Thursday, June 30, 2011

Less than 10 years until I should no longer wear a mini-skirt.

This is some bullshit. A recent survey – not an article, a survey – of 2,000 women ages 18-65 revealed widely-held beliefs regarding the ages women should retire certain articles of clothing, as to not look “inappropriate”:

Mini-skirts: 35
Two-piece swimsuits: 47
Tube tops: 33
Leather pants: 34
Belly-button piercings: 35
Sheer chiffon blouses: 40
Sneakers and tight tanks: 44
Leggings and UGGs: 45
Knee-high boots: 47
Stilettos: 51
Ponytails: 51
Long hair: 53
Swimsuits (in general): 61

So…….I shouldn’t be wearing sneakers after age 44…or just sneakers paired with “tight” tanks? Apparently, I have no business swimming in my 60s.

And here’s the kicker: half the women surveyed said women who are slim, healthy, and attractive in their 50s and 60s can "get away with anything." Translation: Cindy Crawford and Jerry Hall can wear what they want – YOU cannot, you old bat. (“Bat” can be interchanged with “crone,” “hag” or “fattie”)

In addition:

* 44% of women regularly worry they are too old to wear certain items of clothing.
* 1 in 10 women have bought something only to take it back to the shop, amid fears it was “too young” for them.
* 5% of those polled said a shop assistant had warned them an item wasn't right for their age.

Unfortunately, it’s clear that appearance snobbery is not limited to the halls of high school. Why all these self-imposed “rules” on women by women? Really, would the world turn into that much of a cesspool if women wear – gasp – what they want without fear of being judged? Aren't we all a little happier when we wear things that make us feel good?

Interestingly enough, the survey was commissioned by Diet Chef, a mail order frozen food service out of the UK…much like Nutrisystem. So I guess if you utilize Diet Chef’s services, you can be well on your way to wearing whatever the fuck you want.

In a lackluster attempt at making this survey seem less disturbing, Diet Chef nutritionist Caron Leckie says, "It's up to individuals to choose when they should stop wearing certain items. Some women may be comfortable in a bikini at the age of 65, whereas the more self-conscious may want to stop much earlier—it's very much personal choice."

Yes, that’s right – it is a personal choice, Ms. Leckie. Which is why I don’t particularly care for UGGs and tube tops. Now, what I want to know is why this ridiculous and semi-fucked up “survey” was even commissioned? How about we survey women about the federal debt crisis or the states’ war on family planning services? You know, shit that matters.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


My friend and I were talking last night about Ones. You know, do you only get one One and that's it? If doesn't work out, are you destined to forever be without another One? Or, if it didn't work out, were they in fact the One? Cliche, perhaps, but an issue that has been mulled over in some great shows like Flight of the Conchords and Sex and the City.

I got to thinking about this question in the wee hours of the morning, and I came to an interesting conclusion: we all have Ones. For instance, let me pull from a bit of my history:

The One who turned me into an absolute crazy person.

See? There's one. How about another:

The One who was so freakish and weird, I nearly contemplated suicide in an attempt to avoid him.

That's a long title, and seemingly difficult to live up to. I assure you, he had no trouble.

I should also point out that Ones can be several Ones. I will demonstrate:

The One with the very, very small penis was also the One who cheated. (makes sense)

See? Ones do not have to be mutally exclusive.

In all fairness, there are good Ones as well as bad Ones. Like the One who took care of me when I was sick. Maybe you have a One who inspired you to be a better person, or One you could talk to for hours.

You see, we all have Ones. Perhaps they're not all "great loves" but I'm sure we all thought them to be at one point.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

H.R. 3 is baaaack.

Back in January – a day after the Republican-led House of Reps (symbolically) voted in favor of repealing Health Care Reform – Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), introduced H.R. 3, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.” Smith is chairman of the House Pro-Life Caucus.

The House is scheduled to vote on this bill tomorrow.

What the bill would essentially do is make existing abortion restrictions permanent law; currently, those restrictions need to be renewed each year (via the Hyde Amendment). Smith said the bill is “designed to permanently end any U.S. government financial support for abortion, whether it be direct funding or by tax credits or any other subsidy."

H.R. 3 would also ban coverage of abortion in the new health-care exchange system and impose tax penalties on Americans with private insurance plans that include abortion coverage. Currently, 87% of private plans currently include abortion coverage.

Several amendments to the bill were introduced…and subsequently rejected by the House majority, such as an exemption for women with cancer who need life saving treatment incompatible with continuing the pregnancy.

Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 to be connected to your Representative!

H.R. 3 takes away health care access from the uninsured and moves our country backward, not forward. Low-income women and women of color will be disproportionately affected if this bill becomes law.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Feminist Flashback: She-Ra

Thinking along the lines of previous posts such as Designing Me and Might Last A Day; Mine Is Forever, I was inspired to write about another piece of pop culture that shaped my childhood.

I fucking loved She-Ra. In kindergarten, I had the bright yellow lunchbox with her posse on front, several action figures, that pink-ass castle and even a talking toothbrush. For Christmas one year, my parents got me this “She-Ra set,” consisting of her bronzey plastic headdress (which left awful indentations on the sides of my face) and her sword. As a cape, I’d tie my Rainbow Brite beach towel around my neck, and proceed to repeatedly leap off the coffee table (oh, my poor mother).

At face value, She-Ra is a strong chick who kicks ass (He-Man’s sister, if you’re not familiar). Yay 80s for giving us such a cartoon heroine, especially for us girls who weren’t all that into My Little Pony.

A few years ago, I actually found (and bought) Season 1 of the series – but, when my friend and I sat down to watch it, we couldn’t get past the first episode. It was….kinda boring, with a lot of sci-fi mumbo jumbo. How did we ever follow this as children?? I kept telling myself that maybe the first season wasn’t the one I remember…it must get better…I have yet to seek out the second (and final) season. Maybe it’s because I’m not a big fan of all that is sci-fi. Seriously, read the Wikipedia page with She-Ra’s full bio. Leeetle crazy. Maybe some childhood loves should be left in childhood; to relive them is to destroy their magic.

Anyway, thinking about the series now – as an adult with a little more life experience than when I was, uh, 5 – I can see how maybe it wasn’t quite the feminist utopia I fondly remember.

One could argue that She-Ra was just a glorified Barbie. She was blonde, white, slender and wore one of those getups you couldn’t possibly fight in (how does her ample bosom stay in there?!). And riding a horse in a skirt? Please.

The Crystal Castle I had was a bright pink jewel resting atop some clouds – but it was really nothing more than a “dream house” without the modern efficiencies.

And come to think of it, everyone on that show was white. Contrary to popular belief: women with red, blue and purple hair do not count as “diversity.”

Shortcomings aside, at least She-Ra did shit other than drive a 57 Chevy, eat ice cream and hang out with Skipper and Midge. I’m no guru of present-day kids’ shows, but in terms of kick-ass female heroine shows in the likeness of She-Ra, no names come easily to mind. She-Ra was a heroine I was (and still am) happy to have had in my formative years. I can only hope we will see a new heroine – one even more kick-ass, who knows the meaning of “justice,” who has a diverse posse, fighting issues that are the underlying cause of our world’s decline – inspire current and future generations of young girls everywhere. Maybe two heroines? Yes, two or three would be cool. Too much to ask?

Oh my holy crap, this brings back memories:

Friday, April 29, 2011

Being in control of your sexual health? Tacky!!

In a recent interview with Elle, Black-Eyed Pea threw out this gem:

ELLE: If you walked into a woman’s house, what one item would convince you that you weren’t compatible?
W: If she had condoms in her house, that would just fuckin’ throw me off. That’s just tacky.

ELLE: Well, okay, I could see if she had a candy bowl full of them on the coffee table. But if she’s got a few in a drawer, wouldn’t that simply suggest she’s health-conscious?
W: I just think, like, if you’re into someone and you guys get to that level, then that’s something you should converse about together and say, “Hey, maybe we should get some.” Another pet peeve is wet sinks.

Oh, that’s RIGHT, will – totally forgot that it’s unbecoming for a chick to protect herself. We should all just leave the prophylactic purchasing up to you dudes – or else we’ll look like the sluts that we are! After all, you don't bring condom-carrying gals home to meet mama.

So ladies, Mr. says we must rid our living spaces of unused condoms before having male visitors. I'm wondering: if women shouldn’t buy condoms unless they’re with (chaperoned by) their SigOt – what to do with leftover condoms after a breakup? Perhaps will’s next venture will be condom exchange programs…

Thursday, April 28, 2011

...and what of the boys?

I’m morbidly curious about feminism backlash. The F word is still not considered very “cool” by mainstream standards – and if you should share your beliefs with others, more than likely they will tell you how “far women have come,” that women have just as many opportunities as men, and stop whining you dirty man-hating hippie.

While these are pretty apathetic and ignorant comments at best, there are far worse still floating around. Something that so many people claim to be “irrelevant” still conjures up a decent amount of defamatory statements.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve recently seen a rebirth of this classic anti-feminist argument: feminism hurts our men.

This is far from a new tactic, but puzzling how an idea so antiquated would rear its ugly head in 2011. Guess the right wing is out of new ideas....either that, or they’re too busy solving the problems of the economy – oh!

To summarize this school of thought: feminism is bad for [heterosexual] men because without traditional gender roles, men…..gosh darn it…..just….don’t know what to do! While women are advancing their education, in their professions, putting off marriage (or rejecting it altogether), and realizing they don’t need a man to ride in on his white horse and fix the toilet – this has somehow turned our men into immature, lost little boys. The Little Boy Syndrome then reinforces the desire for heterosexual women to not seek out a mate, since prospects swimming in the dating pool aren’t very appealing.

And, there goes the neighborhood. The traditional family is lost! Our morality is declining! The sanctity of marriage flushed down that toilet fixed by a female! Zomg.

The most recent and nauseating display of this anti-feminist backlash comes from Tea Party nutjob Allen West (R-FL). Here is what he told the attendees of a Women Impacting Nation (WIN) meeting last week:

Hmmm. Interesting. So, basically the proper role for women is seeing to it that we produce great men – whether it be through birthing them or sacrificing our Selves to make sure they have all they need to be great. If we women demand any type of self-respect or independence, we are in effect “castrating” our men.

And they wonder why we’re such angry types.

Seriously though, for the 6,746th time, feminism is not about “castrating” men, literally or figuratively (nice job at hijacking the message). It’s about mutual respect and having agency. In the words of bell hooks, “feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.”

Feminism is not detrimental to men – in fact, it’s just the opposite. Feminism supports dismantling repressive gender roles, putting an end to required “machismo” and the like. Both sexes are free to pursue interests that are not traditionally in line with their gender. Women and men share the responsibilities of providing for the household. Feminism intersects with issues like race and class and seeks to eradicate their respective -isms.

The fact that Rep. West’s argument paints a picture of men as so god damn incompetent should be just as insulting to them as it is to women. Feminism does not preach that men are inherently incompetent – however, if a man does feel incompetent due to the presence of strong women, that problem lies within the individual (coughAllenWestcough).

No, we liberal "Planned Parenthood Code Pink women" are not the problem – we are the solution.

And please read more bell hooks.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Today is Denim Day in L.A.

For the majority of us, jeans are a staple of our daily uniform (or, for the rest of us, something to look forward to on Casual Fridays). Today, April 27, jeans have a deeper meaning...

via Peace Over Violence:

Italy, 1990s: An 18-year old girl is picked up by her married 45-year old driving instructor for her very first lesson. He takes her to an isolated road, pulls her out of the car, wrestles her out of one leg of her jeans and forcefully rapes her. Threatened with death if she tells anyone, he makes her drive the car home. Later that night she tells her parents, and they help and support her to press charges. The perpetrator gets arrested and is prosecuted. He is convicted of rape and sentenced to jail.

He appeals the sentence. The case makes it all the way to the Italian Supreme Court. Within a matter of days the case against the driving instructor is overturned, dismissed, and the perpetrator released. In a statement by the Chief Judge, he argued, “because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them, and by removing the jeans, it was no longer rape but consensual sex.”

Enraged by the verdict, within a matter of hours the women in the Italian Parliament launched into immediate action and protested by wearing jeans to work. This call to action motivated and emboldened the California Senate and Assembly to do the same, which in turn spread to Patricia Giggans, Executive Director of Peace Over Violence, and Denim Day in LA was born. The first Denim Day in LA was in April 1999, and has continued every year since.