For a while I was hesitant to contribute my thoughts on the latest feminist furore de jour. I feel as though I have said everything that needs to be said; government is not responsible for the self esteem of young women. To be fair, the advertising industry, should be commended for making some significant progress.
Jo Swinson is now persuing some ‘war on pink’ nonsense. I really do wonder what type of women she thinks she is representing when she goes on these crusades though. Are there really women and young girls who fall to pieces upon glimpsing an overly airbrushed ad? Do they crawl weeping to the telephone to make a complaint to the ASA and then drag themselves to the bathroom to purge themselves of every last morsel? Is every woman in the country becoming Daily Mail columnist, Liz Jones? (I think you’ll agree that’s a frightening prospect.) What has happened to womanhood?
Feminists have never been particularly good at making women feel anything other than angry and miserable and I think Swinson is falling into the trap. She has got some ads banned but she is not projecting another appealing feminine ideal (and that’s not really her job either…). The feminist solution used to be dress like a man and cut your hair short – as if femininity and assertiveness are in someway mutually exclusive. Everytime I hear the phrase ‘real woman’ it is accompanied by a picture of some overweight, miserable looking creature in dungarees. If that is real then I want to be ethereal, unreal, surreal. Or better yet, let’s drop this ‘real woman’ crap and think about what is the Super Liberal Woman? I hope she is a healthy, althetic, feminine, interesting and assertive individual who laughs heartily when she sees a ridiculous ad in a magazine, then goes about her daily business (and dreams at night of 4% flat rate of income tax…).
There will always be a media ideal of feminine beauty. The truth is that women have the freedom to pick as much of it or as little of it to aspire too as they so wish. The emphasis should be on teaching girls and young women how be strong when they are made to feel bad about it – not insulating them from it – because you never truly can.