I hope this reflection is not too frivolous or narcissistic. If you think so, I am sorry for the parenthesis. I promise you that next week I will be brave again. These days I have been reflecting on patriarchal beauty canons, their imposition on our body consciousness and my own inconsistencies in the treatment of my physical appearance. I consider myself privileged because I have never felt discrimination because of my physique. I am and I have been a woman of a more or less “normative” aspect: more or less thin (sometimes less, sometimes more), with quite harmonic features (although I have always been complexed by my rabbit teeth) and a hair grateful and tame. Although my physical appearance has never given me problems, I have always been careful with iron discipline not to get out of the regulations.
That is, I have always been afraid of not liking myself (not liking others?). As a typical Mediterranean woman, since puberty I had abundant hair, not only on the body, but also on the face. I shave since I was 13 years old and I have done it in almost every possible way: wax, laser, electric hair removal. If any man who reads me does not know what this means, I explain it to you: each of your root hairs is ripped off and, incidentally, your skin is burned. If you have hypersensitive skin, such as mine, you feel the pain in each pore at the time of hair removal and then, for hours, abrasion on the burned skin. If I did not shave (with age new hairs arise where old ones are already eradicated, that is, this has no end) I would feel like an ewok. In addition, I am 45 years old and my body has begun to change. I love cooking and eating, good wine, sherry and port, chocolate cakes, butter buns. Before I could eat what I wanted because I made up for it with exercise, but now I begin to notice that my metabolism is changing, that the climacteric is near. And I’m afraid of getting fat, that more cellulite builds up, that my arm muscles drop and look like bat wings. When I participate in a public event, I carefully choose the clothes and put on my dark circles, getting deeper and deeper. Since I was 30 years old, I dye my hair and I don’t see the day when I stop doing it, but I don’t dare to take the step, to see myself suddenly ma’am. Something that saves me is that wrinkles don’t scare me. I think I carry them, for now, with more dignity.
All this that I tell you makes me feel incoherent. I am a feminist. I trained in feminism with teachers like Toril Moi, one of Simone de Beauvoir’s greatest scholars. Even so I accept and impose myself with strict discipline on patriarchal normative beauty patterns. I can not help it. Some friends throw it in my face (curiously, no friend): “But if you are the most flirtatious,” they tell me. “What am I going to do to him”, is my only answer. I admire those who take the step, the young women who say shit and don’t shave, the adults who let their gray hair shine, those who proudly wear their size XL asses. All of them have taken that step that I, firm in so many aspects of feminism, am unable to take. I don’t know if that’s why I’m less feminist (some will say yes), but I do know that because of it, and unfortunately, I live in contradiction.