"I gave in to temptation, though my pup just wasn't cooperating." - Tweet by Mary Warner, December 29, 2020
inspiration observations

No Spiders Here: Allowing Women to Look Less Than Perfect

I’m writing this while I’m on vacation, scheduling it to drop in a few days. Scheduling posts days or even weeks out makes it difficult to write with the immediacy of the moment. I have to be thinking about how to write for future relevancy. If a post ever feels slightly disjointed in time, that’s why. Just imagine me writing days or weeks earlier and figure for the time shift.

What I’ve noticed during vacation is how quickly I get in the habit of generating blog post topics. When I’m working, it takes so much time and brain power that I think I could never keep up a daily or every-other-day blog habit because I couldn’t come up with enough ideas. Well, that’s pretty much hogwash. All I have to do is regularly cruise Twitter and I have more than enough inspiration to keep me in material.

One of the latest Twitter exchanges that I am moved to blog about started with this tweet from novelist, columnist, and Pulitzer Prize winner Connie Schultz on December 29, 2020.

"Today an interviewer mentioned my author’s photo and wanted to know why I never wear false eyelashes. Maybe it’s my fear of spiders, I said. The awkward silence felt like a full refund." - Tweet by Connie Schultz, December 29, 2020.
“Today an interviewer mentioned my author’s photo and wanted to know why I never wear false eyelashes. Maybe it’s my fear of spiders, I said. The awkward silence felt like a full refund.” – Tweet by Connie Schultz, December 29, 2020.

“Today an interviewer mentioned my author’s photo and wanted to know why I never wear false eyelashes. Maybe it’s my fear of spiders, I said. The awkward silence felt like a full refund.”

Why, oh why does the media and society in general constantly default to a woman’s looks, no matter what her accomplishments are?

It is irritating as all get out and I want it to end. Grrr.

I love Schultz’s comeback, though. I’m sure I would not have been able to think fast enough to get that out and am in awe at her humorous smackdown.

Author John Scalzi responded to Shultz’s tweet with a couple of his own.

"I've been asked a few times now, sarcastically, if this ever happened to me (because I am an Ohio author as well, I suppose). Answer: I've never been asked about my appearance in an author photo ever, and also, this is a Pulitzer Prize winner FFS THERE ARE OTHER THINGS TO ASK" - Tweet by John Scalzi, December 29, 2020.
“I’ve been asked a few times now, sarcastically, if this ever happened to me (because I am an Ohio author as well, I suppose). Answer: I’ve never been asked about my appearance in an author photo ever, and also, this is a Pulitzer Prize winner FFS THERE ARE OTHER THINGS TO ASK” – Tweet by John Scalzi, December 29, 2020.

“I’ve been asked a few times now, sarcastically, if this ever happened to me (because I am an Ohio author as well, I suppose). Answer: I’ve never been asked about my appearance in an author photo ever, and also, this is a Pulitzer Prize winner FFS THERE ARE OTHER THINGS TO ASK”

Which he quickly followed with:

"As a reminder, this is my most recent author photo, which I literally took with the selfie camera on my phone. Dudes can get away with lots of shit and no one thinks twice about it. And just for the record, I'm not wearing false eyelashes in it. Neither is Smudge." - Tweet by John Scalzi, December 29, 2020.
“As a reminder, this is my most recent author photo, which I literally took with the selfie camera on my phone. Dudes can get away with lots of shit and no one thinks twice about it. And just for the record, I’m not wearing false eyelashes in it. Neither is Smudge.” – Tweet by John Scalzi, December 29, 2020.

“As a reminder, this is my most recent author photo, which I literally took with the selfie camera on my phone. Dudes can get away with lots of shit and no one thinks twice about it. And just for the record, I’m not wearing false eyelashes in it. Neither is Smudge.”

Scalzi is right. Guys can get away with a lot of shit that women end up getting a lot of shit for when they do it. Like wearing pants or having bare arms. How often was Hillary Clinton given grief for wearing pantsuits? And Michelle Obama for having bare arms? Come on, what century are we in already?

Women would like to be able to get away with not wearing makeup or pantyhose, or wearing pants rather than dresses, or having hair that isn’t shaped into constant perfection with loads of product, or keeping well-manicured nails, or maintaining some unachievable ideal of weight and figure. All of this artifice is a way of keeping tight control of women, of keeping them in their place.

Because of the pressures of society, women feel the need to always present themselves in the best possible way visually on social media. We can’t let there be photos of us with a goofy look on our faces, like Scalzi. And because we always try to present our best selves, society continually holds us to this higher standard of visual perfection until we are in an inescapable feedback loop. Society demands perfection, we provide it, they demand more, we provide more, until we end up with stupid questions about false eyelashes. Enough!

If Scalzi can get away with a goofy-faced author selfie photobombed by his cat, why can’t women do the same?

So, I took a goofy-faced selfie with my pup Aleksandr and shared it on Twitter.

"I gave in to temptation, though my pup just wasn't cooperating." - Tweet by Mary Warner, December 29, 2020
“I gave in to temptation, though my pup just wasn’t cooperating.” – Tweet by Mary Warner, December 29, 2020

In the retweet I did before this, I said I was tempted to do an author photo like Scalzi’s. In this tweet, I gave in to that temptation and posted my photo, though Aleksandr wasn’t cooperating, as is his normal way during photos, so he is a blur.

I’m cool with being an average-looking woman who doesn’t wear makeup (look, no spider eyelashes!) and has pandemic-length flippy hair that won’t behave. Why not give myself permission to wear an odd expression, too?

Permission granted.

The rest of society can deal with it.

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