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Man Eats Lady Food. Doesn’t Grow Boobs, Is Just Hungry.

6 Jul

I just read an article about a man who did this.

It is delightful and you should read it.

The takeaway’s for me were:

The amount of lip service the food packaging devotes to being “good” or “virtuous.” Or in different parlance obedient.

They always want something decadent — but they mustn’t!


Along with the cereal, I grabbed some Divine Fudge brownies (they’ll “keep you virtuous”) and strawberry Pastry Crisps (for when you’re “trying to be good”).

It’s no surprise that the author also remarked often about the noticeably insufficient portions and calorie counts. The article (and product names) is peppered with little reminders that you should be consuming less.

Lean Cuisine, Skinnygirl popcorn, Skinny Cow ice cream, Svelte protein shake. 

Why have more calories when you could have less?

I also appreciated that the author looked at the foods as having to justify their need to classify with genders. As though salad has to pick a side. Lettuce reproduces asexually.

Organic Girl was everything I was looking for. Not only because it was green, but because its girliness came with no justification — neither the legitimate type (vitamin fortification) nor the fat-shaming type (lower-than-normal calories).

But my favorite thing about the article is that while the author acknowledges that these foods foisted on women are basically tiny portions of cardboard, they’re not going to magically turn a grown man female. If Activia made people sprout breasts then Laverne Cox would be the spokesperson, not Jamie Lee Curtis.

It did not, however, succeed as “the perfect snack for the girl-on-the-go,” because I’m a guy. It was “the perfect snack for the guy-on-the-go,” though. Kinda makes you think it would be “the perfect snack for anyone-on-the-go.”

And he acknowledges the psychological effects of this kind of marketing.

I lived like this for only two weeks, but I can also attest that the constant reminder that I was or should be on a diet was exhausting.

Ultimately, though, I’m just glad I can now return to eating everything else the grocery store sells. Or, as the people pushing the products in this piece would call it, food for men.

Just eat people food. It’s so much easier.

On The Importance Of Not Liking Things

15 Apr

I don’t like open-toed shoes.

I don’t like sneakers that make my feet look wide.

I don’t like mushrooms.

It hurts to have things between my toes.

It hurts to drink milk.

It hurts to smell coffee.

If you dislike a thing it’s not a promise. It doesn’t mean you’ll never like that thing. It means “I’ll try it again when I’m good and ready, but for now no thanks.”

For something to hurt means “No. Maybe one day if I’m ready, but until then, NO.”

If you dislike something, or are hurt by something, it’s your prerogative to avoid it in the future. No one should make you try to like it before you’re ready.

And if they make you try it then you can spit it out in their hands. You have my permission.

Let’s Talk About My Mustache

11 Mar

Let’s talk about my mustache.

Or, Jesus Christ let’s not. I’m mortified already. Generally the exact same mortification I have when acknowledging any body hair I have (and, if we hadn’t covered this already, I’m a Jew, I have all of it).

Today I saw this article:

IT HAPPENED TO ME: I Got a Labiaplasty and I Feel Conflicted About It

(Editor note: Yes, I know that a labiaplasty is permanent and surgical and a lip wax is something thousands of women do twice a month but we’re talking about mortifying embarrassment here, not comparing hospital bills).

My sophomore year of high school I went to prom. Most of my friends were seniors that year so I went with a friend. I looked like Cleopatra in my dress and curling my hair took an eternity.

The morning of the dance my best friend and I went to get manicures at her local place, our manicurist was a very talkative Russian lady in her late 30s. We told her all about our dresses and who we were going with, everything fit to print.

When my nails were half dried she said “follow me” and walked me to the back of the salon and into a small room. I thought I was in trouble. I hate being in trouble.

“I’m not going to charge you for this but I’m going to wax your lip. I just don’t want you to look back at these pictures and have regrets.”

It was the first time that I realized that people could be distracted by things about me that I had decided weren’t worth caring about.

I didn’t know what to do, I was horribly embarrassed and let her do it. The pain sucked of course but what I’ve always hated about wax is that overly sensitive feeling afterwards, like a patch of my body is pure nerve ending, lacking that protective covering known as skin. I know some people love that feeling but I’ve always hated it. Like everyone knows what I’ve just done.

She promised the redness would go down by the evening and it probably did. It turned out she was wrong. I rarely ever look at pictures of that day and when I do there are other things to regret. I regret who I went with and what I cared about. I regret wearing shoes that hurt like hell and that I didn’t even like. I regret not getting the dress shortened. I regret not taking a picture with my mom.

I would not have regretted having the little NORMAL JEW LADY amount of hair on my lip that continues to NOT bother me in every picture I have taken since.

Be Human, You’re Allowed

22 Dec

I’m gonna be a bitch about this because I have something to say about it.

Sometimes I get mad at people because they did something bad. Sometimes I’m completely in the right for being mad at someone, all the facts back me up, everyone I tell is on my side.

And I’m still afraid to call them out on this thing that we can all agree I’m right about.

Because I’m afraid they’ll call me crazy or say I’m overreacting. It’s really not a big deal and I’m being a bitch about it.

This is a reminder to you and to me that sometimes it’s worth being a bitch about it. Sometimes it’s your culture being appropriated and mocked for profit (which is worth getting upset over). Sometimes it’s betrayal (which is worth getting upset over).

Your feelings are valid and expressing them does not make you crazy or difficult or a burden or high maintenance or a drag to be around. It makes you a human. Congratulations. Be human. It’s not so bad.

Women hear it all the time from men. “You’re overreacting,” we tell them. “Don’t worry about it so much, you’re over-thinking it.” “Don’t be so sensitive.” “Don’t be crazy.” It’s a form of gaslighting — telling women that their feelings are just wrong, that they don’t have the right to feel the way that they do. Minimizing somebody else’s feelings is a way of controlling them. If they no longer trust their own feelings and instincts, they come to rely on someone else to tell them how they’re supposed to feel. [x]



Girl Gone Or Worse

27 Oct

I loved Gone Girl as soon as I started it. I remember reading it at my moms house and running into her office and shouting “I can’t tell you what just happened in the book because you have to read it, but I need you to know that SHIT JUST GOT REAL!” and then running back out again to keep reading. I couldn’t devour it fast enough. And ever since then people have been asking whether I think the book is feminist, am I excited about the movie, did I notice how jacked Ben Affleck looks?

I was scared to see the movie. Scared they might ruin what was such a precious experience for me. It’s such a wild mystery ride of a story. But I loved it.

I’ve heard the argument that it is a feminist story because women are so rarely given the opportunity to be villains. And it’s true. Going by the definition of the word Objectified. Women are more often the acted-upon character. Rarely is an actress given so much opportunity, so much depth in a role, something so central as The Villain. And in this instance it’s a brilliant villain. Amy might make bad choices but everything she does is in reaction to something real. Amy gets to be a female character who logics her way through every choice. While being the title character of a story that isn’t a rom com. That is very uncommon.

[SPOILER ALERTS AHEAD, seriously. Put this down and go read the book if you haven’t already] The counter argument is that Amy embodies things that men accuse women of every day. She intentionally falsely accuses men of rape (big no no), she uses her sexuality and good looks to get ahead, any Men’s Rights Activist looking for some examples of women ruling the world can find plenty in Amy.

And, valid as that argument is, I go with the first one.

Amy might be a central figure, she might be spinning the tale, laying the traps, but she is reacting. Reacting to the marriage she is now trapped in, the parents she’s been handed, the body she’s been given, and the ways that people’s reactions to those things have shaped her.

Amy is a pretty enough, slim enough girl, pressured to be Amazing Amy by her parents, to be even prettier and even slimmer by society. In the later half of the book when she goes to seek shelter with her ex, he takes her in and almost immediately comments that he wants his “old Amy” back, buying her hair dye, scanty nighties and reminding her of her weight gain. He shows us how much pressure the people close to her have been putting on her for however many years already.

This week I also saw a show called The Money Shot. There’s a character in the show, an actress trying to make it big in hollywood, and her boyfriend is also on stage, reminding her of her diet the whole time shrimp appetizers are sitting in front of her. She gets his permission before taking one. She savours it and reaches for another just in time for him to say “of course you can have another, if you like cottage cheese thighs and don’t care about your career.” She ends up sneaking the appetizers into her purse and he discovers them later. She snapped under the pressure. He told and told and told, and never listened, so she lied, and snuck, and disobeyed.

And he blew up at her. “This is why we cheat on you people! This is why we leave for the younger, newer model, because you guys are crazy and do crazy things like put pastry in your purse so you can eat it in the bathroom!”

But both Amy and Missy are just reacting to the pressure they’ve been put under. Amy, smarter and more sociopathic than Missy, has been feeling this undercurrent pushing her towards perfection since the day she arrived on this planet. “I quit the cello, the next year Amazing Amy became a child prodigy,” she retorts about her literary alter ego. While Missy has surely been given the needling “You’re so pretty and tall, you know that if you lost a little weight you could probably be a model,” her entire life.

And so they crack, because who can live under that? Missy stuffs her face with pastries and hides and lies, eventually becoming unfaithful to her husband as part of her revenge. Amy, well she explodes her entire world to exact hers.

Both women are catalyzed by the patriarchal forces that suffocate them, husbands, nosy media journalists, fashion and diet ads.

And then, when the inevitable change has been made, the acting out has been done, it’s our fault. What do you mean you were under pressure, Amazing Amy is just a book? What do you mean you felt like you had no control, it was just a diet? But those pressures are catalysts, and to expect there will be no substantive change from them is blind and thoughtless.

And the thing to remember is that those pressures to be thin and beautiful at all times are carried out by both men and women in a patriarchy. By a boyfriend, threatening to leave if your thighs get any bigger just as much as by a mother or grandmother telling you that you’ll be an old maid all your life if you don’t lose that weight or get that nose job.

And lastly, I have an example of a woman who never did snap, who spent all her life doing the things that everyone else told her to do. Not a character in any media but my own life. A true, perfect product of the society she’s grown in. At age 89 she’s skinny, made up, hair dyed, there is food ready for you at her table. She kept the diet and the kitchen and the children that her mother told her to have.

And her prize? One could argue that she has never known true love or friendship a day in her entire life. And that she never will.

No cracks, a complete success story.

Being Ladylike Is Difficult And Completely Overrated

19 May

I feel you Grace, I feel you hardcore.

I’m So Bad

23 Apr

The representation of unrestrained appetite as inappropriate for women, the depiction of female eating as a private, transgressive act, make restriction and denial of hunger central features of the construction of femininity and set up the compensatory binge as a virtual inevitability. Such restrictions on appetite, moreover, are not merely about food intake. Rather, the social control of female hunger operates as a practical ‘discipline’ (to use Foucault‘s term) that trains female bodies in the knowledge of their limits and their possibilities. Denying oneself food becomes the central micro-practice in the education of feminine self-restraint and containment of impulse.

Susan Bordo, Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture and the Body [x]

Even as I sit here writing I’m hungry and promising myself that I’m not allowed to eat until I’m done with this project.

But as Bordo suggests, food isn’t the only outlet for this kind of obedience training. The kind of shaming women experience over food is also applied across other avenues of pleasure. Sex, dancing.

It’s hilarious that we live in a society that will shame you for how much sex you have and for the junk food you eat. Like, wow, how dare you eat delicious foods and have orgasms, you’re a monster. Enjoy your miserable life filled with pleasures. [x]

For some reason I can’t put this video directly into the post but I urge you to click the link.

A whole bunch of ladies competing for being the most transgressively indulgent. For, you know, eating.

Pleasure isn’t “bad.” In fact, it’s good. It’s the best.

Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.

H. L. Mencken


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