Beauty and AdvertisingThe expectations we hold about how women should look and how much time, energy, and money it takes to get there are utterly ridiculous. This was true in our society prior to the practice of photoshopping models. Hell, make-up is very similar to Photoshop! Corsets and spanks perform the same function. Please, don't get me wrong, I support a woman's right to pluck, stuff and paint anything that she wants, but advertising is pervasive and insidious. Hats off to the Julia Bluhm for trying to get the editors of Seventeen to stop altering young women's bodies on their pages.
Article about Julia Bluhm
The following is a poem that I wrote that is in response to some of the craziness I see in the young women I know and what I remember from my own adolescence. I am afraid we are letting people who want us to buy things tell us what sexy is, and if you add to that the very human desire for love and attention it can be a toxic mix.
|Rebellion is one way to fight society's expectations|
It Needs a Fucking...
Feeling a little bit
little girl lost. I want
to be dream girl princess be-
love-ed. Take me under your wing and tell
me everything is going
to be ok – like ice cubes
plucked from a stainless
steel bucket clinking – chinking
their virgin squares- into tumblers ready
to accept booze – long legs
up the side
of the glass.
Hoping the tiara will fit
a girl today
kissed on the side of her head in the
maybe, you know…
tell her, she could get in trouble. Plucked
pubic hairs – conversely get rid
of that plucked chicken look. What describes
when something is
the opposite of what
it should be? For most women
natural beauty is anything but. Hours
spent with glistening images, and the
sign on the door says Don’t clean
the stainless mirrors in the men’s
or women’s restroom. Steam expands
to fill available space.
I have always celebrated milestone birthdays with a flourish; taken pride in being a woman who welcomes age and wisdom. Forty was difficult though. Somehow, overnight, the quality of my skin changed, my hair thinned and I realized that no matter how much I denied my societies expectations of female beauty they were all within me - time bombs waiting to be set off by the big 4-0. Trite but true. How do you hold on to feeling lovely from the inside out in a world that tells you that all that matters is your outside?
Like Those Women
The wind is warm
here, but even on lake-days
where I am from
you shiver inside your towel, the snakes
soft and green, surprising your bare
toes in the grass.
Women here go for long walks in the hot
air, growing brown and lean. Where I am
from the women are plump and pink
spending days cozy with books. Snakes here
are sandy brown and rattle
like seed pods. I am easier alone here.
The summer the rains flash
suddenly, drenching one hill
and leaving another chalky with dust. Where
I am from it mists on firs and stony
beaches and swamps for ten months.
the days are short
the sun never shows. Here
there are days the sun never leaves completely,
long hot nights I wear cut-offs
and tank tops watch the lightning
flash on dark hills. Bare my feet on warm rocks in the dark to feel the sun.
Here the plants flower
when they can, leaf when possible. In a dry year
the ocotillo flower early - then wait
months – for the rain
to leaf, verdant
alien pipe-cleaners arc from the ground.
Where I am from green
round the edge of every square of pavement
slinks from dank basements –
junk cars in fields.
I walk dry hills and like those womenI am growing lean and brown