Red Lipstick Feminism

Red Lipstick Feminism

This is a complicated issue and I’m going to work through it as best as I can.

I think there’s this idea that feminism is a trend that goes in and out with whatever is popular- which is totally wrong. The patriarchy and the media (synonymous) will do whatever they can to have you believe that feminism is just the big thing of this year- that celebrities, politicians, and us plebeian bloggers will all get tired of and it will go out with the fall fashions. And they’re doing this the best way they know how- by selling it to you.

Things that can be purchased can be thrown away.

My first example is Unilever, the company that owns most of what is in your bathroom. It owns Dove and it’s “Real Beauty” campaign, as well as Axe and it’s ad campaign to make boys think that being clean is the ticket to some sweet vagina.

 

Dove is also responsible for the videos of the women who have poor self image being taught by strangers to have a better self image, even though the reason they have poor self image is probably because of the shitty ads the same company runs so that women buy products to improve their self image. They have a monopoly and create a perpetual client base.

So that’s capitalism.

My second (and bigger) point is that you cannot buy empowerment and you can’t purchase self esteem. There’s this idea floating around that wearing red lipstick is, in itself, an empowering act. And it’s just not. Wearing red lipstick/high heels/leather jacket may make you feel confident (which is awesome if you like it, not hating at all) but you must realize where it’s all coming from, which is a lot of places including:

-Hyper femininity: Makeup, heels, dresses, are traditionally feminine items that are all considered sexy because of what is alluring to men. Men are also traditionally the ones selling these items in the big picture so, capitalism full circle again.

-Role Models: Powerful women wear these things and we like emulating them because girl power.

-Sexy Aggression: I put those two words together, and I think it’s more of a feeling. Like, wearing bold makeup is daring because it says “I dare you to talk to me fuckboy.” while also “eat my ladybit while I shop Nordstrom online for pantsuits”

But the thing is that if feeling confident comes from whatever you purchase, you don’t have the power. Whatever made you want those things has the power. And I need to make it clear that I love makeup and clothes and shoes and stuff, but it took a long time and a lot of thought to realize that I love these things because it grants me the illusion of control.

So there’s this thing when women take selfies wearing red lipstick (my for all intents and purposes example) and they’re posting to instagram like “red lipstick= feminism” and I’m here like “naw, your thoughts and values> red lipstick & red lipstick =/= feminism bc red lipstick = capitalism”

I feel the need to clarify again: YOU CAN BE A FEMINIST AND WEAR RED LIPSTICK, BUT IT IS MOST IMPORTANT TO REALIZE THAT EMPOWERMENT COMES FROM YOU AND YOUR ACTIONS NOT FROM WHAT IS ON YOU.

I also feel like there’s this idea that you can morph feminism into whatever you want so you don’t need to change anything about your ideologies. And I personally don’t think that’s cool at all. I think feminism is for everyone, but there are goals that need to be met and things that need to be changed that will never ever change if you’re masturbating alone in your room and saying that you’ve met your feminism quota.(And we def talked about this in my Feminist Theories class, so if you were one of my classmates, I holla atchu.)

Like I said, this is very complicated and hugely multifaceted and there are so many factors that it would take hours and 9 other blog posts to come even close to what I really want to say.

The Oscars tonight is a really great example of what I mean. The #askhermore tag is what I am talking about- these are smart, beautiful, talented women, who are wearing gorgeous clothes but what ultimately matters is what they have to say. Which is finally getting more recognition this year.

Don’t let feminism become last year’s trend!

 

How to Wear Red Lipstick

How to Wear Red Lipstick

If you go to school with me or pay any attention to my selfies, you’ll notice that more often than not I’ve been wearing red lipstick.

There is no reason for this other than vanity and my desire to add more glamour to my day. I put on a full face of makeup almost every day because I like the routine of standing in front of my mirror for an hour in the morning and drinking my coffee while I manufacture my public face. Doing my makeup is a fun creative outlet and sometimes I feel like it’s the only thing I have to feel good about.

Also at this point, I think that if I were to show up anywhere without my face at least partially done I would invite a lot of concern. I’m not bothered by that because I have set a standard for myself and people would be right to assume that when my face isn’t on then something is amiss- whether it was just that I was too tired and woke up late or if I became deeply depressed. Me clarify- this is exclusively about me. No woman should be expected to wear makeup at any point and whether she does or does not is her own business. I’m just saying that I acknowledge that my naked face would cause alarm to those who know me because it would be out of the norm.

With all that being said, I also want you to know that I do like my face whether or not I have smear chemicals over it. I’m reasonably self confident and I don’t have any problem with people seeing my bare face (more like bear-face haha jk that’s off-message.) I don’t use cosmetics as a mask, I use them as tools. My makeup is something I enjoy doing, something I practice a lot, and it’s something I’m good at.

Personal opinions about makeup in general aside, this is what I know about wearing red lipstick*. Red lipstick is a temperamental bitch- it will ruin your whole face if you don’t follow the rules.

  1. USE A GODDAMN LIP LINER. So many women skip this step and it shows because the color bleeds out and gets all over your face and it looks smudgy and terrible. You need crisp, clean lines around your mouth so that it stays put and pretty. Lip liner also gives you more control over the shape of your lips so you can make them look slightly fuller or thinner if you’re into that. IMO your lip liner doesn’t need to perfectly match the shade of your lipstick, it just need to be close enough. I have a red lip liner, a darker purple one, and one that matches my skin color. I’ve also used concealer to clean up my lines after to get the best edge.
  2. Balance your complexion. Having an even skin tone is necessary because the red on your lips is going to bring out all the other reds on your face and make you look blotchy. Sometimes my skin is fine on it’s own but most of the time I’m rocking some greasy pimps in my chin-zone so I use a color correcting cream (CCC) on my whole face and take additional steps to conceal imperfections if needed.
  3. Pick a shade for your skin tone. Reds are not one-size-fits-all. There are red-reds, bluey-reds, orange-y red, browny-reds and pinky-reds. If your skin is cool-toned pick a bluey-red, if you’re warm-toned, orangy-red. You have to go through a lot of trial and error to find the best shade. I also find that blood red looks best on everyone. You can’t clash with your own blood.
  4. Pick the right finish. A classic matte finish is not a modern matte finish is not a satin finish is not a metallic finish. Each of these has their place in your makeup shelf but you should know what you want and when you want it. Classic matte finishes are my forever everyday go-to but I’ll choose a gloss when I’m looking sleek or metallic when I’m trendy. Each one brings their own personality to the table and they aren’t interchangeable.
  5. White (enough) teeth. Red lips bring out the yellow in teeth. Whitening toothpaste.
  6. Strategic highlights. I always use a tiny amount of highlighter in the cupid’s bow of my upper lip and a light touch under my lower lip. It draws attention to your mouth and makes your lips look fuller and pouty. And Marilyn Monroe did it, so…
  7. Balance the rest of your makeup. Red lips are a statement and the rest of your face should complement them. I wouldn’t recommend pairing dramatic eye makeup with red lips because then there’s just too much going on and it looks bad. I pair my red lips with either a classic neutral smoky eye or with simple black winged eyeliner. I also shape and fill in my brows. Your whole face is the package and all the parts of it should tie together neatly.

*or any bold color, but red is the best one.

When you choose the red lip lifestyle, you’ve made a commitment to looking classy. There’s no room for compromise on these rules without sacrificing the overall glam factor. I think of my red lips as a regular part of my face and plan around it, even on hoodie and leggings days. If I am short on time, I just grab a stick, my neutral lip liner, and some mascara and make it work (b/c I also use the neutral liner as a concealer and brow shaper because me nasty bitch.)

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Me in my natural state
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Me in my other natural state.
Relationship Advice from Your Perpetually Single Friend

Relationship Advice from Your Perpetually Single Friend

If I’ve learned anything from the constant facebook reposts from Thought Catalog and Word Elephant word it’s that open letters and advice from very specific viewpoints are  popular. Like, “How to love a girl who once over-committed to a hook up once and kept waiting for him to call her to hang out but he never did even though he continued to watch her snapstory which gave her a little hope that they would someday reconnect” kind of specificity.

Although I don’t think my perspectives are special or unique in anyway, I am egotistical enough to believe that I have a way with words that has the potential to reach people. I am also fairly shameless about sharing my experiences (half a lie because I am ashamed of most of my actions but my desire to impress and need for attention always outweighs the shame) and I want to share them.

Right now it is cuffing season. For those who may not know or have never realized, cuffing season is the time of year where everyone starts to begin relationships. It’s related to the school year- we’re at midterms and settled into our academic routines, now we can focus on building social relationships, dating etc. I’m a longtime observer of this part of the year because I’ve literally never participated. But never mind about the crippling insecurities and self doubt, I’m totally in an excellent place to criticize everyone else.

But I’ve learned from everyone else’s mistakes (and through my daily painful hell of a personal life) and I’ve made a short list of advice from which I think many of us can benefit.

Relationships are not a necessity. You don’t need to be in a relationship to have a happy life. Relationships do not determine your worth because you’re intrinsically valuable and that value does not diminish according to who holds what labels in your life. 

You can’t look for a relationship. You can want a relationship, but ultimately you’re looking for a person with whom to share a relationship. People who approach dating as a stepping stone to the end goal of being in a relationship are missing the point of dating all together. When dating, the goal is simply to get to know a person well enough to determine if they’re worth building something more.

I think that people who look for relationships are doing it for selfish means. Also, if you’re new to this blog you should know that I don’t think selfishness is a bad thing, I’m very pro-selfishness. Except in this case that selfishness involves another person and it’s not cool or fair to either of you. I say selfish because when you’re looking for a relationship, you’re looking for another person to serve your needs. Sure it can be mutual and you and someone else have paired up to serve their own needs with you, but that’s not partnership and it’s not healthy.

“But Keke, I want to be in a relationship because I want someone to take care of and worship.”- that’s objectification. Those actions are not for that person, it’s for you no matter how the person benefits from it.

All that being said, there isn’t anything wrong with wanting to be in a relationship or wanting to be with someone. I just don’t think it’s something a person can seek that’s healthy or yields positive long term results.

And I’m not on my high horse at all here because I’m 100% pathetic. I’ve been 2 dates in and planning his birthday party and imagining all the cute scenarios I wanted us to have during our inevitable relationship that I was desperately trying to make happen. But that wasn’t fair to him and it didn’t take into account what he wanted. I became a manipulative trickster trying to force things to happen because of what I wanted out of it all and I was thoroughly embarrassed about it all when it didn’t work out.

Hold out for more. There is no reason to be with someone who isn’t nice to you and doesn’t work to impress you every day. You do not need to be in a relationship. It’s your job to take care of yourself before taking care of others (like when you’re on an airplane and the oxygen masks drop. You can’t help others until you’re good to go with you.) You alone are at your equilibrium and involving other people in your life should only ever add positive value to your days. If they’re tipping you into a negative zone, the relationship isn’t worth pursuing or having.

“But Keke, it’s healthy for couples to fight and you’re a stupid piece of shit.” Both of these statements are true, but it’s absolutely not healthy to fight all the time and there should be no serious fights within the first 6 months of any relationship. If you’re having a serious fight with someone you’ve been seeing less than 6 months, gtfo. It’s not going to be worth it. If they’re causing more harm than good in your life, gtfo. You’re the most valuable person in your own life because without you, you’ve got nothing. You don’t need a relationship, you do need yourself. There will always be other people but you are the only you you have.

Know what you need. Some people can have unattached sex with anyone and it doesn’t affect them. Hats off, all salutes here. Some people (me) can’t do that and end up in sticky wickets.

Sex is not currency that one pays to win affection and commitment. Sex is either just sex or it’s a fun activity that partners share. Either way, you need to be on the same page as whoever you’re doing it with about what it means to both of you otherwise, someone’s going to be hurt.

“But Keke, my friend had a tinder hookup and now they’ve been together for years.” Your friend is a unicorn. You can’t expect the same results.

“But Keke, I’m horny.” Buy a vibrator or a love glove. If you know in your heart of hearts that you can’t have unattached sex, don’t set yourself up for failure. Using a vibrator will knock out your hot pants far more efficiently and it’s available for you whenever you want it. Eventually there will be someone who has the same end goals as you who will want to fuck you nonstop for years and you’ll make up for lost time then.

Personally, I’ve felt attracted to the slut lifestyle. I wanted to be wild and feel like I had no inhibitions about anything and I would chase that feeling like I was being paid for it. But honestly, I knew I didn’t feel good about it and that most of the time I was doing it to have a good story to tell my friends (and write about) later. I still like being able to shock people with some of the things I’ve done to myself and others, but none of the times in those stories added positively to my life. In fact, the negatives far outweigh the positives that happened and it fucked with my head and my self value for a really really long time. It’s something I’m still working through but acknowledging that I am the sort of person who needs commitment to enjoy doing it has forever improved me.

Anywayy, thanks for reading up to this point. You know I’m full of shit, I know I’m full of shit. I’m glad we can laugh through this shitshow together.

In other news, it’s been a bit since I’ve written anything worth reading (unless you’re really into sadness and my personal struggles.)

To catch up: Grad school is very very hard and I am being held afloat only by the graces of my smarter peers who allow me to ride on their coattails and who take the time (their most valuable resource) to try and educate me good about the many things I don’t understand.

I’m running out of money but somehow it doesn’t stop me from buying myself treats when I think I deserve it. (I never actually deserve it, I just love treats.)

I’m seeing a counselor through the school now. I’m investing further in my mental health and seeking help when I recognize my own warning signs. He’s a cool guy, he has a unicorn mug on his desk.

Midterms are almost over. I have a stats midterm on Thursday and it’s my last one and I’ve procrastinated studying for it by writing this. Midterms definitely helped me realize where I need to improve and I’ve reupped my commitment to work fucking harder and make it happen.

These are some

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As you can see, first, titties. Second, I def have a preferred angle. Third, I’m not cool and am 100% a poser.

One Month Down

One Month Down

After my lab tonight I have completed 4 weeks of grad school. In some ways, it feels like it’s been longer because every week has been so busy but also it’s gone by so quickly that I feel like I’m always catching up.

The reality of my workload really kicked in this week and it’s got me hella shook. The lack of sleep is messing with my perspectives and priorities and I’ve been on the edge of tears all day because I’m just so tired and there isn’t an end in sight.

It’s been overwhelming but so far it’s rewarding. The things I’m learning are immediately applicable to what’s happening and what I’m interested in which is very different from my undergrad experience. There were some really challenging aspects to my studies at UNC but generally the expectations were low and the work was doable. But despite the work and imminent mental breakdown I feel generally okay about my academic future.

Personally am not feeling so sure about anything right now. PLEASE TAKE EVERYTHING BEYOND THIS POINT WITH A GRAIN OF SALT KNOWING HOW EXHAUSTED I AM AND THAT I AM ONE KEKETINI IN*. I just feel so sad and like I’m going to be alone forever and I hate saying that because it feels contrary to my commitment to self sufficiency. But there it is and I said it. It’s hard being out here on my own without someone to lean on and that I have never been able to find someone like that makes me feel like I have some huge flaw that everyone can see but me. I’m not looking for pity or a peptalk or anything, I just have had that feeling weigh on me for a really long time and I’m tired of holding onto it. Also when I was fatter I always had my weight as my default excuse for why I’m off the radar but now that I’ve lost (and am continuing to lose) weight it’s becoming less valid.

Annnyyway, thanks for reading my little update. I’ve got to get back into the books and finish one thing on my to-do list before I can reward myself with sleep and hope I feel better tomorrow.

 

*a Keketini is a glass of pinot grigio with a shot of tequila in it.

I said I would do it so I did it

I said I would do it so I did it

Have been meaning to write this all week but there hasn’t been a great opportunity to just sit down and write about how things are going.

In short, they are okay. I’m having a lot of feelings about many things, about 60% are stress related. I think the stress is the worst part because it’s coming from so many sources that it doesn’t really seem like it can be contained and it’s a big distraction from my work and enjoyment. When I was working, I could easily check out of the work I was doing to figure things out and de-stress, but I cannot do that in class. Working part time jobs and being an admin turned my brain into sand so being back in a classroom and having to pay attention is a challenge in and of itself.

In general, I just feel as though I’ve already fallen behind. I feel like all my peers know so much more than me and that I’m certainly the dumbest one in class because it takes so much effort for me to keep up and it’s just the first week. It’s been going by so quickly and I’m worried about all the things I’m missing because I’m going in circles trying to understand what’s happening.

I’m also going a little crazy from not having a job right now. I’m happy that I left the restaurant and I don’t regret it, but it kills me to spend money without anything going in my bank account. I have a TA job, but it’s only 10 hours a week. On the flip side, I’m already feeling overwhelmed by my coursework that I don’t know how I could be a student, a TA, and have a part time job all at once. I think I’m just going to have to put off thinking about it until later in the semester when I have a better routine.

I also just miss home a lot. I miss my old job where I was well liked by my coworkers and I was hamster wheeling. I’ve made some friends here but it’s hard to start from scratch after spending all my time with people who know all my baggage and still choose to associate with me.

One thing that has been going consistently well is that I’ve continued to lose weight since arriving. I was worried that I would stall because I was not able to go to the gym regularly since getting here. I just bought a gym membership to a private gym a couple days ago because I cannot deal with the crowds at the student rec centers.

THAT’S ANOTHER THING. I don’t do well with crowds at all and everything here is busy all the time. I’m at a Starbucks 20 minutes out of town right now and there are still students everywhere. My anxiety levels are skyrocketing because there doesn’t seem to be anywhere that’s off limits and no where is actually quiet or chill. I’m not used to it. Also my apartment is still infested with ants and so I feel like my anxiety about the ants and the people are overlapping because being overcrowded or invaded is a feeling I can’t escape.

Anyway, I need to get some work done. I wish I could write a post without it seeming like a list of complaints because things aren’t really bad here. I just miss home. I feel so disoriented here and it’s been really frustrating trying to adapt to a totally new place. I wish I knew how to branch out and meet tons of different people but I have no clue what I’m doing and I’m not brave enough to try anything.

I’ll be updating as I go along so hopefully soon we will see an upswing.

Math Camp

Math Camp

So math camp has altogether been a miserable experience.

As you may remember from when I was studying for the GRE, math is the most frustrating topic for me, so to have it for 5 hours a day for 5 days is truly the worst.

The first two days weren’t terrible because I knew what I was doing and I could keep up but yesterday we started on things that were totally new to me and everything fell flat. I can’t understand where the instructor is going most of the time but there is no time for me to figure it out on my own before he’s moved on so I spend the rest of class just trying to catch up based on what’s been written and discussed without me.

There are 2 TAs there to help after class, but I’ve had to work during their office hours. Also my work has been preventing me from completing the homework so I’m already behind when I get there in the morning.

I don’t know how I’m going to do this. I can’t even manage math camp, how am I going to handle a full course load and work and my TA position? I feel so stupid when I’m trying to do the work on my own and now I’m so far behind that I’m trying to figure out what we did 2 days ago and while trying to work on what we did today. It’s so hard and I can’t make it make sense to me. I feel like I don’t deserve to be here and that I’m not going to be able to do the math work in my courses.

It’s also making me cry a lot because I hate feeling this stupid.

 

Colorado 6, Indiana 8

Colorado 6, Indiana 8

So I am almost totally moved into my apartment in Indiana. I still have quite a few boxes to unpack but things are coming together pretty well.

I got a host job in a restaurant and had my first day this evening.  I liked working in the Tavern before I had a mental breakdown, fell into a deep depression, and had multiple suicide attempts so I think I could do it again. And this time no one can work there under 21 so I am working with other professional adults and not high schoolers. I accepted the job on the understanding that I can move to a serving position in 2 months. Otherwise I can make the same or better money at Starbucks with consistent hours and tips.

Since my brother left I feel like I am truly alone in my new place and it feels weird and sad.

Me start math camp on Monday, excited to be in a class and meet people around here.

Very distract right now. Me write more when me more to say.