Lip Gloss

30 Sep

So, I had a moment last night. As I was walking home with a bunch of kids, I got to talking to J___, a guy from Arkansas. And as I explained, that, no, I am a feminist, really dude, he had the neatest put-down I’ve gotten in a while.

Yeah,” he said, “but you’re a lip gloss feminist.”*

I blinked. “What?”

Well, there are three types of feminists: lipstick, lip gloss, and other.”

Talk about your “Danger, Will Robinson” moments, but I was still moderately buzzed and I get argumentative about women’s rights when stone cold sober, so it was on. “Go on.”

Well, lipstick feminists are like really girly. Lip gloss means you talk about women’s rights stuff but you shave, and other…” He paused.

No really, I want to hear this.”

Other is the really grotty kind.” In his silence, I could tell he meant a whole bunch of other things. The dirty lesbians, the strident bitches, the ones who won’t shut up about women’s rights, anyone who didn’t pass, in other words.

I processed. We crossed a busy street and headed for the bridge towards campus. “I’m an other.” I said firmly, thinking about my personal politics and pet issues.

What? No, see, you wear make-up and heels, you have to be a lip gloss.

I was indeed wearing make-up and wedge heels and a dress that was longer when I bought it but had gone in the wash and now was edging toward little-black-dress territory.

You do realize that feminism has evolved in the past twenty years and women can wear lipstick and still be feminists, right?” I turned to him. “Like, my desire to feel good about myself and wear eyeshadow doesn’t negate the fact that I’m a feminist.”

Uh huh.” I could tell he was humoring me and I felt so incredibly annoyed. What’s the good of being versed in all the pro-feminism arguments if you can’t articulate them at 2:30 in the morning?

The conversation was dropped as the rest of our party caught up and we went for xiaokao. (Nighttime bbq.)

Even now, hours later and sobered up, this whole exchange irks me. What are we doing, feminists of the world, if a guy our age still thinks that the only real feminists out there are grotty and if you wear lipstick, you can’t be a real believer in women’s rights. There’s a whole bunch of issues wrapped up in this, from body image and proper gender performance to a dismissal of women’s rights.

I am a feminist. I donate to Planned Parenthood, I vote pro-choice, I believe in a women’s right to equal pay, decent maternity leave, not being penalized for the choice of having kids, the ability to get child care, medical services, and a whole host of other issues. I also wear lipstick and mascara. I don’t see the disconnect, but apparently J___ from Arkansas did.


And thanks to J___’s douchey misogyny, Planned Parenthood is getting an extra $25 bucks this week.




*This conversation has been recreated to the best of my memory, but, as stated, I was still drunk at the time. My recall might not be the best thing, but I sure as hell remembered the tone of the conversation.


2 Responses to “Lip Gloss”

  1. Dani October 3, 2011 at 7:09 am #

    That is super frustrating but I am proud of you to standing up while drunk! Huzah! Now, go kick his ass…

  2. Trish October 4, 2011 at 2:05 am #

    Yeah! Believe in feminism and personal hygiene simultaneously!

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