thebitterbabe

never married, over forty, a little bitter

Category: feminism

beacons

Ah well. Mejor solo que mal acompanado.

http://www.theawl.com/2014/02/ask-polly-should-i-play-it-cool-or-ask-for-more-and-be-that-girl

And what’s so fucking attractive about that easy-going, no-problem girl anyway? Does she have a single fucking thing in common with Lorde, or is she inadvertently aspiring to be a muted, high-fiving fuck doll? Do you want to be a person, or do you want to be an emotional Hooters waitress, serving up cuddles and hot wings and laughing it off when your ass gets pinched for the 15th million time?

[…]

AND there’s a smallish chance that he’ll say, “Yeah, I can do that. I want to be with you.” When you stand up for what you want, and you aren’t afraid to say it out loud, you’d be amazed how well the world responds to that.

But, let’s be honest, lots of guys don’t like it. You know what kinds of guys don’t like it? The guys who are hiding from themselves, the guys who don’t want to be seen, the guys who don’t want to show up. AND THEY ARE FUCKING EVERYWHERE, dude. But you don’t want someone like that. You want one of the good ones, the ones who can look you in the eye and say, “YES. What you want is not unreasonable. I want to be intellectually met, too. I want to be emotionally open, too. I want to be with YOU.”

[…]

Do some writing about what you really, really want from love. Make a list. Then list the things that make you feel disappointed and sad. Talk it all through with a few friends. Revise your list. Spend some time alone and really feel your way through this. You shouldn’t be talking yourself into or out of anything. You should be looking deep inside and asking yourself what you want, how you want to live. You should be reaching for the very best possible love and life for yourself. You should be thinking of your favorite bad ass. Don’t you deserve to treat yourself with as much adoration and love as Lorde does? And if not WHY THE FUCK NOT? Why don’t you cherish yourself and who you are like THAT? What damns you to half-assed fucking men, exactly?

[…]

Listen to me closely now: The people who dare to ask for an expansive, life-altering love, who will be alone rather than settle for less, are the ones who find it. People who accept less, who figure they don’t deserve any better, who figure that it’s too much of a risk to tell the truth and scare men off, are the ones who live with a constant feeling of disappointment and neglect. When you neglect yourself and your feelings, you get neglected by others, too.

Stand up for yourself. Stand up for what you want. Does that make you That Girl?

Then BE. THAT. GIRL.

Because That Girl is a shining beacon to the rest of us. That Girl doesn’t play along and call herself whatever some dude is calling her, whether it’s “pal” or “that chick I’m sleeping with” or “her, over there.” That Girl doesn’t sit through drifty, disconnected conversations with men who can’t show up. That Girl doesn’t care if you think she’s attractive or appropriate or easy to be around or not. She’s not caught up in some dude’s love affair—with himself, with his stuff, with his fantasy of how easy and sexy and mysterious True Love will be when he finally finds it, just like a porn flick starring him with a soundtrack by The Shins. That Girl is willing to risk his disapproval for the sake of her own happiness.

Fuck the critics. Fuck the onlookers. Fuck this cold, disapproving world, that doesn’t like That Girl or really any fucking girl at all, when it boils right down to it. BE THAT GIRL.

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42

I did not find this article nearly as offensive as the commenters, because it’s still (unfortunately) a radical notion to some that a woman in her forties could be thought of as attractive, and I agree about the determination to be free (although less sure that’s a recent thing only):

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/culture/42-year-old-women

There are many reasons for the apotheosis of forty-two-year-old women, and some of them have little to do with forty-two-year-old women themselves. In a society in which the median age keeps advancing, we have no choice but to keep redefining youth. Life lasts longer; so does beauty, fertility, and sex. And yet forty-two-year-old women are not enjoying some kind of scientific triumph but rather one of political and personal will. A few generations ago, a woman turning forty-two was expected to voluntarily accept the shackles of biology and convention; now it seems there is no one in our society quite so determined to be free. Conservatives still attack feminism with the absurd notion that it makes its adherents less attractive to men; in truth, it is feminism that has made forty-two-year-old women so desirable.

On the other hand, point taken:

http://thehairpin.com/2014/07/42

OK, Tom. To borrow another phrase, “Are you trying to seduce me?” I am actually 44, so I hope my collagen-intelligence ratio is still in your ballpark. Oh, I just looked you up on Wikipedia and I see that you’re 55. Oh, yeah! That is such a hot age. It’s like, you’re still alive, but only for about 30 more years.

double Ms

Although I don’t have kids, I’m in a care taking profession, and I know I’m going to be tired of it all by my fifties. I’m starting to appreciate the fact that I won’t have that middle M to contend with on top of everything else:

http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/7-14-14-sandra-tsing-loh-sandwich-generation/

Loh calls these women the triple-Ms: middle-aged mothers in menopause. “You’re losing your nurturing hormones and you don’t feel like taking care of people any more. But you’re at an age when suddenly you’re caregiving.” Loh has two adolescent girls and a 93-year-old dad, and like other triple-Ms, she’s starting to feel like her multitasking is getting out of hand.

Handling my elderly parent might be more than enough. Very interesting quotes here from (childless and single) author Jane Gross’s A Bittersweet Season:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/03/daddy-issues/308890/

In the space of three years … my mother’s ferocious independence gave way to utter reliance on her two adult children. Garden-variety aches and pains became major health problems; halfhearted attention no longer sufficed, and managing her needs from afar became impossible … We were flattened by the enormous demands on our time, energy, and bank accounts; the disruption to our professional and personal lives; the fear that our time in this parallel universe would never end and the guilt for wishing that it would … We knew nothing about Medicaid spend-downs, in-hospital versus out-of-hospital “do not resuscitate” orders, Hoyer lifts, motorized wheelchairs, or assistive devices for people who can neither speak nor type. We knew nothing about “pre-need consultants,” who handle advance payment for the funerals of people who aren’t dead yet, or “feeders,” whose job it is to spoon pureed food into the mouths of men and women who can no longer hold a utensil.

[…]

I know that at the end of my mother’s life I felt isolated in my plight, especially compared to colleagues being feted with showers and welcomed back to work with oohs and aahs at new baby pictures. I was tempted, out of pure small-mindedness, to put on my desk a photo of my mother, slumped in her wheelchair.

cupcakes

A case of having her cake and eating it too?

http://www.salon.com/2014/07/04/i_accidentally_became_a_housewife_partner/

Perhaps it’s because I’ve had big serious jobs—though I never did reach my youthful dream of being a doctor, lawyer, or doctor/lawyer—and while I loved them, I can’t muster much wistfulness for days spent supervising the work of others, wrestling a budget and schedule into submission, and attending endless meetings. Even when my work was at its most fulfilling, I can’t imagine merging it with my home life as it currently stands—two kids, a husband who travels—without making serious sacrifices in both realms. Friends of mine who work full-time with kids are my heroines, and they are also so stressed out that every time I see them I want to offer them a cupcake and a glass of wine.

pods

http://www.oregonlive.com/O/index.ssf/2009/01/multidisciplinary_artist_tiffa.html

She wanted to talk about the grief, but publicly acknowledging the pain of wanting a child, but not being able to have one, the complexity of that — there seemed to be no good framework for it. People talk about their children all the time, but how can you talk about mourning the child you will never have without taking away from their happiness? How do you explain to your closest friends that attending a baby shower is just too painful right now, that you can’t go to the grocery store during the day anymore, because the sight of all those children and mothers overwhelms you?

She felt she had to carry so much in silence, alone.

“There are some days,” Brown said last spring, “where I feel like an alienated, childless freak. And as I get older, there will be fewer and fewer people around me who don’t have children. … ”

[…]

She threw herself into researching childlessness, reading everything she could get her hands on, joining online discussions, listening to other women’s stories of childless by infertility, or reluctant choice, trying, as she put it, “to contextualize myself in a larger humanity — as opposed to my tiny pod of grief.”

no reservations

Interestingly, this was written in 2002, before pregnant celebrities became splashed across every cover. Backlash?

There appears to be a generational gap with regard to women’s feelings about their childlessness. Women in their 50s acknowledged a strong societal imperative toward having children, which in turn left them feeling inadequate because they had not. Women in their 40s had mixed reactions: Some felt that a societal expectation was placed on them, whereas others did not. Women under 35 did not feel this sense of obligation, having grown up in a society more open to allowing individuals to make their own choices. That has allowed younger, more liberated women to be comfortable with childlessness. The next generation could well be childless without reservations.

Read more: http://www.utne.com/community/the-childless-revolution.aspx#ixzz35evwgHht

the scrubbing

http://www.salon.com/2014/06/16/spike_heels_sex_and_strollers_im_tired_of_lady_mags_pretending_that_motherhood_doesnt_exist/

“Celebrities are the perfect vehicle because they are working women, but also very much shaped by feminist stereotypes,” she explained. Drawing from the work of Susan Douglas and Meredith Michaels and their book “The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined All Women,” she explained that unlike the rest of us, celebrities can achieve superwomen status, they can look great and work hard and be good moms who cook excellent chicken. Of course, the large network of people they rely upon to achieve such feats are often scrubbed from their public image and all we are all left with are “poster figures for this post-feminist ideology, a perfect antidote to the masculinized working women” that are so commonplace.

tarnished

http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2014/05/marina-benjamin-what-it-means-be-woman-aged-50

When the term “middle age” came into general use in the late 19th century, it was principally in a socio-economic setting. Empire and industrialisation had expanded and enriched the middle classes, and women who had finished raising children could enjoy another decade or two of vigour and relevance. Middle age was actually admired: these women were mature, worldly creatures who had, as the modern saying goes, “freedom to” as well as “freedom from”. The negative tarnish came with the mass production of the 1920s and the theories of scientific management that underpinned it, sharpening our association of youth with productivity and middle age with decreasing efficiency.

the system

http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2014/jun/02/kirstie-allsop-young-women-ditch-university-baby-by-27

“Women are being let down by the system. We should speak honestly and frankly about fertility and the fact it falls off a cliff when you’re 35. We should talk openly about university and whether going when you’re young, when we live so much longer, is really the way forward. At the moment, women have 15 years to go to university, get their career on track, try and buy a home, and have a baby. That is a hell of a lot to ask someone. As a passionate feminist, I feel we have not been honest enough with women about this issue.”

Allsopp says fertility is the one thing that cannot change.

“Some of the greatest pain that I have seen among friends is the struggle to have a child. It wasn’t all people who couldn’t start early enough because they hadn’t met the right person,” she said.

“But there is a huge inequality, which is that women have this time pressure that men don’t have. And I think if you’re a man of 25 and you’re with a woman of 25, and you really love her, then you have a responsibility to say: ‘Let’s do it now.’

routes

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117528/monogamy-outdated-and-unattainable-ideal

Last week researchers at the University of New Mexico warned that girls rely too much on romantic relationships for their self-identity. The study found that girls are at greater risk of depression, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts the more their relationships diverged from their ideal. There was no evidence that such romantic disappointments affect boys, who were shown to gain their self worth from sport or other achievements.

For these girls, Cameron Diaz is a good role-model. It is a great shame that these American teenagers are fortunate enough to live in an era where their future no longer relies on meeting a prince, yet they fail to utilize this. Perhaps they should be enlightened to the fact that just fifty years ago in some states of their country, women couldn’t take out a loan or a mortgage without the signature of a husband. Perhaps they should be reminded that in the 1970s a woman could be sacked simply for losing her looks and no one would bat an eyelid. It’s no good having all these victories in the battle for emancipation of women if we still send out a message that finding Mr. Right is the only route to utopia.