31 May 2015

This Bothers Me

I was trolling around on Facebook earlier today, and saw that someone had posted about this article.  Commenters were decrying the fact that women are judged on their appearances, forced to get Botox, etc.  I'm sure you can fill in the blanks here and guess what was said.

Meh.  And not just because I'm not a fan of Jennifer Weiner.

I am tired of people complaining that they are slaves to fashion, beauty, etc., and that these days social media makes things worse, and puts more pressure on all of us as women.

Because I'm sorry, but if you are allowing everything and everyone else to determine how you live/dress/act/whatever, outside influences are not at fault - you are.  When did people lose their autonomy over their own lives?  When did they actively decide that what others think or look like is the most important?

Now, I realize that this kind of thing has been happening one way or another since the dawn of time.  And I realize that peer pressure is hard for a lot of people to resist.  And that many people with children encourage their children to look good, pointing out those who don't.  And on and on.

I think like most other things in life, this is a case of choosing your battles - what is important to you? - and moving on.

Take me, for example.  I can remember very clearly during 5th grade, when a couple of my friends became obsessed with having a boyfriend.  They were newly busy fixing their hair, acting flirty, and who knows what else.  I did not understand this at all, and remember asking my mother if I should be doing the same thing.  She responded that it was up to me what I decided to do.  Since I was about as interested in having a boyfriend as I was in eating bugs, I decided to just forget about the whole issue.  I was still puzzled by my friends, but we all still got along just fine (though lots of times I thought they were acting stupid.  I wisely kept that opinion to myself.  Mainly because no one asked me).

And a version of that has continued, even to the present day.  We are bombarded with images and text every day, even to the point of telling us what we should be wearing in our 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond.  I'll admit that every once in a while, I'll see someone who is probably around my age, and for a moment, wonder if I am dressing/trying to look younger than I should for my age.

Then the moment passes.

I like to look nice.  I will admit that I love makeup, clothes, shoes, jewelry, and plenty of other "girly" things.  I color my hair.  I wear makeup.  I try to keep my nails neat and clean, even if not polished.  I am probably slightly overweight, and I try to dress in a way as to not accentuate it.  I make an effort (granted a minimal one) when I am getting dressed to go out to look as nice and presentable as possible.  99% of the time, no one seems to notice - at least, if they do, they don't comment on it, one way or the other.

I have no desire for Botox or any of the other things like that.  I do not get my teeth whitened, I do not use the at-home whiteners.  I am not interested in plastic surgery at all.  I do not have tattooed-on eyebrows, or permanent eyeliner.  I know tons of people who do this, and other things which I find useless, and in my opinion are stupid.  But unless asked, it would never occur to me to comment on it unless someone asked me outright.

Maybe my perspective is unusual, but I hope not.  I just wish people would come out and say that what they decided to do or not do is their own decision, not try to opt out by claiming that it's all society's fault.  Few of us are doing anything because someone is absolutely forcing us.  Unless you live in certain areas of the world, your choices are all your own.

Just admit it, people.  And let's move on.


Kathleen Dames said...

Preach it, sistah

Marie said...

You are a woman of great common sense.

Good for you! I feel entirely girly, but I gave up make-up about 20+ years ago, I own one skirt because pants are just more comfortable (it's an exceptional skirt, though), I can't remember the last time I wore pantyhose, my favorite season as far as my feet are concerned is summer because I love sandals, and I do color my hair.

I love this post!

Chris said...

Great post! My hair is white , I started going grey in high school . I never coloured it that was just my decision, for me. Have had lots of slams over the years about it from other women. How I looked old, or their husbands thought I looked old... Yadda yadda yadda. Now as I am approaching 6o my hair colour is ok and women say they like it as they are going grey. But they are not ready to not colour. You know I don't really care what other people do or don't do. It's their decision . I did what I did. Women can sure be snipers!! You just gotta be yourself and be happy with it!! I have a backyard of straw bales for veggies, yes it's different but it's ok. Lot of comments about that too. Seriously!! Love this post!

Mereknits said...

I think at the same time we are being bombarded with photos of woman whose faces no longer move and their bodies have been altered with many surgeries there is a growing baseline of woman who are sticking to their guns and being themselves. I seem beautiful young mothers wearing no make up and shopping for organic foods. There is a movement to grow old and go gray, think of the model Cindy Joseph here. I live in Florida as you know, really I think it might be the plastic surgery capitol of the universe, I refuse to get involved with all of that. Several of my friends have had their eyes and necks done, and not surprisingly their eyes are now the same exact shape, and they weren't before. I don't color my hair anymore, I wear some make up every once in a while, I have a tummy and my butt is expanding, but I am me, all 50 years of myself and I deserve every damn wrinkle I have.
Hugs and thanks for this post.

Lorette said...

So how come I didn't know about this blog? Or if I did, I forgot. There's that aging thing again. I wear a little makeup, but I'm always amused at the magazine articles that promise a makeup routine under 15 minutes. Get it under 4, sister, and I'll take a look.

I also let my hair color expire a couple of years ago, and I know it makes me look older, but I've gotten OK with that. I am older. I won't give up the red lipstick though. THAT'S me.

elns said...

I was a tomboy until high school -- where I still played sports and swam. I like clothes, I don't understand make-up and I'm too lazy to fuss with something I'd probably continue to wipe off throughout the day without realizing it. (I think I touch my face a lot) I have a skin tone that makes it especially hard to "match". It feels like a lot of effort. I could be knitting.

Too right, Bridget. Really pick and choose your battles.

I feel like when we talk about people needing to be more self aware and make more effort in society this concept gets all twisted into some kind of weird superficial lesson and not the one the humans really need. ha! I try not to judge on appearance as much as how much of jerk someone is. I guess that still makes me kinda judgey. Bu