The Myth of the Woman

You know who I am talking about. Yes, you do. We all know her, but we’ve never met her. She is this perfect doll sculpted on old and sexist fantasies that we keep feeding with more and more unrealistic expectations. Also, She has changed over the centuries because She is faithful to the evolution of beauty standards.

Let me introduce this Woman to you.

She is, of course, beautiful. More than beautiful: attractive, perfectly shaped – thin waist, big butt, boobs like two perfectly sphere planets. Without being vulgar. Never vulgar – sorry, what does it even mean? She’s a sex bomb, but not a slut – yet She makes love like a porn star. She takes care of herself, but She is natural. She dresses well, but She also looks gorgeous in sweatpants. Her laugh is like… oh, summer rain. Her voice, perfectly measured, is like a soft breeze. She succeeds and works, but not too much. Well, She does everything well, but not too much. Yet She has to be passionate. Oh, sorry: but not too much. She’s cultivated. Less than a man. She’s slender but She can eat whatever she wants and has a perfectly healthy relationship with food.

Darling, why don’t you smile a bit more ?

A man shall be confident about his attractiveness while gaining age because there’s nothing like a mature, old and gorgeous man, right? He shall have the right to date younger girls, but the opposite way would be weird and repellent. Because the Woman shall never date a man younger than her. Question of superiority, honey.

Her, shall stay young forever, but she’ll never fall back on surgery for it – that would be so fake. Vulgar, yes. Here it comes again. Because the Woman is subtle. She expresses herself with grace and diplomacy, even when being mad.

Anger doesn’t look good on a woman they say – well, I think it looks stunning on me.

Have fun, let it go, baby.

Shh, you’re too loud.

She shall always smell like fresh roses and being perfectly shaved – hairs aren’t feminine, of course, but now let me know why they grow on women’s bodies. As for men, they can be sweaty and hairy without losing any of their seductive power – tell me who’s gender is told to have unrealistic and superficial expectations again?

She’s the cool girl, the party girl, who also gets the best grades. Later, She shall be a beaming mother. Although She doesn’t lose herself in grocery shopping, school homework and cleaning. Also, the house, She cleans it well and with grace.

She is everything, but never too much of something. She is, of course, happy. Fulfilled. She never complains. I mean, She can vote, right? That means equality is achieved. All good, man.

Take it easy, beautiful, that was just a joke.

Now, you know who I am talking about. You probably dreamt of Her yourself : either to have Her, either to be Her. Honestly, She looks bored as hell to me.

I have a special affection for Jane Austen, and here’s a thing she wrote in Persuasion: “I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.”

Younger, I tried to be Her. I did. Because of this myth our elders had kept brandishing around. Also, I am many things – I like din, I like silences. I love partying, I believe in waking up at 6 am to get things done. I vibrate with great impulses, I reflect and meditate. And so on. But that has nothing to do with the myth of the Woman: a poison and complete crush of existence that doesn’t allow you to be. And I want to be.

I want to thrive.

This Woman that we all know has been existing for a long time – hello, Circe, from The Odyssey. She has been built by the first writers, tellers and artists that shaped our unconscious desires. Behaviours. Words. Did you know that in most cases men and women speak utterly differently? (Thank you linguistics studies.) Don’t ask me why, you know the answer: the myths and education on which we build ourselves.

The calm waters.

We don’t need those 17th-century corsets to tight us up, trust me.

I talked about this Woman with my best friend this summer, because we had realised that something was wrong, although we couldn’t say what. And then we understood: we were falling in the myth’s trap, sculpting ourselves in it. So we made a promise: we shall do whatever we like – lipstick, make-up-less, loud, silent, angry, soft, dresses, sweatshirts, running fast, breathing in, committing, being free birds, learning more, being stubborn, growing, growing, blooming -, and that without ever losing sight of who we truly are. Keeping those sublime and preciously reckless, untamed and magic parts of us.

Also, my dear girls, please never lose sight of those parts of yourselves too. They’re precious, and they’ll attract some other bright people to you.

As for this Woman, well. Let’s wave her farewell.

I never wanted to be in calm waters anyway.

Maëlle Leggiadro

Categories: Opinion

Maelle Leggiadro

Hi, I'm Mel. Or Nora. I have a thing for adventure, creative writing, cinema, aesthetics and reckless ideas. Everything I touch becomes red. I say that I am not a romantic, yet one of my favourite films is Romeo + Juliet and I am fascinated by the novel Wuthering Heights. I have a vibrant personality, always craving for more, paying attention to little details and unable to settle. (I am also a secret Gossip Girl fan.)

2 Comments

  1. Never wanted to be in calm waters either!

    Bravo on this, it’s wonderful, honest and true. I’m working on embracing the reckless, paint covered, sometimes made up most times not, me and this definitely helps ❤

    Like

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