The Vagenda

How to be a Woman from Halloween to January 2

Look, I carved a pumpkin. Look at my pumpkin, I have taken photos. Look how frickin’ BRILLIANT I am at carving. I am so crafty. Whose pumpkin is the best? Me and my housemates are competing. #craftisgreat.
LOOK! I’m going to a Halloween party, because I have FRIENDS. And we don’t take ourselves too seriously because we have dressed up. I am wearing something KOOKY because I don’t want you to think I think I’m sexy, but I’ve also tried really hard to look pretty too. Because, you know, I am pretty. And sexy. And I have friends. And we all go to crazy Halloween parties because we are successful human beings.
I can’t believe it’s Guy Fawkes. Look at my sparkler! LOOK AT IT. I HAVE SPELT MY NAME WITH IT AND TAKEN PHOTOS. Here are my photos. Here are some more of me and my friends with our fireworks. We set off fireworks every year, all together, because we are friends and we go out and we celebrate things because we are successful women. 
OH MY FUCKING GOD THE RED CUPS FROM STARBUCKS HAVE ARRIVED. Even though this happens every November, I still cannot believe my excitement that the coffee I sometimes buy is now in a red cup because red is a Christmas colour. I am so thrilled by this I am going to write a status about it. NO – hang on! I can BUY a coffee in the RED cup and take a photo of it. And then everyone will really know that a) I’m excited about Christmas, and b) I can afford to spend three quid on a coffee, and c) I left the house today because I am a successful woman.
Party season. Oh my God, I’m just soooooooooooooooooooooooooo ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo busy. I mean, like, there are sooooooooooooooooooooo many parties going on. And I’m, like, soooooooooooooooooooooooooo burning the candles at both ends. But I’m not so busy that I can’t just quickly update my status telling you just how sooooooooooooooooooooooooo BUSY I am. And, I’m sorry but I actually can’t see you until 2014. I know, crazy isn’t it? But I’m soooooooooooo busy, with sooooooooooooooooooo many parties, because I’m such a successful woman.
John Lewis advert! I am crying. I need to tell you that I’m crying. Here is a link to it so you can cry too.
LOOK WHAT I DID. I decorated the Christmas tree!! I do it every year, and so does everyone else, but I just want to prove it with this photo. Isn’t it pretty? Aren’t I good at decorating? Here is a picture of the tree with the lights turned on. And here is a picture with the lights turned off, so you can see how I put fairylights on it. Like you’re supposed to. Because I’m doing Christmas like you’re supposed to.
I’ve got festive fingernails! I saw this thing in Cosmo, where you make your fingernails festive. With glitter. And – look – I have done it! Here are my nails, with the Christmas tree in the background. 
New Year’s Eve. News Year’s Eve. What the fuck are you doing on New Years Eve?
It’s Christmas Day. Can you believe it, but my family and I are sitting down to a Christmas dinner? Here is a picture of it. Look at all the cooking I did. I am such a good cook. Here is another photo, just of the bits of the Christmas dinner I cooked. Hang on, I just need to LiveTweet the Queen’s Speech because I have political views that are sometimes sharp and funny because I am a successful woman. 
On Boxing Day we go for a walk. You know this, because I have told you. Here are some photos of us on the walk. I ate too much yesterday. You know this because I have told you I ate too much. And, just in case you’re worried I didn’t eat too much because I’m not quite doing it all properly, here is a photo of an empty Terry’s Chocolate Orange wrapper. That is proof.
New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Eve. What the fuck are you doing for New Year’s Eve?
OH MY GOD. I CAN’T BELIEVE 2013 IS OVER. I’VE HAD SUCH AN AMAZING YEAR. Here is a collage I’ve made of all the pictures that I took this year. I have tagged all of you to remind you that I had an amazing year and you are part of that. We all had amazing years because we took some photos because we are successful women.
It’s New Years Eve! What are you doing? What are you doing? I am going to twelve hundred thousand parties but I MUST be in London for the fireworks. How else am I supposed to film the fireworks on my phone and put it up on Facebook with a caption saying ‘Best fireworks I’ve ever seen, best New Year’s I’ve ever had’. 
MIDNIGHT, IT’S MIDNIGHT. HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE. I really mean that because I put it in a status. I am going to quit smoking and drinking too much alcohol so that you know that I smoke and drink which are cool things to do.
OMFG I’m so hungover. Because I drank sooooooooooo much last night. Great new year though.
It is Janurary 2. I am dieting for my New Year’s resolution. What do you mean I don’t need to? Aww, thanks, love, but really I am fat. No, I am! I just dress really well for my shape. I totally need to diet and detox. Here’s a link to my running diary. I have just run 4.2 miles. 
- HT

43 thoughts on “How to be a Woman from Halloween to January 2

  1. Loved this… rings all the more true for me as a disabled woman whose accomplishments this year have been 3 miscarriages and 2 hospital visits!
    I now feel slightly less like a failure for knowing I’ll fail to tick all the mandatory Halloween, Christmas etc celebration boxes, and certainly fail to take and upload the photos to prove it.
    Thank you!

  2. And what exactly is wrong with women deciding to photograph themselves and post it on their personal space which you choose to share with them?

    Making fun of people enjoying themselves does not seem like a productive thing to do. People have always taken pictures of things – unless you want to tell me you don’t have family photo albums. The only difference is that now those pictures are easier to share. So what? Don’t want to share them? Get off facebook, but being bitter about it isn’t going to make it go away.

    People have to move on from trying to tell other women what to do with themselves. Take pictures, or don’t – why do you give a darn if someone else does.

  3. Man, it’s Halloween already? I suppose all those girls that are buying into their gender roles defined by our stringent societal norms are probably carving pumpkins again. Like all those kids and men who also enjoy doing it. But it’s basically cooking, amirite? Amirite guys? And ugh, then there’s the costumes. I’m so different because I can live outside the oppression of the make up industry. Women who waste their time and money on something they enjoy is a gross misrepresentation of the female identity. And Halloween? Why would you waste your time assuming another identity for something as frivolous as ‘fun’? FEMINISTS CAN NEVER BE FUN, it’s science, look it up.

    It’s Guy Fawkes and the bourgeoisie are probably out letting off fireworks, AGAIN. All those families and kids having fun outside when it’s cold and dark, fucking morons. They should go inside and read some Sylvia Plath for God’s sake. Everyone should always be reading Sylvia Plath. Never stop reading Sylvia Plath is basically what I’m saying here.

    Oh, it’s not party season again, is it? The dreaded run up to Christmas, where people socialize and catch up and drink. Where you get to meet people and find out about their lives, blergh, get me out of that. And decorating the tree? Like a tiny stupid child? Like those stupid kids? Like when you were a stupid kid and waited and waited and waited and the waiting made you want to die because you were so excited and every part of Christmas made you so happy and so frustrated at the same time? When you parents took you to get a fresh tree from the yard, and you break out all the old decorations and if you were super lucky you’d get to decorate it too, even though your older sister was all “you’re doing it wrong, that’s not neat!” but your parents let you join in anyway. And then there was the longest night of the year where falling asleep was the one thing you wanted to achieve and the one thing that alluded you because your stomach was tight with anticipation for Santa coming to your house. Who wants to remember what that’s like?

    Fuck, is it Christmas day? Is it? Don’t wake me, I hate getting thoughtful presents from people that love me and then sitting down to a boss meal and hanging out with my family. I mean, it’s the same year after year after year after year.

    New Years? Don’t get me started, I don’t want the day off. Just count me out. It’s all just a waste of time.

  4. Brilliant article – well done !

    I’ve never owned a facebook/myspace/other account myself, but from watching my partners (when they had one) always suspected there was some correlation between frequency of posts and that persons insecurity.

  5. This just comes off as mean spirited. Also, there’s a generation of people who don’t know any different, they’ve grown up with broadband, smart phones and social media, it’s their way of life. Plus, I freaking LOVE Halloween and xmas. I love pumpkin carving, I love xmas themed coffee chain drinks and I love decorating the tree. You know what else I like? Fighting the patriarchy and generally kicking arse. They ain’t mutually exclusive and the winter is long and miserable. So I enjoy the holidays we have and make the most of them…and yeah, sometimes I take a photo and put it on instagram, so what?

  6. Oh God I have been guilty of literally all of these. Apart from the Queen Speech one because I’m too busy stuffing turkey down my face. However since I have suddenly found myself with a profound lack of friends, money, decent job, life etc I will be eschewing all festivities. Bah humbug.

  7. I do give a damn because the women (or people, to avoid the implication that the perpetrators are victims of some sort of misogyny here) who churn out this stuff assume it’s interesting to others, otherwise they’d keep it more private. I have absolutely no problem with women (or people) enjoying themselves and recording it for their own use and for people close to them who they know are interested – the family photo album if you like. But the ability to indiscriminately record everything brings overload: the minutiae, the detail, are NOT INTERESTING to others, and if everyone is doing it and sharing it with everyone else, the truly interesting thoughts and experiences that people have just get swamped by the blah and lost. Life is too short to plough through this torrent of ephemeral mush from hordes of “friends” in the hope that something substantive and significant might emerge. Why would someone want every trivial action of theirs to be recorded and displayed in public? Historically and culturally to do so is an anomaly. Are they trying to prove to themselves they exist? It’s not only boring, it’s pathological….but then I’m old and antisocial, probably.

    Hey, guess what, I found a rubber band on the pavement today – a red one – but it’s not going on my Facebook.

  8. I think some people are missing the point of this. I think she’s not saying that she hates holidays and Christmas and fun things but that you don’t need to know every single detail of everyone else’s. When people constantly post pictures and status of their own SUPER FUN holidays it kind of makes you feel like yours is less fun and that you couldn’t possibly be having as good a time as they are, even though if you’d never even seen theirs you would be having fun. That sounds really jealous and I’m not saying that people shouldn’t post pictures of their fun times lest it make someone feel jealous but just not ALL THE TIME.

  9. You know, Facebook (and Twitter, Pinterest, etc etc) isn’t actually compulsory. If it’s winding you up that much – leave.

    Or unfriend people. Or hide them from their feed. Just stop playing the victim, y’know? ‘Oh woe, I’m so booooored by all this….’… so take some control of your life (because this is one aspect that you absolutely CAN control) and stop whining about it.

  10. OOOOOH look at me! I choose to be on social-media just so I can slam the rest of you and your boring little lives! I’m such s speshul snowflake, I can see right through your pretend pinteresty lifestyle! Whaaaaat would make you think I care remotely about the things you care about and that was why I decided to be connected to you in the first place?????

  11. I think (and I don’t want to put words into the mouth of the author, because this is just my interpretation of the article) that the key message is actually all about image crafting on social media. It’s not specific to gender, everyone is guilty of it. We live in a media driven world and people, whether they are conscious of doing it or not, use media platforms to project their ideal persona, life, whatever. What this article does in a very witty way is highlight all the standard self indulgent image crafting that will happen for the next few months. Everyone would do well to read this article from the Huffington Post which neatly describes the prolific narcissism everybody wades through on a daily basis.

    And yes you may think social media platforms are not compulsory, and you can avoid this all, but actually they are. You don’t have to work in PR, marketing or media, to need to know how to use these interfaces. It’s a given with many jobs you should be a savvy social media guru.

  12. Wow, so much hostility. I just wanted to add that I think its a shame that so little of our lives are sacred and so much of our lives aren’t that interesting. We are not a product or a commodity, we need not self promote in the way that we do. I personally enjoy not knowing everything about my friends so the ‘catch and having fun’ bit consists of exactly that, opposed to, yeah, i saw that (insert social media site), when you documented the entire event. Contrary to my ‘we are not a product’ line, a great product doesn’t need any advertising at all. It would be good to see a reduction in the saturation of information from people seemingly attempting to justify their lives. Give me a call and tell me about the last book you’ve read rather than showing me pictures of your cat.

  13. I don’t think she was saying no one’s should have fun or do those things… it’s more that people seem to feel that the things they do aren’t worth anything, or aren’t really even happening, if they can’t record it and show it to everyone in real time.

    The whole staring at your phone putting it up on Facebook, rather than actually enjoying it, thing.

  14. “Life is too short to plough through this torrent of ephemeral mush from hordes of “friends” in the hope that something substantive and significant might emerge”

    So don’t use facebook. Are you morally/legally/financially obliged?

    Or use the option to hide updates and remove items/people from your feed.

    Or why not unfriend the people who post the stuff you hate? It’s not hard. Just delete them. Boom, done. You’re happy, they won’t know the difference. Or perhaps they will. After all, if you’re thinking “I don’t want to delete person X because they’d be offended” then you care that they care, which means that you are one of the “people close to them”. And in that case you should just accept that they’re boring and you have to put up with it, or stop being friends with them because they obviously piss you off, or accept it and stop whining about seeing their posts.

    It’s an easy thing to overcome. Live and let live. If they want to post, let them. It’s your personal choice to use facebook and be friends with these people and read what they write.

  15. Highly amused by the number of people accusing the author of being joyless while utterly failing to get the article’s joke themselves. God help us if British readers can no longer deal with irony, pastiche and sarcasm. There’ll be nothing left to hold this country together…

  16. Nah, frequency of posts is directly correlated to amount of time stuck at a computer in an unfulfilling office job where there’s nothing better to do to while away the long, long hours of boredom and frustration.

  17. Waaah! I hate this article because it accurately satirises my social media habits! I shall:
    - criticise the author for being a joyless humbug.
    - make excuses along the line of This Is How We Live Now.
    - use the ‘if you don’t like it, leave’ argument while refusing to see how that same argument could be used against my own whingeing right this very second.
    - probably tweet something sarcastic about it.
    - kick fuck out of my pumpkin, as it’ll start going soft soon anyway and I need to vent.
    - ‘OMFG lol just kicked fuck out of my pumpkin cos sooooo needed to vent FML lol x [pics attached]‘

  18. You know how suicide rates increase around Christmas? For many people, this constant flood of “OMG look what a FABULOUS time ABSOLUTELY EVERYBODY is having because we’ve entered those two months where everything is sparkly and lovely and nobody can possibly be unhappy even if a close relative died one Christmas or they can’t afford decorations or they’re too ill to leave the house because THIS IS A TIME OF JOY” gets pretty unbearable. And yes, those joyless freaks could just leave the internet for 1/6th of the year so their obviously sub-sparkly participation doesn’t bring people down, or we could just bear in mind that we might be overdoing things a little, on occasion.

  19. Oh dear, Vagenda…
    The quality of your journalism seems to be fluctuating more and more these days. This article sounds very much to me like an angry rant by someone who has a problem with an individual and – it isn’t even backed up with evidence from real life.
    Why begrudge a ‘successful’ woman? Is this not what we are meant to be fighting for? It doesn’t really matter how a woman manifests her success. She may well be annoying, but there are plenty more successful women who don’t boast.
    The last thing the Vagenda’s writers should be doing is enforcing stereotypes, least of all about women who are successful. Why give the anti-feminists something to feed on?

  20. This article annoys me, and I’m not sure why. I’m not entirely sure why it’s ‘How to be a *Woman*…’ because I know plenty of men, women and children who love carving pumpkins, dressing up for Halloween parties, watching fireworks, having Christmas/New Year parties, watching the Queen’s Speech, going for walks on Boxing Day, making and breaking New Year’s Resolutions, and in particular moaning about how hungover they are. I also know many people of all genders and ages who don’t do this, who have their own traditions and methods of celebrating that they share just as much as the stereotypes above, but I fail to see how these stereotypical people deserve such a roasting. If you want to pick on seasonal stereotypes, why not go for how in adverts it’s always the mother-figure slaving away over the turkey and every other aspect of Christmas, whereas Dad plays with the presents, carves the bird then falls asleep on the sofa, leaving the woman to clear it all up. Outdated, sexist, inaccurate, and has a far more negative impact than people enjoying fireworks, for Chrissakes.

    I understand that everyone has different opinions on how much social media sharing is too much, and that modern technology allows us to broadcast our news and emotions and mundanity to a wider audience than we used to through the age-old medium of CONVERSATION. Part of the point of Facebook, in my understanding, is to update those interested in you about what’s going on in your life, particularly if you’re living abroad or far from your loved ones, and that includes showing them a photo of the kick-ass pumpkin I carved because they weren’t there on the day to see it, and if I were to ring them up or bump into them on the street and they asked me, ‘So, what did you do for Halloween?’ I’d tell them about it and probably show them the picture anyway. Same if they ask me about my plans for Christmas. I don’t see how Facebook is that different; no-one physically asks you, but in accepting someone’s friend request, the implication is that you care enough about them to hear their news, and particularly if you’re on their profile. If they keep coming up on your News Feed and they’re irritating you, that’s what the scroll down button is for.

    The whole thing of being jealous of people during the festive “season” (a phrase I hate, incidentally, because nowadays it seems to stretch from August to mid-February if you pay attention to the seasonal aisle in Tesco) can indeed be justified in some cases – see Vicky’s examples above – but I don’t agree that no-one’s allowed to be unhappy or that everyone is deliberately attempting to make others jealous. If your friends are really that small-minded and petty, why are you friends with them? Most of us are just enjoying being happy and want to share that joy, and if you’re having a rough time of it, true friends will sympathise, take your mind off the bad stuff and find other ways of making you happy. God knows there’s enough misery in the world, and whilst I enjoy a sprinkling of cynicism as much as the next Brit, I’m struggling to see why someone would smack down the idea of being a successful woman on a feminist blog? The same blog that celebrated how women should blow their own trumpets more a few articles back? I realise that different authors have different opinions, etc, etc, but fuck it, if I’m proud of something then it probably will go on Facebook or Twitter, probably with a good old-fashioned dollop of British modesty and self-criticism, but it’s going up all the same. If you don’t want to hear about people’s achievements or happiness, go live on an island like a hermit, it’s the only way to truly escape the horror of people actually enjoying their relatively short time on this planet.

  21. I thought maybe the point was that we don’t need to try so hard to SHOW that we’re having a good time. You know? A lot of people, myself included, like to use social media to show that “hey guys, my life is great, look at my great life, I’m doing fun stuff, everything is great!” Maybe we could all just chillax with the photo-taking, tweets, and statuses, and just…actually enjoy ourselves without feeling the need to let the world know how happy and successful we are?

  22. No, I don’t think people who post pictures of themselves enjoying their lives think that you will find all the details interesting. I think they think you are a grown up who is capable of not reading posts or looking at things you find boring. And yes, some of their close friends probably do care and enjoy sharing these pictures and facts with each other. Do you not tell your friends and family about things you are happy about?

    I read this site for interesting feminist perspectives on pop-culture, not to read posts shaming women for daring to enjoy themselves. Lift your game.

  23. I’m not sure how these experiences/ non-experiences are exclusive to women? I have lots of men and younger cousins (whom I shall call children) on my Facebook who do the exact same thing. I just hide the ones I don’t like and think no more of it.

  24. agreed with naommmi. for the record i like seeing pictures of people’s different halloween costumes especially if they’re creative, the way they’ve carved their pumpkins etc etc.

  25. what the fuck am i reading? image crafting? Maybe people just want to tell facebook they got their dream job/got into med school/whatever because people might be wondering what they’re doing??? Isn’t it really selfish to turn it into a “oh they only put that on facebook to make me jealous and miserable!” thing? christ alive that’s a bitter article you’ve linked us to.

  26. i understand that. where my issue arises is that the article solely talks about this issue in regards to women, as in this is a female “crime”. a majority of the population partakes in these traditional activities and post them on facebook.. so why are we hating specifically on women on a feminist blog?

  27. Wait… don’t you have a choice about who you’re friends with on facebook? Bummer. What a pity you’re being physically strapped to your computer screen, constantly refreshing with stories like ‘OMG a puppy!?!?!’.
    Because if those things weren’t true, then it would be hard to feel sympathy for you. I don’t massively enjoy the ‘LOL mulled wine OMG I’m so DARING!!!1!’ posts, but y’know. Humans. Either I ignore it, or I drink my own mulled wine. Yeah, that’s right. I had mulled wine last night. And you can TOTALLY see it on my instagram. Lolz.

  28. I understand that this article is clearly tongue in cheek and whenever one writes an opinionated article its impossible to mince their words just to appease everyone.

    This article has still annoyed me though. I was under the impression that the notion of feminism was campaiging for equal rights between men and women, and not that we were some sort of snobby, exclusive highly intellectual group, as many people seem to believe. But its articles like this that DO make us seem like that. Shouldn’t we be trying to dispell this stereotype? Really, just because someone carves a pumpkin or posts a picture of a Halloween party then they are undermining themselves as women?! It makes no sense. Women get enough criticism as it is, so we don’t need to start pointlessly bitching about each other.

    Moreover, has it ever occured to you that people can have their nails done because they care about their appearance, and still be a feminist?! The two are not mutually exclusive. I regularly post both interesting feminist articles and pictures of my new nails, and I don’t think this undermines me as a woman at all. Its possible to do both, believe it or not!

    Furthermore as others have said further up the page, the whole point of social networks is to share your life on the Internet. Completely fair enough if that annoys you…but you don’t have to use them!

  29. After reading this article, I am not sure what the author’s point is. If it’s that women are stereotyped by reference to their gender during the festive period (as they are throughout the year), then I can understand the author’s frustration. However, the tone of the article is condescending and seems to reinforce stereotypes. Do women, and men, who enjoy the John Lewis adverts and pumpkin carving deserve to be sneered at? I am a feminist and after reading this article, I felt as though the author was looking down at me in quite an unpleasant way. I enjoy fashion, manicures and pampering.. as do a lot of my female and male friends. I also enjoy football, adventure running and off-road cycling.. as do a lot of my female and male friends.

    Whilst we should endeavour to be aware of the way in which our behaviour is influenced by gender stereotyping, I refuse to be made to feel like an idiot for enjoying Christmas traditions, and hope that was not the author’s intentions.

  30. I’m not sure why anyone would find this article in any way amusing. It’s not that I’m taking it too seriously, it’s just that it was incredibly unfunny.

    It feels like it belongs along the ranks of wannabe-ironic listicles touted by Thought Catalog. I don’t know why the author wrote it.

  31. Seven Light: “I thought maybe the point was that we don’t need to try so hard to SHOW that we’re having a good time. You know? A lot of people, myself included, like to use social media to show that “hey guys, my life is great, look at my great life, I’m doing fun stuff, everything is great!” Maybe we could all just chillax with the photo-taking, tweets, and statuses, and just…actually enjoy ourselves without feeling the need to let the world know how happy and successful we are?”

    I agree with the above.

    Perhaps the title of the article suggests otherwise (I think it’s relevant to both sexes), but it is effective in highlighting the unnecessary need for constant validation and reassurance via social media that has almost become commonplace. The ‘like’ button for example – everyone feels a bit better after someone ‘likes’ their post or status or ‘favourites’ their tweet, because it is being validated, and thus it makes you feel like your life is being validated. The whole thing has become as addictive as a drug. Social media anxiety is actually a ‘thing’ now.

    It’s not wrong to express your opinion or to share photos, or to update your friends as to what you’re up to – but when information like what coffee you’re drinking; what you’re eating, where you are eating it, ‘selfies’ upon ‘selfies’, photos of your legs on the beach (and not the actual beach itself) and more selfies flood your newsfeed…well…where’s all the ‘living’ life? Are we living life through a lens, a blurred perspective, incapable of perceiving the wonder and beauty of this world because – thanks to the likes of facebook – we feel the need to let everyone know how amazing our glass of wine is by taking a photo of us drinking it? How about enjoying it, savouring the experience and trying not to worry if ‘so and so’ will ‘like’ this. That’s the point I got from the article, and I personally found it very amusing.