Anyway, being a woman, and a feminist, I feel like I'm swimming against the tide. Not only against the tide of opinion, but of my own emotions. It's like being constantly caught in the middle; being caught between knowing that the beauty ideal is a sexist myth perpetuated and sustained by the patriarchy and wanting SO badly to live up to that ideal. For me, feminism is a constant source of conflict with myself.
I'm trying hard to articulate this and I'm not sure I'm doing it all that well, so rather than writing this as a fluent post, I want to share with you some of the random some of the internal contradictions that have been troubling me, which will probably explain it better.
For example, I hate our society's simultaneous obsession with youth and fear of ageing. I hate that women are taught to be terrified of growing older, bullied into spending a small fortune on dubious anti-ageing creams which almost certainly have little, if any effect. And I know these twin obsessions are ridiculous, and I rage against them with everyone else, but at the same time, I'm unable to rise above them. For all my smug dismissal of the supposed qualities of anti-wrinkle creams, I still buy them. Last weekend I cried because I'm getting fine lines around my eyes, and as I write this I'm crying because I fucking hate myself for caring when I know I shouldn't, because by being sucked into the beauty myth I'm only helping to perpetuate it.
I hate the whole Bridget Jones thing, how the media would have us believe that if a woman isn't married by the time she's 30 she will be/should be a neurotic mess, desperate to find a man before it's "too late" and I hate that I'm in my twenties and live in a near constant state of panic about the fact that I'm single, that I'm genuinely terrified that I won't find anyone.
I hate myself for knowing that women come in all shapes and sizes, so many shapes and sizes that it's impossible for any one to be "right", and still being unhappy with my body because it's not "right".
I hate that people are so shallow that we value looks over everything else, and elevate people with no talent to the level of royalty because they're beautiful and sometimes I hate my face because it doesn't look like Cheryl Cole's.
I'm not saying I wish I wasn't a feminist, but sometimes the constant contradiction all just feels a bit much. Does anyone else understand?