Elizabeth Wurtzel, lawyer, memoirist and pretty lady, is heartbroken that you aren’t trying harder to look hot. And what’s worse? You’re ruining feminism.
The real problem facing today’s feminist movement isn’t the GOP’s War on Women or racism and a lack of intersectionality. Nope, if we consult Elizabeth Wurtzel’s latest print-only piece for Harper’s Bazaar, we feminists should be most worried about “the onset of slovenliness.”
concern-trolling her heart, which has been broken by New York’s sloppily dressed youngsters:
When I look at the meticulous style of these women [Michelle Obama and Sarah Palin] and then walk around Manhattan—New York City, the international capital of fashion and beauty—and see women in their twenties who have already given up, my heart breaks. I am not a mean person, but the sloppiness angers me because it is about a wounded world.
She looks BETTER NOW, you guys.
Wurtzel’s essay contains almost as many egregious fallacies as it does words. It is bursting with essentialism, sexism (notice Wurtzel does not seem to care how men look—this “effort” of which she speaks is strictly for the ladies), classism, and straight-up rudeness. While I understand that the piece is meant to be inflammatory, it is just beyond. Here is but a sampling of the bullshit found on page 364 of the latest issue of Harper’s Bazaar. This way, you don’t have to spend $4.99 to read it yourself:
“[Being gorgeous] just takes discipline.”
Wurtzel is a thin, white, blond, able-bodied, highly (Harvard) educated, wealthy, successful cis woman. Congrats to her for “eating leafy salads” and using “Fresh Sugar Rosé lip balm [at $22.50 a tube],” but her looks—and the privilege that comes with them—don’t just come from “discipline.”
“The current state of slovenliness is a sign of a nation in decline and of a despairing distaff population.”
Awwwwwww. Poor widdle wadies are so sad they aren’t even taking the time to do “Gyrotonic sessions three times a week”! (As Katie J.M. Baker points out, Gyrotonic sessions are $80 a pop. What?) Wurtzel’s definition of “slovenliness” appears to be “lack of makeup.” Notice again that she is just talking about women. How, exactly, does she get “a nation in decline” from “a nation of women who are wearing less lipstick than they used to”?
“When we were growing up, not all girls were winners just because they participated.
Oh did she say winners? She meant to say “pretty.”
“Catcalls are not a feminist issue. Apathy is.”
The fuck?! Why doesn’t she tell Hollaback! her theory on catcalls not being a feminist issue? And since apathy in this context means ignoring expensive, unrealistic standards of beauty, well, I’d say apathy is a feminist issue in the exact opposite sense of how Wurtzel means it.
“Obviously not everyone is born beautiful, but everyone can become so.”
When “Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, and Naomi Campbell” are the benchmark, everyone CAN’T become beautiful. Nor should they be expected to, by Wurtzel or anyone else.
But wait! There’s more!
I long for the impossible standard of female beauty as a daily chore for all, not because I want the world to look better—I want it to be better. I want everyone to try as hard as I do to please be gorgeous, because it’s not that hard, girls. Looking great is a matter of feminism. No liberated woman would misrepresent the cause by appearing less than hale and happy.
Did you catch that? If you aren’t pretty enough you’re MISREPRESENTING THE CAUSE OF FEMINISM. Feminism isn’t about equality, or affecting change, or shifting paradigms: It’s about looking hot. When Wurtzel hits the town, “construction workers still whistle, which is nice.” This means she’s a good feminist, doing good feminist work! If you are not as hot as her, you just aren’t trying hard enough. And if you don’t want to try harder, you are a bad feminist. You are actually undoing the hard work of feminism by not wearing enough lipstick!
If Elizabeth Wurtzel wants to wear $22.50 lip balm and go for daily walks, that’s great. Keep it up, you 45-year-old hottie, you! But attempting to shame young feminists for their “slovenliness” and reinforcing the very standards of beauty so many feminists have fought to change is absolutely unacceptable. And to make this ludicrous argument about women’s looks in the NAME of feminism? Please.
Turn that shaming finger back around on yourself, Wurtzel! We don’t do Gyrotonic sessions, we wear whatever the hell lip balm we want (or not!), and we don’t care what you think.