News and Opinions

Facials and Feminism

on . Posted in Feminism.

Image from

Yesterday I went for my first facial treatment. For the past few months I have been thinking about starting to have them. I have been told that they are supposed to make you look more beautiful. I have also heard that they are painful, which has been the main reason for my hesitation. Plus I’ve never paid much attention to the way I look; I mean, I wash my face every day, mask it and moisturise it now and then, but not much else.


I finally got around to giving it a shot yesterday, reasoning that many people do it, and they survive, so it can’t be that bad. Boy, was I wrong. It effing hurt so much that the ladies had to abandon ship after about a minute. I was in tears and would have jumped off the table had I not been petrified by the sight of the lady peering down at me through a huge magnifying glass equipped with a fluorescent light which glinted off her implements of torture. I was crying from the pain and also from the conflict one feels when one’s body pleads with one’s brain: “Why are you doing this to me? Do you not love me?”


It reinforced my hypothesis that facials are anti-feminist. In the Jiniverse, they are right up there with corsets, stiletto heels and stick-thin-supermodel body shapes. They are supposed to enhance, even epitomise, beauty but when these trends are at the height of their fashionable-ness, no one talks about how they hurt the women who subsrcibe to their use. And no one talks about who started the idea that all these looks equal “beautiful”.


I am not against looking decent, clean, presentable. I shower, use deodorant and occasionally perfume, I brush my hair… I ensure that my clothes and shoes are clean, are not tattered, and are not frumpy. I haven’t burnt any of my bras; on the contrary I have favourite brands of bras. And I can achieve all these things and look good enough without suffering any physical pain. However, if things done in the name of beauty cause pain or deformity, then I have trouble drawing the line between the quest for beauty and self-torture. And it is worse when this ideal of beauty is one engendered by a male-dominated society.


I therefore propose the motion “If striving for beauty causes pain, then it is the wrong type of beauty and you don’t need it”. It is also my opinion that feminism has not come forty years to have women accept/expect physical pain as part and parcel of looking beautiful.


PS: Since the time of writing of this article, I have gone for another facial at a different place. It did not hurt very much, mainly because there was numbing gel applied to my face first. I survived. And I think if that episode could be almost painless, then they all can be.

Add comment

Security code

Sign up to receive announcements and updates