Sarah Hampson of the Globe and Mail thinks that women should embrace the aging process by celebrating the "body lexicon" that has sprung up over the past few years as a means to insult and degrade us all. O RLY?
"Many women fight tooth and bicep to delay arrival to this place. Midlife makes them feel invisible to men and somehow diminished, despite their accomplishments. No wonder all those big, fancy cosmetics companies and plastic surgeons frame their age-defying pitches in the feminist language of "rights" and "choices." They understand that some women see youthful physical beauty as an expression of their power," Hampson writes. But instead of trying to expose the youth-obsessed marketing ploys for the bullshit they are, Hampson instead decides that if women want to enjoy aging, they also need to enjoy the repulsive lingo that has popped up to describe their changing bodies.
Hampson declares that it is WOMEN who come up with these horrific terms: "they develop names for the various age-signifying bits that can seem as offensive as teenage behaviour, prompting a need for strict control," she writes, before chastising women for not loving themselves as much as the men in their lives surely do: "The names suggest annoyance, never love or fondness of the type men have for some of their parts. Which is unfortunate. Don't you love your teenager, despite his long, greasy hair?The cure, ladies, is to laugh." She then presents an appalling list of "funny terms," complete with terrible illustrations, designed to help us all celebrate the humor in calling a woman's "pooch" a "Menopot."
Yes, ladies, we should all get a big kick out of hilarious terms like "bingo wings" and "saddlebags," as really, there's nothing more hilarious than insulting a woman's natural aging process by attaching a degrading phrase to it. Those wrinkles around your lips from a lifetime of smiling? "Vampire Dinner Lips." The natural shifting of your bottom due to aging? "Old Lady Butt." That wrinkle between your eyes from frowning, or, god forbid, thinking? "The Bitch Wrinkle, also known as Chapter Eleven (an appropriate illusion to bankruptcy, given the cost of Botox)." Charming.
As Gwen at Sociological Images writes, "The article presents itself as an antidote to women's obsession with their bodies and aging, a way to help women laugh and accept their bodies. But the images that accompany it, clearly meant to make the figures into objects of ridicule, make it hard to imagine how they would achieve such an objective. Reading it just made me aware of all kinds of things I'd never heard of or particularly noticed before." Blogger Jessalynn Keller at Brazen Beauties agrees, noting that "it's articles like these that make women so self conscious about their 'aging female parts.'"
Perhaps if Hampson really wants women to love their aging bodies, she should stop pushing the same old sexist bullshit and leave "bingo wings" and "bitch wrinkles" to fratboys and douchebags. Holding up "bitch wrinkles" as some type of liberating phrase isn't helping any of us celebrating the aging process—if anything, embracing these terms is a sign of giving in to the pressures, rather than fighting against them. These terms are designed to help people laugh at women, not with them. Hampson may think it's a good idea to join in the fun, but I'm pretty sure most of us can age quite happily without ever hearing the term "bingo wings" ever again.
Body Lexicon For Aging Female Bodies [Sociological Images]
The Never Ending Critique Of Girls' And Womens' Bodies [Brazen Beauties]
Obsession With Female Body Parts Has Created A New Body Lexicon [Globe And Mail]