Blogger and author Kristen Lamb rebutted with style and grace, but I still have a bad taste in my mouth from the post that inspired it. Taking Kristen Lamb’s lead, I’m not going to share any links to that arrogant fashionisa’s post, but I do want to say my piece.
Given we’re at the beginning of Women in Horror month, I think the article was timely. It raises similar issues to the ones that make a female spotlight necessary, and those issues all revolve around the same biggie: perception. The grievances many women suffer due to gender are similar to the ones that tell us it is not good enough that we merely age gracefully. There are changes in expectations, and there are changes in the way society as a whole views us. It tells us we must be pretty, sexy, and youthful—and it punishes us when we fail in any of these categories.
As a female horror writer, I feel like adding middle age to the mix creates a double whammy. Now, not only am I a woman who often feels slighted or overlooked for being a woman, I fear the possibility of disappearing altogether with my fading youth. Articles like the “fashion advice” for women over 30 only help to reinforce social views and private fears. And as much as I’d like to say, “That idiot has no idea what she’s talking about,” I feel society’s push for me to cling to my youth to the very last thread, being dragged, kicking and screaming, into this next chapter of my life.
In a perfect world, we could all simply be—be ourselves, be what is true to us, be without fear of judgment or preconceived notions—but of course the world is far from perfect.
And so are all of us.
The social pushes to defy youth are the same ones that push teenage girls into eating disorders. When we see we don’t fit the mold set out before us, we fall into the lie that tells us those damning words: You’re not good enough.
So, what do we do to change this? I wish I knew. It would be far too simple for all of us to decide merely that these social values are harmful and wrong. Group thinking, the collective consciousness we create through influence and judgment, is stronger than that. Still, something’s gotta give. We need to find a way redefine our values.