To rail against the unfairness of it all, to labor in vain to overturn “society’s standards of beauty,” is to take gravity to court, boycott DNA, or “raise awareness” among salmon regarding the numerous hazards of swimming upstream. Of course, this hasn’t prevented any number of modern women from doing so.
Now, when I was a punk, I wasn’t “challenging” the “corporate patriarchy” while secretly hoping to attract boys regardless; I was trying to look even uglier than I already was and be left alone. I liked feeling free and fierce—for a time. But it’s an exhausting way to live, and, yes, unnatural.
For most women—the ones born “in debt”—it takes far more effort to try to look beautiful, but it’s also a more natural pursuit, which ameliorates the “exhausting” part. So while the ship-of-Theseus results were literally plastic and ultimately grotesque, Joan Rivers’ pursuit of beauty was, in fact, perfectly natural, normal, and sane—a sound female mind’s attempt to escape from an unsatisfactory body and unfair fate. In that, Rivers faintly resembles another tireless, pioneering Jewish entertainer—Houdini—right down to the dumb, ignoble death.