Natural self part 2

This is a follow up post to the one I posted on the 8th of August, "Natural self". The discussion became so very interesting after that post, that I feel like I have to add another post addressing some of the things that came up in the comments.

Quick recap: I got a "compliment" on instagram from a man that said "Makeup doesn't suit you. I like your natural self". When I expressed that it was inappropriate for him to say something like that he promptly asked me if I was a feminist and continued to say that "I must drive my boyfriend crazy". The full conversation can be found in the original post.

I got an enormous amount of support after my original post. And I'm extremely grateful to all those who were supportive and kind enough to leave me a comment. It did start an interesting discussion in the comments section and it sparked some thoughts.
While it does bother us so much when a man is as obvious and insolent as the man from your post, I do wonder if we see the same thing when women talk to us. I know women tend to be a tad more polite and will suggest something rather than bluntly ordain it but then again, the message is often similar. I feel we don't always see it that way and we tend to take it to heart just because another woman said it instead of dismissing it right away because someone --regardless of gender --is telling us what to do with our bodies. 
The above paragraph was written by the very intelligent and discussion-ready Klara from the blog The Robot That Had a Heart. And I've been thinking a lot about how I would have acted if it would have been a woman that had said it. I've been lucky enough to have (in the blogging sphere and the social media world) only encountered kind and supportive women, so it is not at all by experience that I write the following but rather entirely by imagination.

If this exchange had been with a woman, would it have made a difference?

Dress: Larmoni (here)
Flats: Daisy Street via Asos

Some of my readers commented that it was a rude and impolite thing to say, whether it would be a man or a woman. But one of the points I made in my post was that it is a feminist issue about gender equality.

Others said that it would have been worse if it was a woman who said it. While I agree that it is incredibly bad and makes me sad beyond belief when women slander other women, I don't think it is the matter of the same subject. When a man says something like that, or acts in a certain way (e.g. catcalling and etc.) it feels to me as if he is trying to assert ownership and power over a woman. It becomes a question of injustice, whereas a woman slandering another woman is rather about pettiness and resentment. Men who think that women need their approval are not thinking of women as equal people. I don't need a man to approve of me. And a comment like that about how I look is essentially that, a man saying "I am a man, and I validate you now". I can validate myself!

I'd like to make a difference between women that you "know" and women that you do not have an acquaintance with. I want to make this distinction because oftentimes I respect the opinion of a friend (someone I "know"), and would consider what they are saying. For the sake of discussion assume that the woman who commented is someone who has commented for the first time.

If a woman were to say to me that I look better without makeup, I would not have pondered it. However I feel like it is a different situation to that with the man. Is that because I put more value in the opinion of a woman? No, but a woman saying something like what the man said to me, is not after asserting her power over me, but is rather trying to perhaps hurt me. Which in itself is a sad thing to want to do, but it's a completely different scenario.

Had the conversation with a woman continued as it did with the man, I would have reacted the same way as I did. Ignorance about feminism is unfortunately as widespread among women as it is among men. If a woman were to tell me to be a certain way or look a certain way because the reason is that it's how a woman should be or look, I would of course inform that woman that each woman has the right to be and look however she wants.

Going back to the question that ignited the discussion: Had it been a woman who said what was said, would it be different?

Yes, it would be completely different, because the situation would be different! But personally I don't put more significance into what was said about my looks because it was said by a woman.

What do you think? Is a negative comment about how you look different depending on which gender it comes from?

I would love to hear what you think in the comments.
Much love!


  1. I definitely think it is different coming from a woman versus coming from a man, for the points you made -- men who catcall or who, like that comment you got, derail into a defense of themselves because you didn't appreciate the rudeness, come from a place of dominance and a need to be assertive. Women, on the other hand, will say something like that out of pettiness or jealousy. They don't wish to own you and dictate you so much as they wish to be the prettier one, the one who is more noticed.

    In simplest terms, men cockily assert power over others physically and mentally, women pettily manipulate and destroy others emotionally.

    Really, it is a difference of physical versus emotional. An "I am better than you because I am a man and therefore stronger or more capable" attitude versus a "I am better than you because I have more talent or am better looking or more experience" attitude (from a woman.) And I really just had that thought as I was sitting here typing, so it might not be the best written thought, but I feel like that's usually how it goes.

    1. I agree with you. I think essentially that's exactly how it is. Women saying something negative will most likely do that from another place. And I think it's extremely sad, because us women in the world should be standing up for one another. But the way men try to prove their dominance is about them finding themselves as more valuable people. Inequality of the genders. What you wrote makes sense and I agree with you.
      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and for commenting.
      Much love

  2. i think it would be different if the same comment were coming from a woman rather than a man, but like you say, it would be because the situations are different. i agree that most women put down other women out of jealousy or pettiness, whereas some men like to assert their dominance and act as though we should value their opinion over others, simply because they happen to be male. that being said, you shouldn't ponder over any such rude comment, be it from a male or female - you look gorgeous both with and without makeup, and as long as you feel comfortable, that's all that matters! love your outfit today, and all your lovely curls :)

    1. Every word you wrote - I agree!
      And essentially it's about men thinking they are worth more than women, that's why we should value their opinion more... We need to change this view on a fundamental level.
      Thank you for your support sweetie. And thanks so much for writing your thoughts and commenting.
      Also, thank you for the wonderful compliment <3
      Much love

  3. The heart of the matter, I believe, isn't in whether a man or a woman says it. But what is being said, and how they phrase it. A woman can say something like "I think you look better without make up" with as much conviction as a man can. In real life, we can tell from the tone of their voice, of course. But in written form, there's really no telling it, frankly. Just because a woman says it, doesn't mean she means less harm than a man. Like you said, if someone I know personally (and especially really close with) say things like that to me, regardless of their gender, I would take it as a joke or act of kindness on their part - they might have tried to say that we have natural beauty, that we look good with little effort anyhow, etc - and not a way to attack me. But, again, it depends on the way they phrase it and say it (if they say it to our face and not in written form).

    In the case of the commenter you mentioned earlier though, he said (and I quote): "I like your natural self better." I believe, be it a man or a woman who said this, it is never acceptable. If this comment ever made it to my page, I honestly don't know how to respond. Okay, so he/she likes my 'natural self' better, is that supposed to make me happy? Now THAT is him being assertive, regardless of his gender. If he were a female, I think I would've felt the same way with the way he/she phrased that so-called compliment. Because, to me, it has little to do with me being a woman and him being a man but more to do with me being a figure on the internet, opening up my heart and mind to the world, and them deciding that I'm their "property" that should act and look as they see please.

    1. Bivi, I totally agree with you that it is tricky on social media to know how a person intends the comment. In real life as you say the tone and facial expression gives it all away, but really online we're in the dark.
      And I agree, that a woman can mean as much harm as a man with a negative comment. That being said, I do not feel that the same comment gives rise to the same situation depending on gender.

      I think I understand what you mean, that the comment in itself is what determines how it should be responded upon. And while that can be true for many settings I don't quite agree that the gender is indifferent.
      The comment was as you said never an acceptable thing to say. But I still believe that when it comes from a man he is saying it in a way to prove his dominance and to prove that he is worth more than a woman. Whereas a woman's intention would be different, in my opinion.
      You definitely have a point about people commenting on you when your a figure on the internet though. Social media has brought us to a point where people say things they wouldn't in real life, just because of the protection of the screen.
      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, I loved hearing what you think. Thanks for the comment.
      Much love

  4. First off, I want to say how awesome it is that there's so much discussion about gender and appearance, because I don't think there's enough of that in everyday life.

    I was thinking a lot about interpretation and intent after reading Bivi's comment, and I was thinking about different ways of phrasing (almost) the same idea. To me, it would have made a small difference if that guy had ONLY said, "I like your natural self better." But by adding that "makeup doesn't suit you," he's making an even stronger judgment against you, your appearance, and how you choose to present yourself.

    If a woman had only said "I like your natural self better," I personally might see that as her trying to be kind, and I'd be more inclined to give the benefit of the doubt. It's that comment about the makeup that is really getting to me.

    Either way, though, saying your appearance one way is "better" than another is never okay. I don't think any of the scenarios I described above are all that great, but I think they all differ, if minutely, in degree.

    To get more to your point, I absolutely believe there is a difference in intent with men vs. women. It's a very gendered issue that attacks two of the major tenets of feminism: wanting men and women to be treated equally & to treat each other equally and wanting women to support each other. A male commenter fails in the first tenet, whereas a woman commenter fails in the second.

    Hopefully this made sense! Of course I'm always open to more discussion.

    1. Thank you so much Devinne. It's an interesting and important discussion to take.

      I agree with you about the makeup comments. It took the "compliment" to another level of imprudence. But I think the "I like your natural self better"-part is what bothered me more. And here's how I'm thinking: Telling me makeup doesn't suit me is basically an insult. He's insulting me and telling me that how I look is ugly. Which is fine by me. Someone telling me I'm ugly is okay. What is not okay is a man saying "this is how you should look to please me" which is how I interpreted the "I like your natural self better"-part. Does that make sense?
      I agree that none of the scenarios described were that nice, but just as you said they were very different.

      Absolutely! I agree 100% with what you said. Both genders would by the stating of that comment fail in what is the pillars of feminism. It would be very sad to see a woman saying something like that to another woman, but I believe that it gives rise to two different situations. Both situations have to do with gender equality and justice of course.

      Thank you so so much for commenting and for writing your thoughts. I very much enjoyed reading your opinion.
      Much love.

  5. I have so many thoughts rushing through my head so I just want to make it as short as possible. Hahah
    Yes, I do believe there is a difference when a man says it and a woman says it; simply because men wouldn't have the same intention as a woman. I've dealt with similar situations (in person) and you can clearly see the difference in their facial expressions.
    That guy could have clearly had a different thought and apologized sincerely, expressing how he did not see at first what his comment came off as. I'm glad you answered back to his first comment because he ended up showing his true colors, revealing what he really meant by it.

    P.S: Your dress makes me think of autumn and I love it!<333
    P.P.S: Are you a Capricorn? You give off such a warm vibe. :))

    Vegetarian CourtesyCheese with Papas

    1. Don't you just love it when you have so many thoughts and you hardly manage to get a fraction of them down in writing :P haha

      I agree, men have different intentions. Women want to hurt. I'm sorry you've gotten these kind of comments in person, but how interesting to be able to add a facial expression to the comments.

      He absolutely only dug his grave deeper as the conversation went on, and as you said "showed his true colours". I agree with you.

      Thank you, I feel like autumn can't come soon enough so I'm already transitioning my wardrobe :D
      And no, I'm a pisces... Don't know anything about astrology, but thanks, that's very sweet of you to say! <3

      Thank you so much for contributing to the discussion with your thoughts and opinions.
      Much love

  6. See, for me, it wasn't the first comment that annoyed me. Him saying you looked better without makeup - that wasn't the big blow. It was how he continued to comment after that - calling you a feminist (aka calling you a bitch bc THAT is what feminism really is these days, right? UGH!) and then saying you must drive your boyfriend crazy. Like, hello? Where does he get off? I could see the initial comment not being so bad without those add-ons!

    1. Haha! Yeah I suppose you're right. He didn't exactly continue in a very good way!
      I tend to agree with you though. If he had left it at the initial comment it wouldn't have been nearly as bad.
      Thanks for your comment! <3 You made me laugh.
      Much love

  7. I think it has more to do with someone saying it at all in the first place, man or woman!! Generally it comes from a man more when you happen to be a woman, but the same rules should apply for man or woman. If we want equality, we have to think in an equal manner. Not everyone is caught up to that yet, but it's how it should be. Gorgeous dress doll xx

    1. I agree with you to a certain point. I agree that we should judge a persons behaviour on the same basis regardless of gender.
      And hopefully one day we will be able to live in an equal world.
      Thank you very much!
      Much love