This morning I read David Brooks' op-ed in the NYTimes (entitled "The Lone Ranger") which analyzed three current pop songs by three young women. One by Carrie Underwood, Before He Cheats, U+UR Hand by Pink, and Girlfriend by Avril Lavigne.
He uses them as a case study of the new terrain of dating, which stretches from 13-30. He suggests that songs like this wouldn't have been made 30, or even 10 years ago. I don't know that I agree, I think that they might have been recorded, just not as "pop," instead they'd be "country" or "alternative." I have no proof for this though.
I also read an article in Jewish Woman Magazine. The cover has the ever-attractive Lisa Loeb (she looks about 15), and a list of main articles, the first of which is "Bathing Suit Anxiety." I have to admit that I was prejudiced even before I picked up the magazine. While I by no means have a "perfect" body, I have no bathing suit anxiety. Trying them on doesn't make me anxious, nor cause me to question my sense of self. I love that racing suits have sizes whose numbers are essentially meaningless (I'm a 34 in speedo. 34 what? Who knows?), and for bikinis/tankinis/etc I have to use my bra size. There aren't really any major surprises.
I kind of think that anyone who is shocked by bathing suit shopping needs a strong dose of reality. Have you never seen yourself naked? Or in your underwear? That is basically how you look in a swimsuit. I can understand being stressed about wearing one in public, but it's been many years since I wore just a swimsuit. I almost always have basketball shorts or a t-shirt over it. Often both. I don't have an issue with this, and honestly, I don't think anyone else cares either.
Wendy Shanker, one of the authors who was interviewed for the piece said basically the same thing: "Ask yourself this question: If I do what I really want to do, which is take off my shirt and go swimming, how is that going to affect the lives of people who might be watching? It’s our dumb narcissism to believe that all these people are analyzing us."
The article is essentially a self-help, or how-to of bathing suit shopping, filled with lines like "go with a supportive partner." Good lord, I don't want a "supportive" partner, I want an honest one. A friend who will say "that is heinous, VETO." The piece has a number of pull quotes from bathing suit designers/retailers who basically say, "try lots of different swimsuits, everyone is built differently." Really? Are women this stupid? I think that every woman knows that certain styles of clothing flatter her, and certain ones don't. Why would it be different with bathing suits? Do our brains fall out of our heads as soon as we enter the dressing room?
Then again, what did I expect from a magazine whose cover articles ranged from "the history of cheesecake" to "the Holocaust's legacy of meaning?"