A Short Post on Sexist Beauty Standards (again)

What I find interesting about this project is not so much the exposure of what our tyrannical beauty standards drive us to consider ‘beautiful’ or not – which is nonetheless a very important aspect to investigate. What really strikes me is how the project shows the impossible double-bind in which women, all individuals along the m-to-f spectrum, and all otherwise feminine-identifying people constantly find themselves. Or, to put it more bluntly, the maxim according to which whatever you do, if you happen to be one of the individuals mentioned above, you’re doing something wrong. And this has less to do with normative perceptions of beauty than with plain old traditional sexism, whereby anything female/feminine (and there is a difference between the two albeit lumped together in sexist views) is systematically devalued and represented as inferior, contrived, artificial and so on.

For anyone interested in reading more about how traditional sexism (mixed with cissexism and heterosexism) affects the lives of everyone who identifies along a feminine spectrum (which does not only include women, but also people who identify as a different gender identity but whose gender presentation is predominantly feminine), I suggest Julia Serano’s book: Whipping Girl. You can read more about it here. It’s a book whose rigour and lucidity have inspired me to think further on this issue, and it’s full of wonderful insights from a specifically trans* perspective, which we are always desperately in need of.

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