When I was five years old, I was given a Barbie doll. This plastic arsehole followed me around for a large portion of my childhood and soon inflicted my peacefully forming brain with the image of the perfect woman. Since, I have willingly read women’s magazines and articles entitled, ‘How to make your body look great while having sex,’ ‘How to shed half your weight’ and ‘How to make him love you.’ I have looked at the hundreds of adverts that are designed to exploit my established self-loathing offering me surgery. I have been shown pictures of MASSIVE TITS while in the Co-op looking for milk and persuaded by endless billboards, cereal packets and Patsy Kensitalikes that I need to constantly modify the way I look.
This modification, this endless struggle, is perpetual and unrelenting. When we achieve the right size waist the our skin breaks into acne and starts to look grey from the lack of nutriants, when we start to age we are encouraged to get down to see a psychotic plastic surgeons who will say,’hmmmmm, yes I can see what you mean.
‘I have a friend whose 80 year-old Nanna bulk buys wrinkle cream! 80 YEARS OLD!
There are several female figures that represent the brainfucked impression of the ‘perfect woman’ today. Judging on my sorry experience I would say that, despite her enormous talent, Dolly Parton is certainly one who has taken the whole Barbie ting quite seriously. Parton should be about as appealing to all mankind as, well, um, a dolly. Massive tits, blowjob lips, skinny as fuck, porn nails and the hair of twenty-six bald Russian children. Dolly is the big mumma of all things OTT, she based her look on the founders of plasticated bowlegged dreamgurls and looks, pretty much the closest you can get to becoming a sex doll without having parts of your brain removed. But if we assume that Dolly Parton is everything that women should aspire to, if she is what we get on the Special K for, what we cut our bodies and spend hours choking on peroxide for, then how can she be in such a vulnerable position?
How is it possible for Dolly to be begging any woman not to take her man?
Surely there should be some kind of law that says, ‘if you look like we tell you to, then men will love you, fuck you and treat you like the plastic fantastic Godesses that you are.’ It’s just that, personally, I am not really willing to starve myself for my entire life if some ginger biatch is going to rob me of my reason for life anyway. How could a man want more than a walking, talking barbie, who cries every time you leave the house and dresses in fluffy nightgowns 96% of the time? Could Mr.Parton’s actions lead me to, for a second, entertain the idea that perhaps this isn’t what men want? Get to fuck! I mean really, could it be that men crave some kind of difference in a woman, someone who is strong enough, potent and real enough, to fill his dreams after an entirely satisfying night of fucking with Mrs. Double D?
I am not obsessing over the popular song ‘Jolene.’ I am not trying to find cryptic messages about whether my boyfriend is going to leave me by playing it backwards- what I am trying to consider though, is whether men are forced into fantasising over a certain kind of woman. And if they are, how far does this woman have to fall to meet his lack of expectations? Does the media’s vision of the modern man’s unwitting obsession with having his cock sucked by as many women as possible damage him? How does he feel about missing out on love?
What I want to contemplate now is something that I have been startled by since I began fighting my way up the ladder, treading of the corpses of other girls and then women so that I might find my Prince MuthafuckinCharming. It is not unusual to call a girl a bitch, a slag, a slut, whore, skank etc and it is quite a tired track to tread to talk about how fucking irritating it is that men get congratulated on their sexual promiscuity and we get berated. What I think is wacky is how much we are involved in this berating? Do you think that Jolene was a slut? Just because Dolly’s dumb squeeze was obsessing over Jolene, does that make Jolene a whore? I imagine that if my boyfriend was calling out someone else’s name in his sleep I would have words with him not her, but would I do that without looking her up on Facebook, sending one of her profile pictures where she looks slightly overweight to all my friends with the caption slutfuck underneath?
Perhaps we insult and bully other women because there is something that we cannot face in ourselves? Are our boyfriends having wet dreams over other women because we don’t have big enough boobs? Or are we putting socks in our bras and worse, sillicone under our skin, because we think that this is what men want, when really some scintillating conversation, companionship and love would do just fine?
Enthusiastic Daily Mail journalist Claudia Connell commented on the inate nature of our paranoia in her facsinatingly insightful article, ‘Why are there some women you just LOATHE the sight of?’ Hey Claudia, do tell: ‘Millions of years ago, a woman had to rely on her instinct to survive. She needed to know that any woman she let into her life wasn’t going to club her over the head, steal her food or — worse — her man.’ What depresses me, truly depresses me, is the lack of self respect that I feel and that we seem to have as a sex. If a partner doesn’t want us, should we try to prevent him leaving? Shouldn’t we realise what we are worth? It doesn’t matter if we haven’t got the right blow job technique, or we’re scared to do it up the bum: we are amazing, wonderful beings! Is losing a man who hasn’t actually progressed from prehistoric, who hasn’t even got the courage or respect to tell us that his dick is talking to him, the worst thing that could happen? Worse than getting clubbed over the head or starving to death?
I’m guilty. I constantly feel like I am not enough, sometimes like I wouldn’t even blame my boyfriend if he went off with another woman because I hate my body and my face and the sound of my own voice so much. From my own personal experience, although some of you may not be quite as wacked out as me, I think that a lot of women feel the same. So where did this lack of confidence come from? What made us turn in on ourselves, hate ourselves, and blame a person who has never, ever made an oath to us, never told you that they love us, or touched us on our front bottoms and then cradled us to sleep.
Do women really hate women? Shouldn’t Dolly Parton have sung to her boyfriend rather than to Jolene? The obvious answer is that it is easier for Dolly to confront Jolene, it is easier to think that Jolene is a whore, it would be easier for Dolly to send Jolene hate-mail, to go to Jolene’s work with her girlmates and shout ‘slut bitch’ at Jolene, than to confront her love rat and ask him why she wasn’t enough for him. In reality I think that this is part of it, and Dolly’s beautiful song ‘Jolene’ is a tribute to that. The sound of Dolly’s mournfully pathetic warbling is enough to let us know that she understands as well as we all do deep down that it was really her Hank Jnr was the only one to blame for slipping out of his stonewashed dungarees.
I can’t believe that I am writing this but, perhaps, we can only stop hating each other when we stop hating ourselves. Easier said than done, especially for someone like me who has spent over 13 hours listening to Dolly Parton, but I think that it is time to pay ourselves some respect and to look inside at what is great and amazing, instead of outside at what kind of diamonds others are wearing to cover their nipples and their own insecurities.
By Alice Ash