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The Feminine Deceit This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   You want to know something that bothers me? Girls. Notreally girls themselves, seeing as I am one, but the way most act. It's the waythey wear that glitter make-up and worry about their thighs and constantly brushtheir hair and call it Girl Power. If you ask me, Girl Power is the worst thingto happen to women in a long time. Girl Power is the attempt to market feminism,to turn it into something that someone can make money off of so they can sendtheir kids to Ivy League schools and eat caviar. It's someone's brilliant idea totake feminism away from the angry, vocal, scary women and hand it on a silverplatter to skinny models wearing Abercrombie and Fitch.

Feminism startedout as a good thing. The bra-burners of the '60s and pro-choice protestors of the'70s were "cool," but somewhere around the time I was born, it becamebad to be a feminist. Feminist meant hairy legs, crew cuts and angry lesbians. Itmeant taking a stand against men and responding to anorexic models adorning adsby saying something like, "I don't care if you don't find me attractivebecause I make more money in a day than you do in a year, and your house is thesize of my closet." But saying that would mean being aggressive, and thatmeans risking having someone call you that dreaded "B" word. Sofeminism suddenly turned into a movement of die-hard fundamentalist Feminists(with a capital F), and no one else wanted anyone to think that, under theirnylon pantyhose, their legs might be hairy.

Girls now want to live on aplayground where food has no calories. They share their diet sodas, and guys withsix-pack stomachs happily lend their sweaters. Hairy legs and angry emotionsdon't fit on that playground, and most girls have rejected Feminism. The onlyproblem? The playground isn't real. It's an illusion created by Girl Power. GirlPower tells girls that if they have clear skin, muscular legs and silky hair,they will achieve everything they ever wanted. Girl Power is being pretty enoughfor people to call it character when you act like a baby. Girl Power, asdemonstrated by the Spice Girls, is the courage to attempt such daring feats aswearing short skirts and tentatively screaming, "Girls rule." It's atrap.

The truth is, Girl Power would, by definition, have to be a trap.It's a product, like mascara, as opposed to a movement, like suffrage. Undercapitalism, this means you have to convince people they need your product. To dothat, you have to make them feel bad about themselves. You have to make them feelthat without longer, thicker lashes they would never have won the right to vote,and that the path to equal pay for equal work is slimmer thighs.

When Iwas 35 pounds lighter, I felt more powerful. Being able to sit in a restaurantand not eat a single thing made me feel stronger then than being able to run fourmiles does now. I bought into Girl Power; I exfoliated my skin and drank dietsodas, and it was empowering. At least, that's how it felt. Really, I hadanything but power. Girl Power makes you think you're in control, when it'sreally those people running teen magazines. Girl Power gives them the power totell you what to buy, what to eat, what to wear and what you should look like inorder to become CEO of a major company when you're older. A good head on yourshoulders doesn't matter if your eyelashes are ordinary and your legs are hairy.

To grab back control of our minds and our lives, we have to go back tothe roots of feminism - before the shaved heads and the unshaven legs, beforeeven the bra-burnings, back to the spirit that made women in the early 20thcentury carry children in both arms to protests and march for their right tovote.

That spirit was killed by Girl Power. To pull it out of the cornersof our brains, we need to stop believing in the playground. We need to stopspending 98% of our money on things that tell us what to do to be perfect andshow us a picture of what perfect is. Behind the hairspray and the mascara andthe sparkly lipgloss and the tight shirts, there is hope for feminism (with asmall f). We just have to wake up and fight together, not as a mob of thathorrible "B" word or a bunch of Feminists, but as women working forequality.

Who's with me?




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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live-love-laugh said...
Jul. 23, 2010 at 1:50 pm
wow! i really liked this article, especially the last 2 paragraphs and the fourth paragraph. My favorite line is the "It's a product, like mascara, as opposed to a movement, like suffrage." You're obviously very strong and intelligent, stay that way! great article and great writing! 
 
RavenScholar said...
Apr. 13, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes.

I'm with you. All to often feminism gets twisted into something its not, and its time for that to stop. Sure, if you want to put on glitter and go lighten your hair and whatnot, go do that. I just won't agree with your choices.

I really hate teen girl magazines. There's nothing of substance in there. Also: what men's magazines say about women and what women's magazines about men don't mesh up at all. Take a look sometime.

I'm with you.

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