STILL WE WANT POWER TO “LOOK LIKE A MAN”

Power in Western societies has a specific aesthetics: it looks like a “man”.

Men control the world and they are the ones who hold most influential positions. As a consequence everybody has started associating the concept of power with suits, trousers, ties, short hair, internalising the male’s appearance as the aesthetics of power. That same look has been imposed on everybody who wants to present themselves as empowered. Think about it: whenever we find a female leader, she often feels like she should dress like a man, sober, in a suit and flat shoes, in order to look strong, independent and influential. In order to gain credibility. Nobody takes seriously a female politician, lawyer, officer, whatsoever who wears pink dresses, pretty curls and a lot of make-up. The characteristics that society attributes to men have become synonym of power. Make-up, high heels and everything society associates with a female look became, on the contrary, an indicator of superficiality and frivolity. Women who want to be empowered and independent must look like men: this is the imperative, and symbols we associate with women are negatively judged in certain contexts.

Let me excuse myself if I am using terms like “men” and “women” in such an inappropriate way. I am not trying to support any gender role. “To look like a man / like a woman” are both social constructs and no baby was delivered out of their mom’s holy grail with blue trousers or a pink skirt already on them. Both the female aesthetics and the male aesthetics have been imposed by society as a natural , even though they are not. However, our society functions using those roles and clothes are symbols with specific meanings attached to them. I am sure you get my idea and the use of such terms in this context.

We want to change the standards of the aesthetics of power. We want to abolish the stigma associated with symbols that society decided to be feminine. We are tired of being deemed superficial because we wear make-up and like doing our nails… We don’t think it is necessary to look like a man to express emancipation and that is why we chose our high heels as our weapons. They are sky-high, they are dangerous, they can hurt anybody who disrespects us and tell us what we have to look like if we want to be taken seriously. They turn us into tall goddesses who look down onto any person who underestimate us. We show our bodies, our breasts, our vaginas, use them as new symbols of power, because we shouldn’t be ashamed of them and hide them. We claim our right to express our power with whatever appearance we want.

This being said, I want to point out that no aesthetic standards should be imposed on anybody. I am not saying that women should go around in pink dresses and hide their suits in their closet. Well, they can, if they want to. But the point of this reflection is that we should open the aesthetics of power to new attributes and characteristics. Everybody should be able to look however they want and be taken seriously either way.

We are strippers and our high heels are our symbol of power. We are here to remind people that power doesn’t have to look like a man.

By Edie

Here you can find two brilliant articles on this topic:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/07/opinion/sunday/brit-marling-women-movies.html?fbclid=IwAR3CvWzRT11CdCuhYRetwWIqGuijKUm3qHqLYNCPW9h4yU3lOsxgR_vovaY

https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v39/n06/mary-beard/women-in-power

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