Your surrender is significant

To my fellow females:

For every one of you who capitulates to unfair standards of beauty, it is THAT MUCH HARDER for the rest of us to resist.

When you deny yourself food when you are hungry, when you call yourself names, when you spend way too much money on clothing and makeup, when you let yourself feel guilty for eating dessert, when you spend more time and money than you can afford to on bringing your appearance into line with The Man's dictates, IT AFFECTS US TOO.

It affects me. It affects my friends. It affects my younger sister and my little cousins.

Stop judging your worth by your appearance, like you're some collector's doll or a show dog. Stop doing things that you think are stupid just because it's culturally mandated. Stop accepting standards of beauty without asking where they come from, what they signify, what you think of them. Stop, stop, stop.

Don't you see, this heaviness you feel, we all feel it and for us part of the heaviness is what you have added by complying? And yes, some of your heaviness is my fault. It belongs to me too.

Your compliance is significant. Your surrender carries weight. Your capitulation is not just personal.

I am angry, yes. At myself too. (I promise there's never an imperative statement or word of advice on this blog that I don't write for myself as well as for you.)

I'm going to keep saying no to all this bullshit, even when it hurts and it's really tiring. I'm going to look my reflection in the eye even when it's all wrong, and I'm not going to say that I FEEL FAT like "fat" is an actual emotion. I'm not going to idolize sick women while calling myself a feminist. I'm going to eat as much as I need and I'm going to keep it down, and I'm going to do what I want to do even when I'm not confident in my appearance.

I don't want to come off like I'm saying I'm a saint, somehow stronger than all this and above all this. Frankly, some days I feel like I cannot deal with myself and these pressures, and please, I still struggle with disordered eating to an extent; I know what poison is like.

But I need this defiance even more. I need to know that I am not making this society any more oppressive for those of us born with two X chromosomes.

And you see, the flip side is this: if your surrender means something, then your defiance means even more.

Living within the lie can constitute the system only if it is universal ... therefore everyone who steps out of line denies it in principle and threatens it in its entirety ... As soon as the alternative appears, it threatens the very existence of appearance and living a lie in terms of what they are, both their essence and their all-inclusiveness. And at the same time, it is utterly unimportant how large a space this alternative occupies: its power does not consist in its physical attributes but in the light it casts on those pillars of the system and on its unstable foundations.

- Václav Havel

So if you decide to give the finger to The Man and his beauty culture, I'll be there with you. We can stand together and wave at the horizon and tell each other when we notice one of us starting to cave, and then help hold each other up. You won't be there alone. Promise.

love and defiance,


eta: make sure you read the addendum to this post


aipingplum 4/06/2010 11:11 PM  

<3 u...

Kez 4/07/2010 12:21 AM  

What a fantastic post. What an aspiration to live up to! Imagine if everyone started thinking like that - you could start a movement - a revolution :)

Thanks for reminding me what's important today x

gabi dickinson 4/07/2010 4:27 AM  

Absolutely one of the most incredible things I've ever read.
And I'll be waving to you from Uganda, you better believe it ;)

cuileann 4/07/2010 6:27 AM  

aipingplum - And I you.

Kez - At this point, it's the only way I could think and still tolerate myself! Haha. Thank YOU.

Gabi - Thank you. Yes, I am so glad that we are both standing apart. :)

Edge 4/07/2010 7:08 AM  

Cuil, I love you. You are amazing. This needed to be said, and you said it PERFECTLY. I mean, I'm in awe right now. <3

geekspawn 4/07/2010 8:50 AM  

I'm making my best friend/penpal read this.

Erin 4/07/2010 9:40 AM  

gorgeous. righteous anger is powerful, and it is so palpable here.

i wish every every female in the world could read this.

cuileann 4/07/2010 9:56 AM  

Edge - Thank you SO much!

geekspawn - You think it will be good for her to read? I hope so too, then.

Erin - Thank you so much. It was boiling up inside of me all day, and I wasn't sure if an Angry Post was really in order, but speaking my mind was the perfect end to my birthday.

Danika 4/07/2010 12:04 PM  

Wow, I like what you write. Very defiant, but also said in love. In love and defiance, right? :)

pinkapplecore 4/07/2010 12:21 PM  

You are right dear, very much so. If everyone majority accept something then the rest of us will follow suit (are we sheep..maybe I don't know) but I rather follow a path of self love than self hate..

cuileann 4/07/2010 12:34 PM  

Danika - Thank you! And thanks for stopping by. :) Precisely. (I'm glad I don't seem like the hateful kind of angry!)

pinkapplecore - I'm glad, darling. You and me both. As for sheep...haha. At least we still get the urge to step out of line sometimes!

Cassandra 4/07/2010 2:02 PM  

Wonderful. Thank you as always.

geekspawn 4/07/2010 4:18 PM  

Yes, it will be good for her. Immensely so.

Girl in the Black Beret 4/07/2010 6:07 PM  

You, my love, are powerful. This post, should be remembered, for decades to come.

In love, and defiance.

Liv xx

Erin Wilson 4/07/2010 6:10 PM  

I'm sorry. I'm one of those. One of those who forgets. Forgets that it spills over.

I'm sorry. And thank you.

cuileann 4/07/2010 6:22 PM  

Cassandra - Thank YOU for listening.

geekspawn - Tell me how it is for her when she does read it, if you think to and want to!

Girl in the Black Beret - Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I'm stronger because you call me that, I swear.

Erin - Oh Erin, but I am too. And so we will forgive each other.

Every time it rains she just feels a lot better... 4/07/2010 7:07 PM  

This is fabulous, and exactly what i needed to hear.

they are absolutely powerful and compelling words, and the best part is that they are your words. you are the powerful and compelling defiance that most people can't seem to get to.

thanks for writing. i needed it.

cuileann 4/07/2010 7:45 PM  

Every time it rains - And you, my sister idealist, know about defiance too. I'm glad it was what you needed.

Georgie K. Buttons 4/07/2010 11:11 PM  

I'm trying.

Beth Kephart 4/08/2010 3:33 AM  

I'm there with you (though it is hard, it is). My Riley, in HEART, is learning to be there with you, too. Georgia is forcing the issue. Riley doesn't like to hear it.

cuileann 4/08/2010 6:30 PM  

Georgie - Yes. I know you are doing your best, as we all are. Don't lose heart.

Beth - Mmm, Riley. I do look forward to meeting her. And Georgia too, of course.

Sara Jane 4/09/2010 9:02 AM  

hi. you're fantastic in these words. I'm posting a link on my facebook and twitter. thank you thank you thank you.

cuileann 4/09/2010 10:32 AM  

Sara Jane - Thank you so much! I'm so glad they resonated with you.

elspeth angharad 4/09/2010 4:57 PM  

Beautiful :)
have even mentioned this on my blog for others to read, xxx

cuileann 4/09/2010 6:30 PM  

elspeth angharad - Thank you! I'm so glad you liked it.

Sarah Louise 4/15/2010 10:19 AM  

C, I can't believe I didn't comment first time around. But maybe it was because it bowled me over b/c it is so necessary.

And I didn't know you knew Erin...grin.


Holly 4/15/2010 7:43 PM  

Sarah Louise - Thank you.

And yes, I do...strangely enough, not even through you!

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