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Feminism is no longer about bra burning and men hating. A new trend called lipstick feminism has arisen, although it is not one that everyone agrees on.
The four panelists for the “Lipstick Feminism” lecture each admitted to Googling the phrase before arriving at the panel. The general consensus was that lipstick feminism could mean different things. According to Wikipedia, it is a branch of feminism in which it is not seen as contradictory to both be a feminist and to put on a show to attract men. It also associates sex with power and the power of sexual allure as power over men.
The panelists each had a hard time with this concept. Sasha Cagen didn’t agree with the idea of lipstick feminism at all.
“Does this mean that if I call myself a feminist I don’t care about my appearance?” she asked. “Feminism goes through different phases. First, it was sameness because women had been denied so many opportunities. Now it’s about embracing being a girl, which can be positive, but can get tricky when it plays into that dance of difference.”
The other definition of lipstick feminism focused on female sexuality. Cagen referenced a book about female chauvinism. The book hypothesizes that young women have confused sexual power with power and turned it into a perverse form of feminism. Women are trained to see themselves through a man’s eyes.
“Cosmo UK came out against one night stands saying that it’s not about the woman anymore,” Cagen said. “If lipstick feminism was about young women learning about their bodies and learning about great sex I would be all for it, but it seems to be all about prancing and preening.”
The other panelists agreed.
“Is she powerful? Is she sexy? Can a woman be both?” questioned panelist Stephanie Oswald, editor-in-chief of Travel Girl magazine. “I propose we look to strong women like Nancy Pelosi and Danica Patrick as our role models. Lipstick feminism shouldn’t be a bad thing. All women in the realm of looking forward shouldn’t be looked down upon for being a girl.”
The panelists approved the outlook that girls need to be shown that it is okay to be strong and beautiful. Panelist Shonaleigh Cumbers hopes that in the future women will have different standards of what is considered sexually attractive.
“A woman’s mind and being secure in herself are what should matter,” she said.
The panelists concluded that what was important was that women have the right to choose the direction of their own lives.
“If you like to swing around on a pole, and it makes you happy, go do it.” Oswald said. “Or, if you want to be a mom, or wanting to be a career woman. That’s your choice.”
Oswald added, “I recently found a plaque that said ‘Strength, Courage, Determination, Talent. That’s what little girls are made of.’ I’m hoping that someday these will be the qualities my daughter finds sexy and tries to embody.”