Grey and I were walking last night on Riverside in Tulsa. It's beautiful and there are clearly marked lanes for pedestrians and bicyclists. We were overtaken by an attractive blonde woman in her twenties. She cut in front of us in the pedestrian lane, blissfully unaware or uncaring that she is in the wrong part of the world. Full make up, beautiful nails, dressed to impress and looking around the world in her oversized sunglasses and pouty glossed lips. I shrugged; Really a minor annoyance but still. Most of the time people exercise out in the heat to sweat, get gross and stinky and to improve their cardio-vascular health. The "look-at-me" set has always vaguely annoyed me but the sense of entitlement, that somehow possessing girl parts means you get to go first in line, to get one's own way just sends bad signals to the world around you. As though being a female was your greatest achievement or contribution to society.
We walked several miles and observed this lady stopping to chat with single men. When we passed her once again, we had to get out of the pedestrian lane as she and her discussion partner were standing with their bicycles, blocking the walking lane. "You're in the pedestrian lane", I said as we passed. No effect. "Did you hear what she was saying?" said Grey as we walked on. "No." "She said 'how can you put a boundary around love?'". "Condoms are a good thing," I said, walking on.
|Photo Credit: http://yai.li/post/1446667959/ffffound-skinnydipp|
I probably sound a little bitter or perhaps jealous. But the thing is that I have greater hopes for women than using sexuality to manipulate or otherwise negotiate the world around us. Women are smart and capable- we are just not told to use those gifts by society. It's easier and accepted to go through life the easy way. In the end, though, it's more expensive (in my experience) to go through life depending on looks and wiles. I have found it much more worth my energy to have a job, go to school, and use my energy productively doing the things I want more or less on my own terms. My life partner- someone I admire greatly- also values this in me. Now I have turned my attention and energies towards the goals we have mutually agreed upon rather just my own.
Don't get me wrong, I still like wearing cute dresses and painting my toes. But the rest of me is about business.
I have a friend named Sabrina. Sabrina and I met in graduate school. She was around a size 28, I think. Pretty, smart - she got her master's degree and she is an English teacher like me- owns her own home and puts 110% into everything. But she felt miserable and unloveable and her solution was to lose weight. Did I mention that she is smart? Sabrina gets up every day in front of high school students. She decided to lose weight through diet and exercise. No crash diets, no fad diets and no surgery. Sweat equity. Since last August she is down almost 90 pounds and is in a size 12. She has found her voice and she is an example to the young women who go to her school. She has also made herself accountable through social media and keeps a blog that I think everyone should read. Pretty inspiring for English teachers and for anyone who has struggled with weight issues. She has crossed several finish lines- wearing shorts, running a mile, losing ten pounds, twenty...ninety pounds and going. I'd bet by Christmas that Sabrina will be a size 8-10. I bet she stays at a healthy weight too, since this has been her goal all along.
I'd put Sabrina up against bicycle girl any day for her ability to turn heads, her courage and her ability to simply kick ass when the rubber meets the road. She reads books. She teaches and makes a difference for people. In her forties and fifties and sixties, she will still be beautiful, healthy and a productive and positive contributor to society. Please realize that the blonde woman is nothing more than a metaphor for a greater ill in our world. I hope we come to change our minds and make more Sabrina's and fewer surface beauty sirens who will be discarded by the time they reach middle age.
Me? I'll just be walking and talking.