Today’s guest post touches on a thorny issue: to what extent should we allow society to dictate the way we look? It’s a fine line to walk. Many of my favourite books on intuitive eating are eschewed by fat activists because the final goal is still weight loss. I’m still kind of on the fence: although I support your right to carry as much body fat as you want, I also understand wanting to fit into “regular-sized” clothing and avoiding the discrimination fat people face (one of the reasons I’d love to drop just a few pounds is so that doctors don’t frown at me during EVERY appointment because my BMI is borderline overweight).
As a kid who was painfully aware that her looks and clothing didn’t correspond to the norm (hair too short, clothes too colourful, terrible shoes) I now revel in wearing nice clothes, putting on make-up and doing my nails. To me these are rituals that tell me I care about myself, not suppression by the patriarchy. I feel it’s totally okay to want to “look nice”, where nice is defined by you and those around you. Perhaps the line is crossed when you start doing something not for your own self-worth but purely because society dictates it must be so. In that case, I’m right in your corner sister, fighting for your right to long armpit hair, muffin tops and greying hair.
Do women feel these societal pressure to look a certain way more than men? I’m not sure but I still love Brynn’s hilarious discussion of the earth-shattering consequences of her husband’s greying hair….
…My husband’s getting older, and in the spirit of honesty, it’s obvious. He’s getting more wrinkles and creases, but it’s the gray hair that’s really noticeable. My husband has black hair which has gone from lightly dusted to preserved cod salty in the last few years. Of course getting older isn’t a problem per se. He just could look a lot younger if he wanted to.
With all that gray hair, he’s not going to be tapped for any promotion. The quality of his work is going to become less obvious as people start focusing on his whiter hair. I’m sure the university he teaches for is going to want someone a little…fresher to represent them at conferences. I’m afraid it’s going to affect his student evaluations. Those undergrads are going to look at him and think his complete apathy about his appearance clearly indicates a certain indifference toward everything including class planning.
More about Brynn:
From Atlanta to Washington DC to Rio de Janeiro and finally settling in Vitoria, Brazil. For now. Brynn is a recovering high school economics and literature teacher turned writer. She’s currently to publish a graphic novel set in Rio, which was admittedly an odd format to write in considering she can’t draw at all, and is about to begin querying her first Young Adult novel. You can follow her adventures as an expat in a multicultural family and as a wanna-be novelist at www.brynninbrazil.com.
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