To my fellow females:For every one of you who capitulates to unfair standards of beauty, it is THAT MUCH HARDER for the rest of us to resist.
When you deny yourself food when you are hungry, when you call yourself names, when you spend way too much money on clothing and makeup, when you let yourself feel guilty for eating dessert, when you spend more time and money than you can afford to on bringing your appearance into line with The Man’s dictates, IT AFFECTS US TOO.
It affects me. It affects my friends. It affects my younger sister and my little cousins.
Stop judging your worth by your appearance, like you’re some collector’s doll or a show dog. Stop doing things that you think are stupid just because it’s culturally mandated. Stop accepting standards of beauty without asking where they come from, what they signify, what you think of them. Stop, stop, stop.
Don’t you see, this heaviness you feel, we all feel it and for us part of the heaviness is what you have added by complying? And yes, some of your heaviness is my fault. It belongs to me too.
Your compliance is significant. Your surrender carries weight. Your capitulation is not just personal.
I am angry, yes. At myself too.
I’m going to keep saying no to all this bullshit, even when it hurts and it’s really tiring. I’m going to look my reflection in the eye even when it’s all wrong, and I’m not going to say that I FEEL FAT like “fat” is an actual emotion. I’m not going to idolize women who are clearly sick, or saturate my life with images of them. I’m going to eat as much as I need and I’m going to keep it down, and I’m going to do what I want to do even when I’m not confident in my appearance.
I don’t want to come off like I’m saying I’m a saint, somehow stronger than all this and above all this; frankly I cannot deal with myself and these pressures sometimes and please, I still struggle with disordered eating to an extent; I know what poison is like.
But I need this defiance even more. I need to know that I am not making this society any more oppressive for those of us born with two X chromosomes.
And you see, the flip side is this: if your surrender means something, then your defiance means even more.
Living within the lie can constitute the system only if it is universal … therefore everyone who steps out of line denies it in principle and threatens it in its entirety … As soon as the alternative appears, it threatens the very existence of appearance and living a lie in terms of what they are, both their essence and their all-inclusiveness. And at the same time, it is utterly unimportant how large a space this alternative occupies: its power does not consist in its physical attributes but in the light it casts on those pillars of the system and on its unstable foundations.- Václav Havel
So if you decide to give the finger to The Man and his beauty culture, I’ll be there with you. We can stand together and wave at the horizon and tell each other when we notice each other starting to cave, and then help hold each other up. You won’t be there alone. Promise.
love and defiance,