Deviant/Default, Friendship

Such A Prime Example

A good male friend of mine was talking about kink the other day and it took until now for me to realize what bothered me about what he said.

He told me that he was into getting caught. Fine.

He liked having sex in somewhat public places, threesomes, things where other people might see her.

But never with his girlfriend.

Only with women he didn’t care much about.

Women he didn’t care to care about.

Women he could choose to not care about because they were women who weren’t his.

I guess that’s what he meant when he called himself a Masculinist.


Art, Bodies, Deviant/Default, Kyriarchy, Sexism

Rapunzel? You Look Different…

So, I cut my hair recently. Or to be more accurate, The Yankee cut it for me. Here are some pictures of my inspiration.

Notice anything about them? I didn’t look for then on dirty sites or anything. Both images just found me. I saw the allure cover at a news stand on the subway and the other one in a victorias secret ad before a youtube video.

“I went to see the first Sex In the City movie. You know, because I was just looking for… a chick flick, you know. I wasn’t looking for any sort of emotion… I was just… in New York that weekend, my best girl friend was with me. So we go and sit down and watch a movie… and there’s Jennifer Hudson doing Mammy and we were like ((gasp)) But why didn’t anyone tell us? And why would that be necessary? …why—in a movie about 21st Century women living in New York who’ve never bothered to meet any black women during the entire time that they’ve lived in New York on the television show—must they now suddenly have a Mammy? And why does it have to be Jennifer Hudson, who we love? … why is this happening? …why am I having to have a black feminist moment when I’m trying to try to see, like, a fun movie?! … this is the point I’m trying to make… you can just be wandering through your life, not really trying to have a race or gender experience, and then here comes an image. Here comes the tilt[ed worldview]. And you’ve got to figure out… how to engage that crooked image.”

-Melissa Harris-Perry @ UCSD [x]

I love this part of her speech so much! It’s a fantastic response to that meme where people in fandom and the mainstream talk about how people who point out problems with media are just “trying to be offended.” Nooo. People want to live their lives and the offensive crap just keeps popping up! [x]

How am I expected to not internalize this shit? How do we continue to tell women they exist for decoration only and expect there to be no negative consequences at all?

Bodies, Confidence, Obedience, Sexism

I “Think” You Should Keep Your Mouth Shut

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.

Confidence, Deviant/Default, Gender

Are The Menfolk Worried About This?

There’s a concept in Moran’s book How To Be A Woman (a flawed, but worthwhile book, we’ve already decided) which I really like.

She said that the easiest way to tell if something you’re worried about is some patriarchal bullshit is to ask “Are the menfolk worried about this?”

I’ve been trying to put this to use lately.

Example 1: I worried for a hot second that I might be sharing too much with my boss.  That perhaps he would think I was flirting with him.  Are the menfolk worried about this?  Well considering he came back with a funny sex story that topped mine it would seem that he isn’t.  Consensus: He’s not worried about coming off too flirty so I won’t be either.  To hold me to a different standard would be some patriarchal bullshit.

Example 2: There are some harmless hairs on my face that no one ever notices.  Do the menfolk worry about this ever?  In my experience they don’t even mind the hairs that everyone does notice.  Consensus: Fuck it, wax sucks.

Example 3: I like weird educational music and YouTube channels.  Are the menfolk worried about coming off too smart in front of the people they like?  Nope!

Am I concerned that my pimples are showing?  No!  Because neither are you so why should I?

This is not the same as being The Cool Girl.

Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.

Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see men – friends, coworkers, strangers – giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them. I’d want to grab the poor guy by his lapels or messenger bag and say: The bitch doesn’t really love chili dogs that much – no one loves chili dogs that much! And the Cool Girls are even more pathetic: They’re not even pretending to be the woman they want to be, they’re pretending to be the woman a man wants them to be. Oh, and if you’re not a Cool Girl, I beg you not to believe that your man doesn’t want the Cool Girl. It may be a slightly different version – maybe he’s a vegetarian, so Cool Girl loves seitan and is great with dogs; or maybe he’s a hipster artist, so Cool Girl is a tattooed, bespectacled nerd who loves comics. There are variations to the window dressing, but believe me, he wants Cool Girl, who is basically the girl who likes every fucking thing he likes and doesn’t ever complain.

– Go Girl by Gillian Flynn [x]

The Cool Girl is about me being the girl you want me to be.

Not giving a shit about your patriarchal bull is about me being the woman that I want me to be without letting myself be held back by anyone else’s standards.

They’re unnecessary.

Gender, Relationships

If You Don’t Think I’m Funny Then You Can Leave

Today I was having a discussion with a new friend about how there’s a guy who seems to be trying to impress me with how funny he can be.

I read her our text conversation and she laughed out loud and said “You’re so much funnier than he is!”

And based on the very little I know about this man (less than a dozen text messages), it’s true.  I am funnier than he is.

And it reminded me of a bar I went to last summer.  Or more specifically a drunk ‘comedian’ I met at that bar.

My friend was dating a male model at the time and I enjoyed hanging out with her and watching her cuteness grow exponentially when adjacent to his beautifulness so I went.  They told me they were bringing one of his friends.  This friend was apparently tall, Jewish and funny.  What’s not to love?

This guy may have been a Jew but he was certainly neither tall nor even moderately funny.  What he was, was drunk.  Very drunk.  And I’m sure his drunkenness made him even less funny than I’m sure he naturally is.

And it must be said that knowing a funny man was my setup, I brought my funnybone along too.  And this is what I realized that night.

You don’t have to be the funniest guy in the room for me to like you.  I’ve had plenty of crushes on guys who are quiet in groups.  As long as you make me laugh when we’re alone, then I don’t mind if I have to be the entertaining half of this couple at dinner parties.

I also wouldn’t mind being with the funniest guy in the room.  That would be fun too I’m sure.

The one thing I do know I couldn’t live with is a guy who resented the fact that I was funnier than he was, who clearly felt that he was diminished by my having excellent (if only occasionally so) vocabulary.

I’ve heard it said that men want a woman with a good sense of humor (someone who laughs at his jokes) and women want a man with a good sense of humor (someone who makes her laugh).  This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard and I hate it.  

If you don’t laugh at what I find funny then I don’t want to sleep with you.  And if you additionally are embarrassed by having a girlfriend who does funny things that men are commended for on a daily basis then you are dismissed.

Gender, Media, Sisterhood

Smart People or Sexy People?

There has been some press recently (or not so recently I guess) about whether women are funny.

Two and a Half Men co-creator Lee Aronsohn complains that…well, basically he just makes women feel like our only redeeming qualities are named Tits and Ass:

Enough, ladies. I get it. You have periods. … [W]e’re approaching peak vagina on television, the point of labia saturation.

When in truth about 40% of TV characters are female (and I presume that includes Barney’s one night stands, and the percentage of female writers is even lower than that.

“True gender equality is actually perceived as inequality. A group that is made up of 50% women is perceived as being mostly women. A situation that is perfectly equal between men and women is perceived as being biased in favor of women.
And if you don’t believe me, you’ve never been a married woman who kept her family name. I have had students hold that up as proof of my “sexism.”
My own brother told me that he could never marry a woman who kept her name because “everyone would know who ruled that relationship.” Perfect equality – my husband keeps his name and I keep mine – is held as a statement of superiority on my part.”

– Lucy, When Worlds Collide: Fandom and Male Privilege.

So when Smart Actress People are portrayed as Sexy People I can’t help but feel like the message we’re getting is ‘Well, whatever talent you have… you’re still just the sexy people performing your sexiness for me.’  And the fact that they’re smart or funny pales in comparison to how good they can look in a garter belt.

It almost feels deliberately like some guy was intimidated by how smart and funny these talented actresses are and said, ‘let’s make them all naked and vulnerable’.  That’ll be sufficiently humbling.

Not like that’s a new concept.  Being an ‘attractive woman’ for quite some time has meant making yourself appear sufficiently vulnerable, whether it means dressing in nothing but bedsheets or hiding your head behind your shoulder.

Women aren’t just sexy, they aren’t just the sex class.  They’re just as likely to be smart as any man.  They’re just as likely to be funny as any man.

So get over it already.

Bodies, Deviant/Default, Gender, Obedience, Queer, Sisterhood

I Am Not My Dress

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.

Deviant/Default, Man Meat, Politics, Rights

You Should Try

A guy friend of mine reblogged this on tumblr the other day.  I’ve never been so proud of him.

As men, we very rarely, if ever, know what it’s like to face unwelcome comments and jokes from a co-worker and go through a process of deciding, like so many women do, if it’s “worth it” to say or do anything.

We don’t know what it feels like to ask our friends if our arms look fat or to hear comments like “just another ten pounds and you’ll be perfect.” We don’t know what it feels like, because we don’t have to buy Spanx, we don’t have to conform, and we don’t have to combat unhealthy body images coming at us from multiple directions.

We don’t know what it’s like to deal with the burden of birth control. We don’t try to understand what it feels like to remember take a pill every day, to deal with the insurance and associated costs, to confront yearly invasive exams, and to live with possible physical side effects. We don’t seem to realize that birth control is not just an issue for women deal with; it’s an issue that we should also take responsibility for.

We don’t know what it’s like to have our intuition dismissed, especially when we sense danger and feel unsafe. How would we know? We men are perceptive and women are just overreacting.

This is why the sexism we have to combat in this country is the kind we don’t even notice. It’s the sexism that we wave off as, “That’s the way things are.” It’s the kind of sexism we haven’t even started to address in our society at large. And because we refuse to dig deeper to learn about the everyday struggles of women, we persist with behavior that simultaneously hurts women and drives the issue of gender discrimination deeper into a hidden underworld.

Some day men are just unbelievably sexy.
Friendship, Gender

As Deeply As I Can

“And yet does it not all come again to the fact that it is a man’s world? For if a man chooses to be promiscuous, he may still aesthetically turn up his nose at promiscuity. He may still demand a woman be faithful to him, to save him from his own lust. But women have lust, too. Why should they be relegated to the position of custodian of emotions, watcher of the infants, feeder of soul, body, and pride of man? Being born a woman is my awful tragedy. From the moment I was conceived I was doomed to spout breasts and ovaries rather than penis and scrotum; to have my whole circle of action, thought and feeling rigidly circumscribed by my inescapable femininity. Yes, my consuming desire to mingle with road crews, sailors and soldiers, bar room regulars – to be a part of a scene, anonymous, listening, recording – all is spoiled by the fact that I am a girl, a female always in danger of assault and battery. My consuming interest in men and their lives is often misconstrued as a desire to seduce them, or as an invitation to intimacy. Yet, God, I want to talk to everybody I can as deeply as I can. I want to be able to sleep in an open field, to travel west, to walk freely at night…

The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

Me talking to you is not an invitation.  It doesn’t mean I’m trying to sleep with you.  Same goes for when I talk to your boyfriend.