A Facebook ad depicting a photo of a young woman scrolled by this morning, with the following caption:
“This female founder is changing the way you hydrate.”
My first response was, “Whoever wrote this ad needs to learn about advertising copywriting.” My next response was, “‘FEMALE’ founder? Why not just say ‘woman'”?
Which led me to the next question: “Why do I need to change the way I hydrate? What’s wrong with the way I hydrate”?
Or, as George Carlin liked to inquire, once the ubiquitous practice of toting water bottles had taken a stronghold in this country, “When did we all become so dehydrated?”
But, I digress……
When I first moved to San Diego, California 15 years ago, I noticed two things: the high level of racism and the fact that women referred to themselves as “girls”.
I soon deduced that women preferred to be called girls as a head-in-the-sand approach to alleviate ageing – which is nowhere more desperate and urgent than in southern California.
Several years later, while living in Los Angeles studying writing, a classmate – a 70-ish, B-level actress who, when she was young, could have been the American counterpart to Brigitte Bardot, presented a story to the class, which began,
“I live in a place where a woman ageing is a crime”. (She lived in Malibu.) But the real crime was how she’d let her face be ravaged by the extreme cosmetic surgery that not only aged her, but made her appear grotesque. (One time she stepped up beside me without me hearing her coming and when I looked at her, I was actually frightened.)
I don’t understand why women continue to call themselves girls, nor why they allow others to do so. Imagine if we all started referring to men as “boys”. How long do you that would last?
Further along the line of the ways in which 21st century women perpetuate and allow their own self-deprecation is the practice of eliminating all pubic hair. Few women are aware that this practice originated in the pornography industry, a mutant follow-up to the prostitutes who shaved themselves in medieval times, when hygiene was a problem; thus, heralding in the era of the merken – the simple or ornate pubic wigs that women placed over their shaved mounds, because even as dirty as they were back then, everyone still knew that pubic hair was normal.
One day last week, I struck up a conversation with a young, black woman of 17 who was enthusiastic about reading me some of her poetry, in which she referred to herself as a “bitch”.
Her work was filled with youthful vigor and honesty and when she finished, I was curious.”Why do you do that?” I asked. “Why would you call yourself a bitch?”
She spat out some half-baked explanation about how it didn’t “mean anything”. But she knew in her heart that it did, only she didn’t know why. In the hardscrabble environment she comes from, bitch is synonymous with woman.
All of which brings me to address the “third wave of feminism”, which, as far as I can see, doesn’t add up to very much. As a woman in her 50s, it seems to me that young women have lost ground. As I’ve mentioned before, I never, EVER considered myself inferior to a man. If anything, I’d swing in the other direction.
I’ve encountered many a young woman in her 20s who’s out there “taking care” financially of their impotent boyfriends, all the while waxing pre-pubescent and continuing to accept 79 cents on the dollar. Is this what’s meant by the third wave of feminism?
In closing, I’d like to offer this simple, three-point effort for women of all ages to ponder:
* If you’re over 18, start referring to yourself as a woman and expect others, both men and women, to do so as well.
*Let your pubic hair grow back in as a way to give the finger to the misogynistic porn industry and all of its followers (including your boyfriend? your husband?) that want to make you think you’re abnormal for being normal.
*Stop calling other women bitch, ho, and slut and stop letting yourself be addressed as such. If you allow this, you need some help with your basic self-esteem. Go get some help.
Maybe after women of all generations get a stronghold on these simple basics, then we can get to the WOMEN’S work of demanding equal pay for equal work.
It’s a simple transformation that lies in the stroke of a pen. But it has to come from a women’s place of power.