Posts in category Competition
A Facebook friend posted the original version, so I decided to fix it.
This is a Hallmark birthday card for a young girl:
TEXT: "You're 13 today! If you had a rich boyfriend, he'd give you diamonds and rubies. Well, maybe next year you will - when you've bigger boobies!"
A woman in the UK posted a picture of it on Twitter. Over the next 6 hours, it was "re-tweeted, blogged about and posted across the Internet ... [until] Hallmark UK apologized for and pledged to stop selling the sexist card." The social pressure on Hallmark and their reaction is a great example of how speaking out about sexism matters!
Supermodels from 1994
Kathy Ireland, Elle MacPherson, and Rachel Hunter (L-R) appeared on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 1994. Today's thin ideal, popularity of plastic surgery, and extreme Photoshopping make 1994 seem like such a long time ago. And times have certainly changed.
Face Your Shadows
Exactly! Just say something nice and respond in kind. It's the intention behind the greeting that counts. The passive aggressive declarations about keeping the "Christ" in Christmas and being bothered that the cashier said "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" -- this isn't about sharing the joy of the season. It's about being a bit of a Scrooge.
Worse or Better
... or that we shouldn't complain about sexism here because women have it worse in other countries.
Female Chauvinist Pigs
Quote is actually by Emily Maguire in the intro to Ariel Levy's book, Female Chauvinist Pigs.
Love or Hate
Almost everything we feel about others is subjective -- remember this next time you're rejected, insulted, etc.
This is what I think when I hear women talking about how they're "not like other girls" or they're a "cool girlfriend" because they like watching sports, or they don't mind going to strip clubs with their guys, or they're not high-maintenance. It's as if pleasing men is the highest priority & that either molding yourself to their interests or simply having those same interests makes you better, cooler, or more fun than women who don't.
This commercial could easily be confused with the juvenile & sexist ads for Carl's Jr. But this company doesn't sell burgers. You'd think that a luxury cars maker would want their brand associated with class and elegance -- not juvenile humor and tacky stereotypes about frumpy smart women and dumb blondes. Way to be classy, Mercedes. :/
Is America Ready for a Male Leader?
LOL -- I love this little bit of satire regarding the different ways we speak about male vs. female politicians. The role reversal points out how absurdly sexist and condescending it is:
"The Secretary of State job requires both tenacity and restraint, both of which may be difficult for a man's unique chemical constitution. The male hormone testosterone, while responsible for such wondrous miracles as back hair and upper body strength, is also responsible for an increase in male aggression, anger, and even violence. Diplomacy is a difficult enough task without having to temper a man's natural tendency to throw chairs through windows when angered by gridlock. ..."In addition to fluctuating male hormones, a male Secretary of State will undoubtedly be faced with the difficult task of trying to balance work and family. For generations, men have tried to 'have it all' — the great career, the perfect family, a hot body, a youthful, buoyant buttocks ... I know it's not the 'politically correct' question to ask, but it needs to be addressed when making important decisions about men in the workplace: if Jon Huntsman is appointed head of the State Department, can we trust him not to shirk his responsibilities in favor of fulfilling his duties as a father of seven? ... Who is going to make after school snacks? Can America, with a clean conscience, remove a father from his natural role as hands-on provider and permission slip signer?"
We Won – Deal With It
When our rights are attacked; when we're treated with condescension and our morals, maturity, and ability to make decisions about our own bodies and lives are questioned; when the definition of rape is twisted to benefit the rapist and punish women -- well, damn right we're going to take it personally! We're going to defend ourselves against insulting, selfish, and paternalistic attacks against our humanity. We're going to stand up against sanctimonious bullies who use religion and legal maneuvers to chip away at our civil rights. We're going to vote for the people who actually respect our constitutional and moral rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And we're going to question the integrity of those who are so willing to throw our rights under the bus. How dare you speak about freedom when you are so intent on attacking ours.
In this election, we had more on the line than you did. We had more to lose. And guess what? YOU built that. So hell yeah -- of course we're going to celebrate and we're going to do a bit of gloating about how we prevailed.
We won. You lost. Deal with it.
Tailoring Your Reality
A woman recounts a story about a friend's experience winning a free style consultation with Clinton Kelly from the TLC show "What Not to Wear". The friend wore a plus-size and had a hard time finding clothes that fit her well. She assumed that it was because of her size, but she couldn't seem to get good results even when she tried to follow plus-size fashion tips from the show. She asked Clinton what she was doing wrong, and he shared this secret:
"His answer was that everything you will ever see on a celebrity’s body, including their outfits when they’re out and about and they just get caught by a paparazzo, has been tailored, and the same goes for everything on What Not To Wear. Jeans, blazers, dresses - everything right down to plain t-shirts and camisoles. He pointed out that historically, up until the last few generations, the vast majority of people either made their own clothing or had their clothing made by tailors and seamstresses. You had your clothing made to accommodate the measurements of your individual body, and then you moved the fuck on. Nothing on the show or in People magazine is off the rack and unaltered. He said that what they do is ignore the actual size numbers on the tags, find something that fits an individual’s widest place, and then have it completely altered to fit. That’s how celebrities have jeans that magically fit them all over, and the rest of us chumps can’t ever find a pair that doesn’t gape here or ride up or slouch down or have about four yards of extra fabric here and there."
Everything is altered. So many of us find fault with our bodies for not fitting the clothes, instead of finding fault with the clothes for not fitting our bodies.
"I sat there after I was told this story, and I really thought about how hard I have worked not to care about the number or the letter on the tag of my clothes, how hard I have tried to just love my body the way it is, and where I’ve succeeded and failed. I thought about all the times I’ve stood in a fitting room and stared up at the lights and bit my lip so hard it bled, just to keep myself from crying about how nothing fits the way it’s supposed to. No one told me that it wasn’t supposed to. I guess I just didn’t know. I was too busy thinking that I was the one that didn’t fit.
I thought about that, and about all the other girls and women out there whose proportions are 'wrong,' who can’t find a good pair of work trousers, who can’t fill a sweater, who feel excluded and freakish and sad and frustrated because they have to go up a size, when really the size doesn’t mean anything and it never, ever did, and this is just another bullshit thing thrown in your path to make you feel shitty about yourself."
Remind yourself of this helpful little secret the next time nothing in your closet seems to fit. Remind yourself the next time the diet ads start making you think you need to lose weight. Remind yourself when you start feeling fat and ugly and worthless. Because the truth is, the flaws may simply be in your jeans — and not in your genes.
A Woman’s Place
The conservative social forces conspiring to roll back the clocks on women's reproductive rights have much in common with the forces that tried to keep women from having voting rights. In an attempt to undermine suffragettes' struggles to gain rights that men were able to enjoy, these women were demonized as ugly, masculine, bad mothers, morally challenged, promiscuous, childish, and emasculating to men. Nearly 100 years have passed since then, but not much has changed:
“The social pressures that resisted suffrage can’t be underestimated. ... It wasn’t just that women had to fight for the right to vote, but women had to fight for the right to speak in public to be able to advocate for their own rights. ...The battle for suffrage wasn’t just about the legal right to vote, but it was also about women’s ability to be public figures, not confined to the home. It was more broadly about women’s role in society. ... "The messages you find on anti-suffrage postcards from the 1910s are not dissimilar from what you might hear from Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’Reilly today in the 2010s. Suffragettes were drawn as conniving coquettes, ugly, mean spinsters or, worse, ugly, mean wives who left their families helpless as they attended town-hall meetings. ... “That was a common theme, that if women were given political power they would crush men and upset the gender roles in society, particularly in the family. ... “We operate with this zero-sum mentality, which is, if women gain rights, men lose them. ... You see the same sort of idea that if people of color or ethnic minorities make gains, whites therefore lose something. So if men only understand their identity in relationship to being bigger than women, then it’s a trade-off. You see it in dozens of anti-suffrage postcards, showing men being hurt if women advance. Human beings seem to operate with this mentality where if you expand the rights of some, it diminishes the rights of others, instead of collectively expanding the rights of all of us as a people.”
Read more here:
The Scariest Halloween Costumes of All
In the past several years, Halloween has morphed into something really scary -- scary enough to make some of us want to scream. But not because of the blood and gore, creepy decorations, or traditionally spooky costumes.
Halloween used to be the day when you could put on a disguise and pretend to be someone else for the night. For women, it could be a reprieve from the daily pressure to look thin, beautiful, and sexy. But instead of a day off from that pressure, Halloween is now a day to amp it up. Nearly every option for women is a sexy take on a traditional costume, from fetishized caricatures from porn to the totally absurd, such as the Sexy Hamburger, the Sexy Crayon, the Sexy Skittles, the Sexy Sponge Bob, and the Sexy Nemo (the clown fish from Finding Nemo). I just ... I ... have no words:
But it's not all just harmless fun. Even child characters in fairy tales have been made into sexed-up costumes for women, e.g., Sexy Little Red Riding Hood, Sexy Goldilocks, and Sexy Alice in Wonderland. (See more examples here).
In addition to fairy tale characters, here are a few other ways for women to dress up as sexy little girls -- the Sexy Girl Scout, the Sexy Schoolgirl, and the Sexy Baby (WTF is wrong with people?!):
What's so troubling about these costumes is that:
"... [M]any of the 'sexy' costumes are highly sexualized versions of characters who are supposed to be little girls ... The fact that many women dress up as sexy little girls points to both the sexualization of female children and the infantilization of adult women."
The sexualization of girls teaches them early on that their value lies in their appearance, their bodies, and their sexuality. The American Psychological Association found that sexualization damages girls' feelings of self-worth, impairs their mental functioning, and contributes to eating disorders. In other words, it fucks girls up. The infantilization of adult women reinforces attitudes that women should be treated as naive, dependent, and incapable of making intelligent decisions or holding leadership roles. In other words, it fucks women over.
Another disturbing trend in sexy costumes is linking sexuality with violence. Here are some creepy sexy costumes, such as female versions of horror movie serial killers -- Sexy Leatherface (Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Sexy Jason (Friday the 13th), and Sexy Michael Myers (Halloween). I guess the Sexy Body Bag (seriously, who comes up with this shit?!) fits in here as well :/ :
Of course, many Halloween costumes are intended to be frightening or gory, but turning a male horror movie killer that often targets scantily-clad female victims into a scantily-clad female horror movie killer has some interesting connotations. Horror movie killers tend to murder (punish) the sexually open "whores" early on, while the good girl "virgins" often escape (reward). Underlying the sexy female killer is a misogynistic fear of female sexuality and power -- it threatens conservative social attitudes about women owning our sexuality and our bodies. It also sparks our own conflicted feelings about sexuality or our insecurities about other women being competition or threats. Since all of these fears are uncomfortable, they must be buried or "killed".
Clearly, there are lots of "sexy" costumes for women, but those for men are a bit different. This Tumblr page has tons of examples of the same costume idea, but different versions for him and her. The differences are quite striking when you look at them side-by-side. His costumes are typically silly, while hers are always sexy. Here are his-and-hers versions of Tigger, Skunk, Firefighter, and Astronaut:
Making sexy versions of non-sexy characters like Tigger or Skunk invariably make sexiness cross into absurdity. However, sexing-up women's costumes of traditionally male careers, such as Firefighter or Astronaut, is another breed of animal. First, how could women realistically fight fires in a mini-skirt, garters, and fishnets or work in zero gravity in a mini-skirt and a top that low-cut? The answer is that they can't. And that speaks to deeper cultural beliefs about what women can and can't do. Underlying sexy costumes such as these are sexist beliefs about a woman's role. This reinforces beliefs that we're primarily sexual objects and that we don't belong in certain careers or positions of power unless we're there to support men.
So far, we've only looked at sexy costumes for women, but men have a few choices as well: the Breathalizer (Get it? You "blow" into that straw between his legs), the One Night Stand, and the Pimp (Parents -- make sure to teach your sons early that by treating women like hos, they'll be rewarded with money and status!):
There's obviously a discrepancy between men's and women's sexy costumes:
"... [W]hen women go sexy for Halloween, it usually means being seen as a sex object for others. When men go sexy, it means joking about how men should be sexually serviced, have access to one night stands, or being in charge of and profiting from women’s bodies. A different type of 'sexy' entirely."
That's it. I'm skipping Halloween. These are all just too scary for me. :/
African Philosophy of Ubuntu
Archbishop Desmond Tutu further explains the concept:
"[The African tribal philosophy of] Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can't exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can't be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity. We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity. ... A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed."
Facebook’s 12 Year Old “Sluts”
In today's Depressing News of the Day, you may want to know (or not) that there's a Facebook page called “12 Year Old Sluts”. Fans of that page post pictures of young girls who dress or act "too sexy" or even post "sexy" pictures of themselves. You can imagine what happens next:
It features, among other jokes and memes, the kind of idiotic 'sexyface' pictures pre-teen girls take of themselves in the bathroom mirror. The founders of the page encourage their commentariat to 'put these sluts in their place,' with shame tactics that would make the meanest mean girls blush.
Wow -- let's go slut-shame some little girls. What upstanding, compassionate human beings we are. Why do sluts need to be put "in their place" in the first place? Well, it's partly because kids can be insecure little bullies. But it's also because they've somehow internalized that female sexuality is threatening and shame is a powerful tool to dampen it.
On the "12 Year Old Sluts" Facebook page, a less-conventionally attractive girl made the mistake of posting a picture of herself in the typical bathroom-mirror-camera-phone pose, and the insults came pouring in.
The crux of the problem for this girl ... is that she’s stuck between a rock and a hard place. On one side, there is the crushing pressure to be sexually desirable. She is aware of this pressure even before she caves to it, and at a much younger age than adults would like to believe. ... On the other side, [she] knows that she loses the desirability game if she caves to the desires she has inspired. ... [She] intuitively understands that she loses hers if people think she’s too accessible.
We're damned if we're too sexy and damned if we're not sexy enough. It's a trap. So why would she post that picture then? Why would a girl put herself in the position of being publicly critiqued and ridiculed by cruel internet strangers? It's not unlike the reasons why teenage girls and adult women would post their pictures to websites like Hot or Not (feel free to Google it if you want, but I'd prefer not to give them the traffic), or hundreds if not thousands of other online forums. Many girls -- and women -- act in desperate ways in that elusive search for validation.
I still remember the name of the girl who gave the first blowjob in middle school. Minutes after it happened, her name had worked itself from one end of the building to the other. You can bet that no one gave two shits who was on the receiving end; he remained anonymous and she watched one afternoon’s adolescent experiment destroy the desirability she’d spent years cultivating.
As girls grow up, we learn that it's important to be pretty little princesses and to be sweet and nice to others. This teaches us that our value lies in our appearance and our ability to please. Boys learn to be tough, confident, but unemotional -- which of course has its own downside. It's incredibly unfair to teach girls that they're supposed to be pretty and pleasing, and then turn around and punish them for doing exactly that. Amanda Todd is a heartbreaking example of this. Amanda was a 15-year-old who some called a "slut" after topless pictures of her were made public by the GROWN MAN who flattered her into posting them for him. This asshole-who-deserves-to-be-in-jail stalked her and made true on his threat to share them with her peers after she wouldn't give the perv a "show". She ended up committing suicide due to the torment and bullying. If that weren't bad enough, the slut-shaming has continued after her death. The pressure to be sexy, the need to be admired, and shaming a girl for doing just that can have tragic consequences.
The wiggle room between the rock and the hard place—that sweet spot between being wanted and being respected—is all but non-existent. It is a sliver, a tiny wedge, the narrowest of alleys. Adult women spend years trying to find it, alternating between extremes, recalibrating, shooting for appreciation without denigration. Look at me, but not for too long. Want me, but don’t try so hard. Think that I’m beautiful, but know that I’m classy. But not too classy. Lady in the street, freak in the bed. You know the drill. ... But teenagers? Teenagers have it worst of all. Not only do the rock and the hard place still matter more than anything, but they have yet to fully develop the ability to scope out long-term ramifications. Their skins are still baby thin and easily pierced. They want to be noticed and ignored, be thought exceptional and average, all at the same time.
It's a balancing act between two extremes -- the respectable virgin and the unrespectable* whore. And it's all bullshit.
*I looked up "unrespectable" to make sure it was a word and here's the first response that popped up (you can't make this shit up):
respectable - characterized by socially or conventionally acceptable morals; 'a respectable woman'
Adj. 1. unrespectable- unworthy of respect
"A respectable woman". The problem isn't just one immature and mean Facebook page. You know there's a problem with society when even the dictionary is a slut-shamer.