I’m wasting no time in crossing things off my 30 Before 30 list – so last night, I got bangs!
What do you think??
Continuing on yesterday’s theme of terrifying advertisements, today I bring you more douchebaggery (no, literally!) via the new Summer’s Eve ad campaign:
I had no idea vaginas had babies ALL BY THEMSELVES! Amazing, I say, simply incredible! Also? Douching is pretty much the opposite of taking care of your “cradle of civilization.” No self-respecting medical professional would ever recommend anyone do such a weird-ass thing to their privates.
Buuuut in a strictly academic sense, at least they’re taking a new approach to helping women get uterine and yeast infections. Just try cradling a civilization after a bout with pelvic inflammatory disease! I dare ya.
“High-maintenance” is often used to describe women we don’t like, but does anyone really know what it means? The phrase “high-maintenance,” like the word “slut” is just another ill-defined insult hurled at women who don’t conform enough, or conform too much, to society’s idealized expectations of femininity. So last time I heard it, I looked it up – Webster’s is no use, so here’s what trusty old Urban Dictionary has to say:
1. Requiring a lot of attention. When describing a person, high-maintenance usually means that the individual is emotionally needy or prone to over-dramatizing a situation to gain attention
2. A person who has expensive taste (re. clothing, restaurants, etc.). This person is never comfortable because he/she is constantly concerned about his/her appearance.
At first, it seems weird that the phrase has two completely different meanings, until you take the time to think about what else the phrase is used to describe. What else can be called high-maintenance? Swimming pools. Layered haircuts. Silk clothing. Fancy cars. Orchids. Conversely, take a peek at what we describe as low-maintenance: Rock gardens. Cotton-poly blends. Cacti. What do these things have in common? They’re all things. So what do we call high-maintenance? Things, and women. ‘Cuz women are things! Get it? Ahhhaahaha. Backslaps all around!
Let’s take the two definitions in order, shall we? The first is a derogatory label for women who dare to ask for emotional support from the people around them. The second is a derogatory label for women who dare to take the time they need in order to conform to society’s expectations of them. By caring about her appearance – as society tells her she must if she is to be worthy of love or even leaving the house – she is punished by being called high-maintenance, shallow, superficial, flippant. But try not caring about your appearance for a sec – go ahead, try it! Stop shaving your legs, wearing makeup, and brushing your hair. See how long you stay employed, how long you keep your boyfriend, how long it takes before your girlfriends start talking about how you’ve let yourself go when you’re not around.
High-maintenance is just another empty phrase thrown around to punish women who falter while walking that razor-thin line of magically conforming to impossible standards of beauty while making it look easy breezy cover girl. Women who slink quietly out of bed to shower and put on makeup and then slink quietly back into bed – so long as they’re not caught – need not worry about being labelled high-maintenance. It’s those who dare to sleep in, and then make their poor sops of male companions wait more than ten minutes while perfecting that foundation and blowout, that need to worry. Or those that, after a rough day at work, occasionally require a few moments of quiet alone time before tending to the passel of squalling brats.
The rub is that, with all things patriarchy, you can’t win. Let your striving show, and you’re a high-maintenance shrew. Don’t strive, and you’re ugly and unlovable, or worse – a feminist.
Any of you readers been called high-maintenance before? I certainly have. One incident comes to mind in particular, when a friend of mine told me that if he didn’t already know me, he probably wouldn’t try to talk to me because I looked “high-maintenance.” I had no idea what he was talking about, and, to some extent, still don’t. Tell your stories in the comments, eh?
According to research featured by the BBC, “pretty women anger more easily.” According to research by me, they have every right to be pissed off.
After all, it’s pretty ladies that are warned not to dress too nicely, or behave too joyously, lest the boys be compelled to physically assault them. It’s pretty ladies who, shortly after being hired, are told that the boss only chose them because they met the minimum standards for attractiveness. And it’s pretty ladies who can’t trust the integrity of their relationships — how do they know they’re loved for themselves, when they’re told every day it’s their looks that sets them apart?
There are lots of studies out there assessing the link between attractiveness and happiness. The interesting thing about this one is that the article skewed the findings to make the anger sound like a bad thing (“uppity bitches!”), when in practice, it turns out it’s actually a good thing:
Attractive women also had higher expectations of what they deserved. … the same women were better at resolving situations in their favour.
So wait. They are good at resolving situations in their favor. They do this by using a tool called anger. Where’s the bad? My guess is the reason the journalist framed his or her story this way is because, culturally, women are supposed to be self-sacrificial martyrs.
The article explains as an afterthought that a similar link in men was found, “…but with physical strength rather than attractiveness per se.” This is interesting for two reasons:
“…blondes rated as more attractive than brunettes and redheads.”
If we can learn anything from this study, it’s that all ladies, whether pretty by society’s standards or not, have damn good reasons to be pissed off.
So go forth and get pissed, ladies and gents. Tell me why you’re pissed, or not, in the comments.
My favorite thing about Facebook is the fact that I get to see pictures of the girls who were mean to me in high school who are now hideously fat. Or burdened with five crackbabies and a meth-dealing ex-husband. Or live in trailer parks. Or, preferably, all three. My least favorite thing about Facebook (other than seeing pictures of the girls who were mean to me in high school who are now fabulously wealthy, accomplished and even more beautiful than they were in adolescence) is receiving messages from boys who were mean to me in high school.
The boys have, without exception, seen the error of their ways, and are hoping to get back in touch. And by “error of their ways,” I mean “my boobies,” and by “getting back in touch,” they mean “with my boobies.” It’s amazing what losing 10 pounds, gaining two cup sizes, getting contacts and learning to love tequila shots will do for a girl’s popularity.
And now all the boys love me! There’s nothing like going from a chubby bespectacled über-nerd to a slender full-bosomed über-nerd to reinforce one’s complete and utter lack of faith in humanity. It’s like a real-life “She’s All That,” except instead of Freddie Prinze there’s just cynicism.
That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed the attention from time to time. My favorite message came from a boy I don’t remember who honestly confessed to having had a crush on me back in the day, when I was ugly and wore stretch pants. Whether ‘twas a cover story or not, it surely gave me the warm fuzzies. My least favorite message came not from Facebook, but in person during one of those “ let’s reconnect over drinks but this isn’t a date OK?” things:
Him: “You’re hot now!”
Me: “Um, thanks.”
Him: “I mean, you used to be all, Sarah with the glasses. And now you’re all… Sarah with the hotness!”
Me: “OK then. I think I’ll go home and wash my hair.”
Him: “But I want to get you drunk!”
Me: “Sure you do, honey.”
What’s a girl to make of all this? Are there any lessons to be taken away other than “humans are hopelessly, incurably shallow and narcissistic”? Should I take advantage of the few years of attractiveness I have left before age sets in to turn the tables on these would-be suitors and be terribly cruel to them? Would they get the message? Or would they just mutter “bitch” under their breath and find some other girl to torment? Either way I doubt it’d make me feel any better.
*Please note: I am neither Lindsay Weir nor Lindsay Lohan, just in case you were confused. I didn’t feel like digging up pictures of me IRL. Plus, I’m not really that hot. But I assure you I was very very nerdy in high school. Please confirm in the comments, fellow members of the Nerd Herd.