Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A lesson in what not to do...and other items.

When a conversation comes up about the immense pressure on people (especially women and girls) to conform to society's extremely narrow beauty standard and people voice their dismay at the difficulty involved in trying to keep our heads above water and above all the steaming, wretched horseshit thrust at us every single day, the way to reassure those participating in the conversation isn't to post up a picture of a Hollywood actress who is slightly larger than the average Hollywood actress as evidence of what a "real" woman looks like.

First of all, let's take a 101 break: EVERY woman is a "real" woman. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. The woman who is 100 pounds soaking wet is as much a woman as one who is 300 pounds. The whole "the only women who are REAL women are ones who have meat on their bones" trope is silly-ass and wrong, so you need to get that through your noggin now, thank you.

Second of all, posting up a photograph of a woman whose body shape is one that would be just as difficult to obtain for many women as obtaining an extremely slender body shape doesn't address the ultimate issue, which is society's extraordinarily small range of what is considered beautiful and the resulting, massive pressure upon all of us, women and men, to conform to that standard. So sit back, think a bit, contemplate the bigger picture.

Third of all...well, there is no third of all at the moment. Or maybe there is, I've still got time on my hands to yap for a bit longer. I found myself astounded a bit ago while reading Shakesville - Melissa McEwan linked to an op-ed column on the Chicago Sun-Times website, which I won't link here because I don't want the writer to get any more page hits than she already may be. The op ed is a fat-hating screed done under the guise of "being funny" (those always wind up going oh so well), and it's not particularly surprising in its smugness or its complete fail in the humor department. It reads like something I might have written as a humorous column for my high school newspaper - pretty much shit, shit, shit for 500 words or whatever. But what's truly that a good 98 percent of the comments...TELL HER OFF. There's no "why yes, you're right Crappy Writer, those darn fat people make this world a shitheap"s or the usual claptrap. Like, there are people telling her she's an ignorant butt writing ignorant nonsense! I'm telling you, it's like setting eyes on a wonder of the world seeing internet commenters on a story about fat NOT HATING ON FAT PEOPLE. It's like Bizarro Internet Commenter World, up is down, black is white, dogs and cats living together - MASS HYSTERIA. I'm sure it's an anomaly, but damn, was it refreshing to read.

Oh, and one more thing - holy shit am I sick of the ad for Miller beer or some such shit that takes place at a dog show at a sports arena. The beer guys are appalled, heavens to Betsy are they appalled that a DOG SHOW is being held in a place where such masculine sporting events as basketball and hockey normally take place. Memo to dog showers - your hobby (in some cases, a mighty profitable one) is officially stupid, worthless, and just a wee bit too sissy to be held in a place that celebrates Manly Athletics and sells Miller products. In my view, it's not a gentle tease at the culture of dog showdom, it's a "jeez, those fuckers are weird and obsessed with *dogs* - so if you want to be cool, you'd better not be one of them".

It makes me think of a blog post I started a couple nights ago and then stopped because I was wedging my head far too up my ass and getting too pompous (and believe me, I am plllenty pompous) and Opening Up the Lecture Loft-y about the facts of life. No, not the facts of life involving the birds and bees, but the little things that I wish I knew at an earlier age that might have made certain years of my life a wee bit easier. One of those was that no matter what your interest might be, be it dog shows or "Star Trek" or cosplay or whatever, somebody out there is going to take quite a large amount of delight in shitting all over it. At some point you will be made to feel stupid for liking something or having a certain hobby, and you may be made to feel so bad about it that you abandon something you love in order to avoid the pain that comes with being mocked. If you abandon it, it's certainly understandable because being mocked constantly isn't, you know, fun. But if you can manage it and take refuge in the thing you love and the friends you may have made because of that thing you love, being mocked won't hurt quite as bad and you'll still have your kick-ass whatever it is to enjoy.

One of the best things I ever learned over my years was to stop wasting my time trying to be cool, trying to be hip, trying to be something or someone I wasn't. There is tremendous freedom in not giving a rat's ass and I invite you to try.

1 comment:

Dianae said...

One of the pluses of being 50 plus for me was not caring what others think about me and my "plus size" body. I like to think of it as a body with a little more going for it.
It was a relief giving up the struggle to look like and be like i "should". Funny thing is that now that I'm satisfied with me the way I am I get much less flak from the judgers. Maybe because I seem happy? Or maybe they've given up on my old ass. Either way, it rocks!
I'm not saying you have to be over 50 to get here. It just took me that long to remove the self defeating veil.