The joke isn't as funny when you explain it
I was reading an interview with Susan Bordo today, and the thing I found really compelling about her attitude was that she made it quite clear that she didn't view being a cultural critic as something undertaken outside of the culture, but from within it. She freely admits to her anxieties about her looks, her weight, etc. in order to demonstrate that one does not have to be a superhuman being in order to be critical indulge the desire to criticize society. I really related to that, because in a lot of ways, the things that bug me the most are naturally the things I find myself becoming weak when faced with.
I was disgusted and really disturbed the other day when I was moved by an ad for diamond rings. The ad was plotted around a man setting up an elaborate stunt to ask his wife to renew their vows, and sucker that I am, I choked up. Such an ad is geared directly at people like me who have chosen love over romance but miss romance just a little bit. Bastards. But the sad thing is that I was angry at myself for being a sucker and then even angrier with myself for being angry with myself. What's so wrong with that, anyway? Why should I abandon my harmless hopes and fantasies because some asshole wants to profit off them? But how can I label them harmless when they have been tainted by materialism? It's time to just let go, and there's a loss I feel there.
Of course, I'm neurotic as hell. Being a feminist, I feel like it's important to abandon my neurotic side and seem even-keeled and whatnot. But that's a line of bullshit. I worry about my looks, for instance. Too fat? Too thin? Do I look good enough? Do I look too good and have to worry about being harassed? Instead of fretting, I try to channel those feelings into a good bout of mockery at the expense of those who most expensively charge us to exaggerate our anxieties. But none of this means I don't fret over stupid shit.
So I related to the comment that she tries to write in a way that exposes that she, too, feels this way. After all, who knows better than the girl who has wasted far too much time wondering if that last bit of cellulite could be gotten rid of to speak of how a culture that emphasizes this is only out to waste our time? Well, probably lots of people. But it made me feel more sure of myself.