Dear Marooned Alien Princess,
It’s election season again, and I am unable to sincerely put my support behind any of these campaigns. As a person of color, I am feeling guilted about how my ancestors died so I can vote. I know it’s my duty as a citizen, but this seems like the old South Park episode where we are being forced to choose between a douchebag and a shit sandwich again. Should I just try to suss out the lesser evil as always?
Oh, gosh. Election season is when going around harassing people about their opinions is referred to as “campaigning.” Where you have to put your support behind somebody whether you like them or not, for the greater good or some shit. It’s honestly triggering these days for me, so I don’t blame you for feelin’ some kinda way. There’s a strong element of completely disrespecting our agency and wishes, which is ironic and creepy as fuck given they’re screaming “democracy!” while they do it.
What the fuck kind of democracy do we live in where all we have to choose from is between a vulgar Oompa Loompa orange mogul and a warmongering white lady? Bernie Sanders is also a factor, but the guy is still another old white man who is really behind as to people of color’s issues, try as he has as of late. And his contingent of supporters can get scary, however progressive they claim to be. Some white male “Bernie Bros” are keen on being belligerent, condescending, violent dicks to women of color for the sake of Bernie’s win. It doesn’t really inspire confidence, you know?
As a person of color, I’d bet money I don’t have that none of our ancestors died for a forced choice between guaranteed miserable outcome one and guaranteed miserable outcome two. If they died for us to have a choice? It was so we’d have a good fuckin’ choice. Not this obligatory trash.
Listen, I have feelings about elections. I grew up watching President Balaguer commit electoral fraud in the Dominican Republic over and over to remain in power. His party would lie, disappear votes, and cut out the electricity if the vote count wasn’t favorable to him. The power would come back on and he’d suddenly be the winner by a landslide. There’s a helplessness to that I can’t explain, when you have been owned and lorded over and tricked for hundreds of years. Calling that “choice” is a cruel joke.
When I first attempted to join the electorate in the U.S., I was heartbroken. The only year I ever voted was the year Bush lost to Gore by popular vote but was installed anyway through fraud. I pretty much stopped believing that my vote counts. I find it gaslighting as shit to not mention that outcome when elections roll around. We are supposed to forget that they blatantly discarded what the people wanted and went with who the oligarchy chose.
There’s also an abusive dynamic to all this. The denial of our agency, the guilting and vilifying us for not being comfortable with assholes. The forcing us to choose people we know will harm us because we aren’t allowed other options. And then calling it democracy like we somehow had a say in it. That figures, considering our modern society is a giant abuse cycle.
You get to say NO. To unwanted advances. To unwanted liaisons. To unwanted PRESIDENTS. Nobody can force you to choose things you don’t want, period. If they do, that is no longer choice. It is dictatorship.
Dear Marooned Alien Princess,
I enjoy following you for your love of cosmetics as well as your love for talking about “serious” issues. My problem is I feel dependent on makeup and other enhancers, like I am not good enough to be “all natural.” I really do feel more confident when I have my makeup and hair extensions. Am I a disgrace of a self-hating woman?
You are no disgrace, love. You are merely human. We live in a petty, vain society that mistreats us based on how we look. The enhancements we wear often help us to better fit beauty ideals. Beauty is power. More perceived beauty for women leads to more perceived humanity, better treatment, and more access to resources. To feel better when you are being treated better is absolutely merited and normal.
While some of us wear makeup because it’s fun, some of us have skin conditions to cover up, or simply feel prettier with it on. All of those are OK reasons to wear makeup, because guess what: It’s your face and you get to do WTF you want with it.
The world is cruel. They will put you down for what they call defects, put you down for feeling bad about yourself, and then put you down for feeling confident too. The darker you are as a woman, the more shit you will get, whether you feel good or bad about yourself or in between.
They put us down for not fitting their ideals and then trash us for altering our appearance to be more what they deem acceptable. If you think you’re cute as you are, they will then remind you they don’t think you deserve to love yourself.
The “natural” look they worship only applies if you naturally look like a mannequin. That never goes for those of us with pores, pockmarks, acne, skin conditions, etc. They hate us for being all-natural in that case. We get no praise for not caking things on our face like their so-called vain hoes.
Self-love is also now seen as mandatory, a thing to be shamed for if you don’t have it, all while they pick us apart. Somehow, the point is always to dictate how we can and can’t feel, not to help us. Help would be to offer loving acceptance and support, to put in work to change society so we are not dehumanized for things as simple as appearance.
The darker and more marginalized we are, the more effort we have to put in to be considered acceptable, too. Rich white hipsters can be raggedy and dirty and it’s cool. Lower class black women in the same garb and conditions are considered sad ghetto trash. But we are also judged for dressing up when we are poor. Nothing we do is ever enough to be human.
I’d love to wake up in the morning and roll out of bed feeling I was cute enough like that, too. But society begs to differ, and abuses me more if I do. It’s gotten to the point where I see women who walk around in sweats without makeup and wish I could feel as comfortable as them. What that really means: I wish I could still be treated like a human being if I did. Cosmetics can be serious business.
We can be adversely affected by how the world mistreats us. But we get to cope however we can. We get to find comfort in whatever the fuck we can. And we get to do whatever makes us feel most beautiful.