Day 6: Formal
My word of the day today doesn’t embody everything about this word. Instead, I wanted to explore the side of formality that is generally overlooked: how it has shaped male and female roles in society in both old and new ways, and how it translates across the ages. Even though some of these sentiments are “outdated” I think they are still expressed to some degree today, perhaps with different wording. At any rate, I believe this type of “formality” has helped lay the foundation for widespread thinking or perception we may now be struggling to change. Enjoy!
I will fix you.
I am the rigid bones of a corset, shaping you into acceptable form. Without me, you cannot leave your bed chamber. Without me, you are not free to act, to move, to speak. I care not for your comfort. I am steel bars that close around your softness and make you hard. You are a woman, but I will make you feminine. You are beautiful, but I will make you desirable. You are unheard, but I will make you seen. I will not give you a voice, you do not need it. I will form you and shape you and render you necessary in your proper place. Without me, you are sloppy and underdressed, the whore of the upperclass–and I am unforgiving of disgrace. Forgiveness is not my nature.
I will bring order.
I am the throne of kingdoms, the spikes upon which hierarchy is set. Without my face you cannot access my power, and I do not share my gifts with grace. When you wear me, I will take, for taking is my order. I have set the rules in stone by which your feet are crushed, but you continue to dance for I lead you higher. Behind my mask chaos ensues, but that is not my concern. I lay your footholds and you obey. You are men, but I bring you supremecy. I am the whip you yield for clarity, and I am the veil that keeps your flaws hidden. You speak, but I make you seen. You are strong, but I allow you to strike. You are sensitive, but I demean your femininity and give you masculine rule. I am the iron jail that boasts freedom and you gladly lock yourselves in.
I will deceive you.
I am definitive beauty, slaved over in mirrors, surgery, photo shops, sweat shops. Scalpels and brushes, pens and programs, these are my tools and I give just enough to always be in high demand. Never too much, always too little. Hours upon hours I labor before I step outside my shadow, but In the light I smile and look effortless. I am ballroom dancing, Prada-wearing, champagne-sipping success, free with my smiles and cold eyes. My voice echoes through all the ages.
I am frivolous and shaming, with just enough care to make you feel you deserve to be shamed when you are not like me. I do not look at the homeless man on the street, I scoff and keep my gloves clean. I do not broach class. I do not trip over the rules I have created. I do not speak out of turn. I am policy and procedure, laws and regulations. I am the system. I am accepted. I am perfection.
I do not think I am so evil. I have been created to fill a need. My existence gives unspoken security, and I have written my necessity into the rules. I am am wanted and here to stay. I am formality.