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Saturday, June 22
The Indiana Daily Student


COLUMN: On the clock: How I love being a woman


How does that song go again? “...the best thing about being a woman, is the prerogative to be inextricably bound to capitalism and the never ending dissatisfaction with oneself that comes with it!” Or something like that. 

To my loyal “On the clock” readers, never fear. I have been scrolling through TikTok for hours on end the entire time this column has been on pause. The latest offenders? Yet another avalanche of advertisements disguised as embodiments of ideal femininity.  

I’ve seen a slew of videos using sounds like, “How I love being a woman,” from the show “Anne with an E” and the lyrics from “Man! I feel Like a Woman” to showcase the various material items — without forgetting the link to an Amazon storefront — that characterize femininity, or perhaps, the best parts of being a woman.  

I feel little connection to a girl who defines her femininity with owning a Louis Vuitton blanket and pink Porsche or stuffed Sephora bags, but I simultaneously feel an innate understanding of the way we as women are uniquely subject to materialistic pressures. 

We have long been the primary spenders compared to men due to various social structures and expectation, and advertising continues to aggressively target women for that very reason. I feel discouraged watching video after video displaying massive levels of consumption or restructured advertisements of beauty products, self-care tools and various other items that promise to incrementally transform us into better women. 

When our ability and willingness to consume and flaunt material items is so bound to our identity as women, it feels like there is little wiggle room to define gender expression beyond the things we own.  

[Related: OPINION: In defense of the evil girl boss]

Yet, it is not the pressure I feel to achieve constant self improvement and manicure myself to perfection that really makes me a woman. I can be a woman just by existing. No one, not even TikTok influencers, can change that. I can cherish my womanhood through experiences that cannot be bought and sold. 

I get to bask in the joy of my stomach hurting from laughing with my friends about their interaction with their class crush, or sharing knowing looks from across the room or otherwise appreciating the little considerate things women do for each other and the natural understanding we have between us.  

I have the freedom to appreciate beauty beyond things I can buy. Womanhood has the potential to transcend consumption entirely, but in existing within a capitalist, patriarchal society, it is anything but easy. 

Sure, my femininity may never be entirely separate from the plagues of patriarchy and capitalism — passing subconscious harsher judgments to women than men, viewing traditionally feminine displays as weak and less worthy, doubting the validity of my experiences or feeling insufficient without buying a new product. 

What I want to define my womanhood as is solidarity with and recognition of my fellow women — whether transgender, Black, queer or otherwise further marginalized. I want to celebrate our power in numbers, our acknowledgement of each other’s struggles and triumphs and what our identity can be outside of consumption. 

[Related: OPINION: Bloomington — not just a Big Ten extravaganza]

Who knows, though. Glazed Donut shave oil might be the best thing about being a woman, or maybe it really is just the prerogative to have a little fun. 

Leila Faraday (she/her) is a sophomore studying policy analysis with minors in geography and urban planning. 

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