Wednesday, December 09, 2009

List your top ten. I came up with eight.

Disclosure: I’m guilty of regularly breaking the cardinal rule of blogging which is pretty simple actually: write about one thing. Write about something you know and something that readers (and hopefully dear god in heaven readers who comment) will feel comfortable coming back to again and again to read your latest thoughts on the topic.

One problem I have with that rule is that I don’t know about anything. I’m not trying to me shy or self-deprecating. I really don’t. Which makes me an expert on nothing and therefore qualified to help enlighten people about nothing.

That said, I can’t help how things align sometimes. The universe seems to place things in my path and for a while, I’ll write about the same topic from a slightly different reference point. Tonight is one of those times. I just wrote about the women’s movement or lack thereof and then boom! It happens again. Please read on for the latest affront to 21st century women and further proof that we are honestly, sincerely, and unrelentingly pathetic.

Half a century or so on the planet should count for something but it turns out, it doesn’t.

Which is exactly why I found myself incredulous at the promotion I watched tonight for a new television show on The Style Network. You ready? Here you go: What I Hate About Me. Check out the website if you want but the basic premise is this: women list the top ten things they hate about themselves. As they put it online, “real women admit their imperfections.” We admit them? As if they’re a secret to everyone? Are we not allowed to be imperfect? The host of the show listens compassionately (no doubt) and then proceeds, over the course of the next hour, to give the self-loathing woman the tools she needs to help her confront her demons and solve all her issues of self-hatred. Again, quoting the website: “experts share practical tips for fixing every foible.”

First of all, I am far from confident about many, many things but even I would probably have a hard time coming up with ten things I hate about myself. Ten? Do I have ten things I HATE? My thighs, for sure. But is that one or two things? My weight. My figure in general, I guess. Maybe I just go with “shape” and that covers a multitude of sins.

My habit of hanging on to thousands of scraps of paper with some bit of story or fact or headline that I tell myself “I’ll write about tonight.” I seem to collect these daily and then never look at them again. And in the rare instance that I do, I think: what was so interesting about this?

My tendency toward procrastination, even toward things I really WANT to do.

My semi-disorganized closet and my semi-disorganized attitude toward it.

I’m up to four. I need six more things I hate about myself. My short temper toward people who aggravate me.

My tendency to get aggravated by too many people.

That’s six. Four more. My impatience with my kids from time to time.

My failing skills when it comes to my memory.

Eight. I give up. Like I said, I’m very far from perfect but I don’t know that I could really list ten things I hate about myself. It feels like a lot of hate to me. And now there's an entire season of shows filled with women who hate ten things about themselves. That has to be something like a hundred things women hate about themselves. Imperfections they need “fixed.”

Back to my premise: proof that women have gained not one inch in terms of respect, position and confidence. Our quest for equality is a proven failure because there is no way on earth that this show would ever exist for men. Quite the opposite. Many men seem to overlook the bad, or at least made tacit peace with it, not brood about it. They don’t list it and categorize it and ruminate about it. They move on, they don’t linger over misery the way women do.

Dissecting things you hate about yourself feels enlightened and empowering, which is why women love doing it. We’re wrong. It’s actually depressing and debilitating.

No, a program with this premise would never appear on Spike TV. Not ever. And good for them.

But that’s showbiz, right? I guess no one would watch a show called Ten Things I Love About Myself. We need the moth into the butterfly; we’ve been trained to wait for the “reveal” on shows like this. We need the magic. Which is exactly what little girls like about fairy tales. We may have outgrown Cinderella but we haven’t truly given up on her story.


Anonymous said...

Have to disagree with your second paragraph, Renee, and I don't even really know you. But I do know that you have a publishing background, which is valuable to bloggers and writers. You can write well and can probably offer some good advice on that topic, which is also valuable. And you have a common sense approach to social commentary, which is extremely valuable and extremely rare in the blogosphere.

So, you really are "writing what you know" and doing it well. Your blog's tagline says it all. You're a resource for all of us who often wonder if we're the last sensible people on earth.

Keep plugging away.

renee said...

Well thank you so much - your feedback is deeply appreciated.

"Sensible" or "normal" are relative terms, of course, but it's nice to know there are some simpatico readers of the blog.

BTW, during my 8-year tenure as a columnist, I received a fair number of emails telling me exactly why I was wrong about that week's topic, or telling me that I was just plain wrong about most things.

But it's all good, right? All constructive dialog is fine with me.

Thanks again -

Carl said...

You are right that there would never be a dumb show like that for men. Maybe, in addition to your reason for that, there are a lot of us who have a strong woman standing next to us willing to help us recognize and work on fixing our "foibles" before we get to the point of hating them.

renee said...

Hi Carl -
Welcome and thanks for your comment.

I like your approach - and I'd also like to think the healthiest partnerships involve people who do just that: help each other recognize what could be a debilitating habit or approach to life, and offer support while it gets addressed.

If that's the case, yes, I'm with you. I think men do that for women, too.

(But just like on the show "Say Yes to the Dress," or "What Not to Wear," women seem to need committees of people to "help" us at all times. I don't get it.)

Problem comes, of course, when we all try to "fix" each other, right? Never works. Never.

Thanks again -