Category Archives: stereotypical

[cranky] stupid facebook, updated

Facebook banned me from posting for 24 hours because I posted “abusive” photos — my first two profile pictures from nearly a year and a half ago. So, of course, I’m sharing them here:

 
this is the back of my head. you can also see two of my many “little sisters” in the village I lived in in Ghana. the picture was taken by another of my little sisters (who is a damn good cook, in case you were wondering)
 
 
nudity?! trees don’t wear clothes
 
 
Tuesday evening I received a 12 hour ban. (the page is set up so that you have to be 17+ to access or view anything, so shouldn’t it be okay to have sex-positive posts and jokes?)
 


[feminist] defining gender binaries as a social construct

As requested, I’ve pulled out one of my women’s studies books to bring you a definition of gender.

First, we have to acknowledge that the term “sex” refers to biology, and your sexual organs. You are born a girl, a boy, or intersex. Therefore, the term “gender” refers to culture and society– often phrased “social construction of gender.” What does it mean to be a man, or to be a woman? What adjectives have you been called recently?

  • weak, pretty, timid, demure (dowdy/frumpy, matronly, brazen, coy, slut, whore)
  • strong, handsome, burly, macho, stocky, strong (effeminate, queer, weak, timid)

Which line do your adjectives fit into? The top line usually describes women, while the second line usually describes men (and the parenthesis are generally insult-words). See any overlap? Comparing men to women is often an insult “you throw like a girl,” while for a woman to be compared to a man is usually a complement “strong like your brother.”

Quick homework, go to Toys-R-Us (or some equivalent) online, and search for toys for kids under 5… there is an option to sort for “girl toys” and “boy toys.” Here’s my test– “girl toys” got this doll in the top 10 results, “boy toys” got this in the top 10 results. Pink baby doll, sports car, socially constructed gender.

You see your friend’s young kid for the first time, what do you say? “Jane, your dress is so pretty!” or “Mark, you’re so tall!”– would you ever tell a boy that he was “pretty”?

Right there, you answered no. There is no escape from social constructions of gender. We are all victims of the society we are born into. But, we must all work to end these stereotypes of gender– the manly man and the girly girl. Girls can do anything boys can do. Boys can do anything girls can do. We should never limit our children to dolls and pretend kitchens, or trucks and cars. We should never tell a little boy “you can’t paint your toenails, that’s only for girls” or tell a little girl “you can’t play with trucks, that’s only for boys.” Just like we should never tell girls that they couldn’t be things like doctors, astronauts, truck drivers, breadwinners, or the president; and how we should never tell boys that they can’t cry, become a dancer, or be stay at home parent. Think before you speak and before you buy.

[feminist] video: women “raped too much”

liz trotta: misogynist 

The link will take you to HuffPost’s video of a Fox news interview with a well-respected journalist Liz Trotta. She tells her viewers that Feminists are the reason there is so much rape in the military, and that they are also the reason that there are so many useless jobs such as advocates for sexual victims, and counselors. She believes that women can should only expect to encounter more violent sexual attacks as they move closer and closer to attaining equality with men in the military. Except she doesn’t use the word equality, of course. She also claims that women “are now being raped too much”– too much? This leads me to believe that your statement also says that “being raped a little is okay.” Did you really mean that? Do you honestly mean that women who choose to serve their country and aim to be the best soldiers they can expect to “be raped a little”? Whats the difference between a little and too much? Clearly your privileged bubble needs to be burst, and soon, before you contaminate any more minds and bring women back in time from all of their accomplishments.

[feminist] Miss Representation Film

I just got back from watching “Miss Representation” which was absolutely incredible. Sometimes it takes being slapped in the face before we realize what we’re absorbing into our minds, both consciously and subconsciously. I’ve attached the Trailer.

“Miss Representation brings together some of America’s most influential women in politics, news and entertainment, including Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Margaret Cho, Rosario Dawson and Gloria Steinem to give audiences an inside look at the media’s message and depiction of women. The film explores women’s under-representation in positions of power by challenging their limited and often disparaging portrayals in the media. Miss Representation takes the stand that the media is portraying women’s primary values as their youth, beauty and sexuality – rather than their capacity as leaders.”

When was the last time you watched a movie where the star was a woman?
And she wasn’t hunting down a man to marry?
Or Laura Croft, taking charge of the world as a badass go-get-um woman wearing not enough clothes?
You’re not sure, are you?

Watch the commercials during the next TV show you have on. What are women wearing? How are they acting? What are men wearing? Why are the vast majority of women on our televisions sexualized? Even if you’re monitoring what your kids watch on TV, how can you escape commercials? And what subconscious messages are your kids receiving through the shows they watch– are men smarter? funnier? more attractive? make more money?

Can you think of a show on TV where the woman is smarter, funnier, more attractive, or makes more money? AND, they aren’t stereotyping her or making fun of her in some other way?

Open a magazine, and how many ads are there featuring stick-skinny women who are un-godly beautiful? These ads don’t come with a disclaimer “after five hours of makeup and hair, we did some professional photo-shopping!” We’re telling girls and women that they should be this pretty and this anorexicly skinny. We’re also telling men that this is what they should look for in women. Don’t forget, the anorexic girl has great boobs, thanks to photo-shop, of course.

And lets think back to the 2008 election. Compare Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton– the obsession with her clothes, size, and appearance far outweighed what she said. Sarah Palin is a raving lunatic. But many people were so obsessed with her appearance as well that they couldn’t get to the part where she opened her mouth and said dumb things. Our culture is obsessed with a woman’s image and appearance to the point where she can only be taken as an object and not even considered as an equal person with men.

How could we ever elect a female president when we can’t look beyond her makeup and clothes? How can we elect women into positions of power on any level? We must learn to look beyond appearances and appreciate women for their intelligence and inner beauty or we will never be taken seriously by anyone in our lives. If we can’t look beyond what the media has helped put into our heads, politics will remain a realm dominated by old white men, and the hard work of the previous feminist generations will regress. Personally, I’d like to have Title IX stick around, equal pay for equal work, no regression on maternity leave policies, and the right to make decisions about my uterus that aren’t controlled by the government.

Watch the trailer, watch the film, reassess your life priorities and what makes you attractive, and tell your family and friends. The women of America cannot regress, we must move forward, and we cannot let others dictate what is important to us. Toddlers and Tiaras, Jersey Shore, go to hell.

[feminist] mass produced bras and my breast reduction surgery

In response to:
Brumberg, Joan Jacobs. “Breast Buds and the ‘Training’ Bra.” 1977. Women’s Voices, Feminist Visions: Classic and Contemporary Readings, 4th edition. 249-254.
Before reading this I had no idea that the first bra was created in 1913, “designed simply to flatten,” and that the more current/modern bra came about in the 1930’s (Brumberg 250). The concept of the bra is so new yet so universal now. Mass production and mass media are so influential in society, and the bra is a prime example. With mass production came sizing—A, B, C, D, the infamous DD, and the realm of un-tamed breasts even larger. (As a person who once wore the “more than a DD,” I know firsthand the impossibility of buying a bra in a department store that will be the correct size.) I was still in middle school when I made the transition to “larger than my mother” and up to DD, and had to face the realization that I wasn’t just larger than normal, larger than my peers, but I was freakishly, abnormally larger than society as a whole. For years I wore two minimizer bras at a time in an effort to “tame” my breasts even more, as they continued to grow. I was known as “jugs” for years in high school before I had breast reduction surgery, after which I spent my final year in baggy shirts so that no one would I know that I had “gotten my tits cut off.”  (which to this day people perceive as a “tragedy” despite the fact that it was practically a medical necessity)
The physical pain I had from wearing underwire bras aimed at “taming” my breasts has always led me to wonder why anyone would wear a AAA or AA (or even an A) bra when to me they so obviously don’t need one. But with stores and brands like Victoria’s Secret a AAA girl can wear a bra that makes her look like she has real B-size breasts. (I’ve always wondered how disappointed the boyfriend is once the bra comes off?) 

The concept of “teenage breast management” developed in the 1950’s by male doctors (I would also like to call them pedophiles) is absolutely sick and totally bullshit (Brumberg 251). The medical world has been cutting people open and examining them for hundreds of years, and obviously know that breasts are held up by more than skin, and are going to sag no matter how great your bra is, and how often you wear it. These doctors were either funded by the bra-industry or had lots of sons looking for perky-breasted women to marry. And the “boob check” sounds horrifying. No one’s breasts are perfectly symmetrical , proportional, with mirror-image nipples. No one should chart your “breast development” to promote the idea that you need huge boobs to breast feed the children you make with your perfect husband. (Were they doing “penis development checkups”? NOPE. I’d personally be a bit more concerned with whether or not my son was becoming a man than if my daughter had the perfectly-growing boobs to go with her period.)
Junior figure control? (Brumberg 251) Great, if you want to wear spanx at the age of 40, I’m all for it. If you want your 14 year old daughter to wear some spanx to make her look slimmer, you’ve clearly not questioned your daughter’s pediatrician properly. Through the mass-marketing of spanx (and knock off spanx) I’ve managed to buy a few pairs myself in my efforts to look slimmer and “fit in” better. (PS- fail.)Through the media and my own lovely mother I managed to spend middle and high school larger than most of my peers and desperate to find solutions to fit in to the stereotypical  image of the ideal high schooler. In the 1950’s junior figure control companies provided “free purse-size booklets on calorie counting”—way to go making the world feel fat by the age of twelve (253). 
In the back of magazines there are always sketchy ads for dating sites, making your long hair more beautiful (you know, the white girl hair that you can flip), and making your tiny boobs bigger. There were never any creams or exercising for making your breasts smaller. The song “I must, I must, I must develop my bust” (Brumberg 253) I learned in 5th grade, as the song “I must, I must, I must increase my bust.” Way to make the mosquito-bite girls feel like crap about themselves. 
I did not wear a B bra until after my surgery—my mother refused to let me wear more than a tank top until I was clearly, desperately in need of something more to cover my breasts in order to fit in at school… she waited until I was a full C. This was how she grew up (a conservative Southern Baptist). This also meant that I was not allowed to have colored, polka dotted, or lacy bras. Not that they made those in 36DD, 36DDD, 38DDD, 38-“hm. Big…” The very first bra that I bought for myself was light blue with a tiny peephole between my breasts. It cost me $20, and had no underwire and held my breasts perfectly. It didn’t cost me $50, squish me until I couldn’t breathe, and come in an ugly nude grandma style. (I know, I’m perpetuating age-ism, but that’s the only way I can put it…) FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE AGE OF NINE I FELT LIKE I FIT IN; I WORE A BRA THAT DIDN’T RESTRICT MY BREATHING; AND I WORE A BRA THAT I FELT BEAUTIFUL IN.