Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about love, right? Romance and pink things and flowers, too. It’s supposed to be about couples, but I want to selfishly celebrate by acknowledging a woman who made me love myself a little bit more. So often, I think we’re trying to make ourselves appealing and acceptable to other people. We’re worried about how we look to them, how we come across, if we’re pretty and likable. But once, when I was a kid, I saw a woman who made me think there might be another way to do things, and I’ve never forgotten her.
This is my love letter to a buzz cut beauty queen. Keep reading »
She was really beautiful. She was the coolest girl ever. She always knew what to say, and she said it casually, like she barely had to think first. I wanted to be just like her. I was 13, she was 15, and she was perfect to me.
My parents were very supportive. They thought I was smart and pretty and capable. And that is so important, like the concrete they pour into the husk of the foundation of a house when it’s just planks and sticks in the dirt. But the shape of the building, the furniture inside—I think that comes from other girls. That’s how you learn how to be a girl, after all, from the other ones around you. Keep reading »
The other day, a girl emailed me:
“I’m worried that I’m not pretty enough to get a guy. I’m single, and want a serious relationship, but sometimes I think I can’t find one because I’m not prettier.”
I wanted to exclaim, “That’s ridiculous!” But instead I thought, Well, of course you’re worried.
When I was single, I reasoned that being hotter was always better because it would give me more options. The hotter I was, the more guys would be interested in me, and the more choice I’d have in the matter. So even if I thought I looked fine, it would’ve been better to look, well, even better. (And then there is no limit—you can always be hotter, somehow.) And when I thought that I looked significantly, depressingly less than fine, I was scared, because I felt as though I might miss out on something essential.
This is not irrational. It makes sense, when we think of women’s worth as being closely matched, at least initially, with their beauty. Keep reading »
I liked being Jewish. I just hated my face. I wanted desperately to like my face better. I’d spent too many years laughing with my hand over my nose because I thought it looked even bigger when my face was happy. Stupid, right? It’s amazing, in retrospect, the things we are tormented by.
When I was a little girl, I thought I’d grow up to look like a queen—exotic, powerful, with a strong, regal profile. Queen Thayet, in Tamora Pierce’s The Immortals series, had a hawk nose and she was the most beautiful woman in the world! Why not me? I had a hawk nose! I figured I would be decent at ruling a kingdom, too.
But then when I was 14 a girl told me I needed to get my face fixed. She said she had a friend whose daddy could do it because he was a rich plastic surgeon. She said that if I went to him he’d make me pretty.
The things kids say! Keep reading »
Fairest shmairest! Let’s get real about beauty and body image. Mirror, Mirror is a column running every other week on The Frisky. It is written by Brooklyn-based columnist, freelance writer, and bagel enthusiast, Kate Fridkis who also writes the blog Eat the Damn Cake. You can follow her on Twitter at @eatthedamncake.
I lead services at a synagogue, and I need to dress up for my job. Nothing over the top—just business-y, tailored clothes paired with nice shoes. For the longest time, my mom was my workwear fashion consultant, because none of my friends were working somewhere that required a suit, and she advised that I go with padded shoulders, long skirts, stockings, and thick, low heels. So I did, because I am oblivious. Then I moved to NYC, and I was like, “Oh! THIS is how people dress.” And I bought some pencil skirts and some legitimate heels. And then those heels wore out, and then, stay with me, because this is about to get really interesting: I went to DSW.
And I tried on heels.
And I began to ask some existential questions like, “How do women wear these things and not fall down the subway steps and kill themselves?” Keep reading »
Fairest shmairest! Let’s get real about beauty and body image. Mirror, Mirror is a column running every other Thursday on The Frisky. It is written by Brooklyn-based columnist, freelance writer, and bagel enthusiast, Kate Fridkis who also writes the blog Eat the Damn Cake. You can follow her on Twitter at @eatthedamncake.
Every year for Halloween, I used to dress up as a gypsy. I was a lazy little kid, I guess, and I didn’t want to make some complicated costume. So I just put on a long skirt and a bunch of my mom’s jewelry and wrapped a bandana around my head, and people were like, “Are you a hippie?” And I was like, “Obviously not. I’m wearing a sash. Come on, people.”
One year, when I was being a gypsy and I was trick-or-treating with a pirate, a witch, and Simba in the sprawling ranch house development lower-income suburban New Jersey had conveniently provided us with, I saw my babysitter, dressed as a devil. But she didn’t look like a scary devil. She looked like some other kind of devil I’d never imagined. It was weird. I wondered if when I got to be older, as old as 14 say, if I’d wear things like that, with my belly showing even though it was cold. I wondered if Halloween was different when you were my babysitter’s age. Keep reading »