Saturday, 28 July 2007

observer women's monthly makes us spit - i love you

im in a really blogging mood today. i think it is because i never get to write in my diary anymore. i spend so many mornings at my boyfriend's flat, and the morning was when i would always sit with my diary and fill "her" in with what had been happening. Bowl of porridge, cup of coffee, the Today show. i think i just need to find a different schedule.
all that was by the by. i just feel like writing all the thoughts in my head today.
so, i was musing over the blogosphere and returned to one of my favourites, the observer women's monthly makes me spit blog.
i love it because i really hate the owmm. once i thought maybe it would be a break from the run of the mill trash that women's magazines are, but so quickly it descended in to your usual awful, self congratulatory self loathing nightmare.
the last issue had some real classics in it. Polly Vernon interviewing Bjork was a good start. She talked about what she wore a lot. then said she was going to ask about her feminism, and then didn't. instead she asked her about current and ex boyfriends. Then Hilary Duff gave a great summary of what she knows about men. These are my favourite bits:
"I'm not, like, a crazy feminist. I think women definitely need men. Like, I couldn't imagine having a girlfriend!"
"im not really a flirt, but i am a girl.i'm not a tramp, or a whore, but i do manipulate men when i feel like it. Girls bat their eyelashes, and act like they don't know anything in front of guys they like"
"Women are definitely home-makers"
" I don't need someone who, like, has as much as me, but I don't want someone who has much less because then you never really feel taken care of. And it would always make a guy feel not like a man."
this kind of bullshit makes me so angry! young women have so little self worth it seems to me, and they are presented with role models who believe that for a guy to feel like a man, he should be rich. what is that? im all for women being home makers if that is what they want to do, but i don't think women have to be or naturally are.
the thing that is most odd is that miss duff will probably never be a home maker in the real sense of the real world.
and what a way to eliminate all lesbians from the planet in one foul swoop! man, i hilary can't imagine it, like queen victoria before her, then it can't possibly happen. alternatively, we are returning to the old maxim that she can't be a feminist because she isn't a lesbian.either way...
i always think, imagine yourself as a young and impressionable girl, and you heard someone who is in the public eye saying it is ok to act dumb to get a guy to like you. i'm sorry - what? don't they see how dangerous this is? if you act stupid to get guys to fancy you, then surely they're are going to value you lower than you're worth. why hide your intelligence or your spirit, that is what makes you interesting and attractive, and any boy who wants some hair twiddling 'don't ask me, im just a girl' pose obviously has zero respect for women. but this behaviour is encouraged by the jessica simpsons and paris hiltons of the world as acceptable. and once this happens, once you snare a man on the basis of having no personality beyond blank smiles, then your whole worth becomes valued by the person you are sleeping with, not on you as a woman.
Which brings me to another thing...WAGS. in my mind, they personify this new/old phenomena on how we value women. when did it become acceptable again for women to become defined by who they are sleeping with? what message is it sending out to girls that they have no merit if they don't have the right guy on their arm, that they by themsleves are worth very little. take chanelle on BB (which i haven't watched this year) saying she wanted to marry a footballer and then get a column in a paper or magazine. why not work to get that column and do so because you are a talented and worthwhile woman, not because you married someone. be your own fucking person and own it lady, don't depend on a man for your identity!
back to the blog tho. they had a lot of really interesting responses to a piece on women's bodies. it raised a discussion about the nature of yo yo dieting, plastic surgery and self harm. Since reading Germaine Greer's essay on mutilation (i think) in "The Whole Woman" i have really thought a lot about how plastic surgery is a form of self harm. not for all maybe, but definitely in many ways. but it is accepted, because the scars that give you big tits are fine, but the ones across your arms are ugly and wrong. i can't speak for all plastic surgery, but from the sound of liz jones, she had hers due to huge problems of self loathing:
" I starved myself, and so of course I didn't grow breasts"
having recovered from anorexia, liz jones grew breasts which she saw as "obscene" so she had them removed. Now:
"I can't feel anything in my breasts, and I will never be able to breast-feed (a bit of a moot point, given my two-decade-long sabbatical from men due to my breast phobia), and the scars mean I have never felt liberated by my flatchestedness; I have never been able to sunbathe topless, for example, or wear Versace gowns slashed to the waist, but how often do those situations arise? When I was finally, fleetingly married, my poor husband never got to see or touch my breasts;"
"Now that I am on my own again I can go back to not being a woman any more. I am alone, I no longer have to play netball or hockey. I no longer have to be seen naked. It's fine, really."
This woman to me is seriously sick. she chose to have her breasts removed because she saw her body as obscene. she sounds desperate by the end of the piece. but this kind of loathing of your body is something that women are almost expected to have. adverts everywhere are telling you that you're body is wrong and needs improving. take the beach gorgeous advert right now. apparently you shouldn't even think about taking that wrap off if you haven't waxed, painted, faked and exfoliated. every day women are told that they're bodies need improving, and if you don't want to change your appearance, then why the hell not? we even have to have cosmetic surgery ads on tv now, saying that to have real confidence, you have to be mutilated.
the thing that struck me most was the fact that liz jones had no feeling in her breasts and would never be able to beast feed. once i saw a picture of tara reid completely oblivous to the fact that her breast was exposed, because she had no feeling in it. now, i don't know about you, but having feeling in my breasts is kind of a big deal. they're sexual things, and they're meant to feel nice. equally, when i have a baby, i wouldn't want to be denied breast feeding. it's important. no offence to women who don't breast feed, but it is something that would matter to me and something i want to experience with my baby. it seems to me that to deny women feeling in their breasts is to desexualise them, castrate them almost, whilst conversely big breasts are a highly sexualised object in our society. so, simultaneously you are changing your body to make it more visually sexualised to men, whether this is your intention or not, whilst denying your own sexuality.
that is fucked up. and yet it goes beyong boob jobs. the whole enforcing of self loathing in women is a further method of denying their sexuality. if when you are in bed with someone, and you spend most the time worrying about how you look naked, or semi naked, it is much harder to enjoy yourself. but women are constantly made to feel ashamed of their bodies if they do not match up to an unnatural and faked standard. having spent years hating my body, i now treasure it and am grateful for all that it gives me, even if i do insist on abusing it with alcohol and party fuelled weekends...
i am sick of it. observer women's monthly makes us spit are sick of it. we need to teach young girls that they are worth better than what their so called role models are offering them.

No comments: