Being a man is now like being a Scientology member or a vegan; no one really wants to talk about it anymore. Men, as a topic, had their day in the sun but now that sun has become a daughter( allowed?).The female identity has outgrown its old associations with pride so that being a woman has now become a fashion statement.
Everywhere you look there’s free nipples, body hair revivals, intentionally shared nudes, honest selfies , candid periods, female led porn, photoshop retaliation, victim backing, ad retaliation, nude-gate and slut shaming.
It’s never been so topical to have a vagina. This is all very empowering stuff but what does it mean for us down here on earth? For those who don’t live in the media?
It’s hard to say. All of these advances are obviously welcomed but they also bring a fresh wave of complications for women. There is a slight tension between what we expect of this new alpha female identity and what we’ve been conditioned to expect from ourselves growing up. You’re expected to joke, work and act ‘like a man’ while still very much look like a woman in a very confusing form of selective femininity. This would be fine if it simply meant that femininity was evolving to empower women, which in fairness it sometimes is but the expectations placed on how girls should look, don’t appear to loosening.
Though it appears as though expectations may have relaxed, as it’s now more fashionable to look natural, really we all just expect to look outlandishly sexy, just without the support of make-up. You can contour the shite out of your face so you look like a celebrity for social media but you better have some heavenly beauty going on the next morning because if you ‘only look good in pictures’ then it won’t be long before you’re found out. It’s fucking exhausting and girls apply as much pressure as boys do.
The dating scene has morphed into an assembly line since the Tinder take- over. Pubs are used for sex alone because any sustained intimacy needed can be found from Tinder and even then it’s often about sex because why settle for this person when there’s already a whole list of others on your phone? But hey, I’m not bitter, if I had a boyfriend I probably wouldn’t be able to write this in my pyjamas after accidentally using milk that was beyond youthful. The freedom is liberating.
For once I can probably say that the pressure we’re placing on ourselves probably comes from within. We are in competition with ourselves, pushing ourselves to outperform in every category. This has led to the creation of an idealised hybrid woman of juxtapositions. We’ll call her Alex.
Alex works in media somewhere so this means she can; Photoshop, code, edit, write, film and manage people really well. She also posts impossibly delicious images on her food blog, using only two ingredients. She talks about eating and relaxing like Jennifer Lawrence but still somehow manages to maintain a body like Jennifer Lawrence. Strange. She has a boyfriend but doesn’t need a boyfriend. She talks openly about sex but never crosses the line of being ‘trampy’. Alex has the sense of humour of Amy Schumer, she can laugh with the boys but giggle with the girls. She can knock back the drink but still look composed in pictures and never shrieks about silly girly things in the back of a taxi. She’s interested in everything from low brow celebrity gossip to politics and can slip between the two seamlessly in the conversation she uses to woo her boss, who is a man but respects her endlessly. She’s a good daughter and knows you need to appreciate what your parents have given you. She’s worldly but not pretentious.Basically you want to be her but she’s so normal and down to earth that she would never assume this. But she kind of knows.
Things aren’t getting harder, just slightly more confusing. Gender roles are blurring which can only be a good thing in the long run but right now we’re left with a load of women acting like men who look like women who don’t need men because they love being a woman. I don’t know if men our age are experiencing the same flux in identity. It would be interesting to hear their side of things as soon as people stop roaring about women long enough for them to get a word in.