I can’t track down the origin of this phrase, but hot damn does it accurately describe a particular evil of our consumer culture!!
Not hating my body is pretty awesome.
For one thing, I’m bad for the economy. (Thank goodness!) I’m specifically a terrible female consumer!
I don’t buy razors, face creams, lotions, makeup, shampoo, antiperspirant, or hair spray. I don’t shave, pluck, straighten, curl, or shape anything. I don’t smooth, conceal, even out, condition, exfoliate, or blend anything.
I buy hardly any menstrual products because I use a reusable cup.
I don’t buy jewelry, dress shoes (or more than one pair of shoes at a time), or dress clothes.
I don’t buy a single weight loss product.
And it’s definitely crap. My own self-esteem stolen by night and sold back to me advertisement by advertisement. Time, energy, and money, stolen right out from under us.
Once they steal it, you can never get your self-esteem back, even if you pay top dollar for it. The beauty industry and the kyriarchy and civilization whisper to you “your hairy legs are ugly and they make you unloveable”. They steal your confidence and your sense of ownership over yourself. But shaving your legs doesn’t give that back to you. Shaving your legs doesn’t make you confident. It doesn’t prove that you’re the boss of you. You can never buy yourself back to a state where no one ever whispered away your self-esteem in the first place.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some better person because I don’t buy all those products. Frankly, it was as much laziness as it was political ideology that got me started chucking that part of our culture in the trash bin.
And I don’t get my confidence back, either. I still get all the messages, and I’m not even trying to succeed at the game. So I’m aware of being a certain kind of failure in our culture, and I can never, ever become unaware of these ways in which I’m failing.
I am at least not spending that money!
Glancing around for some quick stats, I came up with women spending an average of $300 a year on makeup alone, and as much as $2000 a year for all general health-and-beauty stuff related to being female and performing femininity.
The bottom line is that we spend A LOT.
We spend the cash.
We spend the time it takes to do all this shaving, slathering, and pruning.
We spend the mental energy monitoring how well we’re living up to expectations.
I started rejecting mainstream culture around age 19. I’m now 39, and I estimate that I spend about $150 a year on appearance maintenance. That means I’ve “saved” as much as $37,000. Wowowow! I win!