Or maybe she’s just being consistent with her role as a “everyone’s favorite beautiful mess.”
She thinks she’s bashing “slovenly” people (which is kind of silly in and of itself, unless said “people” are actually your brother, who just showed up to your black-tie wedding with beer-breath and flip-flops), but she’s just bashing the underprivileged, a.k.a. women who can’t afford weekly Gyrotronic sessions and lip balm that costs over 20 bucks a pop (Because I’m a real journalist, I’ve checked). Women who are working three jobs and, when they have time to eat, must eat burritos on the smelly bus that ferries them between said three jobs. Women whose evening yoga sessions are interrupted by a screaming kid who would love nothing more than to bash them with his toy airplane while they’re trying to do the goddamn dolphin pose (ahem).
Long-time readers of this blog know that I am not in favor of bashing The Pretty. I like The Pretty. I think it gets a bad rap in certain feminist circles. I’m also someone who enjoys performative femininity, sparkly charm bracelets and all (a predilection that often results in my husband, a scary-looking, bearded Russian guy with tattooed fingers, standing in some shop, picking between a Hello Kitty charm and a charm featuring a cartoon whale).
And then I go and read crap like this:
Obviously not everyone is born beautiful, but absolutely everybody can become so. I miss the un-Holy Trinity, meaning, of course, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, and Naomi Campbell. I long for the impossible standard of female beauty as a daily chore for all, not because I want the world to look better — I want it to bebetter. I want everyone to try as hard as I do to please be gorgeous, because it’s not that hard, girls. Looking great is a matter of feminism. No liberated woman would misrepresent the cause by appearing less than hale and happy.
What’s remains delightful about Wurtzel is how much of her writing is essentially a personal ad dressed up in whatever rhetoric is guaranteed to get her the most attention in a given week. As an editor concerned with circulation numbers and online hits, I bow down to this clever practice. As a woman and a feminist, I sneer at it.
Pretty women often do a fabulous job of “selling” the issue of women’s rights – or human rights in general. For many of the dudes, a pretty woman is a kind of “gateway drug” to srs feminist bsns.
I don’t really know how the hell any of that justifies compulsory femininity. Well, unless you couldn’t really give a crap about social justice to begin with. And hey, why should Elizabeth Wurtzel care about social justice? Unless it involves exciting causes such as Making Elizabeth Feel Good About Herself, that is.
I think she’s entitled to her views – God knows, I get tired of the “we are all beautiful as we are” crap from time to time (because let’s face it, a lot of the people who say it are practicing what is known as emotional populism) – but why tie it to feminism? To liberation? I mean, it doesn’t even fit in with the personal ad routine.
And then there’s also this,
Even with my Harvard degree, when I ran out of money while writing my first book, I was happier to serve cocktails in high heels than to get money from my mom. And now I walk miles in Marni’s five-inch platform T-straps.
Yeah, yeah, clothes are important:
But now, Elizabeth, you’re just showing off. And for someone of your stature and age and publishing experience, that just seems odd. Almost as if you have way too much to prove. At 45. While looking better than 25. And that sucks way more than “giving up” on your looks in your 20’s, I believe. These are not the words and actions of a woman “trying to be happy.” This is just dispiriting.
And now look what you’ve done. I has a sad now. Seriously.