the women who don’t care

I want to be a woman who doesn’t care. One of those women who doesn’t notice. A woman who doesn’t pay attention to girly stuff. To the stuff that women are supposed to care about.

I saw Marissa Mayer, one of the original Google employees (so now she’s insanely rich), talk about her life. She described herself as oblivious. As a girl, she wasn’t thinking about boys. She wasn’t thinking about clothes. She told a charming story about her time at Stanford, when she was the only girl in a sea of computer science guys. She loved computer science, and, by her own account, she barely noticed that she wasn’t one of the guys. Because, maybe, she thought she was. Someone made a comment about the “one blond girl in the computer science lectures,” and she thought, “Who is that?” and then, laughing, realized it was her.

Ha! Adorable! We all laughed along with her. She has that famous laugh.

(here’s Marissa Mayer, being…just one of the boys?)

A few nights ago, I saw Jill Abramson, the executive editor of the New York Times, interview her employee Jodi Kantor, author of the recent bestseller “The Obamas.” Abramson has this amazing voice. She sounds a little like a robot.

 

She sounds like some mad genius inventor from another planet devoted his life to constructing her in his secret workshop, and when she was finished he sat back, smiled a grim little smile, realized that he’d forgotten to make her care about any of the things that women are supposed to care about and so would possibly be recognized as non-human, sighed and said, “Well, it’s too late now. My work is done.” And then died. And then the brilliant robot woman was sent to earth, where she would either be immediately rejected as a fraud, or rise to greater power than any human was capable of. And she did that one. The second one.

(she’s clearly from a more perfect planet, in the distant future.)

She kept cutting Kantor off. It was almost like she’d just get bored towards the end of one of Kantor’s responses and want to move things along.

“So, anyway,” she’d say, suddenly, in the middle of Kantor’s sentence, “That leads us to a very interesting point…”

She seemed completely un-self-aware (there HAS to be a better way to put that. That is way too many hyphens in a row). She made jokes no one laughed at, chuckling to herself, she spoke slowly, in her drawn-out, mechanical voice. She said, “The Oval Office can be very intimidating, the first time you’re in it. You must have been very nervous.”

“The moderator was terrible!” said one woman to another, walking out of the lecture.

But I kind of loved her. I loved this powerful, oblivious woman, who wasn’t anything that she was supposed to be. Wasn’t polite, wasn’t prettily dressed, wasn’t self-aware, wasn’t aware of others. Who just plowed ahead. Who had plowed her way to the top of the New York Times.

There are so many women like this. Sometimes they are the women who say, “Why are we still talking about beauty and fashion and gender? Let’s talk about real stuff. Let’s talk about the rest of it.”

They are the women who can walk into a computer science classroom and feel at home, because they are thinking about the programming, not about the people. They are not thinking about what other people are thinking about them. Not enough for it to interrupt, anyway.

I am not a woman like this. I care a lot what other people think. I want people to like me. Once I signed up for a linguistics class, and it was full of guys who hadn’t showered in a while and were probably brilliant. I felt totally out of place and I only went to one class. I care about so many girly things. The other day, I went with a friend to get my nails done. (I never used to do this, by the way, but in NYC, in open-toed season, it feels practically mandatory, and I have begun to surrender.) I agonized over the right color. And then the right color to complement the first right color, because toes and fingers should be different, and creatively so, but not clashing. And I picked two shades of brown, and felt immediately boring, but resigned, and kept looking at them skeptically afterwards, wondering if I’d made a mistake.

“It will last for a month!” I thought. “The wrong shade of brown, for a month!”

That happened.

But there have been other, more serious, hints that suggest I will never be a fearless, fabulously oblivious powerhouse. Getting a nose job, for example.

And when I sat down, naked, on the bed the other day, and my fat squished against my other fat, and it was sort of amazing to me that I had enough fat for it to be both distinct and simultaneously squished together, and I made Bear come over and examine it.

“Look!” I cried. “You have to look at this. Do you see this? Are you seeing this right now? Those are two rolls, wait, is it only two? There might be more. And they are squishing together, right there, see that? If I lean over, it’s worse. I can’t lean over anymore. I am no longer capable of leaning over. Is this when I’m supposed to start dieting? Is this the point? Who knew that my fat would prevent me from living a regular, normal life in which I could lean over like other people.”

And Bear laughed and said, “You’re telling me,” because he thinks he needs to lose weight. And then he said, “You look amazing.” And then he said, “But go on a diet if you want to.” Not in a way that implied that he wanted me to, but in a way that implied that he didn’t care either way, but he’d rather I didn’t complain about it.

“I’m not going to,” I said, with an air of finality. Call in the heralds! Sound the trumpets! It has been decreed! A new era is upon us! I am not going to diet even though there are rolls of fat when I lean over, naked, sitting on the bed!

I am pretty sure this never happened to Marissa Mayer.

It has almost definitely never happened to Jill Abramson.

And even if, somehow, it has happened to them, they would never, ever mention it. Because they are focusing on other, more important things.

And I really wish that I was a woman like that. Focusing on the bigger issues. Running Google. Or the New York Times. Running the world. Or at least picking out the design of today’s Google logo. Except that I would probably agonize over the color for a long time, and then settle on brown.

I guess I wish that “women’s issues” weren’t so separate from other issues. (I’m getting corny. I can’t help it. Stay with me for a second here and I’ll finish up.) I wish that everything was more integrated. That being boy-crazy didn’t have to mean not being completely and totally sane about science. That women didn’t have to be oblivious to miss the fact that they were out of place. Maybe they just wouldn’t be out of place.  Or that women didn’t have to prove themselves in male-dominated arenas by not being interested in the things that women are supposed to be interested in. Maybe I just wish that things weren’t so divided up.

Because sometimes it occurs to me that all of the embodied stuff—worrying about weight and nails and hair and faces—that’s important, too. We are these bodies, every day. They are what we experience everything in the world through. They are how the world experiences us.

That’s not a small thing.

But still, if I could be a little more oblivious…If I could be a little bit more of a robot from outer space… I think I would go for it. Because it looks like a lot of fun. And also, I just want to talk in that voice. Just for a day. To feel the power.

(bring it!)

*  *  *

Do you ever wish you could be a little ruder? Run the New York Times?

Unroast: Today I love the way I look in my black lace bra.

P.S. Jill Abramson wrote a book about her dog. Which doesn’t prove that she is like us. It proves that she’s trying to prove that she’s like us. And doesn’t at all negate the point of this post.

A reader cake pic! Check out her HuffPost video about deciding not to diet. It’s amazing.

 

34 Comments »

Kate on April 24th 2012 in beauty, body, feminism, work

34 Responses to “the women who don’t care”

  1. Val responded on 25 Apr 2012 at 12:22 am #

    Those other women are probably awesome and all.

    But I’d way rather have you for my mother

    or sister

    or friend.

    Just sayin’

    love, Val

  2. Val responded on 25 Apr 2012 at 12:24 am #

    Oh, I missed this:

    Do I ever wish I could be ruder?

    No.

    There’s too much incivility in the world already, and I’m accidentally rude enough to cover myself, lol.

    love, Val

  3. Hollis responded on 25 Apr 2012 at 12:48 am #

    How about, ‘bereft of self-awareness’?

  4. Alpana Trivedi responded on 25 Apr 2012 at 1:41 am #

    I know what you mean, Kate. It SHOULDN’T have to be either/or. Why DOES being confident have to mean that “you don’t let anything get to you?” I think I’m confident and I still get upset about the smallest things. And I don’t care what other people think about my reactions to life.

    Girls and women should be free to like what they like, be it computer science, makeup, cars, pink clothes, whatEVER!! And it shouldn’t be mutually exclusive to like makeup AND computer science or whatever combinations some idiots decided “don’t go together” or “contradict each other.”

    I LOVE this blog.

  5. poet responded on 25 Apr 2012 at 1:53 am #

    I was going to say this is the first time I disagree with you until I reached the last few paragraphs. Yes! Caring, and being aware of ourselves as physical bodies in the world, is important, and shouldn’t exclude caring about what counts as more important (even though it may not be)! Guys don’t do it enough, and it’s a valuable thing they can learn from us once they get over their fear that it will make them girly, or rather, that being girly is a bad thing :)

  6. Alpana Trivedi responded on 25 Apr 2012 at 5:15 am #

    I guess Poet put it a little better than I did. It seems that being “competitive” and “caring” are mutually exclusive to an extent. And in a society that is individualistic and bottom line oriented, being competitive is seen as an “advantage,” whether you’re male or female. There is a tendency to discourage “showing weakness” by being caring, letting your guard down, or God forbid, actually crying in front of people. As people climb up the “ladder” of success, it seems that caring is a luxury they don’t have and they’re told to “leave it at the doorstep.”

    And that taken to 100% is just going to end up with more mistrust among each other, everyone looking out for #1, and overall bad for community.

    I feel that I’m VERY expressive of my feelings and I put my opinions out there whether people want to hear them or not. I dress the way I like and don’t care what other people think. But I also make friends and get attached to people, indulge in some “girly” interests (like the color pink and drama movies), and cry in public. I don’t see those as being mutually exclusive. And men can learn to be more like us in certain aspects of life. It would sure make a balanced world.

  7. Lexie responded on 25 Apr 2012 at 7:08 am #

    I always end up regretting it afterwards; I have the courage before I do it (ie wearing something, doing something, saying something) then afterwards I’ll feel the intense guilt and it makes everyone horrendously unpleasant. It’s more like I don’t think things through, I just ruminate them afterwards; so I suppose it’s the same, yet different.

  8. Aezy responded on 25 Apr 2012 at 8:20 am #

    I am a scientist (hopefully) and spent my last summer internship refusing to cave to peer pressure and wear jeans along with everyone else in the lab. I want it to be ok to want to wear pretty dresses and nice shoes and fuss about whether my fringe is doing that flicky thing again. I don’t think that being interested in “girly things” stops me from being interested in other less girly things like the extinction crisis or politics.

  9. Maya responded on 25 Apr 2012 at 8:42 am #

    “I guess I wish that “women’s issues” weren’t so separate from other issues… That women didn’t have to be oblivious to miss the fact that they were out of place. Maybe they just wouldn’t be out of place. Or that women didn’t have to prove themselves in male-dominated arenas by not being interested in the things that women are supposed to be interested in.”

    This, precisely, was my response to most of this piece- and then you said it yourself.

  10. Erika responded on 25 Apr 2012 at 9:56 am #

    I guess I don’t want you, or ANYONE to feel guilty about caring about looking pretty or obsessing about what others are thinking about our appearance.

    Unfortunately, it’s NORMAL. It’s like, first you feel bad because you think you look bad, then feel even guiltier for thinking that you think you look bad because your thoughts are not “high-level” enough.

    I do this too, and lately have been trying to be zen about it, by noting the feeling, acknowledging it, and then letting it wash over me. And it probably happens about 1,000 times a day! But I think it is slowly working…I’m not feeling to tied up in knots about it.

  11. margosita responded on 25 Apr 2012 at 10:24 am #

    I don’t really believe that these women are quite as “un-self-aware” as they come off. I think it’s a fantasy, the idea that if women are just smart enough or competent enough, that they will somehow cease to exist in a gendered world or they will suddenly be able to turn off the “girly” parts of their brain.

    They might decide to override it, they might even make such an ingrained habit of it that they don’t notice it consciously (“Who is the only female in this class? Oh, me! Haha!”), but Marissa Mayer is gorgeous and put together in a perfect womanly fashion and she has to think about it.

    And just because it’s not part of her public persona, doesn’t mean it’s not part of her private one.

    But I’m with you. I wish I could banish the very idea that there are “women’s issues” and then “issues”. Like women are the exception to the rule. Or that if a woman is concerned about it, it isn’t applicable to men the way men’s concerns are applicable to… well, everyone.

  12. Melanie responded on 25 Apr 2012 at 11:02 am #

    I used to be rude. So no, I don’t wish I could be ruder. I also am one of those women who is oblivious and is totally unaware if my hair or outfit aren’t right for the situation I’m in. I don’t run the New York Times, and I didn’t start Google, but I think just being comfortable in the skin I’m in for the most part, is as much success as I need. Then there are the days when I want to cut off my belly, and I am reminded that I’m not quite there yet.

  13. Emily responded on 25 Apr 2012 at 11:12 am #

    all systems of power have self-sustaining mechanisms, and to me, one of those big mechanisms is misdirection promulgated within the oppressed group. so for patriarchal systems, it’s keeping women occupied with our bodies, appearance, nail polish color, etc., and forcing women to compete with one another for male approval/attention/affection. for elitist systems of oppression, it’s social ‘wedge issues’ that serve as distractions so people won’t realize their position slaving to enrich the top 1% of earners. for racist systems of oppression it’s hierarchies of skin tone, for example. so if women spend all of our time and energy on policing our bodies and the size and shape of them, we won’t have any subversive potential left. i truly think this is sound thinking and theorizing.

    that said, i don’t think being rude has to be a component of deciding, as a political act, that you’re no longer going to participate in this system of oppression, or at least you’re going to stop participating in one way. it might be construed as rude by the patriarchal mainstream, but it is not rude. it is subversive. and if i’m misunderstanding what you mean when you say rude, i think being kind and compassionate can be very subversive as well. empathy is one of the activist’s greatest tools.

  14. anya responded on 25 Apr 2012 at 12:18 pm #

    Kate, this is a great article. But really, you don’t have to not care to plow your way up to the top. I’m really neurotic, and I’m not good at reading people expressions so I just get over what people think of me, and evaluate how they behave towards me. I’m like whatever. I don’t care If everyone thinks I’m a high-maintainance bitch. Yeah, I do my nails regularly , and my hair before I go in the office. I keep a running list of what I’ve worn so not to repeat myself to often . I work in Computer Science. I’ve felt out of place in my life once ( when a male colleague commented that our classes are not a catwalk) but the other two girls rallied with me. They said , wear whatever you want, we’ll do our nails and face-mask and then we’re going to ace our projects.
    Right now, I see being a woman in CS as an advantage. I am different, and being predictable and creative are great advantages.

  15. Kate responded on 25 Apr 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    @Val
    Aw. You always make my day.

  16. Kate responded on 25 Apr 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    @anya
    You sound awesome. I have so much respect for women in computer science. And I love that your female coworkers stood up for you. There’s a girl I know who I keep trying to get to write a guest post for me. She does computer science-y things, too, and her stories about the all-male workplace shocked me and opened my eyes. I love stories like yours, where women stand up for whatever it is that they want to be, whether or not that involves nail polish :-)

  17. Layla responded on 25 Apr 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    Perhaps when women become equal in more areas then they won’t be “women’s issues” they will just be “issues”. They’re only deemed as women’s and therefore lesser because they’re not experienced by the majority of those in charge (i.e. men).

  18. Sheryl responded on 25 Apr 2012 at 1:28 pm #

    Do I wish I could be ruder? No. But I do wish I was be braver and more blunt and direct. I wish my natural instinct was to tell it exactly like it is rather than think about exactly how what I’m saying is going to be perceived and if people are going to be sensitive about it.

    As far as wanting to be one of the women who don’t care about any of the girly things? I don’t actually believe they exist. In my experience, most of the women I know who look like they don’t care will, when pressed, admit that they do care quite a bit. They just don’t care enough to prioritize them, because they have other interests that excite them more or they really don’t think that they have the skills.

  19. Liz responded on 25 Apr 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    Kate,

    I simply don’t believe a women, who doesn’t care or think about her looks at all, exists anywhere. If a woman says she doesn’t care, I’m sorry: she’s either in denial or lying.

    When I interviewed Laurel Touby, wildly successful and rich writer and creator of mediabistro.com, she even said that although she was in there with the boys, she still thought about her body image. Here is part of she said:

    “Or course I have felt inadequate. Like any other New York woman, I see the naturally tall and slender 19-year-old models walking around. And there are fresh crops of them arriving every day! It was really sobering when I first came here because I was accustomed to being considered attractive and suddenly I was completely invisible. Since then, I have learned that every woman in New York who is over thirty feels it. The invisibility.”

    Maybe part of finding happiness with our bodies and looks is realizing that although we may be invisible to the masses, we are highly visible to those who we love and who love us. Isn’t that most important in the long run? Looks fade over time, but quality of who a person is deep down seems to brighten with age.

    Also, being invisible (not being viewed as insanely beautiful by all admiring fans: ) has nothing to do with who we are, how we love, or what we create, which are all things I think are far more important and interesting–in my humble opinion. :)

  20. Liz responded on 25 Apr 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    Kate, I know *exactly* how you feel. This habit of over-caring about every little “girl-issue” is something I do incessantly. And yet, I’m so conscious about exhibiting these worries (I work in a department of 50+ guys, yay IT!) that it often makes me more neurotic which draws the attention. Then I DO get comments like “wow you’re dressed like a girl today” which makes me worry more, which makes more people notice. Vicious cycle!! I’d love to be able to spend this kind of mental processing on something more constructive.

    Do I wish I could be ruder? If being rude means sticking up for myself and not giving a damn about what others are thinking about me then… yes, sometimes. Right now I utterly suck at this. However, if being rude means being uncivil, cutthroat, or something just wholly contrary to being a good person, then no.

    P.S. – The good news is you’ve got plenty of digital sisters who feel the same!

  21. Sarah responded on 25 Apr 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    I don’t think being rude is ever productive. Being more assertive, yes, more women should do that. But I don’t find rudeness attractive in any personal or professional settings, regardless of gender.

    I write a lot about women in politics, and it’s fascinating to look at the very thin line female politicians walk to be taken seriously but also maintain femininity. In those types of positions, as with most people viewed as leaders in their fields, it actually seems critical to be both self-aware and aware of others. Successful leaders don’t act unilaterally; rather, they maintain and exude the confidence necessary to be viewed as credible figures of authority.

  22. Raia responded on 25 Apr 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    Great post! I am a female mechanical engineer – the mechanical is significant because of the engineering disiplines it has the fewest women – working full time around mostly men.

    When I was in school I attended a Society of Women Engineers conference and one of the speakers said she wore a skirt and heals to work every day at her job, because she was a women and wanted to and didn’t care that everyone else was wearing jeans. She was my hero that day. I wore heels to work for the first year or so, until my feet started to hurt and I found cute flats. Somedays when I wear heels, people comment how much taller I look or when they hear me coming they think I am the boss (she wears heels all the time) so that is kind of fun. I’ve heard very few comments about my (hopefully) stylish clothes or shoes. I think because my co-workers don’t care.

    Somedays I look around the meeting and realize, oh, I am the only women here. And sometimes I am also the youngest one in the room as well.

    I’m not a girly-girl but I am senstive and cry easily. I want to seem tough, like the guys I work with. But I am not, most days. On the upside, in my experience, guys tend to care less about that stuff, they get over it quickly if I cry around them, or say something too emotional.

    Do I wish I was ruder? I wish I could care less about what others think and have more confidence in myself and my work.

  23. Annie responded on 25 Apr 2012 at 4:12 pm #

    I think I am one of those “women who just don’t care.” I got my degree in civil engineering, and I was the only girl in several of my classes, and if I wasn’t the only one, then there was only one other girl in those classes. It never bothered me, and I never felt at all out of place.

    Maybe it’s just because I’m oblivious to it, but I really don’t feel like anyone has ever thought I was out of place in a male-dominated field. If they have, they have certainly never said anything about it to me. I tend to think that as long as women don’t act like they feel out of place, and they are well-qualified for what they are doing, they can fit right in in a male-dominated field. And I don’t feel like I have ever had to act less “girly” to get more respect. While I was in school, I still wore makeup and got pedicures and other girly things. The only time I remember feeling like I was different was on a cold, snowy day when I mentioned that it was a perfect day to curl up with a blanket and a mug of hot chocolate. The guys I was working on homework with just looked at me and said, “Yeah… guys don’t do that.” But it certainly didn’t change the way they thought of me.

  24. Suzy Marie responded on 25 Apr 2012 at 5:27 pm #

    This was an eternal debate myself and my classmates had in my Gender Studies class. Why does being powerful have to mean a rejection of everything womanly? But on the other hand, why if we are aware of how oppressive some of this womanly stuff can be, should we worry about it? I am a feminist and I get annoyed that I worry about my two rolls of fat squishing together when I sit down (yes me too!!), because part of me knows I shouldn’t have to worry. But you’re right, we ARE these bodies, every day. Unfortunately it’s so difficult to subtract this embodied-ness from outside influences.

  25. Heather responded on 26 Apr 2012 at 7:39 am #

    My theory is that, to a lesser or greater extent, we all care and all, on some level, very far from oblivious. But there are situations that we feel comfortable with distancing ourselves from and others in which we feel exposed. Where we can create distance we give ourselves the permission and freedom to be whoever we damn well choose and where there is uncomfortable exposure or vulnerability we tend to question everything – what they say, what I say.. what the bird in the tree said and why. And the oddest thing of all is that one day a situation can make us confident and the next day, the same scenario can be crippling. I believe it all depends on where we are in our own heads and knowing that wherever that is, because we’re human and learning and vibrant, it’s a non constant state that we have to learn to observe and flow with, putting emphasis mainly on the stuff that makes us feel good rather than getting hung up on thinking about the things that make us question who we are. Change and growth are the two constants. And all the most interesting people are a mass of personality contradictions and thoughts. Mad like the ocean – one day calm and the next thrashing… … change is always the thing. I think. x

  26. Lisa F responded on 26 Apr 2012 at 11:30 am #

    Do I sometimes wish I were more powerful, or, perhaps, bolder? Yes.

    Do I ever wish I were ruder?

    NO.

    I am reading the new biography of Steve Jobs, who was clearly one of the most creative and rudest people in business. And I keep thinking that no matter how innovative or cool Apple products are, does reading about Jobs’ capacity to be rude, to bully, to insist, to get his way make me want to be more like that?

    HELL NO.

    It makes me realize that he was a dick. A creative, innovative dick.

    And I don’t want to be anything like that.

  27. Kate responded on 26 Apr 2012 at 11:31 am #

    @Lisa F
    I’ve had the same thought about Steve Jobs.

  28. Sooz responded on 26 Apr 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    I am so like you it’s ridiculous. I care sooooooooooooooo much about what others think and I am trying soooooooooooooo hard not to.

    Btw, I laughed sooooooooooooooooo hard while reading this post. I’ve had a hard week and this was a good stress reliever.

    Love your blog. Love this post. Love you. The End. :)

  29. morgaine responded on 26 Apr 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    “Why are we still talking about beauty and fashion and gender? Let’s talk about real stuff. Let’s talk about the rest of it.”

    Beauty, fashion, and gender *are* real, though. Traditionally female occupations and interests are considered lesser because of their association with femininity, not through any inherent frivolity. Makeup and clothes, objectively speaking, are art. So are quilts and tapestries, which have historically been considered craft, because “high” art was restricted to men. That doesn’t make them intrinsically less gorgeous.

    I’m with you on wishing women’s issues weren’t so separate. I study Latin at university, and I’m pre-law. I also love clothing with an almost unhinged passion. It bothers me to hear people renounce fashion as “shallow” and “materialistic”, as though the exploration of color, texture, and shape weren’t art. I wish people weren’t so surprised that I can translate Ovid and also put together a kickass outfit. The women’s movement, while allowing women admirably greater access to traditionally masculine pursuits, has also put femininity, to some degree, on the back burner. It’s not un-liberated to love clothing and makeup, to want to stay home with your kids. Those choices are just as valid as their counterparts. They’re not inherently weak, they’ve just been portrayed as such by a society that has valued masculinity over femininity. That’s my main critique of modern feminism: I think it stab itself in the back by promoting “masculine” pursuits as worthier.

  30. morgaine responded on 26 Apr 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    *stabs

  31. Tuesday Teasers: Stuff I’ve Been Reading [#8] - The Pursuit of Harpyness responded on 01 May 2012 at 8:00 am #

    [...] Kate Fridkis @ Eat the Damn Cake | The Women Who Don’t Care. [...]

  32. Marylou responded on 03 May 2012 at 10:44 am #

    As someone who is in the field of computer science, I am very aware of this daily struggle. But yes, I take the time to self-groom, if you will. Nails, waxes, hair cuts, facials, exercise. And when I go out with my girlfriends, I care about what I look like. At the same time, when I’m working, I’m so engrossed in my work that I forget to eat, let alone shower. And I love it all.

    I think it’s possible to have a balance. I think it’s possible when you have an understanding, acceptance, and respect for what your own personal body is capable of. And its limits. And I love your blog because it helps me to remember those things and to keep telling myself that I’m actually Awesome the way I am.

    The Unroast idea is my favorite. :) Thank you.

  33. Cara responded on 05 May 2012 at 3:48 pm #

    Caring, and being aware of ourselves as physical bodies in the world, is important

    Why? Just curious. Why is it important? To whom? In what sense?

    I’m one of the uncaring. Not because I don’t care about people (I do), but because I don’t care about…nothing.

    I bathe, I comb and style my hair, I brush my teeth, my clothes are clean and fit. Period. I only do that to avoid actively offending other people–so I don’t stink, so they don’t have to look at hanging boogers or things in my teeth when they look at me. The rest is…why? Why on earth would it matter?

    I even get to have regular, joyful sex with my boyfriend. What do I care what a bunch of strangers think on first glance? When they’re no longer strangers they usually like me, whether I like them or not.

    I guess I’m one of the ones that just doesn’t get it. Off to change the world. Don’t wait up.

  34. Cara responded on 05 May 2012 at 4:06 pm #

    It’s not un-liberated to love clothing and makeup, to want to stay home with your kids. Those choices are just as valid as their counterparts. They’re not inherently weak, they’ve just been portrayed as such by a society that has valued masculinity over femininity. That’s my main critique of modern feminism: I think it stab itself in the back by promoting “masculine” pursuits as worthier.

    That’s not what “modern feminism” is about. There’s nothing wrong with liking clothing and makeup, nothing wrong with being a mother.

    The problem is when a) those things are required in order to be Femininity Compliant, and b) those things are socially devalued BECAUSE c) they’re socially defined AS WOMANLY.

    Yes, the constant social pressure on women to look and behave a certain way is a patriarchy thing. It’s another form of busywork designed specifically to keep us from getting anything else accomplished. Things like getting the respect women deserve as human beings because we’re human beings, no matter what we look like or what we do.

    IF we like makeup and clothes that doesn’t make us bad people. It’s not a virtue and not a vice. But it can also be another source of pressure and judgment because, again, it’s a sneaky way of pitting women against each other so we WON’T hang together on the important stuff.