I’ve read or seen several things over the past few weeks which have inspired this post. It started off with a piece by Maureen Dowd and a study that finds modern women to be the unhappiest they’ve been since this sort of thing has been kept track of, 1972. I didn’t find this to be particularly shocking, as I’m sure it probably isn’t to you if you are a woman or happen to know women or just one woman, any woman, take your pick. These are tough times for everyone (well, most), but it’s always tough times for women. And don’t you roll your eyes at me, mister, I will yell and am not above crying.
So what is our problem now? Precisely what is supposed to be making us happy: having it all.
Modern women are supposed to have the capability of Barnum & Bailey level juggling, attaining everything school tells their hearts to desire and Disney has their imagination concoct, all the while looking like one smokin’ hot MILF. In order to stay sane, wouldn’t you think that something must (and inevitably will) give? It seems the first and perhaps the easiest thing for women to let go of is their own personal happiness.
The aforementioned article says this:
When women stepped into male- dominated realms, they put more demands — and stress — on themselves. If they once judged themselves on looks, kids, hubbies, gardens and dinner parties, now they judge themselves on looks, kids, hubbies, gardens, dinner parties — and grad school, work, office deadlines and meshing a two-career marriage.
There’s validity to that statement, but I’d argue that men feel the stress of all those things as well. However, sirs, you don’t have to deal with the stress of this:
Conspiracy theorists: did the government dole out drugs throughout inner-city neighborhoods to keep the poor down? Yes? Ok, well then they’re handing out a different kind of drug to women through the media. There is a maddening level of youth, beauty, and sexuality being injected into the veins of women every. Single. Day. And not just women, men, it’s to you too.
I have a wonderful boy (err, man) friend who is thoughtful and caring and smart and all of those good things, and you know what his reaction to this video was? “Yeah, ok, but that girl isn’t even hot. There are lots girls out there who are much more naturally beautiful than her.”
Oh John, John, John. I saw this video and was so disturbed, sickened, and saddened that I had to show him and THAT was his reaction? But then it made me realize, ok, women (SOME women) are being affected by this sort of thing in an obvious way; work hard, be smart, I can do that. But how do I change my face, my body, my hair? And as stupid as we know those things technically are, they’re what’s being shoved down our throats (hmm, eyeballs?) every day. We’re being objectified, and we’re doing it to ourselves.
In a less obvious way, men (SOME men) are stressing about this too. Otherwise completely average-looking men are under the impression that they are entitled to a “hot” girl. The first question any single guy asks me when looking for me to set him up with friends? “Is she hot?” Um, are you? NO! Get over yourself! I have an unhappily single male friend who is holding out for a woman who is “dark, brunette, between 5’7-5’9, athletic, and well-read”. I have an unhappily single girlfriend who was recently dumped because her long-time boyfriend “didn’t see himself marrying someone who looked like her”.
Ok, maybe I’m hanging out with the wrong crowd.
The key to happiness? I have no idea, but I’d say it’s clear that we all need to check ourselves before we wreck ourselves. Hardly anyone looks like the photo-shopped alien they made that woman into in the video or these bizarre Ralph Lauren famine-survivors/models.
No one can do it all, and if they are, their nerves are probably so frayed that they’re likely going to go all D-Fens on you at a moments notice. Ladies, just stop looking at stupid Vogue and Cosmo and judging yourself against those standards. They might as well be robots. Take care of and put effort into yourself, and be happy with that. Guys, you are no Brad Pitt and your car definitely does not warrant a supermodel, and in no way are you going to become some hot-shot older guy with some little chippie dangling from your arm. The dream is over. Let us all accept our delicious mediocrity.