Sunday Times and online Times article ‘Sex and the Sixities’ by India Knight includes the following rousing calls to womanhood:
“the essence of modern womanhood, the one hard-to-define component that makes us all want to cheer the loudest…” is “…possibility that we may, at 62, perhaps look like Helen Mirren in a bikini”
“a 62-year-old woman looking hot, properly hot, not hot for her age or hot as in fanciable, even though you know you shouldn’t is a thing that simply can’t be celebrated enough.”
‘Mirren in her red bikini says more, more succinctly, about what women want and can achieve than any amount of turgid feminist preaching ever could’
Gosh, I don’t think I know people who think spending time and skill to dress for the occasion is shallow, but India thinks that view might be held by some Times readers because she considerately quashes it “if you think that’s shallow, I would humbly posit that you understand nothing at all about real women’s hopes and ambitions.” Trying to following India’s humble reasoning, leads to the suspicion that if I don’t want to look like Helen Mirren in a Bikini then I may not be a real woman, Ooops! I think I may have fallen over.
Apparently the social construction of ‘woman’ once meant “no longer being a girl, which translated into bad clothes, bad hair, bad make-up and, if you were especially unfortunate, a bad figure.” and “Worse, having reproduced meant that in the eyes of society you no longer existed as a sexual being“. It seems that India believes promoting yourself as a ‘sexual being’ , sexbot, should be an aspirational goal for real women and it is equated to looking young. If you don’t look sexy you look old. Whhhooooops! I definitely fell over this time.
India’s view also implies that, normal, aspiring real women have no financial or legal obstacles to not looking youthful and sexy because ‘deregulated’‘ ‘minor surgical procedures’ are ‘nothing that is outside most people’ league’ . It is all part of the groundwork for achieving ‘a triumphant assertion of easy, carefree femininity’. While fake women should embrace the freedom and “life-changing power of hair dye“. As a self-identified, terminally-fake, woman I “might know better if they [I] made an attempt at living in the real world“. Maybe downtown Reading is actually a figment of my nasty, demented, Ivory-tower, imagination? Deary me, I must get out more and take my zimmer-frame.
If ‘looking good’ is primarily equated to looking youthful and sexy I have no intention of developing an interest. or skill, in it. When looking good is constructed to promote wrinkles and twisty silver hairs ideally with a dash, or spring, of surrealist creativity, then I’ll be swinging my funky-stuff with the melting clocks but not with the people who aspire to portray themselves as sexbots.
For now, if I place myself in India’s analytical framework I find that I am:
- Preaching (turgid?) feminism.
- intelligent, a blue stocking.
- a frump because I don’t pride myself in being fashionable.
- Living in an ivory tower (in Reading).
- not recognising the equivalence of the value of having a face-lift with the right to paid maternity leave.
At least India has clearly given me the escape route to achieve real-woman status that luckily I can choose not to aspire to, I must
- maintain my already abundant confidence.
- promote my sexual potential.
- develop and interest in whatever the current fashion defines as looking good.
- have minor surgical procedures so that I can look good in a bikini.
- Die my hair.
Unlike Alan’s outstanding advice I wont be aligning the value-set outlined in India’s article.
* the sound of me and my zimmer-frame colliding with the ground when dropping out of our Ivory tower.