Saturday, September 22, 2012

Pretty Little Things

"You Don't Have to Be Pretty. You don't owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don't owe it to your mother, you don't owe it to your children, you don't owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked 'female.'

Diana Vreeland.

A couple of days ago I read this quote.  It has been rattling around in my brain ever since and I just love it.  This week I threw out my back trying to carry an obscene quantity of groceries up the narrow stairs to my apartment (let's add those stairs to the list of things that I will not miss about San Diego) and since then my life has spiraled into an affair of hershey kisses and begging the hubbs to pick the baby up out of his cradle because I can't bend over.  

Yesterday I thought, "this is enough.  You need to put on real pants and makeup."

And then I thought, No.  No you don't because "pretty is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked 'female.'"

And then the next question that came to my mind was, what is the rent we pay to occupy that space?  And I knew immediately that I needed your help answering.  

What is the rent we pay to occupy the space marked 'female?'


  1. Wow, what a thoughtful post. You are deep, Sallee! And you've really got me thinking, so good job. What do we pay to occupy a space that's not even of our own choosing?

    On the one hand, I don't think there should be any rent. Female is my place. I own it. Can't move out. It is me. I am who I am and shouldn't have to pay for it.

    But, since the world isn't perfect, there is a price to pay for women to have a decent life. I think the rent is the strength, hard work, and courage it takes to be seen as equals to men in a world that has been patriarchal throughout almost all of its history. The rent is the necessity to assert and say, "Hey! I am just as good, just as smart, just as capable, just as valuable." A lot of that rent has already been paid by our foremothers who were suffragettes and pioneers in their own time and way. And while women today are still paying the rent, hopefully they are also making a deposit that will benefit our daughters when they are women.

    Was that too serious? Maybe I should have just said "your monthly period." Ha.

    Also, I'm so sorry you threw out your back! Can you use a meal next week as you prepare to move? Or anything else? Please let me know.

  2. P.S. May I share your post with some people who would appreciate it?

  3. I think having a period is plenty for rent! :)

    But in all seriousness, if we are talking about what women have that men cannot replace, wouldn't that be our rent? Isn't that what makes us valuable? I think that to be equal to men is for US. For our peace of mind and equal opportunity and finally, not having to prove ourselves or fight to be recognized because we're women. I want that, and I think that's what Ashley is getting at, and I agree.

    However, if we are looking at what makes us valuable to mankind in general, being just like men doesn't increase the value of being a woman. If we can find what the key element is that makes the divine feminine so much a needed part of our world, then I think we've found what our rent is.

    So, what is it about women that men cannot provide, that the world needs to function? And I'm looking for something a little more universal than having babies, although babies are super awesome. :) Something inherent in our gender and character that we can claim uniquely as women for our whole lives.

    Any thoughts?

  4. Switch the words ‘rent you pay’ with ‘gifts you give’.

    If all you think you can give, if the only contribution you think you can make, is prettiness, then you must not value yourself very much. You must not have dug very deep to find what is within you, and what the honest world is waiting to receive from you.

  5. Also, if prettiness is all the world perceives that you have to give, that is another real problem.