On Owning Your Femininity

I sometimes wonder how I managed my life as a woman before being a woman became a lifestyle. I suppose we’ve always been well advised on what clothes to wear and which detergent to use, or how to comb our hair and which bodily hair to get rid of, how often and how, but clearly there have been some seriously dark, unearthed secrets of being a woman that only recently made it onto my radar. 

I was reading The Fran Lebowitz Reader when I  came across a blog-post by Garance Doré, in which she discusses her healers, shamans and psychics, and more importantly the advise they have given her. I like Garance Doré for her candidness and honesty, so I read her blog regularly.

(For those who don’t know her yet, she’s a Corsican fashion powerhouse, illustrator and photographer who currently resides in Los Angeles and runs her lifestyle brand Atelier Doré. Her blog-posts are very honest snapshots of her life, ranging from  her difficulties with getting pregnant to mental/self esteem problems. She is also the author of the book Love, Style, Life, a compulsory prop in every aspiring style blogger’s Instagram-stillleben of Things assembled on a white marble surface (things being chia breakfast bowl, pink peony, the said book, expensive bracelet (preferably Céline’s Knot or something by Hermès) and a bottle of perfume).

This time Doré’s psychic had advised Doré to look at herself in a large mirror while masturbating and she was kind enough to pass on this wisdom. Now, we are already used to glamorous people offering us advise for various ailments. Gwyneth Paltrow is known for being particularly industrious with holistic beauty tips, such as steaming our  genitals in the name of *please insert something that makes sense to you here* , so nothing new to see here, as it were. We clearly must accept that the advise will be getting increasingly esoteric before becoming  outright outlandish  – nobody said connecting with ourselves and  becoming more self-aware was going to be easy, right? 

Therefore imagine my delight when I read the following paragraph by Lebowitz: “As one whose taste in mental states has always run largely towards the coma, I have very little patience with the current craze for self-awareness. I am already far too well acquainted with how I feel and frankly, given the choice, I would not. Anyone who is troubled by the inability to feel his or her own feelings is more than welcome to feel mine.

As I read on, I remembered the recent January Vogue issue that advertised sets of healing stones (in addition to the rose quartz and jade facial rollers that all of us obviously already have). Lebowitz also had a word about stones: “Although one would think that stones would have quite enough to do, what with graves and walls and such, it seems that they have now taken on the job of informing people that they are nervous.

Two immediate conclusions: I’ll never look at my collection of crystals the same way again. I’ll read more Lebowitz.

I was praising British magazine Harper’s Bazaar the other month for running a feminist issue. Their latest May magazine is dedicated to weddings. This is all very fine and timely because everybody must get married in summer. There was the ubiquitous ahead of the W-day beauty-schedule for the brides to be, and there are few things in the world I like more than an organised, last-minute “step by step of what to do to look decent by X-date” which can be applied to any important event, so I eagerly lunged at the tick-tock.

It started with two years to go. Two years! Who has even met their spouse-to-be two years ahead of the wedding? The paragraph starts by telling women to “plan any dental treatment from the minute you get engaged” (sic). Really? We do this in the 21st century? I decided to make a fresh cup of tea and move on to the latest issue of Porter-magazine instead. It didn’t have anything on weddings, but instead promised to teach me how to get supermodel legs, which would come in even handier given that I am not getting married (spoiler alert: you’ll need a buffet of invasive operations that needed 3 whole pages to be listed, including freezing the fat on one’s thighs). 

Apparently the thing separating my pasty, vertically challenged legs from Gisele Bündchen’s golden pins was a tush masque. I read that a more defined bottom also would make my legs look longer (don’t ask me how this is possible, I nearly flunked physics in high school). I would only have to apply plumping and lifting tush masque to each buttock for an hour a day for six days

I slowly stepped away from the magazines and returned to the Lebowitz Reader. 

(The picture is a detail at LabelChic -store in Brussels, the most fabulous space for natural beauty in town. They do not sell tush masques.)

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