breakinglight11: (Default)
You know what weirds me out? When people date people who look too much like them.

It's WEIRD. If people could mistake you for blood relatives, you shouldn't date. It looks weird, it leads to uncomfortable assumptions by people who don't know you, and it has screwed up implications. Are you... attracted to yourself? Or your relatives? 'Cause those are the people who tend to look like you.

Like, it's lovely that Benedict Cumberbatch is married to a woman who is age- and socially-appropriate in pretty much every way, but is nobody else struck by the fact that she looks like she could be his sister? I'm sure they're very happy together and a very nice couple, but is their baby entirely made up of recessive genes? Is he going to grow up to play a banjo on a porch? That's a mean joke to make about a baby, but I'm sure his very privileged upbringing will insulate him from my insensitivity.

Of course, the Hapsburgs were very privileged too. And it didn't stop them from suffering for their ancestors being a little too into people who looked a little too much like them!
breakinglight11: (Default)

Pockets on dresses are pointless. Nothing that's important to carry can be carried comfortably or attractively in a pocket.


Do I want my iPhone crammed in the pocket of my skirt, making a big old bulge and banging around my legs while I walk? NO. If it even fits in there, which it never freaking does. Will my wallet fit in a pocket in a dress? And even if it does, do I want it to look like I'm growing a hip tumor? If the pockets are big, and you can actually store important shit like that, it's so heavy it just drags on your clothes and looks stupid. If they're small, nothing fits! Oh, look, I can put my change in my dress pocket! I'VE SUCCESSFULLY KEPT THIRTY-EIGHT CENTS ON ME! SO USEFUL. I sure hope it doesn't like fall out if I shift myself the wrong way. I CAN WARM MY HANDS IN THERE. On the days where it's warm enough to wear a dress, anyway! MANY USEFULS. MUCH BIG DIFFERENCE.

I guess you could give everything one of those stupid kangaroo pockets like on sweatshirts! But that's EVEN MORE FLATTERING though, right!? I mean, every woman looks better when you strap a bulge on that padded part just underneath the bellybutton. THE ONLY THING THAT WOULD MAKE THAT BETTER IS TO SHOVE STUFF INTO THE BULGE TO MAKE IT EVEN BULGIER. Or just slap one on the front like an apron! Then you can look like you're a six-year-old in a pinafore! With your shit bouncing around on your crotch as you walk, with the attractive bump leading your way!


So: pockets on dresses? POINTLESS. Bah.
breakinglight11: (CT photoshoot 1)
I very much enjoyed Captain America: Civil War. But there was one thing that really bothered me, so much so that once it happened it slightly soured the rest of the film for me. For those of you who know me, it shouldn’t surprise you: the kiss between Steve Rogers and Sharon Carter. And NO, JERKFACES, it’s NOT because of my massive crush on him. It’s because it just doesn’t WORK.

I am a hardcore Steve and Peggy shipper. I love the two of them so much that any other pairing just doesn’t compare for me. And I loved the way they couched Steve’s feeling for her— he’d been waiting for “the right partner.” Not just anyone, but the right one. The old-fashioned way their relationship developed was so charming. And I admit, I have a weird soft spot for lovers who are never for anyone but each other. I get that most people don’t see things that way, but even if they must insist on the characters moving on with other relationships, Sharon Carter is absolutely the wrong character for this to happen with Steve.

I will give them credit. This was something I’d been dreading since Avengers, so the fact that they held out this long, four years and like three more movies, is something. They probably were probably actively trying not to rush it. But they clearly knew the implications of the whole deal were creepy. There’s a reason they did not draw attention to the fact that her name was Carter, or her relationship to Peggy at all, until CA:CW.

The storyline is a relic from a dated, significantly less mature time in the development of comic book storytelling, and though some would attribute solely to the lack of respect for female characters, I would say it’s mostly due to the resistance to change. Comics have a notorious history toward refusing to ever let things meaningfully or permanently grow and change. So, when Cap’s freezing was made part of his story, bringing him forward in time, they decided to make him latch on to the Sharon Carter character by making her resemble and in fact have a blood relation to an old love interest.

I understand the desire to maintain the spirit of what we loved in these stories in the comics. But for the cinematic universe, they’ve made such a strong effort to realize these stories for the screen that I really don’t think including that in the adaptation made sense. Adaptation between mediums requires translation, and retelling stories demands updating for the current time. And all the myriad ways the idea of that relationship doesn’t work demonstrates that it just doesn’t make sense to have been included.

First off, the two of them have no chemistry. Steve and Sharon have barely spent any time together and nothing of substance ever happened or was said between them. Nobody in the audience developed any emotional investment in their relationship. Plus we have basically no idea who Sharon is. Again, very little time has been spent with her, and the actress is so bland that no real personality has been created within what little character the writing has supplied. There’s no narrative reason for them to have a relationship, and no audience member who has any desire to see it. Added to the fact that it felt like an afterthought crammed into an already jam-packed film, what exactly were they hoping to accomplish? My only real thought is, with the increasing mainstreaming of slash fandom, that they were trying to remind the audience that he’s straight.

The execution of it felt awkward and gross, too. They basically get together OVER PEGGY’S COOLING CORPSE. Who in the world thought that was something they should write for Cap? I actually thought using her death as his propulsion to take his stance was a strong idea. But that awkward, chemistry-free lip lock occurred like TWO DAYS after they put Peggy in the ground, and I can't grasp who didn’t find that to be indecent and out of character.

And there’s just this creepiness to it. If they HAVE to have Cap get together with somebody new… she REALLY should not be any blood relation to Peggy. There’s just too many gross implications tied up in it. There’s the suggestion that he likes her, not for herself, but for who she reminds him of. There’s this very uncomfortable sense of replacement, like she’s an acceptable Peggy substitute. If I want to get all technical, I might say on Nussbaum’s Inventory of Objectification, it smacks of fungibility, when a person is treated as functionally interchangeable with another.

I have BEEN creeped on because of my resemblance to my mother in her youth. THAT NEVER COMES FROM ANYPLACE HEALTHY OR GOOD. Why would they want Steve to be in a relationship that has any hint of that?

And finally, there’s the issue of youth, where a once beloved and vibrant older woman is replaced by someone who’s supposed to be similar to her, except she’s still young and beautiful. Like that lack of youth and beauty makes the relationship impossible, because a man, especially a man as beautiful as that, couldn’t love someone who didn’t have those things.

If I’m being honest, there’s something about the whole situation that’s not just objectively gross, but that tweaks my issues personally. Probably my greatest fear is aging. I’m terrified of the physical ravages of growing older, becoming weak and useless and losing my looks. It’s so hard for a woman to be respected for so many reasons, but it’s particularly hard for women who are older or not good looking. While I do believe in my true inner qualities, I feel like often people don’t notice those qualities in me until after my looks have caught their attention. Not being pretty any more scares me.

Maybe I shouldn’t care what men think of me. But the idea of becoming ignored and tossed aside because I’m old and ugly freaks me out. I’m not sure why I feel that particular terror so acutely. I’ve been lucky enough to have plenty of counter examples in my life and growing up, of men who stuck with the women they loved through the declines of time and mortality. It’s not like I worry about that with Bernie. But I am obsessed with it, not just with a romantic partner but with everyone, which drives pretty much all my neuroses.

My discomfort with this relationship stems from that. Beautiful men in particular are even scarier in that respect. Men don’t have to be beautiful, so the good-looking ones with their greater drawing power have it even more options with which to replace you when you’re no longer ideal. So there’s something very uncomfortable about watching a gorgeous man move on from his supposed one true love onto a pale replacement who just happens to still be young and beautiful.
breakinglight11: (CT photoshoot 1)
I know it’s a waste of energy to have any feelings at all with dumb comedy franchises, but Zoolander has annoyed me on an ideological level for a long time. When it came out when I was in high school, everyone I knew loved it while I just didn’t get why it was supposed to be so funny.

But the more I think about it, the more it makes me kind of angry. It basically has one joke to it, the absurdity of male models. Yes, when I was a little older I saw that there was SOME commentary on the constant-need-machine of the fashion industry with the whole Derelict thing. But mostly you’re supposed to laugh because you recognize how dumb and frivolous any man who models is, not to mention how silly the whole idea of a man modeling.

First of all, they hammer that stupid, unnecessary term, "male model." Why would you need to specify that a man is a male model, unless you think it's weird that a man even is a model? Secondly, Ben Stiller and Luke Wilson do not look like models. I mean, people might find them attractive, but they’re not beautiful or even of the unusually extreme features your average female model is. The fact that they could be passed off as models speaks to the much lower bar men have to be considered attractive. Men don’t have to be beautiful! In fact, men AREN’T beautiful! The idea that you could be invested in the beauty of men is silly! And look what idiots they are. Any dude who would want to model would have to be a moron, right? Also, I’ll admit, there is one actually funny thing about the movie— Blue Steel and its variants —but it ties into the notion of how absurd it is that dudes even would model. Look how silly dudes are when they try to present themselves so as to be aesthetic!

I don’t mind people poking fun at the modeling or fashion industries. But I wish they were aiming for the INDUSTRY rather than basically JUST the idea of aesthetic men. Even the new one’s marketing campaign ties into this. I mean, thanks to a marketing tie-in, those actors are making appearances as their characters in actual, real Valentino couture. What’s the joke there, if they’re basically just doing what actual models do— that is, wear and demonstrate high-end clothes? It’s only funny if you think it’s funny that they’re BEING MODELS. I get really, really irritated at anything that feeds into the myth of Men Not Being Hot, and that’s basically all I see in those films.
breakinglight11: (Default)

It's been a rough couple of days. I feel damn lousy, and I've gotten almost nothing done. I am reminded at how damn screwed up my ability to focus is and it pisses me off. I get a fair bit done, but my inability to buckle down to things for long periods means I could be getting so much more done and I don't. I hate it. I blame my stupid Smart phone and related implements; I believe they've optimized my brain to process many short things very quickly. I notice my ability to multitask and speed of thought has never been greater. I can read and have a conversation at the same time with minimal loss of absorption. So mental sprints are stronger than ever. But if it's for a long haul, I'm next to useless. I haven't read a book in I don't know how long because I can't concentrate on anything longer than a few pages. When I sit down to work it takes me ages to get into it; I waste so much time screwing around. It makes me so angry.

Sometimes I think I'd be so much better off if I threw my phone away. Disconnected my computer from the Internet. But I'm so damn addicted at this point it's like going through detox, and I'm sure it would end up making other things in my life harder if I actually got rid of it. And what would I do if I didn't have my precious phone to distract me from the social situations which I am increasingly disliking? I've felt incredibly antisocial lately, both for incidental interaction and regarding friends. I just want to hide from everybody lately.

Bitch, bitch, bitch. Why don't you write something productive, bitch? Instead of wasting your time for once.

breakinglight11: (Unsteady Fool)
Come on eBay I want a shearling coat and not just ANY shearling coat I want a bomber-style jacket in that classic camel color with a big old collar and cuffs made of lovely fluffy shearling but not too fluffy and not too big I don't want to look like I should be hunting seals in the Arctic but I want to see that shearling spread out over my shoulders God I loved that fabulous coat Bane wore in The Dark Knight Rises even though some people compared that collar to a Seventies toilet seat cover and I want it to be REAL shearling none of that fake nubbly stuff that gets nappy the longer you wear it okay okay maybe I'll settle for fake if the style is fierce enough but I'll take leather or I'll take suede but that at least HAS to be real I can't abide fake leather on clothes maybe maybe maybe on a bag but sure as hell not on a jacket and I want the hem to hit me right above the hip I love long coats normally but this one needs to be short I want to look as badass as Grace Hanadarko does on Saving Grace as she kicks ass and takes names God she looks good in her shearling bomber but I can't look too cowboy because I couldn't pull that off I wonder if hers is real doesn't matter she still looks amazing she looks amazing in everything I want to LOOK JUST LIKE HER UGH why are all the nice ones hundreds and hundreds of dollars I don't need a designer brand or even a new one in fact I'd love a used one that was broken in already ugh maybe I should just copy Grace's dark moto jacket instead come on eBay WHY AREN'T YOU TAKING THIS DOWN?
breakinglight11: (Ranting Fool)

So I just updated my phone to iOS6, and it came with a program called Find Your Friends. It is, apparently, a way to connect with other iPhone users to allow them to see where you are at any given moment. Pretty much the address of your exact GPS-targeted location.



I HATE having my comings and goings monitored-- by parents, by friends, by anyone. I don't want anyone to be able to check where I am at any given time! Do you see the amount of scrutiny you'd be opening yourself up to? "Why didn't you come home last night?" "What were you doing out so late?" "Why did you go to that bad neighborhood?" "Who were you seeing?" "What took you so long?" "That's not where you said you were going to be!" "You told me you were busy but you were home all night!" Oh, my God, that is horrifying to me. All privacy would be gone! There could be eyes on you every moment!

Who wants that? Who wants their every movement tracked by people whenever they feel like it? Who is the target market for this feature? Or is it just so that the police can use it to find you or that authorities can use your activities against you?

Not cool, Apple. Not cool.
breakinglight11: (Mad Fool)
I know communication is of paramount important to human relationships. Especially in times of conflict. But Jesus Christ, sometimes I would rather gouge out my own eardrums than have to verbally hash things out.

Sometimes I feel like I'm the world's most stereotypical man. No, sometimes I DON'T want to have a long, drawn-out, detailed conversation about just what went wrong between us just now. Can we just skip to the apology and move on with our days? Okay, maybe having it THE FIRST TIME IT HAPPENS is useful, but after that, do you really need to make your point again, when it clearly didn't fix things the first time? Or do I have to sit through it as punishment for repeating my offense?

The most common instance of my getting into it with someone tends to be when someone does something that bothers me and I lose my temper and say something mean. Like, someone is annoying, so I tell them to quit being such a huge pain. Or someone behaves in a way I find absurd, frustrating, or unfair, and I express my contempt. Or someone is personally injurious to me, and I call them a jackass.

I know what I did. It isn't that I don't understand your feelings. The problem is that I TOTALLY DO UNDERSTAND YOUR FEELINGS and FAILED TO RESPECT THEM because I am weak and imperfect. I am bad for that, and deserve to take responsibility for that failure and must apologize for it. This in particular is a problem I have, being short-tempered and unkind sometimes. Can I please just say "I'm sorry I hurt your feelings and behaved badly" and you apologize for whatever it is you did? Can I please NOT have to express in a long detailed conversation that I fully understand the nature of my offense and of your feelings? Can you just trust me on this and accept that I GET IT and don't need to have the same conversation over and over, because I don't think there's anything in the world I hate more?

The other things is, even if we did make sure we were both totally on the same page, we're probably going to do this again at some point. People do not  change at the drop of a hat; you're probably going to do something that bothers me again, and I'm probably going to lose my temper and be mean again. I understand it's a problem. I'll work on it-- especially this, as I've been actively trying to be less nasty when I'm angry --but having the conversation is most likely not going to contribute to it coming about faster or better.

I know, I'm a bad person, a horrible, emotionally stunted person who has no shot at maintaining healthy relationships. I can live with that. Please no more talktalktalk.
breakinglight11: (Default)
One thing that I found really frustrating during residency was the constant hammering of the notion of keeping your play as basic as possible because otherwise, nobody would want to produce it. Keep your cast tiny. Keep your sets minimal. Your milieu inexpensive. Your themes current. Make sure the audience understands it and blah blah blah. It was kind of maddening to me, as it seemed like unless you wanted to write some more fucking Beckett-style nonsense, nobody was ever going to be interested in your plays.

But today my mom told me about this new play on Broadway called Warhorse. She said that it's a meditation on wartime about a boy whose beloved horse is drafted into service in War World I, and he follows him through the war to take him home. She said that the show portrays horses with gorgeous, fully articulated puppets that move and behave so much like real horses that it's mesmerizing. She suggested I look them up on Youtube, and my God, I was amazed.

Look at this. This is magic. This is fabulous theater. I am in AWE of how much those puppet draws me in. They are huge and gorgeous and they move like real horses. They are so fucking beautiful and ingenious and perfect that I can't imagine how much more powerful my theater experience would be going to see this because of that touch.

And this play demands it. The heart of the story of Warhorse is about how the best in the human spirit is brought out through the love of horses. You don't FEEL that on a visceral level without the force and shape and awe-inspiring presence of a horse right there to drive it home to you. But how would you ever get a horse onstage? Does this story not belong onstage because that's an impractical thing to write into a show?

But the play was good enough that somebody made it happen, regardless of the difficulty. And this show is a smash hit. I think it just shows that if your play is good enough, people will make it happen the way it needs to happen. Yeah, we are certainly not all going to get lucky enough to get such a big budget, or even any attention at all. I just can't help but think why teach people to write a worse play just to handle concerns of ever getting off the ground?

breakinglight11: (Ranting Fool)
Now I would like to take a moment to complain about something that has been an issue on several occasions lately. If I am kind enough to extend an invitation to you, particularly to something I have devoted time, effort, and expense to planning, please do me the courtesy of RSVPing. It really isn't difficult, in this age of instant communication in which we live, to send me a quick e-mail or a post on my LJ or Facebook wall or even so little as clicking the damn button on the Anyvite invitation. I will gladly accept a verbal response as well; maybe you forget to write me but if you take the time to have the conversation with me, that's cool. Even if you respond with a "maybe," no problem, 'cause at least it gives me some idea of whether or not you will be attending so I can plan. My events are never open-house mobs where the only refreshment is as much beer as somebody cared to drag along with them; I host carefully planned parties, often with complete dinner spreads, that are designed for the number and nature of the guests I will be having. My space and means are not unlimited, so I can only have so many people. If I have ten spots at my table or room for only thirty in the house, a spot for you is a spot that unfortunately excludes someone else. It is important to me to make sure I have enough for everyone, but it's also preferable that if I only have to spend X per head instead of X+Y, I can do that without worry. If you show, then maybe I don't have enough. If you don't show, then maybe I spent more than I had to trying to make sure you were accomodated. Neither is really fair to me, who is just trying to show you a good time and was denied a basic courtesy.

So, in conclusion, I am hereby considering all invitations to which I do not receive an RSVP as a no and not plan to accomodate them. And then they will no longer have the option of showing up. It's not that I'm uninviting them. If they let me know they're a yes far enough beforehand-- as in, not the day of --they are of course welcome. But it would be the height of poor manners to arrive at a party they did not tell their host they are coming to. I will then give their place away to someone else who actually demonstrates that they want it.

Therefore-- no RSVP, no party for you.
breakinglight11: (Ranting Fool)
I tire of Feminist Hulk. )

Feminism = feminism, feminism =/= other social causes )

You are a fucking feminist. Yes, you are.  )
Live feminism, don't dress yourself in the image of it.  )

Women need to speak up for themselves, and if they don't, they are responsible for making the choice not to. )

There are more important parts of me than my vagina. )

Kinda don't like the Bechdel Test. )

Kinda really DESPISE the Vagina Monologues. )

In short: stop being anti-man, stop shirking personal responsibility, stop corrupting the definition, stop wearing it's like it's a trendy outfit that makes you cool, stop thoughtlessly playing at empty girl-power games that accomplish nothing.

As a final note, I am sorry for how often violation of these notions causes me to scream, "AHHH NO WONDER MEN HATE YOU I HATE YOU AHHHH." It is flawed and unfair to assume that men generally hate women, and it is also not good for me to hate women. I acknowledge this. I will probably not stop doing it.
breakinglight11: (Joker Phoebe)

I find this a more effective way to get people thinking about breast canncer than a stupid Facebook status meme THAT DOESN'T EVEN CONNECT TO CANCER IN ANY WAY. See, see, it's really kickass GRRL POWER answering the question of "Where do you like to put your handbag when you first come home?" with statuses that sound vaguely sexual, like "I like it on the floor," or "I like it on the kitchen table" without every letting anyone (except other girls, of course) know what the hell you're really talking about! Doesn't that like raise so much awareness of a disease that's NOT EVEN MENTIONED? 

But see, here's the really awesome part! We don't explain it to men. So we get to laugh at them all like, "Buh?" That way they think we're talking about how we like it during sex and get all turned on by us. Then we get to feel sexy and desireable AS WELL as all superior to them because we're manipulating their base caveman urges when in fact we're doing something RIGHTEOUS FOR THE SISTERHOOD YEAH.

BECAUSE MEN CAN'T CARE ABOUT BREAST CANCER. Men can't hurt because they have mothers or sisters or wives or daughters who got the disease. Men only have one use for tits, am I right?

I'm sorry, but IT IS STUPID. Stupid to do something cryptic to raise awareness about something, particularly when couching in in false feminism. Oh, yes, let's all us women have our little solidarity meme, but let's not explain what we mean by it except to each other who ALREADY ARE AWARE and keep its meaning secret from men, because that's how you raise awareness-- you only let people who are already in the know in on it! Yes, this makes the most sense in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD.

It is NOT feminist. It is ELITIST, SELF-SATISFIED, and SEXIST. And if in its current form it does a damn thing to help even one person in regards to breast cancer, I'll drop dead of shock.

Sorry, but I'm in a BAD MOOD and this tweaks my feminist nerves.
breakinglight11: (Joker Phoebe)
Sometimes I feel like the last straight girl on Earth. As more and more of my nominally straight female friends decide that they're at least a little bit bi, I am continually blown away by how few girls I know have that aversion-to-physicality-with-women that I used to think was a hallmark of feminine heterosexuality. And while if this is your genuine setting I wish you Godspeed, but I must confess a slight irritation with how it ties into a certain kind of sexual politics that has always gotten on my nerves.

I've never been a big fan of the expectation that all girls are just a couple appletinis away from a picturesque lesbian encounter. It's almost become the norm that if you go to a certain kind of party that frequently happens on college campuses, chances are you're going to see at least one instance of non-gay girls making out. And when this happens, you're going to have at least some of the guys in attendance hanging nearby enjoying the view. And I find this kind of gross, for a number of reasons.

I guess it's not like it's really my business; people have a right to be into whatever they're into, as long as it doesn't hurt anybody else. I don't even have a problem with guys thinking girl-on-girl is hot. Hell, I think guy-on-guy is hot, so I certainly don't see anything weird or wrong with it. The thing that does bother me is the cultural standard that girls are becoming expected to feel and express some level of bisexuality, in which men are allowed to have pornographic interest, because that's the way men want it. 

I guess if the girls are willing to do this stuff and allow it to be watched, who am I to tell them they shouldn't be doing it, but are all these girls really totally okay with interacting sexually with other girls while guys look on to be titillated? The fact that so few of these girls actually ever date other girls gives me a bit of pause, but that's not necessarily an indicator of attraction. Heh, I was REALLY attracted to a certain black-haired friend of Alain's, but that didn't mean I wanted to date him, after all. And I certainly think you're still responsible for your actions-- I don't care what kind of pressure is being laid on you, you have a responsibility to yourself to refuse to do anything sexual that you don't want. Nobody can make you do anything just by encouraging you. But I have a hard time believing that no desire for validation and to be considered desirable factor into it, which is incredibly repellent to me. Are none of the things the girls want being compromised?

And worse, it's never the other way around. Guys never make out for the viewing pleasure of girls. It's just not done-- straight guys are straight, God damn it, they don't go in for that fag stuff. It doesn't matter that maybe I'd like to get the chance to watch two guys who don't look either like twinks or like Tom of Finland models. And really, that's fine, but that girls don't get the same respect for the rigidity of their sexuality is not fine. It's a double standard, one I am very much not okay with.

Apparently emerging research suggests that while men's sexuality tends to be rigidly defined, women are more inclined to blurring whatever lines they fall between. In other words, men are more likely to be inflexibly attracted to one gender and one gender only, while women are more likely to feel some level of bisexuality. Of course these are just trends, and plenty of people don't conform to them. I invite you bisexual men out there to raise your hands with me as exceptions to the rule. But this kind of pisses me off because this emerging viewpoint validates that double standard. Yeah, maybe it is true, but I feel like that people will use that to say, "Well, it's okay for me to lay that expectation on girls because that's just what girls are like. But it's totally not okay to lay that expectation on guys, because guys aren't like that."

That is such phallocentric bullshit. I'm not normally the sort of feminist who wastes a lot of time railing against the patriarchy, but here's one case where I will gladly make an exception, because basically, all the standards and expectations are set up by men, for men. Men's sexuality is consider inviolate because men want it that way, and women's sexuality is considered flexible because men want it that way. I mean, talk about being a victim of the male gaze.

What this comes down to is, as a person with a rather rigid sexuality, I dislike that fact not being respected. Since if that rigidity were compromised it would be actively damaging to me, I dislike when its existence is dismissed with "Oh, all girls are a little bit bi." I want to be like, "No, fuck you. Why don't you go stick your tongue down some other guy's throat for my amusement instead?" 

People of course should do what they want. Just because the number of girls who are okay touching each other seems to be going up doesn't change what is true about myself. And of course nobody can make me do anything I don't want to do, no matter what their assumptions or expectations might be. But that double standard gets under my skin, and unfortunately even genuine things that seem to support it are going to get under there as well.
breakinglight11: (Joker Phoebe)

Just a little heads up to everyone that might be wondering, sparked in part by a recent experience of [ profile] blendedchaitea.

You may be, at some point in your life, placed in a position where you are forced to ask yourself if you really are doing feminism right. To this I say, simply ask yourself-- do you believe in the inherent value equality of men and women?

Yes? Then you're not a bad feminist.

Insofar as "good" and "bad" even enter into it, I feel like if you do the things that feminists do, then you're doing it "right."

What do feminists do? They believe in the inherent value equality of men and women. Therefore, things that enter into the definition of "good feminist": believing, supporting, agreeing with, et cetera, the concept of the inherent value equality of men and women.

Things that do not enter into the definition of "good feminist": your gender, your sexual orientation, your religion, your nationality, your economic status, your ethnic background, your education, what you do for a living, your aesthetic preferences, your political views, the jokes you laugh at, your diet, what you do for fun, how much sex you have, the media you consume, and a whole host of other things.

"Good feminists" don't need degrees in gender studies. They don't need to have read Stein or Faludi or Dworkin or anyone else. You don't need to stage protests, write letters, go to rallies. You don't have to hate men, be attracted to girls, shave your head, or stop shaving your legs. You don't need to apply the goddamn Bechdel Test before you see a movie or watch a TV show. You don't need to view every single social injustice, perpretrated against women or otherwise, as a personal assault, and if you do, you don't need to hate anyone else who doesn't.

Until and unless one of those things necessarily makes you cease to believe in the inherent value equality of men and women, none of those things are any indication of whether or not you are a bad feminist.

Until and unless you stop believing this, nobody in the world gets to tell you "FEMINISM: UR DOIN IT RONG."

breakinglight11: (Joker Phoebe)
I was wandering around a shopping center today while waiting for my car to get finished with its service appointment, and I came across a store selling a ton of bags imitating couture lines. The tacky prints obviously meant to look like the signature patterns of high-end retailers like Burberry, Louis Vuitton, and Fendi. I really dislike low-end bags that imitate the look of haute couture designs. Now it's not that I think ridiculously expensive obviously branded status bags are so superior to any other nice bag. Those are all about the statement that the label makes you cooler, or announces to the world how rich, powerful, and chic you are. Bullshit. Style comes from looks, know-how, and quality, not two enormous interlocking C's over quilted leather on display for everyone to notice. Give me a handsome, well-made genuine leather bag over an ostentatious sack in a gaudy signature print any day-- I despise the Coach carpet bag, or the hideous LV patterm, and the knockoffs thereof look even worse. Cheap imitations are trying to give the illusion of the status conferred, not trying to be quality and stylish accessories in their own right. There are perfectly gorgeous, tasteful, well-made, stylish, high-end bags out there that do not make you pay out the nose because of their obvious label. Now if somebody gave me a simple, elegant leather Prada handbag I would certainly not turn it down, but just because there's a trendy label doesn't make it a chic piece, and I certainly don't believe I need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to find it. Truly stylish people only need flattering, well-chosen clothes and accessories, not labels, to make them appear to their best advantage. Don't buy an imitation just because you think it will make you cool. Buy a quality bag that you like and compliments your style, and you will look so much more chic than with your not-quite-Fendi or Cha-not. :-P 
breakinglight11: (Joker Phoebe)

I hate the trope of "real women have curves."

Perhaps I hate it because my biggest feminist pet peeve is when people try to lay a narrow definition on what constitutes a "real woman." Perhaps it's because it's not fixing a prejudice but the equally toxic practice of turning it around so that somebody else is the target of vilification instead. Perhaps it's just 'cause I'm a skinny chick who says fuck that. But I hate that chestnut "real women have curves."

I don't have a curve on me-- all sleek lines and clean angles. Am I not a real woman? Not a chance. 

This trope takes our culture's standard assumption, that thin women are more beautiful and desireable than heavy women, which makes so many women who aren't thin feel inferior and less valuable, and turns it around so that heaviness is the ideal and thinness is undesireable and wrong. Reversing a prejudice and making the formerly "superior" group into the target of disgust and vilification is not making things better; turning the victims into victimizers makes them just as bad. It's basically saying, "You made me feel bad. Now I want to make you feel bad. I want to hurt you the same way I've been hurt." 

The "real women have curves" trope was not come up with by women who like their bodies. No woman who actually loves her beautiful feminine curves would ever need to create something to reduce someone else to lesser status. Sure, there are some pretty people who refuse to acknowledge the beauty of others, but those people have other problems and most likely aren't secure in their opinions of themselves.

But no girl who knows she is a voluptuous goddess invented or repeats that. No, this trope is the work of the chunky girl who would KILL to have the lean thighs and flat tummies of her slimmer sisters and resents the hell out of them for it. She says it as a balm against old wounds, as a punishment of those who she blames for those wounds.

But two wrongs don't make a right. I get that some people have suffered a long time for the fact that their culture impressed on them images and standards of beauty that they can never meet. I feel very sorry for those people, and it should change. But that doesn't make it okay to take out that hurt on other people. It can't be that the only change is that a different group must suffer instead. There's something vengeful about it, and God knows how destructive seeking vengeance can be.

And it doesn't do anything to encourage people being generous enough of spirit of acknowledge each other's beauty and value. I know that when I hear it, my hackles raise. While no one's word can render me unbeautiful or unfeminine, there's still this inherent unkindness in declaring that if you look like me you're not a "real woman" that I don't respond well to. And when someone treats me with malice, it makes me feel mean. I want to be mean back to the person who was mean to me. Again, I know two wrongs don't make a right, and I should feel sorry for a person who obviously isn't as happy with their appearence as I am with mine, so I know it isn't an acceptable response. But my instincts tell me to bite back. I want to say nasty things like, "You know what curves I like? The ones on the zero on the size tag in my dress." 

Nobody should get to feel good by making someone else feel bad. Nothing destroys the soul so fast as destroying the value or goodness or well-being of someone else. I think this is one such case.

breakinglight11: (Ranting Fool)

I overheard yet another conversation today regarding a particularly fallacy that drives me crazy. A woman was telling another woman that she dresses in baggy, loose-fitting clothing to obscure the bulges and flaws in her figure.


'Cause people will assume there's a supermodel under all that fabric?

Um, NO. No, no, NO. Loose clothing will not make you look smaller or smoother. It's EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE. People will assume you're even bigger and chunkier and less shapely than you actually are because all that extra fabric ADDS BULK TO YOU.

Wear fitted. Fitted, fitted, fitted. Fitted always looks better! Fitted gives you a shape while baggy takes it away. Fitted doesn't mean tight, it means it FITS YOU PROPERLY. Do you want to trick people into thinking you are a small, fabric-swaddled BUILDING? OF COURSE YOU DON'T.

ANY SHAPE is better than NO SHAPE AT ALL. GAH.

*end shallow style rant, return to regularly scheduled significant matters*

breakinglight11: (Mad Fool)

I recently read an article about women's fear of dressing "sexy" because they're afraid of not being respected and being viewed as inappropriate. And I gotta say, some of the thoughts really irked my feminist anxieties.

First of all, I thought the article did a poor job of defining what it meant by "sexy." Do we mean "looking really good such that people think we're hot?" Do we mean "showing a lot of skin?" Do we mean "with the intent to elicit a sexual reaction?" Because in my opinion, those things are very different, and while there may be some overlap, I do not believe there always is.

I always aim to look attractive, both to my own standard, to general opinion, and to the opposite sex. So I would say I always try to "look hot"-- I want people to think I'm hot. I don't think any woman should be at fault for that; who doesn't want to look good, even attractive, as they define it? Maybe it's going a little too far if you're trying to get any real, immediate sexual reaction out of people in a context where that is not appropriate. But I honestly I think you'd have to go pretty extreme in how you're dressing in order to get a lot of that. And I feel like that extremity makes it is pretty easy to identify when that intent is present.

honestly, I don't really agree with the notion that skin automatically is about eliciting sexual reaction. I'm sure all of you know by now that I like showing skin. I think there's a degree of it that people are not such animals as to be totally revved up about when they see it. Being small-busted, necklines have to be pretty damn low in order to seem even vaguely provocative on me. I do tend to show my midriff a lot, at least the little strip of it between my waistband and the hem of my shirt. Is my typical inch-wide band of skin there really anything more than a fun and cute little touch? I think it looks hot, sure, but as I said, there's a difference between looking hot and actually looking like you're trolling for arousal.

Now, make no mistake, I'm not saying every look is appropriate for every situation. And sure, there's a limit of when some is too much. Save the plunging decolletages, the belt skirts, and the crop tops for having fun with, not anywhere that sort of thing would be inappropriately provocative. Though honestly I don't find any of my dressing habits to be that extreme, even I tone it down a little for, say, going to work. I've thrown on camisoles under low necklines and buttoned a few more buttons than I might otherwise. But I really don't see anything wrong with showing a moderate bit of skin. My workplace isn't all that conservative about dress, and if there's a different standard at yours, you should of course observe it. Heh, when I asked about the dress code when I first came to work there, literally the answer I got was, "Uh... no mirco-minis?" Well, okay, then. I've never heard a word about my belly, and I can't remember any serious context in which I felt less respected due to how much skin I was showing.

Maybe it's just that I have never felt terribly bothered by objectification. I've only felt I was being objectified a handful of times in my life, and I found these occasions to be moronic rather than hurtful. I know I'm not an object-- nobody has the power to actually turn me into one, regardless of how they see me. Yes, I am very pretty, thanks for noticing. I'm sorry that you're too much of a moron to realize that I'm smart too. Perhaps it might have been different if the objectification ever came from anyone with any power over me-- a boss, for example --to make consequences come of their reduction of me to object status, but in general, I find it to be that person's problem, not mine. As I said-- I'm not an object, and even if they treat me that way, nobody on earth has the power to make me into one. 

And that brings me to another point-- these days, are men in general inclined to that kind of behavior? It's not the fucking fifties anymore, people. Maybe I've just had unusually fortunate experience, but I have found most men I've interacted with have internalized the notion that women are more than just pretty sexy things. That a woman dressing pretty, even sexy, does not automatically negate the possibility that she's got a lot going on upstairs as well.

I feel like this is predicated on a pretty offensive assumption about men as hyper-sexual beasts such that an attractive girl showing a little more skin than usual equals an automatic horny reaction that blots out all thought of that girl being a human being. Yuck. So sexist, so unfair, and I pray to God, so inaccurate. Do people really see men as lust-landmines that are going to explode with inappropriate behavior the minute something they find sexy sets them off? How patronizing! They're not animals, for Christ's sake. And if there ARE actually men like that, whose attraction to a woman cancels out any regard for her intellect or personhood, those men are creepy and fucked up and THEY are the problem and the ones that need to shape up, not the woman they're reacting to.

And I gotta say, I really hate this panic-reaction so many women have about, "OMG, he thinks I'm hot, now he won't respect me as a person!" Oh, get over yourself. WHY is it assumed that respect and attraction can't coexist? That being sexy and being smart mutually exclude one another? I find that not only insulting to men, but to women as well! Women can either be seen as respectable and capable, OR attractive and sexy? Screw that! I am a beautiful, smoking-hot woman who acts, directs, cooks, designs, organizes, and writes everything from larps to plays to poetry! Don't you forget for a minute that I've got beauty AND brains!

Is an inch-wide band of skin that I think is cute going to light the fires of brain-consuming lust? Nuh-uh. Is my being seen as a sexy woman negate the truth that I am also an intelligent and capable one? No on your life! And while yeah, it's important to hold men to a proper standard, we need to not turn them into the enemy when they don't deserve it.

And that's today's feminist rant. Your thoughts?

breakinglight11: (Ranting Fool)

I had a great conversation with [ profile] morethings5  at BSCFabout how burdensome it can be to keep writing again and again, especially when you don't feel like what you're producing is any good. He's trying to write a daily blog about fairytales and finding it can be difficult to be brilliant and insightful every day. But even though the more you write the more likely it is to be shit, you're also improving your writing the more you write, and therefore are also more likely to produce something good. It occurred to me that my LiveJournal is my way of dealing with this-- yes, most of the stuff I post in it is "what stupid thing made me angry" or "this part of me looked particularly pretty today," but every now and then, I write a really thoughtful essay about pornography, and it gets me writing every day, giving you lot something to read. :-)

So, in that spirit, I am going to write some shit in hopes that maybe another time will be gold. I am irritated with Express. It's abused me in such a way as I developed Stockholm Syndrome as a result. After realizing I needed a pair of black dress pants, I decided to check out their Editor style that has excellent word of mouth. When I went to the store to try them on and see, I dug through the stacks for my typical size zero, short length. You'd think they'd have plenty, but I had a bit of a tough time finding a pair. And then, when I finally got into the dressing room with them... they were too big. They were too big on me! Now, I know I haven't lost any weight, all my other clothes fit me just the same. Express apparently vanity-sized things so that everything is now a little bigger. I now couldn't find pants there because they were out of the even smaller size I needed.

I should be pissed; I really could use a nice pair of black slacks, and they kept me from being able to get them by making my size even more obscure. But instead, I feel smug. I love being a zero. The only thing I could love more is being a double zero. And now, due to Express's nefarious deception, I am. Even if this means I can't seem to get a pair of pants that fits.

This is their wickedness at work. Express screwed me, and made me like it. Screw you, Express!



Nov. 21st, 2009 05:52 pm
breakinglight11: (Joker Phoebe)
I don't have to like your friends. I don't care if that makes your life tougher sometimes. I don't care if it makes you sad.

I don't care if you like them. I don't get to pick your friends. But you don't get to pick mine either. If I respect your choice that they're worth your time because I respect you, show me enough respect to accept that I have valid reasons. And our disagreement on this matter is fine.

If you insist on talking me to about these friends, you had better either be prepared to let my side of the conversation remain monosyllabic and solicit no matter of my opinion, or be okay with the fact that I don't have positive things to say. Either be content with my embracing Thumper's philosophy, or just don't ask. Don't expect me to pretend, or say things I don't feel.

I don't care if you don't like my friends. That's why they're my friends, as opposed to yours. Show me the same courtesy.

Because sometimes, for reasons that make complete and total sense to me, I will hate your fucking friends. And that is my right.


breakinglight11: (Default)

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