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Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion

Jia Tolentino

Top 10 Best Quotes

“The default assumption tends to be that it is politically important to designate everyone as beautiful, that it is a meaningful project to make sure that everyone can become, and feel, increasingly beautiful. We have hardly tried to imagine what it might look like if our culture could do the opposite—de-escalate the situation, make beauty matter less.”

“Beauty work is labeled “self-care” to make it sound progressive”

“A woman is unruly if anyone has incorrectly decided that she’s too much of something, and if she, in turn, has chosen to believe that she’s just fine.”

“The freedom I want is located in a world where we wouldn't need to love women, or even monitor our feelings about women as meaningful—in which we wouldn't need to parse the contours of female worth and liberation by paying meticulous personal attention to any of this at all.”

“The fact that everything feels like God to me ensured that I would not remain a Christian.”

“I cling to the Milan women's understanding of these literary heroines as mothers. I wish I had learned to read them in this way years ago--with the same complicated, ambivalent, essential freedom that a daughter feels when she looks at her mother, understanding her as a figure that she simultaneously resists and depends on; a figure that she uses, cruelly and lovingly and gratefully, as the base from which to become something more.”

“Has anyone ever written a great novel about a woman who is happy in her marriage? Of course, most protagonists are unhappy. But heroes are mostly unhappy for existential reasons; heroines suffer for social reasons, because of male power, because of men.”

“Women are genuinely trapped at the intersection of capitalism and patriarchy—two systems that, at their extremes, ensure that individual success comes at the expense of collective morality. And yet there is enormous pleasure in individual success. It can feel like license and agency to approach an ideal, to find yourself—in a good picture, on your wedding day, in a flash of identical movement—exemplifying a prototype. There are rewards for succeeding under capitalism and patriarchy; there are rewards even for being willing to work on its terms. There are nothing but rewards, at the surface level. The trap looks beautiful. It’s well-lit. It welcomes you in.”

“Not all men have made women fearful, but yes, all women have experienced fear because of men.”

“Capitalism has no land left to cultivate but the self. Everything is being cannibalized—not just goods and labor, but personality and relationships and attention. The next step is complete identification with the online marketplace, physical and spiritual inseparability from the internet: a nightmare that is already banging down the door.”

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Book Keywords:

mothers, literature, feminism, happiness, marriage, pop-feminism, women, difficult-women

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