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

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Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

So I super wanted to write about this young woman who posted a petition on asking stores like Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters to stop selling “inappropriate” clothing, but it took me forever to find the link and I’m tired so … maybe tomorrow I’ll have a fully thought out response. In case I don’t get to it, though, in summary: Petition writer, there is a point in the life of every woman (or should be) when she realizes that policing other women with regards to their obedience to patriarchal guidelines does none of us any good. Therefore, you should shop at the many stores that sell things that you want to wear, and then wear those things. AND, you should let other young women shop where and wear what they want to wear.

(To be clear, she is well spoken and I get that she’s excited about defending something she feels strongly about, and that’s beautiful. I wish I’d been so brave at fifteen. However, when she says things like “I and girls everywhere want to be able to be trendy and classy, modest but stylish,” and “clothes currently being released by beloved brands for girls tear away the innocence we deserve to treasure, and while we should look classy, young, and beautiful, we instead come across as cheap,” she’s undermining the women her age who chose to wear those ‘cheap’ clothes. She HAS choices that meet her needs, they’re in stores everywhere. The text of the petition has a very ‘you evil stores are making us into bad girls but we’re good girls’ undertone. That’s problematic for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that telling young women that good girls are modest is a huge part of rape culture. Oh, and of this.)


Sunday, January 10th, 2016


We went with unconventional engagement rings, which I’m really really pleased with for a few reasons. One, because they’re goddamn awesome. Two, because we picked something out together that was fun, and I think it’s nice to find fun in relationships, right? (Stay tuned for my new column on Cosmo called Totally Original Things No One Has Ever Said About Love Before.)

But three, and three should maybe be more like THREE, because it’s the biggie, engagement rings are a fucking intense topic and we navigated them well, I think. Why intense, you ask? Well, I’ve previously noted my thoughts on rings themselves, asking for permission, and proposals in general. If you don’t wanna go read through those, the general gist is ‘if you’re doing it because you want it and not because you’re supposed to, then you do you …’ BUT, with a strong edge of ‘are you suuuuuure you want it because you want it and not because the Wedding Industrial Complex told you to want it?’

I’m really irritating sometimes when I’m sure I’m right.

So, now, Crockett and I are engaged. Betrothed, even. And, you guys, I wanted a shiny diamond. I feel like any writing I do about feminism lately has been about how it’s hard, and this didn’t make it any easier. I was prepared for a non-traditional engagement, and then as soon as we started talking about it I was prepared for something shiny and pretty. I was found a shop where I loved basically everything, and he and I paged through it and looked at shapes and stuff. (Grey diamonds. Rose gold. How do these things get into your head when they’re getting popular but you don’t know they’re getting popular?) And it was stressing him out, trying to maintain a level of surprise while picking something I’d wear forever, and it was stressing me out, because … well, see the links above. I don’t actually believe that decision-by-dude acceptance-by-chick diamonds-are-forever marking-the-bride proposal tradition thing.

So, we picked rings out together. He’s wearing one too. My feminist analyst brain is comfortably relaxed with the whole thing, and our rings have Edith Pilaf lyrics and motherfucking skulls on them.

And the shiny diamonds I have pinned on the secret ‘that big party’ board on my pinterest? Of course I want them just a little. They’re beautiful. But not as beautiful as the rings we have.

I’m guessing this won’t be the first time feminist Emma and likes-pretty-things-and-being-a-princess Emma have this problem during this whole ‘getting married’ process.

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.