Picture Perfect.

 

From “No Refuge: How Webcams & Cell Phones Ratchet Up the Pressure to be Perfect” by Hugo Schwyzer:

“… A young woman who had been scrupulous about her appearance all day could return to her bedroom at night, change into what was comfortable, and have at least a little waking time where her looks didn’t matter…

“The real problem is that the webcam has stripped the bedroom and the bathroom from their role as safe refuge from the beauty-obsessed culture…”

I find Schwyzer’s points to be particularly poignant to my own life.

Until a few months ago, I had lived either at home, with family who knew me from the day I was born and had seen me in all my glory (and not-so-glorious moments) for twenty-two years, or on my own. During that time, as soon as I would get home I’d change into my pyjamas, wipe the makeup off, and pop the curlers in, not caring what I looked like.

Then I moved in with my cousin, and I kept up appearances for a few days until I realised she likes to bum around the house in holey pants and nose strips, too.

Honestly, I don’t give a crap what I look like at home, and if I don’t want to draw attention to myself, I will adopt my at-home strategy in the big wide world, too.

For example, most mornings I go for a jog as soon as I wake, and usually stop by the supermarket on the way home. I chuck a bit of lipgloss on an whip my hair (though not in true Willow Smith style) into a ponytail, but other than that, I look pretty crappy. If I wanted to be stared at while I exercised, I would go to a juice-head gym in full make-up and a crop top or jog with my friend Tess at her neighbourhood track, where the beautiful people go to workout. But I don’t.

A similar situation occurred at my work Christmas party. I was getting my slut on when I was approached by Jack Sparrow. He initiated contact (both verbal and physical), asking which department I worked in and why he’d never seen me before. Unbeknownst to him, he had seen me before…

… Earlier that day, I rocked up for a few hours to help set up in jeans, a t-shirt, work boots (okay, they were Tony Bianco) and my glasses, where he was also lending a hand. He took one glance at me and continued with his work.

What’s even funnier? The following day I reverted back to my bespectacled self, and he went about his day, not realising that I was the girl from the night before.

I don’t begrudge him that, though. I deliberately do these things to fly under (or above) the radar.

Relating more closely to Schwyzer’s point, however, I’m lucky; my generation managed to bypass the whole webcam/sexting/profile pictured frenzy that consumes the lives of teens now. Who knows what pressures I would have facedand how differently my psyche would have developedif my privacy was constantly invaded by mobile phones, Facebook and the like?

Celebrities who are a little younger than I am, though, like Rihanna, Vanessa Hudgens and (the markedly younger) Miley Cyrus have succumbed to the allure of naked photography, with the latter also dabbling in the filming of lap dances to 40-year-old directors and experimentation with bongs.

Personally, I don’t understand the pull of compromising photos. My advice to teen starlets and football players alike? If you’re going to take compromising photos, make sure you’re the only one with a copy or JUST. DELETE. THEM.

Related: ’Tis the Season…

Elsewhere: [Hugo Schwyzer] No Refuge: How Webcams & Cell Phones Ratchet Up the Pressure to be Perfect.

’Tis the Season…

… for office Christmas parties.

As opposed to the boring lunches a few of my friends have mentioned their workplaces hold, my employer happens to go all out on the Christmas party front.

Last year’s theme was horror (odd for that time of the year, I know), and I came up with a Bride of Chucky costume, complete with doll. However, I was struck down with the flu a few days beforehand and was unable to attend. The fact they had a dance instructor teaching partygoers “Thriller” just added insult to injury.

This year, however, the theme is pirates.

As a member of the planning committee, I fought tirelessly (and by I, I mean my friend Laura, as I was in the midst of a wisdom-tooth haze when the theme was being chosen) to push through our original idea of cartoons, and failing that, 1920s/’30s swing.

Unfortunately, misogyny won out, and a pirate theme it was.

Talk about unoriginality, though. There are about three options of pirates in popular culture to use as a reference point: Pirates of the Caribbean (how many Jack Sparrow-wannabe’s but could-never-be’s will there be walking around?), Pirates of Penzance, and Peter Pan. If someone were to really think outside the box, they could get a party of five (pardon the pun) or six together and go as The Wiggles and Dorothy the Dinosaur, with Captain Feathersword as the MVP of the group.

Notice that these three ensembles have very limited roles for women. And as a workplace that employs just as many women as men, pirates is very limiting to the fairer sex.

Serendipitously, I happened to happen upon a three-year-old post by Rachel Hills discussing exactly this.

“‘I didn’t realise the boys were meant to come as pirates and the girls were meant to come as skanks,’” Hills’ friend laments at a pirate-themed party.

My point exactly; pirates is all well and good for men who are young-at-heart, and men who perhaps want to get their gear off and go shirtless, and men in general, but women are faced with exactly two options: slutty pirate or slutty wench.

Now I’ve got some co-workers who are happy to go as more masculine pirates. (One friend, Lana, sent me a picture the other day of her costume, and you can hardly tell it’s her and she looks great.) I haven’t come across many friends who are going as wenches, which may be a testament to my own views (and thus the changing views of society?) on the topic, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of buxom babes letting the stress of the year off their chests. In what was a poignant throwback-forward, perhaps, from my friend and former co-worker Tess, she came dressed as a pirate for my Halloween-themed birthday party this year, and managed to retain her dignity.

Sure, wenches are traditionally slutty by name and by nature, as noted in the comments of Hills’ abovementioned article, but that’s not the problem I have with them.

I’m the first to put my hand up (whilst simultaneously holding my skirt down) to embrace my inner sartorial slut when it comes to hitting the town (Hello?! Have you seen my Halloween costume?), and while I will not be attending my Christmas party as a wench, there will still be a hefty dose of slut in my outfit (pictures to come next week).

The problem I have with the limiting theme is that there is no room for originality or diversity, particularly for the female members of the payroll. It’s one slut fits all.

Related: The Witching Hour: Halloween/My Birthday at Witches in Britches Cabaret.

Elsewhere: [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman] Attractive = Hot = Not Much Clothing On?

[Rabbit White] In Defence of Slut-O-Ween.

[Rabbit White] Defence of Slut-O-Ween II: Straight People’s Pride?

[The Stranger] Happy Heteroween.