One of the great hypocrisies built into our standards of beauty is the idea that all women can be beautiful with the right effort. For women who already fit into this ideal—white, thin, blond, blue-eyed women—beauty can be flouted. Charlize Theron can take off her makeup and head into a coal mine and get an Oscar nomination for her bravery, and we’ll applaud Jennifer Lawrence all day for talking about how much she hates exercise. These women are powerful! They’re standing up to the man! We call them heroes, as if there has ever been a time in their lives that they wouldn’t be considered beautiful.
But women who don’t fit into this narrow ideal have a different relationship to beauty. If beauty is power, then for most women beauty is an obligation directly related to opportunity. Beautiful women are more likely to get jobs, more likely to be promoted, and more likely to find romantic partners. If you aren’t born beautiful, then choosing to opt out of the beauty industrial complex has consequences. You’re letting yourself go. You’re not even trying."
"I spent like 10 years of my life pretending to fly around on a broomstick and you’re asking me if preparing for a love scene was ‘tricky’ because the other person also had a penis?"
Mansplaining, whitesplaining, richsplaining—the way you can tell someone who’s “privileged” is the unconscious belief that they naturally should take center stage, that whatever they have on their mind they have the right to speak up about, that everyone will listen to them. You know, the trait the Grim Reaper points out is endemic to Americans traveling abroad in Monty Python and the Meaning of Life in a scene that I too often cringingly identify with.
People of privilege making an effort to be better people face a difficult quandary. You get inundated by all these examples and studies and historical anecdotes and moral arguments about the tremendous destructiveness and evil of the sexist or racist system you grew up in. You really want to not be a horrible person.
At the same time, being used to being deferred to and having your opinion listened to and having your feelings matter is very pleasant. Actually giving that up and stepping aside to become the unimportant one for once is very unpleasant, even painful. When you’re used to being in charge you perceive any balancing of the scales as an attack, any leveling of the playing field as something being stolen from you."
"Fetishizing ‘power’ in women characters – having them kicking ass and always being ready with a putdown - isn’t the same as writing them as human beings."