Sunday, September 23, 2012

Elizabeth Wurtzel wants you to look your best

I think this article was published on the Harper's Bazaar website a couple weeks ago. I'd seen the link via Jezebel. I'm interested in anything about Wurtzel because I get a big kick out of her. I like when people are really intelligent and simultaneously crazy and I think she fits the bill admirably. I remember reading Prozac Nation a long time ago and feeling like her story was really anyone's if a person chose to just let themselves become unhinged. If you gave in to every bad instinct, said everything you thought out loud, and were generally pretty narcissistic, I imagine as a woman your story would sound like hers. And in a way there is something sort of admirable about that lack of filters. It's a strange blend of self regard and oblivousness; well  maybe more like unchecked ego.

But after reading the article from Harper's, I kind of agree with her. (I'm making myself cringe a little here). I'm not talking about her disdain for ungroomed twentysomething women (who don't seem to know or appreciate what the sexy third wavers did for them, nor wish to demonstrate their gratitude by wearing a little lipgloss!), that's not it. I just kind of take (minor, barely interested) umbrage with the way convenience culture has eroded people's sense of decorum. At least that's how it seems. What you choose to wear or how you groom yourself is clearly your business; but wouldn't it be great if everyone put in a modicum of effort? I feel like that's part of what's so great about something like Advanced Style--far from 'giving up', these women answer to their own muses every day and choose to participate in the language of aesthetics. The fact that Advanced Style comes to mind sort of points to the idea that maybe this is a disease of the modern age. I'm sure everyone has looked at old family pictures or old photos on tumblr or somewhere and thought that people just looked better before the Vietnam War (I name that time arbitrarily, but maybe since the 1970s or something). You can't really argue that people look sloppier now.

What does it say when vintage mugshots look incredibly glamourous by today's standards? I think it says the standard has fallen.

I can understand what Wurtzel is saying, I too, had a mom who wouldn't leave the house without makeup on for many years, who always had her hair done in a salon, who believed in the value of showing up looking good. And while I would never claim that slovenliness lets down feminism--I don't leave the house either if I don't think I look good. I don't own sweatpants, wouldn't go out in yoga pants, wear running shoes only for running, and a day without makeup is a sick day for me. To each her own.

But back to Wurtzel: I fervently loved Prozac Nation, Bitch, More, Now Again: A Memoir of Addiction, and this gem below. She's awesome. I'll always love her.

Apparently she shot the film of her book Prozac Nation in the foot with her interview response about 9/11 (to Toronto's Globe and Mail):

"I had not the slightest emotional reaction. I thought, 'This is a really strange art project.' It was the most amazing sight in terms of sheer elegance. It fell like water. It just slid, like a turtleneck going over someone's head."

I even kind of love her for that. 

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