On womanhood

Quick update: Still unemployed, less depressed, though not sleeping still. That will hopefully come, though I’m getting really sick of watching the sun rise on the wrong end of it.

So seems how I’ve talked about nothing useful for a while, I figured I’d post something thoughtful and insightful today. Anyone who knows me is well aware that I am passionate and extremely verbal about equality and civil rights. It doesn’t really matter what particular civil right issue it is- fat rights, women’s rights, gay rights, protecting and promoting improvement in civil rights for people of color, protecting every citizen’s right to vote no matter what, whatever, I staunchly support everyone having equal rights in this country.

Being a woman, women’s rights and how we are treated both in the US and around the world is disheartening at times. I like to think we’re making progress but with all of the anti-women legislation that’s been popping up for the last couple of years, I can’t decide if this is just the death knell of some part of the patriarchy or not. What I do know is that I am acutely aware of rape culture, and how the patriarchy inherent in this country holds women down. Glass ceilings, double standards, pay disparity, unpaid maternity leave, draconian new laws about very personal health decisions that is nobody else’s business but our own… All of it is very disheartening. Naomi Wolf does an excellent job addressing how our physical appearance is used against us in “The Beauty Myth.” Read it; it’s a fantastic book, though I can only read a few pages at a time before I’m seeing red again and have to stop.

This post on Everyday Feminism was brilliant: Sad Spinsters and Crazy Cat Ladies: Why Society Shames Single Women and how to Celebrate the Single Life Instead. It goes into the deep history of all of this deeply bred societal nonsense that teaches us to hate ourselves and to hate other women, and be obsessed with getting married and having a family, and shames women who don’t embrace that choice (or actively rebuke it) in every possible way. Good read. It also contains this fabulous jewel: Don’t drink the Haterade, ladies. (It tastes like oppression and it’s way past its expiration date)

I recently discovered Thought Catalog, which is a very interesting site. New things “trend” all the time and pop up on my Facebook. While I don’t always agree with it (they do post things from all kinds of points of view,) two recent articles caught my attention.

24 Lies People Like to Tell Women is a checklist of the… well, lies, that we are being fed every day. It’s sort of refreshing and empowering to SEE these lies in print versus just in our subconscious, so we can take away the power they have over us, or at least be aware of their existence.

Hating Other Women is Toxic runs in the same vein, and talks about how women are pitted against each other, and how we hate each other and get jealous of one another, and that is encouraged in our culture. (There is a trigger warning on the article, so be mindful.) Naomi Wolf talks about this in the Beauty Myth too, as another way women are oppressed and kept from our full potential by being bogged down in this petty bullshit. Her actual quote: “A culture fixated on female thinness is not an obsession about female beauty, but an obsession about female obedience. Dieting is the most potent political sedative in women’s history; a quietly mad population is a tractable one.” – Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women (So she doesn’t *quite* use the same vernacular as I, but that’s really what it is: so much petty bullshit to keep us distracted.)

If we’re supposed to be counting calories, spending x hours at the gym, spending x hours getting ready every day, keeping track of the clothing and makeup and shoe trends, raising a family, managing a household, being married or dating, AND working full time?

Something’s gotta give. And it’s usually us. Women tend to put their own health off, making sure their significant other and children are getting regular checkups, and then quietly dying of preventable diseases because they felt they were less important. This has been ingrained since childhood, carefully socialized into us by so much media that we don’t even see it as a problem. We’re quietly going mad over our appearance. We’re obsessing over every wrinkle, every gray hair, every tiny pinch of cellulite that dot our amazing bodies as we age. We pore over magazines of women that have been photoshopped to within an inch of her life into this being that is so impossibly perfect it’s beginning to wander into Uncanny Valley. Hell, Cindy Crawford once said I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford,” referring to a picture of herself in a magazine. Multiple celebrities have fought back against this, but they can’t stop the frenzy alone. We all have to reject this. We all have to fight back. After all, women are 51% of the population; a majority who still hold but a fraction of the wealth and power in this country and in the world.

It’s time to overthrow the patriarchy.

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