Why I Wear Red Lipstick

Friday, 14 September 2012

The internet really annoyed me yesterday.  To be more precise, this blog post really annoyed me.

If you don't have the patience for the whole thing (and I can't blame you for choosing not to read it), she basically proclaims that she dresses solely to please men because she is a woman and that is what women should do. Oh, and don't forget that:
  • men don't like top knots
  • men don't like red lipstick
  • men don't like cardigans
  • men don't like feminists
I'm trying to give her the benefit of the doubt on this and hope she's expressing herself really badly, especially on that last point where she seems to be under the impression that feminism equals being a ranty bag lady who thinks it lowering to dress nicely. The alternative is that she actually does believe what she's typed out and that's a really scary thought.

I have no problem with a woman picking an outfit to please a man. I have no problem with a woman picking an outfit to please a woman (I don't necessarily mean in this in an attraction way - half the outfits in blogland are probably chosen with the hope of getting positive comments from other [female] bloggers). It's only natural to want to look nice and receive compliments and it's a rare person who genuinely doesn't give a crap about what other people think of their appearance. I'm not one of those people - I spend ages worrying about what others think of me - but I can safely say that the vast majority of the time I dress for me, according to what takes my fancy.  The prospect of only ever dressing to please someone else is horrifying.

Can I take a quick moment to laugh at her assertions? A quick poll on Twitter has revealed that y'know what, most men have no problem whatsoever with top knots, cardigans or red lipstick. In fact, the last two seem to be really rather popular.  I'm sure there are plenty of men who don't like them: each to their own and all that jazz, but even if they were universally unpopular it wouldn't stop me wearing them if I liked them. 

As it stands, I have actual proof that at least one man likes these things - I got a very charming "You look gorgeous" whilst walking through town tonight and that never happens.  I was topknotted.  I was wearing a cardigan.  I had red lipstick on.  She definitely wouldn't approve of me.  Do I care?  Not a jot.  

And on that final point of hers, if there are men out there that don't like the oh-so-shocking notion that women deserve to be treated as equal human beings (because that's all that feminism is), well the fact that they aren't attracted to me is, quite frankly, the least of my worries. I'm more likely to be concerned about the fact that those attitudes still exist in 2012.

I'm proud to call myself a feminist and, for what it's worth, I wear red lipstick for no other reason than because I want to.

No 7/Poppy King in History.


  1. I notice that there is nowhere for people to comment on her post either ....


  2. Hilarious! I so very rarely dress for men. Only if perhaps I am on a date, or trying to make an ex jealous. And even then, I pretty much dress in something that makes me feel hot, rather than what I think he might like. And I am rarely without a card. Or a topknot. And I am always a feminist.

  3. Alex! A smile! You look so pretty when you smile. Please do it more :)
    p.s. the blog post you reference didn't really move me either way. There are people with different opinions out there and I'm quite happy to let her get on with it because I doubt she's going to influence my world or cross my path. Shrug.

  4. I bet she's one of those women who has no female friends bacause 'men are straightforward and not bitchy blah blah blah etc etc' but really she's insecure and just needs to be made to feel desirable.

    I dress for myself because how can you feel comfortable any other way? And I'd place much more value on a compliment from a woman than a man because frankly in my experience they have a much better idea of what looks nice!

    Also, today I'm wearing TWO cardigans.

  5. Gah, us women know that men find authenticity, confidence and happiness attractive, which is best achieved through wearing what you want to wear and going about life doing what makes you happy! You clearly are doing just that, and I can only hope this other blogger one day discovers the same thing, for her own sake. It's cold today so I'm off to don a cardigan myself :)

  6. My main objection was the incredible simplicity and lack of logic. OF COURSE women dress to please men sometimes- on a date for example. But at other times we dress for other reasons (to look professional, to go to church - two examples where I would actively want to be non-sexy). To suggest that it's a one-or-other thing for life is ludicrous. But perhaps she is just a sex-bot and has no life outside pleasing her man.

    And then we get on to the sexism double whammy. Yes, it's deeply offensive to women IT IS SO CLEAR TO US I'M NOT GONNA GO INTO THAT PART OF IT IT; it's also incredibly stereotypical about men, and this is where I think she LOSES at her own little game! She hearts men soooo much and respects them but...

    She claims she doesn't want to get political (I'm not sure if she means psychological or anthropological here, or if she just uses ye-haw shorthand 'politics' for anything requiring thought) but ALL men are hunter gatherer cavemen. ALL men. Which suits her flawed logic nicely; it's a get-out-of-jail-free card to use against those men who like ref lipstick, who like cardigans, who like women more modestly or more sexily dressed than her. They're not normal/proper men so she can ignore them. She's just taken the 'I'm not being sexist but...' and reversed it.

    Now, unlike her in her infinite wisdom, I can only comment for the men I happen to know. However, in my experience most men- ESPECIALLY conservative alpha-type blokes (the target audience of her dress-code) value being individuals, being treated as if they are clever and witty, being seen as men of discernment etc' very highly. They HATE. BEING. PATRONISED, they HATE. BEING. CALLED. THICK and they want to be top dog not a slavering caveman- and essentially that is what she's calling them.

    And on a purely crude and practical level, if I were a 100% boob lovin' guy (and I checked this with a beer drinking boob loving guy, it is the case) I think I could tell if a women had a shapely bust through a cardigan, and wouldn't really care. It's why the nerdy girl who's transformed in movies always looks kinda pretty from the start: you can stick a cardigan on a hot girl and she'll still look hot.

    At the other end of the scale, you can teach an idiot to hit keys on a computer and click 'publish'... but she'll still be an idiot.

    1. I do think men and women who have those attitudes end up with the partners they deserve. Women who think men are hunter-gather types? End up with them, never seen as equal. Men who think women are decorative dollies who demand having money spent on them? End up with a high-maintenance harpy.

  7. Oh God, oh dear dear God, words fail me, but hey I'm a red lipstick, cardi wearing feminist.

  8. I thought her post was hilarious, my husband and I are quite old fashioned in the way we see our roles in life. As a husband and father, it is his responsibility to go out to work and earn money and it is my role as Wife and Mother to stay at home and look after all involved with our life, kids and house. He is not expected nor allowed to do any kind of housework, diy or the like on less asked, which isnt very often as it makes me think I have failed in my role if I can't manage my role.

    Luckily the way I like to dress my husband loves, and actually I have just been out and bought him a whole new wardrobe as I couldn't stand the way he dressed, it just didn't suit him. And now he loves the way he looks and feels really attractive, which makes him look even better as his confidence is higher. He feels the same way about me, If I dress the way I want too then I am super happy and therefore more attractive as my confidence is higher.

    I have actually posted an outfit post in your honor this week and he loves the dress on me becuase it is quirky and I love it... http://crivenscottage.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/a-grump-and-some-finished-projects.html

    I just wanted to say that you look absolutly stunning and really confident in these pictures and this is one of my favourite looks on you xx

  9. I dress how I want, although it's nice to know that other women (definitely not men) like how I look. A case in point is a maxi dress I wore the other night that I thought I looked good in. My husband didn't mince his words when he said it was the most awful thing he had ever seen in his life!
    I went out in it anyway and two (separate) women said I looked nice!

    As for red lipstick, I'd have thought men would like it.

  10. Haha! That was laughable. The 'funny' thing is, looking at some of the rest of her posts, I'd take an educated guess and say, yes, she appears to be serious.
    Thankfully, I appear not to have met too many of the 'men' she alludes to (unless I'm being really thick and just hadn't realised that all men are, in fact, one entity, all with the same thoughts and opinions) in my life and, had I, I'd probabably go celibate or lesbian. I can't top knot my hair (too short) but I'm a fan of a cardi and a long time fan of a red lip - others seem to be fans of a red lip on me too.
    Now, I'm off to ask what she makes of leopard print, slouchy jumpers and whether one should go to the gym with a full face of make up...
    Lovely to meet you at Bestival by the by and I take it you guys got home safe? How was the journey? Ours took in napping in the airport car park waiting room at 3am. You're both so small and cute in real life! I felt like a giant! x

  11. Great post and you do look fab!
    I dress for me but I do care what others think, mainly women I don't think men really care half of the time xxx

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  13. I'm sure most girls at some point dress to impress a boy. I know I have. But 99% of the time I wear what I want to wear. I virtually live in cardis, love red lips, and if my hair needs washing and I can't be bothered it is shoved in a bun.
    My boy loves red lips (but not pink??)
    Maybe its a case of being confident in wearing what you want, not what fashion/other people dictate to you to wear.

  14. Oh dear lord, I too hope she was simply expressing herself badly.. It really annoys when people come out with all those "men don't like women to do/wear/eat x thing", it's so ridiculous and generalised anyway. You look great with red lippie, so there. xx

  15. Not even going to give her a hit on her page by clicking the link. I can get the gist from the comments above.

    Such a shame that there are women who seem to think like this. Thankfully, they seem to be in a minority.

  16. I love the red lippie, and the topknot. And I don't mind a cardigan.
    I must admit I know the sort of things my other half 'prefers' me in, but as he loves me, and not just my 'look' I don't find the need to make sure men think I look nice and they like me.
    All sounds insecure to me, which is a shame as the first thing most men notice is confidence and someone who is comfortable in their skin.

  17. Thank you for bringing that blog post to my attention, I too am absolutely FUMING- maybe because I too, love red lipstick and my hair in a topknot and quite frankly I don't care if a bloke finds this appealing or not. BECAUSE I DO NOT DRESS TO MAKE HIS DICK HAPPY.

    I dress for myself and noone else & if I was with someone who tried to dictate how I dressed, they would be dumped quicker than they they would have time to close their stupid gob.

    I can't believe her stupidity. and you rock red lippy, a cardigan and a topknot!

    Poppy xo

  18. I couldn't bring myself to read it all.... But one word sums it all up for me... SERIOUSLY?!

    Nothing wrong with dressing for a man or for a woman (wearing *that* dress which I know keeps T a little hot under the collar.... GUILTY) but a- not every man is the same thereby the assertion that 'men' don't like red lippy/cardigans/top knots/green handbags/black cats is wholly inaccurate.

    Secondly, if there are men who do dislike (any of) the above, then that's cool, live and let live.

    The feminism thing... there are no words. Just... REALLY?!?!

  19. That woman is absolutely absurd!There is absolutely nothing wrong with dressing for a man, but she has clearly made assertions that are not true. She's clearly made assumptions on just her mans likes. I know full well that my boyfriend likes red lipstick (any bright lipstick at that) and high wasted shorts.
    Yes of course you want to look nice for your man, but at the end of the day you shouldn't live to please others. You should dress how you wish.

    Love Becky xxx

  20. That woman seems to be going backwards instead of forwards. If she dresses to please men all the time then she must not have a good sense of self-worth. Women like this make a bad impression on younger women and distort their views of how men and women should see each other.

  21. I've heard the red lipstick thing often, and I sort of get why some people don't like it. But cardigans????? most basic item of clothing ever a turn off for half the population? weird.

    I knind of take pride in wearing some stuff my husband doesn't like. I have this dress he says looks like a cleaners uniform - I love it. And Dave is pretty much the only man I ever even consider what he likes, because you know he's my friend and my partner and I care about his opinion. Plus it's absolutely ludicrous to assume all men are the same!

    Re the feminism thing: I find this sort of stuff incredibly offensive, but then I have to remind myself that the US is basically a different world when it comes to feminism (
    i'm assuming this person is american). Whereas here I guess most educated women would consider themselves quietly feminist without making it a massive part of their identity (it's just common sense, innit) over there it has such a bad rep, and SO MANY otherwise reasonable people seem to still assume that feminist = hates men, but wants to be like men (whatever that means), doesn't want children, . I actually even find american feminist writing difficult to engage with because it makes such a massive deal out of the most obvious things, like "I'm a feminist and I still like baking/wear dresses', that you would really hope to be beyond now. I have sympathy for this, but it has nothing to do with my own life.

    Sorry, rant!

    1. and terrible spelling/punctuation. I got quite worked up!

  22. I might go and have a look at it but maybe she just wants to get lots of comments and attention by posting that so maybe I wont- I think you've summarised it nicely- Grrrrrrrrrrr! It really annoys me too! Exactly, we all love compliments and worry what we wear- but to dress just in that way and to make such assertions is frankly very silly! I'd be annoyed too!

  23. By the way, that piccie of you is simply lovely! Really, I'm not surprised that man said that to you- that hair, lippie and dress combo (with the smile!) is really attractive!

  24. Well, " Quote [sic] the Raven, nevermore" seems appropriate, ha! (forgive an old Eng Lit graduate, couldn't resist!)
    I don't think that's a blog I'll be following. Funny thing about feminism, isn't it, that it can be seen as something separate from human rights and equality and justice and inclusion. Don't we ALL support those, men and women alike? Anyway, let's talk about the important stuff - like how brilliant and beautiful you look in a top knot and red lipstick!
    Right, off to put my cardi on. xxxx

  25. I love red lippy! you wear it beautifully XO Amie


  26. Hmmmm don't ask at the end of your blog post who do I dress for and them leave no opportunity for me to actually do so. Is she frightened of a difference of opinion perhaps?
    I say wear what you want for whom you want :)

  27. Um, yeah, even if all men did hate red lipstick, cardigans and top knots, who actually cares? People should just wear what the hell they like (unless it's a t-shirt with a swastika on or something) and decide if they'd like to dress to please themselves, men or other women.

    And you are gorgeous!


  28. umm okay! That girl sure lives in some warped little world of her own me thinks!

    Great come back post! xx

  29. Absolutely hilarious. I do love the fact she's not brave enough to let people comment, I wonder why?

  30. Just want to bang my head against a wall after reading her post *sigh*

  31. Uck!!
    Women proclaiming to know what every other women thinks, and stating that we all do things for the same reason irritates beyond words.
    I put on a slick of red lipstick this morning (Poppy King History coincidently) just to say 'I wear this just because I want to'.
    Oh and did you read her 'about' page she's 31 and says 'I hate being old'. Do one Raven. Unless that is a typo and she is actually 71 - huge thumbs up to her photoshop skills in that case.
    People are far more likely to dislike arrogance - or do I mean ignorance? Nope I mean both - than cardigans or topknots. *sighs, shakes head and rolls eyes*

  32. oh and that pic of you is a smasher :O)

  33. As I guy I gotta say.
    I adore women; I think they should run everything; they have such soul, strength and beauty.
    I also love red lipstick; ladies in cardigans ........but as for top knots LOL

  34. I've just read that girl's blog post, seems she's disabled the comments. Wonder why? ; )

    She makes some strange assumptions.

    As a wearer of two of the three of the things she mentions (cardigans and red lippie) I turned around to my boyfriend just then and asked him if he liked either.

    He's not got an opinion either way about cardigans, but he LOVES red lipstick.

    Just what is she getting at? What a strange post and thanks for bringing it to our attention xx

  35. Oh and you look lovely with red lippie on x

  36. Thanks for pointing me to that post. Shocked and appalled. Here is what I wrote her:
    This is gross. It's hard to know where to begin. Consider that it isn't healthy to orient your behavior so strongly towards fulfilling the imagined preferences of half the human race. What are you hoping to receive from "men?"

    Chica if you were in Saudi Arabia, you would be preening, going on and on about how men love! women who are covered up fully, and can't drive, or leave the country with out written permission from their male guardians. You wouldn't dream of joining other women to lift these strictures. Because your place is to please the men around you. What wonders you receive from them. Why would you do otherwise?

    Silly women who do things to please themselves. Let's all go buy crotchless underwear at Fredericks. Men love!! crotchless underwear.

    Maybe a man worth spending time with really doesn't give a sh*t if you wear a cardigan. He imagines you have breasts and imagines also that he is willing to remove said cardigan as well as the underlying blouse in order to see them naked, so really no big deal.

    Please try not to spread this tripe to young women. Young women should look more out at the world and should spend less time thinking about what they should be looking like to impress boys and men.


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