Every day I see messages that tell me and other women who we should be. This includes everything from what we look like and the clothes we wear, to what our inner-most desires should be. As of late, I suppose I should be growing my hair long and straight and giving it a slight wave, a la Gwyneth, Charlize, and the rest of that gang. I should join the Kabbalah center because right now, it’s fashionable. I should wear mousse make-up and a center part and a red thread around my wrist (this last I sometimes do because I happen to believe, though I suspect for some it ahs become little more than a fashion statement, alas – Lfaith as fashion.
This whole process of indoctrination began so young. I was strictly taught what was and what was not appropriate a girl my age, and I tried hard to follow those rules, though my true nature shone through too often and I returned home with bruises from fighting (with boys, no less), or scrapes from go-cart racing down the big hill in the projects etc. I didn’t play dolls with m cousins and my schoolgirl crush on David Soul of Starsky and Hutch fame was short-lived. When my cousins were pretending to have his baby, I was halfway up the tree in the back, dipping the branch into the face of passers-by who did not find this as funny as I did.
Back to the point. I can’t stand seeing women or anyone for that matter, work so hard to fulfill a social role that is defined by complete strangers who care only about the bottom line. And because I’m everybody’s favorite spinster aunt, I offer these small words that I hope are of some wisdom.
Be who you are. We are all so bombarded with social messages from even before we are born. Before you come slipping out of your cozy broth in mother’s womb, you can be sure that if an amnio was performed and your sex known, your nursery has been decorated accordingly, complete with colors and decorations that say “girl.” Your room may be pink or yellow, but never blue, and any ornament will be of lace and teddy bears and dolls but never blue. Forget about airplanes and fishing tackle and the like: you are a girl and girls simply do not sail or play with dinghys and yachts.
Even your little towel-fabric sleeper suit will be pink or, if your really unlucky, your mother will have bought strange looking elastic headbands, all lace and bows that will cinch your head and your three strands of hair, all contriving to make you look like a figure in a Bosch painting. All you need now is a scepter.
As you get older, the messages intensify, which is to say that the more you become your own person, the more you will be met with advertising and marketing and parental critiques about what you are supposed to be and what is appropriate for your sex. Girls do not climb trees and play in the mud or roughhouse. Girls don’t get violently angry or play rough. This is the domain of boys, and if you do partake in such activity, you are a “tom boy” whatever that really means. Neither boy nor girl.
You will be taught to cross your legs “properly” and if you are in Catholic school, heaven forefend you should cross your ankles for you will be reprimanded for sitting “suggestively” as I was told before the hard snap of the ruler cam down on my palm. You must be prim and proper and well-groomed. You must play with your dollies while the boys run in the garden and scamper up trees and play at shooting each other, you must be docile and sweet. Let’s face it, in many ways, the rules for girls are a lot more rigid than for boys, and while boys certainly receive their own share of marketing messages, rarely are the forced or seduced into believing that they need undergo brutal and medieval self-enhancement technologies like waxing and breast jobs and botox the way girls are. Boys, it seems, are allowed to have a helluva lot more fun than us girls.
With all of this conditioning (and I’ve only touched on it here, for it goes far deeper), girls soon learn that in life they are to be subordinate to boys. That we will be paid less, that we are to be appropriate at all times, and we should never shout or lose our temper the way boys often do because that makes one a bitch. For a man, he may be considered tough; try the same shit yourself and you are hands down a bitch. I see this every day in the workplace. A man may be eccentric, but a woman with the same behavior is labeled borderline or nuts, where as a man is simply eccentric.
Granted, this isn’t true of all cases, but it is true of far too many, and let’s not forget that we still get paid less than men for doing the same job. And forget about libido. As a girl, it is simply unacceptable that you sometimes, just would like to fuck and be fucked. Boys do this, girls do not. We are to wait at home, docile by the phone, willing it to ring, and if we have a libido, it is not attractive, we are told, to let it show, and if you do, then you are a slut.
We are told that for women, sex is more emotional, as if just fucking for the sheer, physical fun of it were beyond the realm of what is possible for us. Yet it’s a fact that many women, some mother than even men, have incredibly strong libidos, and yes, sometimes we just want to fuck without the icky emotion and confines of a relationship. In this way, we’re not so different from me. I think the key difference is that women are a bit more sly about it, a bit more secretive. To admit that you like fucking if you are a woman is to label yourself as less than you are, because that is the thing that people will remember. We are taught that girls simply do not do those things. We don’t watch pornography, we are not turned on by the same things as boys, we are told. We are all sweet and nice and contrite, which has nothing to do with reality. Why is it so hard to believe that even so-called good girls sometimes want a good night of marathon fucking and a bottle of Evian on the night-table to sip between takes. What in the world is wrong with that? Boys can have casual, meaningless sex. It’s almost expected. But not girls.
A man may have an affair behind his wife’s back, and he may worry about getting caught, but theone thing that he doens’t consider in most cases is her fidelity. It is rare that he would think even for a moment that his wife too is capable of such great deception, and lord help us, maybe even better at it. After all, for years we’ve had to play the role of the innocent and the victim. I’m not saying this as a good thing, but it’s just interesting to me. There’s a level of arrogance in men who are too assured and are screwing around themselves. Do they think nobody else wants their wife? That sheis so dependent that she’ll sit still and take this shit for the rest of all time? I doubt she will. I can bet you that at some point, any good woman is going to retaliate or walk. I pray with grace, but you know i think that once one partner has strayed, the deal is off- the contract is null and void.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for or against this, but what I am advocating is that women be allowed the same rights as men without the nasty and degrading labeling. After all, who wants a girl that is all sweetness and light. How boring that would be. Isn’t it better to have a girl or woman with passion and complexity and a mind of her own. What is wrong with being a woman rejects the need to play the pure and innocent lamb, but who understands that one can be both virgin and whore. Christ, isn’t that what every one looks for in a wife? It’s certainly what I would want were I so inclined toward women. A woman-child is less appealing and bordering on incestuous and fetishistic.
I’m not ashamed to admit that to a large extent, I strive to be a combination of both sweetness and kindness and absolute take me now, Mandingo lover in the bedroom; a woman who can assert herself and who knows not only how to please a man but also to get what she wants in return. When did it become wrong to enjoy sex? When and why are women taught that sex is more of a duty than a fun activity and why must it always be loaded with heavy emotional issues. I guess I’m asking what happened to just having some good fucking fun every now and then, or even often and why should that make me or anyone else a slut or less “good.” If you ask me, a good woman is one who is mature enough to be both – not some mutton-dressed-as-lamb woman in her late forties who still dresses like a little girl and has hair to her butt because she wants to be coddled like a child. How degrading that would be, and how unattractive I should think it, save for a certain kind of man – and likely one who is too insecure to stand up to a woman who is her own< person and not one defined by the expectations of others.
Think of Bill Clinton. For as much shit as he may have taken, we don’t remember him only for the Lewinsky scandal. We see him as a man under a great deal of pressure who simply gave in to natural desire. That Monica Lewinsky planned the whole thing and orchestrated it so incredibly well, from her gift of the book Vox to her pandering and attention, seems to slip by unnoticed. We forget that this is a smart girl, because really, how hard would it be to get the leader of the free world to fuck you in the oval office? I would like to believe it’s not a simple affair. That it takes a certain amount of cunning and wit and scheming, none of which is necessarily something to be proud of, but it’s certainly not something that she should feel ashamed of. After all, it wasn’t Monica who made the vow to Hillary, it was Slippery Willy, who for the most part, is able to slip out of the role of adulterer and back into his role as respected politician.
Monica Lewinsky will forever be in her semen-stained and blue-colored Gap dress with a cigar between her legs and her feet up on the president’s desk. It is virtually impossible for her to carve her own way in the world now independently of what happened between her and the President. Lewinsky will forever be remembered as the girl who did it in the Oval Office – a tough thing to shake off.
Bill on the other hand, though noted for this escapade, will always be the “smart guy.” And somehow, more of a victim than our Monica who will forever remain a caricature of herself and one that will forever relate back to an unfortunate affair. She’ll occasionally pop up on TV or cable as a host of some b-rate drama or reality show, and inevitably, she will be asked about Bill Clinton. The same does not apply in reverse. He is victim to her Jezebel. An odd construct when one factors in their relative ages at the time and the power-balance. Isn’t it just possible that he abused his power as President to get some? Certainly it seems that way to me. Of course she was in awe of him: he was the President and reasonably attractive and power is always attractive to women, especially younger women in the same field. It’s the groupie syndrome – the girl who looks up to her college professor so much that she winds up sleeping with him.
On his part, it’s an abuse of power, and on her part, it’s understandable to a certain extent because of youth, yet it’s important to know that you need not fuck someone simply because you respect them so much. In fact, it’s probably better if you don’t and if they do not respond. The takers are usually men who are themselves deeply insecure and in unhappy marriages and unions who look to the adoring throngs of young girls as some kind of validation. At the end of the day, it leaves both parties empty and wanting. The man is not validated or any more secure for the thrill is cheap and short-lasting, and the woman is now labeled stupid or a whore or pathetic because she will be perceived as having done this person for a grade, or promotion or to win favor in a way that will be to her advantage. Sleeping with the boss or even the peer unless you fall in love, proves nothing for either party except that both are capable of the sleaze factor.
Don’t get me wrong: being a woman is great and can, if you know yourself well enough, be a great and powerful thing. What we must learn is to be who we think we are, not who someone else wants us to be. Don’t tell me that you wax your bikini hair for you or that if you lived on a desert island you would rip up the muscle of your breast bone and implant two large coconuts and endure the pain for a month. It’s too risky and on top of which, it doesn’t even look natural.
I’m all for self-improvement if you want it, even if you want it for someone besides yourself, just as long as it is also something you do for you. Always ask would you do this if you were on your own – and if so, then more power to you. There’s also nothing wrong with doing something that you wouldn’t normally do for a man, just so long as you’re clear about what you doing and why and that it doesn’t come at great cost or risk to your physical or emotional well-being.
All this and what I’m trying to get at is just Show Up. Be yourself in life and just be there when the curtain goes up and when the curtain goes down. Don’t just let this pass you by and don’t just follow trends and advertising without thinking about what it is that you want and that works for you…
Being a woman can be great. We have these warm and wonderful breasts that smell of good perfume all chyphre and spice and we have soft hair and we get to be tom boys as well as ladies. None of this, however, can happen without your participation. I know we’re bombarded with images and expressions that tell us we should be married by now and that essentially our whole life, up to that day, is merely preparation or practice.
I don’t believe that. I think it’s all part of a continuum and that you have to get out there, date, get laid, flirt, play, laugh, bang boots – just show up. That in and of itself is 90% of the game, and once you do that, the rest should follow naturally. Whatever you do in the middle of this advertising frenzy that is so directed at you, make sure that it is authentic. Embrace your own unique style, no matter how kooky. Be eccentric if you are. Be heard, be loved, climb trees, suck down the Evian and be there.
**note: Yes, men receive the similar messages, but i chose to focus on the one i know more about here. thx. -srp