‘Hot mess humblebragging’ is a thing now. And Rosie Waterland does it.
I just found out that I’ve screwed up being a woman, yet again. My bad, you guys. My bad.
Apparently admitting your life is less than perfect is disingenuous, smug and – worst of all – a total ‘humblebrag’.
Allow Eileen G’Sell, of Salon.com, to explain. In an article titled ‘The “hot mess” humblebrag: Successful white women still love to pretend their lives are in shambles’, G’sell asserts that accomplished (mostly white) women are revealing their imperfections purely as a tool to make themselves more ‘relatable’ and less intimidating to others. From Amy Schumer starring in a film about being a walking trainwreck (called, funnily enough, ‘Trainwreck’), to Anna Kendrick referring to herself as a ‘hot mess’ in a recent interview, to Jennifer Lawrence constantly falling over and admitting that she eats too much junk food, it seems that quite a few famous women are being open about their embarrassing shit. And G’Sell isn’t buying it.
According to G’Sell, referring to yourself as a ‘trainwreck’, a ‘mess’ or a ‘hot mess’ (the ‘hot’ part of which I never assumed had anything to do with appearance, but maybe that’s just me), is a load of humblebragging bullshit:
“What it essentially means is, “I have such a complicated, demanding life that I proudly admit to be overwhelmed.” What it essentially suggests is, “I am super-accomplished but know the women (and men) who aren’t will find me more likeable if I espouse an ineptitude for getting through the day.”Advertisement
Ugh. I’m tired.
So basically, women are encouraged to admit that they can’t Do It All, but as soon as they do, they’re disingenuous humblebraggers who are letting down their gender by refusing to own their power.
SO WHAT THE FUCK IS THE RIGHT WAY TO DO THINGS?
I refer to myself as a hot mess all the time. I’ve written a lot about the parts of my life that are ‘in a shambles’. Does that mean I ignore or am not proud of the fact that I’m a successful woman? Absolutely fucking not. I’m 29. I’m a week away from being a published author for the first time, and I have a second book due to be published next year. I’m a senior editor at one of the country’s most popular women’s websites. I have the pleasure of making hundreds of thousands of people laugh on a weekly basis. What I write has reached such a level of popularity that I get sent FREE FUCKING WINE. I have a degree. I rent my own apartment. My fridge recently broke and I had the money to buy a new one. I’ve finally upgraded to the toilet paper that feels like a heavenly cloud on your bum.
Yes, I am successful. But there are also so many areas of my life in which I am very far from together. I don’t know how to cook, so survive off a diet of noodles and Menulog. I have an unnatural connection to television, which means I can easily spend entire weekends not seeing the sun. I’m incredibly shy, and find socialising in person often gives me crippling anxiety. I can never be bothered wearing make up. I once needed to be shown how to post a letter. I can’t walk in heels. Sometimes panic attacks prevent me from going to work. I’ll often buy new underwear because I can’t be bothered to do a load of washing. There have been times that the only thing that motivates me to remove plates from my room is the mould growing on them. I fall asleep on the couch halfway through a bottle of wine way more often than I should. My phone is constantly almost cut off because I forget to pay the bill. Sometimes I sit down in the shower because standing up for that long feels too hard.
I could keep going. And going. And going. BECAUSE I’M NOT FUCKING PERFECT AND WOMEN ARE NOT ONE-DIMENSIONAL BEINGS. Women are – shocker – complex and often dichotomous. I may be successful in some ways, but I am so far from having my shit together in others. I feel overwhelmed all the freaking time. I don’t admit that stuff to ‘diminish my power’ or to make myself ‘more relatable’. I admit that stuff because it’s true. It’s seriously just my life. And I have no problem believing that it’s also just the life of the many other women who are open about being less than perfect – something they’ve likely admitted because women have for so long been encouraged to embrace the fact that we can’t Do It All.
So… Where are we at now then? Seriously? It’s okay, as a woman, to admit you can’t Do It All, but as soon as you do, you’re the worst kind of smug humblebragger and should stop being so shit. So, always be trying to Do It All, accept know that you can’t Do It All, and make it clear to other women that you can’t Do It All, but only make it clear that you can’t Do It All by never explicitly saying that you can’t Do It All, because then you’re definitely not Doing It All.
Can someone please, PLEASE just tell me exactly the right way to be a woman? Just tell me, because I’m confused and tired and would like to just ignore all of this with some kind of food-induced coma. Just tell me what to do, and I’ll do it. Instead of just living my life the way I want and accepting that other women can also do that and none of us are any better or worse than each other, I’ll live the way I’m told so I don’t piss anyone off. That sounds easier, doesn’t it? Seriously, dictators of the right way to live as a woman, just tell me exactly the right way to be a woman, and I’ll do it. Then leave me the fuck alone. Kthxbye.