Perhaps you are familiar with the decade-old film “comedy,” Mean Girls, about a high school clique of rich, pretty teens whose self-esteem derives from the psychological torture of every other girl in school who is not pretty or rich or both.
I place the word comedy in quotation marks above because to about 99 percent of all women who ever attended high school, the movie is an all-too-real reminder of the taunts, exclusion, negative judgments and, sometimes, bullying from those self-appointed queen bees in our pasts and their sycophants.
If your life has been anything like mine, that was then and everything since is now and being the object of mean girls' sneers and jeers is one of those things we're glad to have left behind.
A week ago, I published a story about Non-Existent Elder Fashion that drew many more comments than posts here usually do. It definitely hit a chord.
Whatever our body shapes – tall, short, thin, lumpy, fat – no one is happy with lack of attractive clothing available for elder women.
Among a variety of individual complaints and preferences, there was general agreement about too many sleeveless tops and dresses; flimsy, cheap fabrics; poor construction; horrible prints; necklines cut too low along with short blouses and tees that ride up to show off less than trim midriffs, etc.
Then, suddenly, toward the end of the day, the mean (old) girls arrived – one after another. Their haughty, stuck-up tone hasn't changed an iota since I knew them in high school:
Plus sizes, elastic waist bands, men's tee shirts...” wrote Barbara Klein. “I find this so sad! So many overweight and obviously under active (sic) seniors. My friends and I are in our early 70's (sic) and dress very stylishly.”
Well, I guess that puts us slobs in our proper place.
Following Ms. Klein, Claudia chimed in apparently having trouble understanding that my notation about sleeves disappearing from women's garments when Michelle Obama became first lady was a dig at designers, not the president's wife:
”Blaming fashion statements on the First lady is wrong. I am 60 plus and honestly speaking i (sic) do not wear elastic waist pants. In addition i (sic) love to showcase my arms.”
Your choice, Claudia, about elastic waist bands and it's nice for you, those comely arms but you can lose the superior attitude.
The mean (old) girls are particularly harsh toward those who have put on some pounds. Courier piped up:
”Being jealous of those who made a dedicated effort, sacrificing for decades, to maintain a height to weight ratio, was an unexpected response.”
I'm not sure where Courier picked up any jealousy (I can't find it in the comments) but you can't miss her self-absorbed point, right? It's all about her, not the topic at hand.
Ms. Klein (again) is brutal about anyone carrying extra weight. Referring to her friends:
”We have not let our bodies become obese through watching what foods we eat, walking, doing yoga, kayaking, cleaning our own homes, etc.” she writes. “I just returned from a trip to Russia where women are dressed attractively no matter their age and I am ashamed to say the fattest people were those from our boat.”
Just who does she think in the crowd at this blog hasn't been cleaning their own houses. The assumptions among the mean (old) girls are as breathtaking now as they were then.
They reserve their greatest scorn for those of us who don't wear bras and/or do wear elastic waists. Courier again:
”As a woman, common sense dictates, in public, a bra is to be worn. It is sad to do otherwise. This DOES mean you aren't dressing well. What a powerful description of shameful.”
That sounds exactly like the mean girls I knew in high school with their "dictates" of personal preference aimed at everyone else, and without a half second of self-awareness. Barbara Klein too:
”Yes, our bodies sag but to go braless especially as we get older is shameful. We can put on a lovely blouse and yes, they are out there, a nice pair of slacks minus the elastic...”
Because personal attacks are not allowed on this blog, I stepped in with my own comment about Ms. Klein's offensive statement and yes, I said she was being pretentious.
Someone named Margy Houtz responded with an ad hominem attack that makes no logical sense:
”I'm curious as to why acceptance isn't a 2-way street...if those of us who work hard to maintain our bodies and to find clothing styles that are attractive AND comfortable are deemed "pretentious and self-satisfied", how is that different from the judgmental tone you take with clothing available on the market now?
We'll just have to let that confused notion pass and instead give my personal shout out to Ajay for speaking up about the mean (old) girls:
”I see a lot of internalized misogyny, fat bigotry and self hatred in some of these comments," she wrote, "and send some loving kindness to those who are struggling.”
Let me be clear about the most important rule regarding commenting at this blog:
- Disagreement is allowed and encouraged as long as it is about the point, the idea, statement, opinion, etc. and not an attack on the person(s) writing it.
- No bigotry, intolerance or prejudice may be expressed against other commenters' ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status or other characteristics including body size and clothing choices.
- Anyone who breaks these rules is banned for life from commenting at this website.
- Everyone gets one, and only one, chance before being banned. No exceptions. No recourse.
I did not remove the comments I've quoted from here because I wanted them as an object lesson for today's post.
It has been many years since I have needed to enforce this rule and then it was only one person. Today, four mean (old) girls have been banned.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Sulima Malzin: I Wonder Sometimes