Make-up and Race: Why it’s hard for women of color to find the right make-up artist
I am afraid of make-up. I can talk about hair and can partake in an extensive discussion of different spa treatments but make-up stumps me.
This may be caused by two things. First, I went to a strict all-girls Catholic school from pre-school until Grade 7. The nuns who ran the school socialized me and my classmates into thinking that simplicity and humility were virtues and that fixating on one’s appearance, while not sinful, was the opposite of these traits. That the girls who wore make-up were punished served as further incentive not to think about these things. (Funnily enough, rather than fixating on make-up, some of my classmates instead fixated on more, um, permanent changes to their appearance, thus leading to quite a few rumoured nose jobs in high school).
Second, I became quite a militant baby-feminist in high school and the early years of university. One of the lasting impressions that Naomi Wolfe’s “The Beauty Myth” has conveyed to me was how the cosmetics industry was a sham. Wolfe showed how the ‘beauty industry’ preys on women’s insecurity to move product. For me, this means that, from about the time I read Wolfe in high school, I’ve tried to steer clear of make-up and cosmetics counters in shopping malls.
While my teenage militancy receded later, thanks to, well, growing up and figuring out that it is perfectly okay to like dressing up and that feminism isn’t or shouldn’t be about policing people’s appearance, I am still terrible with make-up. I can’t apply it - when I do, I end up putting on too much and resembling one of the rejected contestants on RuPaul’s Drag Race. I put on too much eyeshadow, too much lipstick, and too much blush, which is fine when I am, well, a contestant on said show, but way too obvious when going to, say, an academic conference or a wedding. Pictorial evidence of disastrous experiments with kohl and liquid black eye liner show that I look less like a mysterious Aishwarya Rai and more like a sad panda.
I also can’t talk about it. With my wedding coming up, I have been trying to make arrangements for hair and make-up. Hair, as mentioned, I can talk about. Make-up? Not so much. This has made it hard for me to specify to potential make-up artists how I want to look. Frequently, make-up artists ask me about my ‘style’ inspiration by mandating that I name a celebrity of ‘similar colouring’ whose look I want to emulate.
it is when being asked this question repeatedly that I came to the epiphany that maybe my make-up ineptitude may not only have to do with general ignorance but also with how mainstream cosmetics companies in North America haven’t really done a good job in targeting Asian women or, indeed, women of colour. When thinking about the various ad campaigns sponsored by cosmetics companies, all I remember off the top of my head is how Kate Moss represents Rimmell London, Drew Barrymore fronts Cover girl, and Charlotte Free - also infamous for saying only “stupid bitches” would dare accuse Terry Richardson of sexual harassment - is the face of Maybelline. Thinking back to my Seventeen, YM, and Jane magazine-reading days, I can barely remember an Asian woman who has fronted a major ad campaign for a cosmetics company. When white women primarily front these ads, why would I - and, for that matter, other women of colour - even consider buying products from them? Chances are, the make-up they have for sale won’t reflect our skin tone and features.
Moreover, the absence of celebrities who I can namedrop to my potential make-up artist as having looks I like adds further to my problem. If you are a white woman with, say, black hair and pale skin, you have no shortage of celebrities whose pictures you can show your make-up artist. You have, hmmm, let’s say, Kat Dennings, Katy Perry, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Blunt, Anne Hathaway and Lizzie Caplan. If you are a white woman with blonde hair and blue eyes, you have even more celebrities whose looks to copy. You have Kate Hudson, Blake Lively, Kate Upton, Brooklyn Decker, Reese Witherspoon, and Amanda Seyfried. If you are a white woman with red hair, you can google-stalk Amy Adams, Nicole Kidman, Emma Stone, Christina Hendricks, and Florence Welch.
Who do Asian women have? People would automatically gravitate towards Lucy Liu, but, as she insisted last year on Letterman, she doesn’t really like to get dark because then, she looks Filipino. Who do I have left then? I can’t think of any. I mean, maybe I can stretch my scope of comparison and name pretty Latina actresses like Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lopez, or Jessica Alba but that’s pushing it. The only other celebrity I can name who maybe, sorta, has the same colouring as me is Tila Tequila but, well, Tila Tequila isn’t exactly who I want to look like during my wedding. I also tried googling Filipina actresses whose make-up I liked but considering my pop culture knowledge of Filipino showbiz is from 1995, it is hard to know whose pictures to search. Plus, such is the rampant colonialism of the Philippines that the actresses who are famous are mestizas and thus also don’t look like me.
In the end, the first make-up artist I saw, stumped as she was with the absence of ‘looks’ that we can copy, decided to just play with the make-up she has and see what works. Alas, the result was me looking like a painted Chinese doll.
She lacked the foundation to match my skin tone and instead lightened my face, after which she put a lot of pink blush across my cheeks. She also put paint on my eyebrows and put even pinker lipstick. Though I didn’t exactly look bad, my features were distorted enough that I didn’t look like myself.
My second trial was heaps better, probably because the make-up artist I saw was also Filipina and knew how to blend foundation to fit my skin tone. This time around, I was able to rest easy. Because I didn’t have to worry about whether my make-up artist was aware of the right type of foundation to use and how to ‘do’ Asian eyes, we were able to have a fun discussion on, say, the color of eye shadow I should use (gold? brown? a subtle shade of purple?) and on whether I should have ‘wing tips’ put at the edges of my eyes.
In the end, I was able to find someone to work with. This, however, does not solve the larger issue at hand: when women of color, like me, look for ‘beauty icons’ and the only female celebrities we can really name are white women, it is clear that ‘beauty diversity’ is still not celebrated. That the recent Dove ‘beauty’ ads only really showcased white women who were diverse only insofar as they aren’t all the same age shows how far we still have to go to affirm and recognize not only bodily diversity but also racial diversity.
From Hanna Horvath to Betty Draper: the Dichotomous Depictions of Women in Pop Culture
In exactly a month’s time, MOTL and I will be married. This time next month (5 pm), according to the itinerary MOTL made me put together, I should be drinking a beer at our beloved yet grody Graduate Students Union (GSU) pub, the site of many a conversation with MOTL that formed the groundwork for our friendship and later, our relationship. (As an aside, KK noted with bemusement that the schedule I created made time for beer, coffee, and food breaks. I told her that if I had to put on a dress, pose for pictures, and be ‘on display’ like prized livestock in an Albertan farm auction, similar to the ones they hold during the Calgary stampede, I need 5 minute breaks for coffee, food, and beer).
This, my friends, is how I fear I will be on the big day. Unused to attention, I am afraid I might succumb to my baser instincts and gallop down the aisle, lamenting the loss of…what?…my autonomy? My single-hood? My descent into happy-ever-after-ness? After all, at the end of each fairy tale, when Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty snagged their princes, their stories ended. When “Miss” becomes “Mrs.”, their single identities ended; Miss Cinderella becomes Mrs. Prince Charming, ensuring that her identity irrevocably gets tied to her husband’s, even as his official designation as “Mr.” retains his independence. This is why the use of the title, “Ms.”, which is the female equivalent to “Mr.,” is actually so revolutionary! (Note to friends, if you ever call me Mrs. MOTL, I will cut you. This excludes older relatives who are unaware that ‘Ms.’ exists as a designation. The rest of you have no excuse).
In truth, that there are no good pop cultural archetypes for married women also adds to my reticence to marriage. In pop culture, female protagonists’ journey ends upon marriage or, if it doesn’t end, becomes irrevocably about her relationships to her children and her husband, and not about her. The oft-stated adage limiting actresses to one of three roles: single ingenue, wife/mother, and grandmother is a pattern followed consistently on tv and in film. Think about it. Single women - women with ambition, with drive, with a lifetime of adventures ahead of them - in today’s tv landscape include the girls in Girls, Jessica Day in the New Girl, Dr. Lahiri in the Mindy Project, Sookie Stackhouse in True Blood, Ivy and Karen in Smash, and my girl Peggy in Mad Men. Married women include…hmmm…I can’t think of any. Alicia Florick in the Good Wife? Molly in Mike & Molly? Betty fucking Draper in Mad Men? The only exception to these pop cultural figures is Leslie Knoppe, who I love, but let’s all agree that Leslie is a rarity in pop culture. (More on her below). By getting married, does that mean that I am done with the Sookie Stackhouse stage of my life, closing the doors to the possibility of me frolicking in the night with hot vampires and werewolves? Though I haven’t, like, met the real life version of Vampires Eric and Bill and Werewolf Alcide, I fear that marriage will forever close the door on this possibility. Also, does this mean that I now have to transition away from wearing bright, colourful dresses like Dr. Lahiri and now have to wear dowdy dresses a la seasons 5 and 6 Betty Draper and Alicia Frolick? Ick.
To be fair, radically modifying aspects of your behaviour, and most especially the way you look, behave, and dress is what is expected out of married women in some circles. An acquaintance, for example, told me that she has traded in her short skirts and tank tops for more conservative attire. Now that she is married, she felt she had to dress more respectably. ”Married women have to have more dignity,” she insisted. Hearing her say that made me nauseous. Why marriage entails a modification of one’s behaviour - the elevation of one’s character - frustrates me because it assumes a bifurcated vision of femininity, whereby single women are wanton and depraved, and married wives and mothers automatically have access to this wellspring of kindness and wisdom. And, more superficially, her statement irked because I like the way I dress. You will have to forcibly pry away my mini-skirts, my sundresses, and my tube tops from my arthritic, gnarled, dead hands. Even then, I might insist to my future spawn that granny better be buried in a sundress - this is the only way I can survive, after all, in the fiery pits of hell where I am almost sure I am headed.
In any case, talking to a friend at a party the other week, huddled over glasses of wine, we whispered to each other about how choosing marriage is somewhat embarrassing. Women who opt to get married rather than only cohabiting are fast becoming unicorns in urban regions. By deciding to get married, it is as if I am willfully jumping ship from being part of the hip, young female-urbanite demographic to the suburban, soccer mom demographic; even though not all single people are hip and progressive, and not all married people are conservative and drive mini-vans, this is the popular perception. In short, in choosing to get married, it is almost as though I am, by default, choosing the more conventional, more traditional route.
The reality that married women are stigmatized also adds to my apprehension. Mommy-tracking in different professions start almost as soon as a woman gets married, as higher-ups assume - despite their employees’ insistence otherwise - that with marriage comes a disincentive to work and an automatic desire to procreate. Inequalities in access to care are also realities for married women, who, through either social pressure or, as economists say, preference distortion, are compelled to put their health needs below their partners and their children. So in a lot of ways, women’s reluctance to get married makes sense. They are treated worse and also fare worse, as seen in various quality of life studies.
Since this post is about popular culture, one way to mitigate that is to represent women in ways that transcend the single/married divide. If a married woman is to be depicted, why can’t her marriage (and her relationship to her partner and/or kids) be incidental to the plot? Why does she have to live in the suburbs? Why does she have to be self-sacrificing, a la Lily from How I Met Your Mother, who I generally like but whose narrative arc feels less developed compared to her husband and her single friends (I’ve always thought it sad that cool, complex, powerful Wiccan Willow grows up to become Lily).
In short, we need more Leslie Knope. In Parks and Rec, Leslie’s identity as a council woman, as Anne Perkin’s best friend, as the accomplished but neurotic boss of the Parks and Rec department, and as a waffles afficionado are prioritized over her relationship with Ben. Plus anyone who watches the show knows that Leslie and Ben are equal partners. I can’t say the same for standard sitcoms following the structure of, say, Everybody Loves Raymond, King of Queens, and Modern Family, where the comedic arc is based on the wife being a nagging shrew and the husband being bumbling and inept.
Once this happens, maybe women will be seen more as nuanced characters and less as archetypes. Let’s add a few more roles there besides single ingenue, married wife and mother, and granny, shall we? And, while we’re at it, can we please make room for more women of color?
On “Feminist Housewives” and “Choice” Feminism: A Response to Lisa Miller
My brilliant friend AKE sent me the link to New York Magazine’s cover story “The Retro Wife,” written by Lisa Miller, a few days ago in a fit of rage. It took me a few days to click on the link and other responses to it, such as Tracie Egan Morrisey’s article on Jezebel. Because I just wrote a piece a few weeks ago observing how women are only ever deemed successful once they become wives and mothers, professional achievements be damned, responding to an article on motherhood and working after I’ve so recently professed wanting to move the conversation on women and work beyond motherhood is a bit weird.
Despite my misgivings, however, I finally plunged knee-deep into the debate to see whether there is any merit to Miller’s assertions of the “trend” of feminist housewives. And man, how I wish I didn’t. If you haven’t read the article yet, here’s a brief summary: Miller interviews two women who had promising careers but decided to become stay-at-home-moms (SAHMs). Their husbands have an annual income in the “low” six figures and could thus support their households. Both women self-identify as feminist and argue that being SAHMs is perfectly compatible with feminism. Both also mention, however, their belief in gender essentialism: namely that women are naturally better at being nurturers, men are better at being breadwinners and that while they hope that their daughters are given all the choices that they had professionally, they hoped that their daughters have the option of working in careers that they could “walk away from at the drop of a hat.”
As Egan Morrisey states in her article, it is the last part that perplexes. if feminism is about debunking gender essentialism, then promoting the idea that women’s “natural” place is in the home counters everything that feminism stands for; it isn’t the fact that the women Miller interviews made the choice to stay at home that is at issue, but the fact that these women made it appear as though this is the best - nay, the natural - choice. As Egan Morrisey observes, if the women interviewed in the article were really feminist, then surely they would be perfectly happy giving theirs sons - and not just their daughters - the option of “walking away” from their careers and staying home. Sadly, this isn’t the case. Instead, feminism has bizarrely been constructed in this article as a movement that accepts all women’s choices uncritically, even when such choices have as their basis the very gender norms that feminist activists have been fighting against.
Along with what Egan Morrisey argues, there are two other reasons for why Miller’s article is so aggravating:
1. Structures of Power and ‘Choice’ Feminism - It renders invisible the very structures of power that make it possible for some women to have the option of staying at home, and not others. To be clear, Miller’s article isn’t talking about families who have opted to have one partner (almost always the woman) stay at home because it simply does not make financial sense for that partner to work to pay for daycare; in Ontario, for example, daycare costs on average $1000+ per month per child, thereby making it difficult for a lot of families to justify having two working parents when the costs of daycare exceed one partner’s take-home pay. Miller neglects the contemporary realities of most families who have to make hard decisions in order to make ends meet and instead uses her interviews with the two women to ruminate on the viability of a “new” feminist “revolution”, this time within the household and led by (rich, white) feminist SAHMs, both of whom have traditional nuclear families.
And, readers, this is the part that grates. The conversations that take place on the “mommy wars” and on “choice feminism” do not take into consideration how the very choices that these women can make can only occur because of their class privilege. All mommy war debates - in this case, the ‘choice’ to stay at home or to have a career; in another case, the ‘choice’ to home school or privately educate the kids; etc. etc. etc. - involve a very limited strata of women. Outside this elite bubble, families most certainly do not have the luxury of ‘choosing.’ belle hooks talked about this very phenomenon decades ago when discussing how the battles fought by white, middle-class women do not resonate with black women, who historically have always had to work (oftentimes in white women’s houses as ‘domestics’) and take care of domestic duties. That this exact same ‘debate’ is taking place, again to the exclusion of women of color and working class women, shows to me yet again how myopic certain feminist circles can be. “Choice” feminism has diluted what feminism means such that all choices are seen as ‘feminist’ even when these choices are made within the very structures of power that limit and oppress other women.
2. Debunking the notion of a ‘free’ choice - On a related note, the ability to ‘choose’ to stay at home or to work needs to be looked at from a wider vantage point. This isn’t merely about the individual woman’s choice but larger issues. The women featured in Miller’s article claimed that they opted to stay at home because they wanted to spend time with their kids, which they felt was women’s “natural” role. But the way they spoke about their experiences made me think that they were just experiencing a severe case of burn-out. Taking aside the fact that they have the privilege to make this ‘choice’, let’s actually consider their narratives and think about whether their choice was as freely made as they seem to think it is.
Both women mentioned that before they got together with their partners, they anticipated an equal partnership, where both partners will share household chores and contribute equally to the household’s finances. However, if you parse out their statements, they admitted that their husbands didn’t do their share of the chores and, after they had kids, most definitely were not as involved; they also admitted that work was extremely stressful and so they just wanted to take a break.
Taken to its logical conclusion, isn’t it more the case that these women were just, well, tired? That they decided to be SAHMs not because they wanted to succumb to their innate maternal urges to be with the children but because they were sick of working the ‘double shift’? And that, really, if you wanted a sustainable, long-term response to the ‘problem’ at hand, the solution isn’t for women to exit the workforce en masse but for: a. partners to do their share of the household chores, as promised, b. their workplaces to offer more flexible options for working parents, and c. governments to provide affordable, accessible daycare?
To be clear, at absolutely no point am I saying that I am opposed to “feminist housewives”; it is ridiculous that we’re even talking about whether SAHMs can be feminist because - duh - obviously, there are a lot of awesome, kickass stay-at-home-feminist moms. I do think, though, that in order for us to have an honest conversation about women, work, and motherhood, we have to debunk the idea that women’s “natural” place is in the home. The discourse has moved beyond that and it is baffling that this is being re-introduced as a hip, new, ‘feminist’ construct. And, most importantly, for these conversations to be more representative, we need to seriously rethink the larger implications of ‘choice’ feminism by looking at persisting structures of inequality and their differential effects on diverse groups of women.
“When people sexualize Justin Trudeau, they still listen to what he has to say. When people sexualize Christy Clark, they stop listening.”
During yesterday’s class on “women, gender, and politics,” which, as an aside, is the one class that has been allotted in “Intro to Canadian Politics” to talk about gender issues, I asked my students to read two things: first, Iain Hunter’s problematic article on Christy Clark published at the Times Colonist and second, excerpts from the brilliant blog, Madam Premier, which alerted me to the article in the first place and which also effectively shows the sexism and misogyny that female politicians face.
For some, such accounts were unsurprising. For others, it was eye-opening. Not content, of course, with only making my students think that female politicians have a harder time in politics, I decided to play devil’s advocate. I pointed to the advice Justin Trudeau has been given to professionalize his image, which he did by cutting his hair. (This led to the most groan-inducing lede by the G&M concerning Samson cutting his locks.) I then asked my students whether there was in fact a difference in the way male and female politicians were treated when both have to undergo public scrutiny and are sexualized. After all, much as Clark’s appearance has been fodder for numerous discussions, so has Trudeau’s. By virtue of being public figures, isn’t being mocked and being sexualized a given?
A smart student refuted my points by saying the following: “When people sexualize Justin Trudeau, they still listen to what he has to say. When people sexualize Christy Clark, they stop listening.” Other members of the class supported what she said, observing that Trudeau’s (and other traditionally handsome male politicians’) looks oftentimes even strengthens their image. In fact, it adds to their mystique. One should only look at Trudeau Senior’s reputation as a debonair ladies’ man as further proof of how having good looks and being possessed with sexual charisma adds to their credibility. In contrast, for female politicians, their looks - nay, their sexuality - become the sum total of their achievements. When discussion is focused on a female politicians’ choice of clothes, her hairstyle, and other attributes irrelevant to her competence as a political figure, that’s all people talk about.
That my undergraduate students understand this fundamental inequity makes me proud.
A rant against double-standards: why are women only deemed successful if they are wives and/or mothers?
Me: I have news - I got the postdoc I applied for!
Well-Meaning Older Friend: Fantastic! Do you know that postdocs are a good time to have a baby? Now you can have a baby. Isn’t that what you want?
The aforementioned encounter apparently isn’t an anomaly. When comparing notes with my female friends - who are so brilliant and amazing and are finally reaping the rewards of their hard work professionally - such reactions are all too commonplace. It doesn’t matter whether they have achieved nearly impossible feats, from getting a law firm partnership before the age of 31 to getting a tenure-track position in a notoriously competitive field in the worst job market to date to marking important achievements for their activist groups. The sad, cliched reality is that their successes are rendered irrelevant in the absence of a. a partner and b. children.
What’s even worse is when their achievements are minimized because they haven’t attained domestic ‘bliss.’ A friend of mine, for example, whose book has just come out, was shamed into silence when she was chastised by her friend’s husband for not “getting started” with the babies, comparing her unfavourably with her friend, who, at the age of 30, may not have published a book but has two beautiful children (his words, not mine).
What kills me is that there is a double-standard at work here. Can you imagine telling a man who is unmarried and childless that his accomplishments aren’t worth as much because he hasn’t gotten hitched yet and doesn’t have babies? Would you ever tell an unmarried public figure like, say, George Clooney or - I don’t know - Paul Wolfowitz - that their achievements don’t really matter without a partner and children - that their lives are incomplete without these two things and that to say otherwise is to be deluded?
At issue here is how women’s “success” is still seen primarily in terms of their domestic roles. Women who choose not to be mothers are deemed deficient; if women don’t fulfill their biological “destiny,” then they’ve failed. This can be seen, for instance, in the amount of vitriol directed towards women who say that they are childless by choice. And while I am definitely not saying the opposite - i.e., that women shouldn’t be celebrated but should be denigrated for becoming mothers, which sadly happens too often in high pressure work environments that places women who get pregnant on the “mommy track” and thus, on the road to eventual irrelevance - I do think there is a pressing need not to associate motherhood with all women such that women’s roles as mothers becomes deterministic. Such attitudes, for example, explain why certain companies unofficially do not hire women of ‘child-bearing age’ because they assume that these women will leave work eventually to have kids.
To wit, I am happy about getting the postdoc because of all the usual reasons you can imagine (a chance to do research, an opportunity to work with brilliant scholars, etc.). The idea that I see the postdoc as a “free pass” for me to get knocked up while enjoying a sizeable fellowship is incredibly insulting because it rests on the de facto assumption that all women ever really want is to bear babies - that’s it and nothing else. When we’ve been fighting to be taken seriously in our professions, it saddens me to see that some people really only see us as - I don’t know - ticking time bombs who will eventually just want to forget about our careers and have lots and lots and lots of babies.
Though I know that my friends and I may have to eventually make hard decisions about our careers and family lives, this is really our personal prerogatives and nobody else’s. I know that this potentially introduces another messy debate about the futility of ‘having it all,’ as Anne Marie Slaughter’s article on the Atlantic warns against but at this juncture of our lives, this isn’t where we are yet. In the meantime, poo-pooing important career milestones because we haven’t yet found long-term partners and/or had babies is gross and regressive.
When men (again, not all men) write about men, they glorify. When they write about women, they minimize. When women (again, not all women) write about women, they empathize, identify, and render thorough conclusions, even if those conclusions are brutally critical, such as Lynn Hirschberg’s infamous 2010 profile of M.I.A. in New York Times Magazine. The writer may have disliked her subject, but she used 9,000 words to meticulously explain why.
In a 2011 Forbes article entitled “Women Write Differently Than Men (Duh),” Susannah Breslin writes that she was simultaneously more compassionate and more ruthless when she wrote about the pornography business, because she could identify with women in a way that men could not. “The fantasy and the sex didn’t interest me,” she recalls. “I was looking for the ordinary in the extraordinary, the mundane in the hardcore, the human beings in the sausage factory.”
The fantasy, the sex, the extraordinary, the hardcore, and the sausage factory are the places male writers can’t seem to climb out of. They linger there like losers at last call, sipping away at warm pints while the barmaid rolls her eyes. Consider “She’s got Bardot’s eyes and Daffy Duck’s lips. But Lana Del Ray disturbs me“—the title of a Guardian piece by Sam Leith that does precisely what Breslin criticizes. The writer can’t determine what about the singer irks him, so he compares one part of her face to the face of another famous female, makes fun of her lips (surely a British music critic has heard of Mick Jagger?), and cites an unexplained, irrational distaste. Del Rey could be the Prettiest, Weirdest, Media-Savviest, Most Derisive Pop Star of the Internet, but Leith doesn’t call her any of that. Instead he opts for “regressive adolescent fantasy.”
In a 2012 Vanity Fair profile, Lisa Robinson reveals Lady Gaga’s affinity for Dunkin’ Donuts. Lady Gaga is very rich, but Robinson does not call her flippant or fake because she likes cheap pastry. She presents the good, the bad, the genuine, and the hypocritical, without judging the singer for any of it. The result is a pretty fair shake. Also last year, Margaret Talbot’s New Yorker piece about Portlandia began by discussing riot grrrl-cum-actor Carrie Brownstein’s work (as well as co-star Fred Armisen’s), not her lips or her nose or what she happened to be wearing when the writer met her. Her appearance is not mentioned until the article’s third page. When it is, she is compared to Iggy Pop and Joey Ramone. In bringing up Brownstein’s personal life, Talbot simply writes that the singer “has dated both men and women.” Just like Breslin writing on the pornography business, Talbot doesn’t get stuck in the sex part of writing about her subject’s sexuality.
Women are usually better than men at writing about women, because women have felt the distinct stab in the soul that happens when their gender is pulverized through oppressive language. It is time to let women write about their own gender and contribute to the recording of their own literary history. In writing poorly, male writers tacitly admit that women can do a better job.
So let them. From Carly Lewis, “Boys: The trouble with female celebrity profiles and the men who write them,” The Walrus.