one about why I hate the concept and the other about the Dove campaign
"It’s the disconnect of being trained since birth to look a certain way, only to have dudes turn around and go, “Don’t you know we hate all that stuff on your face?” Like it was our idea! Like women collectively woke up one day and thought, “Wouldn’t it be awesome to slap a bunch of chemicals and dyes on our faces every morning from now on?”
We’ve got a multi-billion dollar industry doing their best to remind us daily that we need what they’re selling, so don’t act all befuddled about where we got the idea that we looked better this way. Plus, it’s not like men don’t still expect us to look beautiful. They just don’t want us cheating with cosmetics. Hope your face is naturally flawless!
And while we’re talking, don’t you ladies know how annoying it is that you’re all hung up on your weight? Sure, we expect you to have a great body. But don’t be one of those lame girls who orders salads on a date. We like to see you eat!
Most of the time, when men say they prefer “natural beauty,” they don’t mean that they’re ready for us to start leaving the house the way we roll out of bed in the morning. They mean that they want us to look perfect without appearing to try.
Basically, it’s a trap."
- it’s bullshit disingenuous rejection of responsibility for patriarchal beauty standards
- it hides yet another performance standard: never let us SEE what we are doing to you
- it shows contempt for effort. people are not supposed to try at anything, you’re supposed to be a gifted special snowflake
- and admitting that femininity is effort means fundamentally undercutting the idea that women are flighty and trivial and weak
- and it makes - OF COURSE - the whole thing about dude’s boners, and not the way there are social and financial consequences for not being a little made-up
- and it is so hostile to the idea of self-expression? someone who wears bright red lipstick does not think that people will actually assume their lips REALLY ARE bright red, any more than we assume a dude who shaves his face is naturally hairless, or think that a person wearing a blue shirt actually has blue arms. sometimes we make aesthetic choices to communicate with the world.
- which in and of itself depends on women as fundamentally underhanded. of course even the way we present ourselves is a bald-faced lie
basically it is a Gross Things About The Patriarchy 101 midterm all rolled up into one passive-aggressive bid for a pat on the back over some Nice Guy’s “enlightenment.”
Or, for Dove's marketing convenience. even if they weren’t running gross campaigns elsewhere [ed: of course they are], I think it would still be pretty disingenuous. it feels like “we’re the one good cop on the Alliance Police Force!” it still exists in a context in, and is consciously profiting from, dozens of other advertizing campaigns which have the more traditional structure of “(a) create self-hatred and (b) offer product as relief from self-hatred.” the fact that it needs to go on about ~real women and ~inner beauty and ~real inner beauty or what the fuck ever is just a more subtle reminder of all that self-hate. it’s like….a neg versus an overly-effusive Nice Guy “I like you JUST AS YOU ARE, no REALLY, I know you must find that HARD TO BELIEVE because UGH, GUYS, AMIRITE?” the Nice Guy is only Nice in comparison to the PUAs; his lines still depend on all the damage inflicted in a culture of negging.
with the Dove campaign….I don’t know. I mean, you still need soap? and it’s not like there’s a genuinely ethical substitute that’s practical for most people. so I actually can be cool with the way a lot of people come down on the side of social/financial rewards for slightly less shitty behavior in the hopes of pushing the norm a little closer to decency. but this particular skin care regime still chafes because it is a reminder that we are expected to be grateful for such a pathetically low standard.
i think it was an inevitability [that being Connor's father would make Angel perfectly happy and trigger the curse]! those first few weeks don’t exactly lend themselves to “perfect” happiness b/c he was grieving Darla and worried about the very real and urgent threats to all of their lives, and learning how to take care of a baby is a big job even for an immortal who doesn’t need a good night’s sleep once in a while. but he did clearly love the kid enough that there would have been a moment, when things evened out, of forgetting his ~endless pain and being truly happy.
which i think is actually a neat part of the metaphor with the curse: that you can’t hang your motivation for pulling your shit together on someone else, because it will get too heavy and pull everything crashing down. (this is why Wes believed the prophecy! I did too! because watching Angel with the baby was like watching a kid play with matches. to light their crack pipe. while lolling around in a giant pile of gunpowder. THERE IS NO WAY IT IS GOING TO END WELL.)
relatedly, I don’t love the fandom theory that Connor is the fulfillment of the Shanshu prophecy, tbh? because that sits kinda badly with me, to make an autonomous human being’s life the ~prize that goes to someone else. Angel (the series and the character) already has a big enough problem with the tendency to appropriate other people’s lives and identities. writing that into the Shanshu prophecy kind of…validates that, by making it something that the universe does for him? my own theory is that the Shanshu is more of a reflection of the idea that our experiences make us - the vampire with a soul might, after a sufficient number of trials and tribulations, start to feel like he is truly alive rather than being psychologically “dead inside.” Connor belongs to Connor, not to Angel’s ~destiny, though I do think that relationship had the potential to bring Angel closer to humanity (which would let him appreciate it more, which would make him more human - a virtuous cycle rather than a vicious one).
For all the flak Gaius gets about self-centeredness, I think there’s this refreshing straightforwardness that makes him less awful than just about everyone around him. I don’t think people are necessarily dangerous in looking out for ourselves. I think the survival instinct is strong, and not necessarily a bad thing. (BSG as a whole is a pretty powerful demonstration of why it’s a good thing, because the narrative is brutally honest about how catastrophic it can be when that instinct loses a little ground against a horrible world for just a moment.) It’s when we start to justify ourselves - I survive because I am righteous, because I have status, because my enemies DO NOT deserve to survive - that we start sucking people into side roles in our own little psychological games.
And that is just not how Gaius Baltar rolls. Nobody else has to change or be hurt or whatever else to cover for that surivival instinct we all have. Gaius lives because Gaius likes living, but, you know, YOU DO YOU. And that gets mistaken for villainy, but really, it’s just amorality. His second priority is usually the well-being of others, which is commendable, but he’s honest about differentiating himself from that.
Which I think is (one of ~so many reasons) why the Laura/Gaius dynamic crackles like it does, because they are both so painfully earnest in their motivations. Laura is kind of the inverse of Gaius, because survival instinct is off the table for her in a lot of ways, because she’s the dying leader. And so he lives by the one thing that she CANNOT have for herself. And how does Baltar deal with that? He acknowledges it. He breaks the spell, where she’s the Dying Leader and can be expected not to have a sense of self as defined by the survival instinct. The fact that Gaius likes living, in a weird way, validates all Laura’s effort toward saving everyone. People WANT to live, and that’s good enough.
thoughts on Stefan/Kat:
I’m totally into Kat and Damon and Kat/Damon, but Stefan does not have to be. Stefan can say and feel whatever he pleases about Katherine.
I wanna point out, though, that Katherine’s abuse of him continued well after the 1864 flashbacks. She admits to stalking him through the decades after that. When she does show herself after the Founders’ Day celebration, she hides her real agenda of getting the stone and bargaining with Klaus by claiming - you guessed it - that she loves Stefan so much,* this is what love looks like, I LOVE YOU AND YOU LOVE ME. And then she follows him around town crowing about how he loves her, all the work he’s done to undo her gaslighting was actually just him deceiving himself, she knows him so much better than he does, and anyway he NEEDS her help and protection because the big bad wolf is in town and you don’t want to fall prey to stranger danger, now do you?
this is why I can’t bring myself to be unequivocally hard on Stefan, tbh. because he almost directly ends up handed off from Katherine to Klaus at the end of S2 (and only escapes Klaus’ control for a hot second there in S3 with Katherine’s help), which means he’s been directly under the thumb of at least one of his abusers for over a year now. and they both happen to be absolute masters of his own game of convincing their victim not only to blame himself for their behavior but also feel guilty about responding wrong to their love. Stefan’s almost easier for me to deal with than Katherine, because I think his abusive behavior was more consistently shown as wrong and damaging without being hidden under charisma or blatant reminders of the threats against him.
also can we talk about how perfectly the Stefan > Katherine > Damon dynamic parallels the Caroline > Damon > Elena one? one leg of the triangle is a straightforwardly abusive relationship between the vampire and a human. one leg of it has that same vampire in a highly power-disparate relationship, one that’s objectively dubious at best because of the vampire’s ability to control the other person’s mind but the vampire’s partner has convinced themselves is completely, totally real. and then the third leg of that triangle is a longstanding (and far more formative) relationship between the person who might have been victimized and the person who was definitely victimized, navigating the differences in how they were treated and how they processed it. Stefan’s ~thing about Caroline is fascinating to me in part because a lot of it is identification over this experience that he absolutely cannot afford to consciously acknowledge atm.
*lol how could Elijah be cynical of her motives this season, it is mystifying
End!verse Lucifer's narration of the Fall
of course, his method of communicating that people were flawed and murderous was to hone in on one of them and exploit the way he could crush her like an ant, manipulating (at best) and/or torturing (at worst) until she acted the way he wanted to believe she would act
before the fall, the only thing Lucifer had a chance to do wrong, by our standards, was victimize Lilith. and that’s the only thing none of the other angels bring up when they’re ripping on him. (the disappearance of the crimes against Lilith is one of the most blatantly troubling indicators of the problems of S5, but taking the narrative for what it is from here.) and the only thing he seems to have had a chance to do wrong by celestial standards was be a smartass (b/c in angel morality human suffering is meaningless).
it’s only after a few millennia in solitary confinement that he starts in on the acknowledged villainy, which everyone takes as proof that he was like that all along. his family did to him what he did to Lilith - actively works to bring out the worst in him, then turns around and claims that the outcome of that campaign is proof that he had it coming all along.
he might’ve been sadistic and megalomaniacal, but he’s the only one who comes close to articulating the idea that if you create a monster through targeted stigma, you don’t get to turn around and clutch your pearls at the ~scandal when your victim starts lashing out.
oh, and I ripped on some backhanded abuse apologia concerning Sam and John, but I don't want that shit on my journal, so. Trash away here, though!
This entry was originally posted at http://pocochina.dreamwidth.org/294052.h