Free Women have more Fun

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Last week, after spending the weekend getting paid to play records all night in a packed tent with three of my best friends, I borrowed a phrase from Naomi Wolf’s classic The Beauty Myth (‘Free women have more fun’) and stuck it up as my facecrack cover picture. I felt blessed. I enjoy a level of freedom previously unknown to man, and I have a lot of fun.

But as the week went by I got to thinking about what I actually meant by identifying myself with this quote. I got to thinking about freedom.

Freedom is one of those complicated concepts, like fun, that means different things to different people. I happen to be single and childless, but that doesn’t mean married people and parents can’t be free and have fun. I happen to be a woman, but that doesn’t mean men can’t be free and have fun. In fact, the whole quote reads ‘Free women have more fun. Worse, so do free men.’

Why worse?

In The Beauty Myth (published in 1991) Naomi Wolf uses the context of feminism and the diet industry to argue that free people having fun are a danger to society.

Twenty three years later, here’s why I think free people having fun are a danger to society:

1. We spend our money on things we want, rather than on things we’re told to want

2. We’re not afraid of loss and change

3. We know when we have enough and when we have enough we stop working

4. We believe cosmetics are a con

5. We wear lipstick for fun

6. We do not think that all women should look like teenage girls

7. We do not waste our short lives in a desperate attempt to look like teenage girls

8. Sometimes we play loud music and dance like we’re having sex

9. We understand and accept that we will grow old and die

10. We are excellent foragers

Freedom depends on accepting things as they are and enjoying ourselves as we are. Which is never going to sit well with consumer capitalism, which depends on creating dissatisfaction and then selling things that promise to make it better.

In my twenties, desperate to fit in, I was a good little mad person – bulimic, anorexic, depressed, addicted, anxious, overworked, too thin, too fat, bored shitless, broke and desperate. Ripe for manipulation.

Then I fell apart, which was lucky, because I got to put myself back together again on my own terms.

And now I am (relatively) free. Which is not easy, because I have to think for myself ALL THE BLOODY TIME.

But it does mean that I have a lot more fun.

I will be singing songs about love and freedom in the Acorn, Penzance this Saturday (17th May) in support of Rodney Branigan and Tim Snider. I reckon it will be quite fun.

3 thoughts on “Free Women have more Fun

  1. Jac

    The concept of freedom is a difficult one. I’m a mum and a wife now and that has certain responsibilities. It would be easy to feel trapped. I am dependent and depended upon. My freedom comes from choosing my own headspace, becoming centred when everything seems to push me to the edge and choosing to steer my own destiny. After all I have chosen where I am right now. And where I am right now has a lot of love. Perhaps freedom is about not being scared of the present and also not clinging so tightly that you are scared of change? Ha! Anyway, a glass of wine and a sleeping baby has got me rambling x

  2. Adrian Brough

    Love your philosophy, a lot of clear thinking/seeing sense, rare indeed these days. It is still possible to live a relatively free life. To do it in the UK and a lot of other places you have to dance with the devil to a certain extent, the brown envelopes don’t stop dropping through the letter box. But I agree, if you are prepared to work at it you can choose to live on the edge, choosing when and what you want to do and not to sink into the social Norm. All power to you.

    1. catrina Post author

      Thank you. It is a tricky balance – generating enough resources to do what you need to do and staying free at the same time…not having children helps. I also think there are many different types of freedom/paths up the mountain. Integrity is all. Merry Christmas.


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