Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Very Worst Thing a Woman Can Be

... according to the very odd pair of twenty-somethings I shared the laundry facilities with this morning, is fat. The very worst thing a woman can do is to inhabit a body that does not comply with the aesthetic vision of the beholder.


I've long been astonished at how openly aggressive it is to feel that you have the right to wish people would alter their corporeal beings in order to fit your sense of style. I mean, even having a preference for someone else's style of haircut is a lot of damned nerve. Yet people feel the right to place demands for compliance on other people's waist circumference, calf tone, breast and buttock size and shape, and on and on. Even people I respect a lot, people who are activists for equality; people who theorize for a living, carefully undoing the false constructs that support silly, outmoded hierarchies will make reflexively appearance-based judgements, assigning lower status and even character flaws to those who fail their personal pretty tests.

But this morning, it just struck me as funny and I started thinking of all the things that I could theoretically do and be, and still somehow be a better person in the eyes of these people than I would be if I gained 50 pounds. The freedom I have to exhibit my nasty side while still being considered an acceptable person is awesome.

I could:
  • set fire to an orphanage

  • on christmas eve

  • and put a reindeer on the front lawn so the kids think Santa did it
  • Buy myself a whole bunch of stuff I have been fetishizing for months, rather than getting thoughtful gifts for the kids in my life.
  • Show my own nieces and nephews the cool crap I bought myself, causing me not to be able to afford even some blocks and handpuppets for them.

  • steal from the donation cup of a homeless person

  • Tape a friend saying exasperated things about his very guilt-sensitive mom and send her the recordings
  • Tape the same friend saying rude things about his "it's complicated" and send her the recordings

  • feed a laxative to the neighbor's dog
  • Ask another neighbor what vexing 'heavy construction' project her husband is working on, based on all the banging and hollering that goes on there when she's away.

  • Give students bad advice purposefully, then grade them on the good advice I should have given.
  • Have a dinner party, at which I serve only the foods that trigger severe allergic reactions in my guests.
  • Drink and drive with full knowledge that I am drunk and dangerous

And that's just the banal stuff that pops into my head in a few minutes. If I were really determined to be cruel, vindictive, selfish, rude, evil, controlling, passive-aggressive, aggressive-aggressive, short-tempered, ignorant, unjust, and so on, I imagine I could come up with some far more inventive things I could be and do just as long as I don't gain weight.