Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Link While I'm Sorting Out Thoughts on Something Else

To jump into the trainwreck, or not to jump into the trainwreck? And, am I being dismissive and insulting by referring to it as a trainwreck? What if it really, really, really looks like one? These questions are the instruments of my torment.

Knowing myself I will probably jump in. What's life without a little risk, or something.

In the meantime, though, here's something from a woman who can actually get her shit together long enough to write well about it:

I wanted to comment on this post of Helen's back when it first appeared, but then I got distracted (see above). She's discussing On Beauty by Zadie Smith (which I haven't read myself) and, more generally, self-loathing in women.

Part of the reason I hesitated to comment at the time was because I got hung up wondering what factors enabled me to . . . well, I don't know that I should say escape the self-loathing thing, but I do think it's less an issue for me than it is for some, at least with regards to looks and appearance. Now that I think about it, I certainly do loathe myself for other things from time to time, some having to do with meeting the bullshit standards of traditional femininity ("Oh no, there's a ball of cat fur rolling around the kitchen floor like a tumbleweed across the plain; what would my mother say?") and some of the ordinary variety all human beings experience now and then, which in my own case usually goes something like, "Did I really knock back that much vodka last night? Did I knock back that much vodka and then get on the internet? Fuck, did I post anything? Please tell me I emailed no one, commented nowhere, and posted nothing. PLEASE."

But what's bugging me is that I feel like I should apologize, in a way, for NOT hating my body. Or: The line I had originally right after ". . . less an issue for me than it is for some" in this post was, "Keep in mind that it could just be that I am enormously conceited." I think I feel compelled to be self-effacing about it because deep down I recognize that I, me-myself-I, probably have jack-diddly to do with this fortunate circumstance. I got lucky and had some good role models, or my love of food just outweighs (ho, HO!) my love of chic size-6 clothing. I have no idea; I just doubt I can personally take any credit for it, and I don't want to imply to any of y'all that I think I deserve some.

Anyway, read Helen's thoughts about beauty and loathing, 'cause mine are clearly in a mess, just like the kitchen floor.

While I am recommending you some Helen, let me add that this is one of my favorite pictures of hers. That wig! How much do I want that wig? It is awesome, just like Helen.


Anonymous said...

I see this all the time in my teenage daughter; not only is part of being a young woman voicing one's disgust with oneself, but find a young woman who is happy, and says so, with herself, and the whole pack turns on her and demands apology. Don't, don't, don't apologize for liking yourself. I admire it immensely and if I could transplant it I'd be demanding you hand over a pound of bits for processing...gennmcmahon

Auguste said...

Of possibly related interest.

ilyka said...

Don't, don't, don't apologize for liking yourself.

No worries--deep down, I don't feel a bit sorry. My hesitation is one part survivor guilt ("how did I get out of this when all those other people . . . ?") and one part not wanting to shut others down.

I used to write these rants about sexism by conservative male bloggers (I refer to this pretentiously as my "pissing into the wind" phase of blogging), see, and not once but twice I received a trackback link from a woman whose sole point was to say that SHE'D never experienced any sexism from conservatives, and she was not only female but black, so QED, there are no sexists or racists on the right. I can't stand that sort of thing, that my-experience-extrapolates-to-ALL-experience sort of thinking, and it was particularly galling given that at the same time I was receiving emails from right-wing women who did not wish to say so publicly (I can't imagine why; I mean, there's no sexism!), but who privately were thanking me for speaking up.

Anyway, I didn't want to come off as That Person in Helen's comments, like, "Hey, it's real easy: Just be like me! Problems solved!"

Finally, it's also one part that I probably was more obsessed with what I looked like back when I was 20; only, time and substances have permitted the relief of forgetting how miserable it felt.

Auguste: Here's what I don't get: Airbrushing and later Photoshopping have been fairly well-publicized techniques for some time now. Yet you could take a still of the model in the first ad Lauren links from "before," contrast it with a still from "after," and I am not kidding when I say I know guys who would assert their refusal to have anything to do with "before," even more enthusiastically assert their desire to be all over "after," and then, to top it all off, swear up and down that "before" and "after" could not possibly be the same woman.

Which all raises the question: ARe they stupid?

I got in an argument a long time ago with a guy who wanted to argue about whether Teri Polo was too thin. Well, I mean, really, this photo had just been taken a few weeks prior, so to me it was a damned pointless argument.

But what he wanted to use as evidence that she was NOT too thin were some pictures she'd done for Playboy, in which of course she looked great. I told him I wasn't going to argue about the build of an essentially imaginary woman anymore than I was going to argue about whether the Pillsbury Dough Boy needs to limit his saturated fat intake. When you're pointing to any professionally done photography of any women in any print publication anymore as proof that women are Just Fine, you've already lost the argument.

Dr. Alice said...

"Did I really knock back that much vodka last night? Did I knock back that much vodka and then get on the internet? Fuck, did I post anything? Please tell me I emailed no one, commented nowhere, and posted nothing. PLEASE."

Thank God I'm not the only one.
That's all I have to say, really, right now. Except hey, good to see you, and I've tried to post comments but that Blogger beta program thing wouldn't let me, so I'm trying again.

Kaethe said...

I don't have a lot of body issues these days. No good reason, not enlightened or anything, I'm just too damn lazy to care. Same thing with clothes, makeup, hairstyles, a languid flap of my wrist and a half-hearted "whatever." As long as I can get away with wearing decades-old sweatshirts to work, I don't have to waste time shopping.

It's not that I like myself better than I did when I was 20, it's just that I had so much more free time to fret in those days.