Tag Archives: Control

Damn Right I’m Pretty

6 Oct

Last night I had an OKCupid date. It went… boring. He was quiet, I felt like I had to carry the conversation. He didn’t laugh, and when he did it was a snort that made me feel very self conscious. I hate when I feel like I’m the entertainment on a date. It stops being about us having a good time and makes me feel like I might as well be a belly dancer on a stage. More on that later.

I didn’t feel like it went well.

Ninety minutes into this lemon of a date he announced that he needed a cigarette, did I want to come with?

I was planning on engineering an escape so I said sure.

As we were standing outside and he was quietly smoking and I was talking about something unimportant but still charmingly amusing, I ran out of steam and let there be silence for a minute.

“Do you know you’re really pretty?”

Pause.

“Yes”

He did that snort thing again. I didn’t really mean for it to be a charming move, I meant for it to make him uncomfortable for asking such a dumb question.

“I mean, also ‘thanks’ I guess.”

He giggled about “I guess I did ask that in the form of a question” and I just sort of zoned out. His opinion doesn’t really matter to me.

It makes me mad that women aren’t supposed to know they’re pretty.

Like in that song.

You don’t know you’re beautiful,
Oh, oh,
That’s what makes you beautiful [x]

Well screw that.

Do I know I’m pretty?

I know that about half the guys I go out with give me some variation on that statement/question.

I know that my mom has been telling me since I was in high school that she had a better butt, but I have a better face.

I know that I get this message or a variation a few times a week:

Screen Shot 2014-09-27 at 1.11.23 PM

And I know that, despite all that, when you tell me I’m pretty, you want me to disagree with you, or be demurely grateful that you should say such a nice thing.

Pretty. What a dumb thing to compliment someone on. It’s like saying: “Well done growing that nose. It really sits on your face.” Uh, thanks? “Wow, your legs end up as feet at the bottom, you must have worked hard at that.” Well, no.

I know two facts about my face. One is that it’s on my head and the other is that your opinion about it doesn’t much matter to me. So why do you think that telling me I’m pretty is going to dissolve me into a puddle of goo?

And here’s the rub. It’s not actually about being pretty. I’m actually only about medium pretty. Not that I’d ever say that to this guy.

It’s that these guys want to be able to bestow prettiness on me, and then take it back whenever they feel like it (much like ‘cool’ or ‘not crazy’). That’s why I get so mad about it.

And that’s why when they ask me if I know I’m pretty or cool or smart or a good writer or whatever I say “YES.” Because I’m not waiting for anyone to grant it to me. It’s my mantle and I’m taking it. And if they don’t like it they can shove it.

Dying To Be Thin

4 Apr

Warpaint

9 Aug

Local FG celebrity, The Yankee himself left a comment on this post the other day that made me think.

I’m sorry that you feel like women look better without make-up. Post Second-Wave feminism there have been lots of dudes (and some ladies) who try to establish either their supposed feminist ideology or “good guy-ness” by labeling makeup and other tools of self-presentation (e.g. clothing, accessories and jewelry, style) as tools of oppression. Unfortunately, most of these tools (and they are tools) are linked to a femme or female identity, and criticism of them really comes from an anti-woman place. You don’t hear as much folks telling dudes that “You’d look so much better without that beard or muscles”, or “I think men look better without penises”.

Femininity is criticized in our culture as inauthentic, and dismissed as unserious. Why? We all do things to affect our self-presentation. Sometimes wearing makeup is a tactic that women choose to gain some form of power in an unjust world. Sometimes wearing makeup is done for pleasure or to emulate other powerful Femme women (think Dolly Parton, who embodies femininity but also maintains a ton of real world power in most every sense). No decision to wear makeup makes a person less serious, less authentic, or less powerful.

Maybe you really do have aesthetic reasons in your brain for preferring women without makeup. But those reason don’t exist in a vacuum. They come from socialization and a culture that dismisses Femmes, and has for a long time.

And I’m making no assumptions about you as a person, but I will say that in my own experience I have been in lots of non-mainstream communities where dudes use aversion to makeup, or porn, or sex work to prove their feminist street-cred as a means to sleeping with women. I’ve done it myself. And I think it requires a lot of self-examination to stop doing it.

Having women in my life is a privilege, and with that privilege come the responsibility of looking at where my ideas about their appearance come from, and often criticizing my responses.

It got me thinking about what I use makeup for.

Last summer when I fell of my bike and tore half the skin off my knees I enjoyed walking around in the least attractive outfit I could wear. Some awful khaki shorts and a fantastically clashing green shirt. My color-blind-camp-counselor look.

Similarly when I’m nervous about something at work I’ll load on the mascara and wear actual lipstick. The same way football players put black streaks on their faces to intimidate their enemies, I bust out the liquid liner when I want everyone to know I’m a badass.

The problem of course comes in when men assume that whatever choices I make are purely for their benefit. And don’t get me wrong, sometimes they are. The dress I wore to opening night, with the matching undergarments and heels, that was purely for the benefit of my date to that event. And no one else. And he knew it. Which in turn benefitted me of course.

Pro tip: If you don’t know very clearly that it’s for your benefit then it’s not.

And if you like my choices for the day, or if you dislike them, I still don’t care. I like them. And I matter me to me a whole lot more than you matter to me.

No, You’re A Liar!

10 Jun

Lately I’ve spent some time talking about the importance of… you. In you knowing the importance of you. I don’t particularly care about you, of course, I care about me. And you should care about me too. Well, you. But also me. But really much more importantly, you. Whatever, you get the picture.

I told you to try saying you’re amazing and see how it changes your day.

And then I pointed out that sometimes people laugh at you when you say that.

What I forgot to tell you was that you’re allowed to believe in the things you say even when people disagree with you. Even when men or people you trust or people with more confidence in themselves than you say you’re wrong.

If I were Reese then the fourth frame would be me rolling my eyes and walking away.

Rapunzel? You Look Different…

12 Mar

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?

5 Things To Do In Public Because You’re Comfortable With Your Body And Don’t Care Who Knows It

2 Feb

Do you ever wonder how you can express to the world how comfortable you are with your body and your sexuality? Do you feel the need to walk into crowded restaurants talking very loudly about HYMENS so people choose your conversations to eavesdrop on?  Well then, do I have some tips for you!

1) Next time you have a UTI and you’re out to brunch with your lady friends SATC style (P.S. can we talk about how terrible The Carrie Diaries looks?  Kill me.) point to your crotch and sing THIS GIRL IS ON FIRE!

2) Next time you’re painting the fun house red (get it?) while seducing (you saucy minx!) a potential pants-remover, spend your second cocktail together thinking up some creative euphemisms for period sex.  Examples include:

  • Driving the Blood Mobile to Schenectady
  • Doing the Last Scene of Hamlet, With Genitals
  • Salsa Dancing at the Y
  • Menstrucourse
  • Reenacting the Battle of Gettysburg — In My Pants
  • Al Gore
  • Pussy UFC
  • Making Manicotti Marinara

Points for creativity.

3) Buy a Divacup and then explain how it works to everyone you know.

4) Ask your brother how many body parts he can think of that are only 2 letters long.  Guess who has a kick-ass os?!

5) Volunteer at Planned Parenthood and then awkwardly tell your friends about the female condoms you pick up there (follow that link.  You will not regret it!).

Well done everyone.  Now we can party with fellow jewess Sarah Silverman!

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.

Feminism Weakening Men

28 Nov

I found these at Sociological Images.

I don’t know what I can really say about them other than that women gaining the right to vote did not end up weakening men.

Oh the horror.

This trope is one we see trotted out again and again.

It is based on fear.

Fear.

“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.

 

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

7 Oct

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.