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On High Heels and Lotus Feet (granta.com)
18 points by Osiris30 42 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 4 comments

I remember I used to see old women hobbling around near my grandparents' house when I was a little kid in the 1960s. They seemed ancient, and they probably were but when you're 8 or 10 you think any adult looks geriatric.

My dad explained what was wrong and I was horrified but my sister was fascinated. This has bothered me my whole life.

How old was your sister? Had she already internalised an idea that her job was to look pretty?

No, maybe 6-10 and I don’t think she has that problem.

If you wonder what metrics comprise the value of a woman today (surely we have improved since the days of the lotus feet!), a thought experiment: Imagine walking into a museum and seeing a large, stately portrait of a well-dressed man, of an older age. What are the first things you notice about the man as you observe the painting?

Really think about the kinds of questions you're asking yourself as you're looking at this painting.

Now, imagine seeing a large, stately portrait of a well-dressed woman, around the same older age. What do you notice first about her?

--- ---

For me, the answers are: Man: Posture (confident? not?), eyes, watch, spectacles (was he a professor? scientist? businessman?) What did he do to deserve a painting?

Woman: Dress, beauty (or lack thereof - is she beautiful? wrinkled? old?), hair. Who was she [related to] to deserve a painting?


Did you ask yourself what the woman might have liked to do?

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