Women and the hard labour of self-optimization

3513
Main image: Illustration: Ari Liloan/The Guardian

02 August 2019 | | The Guardian Long Read

The ideal woman has always been generic. I bet you can picture the version of her that runs the show today.

She’s of indeterminate age but resolutely youthful presentation. She’s got glossy hair and the clean, shameless expression of a person who believes she was made to be looked at.

She is often luxuriating when you see her – on remote beaches, under stars in the desert, across a carefully styled table, surrounded by beautiful possessions or photogenic friends.

Showcasing herself at leisure is either the bulk of her work or an essential part of it; in this, she is not so unusual – for many people today, especially for women, packaging and broadcasting your image is a readily monetizable skill.

She has a personal brand, and probably a boyfriend or husband: he is the physical realization of her constant, unseen audience, reaffirming her status as an interesting subject, a worthy object, a self-generating spectacle with a viewership attached.

Can you see this woman yet? She looks like an Instagram – which is to say, an ordinary woman reproducing the lessons of the marketplace, which is how an ordinary woman evolves into an ideal.

The process requires maximal obedience on the part of the woman in question, and – ideally – her genuine enthusiasm, too. This woman is sincerely interested in whatever the market demands of her (good looks, the impression of indefinitely extended youth, advanced skills in self-presentation and self-surveillance).

She is equally interested in whatever the market offers her – in the tools that will allow her to look more appealing, to be even more endlessly presentable, to wring as much value out of her particular position as she can.

The ideal woman, in other words, is always optimizing. She takes advantage of technology, both in the way she broadcasts her image and in the meticulous improvement of that image itself. Her hair looks expensive.

She spends lots of money taking care of her skin, a process that has taken on the holy aspect of a spiritual ritual and the mundane regularity of setting a morning alarm.

Read more at Original Link: Athleisure, barre and kale: the tyranny of the ideal woman

join the Hawkins Bay Revolution
before it is too late
Read

by

James Porteous
who does not receive any
financial remuneration
from these stupid
Word Press ads

6 comments

  1. Beautiful with expensive looking hair, not a bad start, but a bit of work to do before you’ve described her as well as Karan Patel did, I like the roundness of his description and his emphasis on the things that make life .. happier!

    “My ideal woman would be someone with both beauty and intelligence. Someone who can hold her own in a conversation, gets along with my family and respects elders, loves children, and have a sense of humour as whacky as mine.”

    Like

    • Along those lines, the cosmetics industry, the fashion industry, and the shoe industry aren’t female-friendly, either. Nobody expects men to wear make-up, shave their legs, or wear uncomfortable clothes and shoes.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s