Reader Roundup


Thirsty Thursday, and our anniversary? Let’s get fancy goblets and drink to the best comments of the day! Also, feel free to get drunk and talk shit about the worst comment of the day:

Best Comment Of The Day, in response to The Eyes Have It: “Eunice and Steven always hung out at the trendiest New York spots, but Eunice was always somewhat reluctant to be shot by the puparazzi.” • Best Comment Of The Day, in response to Diaper Jeans: For Babies Who Poop In Style: “These don’t look too shitty, but I don’t think they’ll be too poopular. If anything, though, parents will have a pretty turdiffic time taking pictures of their babies. However, they’ll crap out on the novelty soon enough, so Huggies should try making a variety of regular designs their fecal point.” And! “If you feel like protesting these, please feel free to stage a shit in.” • Best Comment Of The Day, in response to Life Is Unfair: Isn’t It Refreshing To Admit That?:

But the point is WHY we think they got dealt a “good genetic hand”. We only think that because we define it that way, culturally. We say, this is beautiful, this is not. This woman has value, this one does not. The part that’s unfair is not that some women are defined as beautiful. It’s that our culture values beauty as much as it does…while simultaneously tearing it down on the altar of Public Body Commentary.
The beauty ideal is what limits women because of the structure it creates and perpetuates. Not because individuals are affected by it, or influenced by it, or criticize it. We are not to blame for the former, and absolutely should do the latter. Not because we’re trying to shame women who happen to fall into whatever we currently define beauty to be…but because those rigid definitions affect all women. Including those who happen to be considered beautiful. Because while it does afford some privileges, it creates a whole lot of negatives, too. Being a woman, whether you’re considered beautiful or not, is difficult and full of assumptions and sexism.
If women weren’t valued for how they look, this wouldn’t be so important. But we are. And how we look has become public property to judge and comment on whenever and however other people want to. There’s an entitlement to women’s bodies that is EXTREMELY relevant to all feminist discourse.
This goes back to the idea that dealing with the beauty culture is somehow Not Important. It is. Because it can be traced back to the most fundamental issues we face as women. Which is that our bodies are not our own in this culture. The beauty idealization is one way that manifests, and it’s a pervasive, insidious, and destructive one.
And I’m flat out tired of being told how I “should” deal with that or the “real” reasons why it bothers me, which somehow always ends up on the jealousy/resentment train. I don’t talk about this because I have some misguided idea that I will one day be considered “beautiful”. I seriously don’t care about that. I care that women continuously dismiss our beauty culture as irrelevant and anyone who discusses it in depth as “not caring about more important things.”
Seeing women of various shapes and sizes, of diverse ethnic backgrounds, all considered “beautiful” helps diversify the ENTIRE concept of beauty. Which further diversifies and breaks down the idea that beauty is our most defining quality, because if all kinds of women are beautiful, then it has way less power.
That’s significant. And I absolutely refuse to sit back and act like that doesn’t matter. What’s “unfair” is other women continuing to trot out these tired tropes. We’ve been told this before. And I’m sorry that some people don’t see why it matters. But I’m sick to death of being scolded about it. Go read some of Susan Orbach’s work on it and get back to me.
ETA: Also, the idea that talking about this precludes dealing with any other feminist issue really doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s not like I go, well, I talked about body issues today…I no longer care about what happened in Darfur, Saudi Arabia, FGM, or the wage gaps. I’m totally done! No. How many times do we have to talk about these issues before we realize they are all interconnected in various ways?

Worst Comment Of The Day, in response to Sweet Nothings, From Barack To Michelle: “I have to say I have HAD it with relentless photos showing how in love Barack and Michelle are. It’s great, they’re awesome – whatever. It’s just as meaningless as endless photos showing how in love Brangelina are, as, in the same way, it has nothing to do with their jobs. I do not understand the obsession with it. It seems so shallow and school-girly, just gonig ‘awwww’ at photos of a happy couple again and again and again. Is it really SO incredible?? A successful husband and wife like each other – OMG! I like them, but it’s getting overkill. I can’t think of one other couple political or celebrity which jezebel gives this much attention to simply in regards to them being happy. We get it!!!”

Special Mention For Awesome, Much-Appreciated Comment Of The Day And Just As An Aside, Lockhart Doesn’t Work For Gawker Anymore But Nick Denton Does And You Can Email Him If You Want: Here!

Reminder: If you see a great, funny, insightful, eloquent (or awful) comment, nominate it! Email the comment and the timestamp link to the left of the comment to Hortense at [email protected].

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