I never thought I’d see the day where Taylor Momsen* was discussed and critiqued as a feminist icon, but here you have it. This Lindsey Horvath person is horrified; Taylor Momsen is not “her kind of feminist.” To be fair, I suppose she’s not mine either, not least because a fifteen-year-old shouldn’t have to be anyone’s anything, it seems to me. It’s hard enough work being yourself at that age, even if you are a young, blonde, pretty starlet.
I guess every woman has served her time on the Girl Power squad, at least anyone who came of age since the 1950s, anyway, because every era’s been selling us someone to be who isn’t ourselves. It’s a pretty easy pitch, after all – you can keep repeating the old “I love myself” mantra while you’re simultaneously dreaming of being someone, anyone else.
Cher, Madonna, Britney, Lindsay, as well as all their ancestors and descendants, exist in this strange space of being chosen as paradigmatic women by other actual women who know full well that all this paradigmatic womanhood stuff is pure, unadulterated bullshit. It’s impossible to live up to.
Every once in awhile I go somewhere to something to talk to the cool feminist women I meet on the internet, and often (apologies for the self-serving anecdote) I’ll meet someone who really likes my… well, I hesitate to call it writing. Blogging and commenting, let’s say. And I always get a (sometimes small, sometimes large) doubletake when I explain who I write as on the internet, because it entails a certain image that I guess I do not fit well in real life.
Obviously I am no Taylor Momsen. (For that, Ceiling Cat, a thousand thank yous.) But so often expectations seem to get the better of our idols, and I feel like all the buildup, all the demand for perfect clairvoyance and hindsight from young women who are just starting to come into themselves (and older ones who are realizing that the promise of wisdom held out by age might have been a ruse) is exhausting the life out of us. All this wanting to live your desires (as if you knew what they were), to do the right thing at the right time with the right people (as if they just walked up to you and introduced themselves) – it takes more energy than I feel like I’ve got.
* If you do not recognize this name don’t worry; this is just one of the stars of “Gossip Girl,” a show with which the New York media is utterly obsessed.