Showing posts with label rules. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rules. Show all posts

5 January 2022

Why Part Of Me Will Always Be "Bridget" (And That Is Allowed)

There is a thought that has been building in my head lately.  Well, not lately, for some time now.  

Why do I feel that, at a time where arguably (in the first world) women are at our most liberated, are there more rules imposed on women than ever?

We are at a point in history where we are told that women can be all things, that nothing is impossible. We can do anything we want, be anything we want to be.  The rules and shackles imposed by society for so very long are being thrown away and we are creating and running our own lives the way we want to.  Or are we?

Somehow, despite all of this liberation; it seems that we are once again being told what to do, how to look, how to act and how to think, increasing not just from men, but from other women. 

Sometimes it feels that the only thing we are not allowed to be, is ourselves.  

I was watching Bridget Jones Diary over Christmas.  Bridget Jones Diary was written in 1996 and released as a film in 2001.  For so many of us, Bridget encapsulated so much of who we are, our characteristics and both our flaws and our strengths.

Her silliness, her hope, her need for love and looking for it in all the wrong places.  Her inability to make the right choices.  Her ability to pick herself up and dust herself off to try again, after an obligatory vat of wine and a few renditions of "All By Myself".  

I saw so much of myself in Bridget and indeed, now over twenty five years since the book came out, I still do.

The thing is, we are all multifaceted people.  Aside from my many similarities to Bridget, I am also many other things.  Many of which are contradictory to the other.  I am independent, but feel an innate need to be loved, cared for.  I am both secure, and insecure in my appearance, my character, my trajectory in life.  I may have finally reached a point where I no longer walk about swathed in black, but I still change my clothes as many times before deciding on an outfit.  Whatever the occasion. 

I have a career, but it does not drive me more than being happy in my life outside of work.  

I have both a traditional and non traditional relationship with my partner.

All of the above is the way I choose to live my life.  It is who I am.  Because I am be more than one thing.  I can, and do, have opinions about a thousand different subjects.  They don't all have to be on the same wavelength.

This, for me, is what the women before me fought for.  To be the person I am.  To think the way I want.  Act the way I want.  Do what the hell I want.

After watching the film, I later watched a documentary about the writer, Helen Fielding who spoke about her own similarities to Bridget, which inspired her to write the book.  One of the people in the documentary was Germaine Greer,  who made comment about the routine that Bridget went through in order to ready herself for her first date with Daniel.

Germaine was eyerolling at the fact that Bridget felt the need to do all of this.  Why was she thinking more about whether to wear sexy underwear or control underwear rather than, as Germaine said "Don't worry about your pants girl, just kiss him".

That is true enough.  What we know, certainly by Bridget's age, is that a man cares more about getting into your knickers rather than their style.  They don't care.  From my own experience with my partner, he tells he loves the "wrapping", but it is what inside that counts.  The body and the mind.

But should that mean that we should also not care?  Is that now not allowed? The effort that we put in is never just about them, it is part of who we are.   

But, now, in 2022, being like Bridget is discouraged.  Embarrassing even.  All of those traits that we saw in Bridget reflected in ourselves are now frowned upon.  At a time when even the word woman is being taken away from us, by men who have decided they are women; why are our feminine traits being seen as wrong and traits attributed to men, now right?

There is nothing wrong with being confident.  Forthright.  Competitive.  Single minded in our pursuits.  Assertive.  All typically "male" behaviours.  An increase of these behaviours is all good for women, but more and more I see them the things that make us women, now actively discouraged and forbidden.

There is no right way to be a man or a woman.  We can be any and all things, but by our choosing.

Even the choice to be a stay at home mum is now judged.  I overheard a conversation the other day where a young twenty something was saying to friends that what she wanted most in life was to be a mother.  At home, with her children.  She was immediately jumped on.  What about your career, your independence, your money.  You can't "just" be a mother.

Of course she can.  She can be anything she wants to be.  Can't she?  

I am not writing an anti Germaine Greer post, but I saw this quote from her relevant to this post.

If a woman never lets herself go, how will she ever know how far she might have got? If she never takes off her high-heeled shoes, how will she ever know how far she could walk or how fast she could run?

Can I not wear high heels?  Put on my makeup, take an eternity to decide on what to wear?  Why do these have to detract from the person that I am?  Does this now make me vapid and silly?  Why can't I be silly?  Doing those things are part of what makes me, me.  It does not make me less intelligent, less willing and able to be successful and walk the path that I want to.  

But I want to walk that path the way I chose.  Not chosen by others.

It feels sometimes like we have moved on from changing from we look like and how we dress for men, to now editing who we are as people and the persona we show to the world, for (some) women.

I walk to the beat of my own drum.  Not others.  I won't be told how to live my life or how to act/be.  I see how far women have come, what we have achieved, what generations before us fought for and gained for us.  I don't think they would want me to be put in another box.

We make our own rules.  What we cannot and should not do, is impose those rules on others. So yes, part of me is Bridget.  And I am not ashamed of that.  Nor should I be.

5 August 2014

Breaking All the Rules

Are you tired of being told that you and your life doesn’t fit the mould that society expects?  I know that I am.  Being expected to look a certain way, act a certain way; have all the same views as others; to “fit in”.   I have HAD IT. 

It is a pack mentality; the trouble being that the pack is far too large with too many commentators.  Any individuality you possess can be crushed under the weight of it.  The mob (aka Daily Mail readers and their ilk) will criticise you for any breaks of the rules that they perceive to be set in stone.

So what rules of society do I break? 

  • I am still single in my thirties.
  • I don’t have children (nor do I want them)
  • I am fat and happy. 
  • I don’t dress the way that many deem that I should.
  • I am not afraid to say what I think when I am passionate about something.
  • I have no inclination to “fit it” for the sake of it.  

 What society would tell me that I am, gleaned from this list is that: 
  • I am left on the shelf
  • I’m lying to myself about not wanting children but everyone does
  • I am fat and thereby it is inconceivable that I could be happy
  • I am wearing clothes they don’t want to see me in
  • I am too outspoken.

I don’t care. 

Life is about choice, not conformity and the fact that I don’t fit into society’s little “how to be” box no longer bothers me. 

My ducks will never be all lined neatly in a row.  I don’t even have any damn ducks; although I do aim to dress like a peacock.  My path in life is not straight and clear; it is winding with complicated intersections and although I have fallen off it at times; it has always been there to take me in another direction.

One day I would like to meet someone to share the rest of my days with, to get married and be happy.  That day will either come or it won’t, but I won’t think that my life is ruined if it doesn’t happen.   I am not “left on the shelf” because I was never for sale.

Today is the day that I choose to stop listening to society.  I will no longer read the Daily Fail which is full of nothing but hatred, body snarking and vile views.  I will no longer judge myself as society says that I should, just because I am single.  I will no longer let others views affect how I lead my life nor have an impact on how happy I am.

I will skip down the path that is growing day by day under my feet.  I have no idea where it leads but one thing I do know is that I am going to make damn sure that the journey is fun. 

1 August 2013

Great Expectations

First, a Very Long Foreword 

I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago, before the veritable shitstorm that happened and is still happening on Twitter in what seems to be escalating into a full out war between men and women.

Putting my two pence worth in, in relation to the banning lad’s mags, do I want them banned?  As long as women are happy to be paid to pose in them and men want to read them, carry on as far as I am concerned.

Lads mags have been around for decades and no children’s minds have been warped as a result of seeing a naked/half naked body on the front of a cover. 

Both men’s and women’s bodies are splayed over countless magazines in various forms of dress and undress and all telling you how the “ideal body” should be.  All magazines show images of how we are “supposed” to look and banning lad’s magazines won’t do a damn thing.

If you don’t like a magazine, don’t buy it.  Censorship of what we see and think is already up on the up, let’s not help it.  If you object to the magazines purely for prudish reasons, then I suggest you simply don't buy them and avert your eyes. 

With regard to the absolutely horrendous abuse that Caroline Craido Perez and others have been experiencing this week, the level of rape and death threats have astounded me.  It is easy to say "just block and report" to someone, but how is that even possible when at one point she was receiving upwards of 50 threats AN HOUR.

I applaud Caroline for not staying quiet and for instead, shouting back.  Staying quiet in the face of abuse never solved anything. 

This isn't men v women or visa versa.  Women don't hate all men and not all men are rapists.  We are talking about a small section of the population here who are throwing abuse.  It needs to be dealt with, but talks of things like a Twitter strike isn't the way forward.  I am not sure what is.  Whether a “report” button will work on Twitter, I have my doubts as it could quite clearly work in the troll’s favour too.

Back to my original post

What I have wrote below has long been society’s view of women, and in society I include men and women because we are accountable in some ways for views and assumptions that are still maintained.

So here is what I originally wrote:

Sometimes I think that we pass through life with one person after another imposing on you who you should be, what you should look like, what you should wear, what is appropriate to say, do, think.  Everyone has an opinion and sometimes, your opinion seems to be at the bottom of the pile.

What I was thinking about today was how much of that have we assimilated?  Are we drinking the Kool Aid of what we should and shouldn’t do, say, think, be?

Some of it is what society tells us, some is passed down through our families and some through popular culture.  I was always told for example (from various sources) that “A lady doesn’t swear” .  Well fuck that.

Recently Joanna Lumley told us that women shouldn’t wear provocative clothing… Although I think she worded it as “Silly girls in silly dresses”.  Victim blaming is nothing new, and it comes from both sexes.

If you think about all the things that women are supposed to be and do, the list is quite astonishing.  In more than one corner of the world, all of them will be said to you or be presumed of you at some point.

A lady shouldn’t swear.
If you wear provocative clothing, you are “asking for it”.
Dress conservatively and you will classed as matronly or an old maid.
You must conform with society’s version of attractive.
A lady should be quiet, subservient, well spoken.
Be a lady in the kitchen and a whore in the bedroom.
“Putting out” on the third date is expected.
Remember: No man will buy the cow if he’s getting the milk for free.
You must remain perfectly groomed at all times.
All woman want children.  If you don’t there is is something wrong with you.
A man shouting “Nice tits, can I cop a feel” at you across the street should be replied with a smile not a rebuke.
You can have control of your own body, but only if society says that you can.
Be thin.  If you aren’t then any abuse you receive is your own fault.
Be a “good” girl (whatever that is).  Nice guys don’t marry bad girls.
 The list goes on and on and on.  I can’ listen anymore because it is getting depressing.   How many of you have heard had many of the above said or applied to you.  I certainly have.  You cannot possibly be all of these things all at the same time.  It's possible.  So let's not be.

It’s for change ladies.   It’s time to rip up the goddamn rule book and do things our way. 

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”

Coco Chanel

30 September 2012

Prison Break

I read a post the other day by The Bloggess entitled "Sometimes Prisons can be Beautiful".

I have been reading her blog for about a year now.  The recommendation I was given was "She's funny, a bit "off" but in a wonderful way and has her own mental issues, a bit like you, but different ones".  I HAD to take a look.

Her blog was the first I had ever read.  I had already started my own, but I was at that time coming from an angle of just loving to write, and was writing purely about things that interested.  It never occurred to me to write about the personal stuff that you "shouldn't" talk about.  The fact that sometimes, I can be a little "off".  That I had issues.  All the things that you are supposed to keep hidden.

This particular post got me to thinking about how in some ways, we all create our own type of prisons.  Not the type with brick walls and bars at the windows, but ones that we have created in our minds, where the rules can be just as restrictive.  Where you are both the prison guard and also the person in the cell.

These type of prisons are more complicated than the physical kind.  To break out of them you don't need to scale a wall or bribe a prison guard.  The rules are of your own making, and the walls shift.

I've always known that I had a wall up.  What I realise now is that it wasn't just a wall.  It was a prison of my own construction which surrounded me, with it's own rules, all of which was constructed not because I was bad, but to protect me.  A cocoon.  

The thing about a cocoon is that at first, you feel safe in it, but eventually it becomes stifling and too close for comfort.  I was being smothered in a prison of my own making.

Compared to others, my journey is easy.  I created the walls around me, I drew up the rules, I can destroy them.

I don't suffer from depression or anxiety.  I thankfully don't have that daily battle sometimes just to get outside of your own front door, or have the need to hide in the bathroom when in the presence of others.  But reading the blogs of the people that do has gives me inspiration to improve my own life because if they can do it, I damn sure can too.

Ladies of the blogging world, from one bat shit crazy woman to another, I salute you.  You inspire me.