SHINE BRIGHT LIKE A DIAMONDCelebrating Chinese New Year in Singapore, it would take a feminist of Pearl’s calibre to get truly excited by the front page of The Strait Times, which heralded “Saying ‘I do’ Without A Diamond Ring”. How heartened I was to think that perhaps women had discarded the ridiculous rite of betrothal. Instead of a front page touting the latest trend in wedding makeup, here was an enlightened nation throwing off the nuptial shackles. Maybe Australia would follow suit?
In a neo-conservative era where parents have regressed by dressing their daughters as pink princesses, where toy stores segregate their merchandise according to ‘gender’, where women playing NFL in bikinis is ‘sport’, and where Miss Universe is every adolescent girl’s ambition, was I really that gullible to believe that Gen Y would radically commit engagement rings – and, hence, elaborate weddings – to the dumpster?
Alas, engagements are not dead; it’s diamonds that are. And while it is men who have been historically stupid enough to swallow De Beers’ clever 1940s marketing of the diamond ring, it is disappointing to aging feminist Pearl that women have failed to take control of their lives rather than heading straight to the registry office or insisting their intended spouse display his commitment with a rock.
‘Control’ is what is lacking in the neo-feminist agenda. We claim that it is ‘our choice’ to wear ridiculous clothing and shoes, and that cosmetic procedures ‘empower us’, while men saunter around comfortably showing off their guts and facial lines.
The reality is that it’s not ‘our choice’, and its marketers and the media who are preventing us breaking through that bloody tough glass ceiling (installed by fat men). Marketers are in control of women’s lives.
Read any newspaper or women’s magazine and diets, wedding preparations, empowerment crap, botox and exercise advice and are all directed solely at females. Marketers set the ‘feminine’ agenda, tying our worthiness as people to the way we look and appeal to men.
Since the advent of John Howard, the advancement of women has effectively been shut down by marketers, who have in turn been encouraged by governments that are more than happy to have women’s minds and bodies occupied with looking fresh, feminine and unblemished in order to attract a man. God help Australia if women actually felt happy in their own skin – we might stop marrying, procreating, and spending our meagre wages on our appearance. Imagine the resultant impact on retail sales, property developers, the building industry, the economy and ultimately… jobs and growth!
So Gen Y women, listen up luvvies: you have the power to bring an economy to its knees and set the feminist and national agenda. If Tiffany’s is unnerved by men’s decision to swap the diamond for a zirconia, imagine how nervous the government and media would be if you refused to be hijacked by marketing propaganda, took control, and proudly wore lines of defiance on your face and comfy ballet flats on your feet!