Rita Mae Brown on how and why women's appearance played a role in the early feminist rebellion

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Rita Mae Brown: Body Hair & Birkenstocks as Politics
Rita Mae Brown discusses the evolution of beauty ideals and feminism. While photography exposed people to all kinds of ideas of women's beauty beyond high society and royalty, Rita acknowledges that our beauty ideals remain heavily tied to wealth.

The feminist stereotype -- body hair, no makeup, short haircuts, and frumpy clothes -- evolved from an early rebellion against the traditional notions of beauty, appearance, and wealth. However, these were simply tools and symbols for the greater goal of women's empowerment and equality.

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Rita Mae Brown on how and why women's appearance played a role in the early feminist rebellion
Indian Dalit women shout slogans during a protest against a gang-rape of four Dalit girls in Haryana’s Hisar district, as they gather outside the residence of Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in New Delhi, India, Sunday, May 11, 2014. Seven weeks after the incident, families of the victims are protesting in the Indian capital demanding justice for the girls whom they say were allegedly raped by upper caste men. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)
Indian people hold placards and candles as they participate at a candle light vigil as they mark the first anniversary of a young woman's demise after the fatal gang rape, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013. The victim, a 23-year-old physiotherapy student, became a rallying cry for tens of thousands protesting the treatment of women. The outrage spurred the government to adopt more stringent laws that doubled prison terms for rape and criminalized voyeurism, stalking, acid attacks and the trafficking of women. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)
Indian Dalit women shout slogans during a protest against a gang-rape of four Dalit girls in Haryana’s Hisar district, as they gather outside the residence of Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in New Delhi, India, Sunday, May 11, 2014. Seven weeks after the incident, families of the victims are protesting in the Indian capital demanding justice for the girls whom they say were allegedly raped by upper caste men. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)
A Pakistani Muslim devotee woman prays at the shrine of saint Mian Mir Sahib during the 368th death anniversary of the saint in Lahore on January 31, 2012. The famous saint was equally popular among the Muslim and Sikh religions, as Mian Mir went to Amritsar in December 1588 to lay the foundation stone of Sikh's holiest Golden Temple, which is commonly known as Sri Harminder Sahib. AFP PHOTO / ARIF ALI (Photo credit should read Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images)
Women chant slogans as they march in a "Slut Walk" to protest the mistreatment of women in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, May 25, 2013. The sign at center reads in Portuguese "I don't want to hear more about women getting raped, I just want to be free" "Slut Walks" have been held around the world, asserting that women's rights should be respected no matter their occupation, beliefs, age, or physical appearance. The protests originated in Toronto, Canada, where they were sparked by a police officer's remark that women could avoid being raped by not dressing like "sluts." (AP Photo/Nelson Antoine)
A woman holds a rosary as she speaks to women making a "Slut walk" in favor of abortion rights and women's rights on Copacabana beach near the site of a vigil that is part of World Youth Day celebrations attended by Pope Francis in Rio de Janeiro, Saturday, July 27, 2013. The sign at top right reads in Portuguese "My mother and I, we're both sluts." (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
People attend a demonstration calling on the government to rescue the kidnapped girls of the government secondary school in Chibok, in Abuja, Nigeria, Thursday, May 22, 2014. Scores of protesters chanting "Bring Back Our Girls" marched in the Nigerian capital Thursday as many schools across the country closed to protest the abductions of more than 300 schoolgirls by Boko Haram, the government's failure to rescue them and the killings of scores of teachers by Islamic extremists in recent years. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
A South African school girl, with traditional African paint markings on her face, stand with other children and religious leaders as they take part in a silent protest in support of the kidnapped school girls from Chibok Secondary school in Abuja, Nigeria, that were abducted a month ago, in Cape Town, South Africa, Friday, May 16, 2014. Amid apparent security concerns, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has cancelled a trip to the traumatized town from which Islamic extremists abducted more than 300 schoolgirls a month ago. Two officials in the presidency confirmed the cancellation on Friday. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)
FILE - In this March 8, 2014 file photo, Myanmarese refugee women handcuff, blindfold and cover their mouths with black cloths during a protest on International Women's Day in New Delhi. Myanmarese in Delhi alleged their government used forms of violence against women as weapons of war and demanded an end to it. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal, FIle)
Myanmarese refugees participate in a protest on International Women's Day in New Delhi, India Saturday, March 8, 2014. Myanmarese in Delhi alleged their government used forms of violence against women as weapons of war and demanded an end to it. They also urged India for protection from sexual violence, healthcare and education for their children in India. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)
FILE - In this Nov. 25, 2013 file photo, women with fake bruises painted on their faces protest to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women outside the government palace in Quito, Ecuador. "People are beginning to make the connection between the violence and how women are treated on a day to day basis," said Liesl Gerntholtz, director of the Women's Rights Division of Human Rights Watch. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa, File)
Activists from a variety of non-government organizations hold placards during a procession organized to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, in Kolkata, India, Monday, Nov. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)
A young Romanian woman wearing make up to suggest she is a victim of domestic violence takes part in a protest in Bucharest, Romania, Friday, Nov. 25, 2011. Dozens of women gathered in protest on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women demanding the introduction of the restraining order in Romanian legislation. Romania is a European Union member state but has no proper legal framework to combat domestic violence against women, with police unable to intervene if acts of violence take place inside the couple's home.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
CORRECTS DAY - A demonstrator with her body painted in Portuguese words "Free. My body. My rules" screams as she beats a drum and another holds up a stick of lipstick during a protest against sexism and in defense of women's rights in Brasilia, Brazil, Saturday, June 22, 2013. Demonstrators once again took to the streets of Brazil on Saturday, continuing a wave of protests that have shaken the nation and pushed the government to promise a crackdown on corruption and greater spending on social services. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
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