The Life Story Of A Woman This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   When you are born you are always the most beautiful baby. Your parents take you home knowing that you will be a perfect little girl. And for a while, you are. You are content to play in the backyard with the neighbors' kids.

In fact all goes fine until you're 10 years old and you innocently pick up a Sweet Valley Twins book from the bookstore. Suddenly, you are confronted with the radical idea that despite what your parents have been telling you for the past decade, you are not quite perfect.

You may have been called "skinny as a beanstalk" many times but you notice your wrist is thicker than the character Jessica Wakefield, and your heart sinks. Maybe you even grew up believing you were pretty, but you don't have eyes as round or hair as glossy as Barbie.

This is not a stage you will soon grow out of. It gets even worse. In junior high, your legs were called hairy by other girls and so you begin shaving them every night. Will someone please tell me exactly when hair became unfeminine?

You learn a new word, calorie, and how to count them. In the Sweet Valley books the skinniest, blondest girls get the boys. The idea is pretty simple. Unfortunately, you have brown hair and a round body. The magazine Young Miss tells you Kate Moss is beautiful and you don't doubt it.

So you diet the quickest way you know how: by starving yourself or binging and puking. Finally, a boy asks you out. You accept immediately. It doesn't matter to you that you never talked to him before. He's your boyfriend and having a boyfriend is very important. Now new problems arise. Yesterday, he got angry when you offered to help him with his math. When he asks, you deny that you always get an A in math. Instead you claim you only got a C+ last quarter. You try to convince yourself that you don't understand the material in any course. Sadly, you do.

Soon you are in high school. It matters little that you've known how to cook for years. You take Home Economics because that's what girls take. Every morning, you tirelessly apply colored grease and liquid to your face until you look as close to a model as you can manage. You're still dieting and that image of bone-thin Jessica Wakefield is still floating around somewhere in the back of your hairsprayed head.

Your parents are worried and tell you that you don't eat enough. But they are so wrong. You remember they used to tell you that you were pretty.

Now we skip ahead 25 years. You are middle-aged and have that nagging feeling that you have to lose 10 pounds. Your husband whom you love so much works all day. When he comes home, his dinner is on the table, hot. You had to get a job to help pay the mortgage but it's still your job to cook dinner. But that's how it is supposed to work, everyone knows that. In every issue of Women's Day, there are six pages of recipes. In your husband's Sports Illustrated, there are no recipes nor child care tips. No one ever declared Sport's Illustrated a man's magazine but the swimsuit issue models sure make it hard for a female athlete to enjoy it.

Today, your 10-year-old refused to eat dinner. Yesterday you found a copy of a Sweet Valley Twins book on her dresser. You wonder what's going on.

I bet Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are having a good laugh right now. And if Barbie were the size of a human, her proportions would land her in the emergency room. But she'd be a supermodel. And you'd dream of being her.


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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This article has 6 comments. Post your own now!

Lizzie123 said...
Nov. 29, 2010 at 2:07 pm

i really like this!its very true.

everyone, go home and look through your pile of old 17 magazines.i promise the biggest words on that cover will be "look pretty fast" "look pretty now" or "look pretty at every party"

 
ClaraZornado This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 6, 2010 at 9:31 am
This is excellent.
 
purplegurl523 said...
Mar. 11, 2010 at 8:06 pm
Really amazing...and scarily accurate! you capture the female's feelings exactly! well done!
 
ElephantGirl523 said...
Mar. 11, 2010 at 8:01 pm
I loved your writing style. Honestly, this is the best opinion piece I've ever read. You are an amazing writer.
 
sunnyhunny This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 11, 2010 at 6:35 pm
This is great! And true! I heard that with barbie's porportions she would actually have to walk on four legs.
 
Maddyandsnoopy replied...
Jan. 10, 2011 at 4:08 pm
That's true. I did a persuasive essay on why Barbie is a bad role model one time, and not only would she have to crawl, her waist would be so small that she wouldn't be able to menstruate, let alone have children!
 
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