How does shit like this happen? One day you’re a goddamn hairy-armpitted anarcho-feminist, and the next you’re…..this:
Even after 33 spins around the sun, I don’t understand this business of woman-ing.
Here’s what I can figure out: I’ve been wearing clothes with paint on them for weeks and weeks. Dingy hoodies and slouchy jeans and old filthy Vans slip-ons. Hair in a bun held with a chopstick, or a ponytail. Every. Day. Hoodie/mom jeans/slip-ons/ponytail. Come home at midnight, deposit clothes on floor. Wake up, put clothes from floor onto body. Sometimes I scrub the paint and primer and dust off my hands and throw on an apron and get chocolate all over my hands. Repeat.
The past few weeks and the next few to come are all about filthy clothes and an ever-cleaner and more gorgeous chocolate shop-to-be. This is all well and good. I’m enjoying a different kind of hard work than I usually do.
But: it’s springy, and I like clothes. And I like the performance of femininity. I like seeing how my body looks in differently-shaped clothes. I like, I regret to say, the line of my calf in a heel, now and then. And I like, just for fun, this little eye makeup pencil thingie that happened to jump into my cart at the health food store not too long ago. For a long time, my body was my only friend—all those childhood hours spent with my knees up to my chin, pretending things that were happening weren’t happening. My body and I were two, because I needed an ally. One of my proudest accomplishments is that we never became enemies. It’s a workable, usable, homey body, this body of mine. I can’t touch my toes so great, my ass is flat, and sometimes I can’t raise my right arm above my head without unbearable pain. But it’s my body, and I’ll take it.
The victory of feminism is that we can choose what kind of women we want to be, right? Even better, we can choose, as many of us smarties do, to be every kind of woman, to pick and choose from the panoply of options now available to us (in this way, women are light-years ahead of men, still stuck in their stupid ties and collared shirts.). Some days jeans and a hoodie are perfection. Some days, when I’m going across the river for dinner and drinks and a movie with friends, a dress feels delicious. Particularly when I know we can, ahem, park not far from the restaurant.
Most feminists my age have made their peace with this. But because I am close to some truly radical “second-wave” radical feminists, and so I occasionally think like they do and wonder: am I just brainwashed into accepting that I feel good when I pour myself into male gaze-approved receptacles? To what extent are our likes and dislikes shaped by the patriarchy that is the air we breathe?
I’ve written this same blog post a million times. It’s the same problem I have with the neo-burlesque thing: balancing that whatever you want to do is a victory of feminism with questioning why women are still drawn to these patriarchy-approved (with a twist! Tattoos!) activities and are so invested in defending them as feminist. Blah blah. I always come to the same place: wearing dresses is fun. So that’s where I’ll end today too.
And anyway, my armpits are still hairy. So there’s that.
Oh, and before these two assholes who adore slandering me on the internet for wearing thrifted leather shoes see this and start up a damn Facebook thread about how I’m not vegan (I’m still mad, by the way), I guess I should say that my shoes are from the vegan design house Cri de Coeur. I traded them for chocolates at the magnificent Cow Jones Vegan Industrials. So there, haters!