I like talking about lipstick. And nail polish, and who wore what to the Oscars. I dye my hair and can tell you my top 3 shoe designers (Kirkwood, Olympia, Atwood). I have a solid network of friends to talk about Beyoncé alone.
I’m also a capable, smart, single woman who pays my own bills and works full-time and solves my own problems (with a little help from my friends, of course).
After the recent rants on the Newsroom that hated on reality TV and condemned a woman for being a gossip columnist, and the never-ending portrayals of ditzy women who have nothing in their heads but the latest sale at Bloomingdale’s, and the conversations that go in circles about women having it all, I am defending frivolity.
A woman (or a man) can be smart and like high heels. And be capable and still be sad she chipped her nail. Reading trashy magazines does not mean you can’t also read David Foster Wallace. (I’m also on Team Reading Never Makes You Stupid, even if the thing you are reading is stupid, but that’s another story.)
That I feel the need to explain this should be devastating. We should be ashamed of ourselves for allowing this behavior to continue. I never want my future daughter to believe she can’t enjoy dressing up and also be a brain surgeon. I also never want her to think she’s less of a woman if she doesn’t like playing with her hair.
Women already know we are capable. We know we are smart. We shouldn’t need to prove it to everyone else–including other women–by hiding that we sometimes focus on things that aren’t as serious as our families or our jobs or if it’s possible to have a family and a job. (SPOILER: It is, if you want, but no one said it was easy.)
I’m also taking the guilty out of guilty pleasure. I don’t feel bad that I like getting my hair done. I earned the money to pay for it, so why shouldn’t I? And if I want to spend a few hours browsing celebrity gossip, what’s it to you? Is the way I spend my time and money so offensive? Or is it that I’m a woman who has time and money to spend?
I am only 25 years old and I am exhausted defending my youth and my girliness. I know I have a lot to learn, but I also know I’ve learned a lot. I know there are more important things than the color of my nails–that’s why I enjoy the simple, silly pleasure of a manicure. I know the most important thing is what’s in my head and heart and not the clothes on my body. Shouldn’t we be teaching our girls the same thing?
Women can’t seem to win. We are either not girly enough or we are shallow. We are a ditz or a bitch. We can’t be CEO and we can’t stay at home. We have too many babies or not enough, and never at the right time. No way is good enough, and trying to walk the middle line isn’t working either.
Here is my promise to you, fellow women. I promise to support you. If you have a job or you don’t, if you have babies or you don’t, if you like physics or football or hair dye, you have my support to help you reach your goals. And I promise to care about what’s in your head and not what’s on your TV.
Do you promise, too?
P.S.–After the shooting in Colorado last week, everything else seems frivolous. My heart is with all those involved, and all the rest of us, too.