Constrain takes on different forms; for women living in the modernized world, constrain finds it’s strength and expression in ideology, fueled by a kind of backlash and counter-reaction contra the waves of the purest of cultural progress. New ideas (and novel ideals) are, as ought to reasonably be expected, both busts and boons, accompanied by things both longed-for and abhorred. Consider the reproductive revolution of 1965. Women of the West, at long last, had more than a sense of power over their lives; they had actual control. This was equally true of the station women held in the moment as it was of that place women hoped one day to arrive: to go to school, to hold a job, to have a child if and when she so desired, when she deemed it both right and good. How radically different! How tremendously revolutionary! How truly (and powerfully) feminine!
But as with anything deemed well and good by a significant segment of any given population, there were (and continue to be) those who stood steadfast and resolute in their opposition. If only they were sincere to a number. If only the opposition included no peddlers and profiteers with the worst of the worst motivations. Adding insult to injury, the devious bludgeoned the public with unrealistic expectations, offering a magic potion conveniently protected by politicians and patent, provided exclusively by them and them alone.
Enter Barbie. With her flowing, marvelously manageable hair, her ever-so long legs and terribly unrealistic proportions, she provided increasingly empowered women with an ideal as unrealistically achievable as it was successfully pitched by those with the world to gain. Women longing to fit into the one-size-fits-none figure and frame of the new American beauty ideal crashed and burned through a never-ending litany of calorie-counting diets. – all too often with women finding their way to ward, pumped full of chemicals better served by a culturally out of vogue three-course meal. Women rushed the gates of the medical industry, seeking the new-and-improved them that their parents and nature failed to produce. Purses were soon full to overflowing with cosmetics that failed to redeem even the most professionally perfected of paintbrushed performers. Depression, anxiety, self-loathing and suicide commenced – these being the most natural consideration of all the aforementioned!Such a dirge would be tragic enough were women not to stand and fall on it’s scales.
Of course, knowing as much is arguably only half the battle. The pertinent consideration – so long and overdue – concerns deciding where to go from where we are. Should we accept the artificially imposed status quo? Should we refrain from sharp criticisms, granting (for fear of being accused of conspiratorial musings) the best of best political, economic and cultural intentions to the rich and heinous who stood to gain from not merely halting women’s progress but turning back the clock by forcing society forward to a Utopian day-and-age of no fat or wrinkle? Or ought we do our better judgments the service of serious reflection, conjuring up our natural best in an effort to revitalize the radical pursuit of self-actualization and acceptance; and not merely of ourselves but also of the nature wherein we live and move and have our being?
In this writers opinion, we’d do well to fight for the latter, following the braver and bolder of modern women of all ages, colors, shapes and sizes in their revolutionary march on the heels of progress.