I love wrinkles – and you should too.

You might think I’m a bit loopy, but it’s true. Why do I love wrinkles, you might ask?

I recently won 50% off a facial at a local spa. I remember feverishly tweezing at my eyebrows before going to see my old hairstylist, because I was always afraid she would make some comment to me about “my look” (based on a friend’s experience). So, in preparation for going to a spa specifically about my FACE, I’ve been greasing up my feminist armour to protect me from whatever anti-aging ideology may confront me there.

So here goes, friends. Another feminist rant about beauty:

The dominant beauty standard in our culture suggests that women are most attractive when they are meek, mild, naive, inexperienced… basically, when they are girls. Kind of creepy, no? But look at any beauty or fashion mag, and you’ll see it: all women, of a frighteningly similar appearance, and all of them in their teens. Freshly mature, these poor little vixens. And not one of them appreciated for more than their looks.

Also a part of this standard is the message that wrinkles are BAD and that you need to work hard to keep them at bay, as long as humanly possible. Turns out, despite what all those asshole commercials tell you, fighting off wrinkles is NOT humanly possible. At least, not without hugely invasive procedures, which really only delay the inevitable, and risk making you look more like Michael Jackson (too soon?). It’s a fruitless struggle against time, kids, and one that leaves women feeling inadequate and defeated.

Let me suggest a radical idea to you: wrinkles aren’t ugly. In fact, they are beautiful. Even though we never hear this message, I think it’s an important one. Because wrinkles represent something that isn’t actually a bad thing: a natural product of age.

And what’s so bad about age? Anyone over the age of 30 might want to snap my neck like a twig, since I’m all still-in-my-20s and I don’t “really know what I’m talking about” and all that. But I’ve thought a lot about this, ever since I wrote a dumb thesis about beauty. And here’s a little secret I want to let you in on: aging is natural. It’s not bad or wrong. It might even be good. Because it represents the journey of our lives, which is NOT simply about how closely we can emulate an image in a magazine.

Disagree with me if you like, since it’s also true that every day we live we’re one day closer to death and such. But think about it: isn’t it good to learn, and grow, and love, and laugh, and cry, and all of these things that make up the complex pieces to the puzzle of our lives? I think this is particularly salient for women, because aging and wrinkles represent experience; the story of one’s life. Even if we cease to be trophies with each “fine line” that blesses our face, think of everything we gain! Think of the emotions that lead us to make those facial expressions, to bend our bodies and skin in any given way, that leave us with evidence that we have lived. Isn’t that better than being an empty-shell mannequin?

Now, I’m not saying I always believe it (cause I’m only human), but I think it’s an important message to promote. This is one of those battles I choose to fight, because I refuse to accept that youth equals beauty. Maybe in some creepy, reproductive imperative kind of way, but not in terms of depth of character and experience, and all of the things that make us who we are.

Having said that, I ALSO resist the stereotype that all young women are vapid ninnies, empty vessels perpetuating the most awful aspects of our society. On the surface it may seem that way sometimes, and sure, youth often goes hand-in-hand with naivete. But as damaging as the anti-aging epidemic is to women in our society, so too is the objectification of young women – made much easier when we honestly believe they are shallow, uninteresting, brats. THAT is a whole other subject, for another day.

But for today, I challenge you to be radical: love your wrinkles.

HRM Votes 2012

Turns out I’m an arts advocate. I’ve always known deep-down in my bones that I support the arts, and believe in their inherent value in society, but only recently have I become comfortable advocating. And since we’ve got a municipal election coming up on October 20, what better time to get advocative?

HRM Municipal Election 2012

Leading up to the municipal election, the Greater Halifax Arts Coalition asked candidates their thoughts on arts funding in HRM, and then posted the responses to share with our community. Check out the site to learn:

1) Who the municipal candidates are and how to contact them;

2) How and where to vote in HRM;

3) The issues facing arts organizations in HRM;

4) And best of all? A whole lot of candidate responses!

If you live in HRM, and you support the arts, this is a must-read. Not only does it list all of the HRM ridings and who is running there (complete with links to maps), but it shares meaningful responses from the candidates in an easy-to-digest format. Absolutely delicious.

Some long-time readers may remember that my very first post on this here blog was also about politics, and my fear that I didn’t know enough to make a good decision. Well, as far as municipal politics and arts funding are concerned, this site sure helps drag me out of ignorance and makes me feel a heckuva lot more informed.

Sure, this site and the candidate responses only focus on arts issues, but in case you weren’t aware, arts funding in HRM is in somewhat of a crisis. A recent study (based on Stats Can and municipal data) shows that Halifax currently gets only 10% of the national average for arts funding. That is beyond brutal, folks.

What do you value? What do the candidates value? These are important things to know. So check out this site, read up on the issues, and get out and vote on October 20!

Be brave, like the fearless monkey!

Something you may or may not know about me: I love video games. Ever since I was a kid. In fact, I used to weird other kids out (particularly other girls for some reason) because usually all I wanted to do for fun was play video games. I mean, sure, there was the requisite game of “Barbies” that even to this day I feel shame about. But mostly? Video games.

This weekend, I spent a healthy (and I mean healthy in the “big-boned” kind of way) amount of time playing this game. The whole thing is basically one guy’s vision, artistic talent, conviction, and work-ethic take form. It’s fun to play, gorgeous to look at, and an absolutely amazing achievement for any artist, game-maker or otherwise.

There’s nothing a hero with a talking sword and a flying cat sidekick can’t do!

It makes me wonder: how do we gauge our own success as people who create things? I know I’ve been a little out of the loop this summer, but I do consider myself a writer. A creative one, at that. And it wasn’t so long ago that I was writing whole novels (okay, Nanowrimo novels, but still). It just seems like lately, that just doesn’t appear to be realistic, or even that appealing to me.

So what to do instead? I guess there’s always wisdom in the middle-ground; in compromise. My partner often says, “write me a story.” It doesn’t have to be a novel, or even a complete story. “Just write,” he says. It’s like any creative endeavour; it only gets done by doing.

I’m not sure what kind of story I’d like to write. So today, I’m just writing a blog post. But you know, I’m keeping my eyes open for inspiration. For instance, this morning I woke up to the muffled sleep-talking words of my sigo: “the monkey now knows no fear.” I’d say that’s a pretty good start.