Sourdough and Botox

Sourdough and Botox May 13, 2024

I resisted as long as I possibly could, trotting over to Insta and looking up Ballerina Farm. All the flap about Sourdough Bread didn’t drag me in. All the long articles about the inherent racism of the tradwife phenomenon did not even pique my interest. No, the final straw was reading this piece by Mary Harrington about Lauren Southern and the listical approach to ideology and life. Ballerina Farm’s videos are beautiful, of course. In a world full of ugliness and sin, it is soothing to watch a slim, perfectly coiffed woman in the midst of her adorable children, making butter and marshmellows. It helps that everything she’s cooking is stuff I have no means, nor inclination, to make. The sweeping sky and distant mountains overshadowing the perfectly framed farm table is exactly the sort of thing I’m happy to look at.

But I’ve also been sucked into watching a person, whose reels show up on Facebook– someone single, as beautiful as Ballerina Farm, and apparently as rich, but without anything to do but keep replenishing her Botox, arrange her flowers, and catch up on Netflix. And there is a person whose house is perfect and whose Ramadan Table a week or two ago was enchanting. I could provide links, but I don’t think that would be a good use of my time or yours.

Ballerina Farm, I think, marks the culmination of my pursuit of the genre. I wrote about three others here–I think I’ve exhausted the form. Jewish, Mormon, Muslim, Christian, and, the one single lady who has nothing to do but her hair and her face–in every case, while I’m happy to be distracted for a few minutes, it is fascinating and tragic that this is where we have come. All the money, all the work, and all you get is a minute and a half before the next reel appears. It’s the technological version of chasing after the wind. It betrays such a hunger, a poverty of spirit, the wasteland of modern women who have everything at their disposal watching other women living their lives and having their children and their satisfaction. The state of work, of being and personhood, is so poor, that we all (I mean, I did for the last two weeks) scroll and click. But what are we doing? Who does Ballerina Farm watch? Someone, surely.

And, who arranges the cameras? That’s what I want to know. I can’t even take a selfie, or get myself properly in the frame for Zoom. I can’t imagine how one would arrange all the cameras so that the angle of one’s shower taking came out just right, and then cutting to the kitchen to chop the organic greens and blend the green smoothie. The seamless editing, the lighting, the production values astonish me. How much time does it take to produce a single reel? How do they know how to make it so perfect? Are there other people there? Or is it really just a woman and a couple of cameras and a computer?

A new, nostalgic version of home by women and for women. The men, who I’ve seen elsewhere are weilding the cameras, necessarily take a suporting, marginal position appearing rarely, if at all. For something essentially “trad” it’s so funny to me that the men and the religion are assumed, or subsummed under the question of aesthetics and food. Whatever kind of God you worship, Home Goods has the perfect basket and tablecloth, Amazon will ship it and we will watch you cut open the box.

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