If you’re a woman or girl, you’ve been “beauty trolled.” It doesn’t matter if you’re between the ages of five and 12, in your mid-thirties like comedian Amy Schumer, or a “real woman” with the yoga pants and dry hair spray to prove it. “Beauty trolling” is when someone, somewhere puts on their best Joan Rivers face and Fashion Polices you to toe the sexist trope that the most important thing a woman or girl needs to do is look a certain way. You know, patriarchy.
And now, even Lego is doing it. Tucked within the pages of Lego’s new Lego Club Magazine are “Emma’s Beauty Tips,” according to a writer over at the New York Times‘ Motherlode column. The intended audience for these beauty tips is five- to 12-year-old girls. There’s talk of “heart faces” and “square faces” and all the appropriate hairstyles for the aforementioned. Here’s an actual string of words found in the magazine — “soften the edges of your face.”
Imagine with me for a minute. You’re a spry six-year-old who wants to build a house. Guys would call this being “a little architect”; Lego calls it building “Heartlake City” complete with salons and cafes. Also, lots of flowers and purple. But you look past it. You take the crumb they give you because Lego cornered the market in gender neutral blocks a long time ago and you really want to build something. You’re loving architecture so much that your parents encourage you by handing over a magazine you’re sure is filled with so many ideas and examples. ON HOW TO LOOK PRETTY.
Back in the day there was a movie called Fried Green Tomatoes and the Kathy Bates character said she wanted to put little bombs inside the pages of Playboy and Penthouse so when you opened them, they’d explode. Girl, if I could do that for you — all you girl architects — so for one day you wouldn’t have to deal with a company or person telling you to be pretty above all else, I’d do it. TAWANDA!
Now, I’ve been a girl for a long time — all my life actually–so why does this surprise me? It doesn’t, right, but what fascinates me is when girls and women have the exact same problem except there’s thirty years between them, and there’s tangible evidence.
Amy Schumer is at the top of her comedic game and set to release her new movie, Trainwreck, which she also stars in. Recently, during Night of Too Many Stars, a comedy benefit for autistic children and adults, Schumer — in five minutes — highlighted the sexist bullshit and beauty trolling women and girls deal with daily from infancy to the grave. Schumer may be blonde and she may be white, but even then it’s not enough for the beauty trolls. It will never be enough, which is important to know. And it bears repeating: nothing any woman ever does will be enough. You have to do you, first, and then hit them where it hurts: with the truth by succeeding any way.
Which is why at The Broad Side we started a petition at Change.org to have Lego make the Supreme Court Justice set — The Women Supremes — for our daughters (and sons). We need 10,000 signatures and we’re a quarter of the way there. Let’s make this happen.