Saturday, February 8, 2014

My Feminist Wake Up Call

Today I took a twelve hour gig as a P.A. for a junior cheer leading competition. I'll admit it, I did it for the money. Work is work. But seeing as how I am utterly exhausted at this point, I wanted to set down my thoughts that I had recorded in my notebook earlier today:

It is Four 'o' clock, barely halfway into what has already been a long day. The air reeks of sweat, hairspray, and the rancid stench of spoiled dreams. Not the dreams of the kids doing the cheering, although if I had a knack for predicting the future, it wouldn't be a stretch to see a lot of therapy down the road. I can see two groups already forming here, the future rebels, and those pint-sized mean girls, for whom age is only going to inflate those negative traits even more. It almost makes you wish for a metaphysical pin, to pop that problem before it becomes a real issue. Unfortunately most strangers don't consider that a service when you do that to their kid.
And so I sit here, and watch.
The ones to watch though, are not the small ones. That fetid smell of broken dreams comes from something much older. Watching the mothers, wearing too much perfume and too much make up, flaunting their too much jewelry for their too much friends, while living in a too much house and driving a too much car. Watching them "suggest:" that cheer leading might be fun. Watching them pimp their six-year-old daughter out to writhe on stage in a midriff exposing shirt like some sort of backup dancer for Miley Cyrus, all in some vain attempt to recover the lost beauty of their youth. Watching them try pathetically to regain what they once had and fail. Watching her hand a bottle of water to her daughter, telling her she needs to "watch her figure" as grease from the piece of pizza drips down her double chin. Watching that same daughter slink off to a corner crying, her belly swollen not from fat, but from malnutrition. Watching the girls enjoy the junk food served at the concession stand, and then quickly run to the bathroom, only to return flushed and sweating, with a faint scent of bile, one of the many signs of more eating disorders.
And yet I sit here, and watch.
This is my punishment for participating in such an industry, one that robs the flower of youth of joy, and more importantly, of health.
And so I sit here, and watch.
No punishment is greater than the tortures that the mind creates.Perhaps this is my punishment, to watch the monsters I help create feed on their young. To watch this fresh hell, that some dare call a sport, but is more accurately all of the downsides of an athletic feat combined with all of the scrutiny attended to the Sport Illustrated Swimsuit issue. To watch girls under the age of twelve be drawn into this world of self loathing,  To watch myself helping to perpetuate this on another generation, and to watch the fragile bud of youth be trampled further underfoot, when it should be guarded as something precious.
And yet because of my decisions, I am condemned to sit here and watch.

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