It's all in the magazines
Forgive the radio silence over the past few days (and thank you all the new commenters for dropping by and saying hello!)
I’ve been thinking for a while of doing a post about butch and femme, but it turns out I have more to say than I thought on the subject, so I’d like to ruminate on that for a while.
Somewhat related, though, is a little sidebar about self-worth and appearance. Of course we all hear a lot about how the media portrays women as stick thin and gorgeous, how detrimental the narrowing of “acceptable” fashion is to young girls, etc. All completely true. But I think it’s interesting as someone who’s an adult and not a fashion follower by any stretch of the imagination to notice how societal norms affect my own body image.
I no longer have a problem with my weight, which is a minor miracle. Though I’ve always known intellectually that I was healthy and not overweight, I had a lot of trouble with it for a very long time. These days I find myself relatively happy with my figure, especially when I’m clothed, and at least not freaking out and crying or going on a diet immediately when I’m not. But then the old self-confidence zapper popped up where I least expected it.
I got a haircut yesterday. I actually am coming to terms with it, as I normally do after a day or so, and though I don’t love the style I’ll live with it until it grows out. But yesterday, it got worse and worse. Everytime I looked at the mirror, little doubts crept into my head, until I was imagining just how unattractive and undesireable I looked and had to push back tears. This is so strange to me, because I don’t value myself on how I look at all. It’s not that it’s androgynous – I like androgyny! I think it’s just that I left the realm of conventional beauty and some little inner me was saying “good job, loser. You’ll never get a date.”
Of course, that’s how society trains women to view themselves. Your self worth is measured by your ability to attract others. I’ve always felt good and better about myself when I felt like others were attracted to me. The silly thing, though, is that I’m not particularly wound up in love and sex right now. I’m not on the market for a relationship. If someone asked me out tomorrow, I might say yes, but if someone said “hey, let’s get serious right away!” I’d run in the other direction. So why on earth should my self-worth be tied to how likely my current appearance is to get me a date? Popular culture, really. I am not amused.