Beauty, Feminism, & Identity

There’s a new feminism in the air — you can call it something between “third-wave” and “I do what I want.” This brand of feminism doesn’t eschew makeup, or new hairstyles, or even plastic surgery: It’s all about women expressing their identities through beauty. While mainstream magazines have traditionally offered a very prescribed, pigeon-holed version of what’s beautiful, a new generation of bloggers and editors is redefining what beauty means — offering a wider diversity of perspectives. Plus-sized women, women of color, women with piercings and tattoos, and everyone in-between can feel comfortable — and beautiful — in this blogosphere.

I interviewed three women who are on the forefront of feminist beauty. Ahead are some highlights of what they had to say about the changes they are making in the industry.

Autumn Whitefield-Madrano, author of The Beheld blog, book author, and freelance writer, says that while beauty rituals shouldn’t feel like a duty, they often do — even to her as a committed feminist. As a feminist who still gets bikini waxes on a regular basis, she feels that she can choose which “society-sanctioned” rituals to undergo, and which to drop.

Annie Tomlin, digital beauty director at Lucky magazine, and author of The Glowhow blog, talked about the Golden Age of the blog being behind us, which she laments. She says blogs expose readers to different perspectives; to women who may not be models or fit a mold of standard beauty, but have a beauty identity of their own that makes them powerful. However, with the rise of Instagram and Snapchat, many “bloggers” actually don’t have blogs at all these days — they bypass the written medium in favor of visual ones. She says she worries about this: It inevitably makes young girls feel like they have to look as perfect as the Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat stars.

Tashira Halyard, author of the Politics & Fashion blog, is also a lawyer and a social justice activist who works at a nonprofit with D.C. kids who are living in poverty. She says her blog combines her two passions, and she is unapologetic about loving both. She discussed the double standards women of color experience when it comes to beauty, as well as cultural appropriation in the beauty and fashion industries (I had to cut this part out for length). For example, the models at a recent Marc Jacobs show wore a hairstyle that some bloggers mistakenly called “twisted buns.” However, in reality, the style is called “bantu knots,” and has its origins in Africa. Halyard discussed the importance of acknowledging your sources of inspiration — whether it’s in fashion, beauty, or music. (She mentioned Justin Bieber as someone who appropriates black mens’ swagger, but hasn’t actually lived through the realities black men experience.)





Safety Not Guaranteed: A Sort-Of, Kind-Of Review

aubrey plaza

In Safety Not Guaranteed, two interns at Seattle Magazine, Darius (Aubrey Plaza) and Arnau (Karan Soni), accompany their boss Jeff (Jake Johnson) on assignment to find a mysterious would-be time traveler in rural Washington state. The traveler, a small-town guy named Kenneth (Mark Duplass) has posted a classified ad looking for an able time-traveling partner who will have to bring his or her own weapons. Safety, as you can imagine, is not guaranteed, according to the ad. The guy also claims he’s successfully time-traveled once before. Everyone wonders just how crazy Kenneth is, and they’re mostly in it for the story. The recently-graduated Darius, however, seems to crave adventure more than anything. She offers to win Kenneth over and report the scoop back to Jeff.

Read the rest on YourTango: Safety Not Guaranteed: Two Girls, One Review

10 Social Media Etiquette Tips from The Emily Post Institute

vintage typewriter


According to a new survey from Intel, nine out of 10 U.S. adults feel that others divulge too much information about themselves online, and 88 percent said they wish people “thought more about how others will perceive them when sharing information online.” However, the same survey found that 33 percent of people are more comfortable sharing information online than off. So what’s appropriate when it comes to sharing information in your online dating profile and via social media? In our exclusive interview with Anna Post, the great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post, and a co-author of Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th Edition, she told us some “golden rules” to keep in mind when online dating and when using social media in general.

Read the rest on YourTango: 10 Online Dating Etiquette Tips from The Emily Post Institute

The Five-Year Engagement: A Sort-Of, Kind-Of Review

five year engagement emily blunt

Amanda Green and I went to a press screening of The Five-Year Engagement last night. Instead of writing a “real” review, we decided to let you in on our gal-to-gal dialogue about the movie. Here’s approximately what we said as we took the escalator down from the movie theater, and walked down the street to get tea (yes, we’re boring, we drink tea):

Read the rest on YourTango: The Five-Year Engagement: Two Girls, One Review

Can Doing Lent Together Help Your Relationship?

couple dancing in the kitchen


Last night, I danced, downed hurricane cocktails and gorged on king cake at a Mardi Gras party. This morning, I grumpily got up at 6:30 to make a 7 a.m. yoga class—something that’s a particular challenge for me since I am not a morning person. I usually take the class at night or on the weekends, but this year I decided that I don’t like the way yoga interrupts the flow (no pun intended) of my schedule, so I’m taking up morning yoga for Lent—at least three times a week. Why am I doing this?

Read the rest on YourTango: How Can “Doing Lent” Together Benefit Your Relationship?

New Year’s Resolution: 12 Steps to a Happier Love Life in 2012

love scrabble tiles

What’s your New Year’s resolution for 2012? To exercise more? To be more productive? We bet “a more honest and open relationship” isn’t on many of your lists. That’s because tons of people put their relationships on autopilot, hoping the kinks will just work themselves out—and then they argue each and every day, and end up resenting each other.

Read the rest on YourTango: Relationship Rehab: 12 Steps to Becoming a Happier Couple in 2012

8 Brilliant Single-Lady Halloween Costumes

bridesmaids movie

Sick of hearing about yet more couples halloween costume ideas? Looking to go out sans dude on Halloween? Tired of sexy bunnies, sexy kittens, sexy nurses, sexy schoolteachers, sexy paper clips and sexy pretty much everything else? We hear you, so we’ve put together a rocktastic photo gallery of smart and unexpected costumes for the single ladies. Whether you’re doing a solo costume thing, pairing up with your a friend, or dressing up as a group, here are some ideas we bet you haven’t thought of.

Read the rest on YourTango: 8 Smart, Sassy Single-Gal Halloween Costumes

How to Make Animal Print Work for Work

zebra print dress with nicholas kirkwood high heel loafers


With all the earthquakes and hurricanes going on, us humans may be feeling a wee bit powerless before nature these days. It’s time to get our groove back. Channel our inner beast. It’s time to…wear animal print! Yup, leopard, zebra, and cheetah aren’t just for party dresses. These trendy prints can give you a major boost of confidence at work. Maybe you’ll even get that promotion you’ve been yearning for. You’re a woman, let’s hear you roar.

Beware though: Animal print is tricky to pull off in an office environment. You may tune into Jersey Shore tonight (Ronnie is going to rip The Situation a new one, I for one cannot miss this), but you do not want to leave the house looking like Snooki in the morning. Here’s how to pull off the look, from “Beginner” to “Advanced”:

How to Transition Your Summer Work Wardrobe to Fall

zara blue tulip dress


If you’ve been reading my columns, you’ve probably picked up that I’m kind of obsessed with J.Crew. The brand embodies absolutely everything I love in fashion: versatility, affordability (relative, but high for its quality), casual simplicity with a bold touch of creative flair. In New York Magazine’s recent profile of Jenna Lyons, their president and creative director, the writer makes an excellent point:

“You can find a plain silk blouse at Urban Outfitters and cropped navy pants at Forever 21, but only J.Crew combines those items just so, with a leopard calf-hair pump and a skinny leather belt and the shirt in a perfectly executed half-tuck. Today’s good outfit follows the same principle as an addictively well-sourced Tumblr. It is less about sexiness (and label worship) than it is about a gestalt of sophistication, intelligence, and humor.”

Dressing well is all about styling.

Read the rest: A Guide to Help Transition Your Summer Wardrobe to Fall