But damn, it’s still powerful.
The other day Jamie and I were talking, as we do, about getting older, and how the world looks at you differently, especially if you happen to be a woman. Since giving birth, she’s been conscious of the ramifications of losing one’s looks (although she hasn’t lost her looks at all. She’s a textbook MILF, although not a mom I’d like to eff because, among other reasons, I’m her boss). But why should I have to add that she hasn’t lost her looks? Why does not being youthfully hot have to equal cultural damnation?
I told her I’ve been noticing how women lose currency when they’re not perceived as fertile—whether because they’re old, butch, fat, etc.—even in contexts that have nothing to do with actual baby-making. Society is like, What you’re saying would be so much more interesting to me if you were 27 with a waist-hip ratio that implied you could squeeze out a couple of kids, but of course hadn’t yet.
Almost every day on Kevin & Bean (the KROQ morning show that’s been making me feel bad about myself since 1990; but hey, I like Ralph’s showbiz report), steam practically comes out of the ears of the doofy hosts when a woman who’s not hot dares to find her way onto their radar. A lot of times this woman is Tilda Swinton—whom plenty of people find hot, but what if they didn’t? What if there was some way to prove that not one person on the face of the earth wanted to have sex with Tilda Swinton?
In Kevin and Bean’s economy, she should just die. Because clearly she was put on this earth to make penises happy, and if she’s failed at this mission, what’s the point of living?
There’s a funny part in Reno 911!: Miami when one of the inept, self-centered cops finds herself at a 911 dispatch desk. She asks the caller for her address, pauses, then says, “No, where are you in relation to where I am?” Which is how so many people—not just men, and not excluding myself—go through the world. How does it relate to me? What can it do for me? How does your marriage threaten me? White people sometimes look at affirmative action and say, “It’s great because I learn so much from going to a diverse school/working in a diverse environment!” True, but what if you didn’t? What if it had nothing to do with you? Would it have no value?
I would like to close this post with a photo that I unfortunately didn’t take, of a billboard I saw while driving on the 10 freeway this morning. But I think the text makes my point better than this whole post: “Celebrate Black History Month. Let your new life begin! Call 1-800-GET-THIN.”
‘Cause I’m pretty MLK was hoping that one day his children would be judged not by the color of their skin but by the size of their gastric bypass surgery-sculpted waistlines.