If you are female, expressing hatred for your own body is not just acceptable, it’s practically de rigeur. Failure to indulge in the requisite amount of self-flagellation – my thighs! my skin! my face! – isn’t just negligent, it’s unfeminine. Self-hatred is fundamental to how femininity is constructed, more fundamental than any of the more obvious external symbols (dress, make-up, shoes). What matters is not that you are beautiful, but you know your place in the beauty hierarchy (and since every woman ages, every woman’s place will eventually be somewhere at the bottom).
Young women are encouraged to bond over their dislike of excess body hair, surplus flesh and “uneven” skin. They are meant to do so in a jovial way, egged on by perky adverts informing them what “real women” do: worry about having underarms beautiful enough for a sleeveless top, celebrate curves with apologetic booty shakes and cackle ruefully over miserable Sex-and-the-City-style lunches of Ryvita and Dulcolax. It’s a gendered ritual; men get football and booze, women get control pants and detoxes. We are supposed, of course, to be grateful. Hey, you don’t have to be perfect! Just know you’re not perfect and act accordingly, with the appropriate levels of guilt and shame!
Fairy tale after fairy tale tells us that what matters is being beautiful “on the inside” but what does that really mean? It means submission, obedience and the suppression of one’s own desires. Don’t be haughty and proud. Clean the hearth. Kiss the frog. Love the beast. Suck it up when you’re replaced by a younger model. Sure, you may look fine, but you mustn’t feel fine. You mustn’t be vain. You mustn’t be angry. All fury and pain must be turned back on itself. That way you’ll be a real princess: silent, fragile and never threatening to challenge the status quo.
“Depression is stupid and not a thing that makes me a better writer. One time I went a whole year without writing and I stayed in bed and drank. Fuck your Bukowskisms. I want sunlight and love and running down some street I’ve never been on where it’s warm and cool at the same time and I’m smiling. I want nothing to ever be bad again- and I don’t mean that I want a life free of conflict, I mean that I want a life free of meaningless conflict. Not being able to will oneself to take a shower or leave the house is meaningless. There is nothing to be gained, no lesson to be learned from that kind of life. My heart is stale, my prose is stale. Give me fire if you want to hurt me. Give me something I can taste. There’s nothing romantic or mysterious about where I am. There’s nothing here worth holding onto.”—By Joshua Espinoza (via doubtsbestally)
“Jenny Holzer’s famous truism “Protect me from what I want” renders in a very precise way the fundamental ambiguity of the hysterical position. It can either be read as an ironic reference to the standard male chauvinist wisdom that a woman, when left to herself, gets caught in the self-destructive fury, so that she must be protected from herself by the benevolent male domination: “Protect me from the excessive self-destructive desire in me that I myself am not able to dominate.” Or it can be read in a more radical way, as pointing towards the fact that in today’s patriarchal society, woman’s desire is radically alienated, that she desires what men expect her to desire, that she desires to be desired by men. In this case, “Protect me from what I want” means “What I want, precisely when I seem to formulate my authentic innermost longing, is already imposed on me by the patriarchal order that tells me what to desire, so the first condition of my liberation is that I break up the vicious cycle of my alienated desire and learn to formulate my desire in an autonomous way.””—Slavoj Žižek, How To Read Lacan (via aminaabramovic)