Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Breaking News: Men and Women Now Equal!

h/t Feminist Philosophers

"Britain's No.1 quality newspaper website" The Telegraph.co.uk reports on how to "Bag yourself a 'must have' male". I'm sure this will come as much a surprise to you as it did to me, but... well, the article speaks for itself:

Once they were happy to live with saggy jawlines, baggy eyes and a 'menopaunch'. Now they are turning to surgery. Fay Weldon on how alpha woman has reduced men to the status of mere accessories


You see, Weldon tells us all about how older men are increasingly turning to surgery to improve their looks. They're getting fat sucked out, hair transplants, and face lifts to keep that youthful look. To read the article, you'd think that it's an epidemic. Maybe it is and I've just missed noticing it? I don't know. I do find it suspicious that the number of men getting the procedures aren't mentioned, only the rate of increase... but, whatever.

Lucky for us, Weldon is here to set us straight on the real cause. You see, it's not that patriarchical beauty standards that have plagued women for ages are starting to catch up with well-to-do men. It's not that we, as a society, place unreasonable emphasis on looking and staying young. It's not that the beauty industry recognize that they can exploit men's insecurities about their bodies for profit, too. Oh, no. You might think so, but Weldon clears it up for us:

Or perhaps it's all the feminists' fault? The gap between men and women has narrowed so much over the decades that the sexes are intrinsically the same, and it's happening so fast that it makes us uneasy. Equal pay, equal opportunities, Health and Safety makes wimps of us all... what's the difference between the male and the female? Except, of course, that women occupy the moral high ground, live longer, look better longer, are more employable and need men less than men need women.


That's right readers- it's The Feminists' fault if older men are getting cosmetic work done, because the gap has narrowed so much over time that the sexes are intrinsically the same.

I guess that's that, then, right? I can shut my blog down, and go home. We're all good now.

I have to admit that I'm unfamiliar with the Telegraph, but is this par for the course with them? First of all, can I just mention her egregious misuse of "intrinsically", please? No amount of work on the part of feminists is going to change an intrinsic nature of the sexes. That's... well... impossible. By definition. If the sexes are intrinsically the same, the only thing we, as feminists, can have possible done is made people recognize that fact.

Beyond that minor linguistic nit-pick... what the fuck is Weldon talking about?! This is one of the most blatantly anti-feminist and staggeringly woman-hating articles I've seen in a long time. Everything from the attached photograph, to some of the insane assumptions made in the article, to the entire premise is designed to instill a sense of fear that Women Are Ruining Men. It's sexist fear mongering at its finest.

By the time we hit line four, Weldon is off and running with her Bizzaroworld interpretation of reality. Apparently women want to be stick-like and beautiful to please themselves or impress other women - not men. - While I can understand the argument that lesbians are probably at least as worried about looking good to other women as they are concerned with meeting the largely male-centric beauty standards that society puts out, I'm not sure that's what Weldon is getting at.

For an article with the title "Bag yourself a 'must have' male" Weldon spends remarkably little time actually talking about it. In fact, the whole point appears to be that women don't have to "bag" a "must have" man, because women have all of the power now. It's we men who have to worry about bagging women. Women have all of the power, and men have to go under the knife to be attractive enough for women to deign to pick them as arm candy.

I'd love to know what world Weldon is living in where single older women who are dating "have the advantage" over older men, because older women "need only to comve over as kind and friendly" while men, it seems, need to look good. Because gods know that women are never criticized just for getting old. Heavens no.

If it weren't so completely out of touch with reality, it might be amusing.

But, maybe I'm just missing the joke? Perhaps this is supposed to be some sort of satire on... something... I don't know what... and it just went over my head? I know that Weldon used to be considered a bit of a feminist, but I sure as hell wouldn't have guessed it from that article.

Oh, and remember women: "What a woman thinks she wants is not necessarily what she really wants."

7 comments:

Jaclyn said...

Surely this is a different Fay Weldon? Right? Please someone tell me this is a different Fay Weldon...?

Nique said...

On the article as a whole: what the fuck ever.
But I will agree with the part about women dieting and beautifying themselves to impress themselves and other women more than men.
Yes, there is a part of it that is to look attractive to the opposite sex but it's more about fitting into a societal beauty standard, about being "perfect", about being "flawless" so as to feel in control of one's body and life, ironically to feel a sense of power. As women, we have no power over the way we are treated but at least we can try to control how we look.
(Note: I'm not advocating this behaviour, just attempting to explain it)

EG said...

Yeah, sadly, this is that Fay Weldon, and this is not the first time she's written some absurd anti-feminist screed.

Anonymous said...
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Jender said...

The Daily Telegraph is a right-wing newspaper, but on the mainstream and respectable end of things. I'd never noticed their amazing slogan before.

America's Next Bill Clinton said...

A pro-feminist male from Michigan, huh? Were you there at the NOW conference a few weeks ago? I was and don't recall seeing you.

Roy said...

Sadly, I didn't make it. How was the conference? It's nice to see Detroit getting some positive attention, between the NOW conference and the Allied Media Conference.