Two quick (and unrelated) mini-rants

1.) I was flipping through the prom issue of Seventeen, because I like to look at pretty dresses on glossy paper. As usual, they have one of those sections with “real girls” representing different body types, and they tell you which dresses flatter (i.e., hide) each shape. Not only did they use “curvy” as a euphemism for fat, but they described how such girls should dress to flatter their “hourglass shape.”

Gah! Has it never occurred to them that not all fat women are hourglass-shaped?

Hell, not even all curvy women are hourglass-shaped. I’m fat, and I definitely have curves, but none of my curves resemble an hourglass.  Some fat women are not curvy at all. Some thin women are curvy, in various ways. Women and girls come in more than three or four shapes.

It’s not that I expect better from mainstream magazines, but it gets on my nerves.

2.) Last night, I was reading through the archives of Adulting, a blog about “how to become an adult in 387 easy(ish) steps.” There’s a lot of good stuff there, but I kept coming across the same mixed messages that drive me nuts about so much lifestyle advice:  Be financially responsible! Don’t buy things you can’t afford, don’t rack up credit card debt, put money into savings! But real adults sleep in real beds, not mattresses on the floor. Real adults hang nice decor on their walls, not posters.

I’m all for having real beds–I certainly enjoy mine. But I also recognize that I acquired it as a gift, and could not have afforded it on my own. When my grandmother gave me the bed, it was awesome, but it didn’t suddenly make me more grown-up. Nor were my parents any less grown-up when they slept on a mattress on the floor, which they did until I was born.

I hate the way material objects are used as stand-ins for maturity.  Being an adult isn’t about how much furniture you own–or, for that matter, how skilled you are at cooking or cleaning. Domestic skills can definitely be useful, but different people have different priorities. If someone spends their days saving the world, then wants to come home and eat takeout, clean only as much as necessary, and crash on their mattress, who am I to judge?


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