wolf's analysis does not suggest that there is a problem with the fact that women, and not men, have to do beauty practices at all, only that they are not free to choose to do so. It is this failure to ask the fundamental questions of why beauty practices are connected with women and why any women would want to continue with them after the revolution, that makes The Beauty Myth a liberal feminist book rather than a radical feminist one. Fire with Fire made her liberal feminist credentials clear (Wolf, 1993). In this book she asserts that women can not only choose to wear makeup, but also choose to be powerful. The material forces involved in structuring women's subordination have fallen away to leave liberation a project of individual willpower, ``If we do not manage to . . . reach parity in the twenty-first century, it will be because women on some level have chosen [her italics] not to exert the power that is our birthright'' (1993, p. 51). (...)

Her reaction to it helps to explain why she chose to write Fire with Fire so soon thereafter, a book which appears to contradict the strong message of The Beauty Myth. She set out to create an unthreatening form of feminism and castigate radical feminists. Radical feminists who campaign against male violence become "victim feminists'' who "identify with powerlessness'', are "judgmental'' particularly of "other women's sexuality and appearance'' and "antisexual'' (1993, p. 137). She seeks to soothe the masculine breasts that might have been ruffled by The Beauty Myth by proclaiming, "Male sexual attention is the sun in which I bloom. The male body is ground and shelter to me, my lifelong destination'' (p. 186). Wolf overcompensated for what she may have seen as the youthful folly of writing a book on beauty which threatened the interests of male dominance. She retreated into a firm public/private distinction which exempts the area of "private'' life from political scrutiny and turns it into an arena for the exercise of women's choices."(10)

"The feminist critique of beauty starts from the understanding that the personal is political. While liberal feminists tend to view the realm of "private'' life as an area in which women can exercise the power of choice untrammelled by politics, radical feminists such as Dworkin and MacKinnon seek to break down the public/private distinction which, they argue, is fundamental to male supremacy. This distinction provides men with a private world of male dominance in which they can garner women's emotional, housework, sexual, reproductive energies while hiding the feudal power relations of this realm behind the shield of the protection of "privacy''. The private world is defended from the point of view of male dominance as one of "love'' and individual fulfilment that should not be muddied by political analysis. It is a world in which women simply "choose'' to lay out their energies and bodies at men's disposal, where they remain, despite whatever violence or abuse is handed out to them. The "private'' nature of this world has long protected men from punishment because it has been seen as being outside the law that only applies in the public world. Thus marital rape was not a crime in this worldview, and domestic violence was a personal dispute."(10-11)

"The concept that the personal is political enabled feminists to understand the ways in which the workings of male dominance penetrated into their relationships with men. They could recognize how the power dynamics of male dominance made heterosexuality into a political institution (Rich, 1993), constructed male and female sexuality (Jeffreys, 1990; Holland et al., 1998), and the ways in which women felt about their bodies and themselves (Bordo, 1993)."(11)

"Radical feminism, which identified the workings of male dominance throughout women's lives, was always opposed by varieties of feminism that sought to privatize and depoliticize sexuality and beauty practices. In the 1980s, for instance, there was a move to insulate sexuality from the radical feminist critique by both "liberal'' and socialist feminists (Vance, 1984). In the 1990s there was a surge in publication by mainstream publishers, who had not been so keen to publish radical feminist work, of books that were said to embody a "new'', "power'' or "sexy'' feminism (Wolf, 1993; Roiphe, 1993). These books had in common the furious repudiation of radical feminism and of the notion that the personal was political. They sought the radical depoliticization of sex and "personal'' life. "New'' feminism argued that women had achieved huge advances by the late twentieth century towards equal opportunities with men in the public world of work. This "new'' feminism was influenced by radical American liberal individualism such as that expressed by a 1986 book which argued that "gender justice'' could be achieved entirely through the facilitation of women's choices by the removal of barriers so that "individuals have the opportunity to choose'' (Kirp et al., 1986, p. 133). In the "new'' feminism women's private lives were now simply the result of "choice'' and should be off limits for feminist analysis or action."(11-12)

Voorbeelden: Natasha Walter (UK), Karen Lehrman (The Lipstick Proviso, 1997, US). Over de laatste:

"She blames women's oppression on their failure to exercise their personal power. Women must just stop being self-destructive and give up "acting helpless'' (p. 41). (...) In line with traditional male sexologists and sociobiologists she argues that women and men desire beauty because it is necessary to reproduction. Women want to be chosen, and men are programmed to choose "beautiful'' women. Lehrman argues that "beauty'', in the form of sexiness, gives women power they can use to advance themselves."(13)

[Dicht bij mijn reacties tegen slachtoffergedrag, zo lijkt het op het eerste gezicht, maar inderdaad: heel gevaarlijk denken wanneer je dat idee 'vrije keuze' niet helder uitwerkt en je zo ophangt aan 'de natuur'. Alsof de macht die sommigen met hun uiterlijk hebben interessant is. Sommigen hebben die dan dus niet. En wanneer je hem wel hebt gaat dat al gauw over wanneer je ouder wordt of niet meer in de mode bent. Het is een zinloos perspectief en haalt allerlei zaken door elkaar.]

"Nancy Etcoff's book The Survival of the Prettiest (2000) expresses almost identical sentiments. Beauty is inevitable and universal, a "basic instinct'' (Etcoff, 2000, p. 7). Etcoff has a harsh diagnosis for those, like feminist critics of beauty, who fail to respond to "physical beauty''. This lack of response is "one sign of profound depression'' (2000, p. 8). Men inevitably respond to "young, nubile girls'' because of a "repro- ductive imperative''. She agrees with Lehrman that women can achieve "power'' through beauty practices because "isn't it possible that women cultivate beauty and use the beauty industry to optimize the power beauty brings?'' (Etcoff, p. 4). These liberal feminists do not acknowledge the forces that restrict and can even eliminate women's ability to choose."(13)

"The move towards putting emphasis on women's capacity to choose and express agency than on the forms of coercion that caused women to engage in beauty practices is an aspect of that postmodern takeover of leftwing thinking that Fredric Jameson has called "the cultural turn'' (Jameson, 1998). Postmodern thinking rejects the notion that there is such a thing as a ruling class which can create dominant ideas. Marxist cultural theorists who reject postmodernism, such as Fredric Jameson and Terry Eagleton, explain that this set of ideas emerged to serve a particular stage of the history of capitalism. Eagleton, for instance, argues that postmodernism took root in response to the perceived failure of the left, and the death, among so many of its members, of any idea of revolution or serious social change (Eagleton, 1996)."(13-14)

"In particular the overtaking of critical thought by postmodernism meant a discarding of the notion of ideology because this notion implies that there are such things as agents or interests responsible for oppression. Australian radical feminist theorist Denise Thompson has argued powerfully the case for retaining the concept of ideology for feminist theory."(14)

"Beauty and Misogyny could well fit into precisely those feminist writings which are being criticized because I am arguing here that ideologies of beauty and fashion such as those circulated through popular culture do subordinate women, however passionately those women may adhere to them and cut up their bodies in response."(15)

"The emphasis in the work of some feminist research changed from examining how beauty practices work to oppress and harm women to the question of how women could enjoy these practices and be empowered by them (Davis, 1995; Frost, 1999)."(15)

Weer andere voorbeelden van postmodern denkende vrouwen aan wie ze een hekel heeft: Kathy Davis (VS, NL), Liz Frost (UK), Judith Butler (VS), Ruth Holliday (UK), Angela McRobbie (UK).

"Though Butler argues that she has been misinterpreted, it is precisely that apparent misinterpretation that has been taken up by queer theorists to argue that drag, gender swapping, transgenderism and even sadomasochism, can be revolutionary ways of playing with gender and thus has made it harder for feminists to theorize beauty practices in a serious way."(18)

"She concludes an article on these "new sexualities'' by taking the postmodern line that there is no such thing as truth, and feminists need to accept that "Perhaps it is only by being willing to let go, and relinquish its grasp over the truth, that feminism earns an important place for itself in the magazines'' (McRobbie, 1997, p. 208). Feminism, it transpires, can mean anything, as long as we manage to read irony, parody and pastiche into what might otherwise look like ordinary patriarchal ideology."(19)

"Unfortunately research by feminist social scientists into what is really happening to young women and girls in heterosexual relations does not support the gung-ho enthusiasm of relentlessly positive, postmodern, cultural studies buffs. The fashionable, post-Marxist, cultural studies of the present may be uninflected by the attention to material reality that concerns social scientists, but research on the experience of girls suggests that they are far from "pleasure-seeking'' and certainly are not empowered. They are controlled in their relations with boys by the "male in the head'' (Holland et al., 1998). Lynn Phillips' research on young women and heterosex found that they were having to learn to split mind and body to stay in control of their sexual encounters and doing sex as a performance for men's sexual pleasure rather than meeting any desires of their own (Phillips, 2000)."(19)

"Liz Frost, the writer we saw earlier declaring that "doing looks'' was a positive "central identificatory process'' for women, has, in other work, provided good evidence for why women "do looks'' that relates clearly to oppression."(20)

"Western culture is founded on the notion of sexual difference: the idea that there is an essential difference between men and women, expressed in the behaviours of masculinity and femininity and their attendant practices. It is so dominant and all pervasive, allowing little place for alternatives, that the idea that women can positively "choose'' the practices which express this difference makes little sense. Western culture, like all other male dominant cultures, requires that the "difference'' be publicly demonstrated. For this reason the difference is regarded as truth. This is a most tenaciously enduring myth and difficult to challenge. The practice of different, masculine and feminine behaviours by men and women is based on the idea that there is such a thing as "sexual difference''. French feminist theorists such as Monique Wittig (1996) and Colette Guillaumin (1996) argue forcefully that this difference is political and the very basis of male domination. Sexual difference is generally explained by biology as if there were two clear biologically distinct sexes that display biologically created differences of behaviour and appearance. Feminist theorists from various disciplines have pointed out with overwhelming force over the last 30 years that "sex roles'', now more usually called "gender'', are culturally constructed and this social constructionist analysis has more recently been extended to the idea of biological sex itself (Delphy, 1993)."(20-21)

"The "difference'' between men and women is created in and by culture but is regarded as natural and biological. The huge difficulty that so many women and men have in seeing femininity and masculinity as socially constructed rather than natural, attests to the strength and force of culture. The French feminist theorist Colette Guillaumin explains the difficulty with this cultural idea that women are "different'' (Guillaumin, 1996). If women are "different'' then there must be something they are different from. That something turns out to be "men'' who are not themselves "different'' from anything, they just are."(21)

"But most importantly women are understood to be different from men in being both potentially "beautiful'' and in being interested in beauty and enthusiastic to put in huge amounts of time, money, pain and emotional distress to be "beautiful''. This is assumed in western culture to be "natural'' to women and a most persuasive sign of women's difference from men.

The idea of biological sexual difference is the major obstacle to the recognition that men and women actually stand in relation to one another in positions of dominance and subordination."(21)

"The category of sex into which humans are placed is the basis of compulsory heterosexuality (Rich, 1993) and it "founds society as heterosexual'' (Wittig, 1996, p. 27). (...) The purpose of this compulsory heterosexuality is to enable men to "appropriate for themselves the reproduction and production of women, and also their physical persons by means of a contract called the marriage contract'' (p.27)."(22)

[Ik blijf dat een heel generaliserende stelling vinden: dat mannen als dominant en vrouwen als ondergeschikt neergezet worden zonder enige nuance. Ik vind mannen- en vrouwenrollen inderdaad wel iets van sociale constructie en nog hardnekkig ook. Maar er zijn nu eenmaal ook biologische verschillen. De vraag is dus waar de natuur en waar de cultuur een rol speelt in gedrag en voorkeuren. Ik vind het maar raar dat we niet zouden moeten zeggen dat heteroseksualiteit van mensen 'natuurlijk' is en dat homoseksualiteit daarvan afwijkt. Dat religies en machtshebbers dat gebruiken om homoseksuelen op te sluiten, te discrimineren en erger zegt niets over dat feit. De vraag is gewoon wat 'sociale constructie' betekent wanneer het om mensen en hun gedrag gaat.]

"This idea that women are sex is well described in the work of the male scientists of sex, the sexologists of the twentieth century who have played such an important part in giving the "category of sex'' for women anauthoritative base in science and medicine."(23)

"The difference that women must embody is deference. The way in which the sexual difference/deference is required to be expressed can vary considerably between male dominant societies, but there is no evidence that any societies exist in which the sexual difference/deference is irrelevant or in which the social order of male dominance is founded in anything but this difference. Indeed how could male dominance have any existence without a clear difference marking who is in the dominant class and who is not?"(24)

"Women are required to practise femininity in order to create sexual difference/deference. But the difference is one of power, and femininity is the behaviour required of the subordinate class of women in order to show their deference to the ruling class of men."(24)

"Feminist social constructionists such as Henley and Graham understand the task of feminism to be the destruction and elimination of what have been called "sex roles'' or "sexual difference'' and are now more usually called "gender''. When masculinity and femininity are understood to be the behaviours of dominance and subordination it does not make much sense to expect any aspects of these behaviours to survive the destruction of male dominance. Christine Delphy explains that the concept of androgyny as a way forward for dealing with gender difference - that is, both men and women could combine the behaviours now rigidly ascribed to either one or the other - is not realizable (Delphy, 1993). The behaviours of domination and subordination would not survive in an egalitarian future in order to be combined in any form. There may be aspects of ascribed behaviours that are not associated with power difference that may be more equally shared, such as nurturing behaviour, but all the behaviours of deference and privilege would become unimaginable."(27)

(28) 2 - Harmful cultural practices and western culture

"This chapter argues, however, that a continuum of western beauty practices from lipstick at one end to invasive cosmetic surgery at the other, fit the criteria set out for harmful cultural practices in United Nations understandings, although they may differ in the extremity of their effects."(28)

[Ik begrijp de redenering wel. Toch vind ik het nogal extreem om je lippen een kleurtje geven op één lijn te zetten met borstvergroting en zo verder. Dat helpt volgens mij niemand. Je zelf versieren is één ding, de natuurlijke orde van je lichaam laten verstoren door chirurgische ingrepen en zo verder is toch echt wat anders, ook al is de basis misschien steeds: mooi gevonden willen worden.]

" It is gaining increasing recognition in the international human rights community but only inasmuch as it refers to practices such as female genital mutilation in non-western cultures. There is, however, no recognition of quite similar practices, such as the cutting of genitals to fit people into gender stereotyped categories in the west, as harmful. Indeed it is likely that the idea that the west has a "culture'' that produces "practices'' at all may seem foreign. Harmful practices in the west will most usually be justified as emanating from consumer "choice'', from "science'' and "medicine'' or "fashion''; that is, the law of the market. Culture may be seen as something reactionary that exists in the non-west. The west has science and the market instead. In this chapter I argue that the culture of western male dominance does produce practices, including beauty practices, that are harmful to women."(28)

[Dit inzicht vind ik echt heel geweldig. Inderdaad: die gedachten hieover zitten vol vooroordelen. Vrouwen in niet-westerse culturen kiezen NIET voor clitoridectomie, vrouwen in westerse culturen kiezen WEL voor schaamlippenreductie. Yeah right. Vrouwen van die niet-westerse landen waar clitoridectomie toegepast wordt zeggen zelf ook de hele tijd dat ze het zelf willen. Maar dan zeggen wij natuurlijk dat dat 'vals bewustzijn' is en dat ze dat alleen maar zeggen omdat ze onderdrukt worden door de Islam of door hun mannen of familie. Bij vrouwen en meisjes uit westerse landen gaan we er zonder meer wél van uit dat ze zelf kiezen voor borstvergroting en schaamlippenreductie en dergelijke, alsof daar de druk van de omgeving niet bestaat. In beide gevallen is er sprake van een waardensysteem dat zegt wat wenselijk en belangrijk is en hoe vrouwen zich horen te gedragen. In beide gevallen worden die ideologieën in stand gehouden door mannen die de macht hebben (in de kerken, in de religie, in de bedrijven, in de media, reclamewereld, in het onderwijs.]

"Harmful cultural or traditional practices in UN terms are identified as: being harmful to the health of women and girls; arising from the material power differences between the sexes; being for the benefit of men; creating stereotyped masculinity and femininity which damage the opportunities of women and girls; being justified by tradition. This definition is well suited to beauty practices in the west such as cosmetic surgery. The concept enables the culture of male domination in which women live to be brought into focus and subjected to criticism instead of being regarded as natural, inevitable or even progressive."(29)

"All practices required of one sex class rather than the other should be examined for their political role in maintaining male dominance."(30)

"Western beauty practices, I suggest, arise from this lower value. Makeup and high-heeled shoes, labiaplasty and breast implants are the result of the value placed on women and girls in the west, where women's bodies are changed and decorated to show that women are members of a subordinate class that exists for men's delight."(31-32)

"The idea of "beauty'' as something that women should embody for men's sexual excitement, either naturally or by artifice, is deeply ingrained in western culture."(32)

[Toch zit ook hier een verwarrend standpunt. 'Natuurlijke schoonheid' is heel wat anders dan 'gemaakte schoonheid'. Je kunt als vrouw én als man niet veel doen aan een opvallende natuurlijke gaafheid waarvan iedereen de mond openvalt, behalve het bij je zelf kapot maken dan, natuurlijk. Van nature knappe mensen hebben enorme voordelen omdat de waarden - zowel voor vrouwen als voor mannen! zowel in heteroseksuele als in homoseksuele relaties - zeggen dat het wenselijker is om knap te zijn dan lelijk. Het is gewoonweg prettiger om naar knappe mensen te kijken dan naar lelijke, zo zou je kunnen zeggen. Misschien is dat wel één van de universalia. Maar waarden die zeggen dat alle vrouwen moeten proberen er net zo knap uit te zien als de natuurlijk knappe vrouwen, terwijl we tegelijkertrijd NIET zeggen dat alle mannen moeten proberen er net zo knap uit te zien als de natuurlijk knappe mannen, daar deugt uiteraard niets van. Hoewel ik denk dat tegenwoordig dat laatste ook veel meer het geval is dan twintig jaar geleden.]

"Those women who refuse beauty practices are offering neither complement nor compliment and their resistance can be deeply resented by members of the dominant sex class."(32)

Over 'labiaplasty' in het Westen:

"In the west, in the advertising literature of labiaplasty surgeons, long labia are said to inhibit sexual pleasure and to be an embarrassment."(34)

[Wat natuurlijk onwaar resp. aangepraat is, gewoon om vrouwen en meisjes zo ver te krijgen dat ze zich voor veel geld laten opereren. Schokkend, inderdaad.]

"The notion of harmful cultural practices is based on the idea that culture can enforce and that women and girls are not free agents able to pick and choose. In the 1990s in the west, however, the ideology of western liberalism, and the economic systems of laissez-faire individualist capitalism defended by it, were potent forces in the deracination of political critiques that recognize inequality and oppression as constructing limits to choice and opportunity (see Jeffreys, 1997b)."(34)

[Mooi voorbeeld over hoe ongezond de boerka is voor vrouwen op p.34.]

"Nonetheless, Coomaraswamy comments, such dress codes are a problem only if they are, "forced on women and if punishment is meted out for not wearing very cumbersome attire'' because in that case "their rights of choice and expression are clearly denied'' (2002, p. 29). The notion of choice she employs does not make allowance for the types of pressure towards wearing restrictive clothing that are discussed elsewhere in this chapter, such as harassment in public places that can only be alleviated in this way. Covering can reduce this kind of friction but is not therefore a sign of freedom so much as an accommodation to oppression. Coomaraswamy's introduction of the notion of "choice'' is worrying because it waters down one of the most useful aspects of the notion of harmful cultural practices, the irrelevance of such western notions where cultural expectations and practices act as enforcers."(35)

[Mooie kritiek op Martha Nussbaum en andere liberale feministes.]

"She details the distinctions in female literacy rates between the USA and some African countries as a basis for arguing that African women do not have access to choice and consent in the way that US women do."(35)

"Nussbaum's argument about the degree to which women in the west can "choose'' could be seen as revealing a western bias, according to which women in the west are so advantaged that they can "choose'' and thus whatever cultural practices they are required to engage in are not as severe as those in some African cultures. It is an underlying problem with liberal feminist thought that relations of power in western cultures are reframed as simply "pressures'' which women have the education to withstand (Jeffreys, 1997b)."(36)

"In her article on the practice of hymen repair surgery in the Netherlands in the twenty-first century, Sawitri Saharso argues that girls who have hymen repair surgery are, "moral agents who can choose'' (Saharso, 2003, p. 20). Feminists should, she says, respect "other women's choices, even if we do not agree with them. This in turn means that making hymen repair available is a deed of multiculturalism and good feminism'' (p. 21). The girls are "morally competent actors who do have a choice and are able to state their preferences'' (2003, p. 21). Hymen repair is currently available free from the public health service in the Netherlands and Saharso considers this to be a "policy measure that is culturally sensitive in that it acknowledges culturally informed suffering'' (p. 21).

The concept of "choice'' that Saharso puts forward is one that is so impoverished it is hard to work out why anyone would want to call it choice at all. For instance she quotes as a basis for her argument about girls "choosing'' hymen repair surgery, a Dutch writer who argues that they can be said to be making a choice because they do have other options like leaving their community:"(36-37)

"Both the veil and makeup are often seen as voluntary behaviours by women, taken up by choice and to express agency. But in both cases there is considerable evidence of the pressures arising from male dominance that cause the behaviours."(38)

"The American beauty industry rushed in 2002 in the aftermath of war to infiltrate Afghanistan under the guise of urgently needed beauty "aid''. This was represented in the western media as a positive help rather than as American cultural imperialism and capitalist enterprise. Women were offered the role of being covered in makeup and sexually objectified, rather than covered by the burkha to prevent them being seen as sex objects by men."(41)

"It is not just in Afghanistan that US cosmetics corporations have seen a marketing opportunity. They swiftly entered the Soviet Union after the fall of the communist regime, to offer their service to formerly deprived women, and they are reaching out to China too. As the business historian Kathy Peiss puts it, even in "Amazon rain forests, women sell Avon, Mary Kay, and other beauty products'' (Peiss, 2001, p. 20). But Peiss, like many of those involved in selling western beauty ideals in Afghanistan, conceals the oppressiveness of this colonizing activity by emphasizing that it provides employment for women who sorely need it. As she says, "as was the case a hundred years ago in the United States, these 'microbusinesses' have given some women a foothold in the developing market economy'' (Peiss, 2001, p. 20)."(42)

Over de relatie tussen religie en de eis van het bedekken van het hoofd door vrouwen:

"Gerda Lerner explains in The Creation of Patriarchy, that the code, which predated the three religions, required women who were not prostitutes to cover themselves so that they could indicate that they were the property of individual men (Lerner, 1987). The prostituted women, usually slaves, were uncovered to indicate that they were the property of men in general."(43)

"Although western beauty practices are seldom enforced by actual physical violence, they are all culturally enforced. The failure to wear makeup and depilate legs and underarms may not be "socially suicidal'' in western cultures but it will, as I suggest in the makeup chapter, affect women's ability to get and keep employment and the degree of social in ̄uence that they may wield."(44)

(46) 3 - Transfemininity - "Dressed'' men reveal the naked reality of male power

"Femininity is sexually exciting to the men who seek it because it represents subordinate status and thus satisfies masochistic sexual interests. Men's femininity is very different from the femininity that is a requirement of women's subordinate status, because women do not choose femininity but have it thrust upon them. Femininity is not a form of sexual fantasy for women but the hard and often resented work required of those who occupy subordinate social status. However the forms that the outward appearance of femininity takes are quite similar in both cases, and the beauty practices are identical. Looking at what men make of it will show that femininity, rather than having any connection with biology, is socially constructed as the behaviour of subordination."(46)

"Feminists who want to dismantle gender, because they see it as a product of male dominance, do not "trans'' gender, they simply get over it. Transgenders are so attached to the notion of gender, albeit to a different one from that in which they were brought up, that they spend huge amounts of time, energy and money in order to acquire their gender of choice. Transgender politics are fundamentally conservative, dedicated to retaining the behaviours of the dominant and subordinate classes of male supremacy - masculinity and femininity."(48-49)

"The process of transitioning from the condition in which a girl may play with boys, use her strong body in physical activities and give no thought to how she looks, to "femininity'' in which she must learn to walk in crippling shoes and constraining clothes and constantly paint and check her face to ensure that her mask is intact, is a harsh one and likely to cause, as it did for Bouquet, "self-consciousness and nerves''. Their mothers, girls' and women's magazines, and their friends, train them and there is much to learn. Girls have makeover studios too, but these are likely to be the bedrooms of relatives and friends rather than commercial premises accessed via the Internet. Girls have to practise femininity until it feels "natural'' in order to create "sexual difference''."(65)

"Queer theory has, understandably, been enlisted to support men's practice of femininity. After all both queer theorists who promote transgenderism and the men who access transvestite porn on the Internet have a similar interest in "gender''. They are all interested in milking the performance of gendered behaviour for its sadomasochistic excitements. Femininity is exciting because it is the behaviour of subordination, and it is precisely because it is the behaviour of subordination that it cannot be preserved."(66)

(67) 4 - Pornochic - Prostitution constructs beauty

"In the 1960s and 1970s in western countries censorship controls on pornography were progressively relaxed under the influence of the "sexual revolution''. I have argued elsewhere that this sexual revolution enshrined as positive social values men's sexual desires for access to women, particularly through pornography and prostitution (Jeffreys, 1990, 1997b). But historians of sexuality have understood the "sexual revolution'' to be about women's sexual freedom. Certainly women made some gains. Women's right to some form of sexual response and to have sexual relationships outside marriage became much more accepted, but the main beneficiary of this "revolution'', I suggest, is the international sex industry. The sex industry was able to expand in an economic and social climate of laissez-faire, free market capitalism."(67)

"The values of pornography, and its practices, extended outwards from magazines and movies to become the dominating values of fashion and beauty advertising, and the advertising of many other products and services. There has been a pornographization of culture. In this chapter I look at the way in which pornographic practices have influenced the fashion and beauty industries."(67)

"The profits of the porno industry are now so large that it is able to command considerable political obedience."(68)

"The closer and closer integration of porn and fashion photography in relation to adult women does not seem to have attracted much outrage. Adult women, it seems, are fair game for sexual exploitation. But children are seen as innocent and to be protected, so the move in fashion towards kiddy porn has caused serious outbursts of negative criticism. The US Media Awareness Network documents the journey into pornography of the bisexual designer Calvin Klein (Media Awareness Network, 2002). Klein gained notoriety and sales in 1980 when he used the 15-year-old Brooke Shields as a model and had her saying things such as, "Nothing comes between me and my Calvins''. He contributed significantly in that decade to the overt sexualization of fashion advertising. In the 1990s he went much further. In a 1995 campaign he used pubescent models in provocative poses"(72)

"The outrage that was voiced at the kiddy porn campaign has not discouraged designers from using sexualized child images for their shock value."(73)

"The symbiotic relationship between fashion photography and pornography is becoming so close that it does seem likely that the arty fashion magazines which already display fashion on women who are almost naked and in just raped poses, will soon expect models to engage in actual sexual acts for fashion shots. Such a development is presaged in the work of one of the most famous fashion photographers of the moment, Terry Richardson, who is compared to Helmut Newton in his status but recognized to be even more sexually explicit in his approach."(74)

"The pornographizing of fashion photography in its most extreme forms may not have much effect on what women wear since not many will choose to be half-naked in their social or professional lives. However, there are ways in which it has a negative impact on women in general. It popularizes the "slut'' and prostitute look, very short skirt, boots, piercings for young women. It makes looking as if you are in the sex industry chic and thereby helps sex industrialists by normalizing their business of the international traffic in women. The sex industry sells clothes and the fashion industry sells prostitution and pornography."(75)

[Het stuk over Madonna als 'rolmodel' voor vrouwen wat volgt laat zien dat er uit naam van of met het etiket van postmodernisme ontzettend veel geklets in de wereld is gezet. Madonna wordt neergezet als een sterke vrouw die weet wat ze wil. Maar als ze dat zo goed weet waarom kiest ze er dan voor om zich als een prostituee uit te dossen etc.? Waarom maakt ze precies die keuze? ]

" Postmodern theorists of cultural studies elevated Madonna to cult status with a slew of scholarly books in postmodern language and a whole academic area of study devoted to her at American universities (Lloyd, 1994; Schwichtenberg, 1993a). Those who wished to argue that popular culture could lead to women's empowerment rather than playing a role in women's oppression, chose Madonna as their symbol. They promoted Madonna as the very model of women's agency and transgression and as a role model for a new generation of empowered women. In the course of their eulogies they pilloried what they considered old-fashioned, anti-sex feminism - the kind that criticized popular culture for its womanhating values."(76)

"Madonna takes men's sadomasochist and prostitution fantasies out of brothels and pornography into the malestream entertainment industry. She markets the practice of prostitution to young women as a form of women's empowerment. The effect is that she has contributed significantly to normalizing prostitution and making it publicly acceptable to portray women as prostitutes in fashion and advertising generally. Cheryl Overs, spokesperson of the pro-prostitution organization, Network of Sex Work Projects, credits Madonna with making their work very much easier in the 1980s (Doezema, 1998). She understands Madonna to have aided in the normalization of prostitution in malestream culture.

Madonna became disappointingly unrevolutionary as soon as she stepped down from the limelight. She chose marriage and motherhood. As the Daily Mail newspaper reported: "She's a sweet girl and will be an excellent mum say boyfriend's parents'' (quoted in Smith, 2000). However, with the encouragement of an entertainment industry that knows that porn sells, and the desire to make a splash, she chose to represent prostitution while she made her fortune. The damage she wrought is that young girls' fashion is now more firmly attuned to servicing male sexuality. The prostitute or "slut'' look continues to be chic. In making this critique I am aware that I will be dismissed by cultural studies feminists in the way in which they write off women in Madonna's audiences who don't appreciate her performance, "When the hater is a woman, one might speculate that the rejection is manifestation of a barely displaced 'abjection of self,' a self-loathing resulting from the interiorization of the patriarchal feminine'' (Schulze et al., 1993, p. 31). This is an example of what the radical feminist philosopher Mary Daly calls "patriarchal reversal'' - that is, feminists are accused of rep resenting precisely the values and practices that they criticize (Daly, 1979)."(77)

"The upsurge in the requirement that women should have large breasts, and the concomitant profits of the breast implant industry, owe a great deal to pornography but I deal with this issue in a later chapter. Here I concentrate on the impact of porn on women's genitals. Pornography has created a new area of women's bodies on which they must lavish anxiety, money and painful procedures. Where once women barely glanced at their genitals they are now being required to give them as much attention as they previously reserved for their faces."(78)

" Many men prefer women to look prepubescent and thus hairless. Men are trained by porn to see hairlessness in women as "natural'' and to find the hairiness of their girlfriends distasteful or less than exciting. There are problems associated with shaving the genitals, though this is the practice that porn stars employ (Castleman, 2000)."(79)

"The main reason women wax their genitals appears to be the desire to please the kind of male partners who find the look of pornography and prostitution sexually exciting."(80)

" As a result of Brazilian waxing women became more aware of their labia because they were now visible in a way they had not been before. In pornography women's labia are frequently airbrushed so that they are uniform. The women do not have obviously unequally sized labia or particularly long labia because they are tidied up in the airbrushing so that men will not be offended, and be able to purchase a uniform product. But airbrushing is not enough and women in porn regularly employ labiaplasty, in which the labia are cut to shape, to create the regulation look. This pornographic practice has an impact on women outside the industry when boyfriends pressure women to look like hairless porn stars. Women, already trained in male dominant cultures to dislike their genitals, notice their genitalia more. They may worry that they are not like those on the women in porn, or their male partners may make this clear to them. They then graduate to the cosmetic surgeons who already have a nice little earner in tidying up porn stars. The influence of pornography is openly admitted by the surgeons themselves."(82)

" The surgery being carried out on women's genitals to satisfy men's pornographic desires is a good example of the way in which the medical profession can act as a handmaiden to male dominance. Medicine is now in the practice of carving the genitals of pornography on women's bodies."(86)

(87) 5 - Fashion and misogyny

"It has become unpopular since the 1980s, when post-structuralist thinking began to dominate in universities, to point out that fashion reflects and serves to maintain female subordination. In work of a postmodern persuasion fashion tends to fly free from its material, political underpinnings. The political forces that affect what constitutes fashion at any time, such as sexism, capitalism, classism and racism, disappear. Instead fashion is celebrated as a free spirit, something that enables everyone, and particularly women, to exercise choice and creativity, to express their identities, transgress boundaries. Thus even feminists who write about fashion seem to fail to notice that whatever changes take place in fashion there are always differences written into what women and men may wear. These differences enable the sex class of women to be distinguished from that of men and, in recent decades, turn a full one-half of the human race into toys to create sexual excitement in the other half. In this chapter I argue that fashion design in the late twentieth century became particularly misogynist through the incorporation of pornographic and sadomasochist imagery, nakedness, corsets, black leather and vinyl, even blood and injury. I ask why fashion designers are so predominantly male and gay, and examine their role in this process."(87)

[Zou ze nu echt niet zien dat mannenmode er net zo goed is om vrouwen te behagen en te prikkelen? Afgezien van dat het bij vrouwen erger is: waarom zit het haar zo dwars dat vrouwen mannen seksueel 'moeten' prikkelen? En is dat echt iets wat vrouwen niet zouden moeten willen? Ik vind af en toe dat ze een beetje doorslaat met haar weerzin tegenover mooimakerij.]

"The creation of sexual difference / deference in fashion is carried out in several ways. These include the display of skin, use of skirts versus trousers, the use of bright or pastel colours for women while men are restricted to greys and browns, and the placing of the stigmata of prostitution and sadomasochism on women's bodies. They also include the placing of zip fasteners and buttons so that they open to the left or right in order to display sex, and the rule that women's clothes should not have functional pockets, necessitating the carriage of a handbag."(87)

[Is dat nog steeds zo?]

"Why must she secure his physical love?'' (quoted in Eicher, 2001, p. 233, emphasis in the original). Stanton's answer to this question is that women must secure men because marriage is their only career, and this is best achieved by using methods perfected by prostitutes of showing off their bodies to arouse men's appetites."(88)

"The casual observer wandering through the areas devoted to male and female fashion in a department store will notice that fashion is overwhelmingly, and before all else, gendered. This gendering is so dramatic that it seems surprising that any book on fashion would be able to ignore or deride this fact. It hardly needs to be said that the men's department generally offers clothes that are not full of holes to show the body, there are no skirts or dresses, clothes are not skintight, they tend to be functional and look as if they are well suited to a number of activities. They are not devoted to revealing the male body as a sex object to the female viewer. They also tend to be made of superior materials and made to last though they are, however, restricted to drab colours. The "women's'' clothes, on the other hand, often resemble dolls' clothes - tiny, in garish colours and shoddy materials, and revealing much of the body."(88-89)

"I have written elsewhere about how the scientists of sex, among whom male psychoanalysts like Flugel figured in great number, attacked the feminists who sought to criticize the sexual power relations between men and women in the early part of the twentieth century. They were routinely accused of being elderly spinsters or sexual deviates who could not be expected to understand normal heterosexuality or might even be hostile to it (Jeffreys, 1985/1997)."(90)

Over Flugel verder:

"He says that there is "no escape'', from "the view that the fundamental purpose of adopting a distinctive dress for the two sexes is to stimulate the sexual instinct'' (Flugel, 1950, p. 201). In this most famous of works on the psychology of fashion the relegation of different clothing to women is unambiguously identified as serving the function of men's sexual excitement."(90)

[In dit citaat kun je mooi zien hoe gevoelig dit ligt bij Jeffreys. Flugel heeft het over het stimuleren van het seksuele instinct in het algemeen, Jeffreys maakt er het stimuleren van het seksuele instinct van mannen van. Dat is dus nogal eenzijdig opgevat.]

"In SM pornography and prostitution women are beaten, tied up, fistfucked, burnt, cut, by the male customers. But women perform the role of dominatrix to men too, because that is a way that men can gain the excitement of submission in an environment that they control."(91)

[Hier hetzelfde. Ook vrouwen hebben in SM de controle wanneer ze de onderworpene spelen. Ze zou kunnen zeggen: meer dan in het echte leven en dan zou ze gelijk hebben.]

"There does not seem to be any academic or popular interest in the fascinating question of why the field of fashion for women is so dominated by gay men."(94)

"Up until the 1970s and the gay liberation movement, male homosexuality was automatically assumed to be associated with femininity as a result of biology. There was a cultural assumption in this period that the innate "femininity'' of gay men would make them more sympathetic to women and understanding of what women would want or need. But in fact there is no biological femaleness involved in being gay. Homosexuality cannot be explained by genes or hormones but is a socially constructed form of behaviour (Rogers, 1999). Gay men develop an identification with "femininity'' as a result of being shut out of, and often badly persecuted and harassed by masculine society (Plummer, 1999; Levine, 1998). Femininity is the default position for those excluded from the privileges of heterosexual male dominance. (...) As a gay adventure to accommodate their position of inferiority in relation to "real'' men, this femininity has not got a great deal to do with the lives of women."(95)

" Gay men can have problematic relationships with femininity and with women as a result of their situation under heterosexual male dominance. Bullying and persecution at school from playmates, teachers, rugby coaches, fathers, from police and gaybashers, and the anti-gay propaganda of politicians and rightwing commentators, all inculcate the notion that boys and men attracted to other men lack the masculinity appropriate to the status of manhood (Plummer, 1999; Levine, 1998). Femininity is the default position and can become eroticized in masochistic gay male sexuality, but it signifies the subordinate position into which they are cast in relation to heterosexual men. Thus their relationship to femininity and to women themselves can be troubled and uncomfortable. One result can be a clear misogyny as expressed in what has been called the "ick factor''. As I have discussed elsewhere (Jeffreys, 2003), this term is employed in gay male writings to describe the extreme revulsion experienced by some gay men at the thought or sight of women's naked bodies."(104)

"I have suggested in this chapter that fashion is based on sexual difference and that the misogyny expressed in fashion has been escalating in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. But this is not the understanding of academic feminist fashion theorists. Elizabeth Wilson (1985) and Joanne Finkelstein (1991) are two writers on fashion with reputations for being "feminist'' who take little account of what fashion does to women."(105)

"And she [Wilson] argues that rather than fashion and cosmetics use being "expressions of subordination'' they are not specifically about women because "men have been as much implicated in fashion, as much `fashion victims' as women'' (p. 13). Wilson is someone who is seriously enthusiastic about fashion and argues, "to discuss fashion as simply a feminist moral problem is to miss the richness of its cultural and political meanings. The political subordination of women is an inappropriate point of departure if, as I believe, the most important thing about fashion is not that it oppresses women'' (1985, p. 13)."(105-106)

"While fashion is dedicated to the creation and maintenance of sexual difference it requires political analysis. Fashion criticism should not be left to postmodern theorists concerned with playfulness, creativity, and agency. Fashion is no trivial matter and requires the serious attention of political theorists because it is crucial to creating the difference/deference and underpins women's subordination. If the difference was not inscribed on women's bodies (i.e. if clothing was ungendered) men would be unable to establish the sexual status of those they encountered on the street or in the workplace. They would have to forgo the sexual pleasures they are accustomed to extract from women's enactment of their subordination. But clothing is not the only means by which the difference is created. The wearing of makeup is very important too. In the following chapter I examine the everyday beauty practices such as lipstick wearing and depilation that contribute to the demonstration of women's difference/deference."(106)

(107) 6 - Making up is hard to do

"Everyday beauty practices, such as the use of makeup or hair removal, were central to the feminist critique of beauty launched by Andrea Dworkin (1974) and Sandra Bartky in the 1970s (1990, collection of earlier writings). In the 1990s something very odd happened. Suddenly, in the writings of popular liberal feminists and in the writings of some feminists who adopted a postmodern approach, those very same practices gained a whole new credibility. They were promoted as "empowering'' to women, the proof of the new power to choose that was the legacy of feminism (Lehrman, 1997; Walter, 1999; Frost, 1999). But the practices themselves did not change. In this chapter I consider whether everyday beauty practices deserve to be the subject of this new enthusiasm, and critically examine the claim that these everyday beauty practices are good and useful aspects of women's lives."(107)

"There is little research on the reasons why women wear makeup, or engage in other forms of "grooming'', the effects that these practices have on women's feelings about themselves and others, and their interactions with the public world (Dellinger and Williams, 1997). (...) The absence of interest in examining it suggests that it is seen as "natural'' for women and therefore unworthy of examination."(107)

"Whether women engage in beauty practices for 30 minutes or for 1 hour, the practices are not "natural'' but culturally prescribed and it is important to understand where beauty practices come from. The history of makeup, the fact that there have been times and places in which women were not required to be obsessed with makeup, makes it clear that this practice is peculiar to a time and place and most definitely cultural rather than emanating from any natural "femininity''."(109)

"Lipstick is a beauty practice that seems to have strong historical links with prostitution. The sexologists Harry Benjamin and R.E.L. Masters describe in the book they wrote to justify and normalize prostitution in the early stages of the "sexual revolution'' (1964) what they understand to be the origins of lipstick wearing. They say that it originated from prostituted women in the ancient middle east who used it to show that they would do oral sex: "lipstick was supposed to make the mouth resemble the vulva, and it was first worn by those females who specialized in oral stimulation of the penis'' (Benjamin and Masters, 1964, p. 58)."(110)

"As a historian of commerce Peiss is enthusiastic about the opportunities that the newly developing beauty industry offered women. As the industry developed between the 1890s and the 1920s it was largely in the hands of women entrepreneurs, "women formulated and organized `beauty culture' to a remarkable extent'' (Peiss, 1998, p. 4). (...) The history of these women, Peiss states, "Flatly contradicts the view that the beauty industry worked only against women's interests'', because they, "created job opportunities for women, addressed the politics of appearance, and committed their profits to their community''. But the fact that women were involved in the development of beauty practices does not in any way contradict the notion that such practices are harmful. As Mary Daly points out in Gyn/Ecology (1979), women are frequently those who are responsible for carrying out what she calls "sado-rituals'' on girls and women, as in the practices of female genital mutilation and footbinding. Women carry out the dictates of male dominance even to the extent of mutilating female children. Men and male dominance escape indictment or responsibility because they are nowhere to be seen. The practices appear to originate with and be done by women alone. Industries which offer employment to women are not always beneficial: the sex industry being one example (Jeffreys, 1997b). Industries that employ women can arise directly from and serve to maintain women's subordination."(110-111)

"The "choice'' to wear makeup and engage in other grooming practices is not made in a political vacuum. There are very real material forces involved in constructing this "choice'' for women. Peiss writes positively about the opportunities offered to black women in the interwar period to set up beauty salons and become entrepreneurs before big business took over the industry. By the 1960s it was clear that the beauty practices that black women were taught were aimed at emulating a white ideal. African-American women have written eloquently on the racism of beauty standards in the USA that not only have white women bleaching their faces and their hair, but create impossible goals of emulating whiteness for black women. This has led to an industry of hair straighteners, and face whiteners, and other products designed to enable black women to approximate to a white ideal. Since it is unlikely that black women are somehow naturally excluded from the province of essential beauty, it is clear that what is beautiful is constructed politically and incorporates race, class and sex prejudices. When black women are chosen for their "beauty'' to be models, such as Iman from Somalia, or Waris Dirie, their faces and bodies are likely to conform to white ideals and not to resemble the commonest features of African-American women's faces (Young, 1999)."(113)

"Women may well say makeup empowers them but the interesting question is, what disempowers them about being without their mask? The constraints imposed by sexism and racism and the politi- cal structures of male domination are likely to be responsible for women's discomfort about moving into the public world "barefaced''.

Another pressure on women to wear makeup is the requirement that they should appear to be heterosexual."(115)

"Makeup, then, makes women look unthreatening. A heterosexual African-American woman says that she used makeup to "enhance her credibility in a racist society'' (p. 166). She felt the need to emphasize how professional she was to lessen the effect of racism and makeup was a way to do this. This woman said she was prepared to "let the sexism'' pass in favour of diluting racism."(115)

"It should be clear from these examples that makeup is not simply a matter of "choice'' in the workplace but the result of a system of power relations that can require women to engage in this cultural practice."(118)

"Women cannot be said to make free "choices'' to engage in beauty practices in a culture in which men have the power to enforce their requirements."(119)

"The suggestion that women will not acquire male partners without shaving resembles the reasons given for the carrying out of harmful beauty practices in other cultures, such as female genital mutilation and the reconstructing of hymens; that is, girls have no chance of marrying without them. Though it might be expected that the pressures on young women to have male partners might be less in western cultures where they have more chance of a career that is not that of wife, they are still extreme. Feminine respectability in western culture requires attachment to a male partner. The idea that women "choose'' to engage in these practices is also undermined by an examination of just how painful and fraught they can be for the victims."(120)

"In Drop-Dead Gorgeous (2002) Kim Erickson describes what is known about the toxic effects of the chemicals in conventional cosmetics from scientific research. She points out that women doing the daily beauty ritual expose themselves to more than 200 synthetic chemicals before they have morning coffee. Many of them have been identified as toxic by the US Environmental Protection Agency. The US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has reported that 900 of the chemicals in cosmetics are toxic."(124)

"Everyday beauty practices take up women's time, energy, money and emotional space. The chemicals employed are a threat to women's health. Women can seek each other's support in the performance of these practices, particularly in finding out how to dull the pain and discomfort, but this does not form the basis of positive bonding networks between women so much as support networks of the oppressed. Though the supporters of makeup argue that it offers a realm for the exercise of women's creativity, this is rather limited. Women are not in a position to paint sunsets on their foreheads but are required to conform to strict rules in order to function in workplaces and escape criticism and discrimination. Men, and women who eschew makeup, clearly find other things to do with their time, money, creativity and emotional energies. Makeup steals years from women's lives and from the exercise of their talents in order to fulfil the requirements of the sexual corvée. In the next chapter I look at another requirement of women's sexual corvée that is more obviously harmful, the wearing of high-heeled shoes."(126-127)

(128) 7 - Men's foot and shoe fetishism and the disabling of women

"The wearing of high heels causes pain, disability and, often, permanent deformity for women. The continued existence of this harmful cultural practice in western societies requires explanation. William Rossi, author of the bible of men's shoe fetishism, The Sex Life of the Foot and Shoe (1989), tells us how important disabling shoes are to men by declaring that, "Men are still uncertain whether the greatest of all inventions was the wheel or the high heel'' (Rossi, 1989, p. 119). Rossi, like other foot fetishists, from fashion designers to ordinary male habitués of brothels and consumers of pornography, is well aware that the high-heeled shoe is an instrument of torture for women. As Rossi says, "The high heel makes no practical sense whatever. It has no functional or utilitarian value. It's an unnatural fixture on a shoe. It makes standing and walking precarious and tiring. It's a safety hazard. It's blamed for a host of pedic and bodily ills'' (1989, p. 119). But for foot fetishists, as we shall see in this chapter, the damage and pain are crucial parts of the sexual excitement they gain from their obsession. I look at the role that men's sexual interest in the deformed and disabled female foot has played in creating and sustaining Chinese footbinding, that signature practice of supposedly highbrow western culture, ballet, and high-heeled shoes, and seek to understand the impact of this aspect of male sexuality on women's lives."(128)

[Ook hier weer: vrouwn zijn de slachtoffers, mannen de daders. Vrouwen doen al die dingen alleen maar omdat mannen daar seksueel opgewonden van raken. Er is niets veranderd aan de machtsverhoudingen: vrouwen kunnen niet anders. Ik vind het tamelijk denigrerend naar vrouwen toe, eigenlijk. En het is bijzonder generaliserend: ik zelf heb nooit een vriendin gehad die hoge hakken droeg, er zijn eindeloos veel vrouwen die ze nooit dragen en eindeloos veel mannen die daar niet eens bij stil staan, laat staan moeite mee hebben. En nee, ik geil ook niet op vrouwen die hoge hakken dragen, omdát ze hoge hakken dragen.]

"Women were dragooned into binding their daughters' feet, despite knowing the pain it would cause, because they had no alternative for subsistence but marriage, and no man would marry them without tiny feet. The tinier the feet, the more desirable the girl would be as a wife. The same was true of prostitution. Some girls were bought from their families and brought up to be sold into prostitution. They were bound, and prostituted women with the tiniest feet were in most demand and got the best price. Thus the sale and exchange of women between men in marriage or prostitution required footbinding to continue."(131)

[Ja, maar vandaag de dag ligt dat toch wel een tikkeltje anders dan in het oude China. En om nou gelijk ook bezwaar te maken tegen het dansen op spitzen in ballet, werkelijk.]

"The high-heeled shoe lost some of its importance in western fashion in response to the feminist movement of the 1970s. Some of the gains women made at that time have been retained. "Sensible'' shoes in which women can walk and run are available in shoe shops in fashionable styles. However in early 2002 the high street shoe shops in Melbourne were devoting the vast majority of their space to shoes with extremely high heels and very pointed toes - shoes to delight male foot fetishists and damage women severely. High heels had become, once again, high fashion, because the shoe fetishist designers brought them back."(146-147)

(149) 8 - Cutting up women - Beauty practices as self-mutilation by proxy

"In recent decades the beauty practices required of women and girls have become more and more invasive of the body. They require cutting, the shedding of blood and the placing of foreign objects under the flesh and skin. The degree of brutality involved is rather different from that of the 1960s and 1970s when the feminist critique of beauty practices was formed. At that time the creation of "beauty'' was mostly confined to the surface of the body."(149)

"Self-mutilation is overwhelmingly a behaviour of girls and young women (Shaw, 2002). Its most common form is cutting with razors, or other sharp implements, of the forearm, though other areas of the body can be injured. It is related to childhood abuse. (...)

The overwhelming majority of women in the ranks of self-injurers suggests that self-injury is associated with women's low status. Girls and women who have no outlet for the rage and pain they experience from male violence and abuse and from the other injuries of a male dominant culture, attack their own bodies. Often they are emotionally disassociated from their bodies, having learnt this technique to survive abuse."(150)

"In the 1990s self-injury perpetrated by proxies became fashionable through the piercing, cutting and tattooing industry. The private self-mutilation born of despair and self-directed rage at abuse and oppression was exploited by piercing entrepreneurs. Piercing studios were set up in cities throughout the western world offering various forms of self-injury to make a pro®t for the perpetrators."(151)

"Cutting, piercing and tattooing have quickly become commonplace and socially acceptable among the new constituencies of young women and gay men, even though they are recent additions to the repertoire of beauty practices. It is not surprising then, as Sarah Shaw (2002) notes, that self- injury that is performed by proxies for the purposes of achieving the conventional beauty standards of this historical stage of male dominance is socially approved and has acquired a normative status presently in some areas of western culture. The most common form of severe self-mutilation by proxy is cosmetic surgery and this practice overwhelmingly affects women."(154)

"Haiken points out that cosmetic surgery can be seen as an indication of the failure of feminist attempts to dismantle male domination."(155)

[Al het genoemde onderzoek over plastische chirurgie komt vrijwel uit de VS. Typisch.]

"Nonetheless by 1995 when Glamour magazine asked men " 'if it were painless, safe, and free, would you encourage your wife or girlfriend to get breast implants?' 55 percent said yes'' (Haiken, 1997, p. 284). This figure does indicate where the pressure for women to have implants originates."(156)

[En die zielige vrouwen kunnen daar geen 'nee' tegen zeggen? Weer dat slachtoffergedrag.]

(171) Conclusion - A culture of resistance

"There is, however, a major difference in the way that harmful beauty practices are inscribed in culture and enforced on women in the west. This is the fact that they have been constructed into major industries that make large fortunes for transnational corporations and are a significant force in the global economy. The profitability of these practices to the cosmetics, sex, fashion, advertising and medical industries creates a major obstacle to women's ability to resist and eliminate them. There is so much money in these industries based on commercializing harmful cultural practices that they constitute a massive political force that requires the continuance of women's pain."(172)

"For a culture of resistance to be created women need not only to recognize the harm to their health and status that beauty practices create, but to be prepared to abandon them. There are good reasons why even some feminists seek to justify beauty practices or downplay their signi- ficance. They may have, like most women, routinely watched what they ate, removed hair from their bodies and faces, worn "feminine'' clothing as if it were natural, applied lipstick, for 30 or more years. The simple familiarity of beauty "rituals'' might make them hard to identify as causes for concern, despite the physical and mental distress that they occasion, and the more and more serious forms that these practices are taking as botox takes over from anti-ageing cream, liposuction from panty girdles, and Brazilian waxing is added to the shaving of armpits and legs."(174)

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