WTF is going on here? Well, I can think of a few possibilities.
- Fun: God forgive me, getting dressed up is fun for me. Using styling products, busting out the flatiron or big giant round brush, trying on a ridiculous shade of eyeshadow... I love all that crap. I know that for some women it's not fun at all, but for me, I like it-- so there may not be anything insidious or wrong about my missing it.
- Solitary practice: Without a group of friends to hang out with who are also covering their hair, arms and legs and eschewing makeup (like, if I belonged to a faith community where this was the case), it may be harder to resist temptation. I don't know what "beauty" looks like in any context other than Western popular culture, and I wonder if the cumulative, constant exposure to the dominant definition of "beauty" is starting to wear me down. In other words, as time goes on, it gets harder and harder to deal with standing out because I don't have a group of women who use the same standards I do. (This isn't to say that there aren't individuals who don't wear makeup or have super-trendy haircuts outside of faith or other social groups, but that they're coming from a place of not liking makeup or hair stuff for their own reasons-- which is different from enjoying all that, but making a choice to stay away from it, like I am.)
- "Like a man": Part of the framework for this project has been a desire to see, if only a little bit, what it's like for men, who don't have to do all the crap women often put themselves through just to look "polished." The thing is, I don't identify with images of men that I see-- I identify strongly with straight women. I am not a man, I see myself as a very feminine sort of lady, and no amount of hair covering or barefacedness is going to change that. If I felt like a man in a woman's body, that would be different... but I'm a woman, in a woman's body, and I've always identified that way.
- Culture vs. Nature: I hate to sound so cliched, but at this point I'm pretty sure that it's impossible for me to separate the "me" that exists without social pressure and the "me" that I've crafted in response to it. I can't find the "me" that would exist if I had never watched TV or movies, or seen the women around me all gussied up all the time, because I can't divorce myself from my environment. If it had been possible, I wouldn't like makeup etc. at all, because when I was growing up I had no access to any of that. I was raised by my dad, and he was militantly anti-pop culture. This meant that I wasn't allowed to pierce my ears until I was 16, couldn't ask for styling products or even a decent blow dryer, I couldn't even wear nylons or shave my legs unless I was going to be onstage singing or something... dad raised me, as much as he could, to resist the popular definition of femininity. I wasn't even allowed to watch TV other than Animaniacs and Star Trek: TNG. If anyone were to hate "girliness," it would be me. And yet, I don't. In fact, I love it. All of it.