Thursday, March 24, 2011

Are chicks too busy navel gazing to have any real impact?

"We don't shape history by shaping our thighs." This fabulous quote was taken from the equally fabulous book Kiss My Tiara: How to Rule the World as a SmartMouth Goddess by Susan Jane Gilman. I decided to re-read this little gem over my holiday in Jamaica, and was glad I did. 

It was a reminder, a punch in the face of sorts, to get my head out of my ass, and not get caught up in the "beauty" race. At times, I have a tendency to obsessively compare myself to other women, always finding I come up short (I'm fat, I'm ugly, etc, etc...). Why do I expend vast amounts of energy in a vicious and never-ending cycle of envy instead of trying to figure out how to make a difference in the world?

The obvious answer is that I've been conditioned that way - to see other women as "competition" for "scarce" suitable male mates. Advertisers throw us in the ring against each other, knowing we'll buy whatever they're selling if it gets us a leg up on our sisters. 

I don't want to discount that men probably worry about this stuff too but not to the extent that we women fret about it. And what are men doing in the meantime? Ruling the world. They've got us so distracted with the latest anti-aging cream and Jimmy Choo shoes, we can't see the forest for the trees.

Our very identity has been constructed around being able to attract the opposite sex, as have large segments of the economy. Surely, there's more to us than that. 

Have we really taken any steps forward in this post-feminist era? American television is still littered with size zero actresses who bare no resemblance to the average American woman.

Carbohydrates have been vilified. 

Plastic surgery is rampant and only seems to be getting more and more popular. Sure, we laugh at Heidi Montag, but the real question is: why did a beautiful girl think she needed to completely alter her appearance to further her career?

Whose standards are we living by? Certainly not your average male's. Ask a man what he thinks is sexy, and you'll be surprised by his answer. It's usually the opposite of what's portrayed in the media.

What's really attractive to guys, in many cases, is a self-assured woman who can make them laugh. They want a best bud that they also get to f*ck, not some preening princess trying tirelessly to live up to impossible standards.

What is beauty if not the sound of laughter, the warmth of intimacy, the elation of achievement and a hair out of place now and then.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The "Charlie Sheen" phenomenon only exists because there's an audience to receive it

Charlie Sheen garnered 1 million Twitter followers in 24 hours. WTF? Then again, I watch The Bachelor. WTF? I'm fully aware there is some dark undertow to reality TV and yet, I can't stop myself from watching. I guess it's a bit like the collective "us" and Charlie Sheen. Dude is having a very public meltdown of epic proportions and we're watching, amused, creating merchandise, cashing in on someone else's crazy. 

Why are we so attracted to the repugnant, low brow antics of celebrities? Think Britney Spears flashing her cooch to photogs, shaving her head, and being mercilessly pursued by the paparazzi as she was being loaded onto an ambulance after a, what's that?, oh, a meltdown. Hmm...

Why do we not celebrate the constructive, positive actions taken by celebrities? The works of charity and volunteerism? The lending of their name recognition to draw attention to worthy causes? Is it because we're so envious of their lifestyle that when something goes wrong for them we want to lap it up, we want to roll in it, we want to snort every last morsel of their dysfunction to fill the gaps in our own self-esteem?

If aliens were to descend on our planet today and judge us on the values held by our predominant cultural icons, they would deem us an unevolved civilization of idiots. 

I'm not claiming to be above all this - I'm certainly guilty of pangs of joy when celebrities get hit with "real life" shit like divorce and arrests. It reminds me that they're not immune to life, they weren't given a free pass; on some level, they're like the rest of us. They're just as f*cked up, if not more so, than we are. 

Living under the spotlight would be like living under a microscope, with someone watching your every move and deducing some theory from your every action. No wonder celebrities have a warped sense of reality. We don't let them live like real people. We are, in large part, to blame for overinflated egos and a faulty belief in one's own supremacy.

Until we stop glorifying the idiotic and licentious, we will continue to collectively create creatures like Charlie Sheen, trapped in delusions of grandeur and a belief in their exemption from natural laws.