Archive for December, 2008

Even Rizzo just wants a steady.

I was shocked to discover two years ago that I see the “perfect me” as someone in a relationship. And I still haven’t figured out how to break free from this expectation. And I think I know why. It seems nearly every classic story, if it has a happy ending, ends with a wedding, a getting-together or something that involves finding your happiness in another person. I despise this notion that everyone has a “better half” or someone to “complete” them. I am a whole human being! There is nothing missing. WHY am I sad when I am by myself? Society has taught me, “hey, you have a great life, you’re a hard worker, you’re a fabulous person but who are you kidding? The only thing that can REALLY make you happy is love.” My brain has been hard-wired by repeated viewings of the Princess Bride, Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge, Juno… even WALL*E that my single self is not good enough. I’ve been told: “Someone else needs to tell me I’m beautiful. Someone else needs to protect me from harm. Someone else needs to pleasure me. Someone else needs to calm me down when I start convulsing with sobs.” This is wrong. I know I can do all these things. And I cannot decide who falls in love with me, but I can learn to love myself. I may find someone who happens to bring me joy, but I can also be happy BY MYSELF.

Is this just a female problem? I think this is a reason that so many female-identified feminists continue to shave their legs, wear tight clothing, and put on makeup. (Note from 2012: this sentence should perish, but I feel the need to keep it for posterity’s sake (= )

I feel as though all my life I’ve put so much pressure on myself in preparation for this mysterious future lover. And it wasn’t simply when I thought I was heterosexual. This is not a giving up your dreams to be a housewife thing. I’ve felt it when I accepted my attraction to the same sex too. It is a desire to be desirable, but to the extent that I deny my own comfort and love of my body. Now that I’ve mostly erased this expectation, I do so much more for myself!

How often during the day do you fix yourself up to appeal to this impending relationship? How often do you compromise your own comfort to make yourself desirable?

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Warning – some links NSFW

My ex and I share a flagrantly offensive sense of humor and a taste for the repulsive, but I’m a feminist, and he does college sketch comedy. We’ve been communicating a little bit recently, and doing what comes naturally—I sent him a link to a cookbook incorporating semen in every dish, he sent me a recipe for roast placenta; I made a Donner party riff on the Aristocrats joke, he posted LOLClits.com on my wall four times in a row…wait, WHAT?

LOLClits is a website where users submit photos of female genitalia with “funny” captions. They usually involve googley eyes or hats or something added to the genitals in Paint or Photoshop, and may I be the first to say that they are really not funny?

The original photos are almost all close-ups of female genitalia, never including the women’s faces. The women are all exposed—not only are they in front of a camera, they’re opening their legs and spreading their lips. A lot of these photos include or imply male presence—there are many in-and-out shots, and male-looking hands spreading labia and yanking on clits and piercings. Most of the pictures seem originally intended for someone’s sexual gratification, but on LOLClits, clits and vaginas play the roles of hungry monster, nasty old wizard, ray gun target, shocked plutocrat, dog, Diglett, and even a pimple. And, of course (this is LOLClits—LOLDicks just wouldn’t be funny, right?), the penises are never ridiculed. The male presence in the original photos functions only as a pretext to knock down the women—once you’ve got ‘er exposed, quick! Does her hymen look more like Homer or Flanders? And that’s all she wrote.

The original close-up photos of vulvas and clits and vaginas are completely one-dimensional acts of sexual openness. There’s no push-up bras, no bar-hopping, no multiple partners—in other words, none of the social expressions of sexuality that our culture tries to shame women for—in these photos. In the world of LOLClits, just having a pussy makes you fair game for rotten tomatoes.

And that is incredibly disturbing to me. I know that femaleness marks us for special shame, ridicule, and disregard in boys’ clubs the world over, but I’ve never seen hatred and disdain so pure before. What a wake-up call.

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words behind words

is it anti-feminist to call people “bitch”?

– orkinson

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What if I am a biddy?

So my house had a themed party which brought up some personal issues for me. I was dressing up as a biddy since the theme was “The All-American Ferry Frat” and I still have no concept of what Americana is.

Is it possible to be a self-respecting women and wear revealing clothing? On the way back from the mall I found myself evaluating each item I had purchased for my costume. Is this shirt slutty? If yes, is it ironic enough that people won’t think I’m a slut?

No matter what my intention was I knew people who didn’t know me would take one look and assume I am just another one of those girls who gets drunk and takes their clothes off or uses themed parties as an excuse to where the sluttiest outfits possible.

Throughout the party I had to keep reminding myself, “I can wear whatever I want. It doesn’t matter what other people think. I love my body and I shouldn’t be ashamed of it.” It became my inner mantra. But even so every once and awhile I would have to pull down my shirt to cover my belly or cover my legs up with a blanket or coat and hide, regrouping myself.

It shouldn’t be this big of a deal. Thoughts?

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who amongst us is a little (or a lot) less nice to their mothers (and other women in their lives) than they are to men? i know i’m really cranky and dismissive of my mother, when in fact what i should be doing is respecting the enormous amount of work she does to raise children, as well as provide income for my family. i think of her as ignorant and incompetent, when i should go out of my way to educate her, failing which i should be nice to her anyway. i actually can only think of three people who are decent to their mothers. two of them happen to be men, which is possibly irrelevant.  obviously, i know atleast dozens of people, out of which 3 is a teeny tiny fraction. which is a really terrible reflection upon our society, as well as us as individuals trying to reform it.


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Much thanks to Emili for letting me know about this one.

Oh the internet and all of it’s wonders! There is a woman who is posting pictures of her cervix of every day of her menstrual cycle on the internet. While I must admit it does feel a bit graphic and exhibitionist to me, and not exactly something to peruse over breakfast, I have to say it’s pretty interesting, and certainly food for thought. While personally it made me feel a little strange to see it at first, I think it’s so important to know ourselves, I recommend it for anyone with a cervix who wants to know their body a bit better. It’s strange that we should be so grossed out at our own anatomy.

Yay for science and pussies and the internet!

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i’m reading this book, Female Chauvinist Pigs: The Rise of Raunch Culture, by ariel levy. it talks about the increased visibility of sexual expression, in the form of exhibitionism and raunchiness, as evidenced by shows such as girls gone wild, howard stern, as well as the appropriation of pornography by mainstream american culture. it talks about how women, in an effort to share the fruits that men have historically enjoyed, are participating in chauvinistic oppression in order to democratize it for both men, women, and other genders…but the book argues that the movement is essentially misguided and harmful. it’s changing my life. i now no longer know how to dress or whether it’s okay to wear makeup…

i highly recommend everyone read it. it’s a short read. i’m not done yet but i just barely started it and i’m three quarters through it. if anyone has any thoughts, please share.


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I think part of the reason I meet so many people who hesitate to call themselves a feminist is because they have some idea of a hairy-arm-pitted matriarch who some how demands abortions and burns her bras (but as Ben points out, that’s probably not so bad).

But for me at least, that’s not what feminism is about. For me feminism is about loving myself, and loving my fellow beings, and demanding that we all treat each other with the respect we deserve. It’s where gender and all of it’s limitations, and hang ups are dismantled once and for all. It’s about equal rights for all. It’s about egalitarianism, baby.

Patriarchy, Matriarchy, any archy. It’s all the same stuff that gives power to some by taking it from others and fails to recognize those who are and have historically been marginalized.

But here’s the ticker. How do you live an egalitarian life in patriarch-ed, racist, classist, and generally fucked up world? While I can say “genderisasocialconstruct” every five minutes, it ultimately doesn’t change things. Yes. I’ve acknowledged something, but it’s not enough. I’m no girly girl, but I still reproduce and reinforce gender with my speech, with my actions. And even if I was the girly girl, is that so bad?

I’ve been dealing with this ever since I read a bit of Judith Butler and to be honest I’ve never really found an appropriate way to deal with it. And maybe that’s part of it, that until we live in an egalitarian society, my life will feel a bit off. I must remind myself that this is a society problem, not just an individualized one.

But in the mean time what to do?! How does one act in a way, knowing all of these things that doesn’t drive a person crazy? One thing I’ve been thinking about is trying to look at all power structures (not simply patriarchical ones) in which I’m related, and then try to change how I’ve been acting within that power structure. One specific power relation which I’ve recently been interested in has been my relation to speciesism. After hearing Evan Greer at Vassar the other day I was struck by the links between patriarchy and specisism. While it’s difficult to clearly articulate, it became clear to me that hierarchy in all it’s forms leads to the unnecessary suffering of so many. And so I’ve decided to become a vegan. It may seem like a stretch but in some ways I think this choice is completely related to my experience with feminism. It’s not dismantling the binary of gender but dismantling a different binary (“animals” and “humans”) and it’s tangible, and in some ways is giving me a better understanding of my privilege and how I play into hierarchical structures.

How do you deal with the binary and with your own role in hierarchical structures? What are your frustrations? What’s helped? What hasn’t?

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