Sunday, October 18, 2009

On Feminism

I just have to spotlight this wonderfully funny, very well-written piece on how Spanx illustrates the physical illusions women go through to look attractive.
But the truth is that I love glamour. I love coquettish lingerie. I also love Häagen-Dazs, and making out, and that red polka-dot swing dress I can't quite fit into right now, and comfort, and male attention, and sometimes I think the real trick of womanhood (of adulthood, probably) is toggling back and forth between those desires without losing yourself in any one. Of course I would love to be the woman who slips on that dress and looks fabulous without ancillary assistance, but let me tell you I did give that a whirl, and I looked possibly pregnant. And while the gentleman caller may or may not have cared, I know that I cared, desperately, that I would spend the whole evening at an otherwise enjoyable get-together tugging and twisting and turning at improbable angles. And so the Spanx gave me a jolt of confidence, a license to swing my hips lustily and allow strangers' eyes to linger over my body without fidgeting and land surprise make-outs with gentleman callers, and that is a pretty smashing bargain for $10 at Target. (emphasis mine)
And that's how I've come to view feminism. The more I read--through all the critiques and criticisms, the hand-wringing and the angst--it seems to come down to balancing as best as possible your own beliefs, the necessary compromises. Because feminism alone, as a theory, isn't practical, isn't sustainable in the day-t0-day, and there always is a tension between say, wanting men's attention and not wanting to want men's attention. Or in popular parlance, the Madonna-whore dichotomy. Women are largely both, just in different spheres, at different times.

1 comment:

petpluto said...

it seems to come down to balancing as best as possible your own beliefs, the necessary compromises.

I think that's pretty much all of life and beliefs and not just feminism.

I work in an EXTREMELY prejudiced environment; there are statements about interracial couples and Indians in relation to 9/11 and homosexuals that literally make me stop in my tracks because I can't believe anyone would say something that horrible that casually. And I have to stop and think, "Is this a battle I can win? Is this a battle worth me fighting at this time? Am I betraying my liberal ideals by letting such statements go unchallenged?"

And the truth is, yes. I am. But I have to, in order to get through my day without being the office pariah / on the short list to get fired.