OH LOOK. A LADY LINKS POST. WHAT.
~TIAW on Tumblr and Pinterest.
~One of the things that comes up from time to time on SOAM is that women tend to stress about what their bellies look like when they are on all fours. I remember when my second baby was a newborn and I had mastitis and was given the prescription of nursing him on the floor while leaning over him to let gravity help clear out the blocked duct. And I noticed that my boobs looked really weird from that angle. Because here’s the thing: BODIES ARE REALLY WEIRD. They are smelly and gross and do things that are wholly inappropriate. But we cover and hide all of that part of humanity so we are only regularly exposed to one aspect of human beauty. I love this link because it compares bodies in a flattering pose right next to one in an unflattering pose so you can see exactly how weird the bay actually is, and to help you remember how arbitrary it is that we decided only one of those poses is a flattering one. In either case the body is equally as disgusting and amazing if you really stop and think about it.
~A very SOAM-relevant post.
~Geena Davis solves Hollywood sexism for you.
~Mormon women pose nude FOR FEMINISM!
The other day I was at Home Depot in line behind two kids buying candy bars (which was… weird. I mean. In my day we bought our candy bars at 7-11). A little girl, about eight, paid for the candy for herself and her older brother. I don’t really know what was going on because, I mean, lots of reasons. Because I was thinking about my own purchases (sadly candy-free), because I am notoriously oblivious, and because it’s really none of my business. I guess I assumed a parent had given her some money for her to share with her brother and planned to meet the kids just beyond the entrance.
It was the cashier’s comment that caught my attention.
“When you’re older, promise to never pay for a boy again, ok?”
It’s this weird sexualization of children, I think, that bothered me more than the sexism itself – although I hadn’t dug that deep quite that quickly. I just knew the whole thing felt inappropriate to me.
It’s not appropriate to make every thing a child does about their future sexuality. It’s not appropriate to make blanket demands of a little girl about what kind of woman she should be once she’s grown. I know the cashier didn’t mean it that way and I know that so many people every day make comments like that with completely innocent intent. And that’s the problem, really. That we are conditioned by society to think that something dark is innocent, and then we, in turn, condition the next generation. It’s the building blocks of the patriarchy.
And to be clear here I am not saying that it is sexist for a woman to allow a man to pay. I’m not saying she should always or even sometimes pay. I don’t know. I don’t give a shit what people do. I can’t make rules like that because every person and situation is so different. A wise friend once, in giving me step-by-step dating instructions (because sometimes 30-somethings need that sort of thing), told me that it’s generally best, in the beginning of the relationship at the very least to just follow social tradition and expect that the man will pay. That makes total sense. So, you see, I am not, in any way, against women allowing men to pay for dates or candy at the Home Depot.
But to tell a child who you don’t even know that there is just one way that things are done – to make her promise to follow that particular social norm – feels wrong to me. To assume that the things she is doing today are ultimately leading up to a romantic encounter at some point years from now is gross on every possible level. We are so used to doing this sort of thing that we don’t even see what it is that we are doing. Because the sexualization of children isn’t limited to the obvious. It’s not just t-shirts for kindergarteners that say “FLIRT” across them. Every time we align a child with an adult’s sexual role, we are sexualizing the child. Every time you make a comment about a toddler having a boyfriend, or how a baby boy is going to break girls’ hearts someday, you are making adult comments about a not-yet-sexually-mature person. This girl at Home Depot wasn’t on a date. This girl didn’t even have boobs yet. She was wearing a bright yellow summer shift dress with her hair up in a ponytail – she could not have looked more eight-years-old if she’d tried. As she and her brother left he asked her what the cashier said and the girl grinned and told him, “I’m not allowed to pay for boys ever again.”
I was going to just let the whole thing go because, honestly, I can’t police the entire world. Even though I’d be really, really good at it, I just can’t tell everyone how to live and then make sure that they follow my rules. But the cashier dragged me into it.
“Don’t you think so, though? That she should never pay for a man?”
“Uh. Well. I guess I just don’t think we should reinforce gender roles in kids.”
You guys. I have social anxiety. I scored a 92 on this test. It’s really hard for me to talk to people I don’t know, let alone have opinions at them. But I was being asked a direct question and I couldn’t just pretend to agree because I am just as physically incapable of being inauthentic in that way as I am physically incapable of making small talk. This is me. I can’t talk about the damn weather if you paid me, but I will get directly into a deep discussion on sexism and gender expectations for children within five minutes of seeing you for the first time ever. I might be shaking and unable to make eye contact, but we will have this conversation.
Thank god I’m cute.
Then the lady told me – I swear I am not making this up – “It’s not like I told her to not be a lesbian or anything.”
I blinked. I tried to connect the dots. I blinked some more. What?
“I didn’t think you were,” I said. “It just reminds me a little bit of when my daughter broke her tooth last summer and the dentist told her that girls can’t skateboard.”
That pushed a button. “It’s nothing like that!”
“It kinda is, though. I just don’t think we should make blanket statements based only on her gender for her entire life right now.”
And at that point the cashier totally switched gears. I don’t know if she actually meant it when she told me that I was right and she just hadn’t looked at it that way or if she’d made a decision to let the crazy feminazi think she’d converted a sexist-heathen to the flock so she could get on with her day of selling lumber and Snickers. I’d love to believe I’d had some impact on how she sees things, but I just really don’t know that people are that willing to change viewpoints that quickly for someone they’ve never even met.
What are your thoughts on this? How would you feel if someone told your daughter something like that? Would it bother you or would you feel comfortable with it? Do you feel like it’s part of sexualizing children, or is it strictly a gender role comment?
~TIAW on Tumblr and Pinterest.
~This was going around a couple of weeks ago. It’s a comparison (using… food?) of porn to real-life sex. I have not actually seen a crapton of porn in my life, so I find it interesting that many of these numbers were a surprise to me. I guess it goes to show how much influence porn has over our cultural view of sex. *sigh*
~This is a really interesting article. I started skimming it the other day and got about 30% of the way through before I had formed a solid opinion. Now that I’ve finished it, however, I don’t know really what to think. In the article, a thin woman who struggles with her own body image (as many women of all sizes do) makes a comment about not wanting to be fat. Was it a derogatory comment, biased against overweight? Absolutely. But do thin women not get to talk about their own body image issues just because they are thin? That’s not really fair either, is it? Perhaps we should do that thing here where we listen openly to everyone’s point of view, and together we can gently discuss these issues. Maybe that way we can grow together and finally end this body hatred too many women of all sizes and shapes suffer from.
~”To suggest that one’s belly, body hair or tattoo is ‘distasteful’ and should therefore be covered in the name of etiquette is the very worst sort of body fascism. If your children are traumatised by the sight of a fat person in a bikini, a bit of cellulite or a caesarean scar, then may I tentatively suggest that you aren’t raising them correctly. If seeing someone hairy wearing something skimpy renders you ‘unable to eat your lunch’ then I’m afraid my diagnosis is the problem is with your brain, not their body. We are all naked underneath our clothes. We all have a body and few of them are anatomically ‘perfect’. Grow up.” <-- From this article.
~Dear Men, “You shouldn’t be a feminist because you want to protect your womenfolk, or because you think it’ll get you laid. You should be a feminist because you should fucking be a feminist.” Word.
~I really really REALLY don’t understand how a shirt insinuating that girls can’t do math gets through the production process without someone in the company pointing out that, hey, you guys? maybe this is a tad sexist? WTF, Children’s Place? Still, this post brings up some other questions dealing with the more subtle layers of gender-designed clothing. I know when I was pregnant with my son in 2005 and did not know his gender it was really hard to find gender-neutral newborn clothes. Once he was born, it was really hard to find boy clothes without sports stuff on them (we are so not sports people). It’s worth thinking about.
~TIAW on Pinterest and Tumblr.
~We’re not fat enablers. We’re new shoe hoarders. OK. Well, it’ll make sense once you read the article.
~MOST AWESOME 12 YEAR OLD.
~How to Live With Anxiety. I agree on basically all the points here. Fantastic article.
~The most incredible selfie I will probably ever see. This woman took photos of herself just after her baby was born. JUST after. Like before birthing the placenta. They are bloody and messy and holy crap they are beautiful. You can translate the page at Google Translate.
~We’ve all seen those images that show us what a woman would have to look like if she had Barbie’s measurements, but I like this project which shows what Barbie would look like if she were an average woman.
~Here’s a pretty incredible article about the archetype of Manic Pixie Dream Girl. It goes into what’s wrong with so much of Story these days, and how we, as women, try to find ourselves in characters. I’m tall and not at all petite and when I was younger I would have done anything to have been a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. But, looking back, maybe it’s better that I didn’t fit that physically. Maybe it’s better I couldn’t find a group to fit into. Cause I found Me instead.
~Dustin Hoffman will make you love him more than you adready do.
~The Beauty Industry would like you to remember how disgusting you are as a human animal and here can they help you with that?
So that was a fairly epic week, no?
The US Supreme Court made some big decisions. One of them sets us back about 50 years in terms of racism allowed by the law (what? no. really). So that’s bad. The other one makes us somewhat closer to even with many other countries in terms of laws allowing gay marriage. So that’s good.
And then this thing happened in Texas. A thing where a woman (literally) stood up for what she believed in for twelve hours. She was constantly harassed about whether or not she was following the law. When a second woman tried to speak her own voice she was ignored repeatedly until she asked the question, “at what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?” And that? Was the beginning of something beautiful. It was about 15 minutes to go before Davis’ filibuster killed the anti-abortion bill when Van de Putte poised her question and all the women in the building (and probably many of the 170,000 people watching it stream live) burst into cheers and screams and chanting for twenty full minutes. When the republicans tried to silence Davis, the people took up her cause. And then, once they finally quieted down after the deadline, the republicans voted anyway. Because fuck the laws we are here to protect that’s why. What they maybe weren’t aware of was the 170,000 people watching it stream live. The hypocrisy kills me. I think, if justice is to be done, they should be given whatever punishment they deserve. I don’t expect justice to be done, though.
Why are we still living in the dark ages? I mean, really.
It’s like Paula Deen’s thing this week. She keeps going on and on and giving these weak apologies and excuses and “reasons” without ever actually facing the fact that she is, in fact, behaving in a racist way. It’s like, if no one’s getting lynched anymore that means racism is done. In all honestly, that’s how I used to feel about feminism. As a kid I didn’t see it. Women could vote now. We had the Equal Pay Act. We were allowed to become astronauts or Supreme Court justices. Feminism: Accomplished! Right? It wasn’t until I got older (and probably also that the world got smaller) that I was able to really see how things are. But I AM a woman. It’s easier to see discrimination when you are the one facing it. Paula Deen isn’t able to face her racist words and actions because she’s white and because she sees racism as this archaic thing that people don’t do anymore cause we all use the same drinking fountains now. She can’t see – perhaps because of the environment in which she lives – that she is still perpetuating racist ideals. But racism is more than just those clear symbols we grew up knowing were (or grew to know are) wrong.
Basically what I am saying is that racism and sexism and homophobia don’t always look the way you think they look. The old criteria were just the outer layer, the easy part. Now we have to really use our hearts and our minds and deeply think and deeply feel our way to equality. And that’s hard work.
Blah blah blah. On to the links. I mean the other links.
No, wait I’m not done yet. I can’t get over the blatant disregard for ACTUAL LAWS that happened there in Texas. They LIED. They CHANGED the time stamp to make it look like they passed it before the deadline. THEY FUCKING LIED. And when they were caught, they were all, “Heh. Oops. Our bad.” And that’s basically it. What we should have heard (at the very, very least) was, “Wow. You’re right. We let our passion over losing get in the way of our jobs here. We fucked up. Badly. There is honestly no way to fully apologize for how we betrayed all of our constituents. You all trusted us to work within the laws we, as a state, have a greed upon, and we completely and utterly did the opposite of that. We have learned our lesson. In the future we promise not to let our feelings get in the way of our morality. We are so, so sorry. And we know that apology isn’t enough, but we hope to show you in the future how we will stick to this promise if you let us.” And then the people of Texas should be all, “We accept your apology,” and then vote them out at the very first opportunity. At the very, very least. And this just addresses the actual lies and clear violation of the laws, not all the shady-but-not-technically-illegal stuff that also happened. How do people live with themselves? How do people continue to vote for this party? Because the thing is that I am not anti-republican by any means, but I am absolutely anti-asshat, and too many republicans in office ARE asshats.
Ok now I’m done.
~TIAW on Tumblr and Pinterest.
~You are loved. Even by your dentist.
~This is something I always wanted to do for SOAM, but I never trusted myself enough as a photographer. What a beautiful book. I am so glad it exists.
~This isn’t about body image. It’s about women in a sense, but really as more of a part of humanity. But it’s still really fucking cool. Scientists have long believed that some people (mostly certain women) have the ability to see more colors on the spectrum than the rest of us. They’ve finally found a woman who proves their theory.
~Here’s a pretty empowering post relating what happens when a random asshole guy tries harassing the wrong (actually the right) woman. (But I have to ask. How do people just randomly text people? I mean. How did he know he was texting a woman? I don’t get it. Please explain to this old lady.)