So there's this article on a UK feminist web site about the evils our patriarchal society thrusts on women. You can read it here. It's the sort of thing that's been surfacing a lot lately - how the media is filled with images of an airbrushed perfection that is impossible for women to obtain in real life, and the horrors of women trying to live up to that standard.
This is all true, but lately, these articles are going completely overboard and simply making the problem worse. They're truly turning it into a Battle of the Sexes.
Personally, I like men. Not boys; not the twits who leer at you as you walk across a parking lot; not the assholes who think that women were put on the earth for the purpose of pleasing males; but actual men who, after all, are simply human beings with different appendages than women.
So I posted a comment that turned into a rant (via StumbleUpon, rather than on the actual site), and after I was finished I decided I should put it here as well, because I said a few things that no none else seems to be saying. Also, because they didn't allow enough room for my full rant. :P
So here it is - let the hate mail begin:
This (article) starts out okay but then veers over the edge. Yes, it's true, society puts completely unrealistic pressures on women to achieve a level of perfection that's simply impossible without artificial help. And it's wrong, and it's making it impossible for men and women to have normal relationships, and it's screwing up a lot of women's lives and destroying their self esteem. And it's making younger women and girls think that the only thing that matters in life is having men find you attractive. And it's indirectly causing a lot of college age women to pull all that Girls Gone Wild crap in an effort to attract men's attention. These things are all true. However:
There's been a lot of similar articles lately decrying the trend of women wanting to be a size zero. Oh, the horrors! Um, hello, people? Size zero of today is what was called a size 8 or so a few years ago. Size zero is not anything close to emaciated, it's just slim and healthy. Size 8 - and I'm going to probably the only person with the balls to say it - the size 8 of today is FAT. Unhealthily fat. I am SO tired of everyone making excuses for not taking responsibility for their own health. You're not curvy, you're fat. Sophia Loren in her heyday was curvy, but you there with your blob of blubber hanging over your low rise jeans - you're not curvy, you're fat. Put the fork down, and go out and get some exercise! The shape your body is in from eating lots of crap and sitting in front of the computer or TV all day is neither healthy NOR attractive. And no matter how much you trash people who DO take care of their health, deep in your heart you know that they look and feel much better than you do. And guess what? If you actually took care of yourself, your self esteem might increase to the point where you didn't feel like you need to take your clothes off for random strangers just to prove to yourself that you're attractive.
And the bit about plastic surgery - oh, please! I am so tired of the myth that women who have plastic surgery should only do it for themselves. WTF? For themselves? Of course it's not for them...what the heck does any women care about breast size or wrinkles? She's not the one who has to look at it. Women (and at the risk of being non-PC, for this rant, I'm speaking only of straight women) don't get boob jobs because they want to stand in front of a mirror and play with their new big boobs, they get them to look more attractive to men. Whether or not that's a bad thing is a whole separate issue, but don't delude yourself into thinking that you're doing it for yourself. You'd be totally at peace with your B cup breasts if it wasn't for knowing that most men like big breasts. You wouldn't care about a few wrinkles if men didn't have a biological preference for young women. Get the surgery if you want, but be honest about why you're doing it. Personally, I've always had more tolerance for someone who said she was getting a boob job "as a birthday present for my husband" than for someone who said it was something she was doing for herself. Those "for my husband" women always seemed to have a lot more self esteem, frankly. I think that being okay with your body the way it is, but understanding that men are visual and wanting to please one particular man that you love, whether its a boob job or face lift or whatever, is a lot healthier than deluding yourself that you're doing it for yourself. And how can it be sexist, when men do a lot of things to improve the way they look to women? True, it's not been pushed to the same extreme, but the basic desire of people to look more attractive to someone they'd like to be with is there in both sexes.
Then the article goes on about how we should all go around with hairy armpits. Um, right. Yeah, that's empowering. The same way men's hairy armpits are empowering. Yep, that's why they make more money than women - it's their hairy armpits. Did you know that there are porn sites specifically devoted to "hippy chicks"? They feature pictures of naked women with hairy armpits. So...do you shave in order to please the majority of men, or not shave in order to turn on the subset of men that find hairy armpits arousing? Personally, I shave because I'm not a big fan of body hair, period. Deal with it.
They also mentioned that the women being interviewed in the article they were referencing had been asked to rate themselves on a scale of 1-10, and that they had rated themselves a four, and isn't that horrible that they don't have better self esteem. Two thing going on here - first of all, of course they're not going to rate themselves very high; these women are apparently a pop group, and they undoubtedly don't want to appear arrogant. Secondly: how can anyone rate themselves? It is still true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and what one person rates a ten, another might only give a two. If you look like someone's ex-husband, I don't care how hot you think you are, she's only gonna give you a 3 at best.
The basic premise of this article is well intentioned, but they take it to extremes, and all that does is create friction between the sexes. I have said this before - it is possible to both be a feminist AND to like men.
So there it is, with some additions that I didn't have room for in the original post, and now I'm off to shower and shave my legs.