"Stories" from the Collective (YOU)

Why a Woman Will Never Be Happy With How She Looks

by Rachel Cave

I live in the Western world; our economy is capitalistic. Capitalism is totally dependent on production and consumption (of products, services, etc.).

If women in the Western world were happy with their bodies, their consumption of fashion, products, magazines, treatments, exercise products etc. would dramatically drop and maybe (God forbid) come to an end. The female form is objectified, portioned off into consumerable segments (hair, legs, belly, face, lips, nails, tits) chopped up, wrapped in plastic and fed to an eager market of women hungry for their fix of glamour, in the mistaken belief that if they buy that cream, handbag, pair of shoes etc., they will – finally– become beautiful.

How many women buy a new coat because the one they have has worn out? How many women join the local gym to improve their lung capacity and stamina levels?

Lest we forget, 'glamour' means deception – 'magic or enchantment, spell, witchery' – and like zombies, intelligent women with glazed junkie-eyes roam the high street, hungry but insatiable.

Capitalism will not allow women to like their bodies; it does everything in its power to keep us insecure and – therefore – consuming products and services that we don't actually need. I am not saying gym membership is a waste of money necessarily, but it might be if the woman paying for it is hoping that she is going to transform her comfy 45 year old body (that has produced 3 children) into the toned, honed tight-buttery of a pampered 21 year old. That month's subscription will be a shameful reminder of failure for the year long duration of that gym contract. And Mrs. 45 year old mum will soon be looking for more quick fixes, at more expense. Hence the rise of popularity, lately, of liposuction, tummy tucks, even labiaplasty (is nothing sacred?).

So what can we do for our children to prevent them getting sucked into the system? It's not just our girls who are affected although generally speaking it is the female form that capitalism harnesses for it's dirty work.

What we can do is occupy our bodies rather than let them (and our minds) be occupied by someone else's unhealthy thoughts and habits (that only services fat cat capitalists).

DO rather than BE (thin, beautiful, young, passive, skint...).

Laugh. Move. Dance. Play. Reclaim the right to explore our physicality for ourselves, to sweat, to get out of breath, to mess up our hair, to not wear make up. Because it feels good.

Your body and mind will grow stronger, healthier, more energised, and will be reclaimed as YOURS.

This – I believe – is our only hope. Either that or go and live in outer Mongolia. But I bet you can still get a subscription to Heat magazine posted there...!

Note, this 'story' has been moved from the self image page @ Self Help Collective, to its own space here.

I'm hoping that putting Rachel's wise and somewhat depressing thoughts here will encourage more comments...

Comments for Why a Woman Will Never Be Happy With How She Looks

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Apr 13, 2011
Great Article, Rachel
by: Anonymous

Hopefully more and more women will soon start to agree with what you say.

Oct 18, 2010
Thin enough, but not so thin...
by: Soni Pitts

You have to be thin enough, but not so thin that it's obvious you're trying too hard. You have to be fit, without being too fit to be feminine. Pretty without being too pretty to be approachable. Smart without being scary smart.

You have to be pleased with the role feminism gave you (superwoman), whether you are interested in that life or not, because to prefer to stay home and play house is to be a traitor to all those who worked so hard to give you the privilege of dying of a coronary in a corner office (regardless of the reality that what they were actually trying to give you was a choice, not a mandate).

You have to be Madonna and Whore, without being too much of either, or at the wrong time. (And don't forget to take your turn at being Harriet, Earth Mother, Oprah, Superwoman and Six, while you're at it.)

Soni Pitts

Soni's comment is not in direct response to Rachel's 'story' but in reply to a comment I made about the myth of 'Real Man' as proposed in Rudyard Kipling's Poem called If. It originally appeared (with permission) on the self image page @ Self Help Collective

I include it here, though, as I believe it fits very well with how how Rachel describes the 'problem' behind women's self image.

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