Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Accidental Feminist

Until this very moment I've pretty much refused to admit that I’m a feminist. Why? Because it’s just not trendy anymore. I'm pretty darn mainstream: I love watching The Real World, and I don't grow out my armpit hair, burn my bras or hate men. Our apathetic generation has pretty much turned against caring about or standing for anything. We're supposed to care more about “who wears it best” and why “stars are just like US,” than why 20-something girls are suddenly making out with each other “girls gone wild” style at the local pub.

Obviously I care whether Jen is really over Brad, and who is going out with whom in Hollywood. But I also care that the new beauty standards for women couldn't even occur in nature. While I've never been anywhere near waif-ish, I'm certainly not fat. However, while standing on the uptown 6 train platform one day while living in New York, a SHORT, FAT, BALD businessman walked up to me and stated that I was "15 pounds away from being one of the most beautiful women he'd ever seen." I honestly believe he thought it was a compliment. At first I was upset (read: felt like crying and not eating for the rest of my life), but the more time and space that comes between me and this incident, the more ironic it seems.

Anyway, this particular rant is dedicated to rage I recently felt toward my boyfriend’s roommate. We were watching some late-night show – probably Conan or Leno, and there was an interview with Patricia Heaton. Now, I tried not to like Everyone Loves Raymond, because there was little for me to relate to on that show. I’m single, young, not ready for a family and I live an urban life. However, after a few sessions of watching the show while on the elliptical at the gym (all the other TVs were sports, so I was stuck), and almost FALLING off my machine because I was laughing so hard (out loud, mind you), I finally admitted that Patricia Heaton is one cool, funny chick.

Anyway, my boyfriend’s roommate, lets call him Jed, started to talk about how “haggard” and “old” Patricia looked. He went on to state that it's "so sad that women get uglier with time, while men get more attractive." I tried to ignore him, I swear. I wasn’t going to say anything because obviously he was trying to press my buttons, but ARE WE KIDDING? Before I could stop myself, I was telling Jed that Patricia looked her age, and yes the lighting was unfortunate, but he was merely used to looking at the airbrushed women in his Men’s Health or Playboy, and that he has no idea what real women – ones who might actually considering sleeping with him – look like or want from a man. I added, though I knew I should stop, that if he didn’t go around expecting every woman to look and act like the women on TV, he might not be single and hooking up with his white-trash neighbor who is twice his age, and has rather disturbing bedroom habits. Yikes.

I guess my point - which will always be lost on Jed - is that while wrinkles, age spots and stretch marks are serious stuff, I can name a zillion women who have gotten more incredible with time. I hesitate to say “beautiful” because as a product of our cruel society, I do find youthful, sun-kissed skin and shinny hair to be part of what I find beautiful. But there is something very sexy about a woman as she gets older. Maybe it's because she sincerely starts to care less about what people think, and with this...comfort, comes wisdom that just doesn't look the same on a man (call it karma). For me, a lot of women become more exciting as they grow older, more interesting and diverse. Whether it be taking up a crazy hobby - like playing the drums, riding motorcycles or making their own bread - or making sacrifices to provide for and raise their family, women have an innate spirit and strength that radiates from the inside out. Patricia Heaton is a perfect example. Everyone recognizes Ray Romano for being the life source of ‘Everyone loves Raymond.’ But if you’ve watched even one episode, you know that it’s Patricia’s sarcasm, wit and honesty that make the show a hit.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

"a SHORT, FAT, BALD businessman walked up to me and stated that I was "15 pounds away from being one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen."

TELL ME THAT REALLY DID NOT HAPPEN!!! OMG - what a horrible little troll.