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Kid Wears Pink – No One Dies

22 Feb

Like how completely creeper-y this picture is?

On the way home tonight this very tired and fussy kid was sitting next to me.  I don’t know if you can see it from this blurry-ass camera phone picture (did I mention that this kid was squirmy?) but he’s wearing pink uggs with the disney castle embroidered on the side.  He was also sporting a purple coat and a few different colors of neon nail polish.

And no one died.  The institution of marriage didn’t collapse, no one committed any sins they weren’t previously planning on committing.

I just wanted to point that out.  If you were curious about what would happen.

Rock on, kid.  Rock on.

I “Think” You Should Keep Your Mouth Shut

11 Jan

A friend of mine reblogged this the other day.

Along with a long thread of responses and opinions.  At least one of which was “As a guy, I think the top one looks way better. Just saying.”

And the final one being “…most of us are pretty sick of being assailed by uninvited male opinions.”

Here is the argument.  Men try to say “Why do you put on so much makeup when you look so beautiful with conventional ‘pretty’ makeup?”

And I say “I do what I want because I’m my own person and do what makes me happy.”

You know what’s crazy?! That some women don’t wear makeup to impress men. Some women do it because they like it. When I wear 5 different colors on my eyes with bright ass pink lipstick I KNOW that shit ain’t cute. But you know why I do it? Because makeup is about having fun and being artistic. So if you don’t like my fabulously defined eyebrows I’m okay with that, I didn’t need your approval anyways. I just think some men really need to put their egos to the side and STOP thinking that everything women do is to impress you guys. [x]

Your body is your own.  Sometimes you do things to your appearance to change how you’re treated but just as often do you do things because you feel like it.  Or maybe you wanted to scare people or look really different.

Sometimes I do things because I do not want you to find me attractive. Sometimes I do things because want to do them.

And if you aren’t down with women controlling their own appearances then I’m not down with you.

I’m Sorry That You Think You’re Fat And That You Care About It Because You Think Fat Is A Bad Thing

18 Dec

The other day I got to see a friend I rarely ever see.  A friend I cherish and respect.

As long as I’ve known her she’s been the same weight.  And as long as I’ve known her she’s been griping about this mythical ‘normal weight’ that she used to be.  The weight she was before she was ‘overweight.’  And she called herself fat.  And she said that other mutual friends of ours who were the same ‘over (but seriously not really) weight’ were also ‘overweight.’

You know what really drives me crazy?  The word Overweight.  You know what is Overweight?  A 51 lb suitcase.  And that’s according to TSA, who no one takes pride in listening to.  Ever.

So why do we buy into the idea that your weight at age 20, when you’re on 3 different sports teams, is your ‘normal’ weight.  And that once you go a hamburger over that weight, then you are FAT?

As the oft-problematic Moran puts it:

The worst part is that she accused our friend’s kid of also being Overweight.  At 5 freaking years old.  She said that she wouldn’t ever dream of letting her body anxiety rub off on this kid, but you know what?  It will.  Whether you want it to or not.  I’m sure it already has.

Because this perspective is the problem.  That your weight, which is healthy, which is not obese, which is not even approaching being a health risk for you or anyone else is capital-W Wrong and needs fixing in yourself and others.  That just because you and her and her don’t look like Cindy Crawford, you must be in need of fixing.  THAT YOU’RE ACTUALLY JUST GOOD, KIND, SKINNY PEOPLE TRAPPED IN BAD, FAT BODIES.

“Female fat [as] a moral issue is articulated with words like good and bad. If our culture’s fixation on female fatness or thinness was about sex, it would be private issue between a woman and her lover; if it were about health, between a woman and herself… A cultural fixation on female thinness is not an obsession about female beauty but one about obedience.”

Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth

But that’s not how bodies work.  Your fat content is not what makes you a good or worthy person.  You are beautiful.  Your body is beautiful.  Just ask your husband.  What do you think you see that none of us do?  and why do you think it’s inherently wrong?

And do you know how I know your issues are going to rub off on our friends kid?  Do you know who you sound just like?  You sound just like the problem.

P.S. You’re probably reading this so please remember that I love you.  Your position on this just offends everything I stand for and makes me really really mad.

Maybe We Need An Overhaul

5 Sep

I just read Nora Ephron’s book “I Remember Nothing” in which she tells a story about one of her first jobs as a writer, or more exactly as a “researcher” aka fact checker at Newsweek.  In the story a name was spelled wrong and there was a tizzle in the ‘research room’ about which researcher had made the error and would be fired.

What she points out that she understood in hindsight is that the writers were all male.  The male writer had written the name wrong and the all-female pool of ‘researcher’ underlings would be blamed.

Ephron points out that at the time she didn’t see the institutional sexism for what it was.

This reminded me of a great article about the talented Nicki Minaj.

Brags and disses are inherent to the culture of hip-hop—part of defining one’s self is by showing how flamboyantly you can cut down someone else—and Nicki Minaj as a spitter is not exempt from this tradition. But the feminist inside me wishes this was not the case, beginning with her feud with Lil Kim during the release of Pink Friday, after Kim accused her of stealing her style. (Prior, Minaj properly genuflected at the throne of Kim.) A few unfortunate barbs back, and the first single from Minaj’s second album, Roman Reloaded, is “Stupid Hoe,” a Kim dis that is sonically adventurous, lyrically amazing (“You can suck my diznik, if you take this jizz-is,You don’t like them disses, give my ass some kisses”), and then verbatim calls her adversaries “Nappy headed hoes.”…

Meanwhile, fans of women rappers watch with dismay as the new crop repeats the male-centric cycle of dis-retort-repeat, rather than supporting one another. As Azealia Banks gets increasingly famous, her Southern counterpart, Tampa Bay’s Dominique Young Unique, is throwing barbs her way, releasing diss tracks and having Twitter fights with the fellow 20-year-old. At this point, the good old-fashioned rap beef feels regressive, especially when we’re finally getting over the drought of women receiving attention. With Minaj’s lead, it would be kinda nice if, just once, all these awesome women would get together and do a “Ladies First 2012.” Because we have a much bigger, much more deadly adversary to combat: patriarchy.

I know basically nothing about rap music or the surrounding culture but I do know that if it’s about proving yourself by dissing others and Minaj as a woman is being pitted against other women, then the Newsweek offices of the 1960′s aren’t that different from wherever Minaj is hanging out.  No matter what it might look like on the outside.

A Few Good Sons Continued

10 Jul

I wanted to mention this in the last post but thought it might be upsetting if you had images of your underage sons in your head.

On top of being good people, can we raise our boys not to think that girl’s bodies are gross?

Just imagine how happy your daughters would be then!

“Males as a group have and do benefit the most from patriarchy, from the assumption that they are superior to females and should rule over us. But those benefits have come with a price. In return for all the goodies men receive from patriarchy, they are required to dominate women, to exploit and oppress us, using violence if they must to keep patriarchy intact. Most men find it difficult to be patriarchs. Most men are disturbed by hatred and fear of women, by male violence against women, even the men who perpetuate this violence. But they fear letting go of the benefits. They are not certain what will happen to the world they know most intimately if patriarchy changes. So they find it easier to passively support male domination even when they know in their minds and hearts that it is wrong.”
— bell hooks, Feminism is for Everybody
I say let’s fix this.  I want men who are worth Lysistrata-ing others for.

I’m Looking For A Few Good Sons

8 Jul

I read an article the other day about how the most recent feminist wave is presenting feminism as the cooler option mainly because the feminists are against the people who are against having more sex.

And another article about how men and boys have to be part of the feminist community in order to have progress.  A concept I fully support because patriarchy hurts men too.

So, a plea to the people entering their fertile years.

Please, please, please, raise smart sons.

Kind, aware, and unafraid of a new definition of masculinity.

“Our work of love should be to reclaim masculinity and not allow it to be held hostage to patriarchal domination. There is a creative, life-sustaining, life-enhancing place for the masculine in a non-dominator culture. And those of us committed to ending patriarchy can touch the hearts of real men where they live, not by demanding that they give up manhood or maleness, but by asking that they allow its meaning to be transformed, that they become disloyal to patriarchal masculinity in order to find a place for the masculine that does not make it synonymous with domination or the will to do violence.”
—bell hooks, The Will to Change,

Especially if you think you’ll want grandchildren one day.

Don’t Tell Me What To Do!

1 May

Having been physically ripped from my best friend I’ve found a new group of friends to love fiercely.  I’m certainly the feminist out of the bunch but as we spend time together I’m hearing from them more and more “I was watching The Voice last night and there was this commercial and in it this woman was like ‘I thought I did the dishes already’ and it made me mad because why does she expect that her husband doesn’t know how to wash dishes?  What have you done to me!?”

One of the biggest conflicts between us is how I talk to guys.  It would be quite a stretch to describe me as ‘shy’ and a few weeks ago we were on a beach checking out some guys on wakeboards.  My friend was doing her thing which I will describe here as ‘I’ll strip down to my bikini and wait for him to notice me amongst this sea of bikinis.’  After a few minutes of us watching him and being annoyed that he… you know… was actually interested in what he was doing, I put my hands up in the air, waved them around and shouted HEY until he came over and talked to us.  My friend was mortified.  In fact I think mortified is too subtle a word.  To say that she wanted the earth to open up and swallow us would probably be more appropriate.

Nonetheless he came over and I asked him about the board he was on, where he lived, and what cool bars he could suggest.  Then we said our farewells and we each left.  No harm done.

Herein lies the question.  My friend was sure that behavior like that would never get me anywhere, was unladylike and unattractive.  I say that I don’t want to be with any guy who wouldn’t be cool with a strange woman introducing herself first (granted probably not like I did in this example, but in truth it’s just one example in many).

I like to say Hi.  I don’t want to sit back and be coy and wait for some guy to notice me.  If I noticed you I’m going to say Hi and it might be loud, so be prepared.  And if you’re not into that, well at least I know now that you’re not right for me before I sink time and effort into you.

What it comes down to is this: Why should I pretend not to be the kind of person who is going to raise her hand in the lecture hall, to dance on the bar, to volunteer at Blue Man Group?  What reason do I have to pretend to be someone more ‘conventionally likable’ just so I can turn around ‘after the honeymoon period’ and turn out to be (shocker) me.

The ‘tactics’ my new friends suggest sound ripped from the pages of cosmo magazine.  Lean on the bar, stand in a group of people, point your belly button at him if you’re interested, don’t wear too much clothing.

These tricks might work well for some couples and honestly I’m a little envious of them but the truth is that if I did that stuff I’m pretty sure I’d end up with a guy who likes girls who lean on things, silently, shirtlessly, and never move their feet.  Sooner or later he’d find out that I tricked him into thinking I’m that girl and we would be over.

From The Rules:

  • Don’t talk to a man first and don’t ask him to dance
  • Don’t call him and rarely return his calls
  • Always end the date first
  • Don’t see him more than once or twice a week
  • Don’t open up too fast

Some research from Broadblogs shows that men have very mixed reactions to ‘playing hard to get’ which in my opinion supports my ‘some people like this and some people don’t’ hypothesis.

Some guys like people like people who lean on things.  Some people like people who get the hell up and make fools of themselves.  I own my foolishness and want someone who will appreciate that.

What it comes down to is that I’d rather be rejected 9 times out of 10 by someone who happens to not be interested in the person I am, rather than worry for one minute that he likes a version of me that only exist in his head.

Ugly Is A Construct Too

28 Apr

“You are just never happy with the way you look. No matter how hard I tried or how little I ate that whole day hoping my stomach would stay flat and I would have some sort of resemblance of an ab maybe. It doesn’t matter. You look at it and go ‘Grrr, I should’ve not eaten for a week before. Oh well!”

Katherine Heigl tells Showbiz about low self-esteem

Recently (since I changed my hair) it seems everyone is quick to compare me to miss Jennifer Grey (pre-nose-job of course) and so when I came across this broadblogs post I was immediately interested.  Little did I know it would be absolutely brilliant.  From Broadblogs:

When women evaluate their physical attractiveness, they compare themselves with an idealized standard of beauty, such as a fashion model. In contrast, when both men and women evaluate their intelligence, they do not compare themselves to Einstein, but rather to a more mundane standard.

The article’s main point is that there is a reason your self-esteem is so low and it’s probably one of these.

You compare yourself to models
You must be perfect all the time
You think everyone’s judging your flaws
Your parents put you down
Your parents praised your looks
You got chuckles and stares as a kid

Feel familiar?  I think that for every person in the western world at least one of these are probably true and for every woman at least two.  So is it any wonder that I can count on one hand the number of women I know who have really amazing body image?  Not really.

It’s not your face or your body that is unattractive.  I like to think that it wasn’t Grey’s nose or her plastic surgery that was her downfall but the fact that her low self esteem won out.

So next time you’re really nervous about a pimple or your big teeth remember that you’re probably a lot hotter than you think.  And that in truth it doesn’t really matter because everyone else is too busy worrying about what they look like while you are doing more worthwhile things and basking in your incredible self confidence.

Ugly is irrelevant. It is an immeasurable insult to a woman, and then supposedly the worst crime you can commit as a woman. But ugly, as beautiful, is an illusion. A matter of taste, a whim, an eye, a beholder, an opinion, a spin, light crossing the frame, paint, projection. The moment. Context.

~Margaret Cho (via light-essence)

I Am Not My Dress

6 Apr

The other day I ate at a Chili’s and the woman behind the counter was pretty clearly trans.  It made me so happy and got me thinking.

My recently acquired friends tease me for dressing most days like a tomboy.  The other day a friend tried to compliment me, telling me that heads turn when I walk and my roommate teased me ‘she’s a feminist.  She hates that.’

Yesterday I wore a dress.  I’m not going to show you a picture of the dress but I can tell you that any man who saw me in this dress immediately imagined much closer to this:

It’s a great dress but I woke up in the morning feeling like a fraud.  Like I put on Kate Moss Drag last night and had anyone woken up next to me they would have been realized that I was not the Kate Upton character I’d tricked them into going home with the night before.  Like Rita Hayworth said: “They go to bed with Gilda; they wake up with me.” 

Then I read this:

“The fact is that transgender people—in particular, transgender people of color—have simply not experienced the same strides forward as their lesbian, gay and bisexual brothers and sisters. A landmark new report, ‘Injustice at Every Turn,’ presents undeniable proof. This report, released on Friday, is based on a comprehensive survey of over 6,000 transgender people and the findings are too shocking to ignore, especially when it comes to African-American transgender people.

Our transgender brothers and sisters are far more likely to lack proper medical care, to be unemployed, to live in extreme poverty, and to be HIV-positive—and that’s when compared to their white transgender counterparts, not just the general population. The survey’s respondents were four times more likely than the general population to live in extreme poverty. One in five reported having been refused a home or apartment, another one in five report having been refused health care. More than one in five, 22 percent, reported having been harassed by law enforcement, and nearly half reported fear of seeking assistance from police. African American respondents reported all of this in even higher numbers.”

-Mandy Carter, Still No Freedom Rainbow for Transgender People of Color 

If you haven’t already, I recommend taking a look at that report. The race statistics are sobering, and too important to ignore. [x]

Why do I like wearing mens clothes and huge shirts?  Why do I ‘hate’ looking at a man’s face and knowing he’s imagining me in my underthings?  Why do I resent compliments on my physical appearance?

lady: I don’t want to go to Hooters. I’ve only been there once and on the way out they gave me a job application.
gentleman: Well you do have huge breasts.
lady: Yes?
gentleman: Isn’t that a compliment?
lady: No. That’s a fact.
gentleman: Oh. They’re very nice too.
lady: Thank you. [x]

Because I think it’s complete bull that due to my ability to conform to the fantasies of thousands of rich white men I’m treated any better than the contestants on Ru Paul’s Drag Race.

It sickens me that its so accepted that the answer among women is to add make up and victorias secret products to make themselves more perfect, more acceptable, more smooth and ‘female’ rather than reject the notion that More-Marilyn-Monroe-Like must be better than less.

It sickens me that we add makeup and cinching belts to prove ourselves better at this masquerade we call ‘feminine’ rather than pointing out it’s inherent flaws.

I’m not a fleshlight

I’m not a child

I do not live for your attention or your approval.

I am simply as much of a person with as much right to my life and my choices as you, no matter what genitalia I’m born with, what I wear or how I decide to look.

Why is that such a hard concept?

It’s not feminism, it’s humanism.

What A Sexy Piece Of Colorful Laundry On That Wall There

30 Mar

Here in the west we hear a lot about how pornography and nudity objectify.  Not that we can ever really know the effects as apparently there isn’t anyone to compare ourselves to.

And in general experts aren’t exactly sure how much pornography objectifies women.  But we all know my thoughts on porn.

With the current wave of conservatism, and religious fanaticism (multiple religions) a more pressing and modern question is ‘Does modesty objectify?’

In an article I’ve mentioned before we see exactly how extreme modesty objectifies women’s bodies.

Women who live in Taliban-controlled provinces of Afghanistan are expected to cover themselves head to toe with mesh across their eyes. There, a woman’s ankle is thought incredibly sexual, as are her arms and face and eyes and hair. Every part of her body becomes sexualized through extreme modesty.

I read recently a New York Times article about a similar experience

Last month, an innocent, modestly dressed 8-year-old girl, Naama Margolese, living in Beit Shemesh, described being spat on and vilified by [Jewish] religious extremists — all men — who believed that she did not dress modestly enough while walking past them to the religious school she attends.

The article takes a stance that fills my heart with joy and pride by not vilifying religion but by examining how extremism can pervert a wholesome message.

But the Talmud, the basis for Jewish law, offers a perhaps surprising answer: It places the responsibility for controlling men’s licentious thoughts about women squarely on the men.

The Talmud tells the religious man, in effect: If you have a problem, you deal with it. It is the male gaze — the way men look at women — that needs to be desexualized, not women in public. The power to make sure men don’t see women as objects of sexual gratification lies within men’s — and only men’s — control.

Jewish tradition teaches men and women alike that they should be modest in their dress. But modesty is not defined by, or even primarily about, how much of one’s body is covered. It is about comportment and behavior. It is about recognizing that one need not be the center of attention. It is about embodying the prophet Micah’s call for modesty: learning “to walk humbly with your God.”

I am frequently guilty of throwing out the religious baby with the religious extremists bath water and it’s refreshing to be reminded (if you do subscribe to a religion) that it’s not your religion that makes you crazy but your crazy that makes you crazy.

P.S. A great reminder that our political leaders need not always be protestant white men.  Just a note.

P.P.S. Also a good reminder for any of your friends who might believe that sexism doesn’t exist and feminism isn’t necessary anymore.  The fact that men can still force this sort of unnecessary and un-religiously mandated obedience on women with hardly any push back at all should put them right again.  And if they disagree with such evidence I think it’s a good reason to Lysistrata them.

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