I am interrupting this involuntary blogging break to make a mini feminist comment.
While skimming my Facebook feed this afternoon with an inattentive laziness I reserve for the weekends, I came across the image pasted below. It jolted me into the Facebook equivalent of a double-take, which I guess is this alarmed, brisk rubbing of the phone screen to gobackupwhatthehellwasthat. The caption that accompanied this picture said, "Gotta love being different. I know I do!"
The caption in itself reeks of a false sense of self-congratulatory empowerment, but that's another story altogether. My problem with the post is this: where is the feminist movement headed if we women continue to put ourselves and our peers in the same neat little boxes that the world uses to stereotype us unfairly? We are either vamps or saints, wives or whores, smart or pretty, or as in this case, average-looking and smart or sexy and dumb; but never one and the other.
The whole point of feminism is to break these stereotypes; to be seen as real multi-faceted people, you know, just like the rest of this planet's population. My intellect does not depend on how much cleavage I show, and nor does the lack of rouge on my cheeks make me any smarter. (And as I know now, reading definitely does not always make people more intelligent.)
I like to read; I wear glasses sometimes; I wear skirts; and I do a tolerable job in the make-up department (although annoyingly, the eyeliner on my right eye is always infinitely better than the one on the left). I am what most women are like, and we deserve better than to be put down in thoughtless Facebook posts put up to garner likes and soothe egos and insecurities. (Also, make-up is VERY DIFFICULT; if anything, it should be counted as a skill under the "smart girl" stereotype.)
I've read enough about Sheryl Sandberg's 'Lean In' to know that I'm not going to find myself nodding with enthused appreciation when I get around to reading the actual book. But I do agree with her on this: if women want to get ahead in this world, they first need to work on themselves instead of just crying foul at men and society. Or at least, if they can't improve the lot for themselves and their peers, then they shouldn't be making it worse by promoting gender biases.
And there ends my feminist rant. And no, there shall be no bra-burning to celebrate -- no one really does that, if you're wondering; they're too expensive.