I was going to open with an essay on beauty as a commodity in surfing. An impassioned monologue on the way female athletes are reduced to items of sex appeal as opposed to talent across so many facets of the surf industry, and we, the brainwashed consumer, continue to buy it.
I couldn’t really think of where to start. How to explain it in a way that wasn’t “I am woman hear me roar,” but rather “I am woman, let me carefully and rationally explain to you how this is pretty unfair.” I’ve been thinking about if for weeks, how to make it funny and powerful simultaneously and not let the burn in my stomach, the angry and exhausted flair of temper in my gut overwhelm me at just the thought of how unacceptable this is.
BUT, as I finally sat down at my computer to write, I opened the Facebook wasteland and low and behold a female had won the goddamn Melbourne cup. A female. Not even a female horse. A female human. The first ever. A female won the race that stops the nation. Periods and all. Tampon tax. Everything.
I didn’t watch the race. Maybe I’ll watch it on the net later after I’ve finished watching spoofs of Adele’s new single. I didn’t watch the race because I missed my bus home because I was buying a second burrito because a seagull flew over my head from behind when I was leaning in to chow my first burrito as I walked down the street, wet mouthed in anticipation, and SWOOPED on my Mexican wrap and took the whole thing. Legit. Followed by a flock of its screaming comrades targeting the area like the US troops on an Afghani hospital.
Anyway, so I decided I’d write the beauty as a commodity thing later, maybe after I watch another degrading advertisement or hear one more comment like “we were somewhat disappointed because Alana Blanchard was wearing a wetsuit,” I’ll be fired up enough to voice everything I’ve ever felt of what it’s like to face the world the proud owner of a vagina.
So, I’d like to take this time to say thank you. Thank you to the women that are brave. Thank you to Michelle Payne, today’s Melbourne cup winner, for inspiring us. For reminding us that it can be done with the odds more than stacked against us. Thank you not only to Michelle, but to all the women like her. The women that allow excellence to ensue, who strive to be all that they are, so that the people around them forget gender as a factor. Being a woman can be hard. Tampons are expensive and babies are big when they are pushed out. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Like, the very tiny bit that sticks out of the water and you can’t even see the huge mountain below the sea. The little tiny bit that sank the Titanic.
Thank you to the women that are unafraid to risk being undesirable to go after what they want. The women who travel knowing the risks. And the women that are unafraid to run with bulls.
Thanks also to the men that get it. That know women are more than a half naked figure on the back cover of Stab.