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Archive for the ‘turns out I'm a feminist’ Category

oh yes you’re so fucking sweet

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Two weeks ago (ish) a story was everywhere all of a sudden about two girls who gave up their homecoming crown for their friend.

Some ‘mean kids’* apparently told the friend that she’d been nominated when she hadn’t. The pair of girls that the stories are about were nominated, and when they found out … well, “We were like, ‘No matter what, no backing down. If one of us wins, we’re giving Lillian the crown,’” one of them said. 

The stories are, exclusively as far as I can tell, along the lines of ‘these are just the best best friends in the world, to sacrifice for that poor unpopular girl like that’.

I call BALONEY and my reasons are three. Like trolls. And wishes.

1. There was no sacrifice. Whatsoever. Let me lay this out for you. No one is as emotionally manipulative and as willing to act fake in the pursuit of possible social capital as a teenage girl. This isn’t some girl on girl hate, this is just the fact that teenagers are sociopaths combined with the fact that our society tells young women that being liked, preferably with votes involved, is the highest of all achievements. These girls went about it in a pleasant way, which is lovely, but they also knew that they were trading a 50% (or lower, it’s not clear how many other young women were nominated) chance at winning for a 100% chance of being remembered as ‘those girls who could have been queen if they weren’t just so sweet to their ugly friend’.

2. This is more dubious, but I have my doubts about this purported ‘she’s our very bestest friend’ thing. Because you know what does NOT, generally, happen to the best friends of women who are nominated for homecoming queen? Other people do not play pranks on them telling them they were nominated. There is a popularity bubble and outside of movies, you can’t be in a bubble where queens call you bestie and ALSO in a bubble where ‘mean kids’ play John Hughes (/Steven King) level pranks on you. I know I’m generalizing, but in what real school would such a prank happen anymore ANYWAY?

3. Let’s say I’m wrong. Let’s say the three of these girls really are best friends. Let’s say the two possible queens neeeever considered how just positively selfless this would make them look. What is the final queen supposed to take away from this? It almost seems meaner to me than the original prank. It’s not just one girl saying to another in private ‘oh honey here’s something you could never get on your own’. It’s two girls, saying to their friend, on a national stage, that she is pitiable. What is she supposed to do with that? I imagine the possible queens thinking that the other girl would pull out her yearbook and tell her children about the two nicest friends she ever had, but that’s not going to happen. This is an embarrassing story. This is ‘people at school tricked me into thinking I was popular and then pulled the rug out, and then two of my friends brought it up again in front of the school and then the world and made it impossible to forget. I didn’t win homecoming queen, I wasn’t nominated for homecoming queen, but here’s a picture of me with the crown!’.

I don’t know why I’m so bothered by this. The girl on whom the honor was bestowed seems fine with it (although what’s she going to do, she’s unpopular and she would seem like a jerk – HuffPo et all are on the side of the possible queens). I went to a tiny, tiny school, so we didn’t have this drama. I’m getting all of this *cough* wisdom from the experiences of friends and writers. I could be totally wrong.
But I’m bothered! These girls are not heroes.
Plus, I’m a little irritated by the very true fact that I might have agreed to this in high school if someone else had suggested it.
*SERIOUSLY, who were these mean kids and what did they actually do? Did they tell her like, in a fake ceremony? Just in the hallway? With a banner? The public has the right to know.

as it should be

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

There’s a website that I love, that I’ve always been a little embarrassed to love. I primarily read it at night when I’m trying to fall asleep. There’s something about the list format that I find soporific - maybe because it’s easy to quit? Complete little mental bites and then move right along to either the next one or sleepiness.

That website is Cracked, and it has recently, sneakily, become pretty fucking feminist.

I’m not embarrassed to read it anymore. (Please note that I am talking specifically about the articles and quick fixes (essentially shorter articles). The videos and stuff might be terrible, I don’t know, I basically don’t watch videos on the internet. Get off my damn lawn.)

Oh, you want examples? Let’s do it.

Old Cracked: The 6 Most Inappropriate Porn-Character Occupations
ample line:

She who believes in hell, must believe in me!
Do you believe that I’m sexy?

New Cracked: 4 Ways Gamers Still Suck at Dealing with Women
Sample line: There’s a baffling disconnect where gamers want to be taken seriously, but they also want to be able to call Quinn (or Anita Sarkeesian, or Brianna Wu, or Jennifer Hepler, or the woman who just chainsawed them in half in Gears of War) insults that the average convicted sex offender would consider over the line. They want to have their asshole cake and eat it too.

Do you think that’s cheating? Because the old article was not intentionally anti-woman while the new article was clearly pro-woman? WRT the old article, I’m not saying they used to be anti-woman, I’m just saying they used to casually write whole articles that were jokes about female porn stars. For the new article I could have gone further and used the fact that they published an article by Zoe Quinn. (Quick summary: Zoe Quinn is a gamer/game designer/game maker who had parts of her sexual past revealed online and then was … I still don’t really understand. She was one of the various women who has been attacked lately for daring to be a gamer with a vagina out loud.) I could have gone straight for the anonymous, true story of being a sex slave in modern America. The gamers article seems kind of tame in comparison, but let’s go for a more innocuous example.

Old Cracked: 14 Valentine’s Day Gifts Guaranteed to Not Get You Laid
Sample line: The other problem is that even if a guy appeared in a real wedding magazine, he’d go to the ends of the earth to make sure his friends never found out.

New Cracked: 5 Classic Movies You Didn’t Notice Were Completely Insane
Sample line: It’s parody so I can’t really quote it but they call out the statutory rape in Indiana Jones.

I know, it’s not groundbreaking. The old one illustrates the ‘men don’t like girl things’ attitude that was prevalent in a lot of articles as well as anything I could find, and the new one takes beloved pop culture to task for an adult man sleeping with a sixteen year old. One more.

Old Cracked: Wives: A Users Guide
Sample line: Wives do not have an off switch. They talk constantly. To check that you are listening, they will drop something intelligent amongst the usual inane shit. Respond to that. Or else.

New Cracked: What We Really Mean When We Talk About Leaked Pics
ample line: And, yes, this is an issue specific to women; there likely won’t be a public-shaming of men who take naked selfies, because those aren’t the pictures that hackers are going to track down and share publicly. 

Right? RIGHT?

I’m just pleased that a funny website that isn’t specifically (or even superficially) geared towards women is starting to read this way. To be clear, they’ve always had some reasonable content. They used to have a specific writer named Christina H who nailed a lot of body shaming stuff, and most everything else was pretty neutral and also pretty funny (which is why I’ve been reading off and on for years).

I guess it’s just nice that instead of being surprised by a random ‘those ladies be cray amirite’, I’m now more often surprised by content that treats women as people who are both worth reading about and respecting as readers.

It’s sad that I’m so pleased by a website being as it should be that I’m actually writing about it, but, you know. Steps.

band WAGGIN’

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

You’ve seen it. I’ve seen it. We’ve all seen it and and we’re all shocked by its origins, right?


via Playboy – click on the image to visit the original site but be aware it is a playboy url, so use discretion if at work

Playboy knocking it out of the park.

It’s still objectifying. I could definitely live without the silhouettes at the top, for example, and some of the statements could have been worded differently. (For the ‘banging booty’ one, insert ‘are there parts of her body that you find are of a shape that traditionally appeals to the male gaze …’ ok, yeah, not catchy). And for the sexually frustrated one, the answers give the two choices as ‘no because am having sex’ or ‘yes am a harasser’, when there is in fact a perfectly good third option which is no I am not currently having sex but I will still not be aiming my sex wants at strangers.

Small complaints.

My absolute favorite part, though, is the verging-on confusion that comes across in the answers in the respectful, appropriate path. In the ‘is she dressed up real nice’ box, the font implies a greasy guy saying ‘reeeeeel nice’ and possibly making hand gestures at the same time (to me at least), and the appropriate guy is like um I guess? She’s probably got a meeting or something? Cracks me up.

Whoever’s idea this was, love it. Still not going to the all new and improved (not a playboy link), but, you know, good job, guys. Language of the playboy reader, message of a woman walking down the street just trying to live her life.


Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

I met Crockett for delicious wine and a tasty lobster roll at The Empire after work today, because that’s kind of how we roll on Tuesdays post breakup. (Minus the lobster roll, because that’s a short term thing, per the head chef/owner (I asked)).

(I love lobster rolls.)

I wonder, now, what I would think of Crockett if we were going on a first date. When we met we were younger. (Duh, dummy, whatever.) I was coming out of a long period of time of being alone punctuated by really really terrible decisions. I dated that guy who was a friend’s younger brother, for example, that I barely exchanged words with and yet somehow we became boyfriend and girlfriend and then I kept canceling things and he got mad. Or those other guys. Whatever.  This is not that post. This is a post about me making new friends or failing to do so.

I started to make a new friend recently, but it didn’t go very well. In this case, I made some serious comments about the implications of men calling women they date crazy (actual mental issues are serious business and not to be made light of. ‘Crazy’ as usually used by men in that context means that a woman has wants and needs that aren’t in line with his needs or aren’t within the boundaries of what a woman traditionally expresses on a date) and the difference between that and women calling men creepy (also not particularly fair, but when a dude presents as putting his desire to be near you above your own desire to be not-near him, that can turn non-safe faster than most men would believe possible, so early labeling is to a large extent a safety issue for us) and it wasn’t received openly. My prospective new friend thought I was lecturing/yelling/something something and said that I would be more convincing if I WAS QUIETER ABOUT IT.

The thing is, I was totally lecturing/something something. (I was not yelling). These are things that I care strongly about, and things that I will never talk about the way that I’ll talk about TV or that tick that turns people into vegetarian zombies or whatever. There’s not a place in my future where I’ll stop lecturing/something something when I talk about that stuff.

I was a grown up when I met Crockett, but I became the person I am now while I was with him. (Most of that is documented here, actually.) I wonder, if I met him now, if we would even be friends. I think we would, but I also think he would say some things that would make me mad. And I would say some things that he would think were stupid. And I would make him mad. But I would see that he is smart and funny and currently underutilized in his whole life. And he might see that I’m …. whatever I am.

My work friend, Coastie (see the recent post where he laughed at my dumb joke and no one else did), is sort of an exercise in opposites when compared to the friend who thought I was a yeller. He’s not aware that women calling men creepy and men calling women crazy is even a thing. He doesn’t know what reddit is. I could explain the crazy/creepy phenomenon to him and he would agree, because he wouldn’t understand that there was a subset of people who think that doesn’t make sense. My across-the-hallway-coworker, who has been online dating a lot, would think I was making a big deal out of something that doesn’t really exist. We are not going to be real friends. My friend Chewbacca would not necessarily agree with me, but would engage in honest discussion and would never accuse me of taking it too seriously. Most of my other friends (girlfriends) just let me say things and nod and smile and sometimes ask me to intervene when some dumbass is saying things like ‘yo that girl I met last week was crazy’. I don’t know what Crockett would have done if he hadn’t grown into this version of me with me.

I’ve been watching too much Sex and the City. But the question is: when you’re a fully formed adult person (in as much as that’s a real thing which come on, we’re talking 50% fully formed for the best of us), how much compatibility can you expect from the people you love? How much are they expected to agree with you, how much to humor you, and how much can you disagree on?