Why Conservative Feminism is Beautiful

Conservative feminism and the more orthodox schools have very different views on beauty. The former accepts that woman’s physical attraction is essential to her well-being, the other doesn’t appear to.

The Woman’s Equality Party, which is looking to field candidates in next year’s elections, has urged supporters on its website to report ‘articles that describe or comment on a woman’s clothing, relationship status or number of children where this would not have been included in an article about a man.’

They believe that this sort of reporting, when it happens,  is demeaning women and perpetuating gender stereotypes.

While I agree it can be irksome, is this not just a tad hypocritical seeing as women spend so much of their time focusing on these very subjects—their children, relationships, or, indeed, their clothing?

Neither is it by pure accident that, despite the last fifty years or so of the devaluation of traditional femininity in place of egalitarian feminism, the cosmetics industry is now booming like never before. With more money in their pocket (or pocket books) from higher salaries gained by equality in the workplace, women are choosing to spend their earnings on, amongst other things, more and more lipstick and hair products. As a result, the beauty industry is now worth more than £300 billion per year.

Conservative feminism embraces beauty

Conservative feminism embraces beauty

This obsession with grooming is not as self-indulgent as at appears at first glance. In France, caring for your appearance, whether you’re male or female, is considered a part and parcel of maintaining stable mental health. Unkempt hair and disinterest in your looks is the first in a number of  boxes to be ticked which signal onset of ‘la depression’.

Also, being attractive–as opposed to the opposite–confers many other advantages to be gained even in today’s modern, emancipated workplace where it shouldn’t matter any more. Good looking or well-presented people, rightly or wrongly, are judged to be more intelligent, and, as a result of this, they can earn more money.

Hence the more women glam up, they more they are promoted, the more they get paid, and the more they have to spend on face creams and accessories. Then the more of these items they buy, the more it gets written about by journalists. And so on and so forth. A continual spiral of cosmetic spend, caused , not by evil men or other forces trying to return female executives back home to clean behind the fridges, but by women themselves.

There are also some real advantages to be had  in flashing the female style card or drawing attention to a woman’s innate capacity for handling complex personal relationships, work and children. In this respect no one springs to mind more so than the late Margaret Thatcher. Her well-publicised handbags, clothes and jewellery, which filled acres of newsprint, motivated large numbers of women to feel comfortable with their femininity at the same time as developing their leadership potential. In fact such was the importance of the outfits to her work in Ministerial office on behalf of the UK that that the sale of her wardrobe has already raised millions.

It seems that, like it or not, how we put ourselves across in public, whether by way of confidence or by physical adornment, is important. And not everyone has a lot to spend on it. Thousands of women, who hold their priorities in good order, such as putting family feeding ahead of splurging on themselves, derive great pleasure from a simple £3 pot of nail varnish bought from Boots. In that way the cosmetic industry has its proud part to play in the cycle of happiness.

The reality is that men and women consume differently and all you have to do is cast a glance around in the shopping centres to see that in action.There’s just no point in being anything but honest about it.

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About Louise Burfitt-Dons

Writer and social critic
This entry was posted in feminism, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Why Conservative Feminism is Beautiful

  1. Kaitlyn Rose says:

    I read your post and was disappointed. “The reality is that men and women have different priorities to fulfill and all you have to do is cast a glance around you in the shopping centres to see those in action” The point of feminism is that women can do what men can do just as well. They don’t have different priorities. It’s a man and woman’s duty to take care of their child. Not just one gender. “‘articles that describe or comment on a woman’s clothing, relationship status or number of children where this would not have been included in an article about a man.’” I agree with this statement. Look at Carly Fiorina, every time she opens her mouth she is shut down. They comment on clothes and hair of women. While they care more about their politics for men. “Hence the more women glam up, they more they are promoted, the more they get paid, and the more they have to spend on face creams and accessories.” What about men? Do women have to work twice as hard to earn respect? She has to glam up because no one will like her then? Society is screwed up. I hope you don’t support that. “In France, caring for your appearance, whether you’re male or female, is considered a part and parcel of maintaining stable mental health.” In France, they actually don’t care much about appearance. A simple swipe of red lipstick is enough. They care more about their outfits. “The former accepts that woman’s physical attraction is essential to her well-being, the other doesn’t appear to.” That’s one more thing that women have to do while men sit back. “woman’s innate capacity for handling complex personal relationships, work and children. ” If you go to my blog, you will learn that I HATE babies and I’m female. It’s not in our nature. You aren’t a feminist, you are just another one of those people who claim to be a feminist but they are just adding to the list of sexist things. I want to devote myself to my job, I don’t even want a husband. I don’t care about my looks nor do I have to. In my nature to raise kids, that statement there is sexist. Have fun being a bored housewife.

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  2. Hello. I was just surfing the feminism tag and I was quite shocked that somebody could have such an opinion as this. Just a quick disclaimer, you are obviously conservative, so I would like to state that I am quite different. I am more left winged.

    First of all, you say that all women like to be feminine as if it was a fact. I hate jewelry, overly pink or girly dresses, and I definitely do not dress to impress others. Women should not be pressured by society and people like you to dress feminine, care for children, or prove our intelligence through looks. That, my friend, is not a feminist view. I don’t even know if there’s such a thing as a conservative feminist, because conservatives believe in the power of tradition. (Something feminists hate, because it brings us back 100 years to when it was tradition for a women to be property, a slave, a housewife, etc.)

    “In France, caring for your appearance, whether you’re male or female, is considered a part and parcel of maintaining stable mental health. ” Actually, I did a lot of studies on the French ideal beauty, and they usually wear only one makeup product on their face for the day, and messy unkempt hair is quite fashionable. French girls don’t care as much for their appearance as American women for example. Also, maintaining stable mental health has nothing to do with beauty, because confidence does not come from looks or physical attractiveness. It comes from the comfortableness of one’s actions and feelings.

    “It seems that, like it or not, how we put ourselves across in public, whether by way of confidence or by physical adornment, is important.” Well, this is simply your opinion. While you did provide some vague evidence, it is not proven. Also, I don’t know where you’re from exactly, but I am from America, and in our country, women who focus on their appearance dumb themselves down and are even automatically assumed to be dumb because they have good looks.

    We need to stop focusing on our appearance, because this brings us 50 years farther from gender equality. Once again, you talk about “femininity.” There is no such thing. You are putting women in a box. Not all women are girly, nor do all like clothing, makeup, or shoes. That is not gender equality. It is not programmed in a woman’s brain to like pink. That is nurture, not nature. Society created these stereotypes for women.

    I hope you do not feel as if I am attacking you, because I assure you, I am not. I would like to politely state my disagreement because I feel that there are always two sides to the story. I realize that this is quite long, but I have had tons to say, and it frustrated me a bit, to be frank. Thank you for reading my comment.

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    • Thank you for posting Maritza. You ask where I am from? I was born in the Middle East but am British. I now post from wonderful London Town! However, having lived in France too for many years – my children went to school there – my comments on the French were based on over thirty years of personal experience and my admiration for the way different cultures deal with their social issues, some better than others.

      It is always good to hear from both sides of the debate which is modern feminism and the very important part it has to play in the lives of both men and women. I appreciate your input…

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      • Okay, then you should have specified that what you believed France’s ideals were are based on your own personal experiences. I hope that you change your mind. Feminism is not based on femininity or dressing up. It is the belief that women can and will do anything a man can do, and vice versa. It is about the destruction of sexist gender roles.

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      • Feminism is about equality between men and women. To find out more about conservative feminism please check out the FAQs on this site.

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      • Yes, but if you believe in equality, then you believe in destroying gender roles. It’s not rocket science… If you disagree, PLEASE do not call yourself a feminist. You would sound uneducated on the topic. I have read your FAQs and frankly, they have made me angry. *sigh* conservatives.

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  3. Peter Lloyd says:

    I see the sisterhood are out in typical militant form here, Louise! Respect to you for embodying the main premise of feminism – having the freedom to write, say and do as you want, regardless of the inevitable intolerance/veiled intimidation that follows. So much for women supporting other women. On the contrary, modern feminism is leftist, intolerant, exclusive and intimidating. Just look at the above comments.

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  4. Peter Lloyd says:

    Maritza, that’s nonsense. It would only work if the genders were exactly the same in function – they are not. They are designed to be different. Equal, but different. This generally results in contrasting priorities, which is fine. We are the yin and yang of the genders. That said, if you’re so obsessed with equality, what are you doing to change the life expectancy gap, the criminal sentencing disparity, the university gender gap and the biased school system – all of which discriminate against men and benefit women? Then there’s the involuntary circumcision of boys, male suicide, the workplace fatality rate, fathers’ rights…

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  5. Transic says:

    True Feminism™ showing its face. I don’t necessarily agree with the author or the website’s aims. However, I am trying to understand how a person who doesn’t subscribe to the misandry espoused by feminism today would still call herself a feminist. Still, I’m amazed but not surprised that the “sisterhood” has the knives out for her because of her views.

    To me, it comes down to if a woman believes that she’s being held back because of men then, by that logic, she’d drawn to a movement that promises retribution. This has been carefully crafted by the feminists over six decades, starting with teaching girls to hate men and boys in elementary school and reinforcing it through culture and media. This method has now bore its fruit with mistrust among the sexes at an all-time high.

    Feminism cannot be separated from misandry because in its core is the belief that the sexes must be at odds with each other. The promoters of this ideology must at times lie to cover themselves before they could be in a position to effect vast changes.

    That is my opinion. If the author wants me to expound on it I’ll be glad to share.

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