Blog Archive

Friday, July 03, 2009

Guest Blogger: Rachel's "Women"

You can follow Rachel on Twitter at

I've posted a couple of (Totally British) Rachel's pieces (here and here) in the past. I think she's brilliant. I envy her talent and am well aware that I'll the writer she is. Thank goodness SHE is:-)

Read every word...soak it in, and tell us what you think of it in the comments. She'll be reading!

Have you ever noticed that the majority of advertising is aimed at women? Make-up, hair-dye, wrinkle cream, clothing catalogues, weight-loss programmes, girls-night-in CDs. We are the consumers. Capitalism weighs on our shoulders and we hold it up, we embrace it, we keep it going. Capitalism taught us we had to look a certain way and care what others thought of us. I feel sickened when I watch the tv now, every advertisement that sells gossip or powders or paints or wonder bras to the nation makes me feel more and more like nothing will ever be enough. Give up now, because you will never look as good as you’re meant to- as a woman. You’ll never be the perfect size because as the years go by, ‘healthy’ changes. ‘Healthy’ gets smaller and smaller, and the protruding bones we used to see as a sign of abuse are now a victory flag. Malnutrition is this year’s fashion. And no matter how many times the media claims it’s fighting back, it isn’t. You don’t make as much money selling food, as you do plastic surgery. While half of the world starves, the other half vomits. We’ve been sold a dream that one day, some man will come to us and fulfil our every want; that we will be completed. Excuse me if I find this a little offensive. The weaker sex- cover us with paint and sell us on the streets.

Women are not allowed to age. Men grow older, wiser, and apparently more attractive. In this society, there is no such thing as an attractive older woman. The Mrs Robinson’s of the world are ignored these days. I have seen perhaps one anti-wrinkle advertisement for men. Cover those eye-bags! Cover those smile lines! Cover any sign you may have lived! Paint that smile on, pluck those eyebrows, shave those legs, don’t forget your underarms, bikini line, and make sure your skin looks the right colour. Is your hair shiny enough? Are you slim in the right places? Do you have CELLULITE?! Don’t worry, there’s a cure in this knife. You can get anything for the right price. Botox, face lift, liposuction, home kits! God forbid you look like you’ve been out all night. Time is your enemy. You need to look good, not just for ‘him’ (whoever ‘he’ turns out to be) but for ‘you’ too (and by you, they mean ‘them’, ‘the others’, ‘the enemy’).

Women are a woman’s worst enemy. Women don’t like women. Women like the approval of men. We use the same judgement that has been applied to us, to judge others. Fat, skinny, ugly, slut, skank. If some girl is dating your ex-boyfriend, she’s a slut. If there’s a female in a band, she’s a slut. A rockstar gets married, the wife is a slut. And if she’s not a slut, then she’s probably too: fat, skinny, ugly, skanky. We use these terms of aesthetics to insult our ‘enemies’ because when it comes down to it, capitalism taught us we are all in competition. We are against each other because we all need to look the best. Because we are fighting for attention, and because we’ve been taught that the only way for a woman to get attention is through her looks. We’ve been set against one another.

And what about women who do like women? Don’t pretend you don’t know what’s coming. We all know what society thinks. Women like women when they can’t get men.

Women are caged animals. Stuck inside staring at a mirror, trying to be sure that the mask is intact, many women will not leave home without that smear of paint. Tribal warriors perhaps, or maybe just children in face-paints, maybe just actors in costume. Women have been taught that the real them is not good enough. The real them is something that needs to be changed, needs to be hidden. There is a whole section of make-up advice dedicated to ‘the natural look’, because god forbid anyone see you in your actual natural state. In this century, the ‘natural look’ is one of make-up and hair straighteners. Because nowadays, you’re considered strange if you don’t wear make-up, talk about boys, file your nails, wear pretty dresses, and flirt to get what you want. You aren’t considered to be ‘girly’. You aren’t good enough for your own gender. You are an in-between and a failure.

‘Women’ are the embodiment of consumerism and capitalism at it’s most manipulative stage. We have been taught to bend, to be moulded like clay into whatever society deems fit for us to be. As the years go by, the mould we’re trying to fit into gets smaller, more complicated, and more towards the impossible. But we’ll keep bending. Because we believe it’s the only way to be.
*swoon* Seriously, Rachel, I speak on behalf of my entire readership: will you marry us?


Anonymous said...

Okay, I keep coming on here and seeing my face. It's shocking.

Can my new nickname be Totally British Rachel? It has a ring to it, though I think I'm too Americanized to be totally British. Damnit.

arlan said...

Haha yeah, next time I might use one of those Girls Gone Wild pics you have;-) Will I or won't I?

...the suspense is killing us!

Again, LOVE your writing. Jealous of the talent...

nerdmafia said...

rachel rachel your musings and writings. thanks for sharing, and arlan, thanks for re-posting.

my biggest beef with our society is, as rachel pointed out, how women are so often their own worst enemies. i grew up with a woman-hating woman (my mum). the fact is, my brother is very handsome, very smart, and very fit. i am very smart, not fit at all, and somehow (i've alway the hottest chick in the room. it was so disheartening growing up with my mother constantly in my ear about how i wasn't thin enough, and if i would just put on a little make-up, etc. it had me constantly questioning myself because she said these things to me (and much worse) all the time, but when i looked in the mirror, i didn't see the same thing that she did. i always liked my reflection. as an adult, i thought that maybe this was all just mother-daughter stuff, and maybe i'd blown it out of proportion...until my sister-in-law mentioned how my mother always show WAY preferential treatment to my brother's son over his two daughters. my sister-in-law just shook her head and said, "your mother has problems with other women." now, i just look at it like, "what is wrong with you?"

she's from another generation...we've grown up with all of these images bombarding us in every form of media imaginable. it wasn't like that for her. how/why does a woman become so anti-woman? i wish i had an answer for that one.

anyhoo...brilliant writing rachel (as always).

Anonymous said...

Hi Rachel,
I totally agree with (and second) all of your sentiments.
Sarah Haskins, of Current tv's show infoMania has an awesome segment that I think you'll enjoy if you havent checked it out all ready. It's called Target Women:


Anonymous said...

I'm torn when I read this blog. Part of me says "yes, you are absolutely right", but another part of me, and I think a bigger part of me, says that you are right to some degrees. I wear no make up. I use no face creams. I don't file my nails. Yet I have a boyfriend who treats me amazingly. And you may say this is one man, compared to millions, but I see it everywhere. I see everywhere around me, men that just want real women. Women that just want real women. Everywhere, I see this. So of course, the country and media are making women competitive, insecure, etc., and making them feel as though they need to spend a kagillion dollars just to look good, but I honestly don't think that people are buying into it as much as they used to. I see more advertisements now for cell phone companies, computers, and other types of technology. I see the change that is happening around us in terms of what the media is focusing. If the current state of our economy has done nothing else, then it has certainly lowered the attention that the media gives to "the perfect woman". It is now focusing on the average citizen, and how to get them through this recession. So I agree with what you are saying, but I definitely think that things have changed, if only for a short period of time. :)

p.s. i DO love me some british women and men though... hehe.

Solo said...

will follow u not only on twitter :)))
however, loved the writting as well..all right in the spot..we are the witnesses of the first never aging hollywood generation..addicted to "invisible" (to us) pain in the name of beauty..the first generation of plastic fantastic icons..who are supposed to be my motivation for eating "healthy" not falling into the bulemia/anorexia lists...and then all this combined in a reality show where they show us how this actually works...marking ur entire body with marker..cutting u everywhere and giving u grass for two weeks and u comming out NEW !!!!
i think i again went into my own world of thoughts...:)

Meg said...

Rachel, will you marry me? So, although I do wear makeup and dress pretty on the occasion, I totally agree that we, as women, continue to follow this roller coaster of capitalism directed in a bee line at us. You are right. We judge other women based on this ideal beauty. Personally, my idea of beauty is a woman who has a brain, uses that brain, and has an air of confidence that can be identified only as the je ne sais quoi. Alas, I digress. Again, Will you marry me?

Anonymous said...

Meg, I am definitely not denying anyone's right to make-up or dressing however they want, only saying that women (and men too) should be free to appear how they want without society telling them that *this* is the *right* way for their gender to look, and *that* is the *wrong* way. Break down the barriers!

As for the proposal, I'm flattered and I'll think about it ;]

Sarah said...

you can't marry her rachel. you have to marry ME. rob's cool with it, don't worry.

you're a brilliant writer and i wish it came as easily to me as it does to you. also, i looooove the picture of you that arlan posted. it's gorgeous and adorable. i can't wait to see you and i love you a lot.


Megsaintg said...

Wow... your right she is an amazing writer! Thanks for sharing her talent with me ;)

Laura said...

rachel, thank you so much for this. you don't even know how much i needed to read this right now. i miss talking with you. i miss you. i can't wait to see you.

we should talk soon.