Monday, April 20, 2009

Revaluing Beauty

So I was thinking about a comment the lovely SublimeFemme left on my Femmethology post. She said "...Femme revalues beauty and pleasure in a world that largely devalues these things."
This confused me for a sec. If you look, it seems like there is more importance placed on these things than ever. Women, especially, must be beautiful and give pleasure. We have become entitled and spoiled, materialistic consumer-types. Things must "look good" and "feel good" to everyone, otherwise it's not fuckin worth it, amirite? Rockstar and Grandtheftauto for all!
Oh, wait...
Perhaps she was talking about a different kind of value on beauty and pleasure. Maybe she meant taking pleasure in things that don't necessarily harm others. Maybe she meant taking pleasure in beauty that is not self-destructive. Maybe she meant beauty and pleasure that is subjective, and not mandated.
What an astonishing idea!
I think we femmes reject a lot of the patriarchal ideals of suffering for beauty. I know I do. But I also know that I feel a great, slightly guilty pleasure at smooth sheets or new perfume. [Insert your shock at my shameful sybaritism here!]
I feel good when I have a good hair day. (Do I give a shit when I have a bad one? Not really. And that might be an important difference.)
Appreciating beauty when it comes your way is not the same as assuming you're entitled to it all the time. Appreciating sensual pleasures- hot showers, chocolate coffee, orgasms- is not the same as demanding that everything be for your amusement and benefit.

I thing society devalues certain types of beauty and pleasure for men. And I think men have a hard time with that. If a man publicly states that he enjoys a subtle tea blend instead of Redbull(shit), if he buys high thread count sheets, if he takes a moment to look at a damn rainbow, he is mocked by his peers. For a man to enjoy these sensual pleasures makes him womanly and weak (which are synonymous! of course!), as anything identified as "womanly" is inherently less valuable in our society. Men are only supposed to take pleasure in violent or unhealthy things! Like doublebacon cheeseburgers, and makin too much money, and six-packs, and fuckin' drunk chicks, or fightin'!
Rainbows and chocolate and dewy skin are out, boys; sorry.
This is just one of the aspects of "things-perceived-as-'woman territory'-being-devalued-just-because": think about all the jobs, literature, other stuff done mostly by women that is being dismissed as 'unimportant'.
And that is sad. Because these types of little, physical or emotional pleasures are part of what keeps us going in life, I think. We don't get a lot of "big" happy moments in life, and appreciating the little ones is what helps us deal with the bad stuff. If guys aren't allowed to do that, or are only allowed to enjoy "certain types" of pleasures that are often not good for them (or other people), then... well, then life just sucks, I think. It makes life harder for everyone.
We should revalue these things, for everyone. I hope we do.
To ladies, dudes, femmes, butches, and everyone everywhere: go appreciate something pretty. Seriously. Go do something that makes you feel good.
(...No, not that. Something else!)

(Tip o' the hat to the fabulous SF)