Posts filed under ‘vanity’
Call it out of character, but I’m having difficulty mustering feminist outrage against the supposedly “new” phenomenon of pre-teens buying into the “Slutoween” trend by donning tarty costumes made especially for them.
Why? Well first of all, I have trouble with the idea that pre-teen girls trying to dress older than their years is anything new, or even necessarily something that adults should be overly alarmed about. Adolescent girls have always pilfered mom’s lipstick and changed in the bathroom at the school dance into that shorter skirt the ‘rents wouldn’t let them leave the house in. Yeah, part of that is pressure from society, but part of it is also natural curiosity. Trying to figure out what the hell to do with one’s newly morphed pubescent body is a big undertaking and it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of experimentation (and plenty of fashion train-wrecks) to figure out your relationship with your budding body. Dressing older (and by association, sexier) is as much about independence to most teen girls as it is about fitting in and being pretty. Instead of trusting our girls to navigate the muddy waters of adolescence and make good choices why do we behave as if it only takes one pair of sparkley fishnets to turn a 13-year-old into a baby prostitute?
Case in point, when I was in seventh grade I saw the movie Clue and decided I wanted to be a French maid for Halloween. My mother tried to talk me out of it. She even tried appealing to my emergent feminism by explaining that French maids are sort of a degrading male fantasy. This tidbit was pretty much lost on me. At that point my budding sexuality did not include any awareness of dominance, submission or other kinks. All I knew was that French maids got to wear frilly costumes, carry feather dusters and speak in smarmy French accents. Who wouldn’t want to be a French maid for Halloween? All mom’s suggestions for other, more appropriate costumes for a thirteen year old (“What about being a bag of grapes!? We can blow up some purple balloons and stick them to a sweat suit!”) fell on deaf ears. I was dug in. I was being a French maid for Halloween.
Instead of locking me up and throwing away the key, my mother reluctantly took me on a field trip to the local costume shop to pick out the most conservative French maid outfit we could find. She also insisted that I wear a turtleneck under it and drape a shawl over my shoulders, “Because it will be cold out.” I went out trick or treating in the outfit, practiced my smarmy French accent, accosted several people with my feather duster, collected a butt load of candy and came home… without herpes. I did not magically become popular with all the boys. I didn’t even end up dating for another three years. I didn’t ditch my well worn wardrobe of peasant skirts and wool clogs for leather pants and bustiers. The next Halloween I went as Red Death from Phantom of the Opera in pants, a tuxedo shirt, a floor length cape and a mask that covered most of my face. In short, I remained unharmed by my brush with the Slutoween phenomenon.
Was I just lucky that I didn’t become a statistic? I think not. First of all, I had good parents who wanted to have constructive conversations with me about my choices instead of just slut-shaming me. Because she actually listened to me my mother learned that my interest in being a French maid had more to do with playing a kooky character than pandering to the male sex. In fact, pandering to the male sex wasn’t even on my radar at that age. Even if it had been, I’m sure mom and I would have had a conversation about that too.
Unlike the author of the Daily Mail Article, I don’t believe that, “Parents who allow their offspring to wear this junk should consider putting them up for adoption.” I am so glad that my parents valued me as a person who could make her own decisions instead of thinking of me as a Pretty Pretty Princess that they had to keep pure as long as possible no matter what the cost.
Pre-teens of both genders are thinking about sex all the time and it’s totally natural. What else are you going to do when your brain is totally bathed in hormones? We’d be foolish to think that denying them every pair of tacky earrings or pot of lip gloss is going to stop them from growing up too fast. Guarding your daughters from the trappings of adulthood is a false sense of security. Instead of trying to take away the makeup and the high heels, why aren’t we trying to teach young women that these things don’t have to define them? Because that would mean that parents would actually have to talk openly and honestly about growing up with their kids… and that’s just awkward. Better to call them whores and ground them until they are 30!
As a kid I was encouraged to think for myself and stand up for what I believed in and be my awkward, imperfect self in any way that I wanted to be. This didn’t win me many friends in Junior High but in the end I think it made me less susceptible to the junk culture that tells girls their only value is being attractive. I understand that parents have a very real responsibility to protect their kids form predators. I also understand just how damaging it is to sexualize children from a young age. I just don’t think that the solution to the problem is to shelter our children more. I think the solution is to help our children learn to make good choices on their own.
Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if my mom had refused to let me wear that French maid outfit on Halloween. I certainly would have had less fun dressed as a bag of grapes. Would I have merely snuck out in the slutty outfit anyway? Would fishnets and heels become even more attractive and glamorous once I knew that my mother hated them? Of course! Perhaps the fact that I had permission to experiment with the sexy outfit in the first place also empowered me to reject it in the end. Bottom line… kids are vulnerable, precious and impressionable but they are also a lot smarter than we think they are. Raise your kid well and a little eyeliner (or a slutty Halloween costume) isn’t going to change who they are.
A friend of mine recently posted a blog entry complete with to her ideal renaissance-inspired wedding dress. Never mind that she doesn’t happen to be engaged or even in a serious relationship at the moment. She momentarily pondered if this made her a bit silly. If this makes her silly, then I’m just plain certifiable. Friend, I’ll do you one further, much further. I’m not engaged either but I not only have a dress in mind… I have my entire damn wedding planned. You heard me.
For a while I’ve wanted a Dia de los Muertos inspired wedding. My mom cringed when I once mentioned this in front of her, but hear me out mom, I’m not thinking cheesy-ass goth wedding, I’m thinking Martha Stewart Living Halloween Issue wedding. Picture it. A crisp fall day on Cape Cod. It will be just cool enough to wear an amazing Supermaggie scarf. The color scheme is purple, green and orange. The dress is 1950′s style, maybe with some colorful embellishments like this. Obviously this unique ensemble will involve a fascinator instead of a veil. Papel Picado and brightly colored lanterns adorn the place. On each brightly colored picnic table there is a different Mexican oilcloth tablecloth. The centerpieces are white ghost pumpkins carved into tasteful lanterns, and surrounded by short mason jars with bunches of Gerber daisies. The cake is a tower of Lyndell’s cupcakes atop a vintage cake stand with a sugar skull bride and groom at the very top.
Oh, and this all won’t be mind numbingly expensive because it will all be vintage, etsy or DIY.
Where’s the hypothetical groom in this? Oh, he just has to show up and look pretty. And wear a top hat.
Seriously though, what is up with wedding fever? or should I say wedding planning fever? Is it because a motherload of my friends have gotten engaged or married in the last year and watching them plan their weddings naturally makes me think of my own? Is it because in spite of my combat-boot stomping, anti-patriarchal “I don’t need no stinkin’ marriage to make me complete” feminist trumpeting I’m secretly starved to settled down in partnered, heterosexual bliss? Have I been brainwashed by society to fantasize incessantly about “my special day”?
Maybe I’m secretly a romantic at heart. Or perhaps it is the party planner coming out in me. I’m a theater person for chrissakes, most of the shindigs I throw involve mood lighting, atmospheric design and costumes (not to mention interactive craft projects, hooo!), is this all just a natural extension of my tendency to do it up?
So what’s your take on it? Is it normal and natural to dream about your wedding before you’ve even gotten engaged? Why do we all do it even if we scoff at romance? Am I helping to set womanity back like 200 years just by writing about this stuff or is it all just good clean fun? Do I even give a fuck?
So I just happen to be on the cusp of a very significant birthday. The great 3-0. At first I planned to do a huge self-deprecating retrospective of all the birthdays of my second decade, forever immortalizing the pageant of bad self-esteem, bad boyfriends and bad haircuts that seemed to characterize my 20s. Then I thought better of that idea, if only because I actually rather like the person I’ve become since I turned twenty five. Besides, dwelling on the past is like, so immature. I’m ready for the future.
When I was younger I used to dread turning 30, the proverbial age that all us hip young kids are supposed to hand in our street cred and high tail it out to the suburbs to become soul-less, minivan driving cyborgs. 30 was a completely different universe to us. It wasn’t just that you became old at 30, it was almost as if you ceased to be, or at least ceased to be in any incarnation that we could identify with. Saying someone was “like 30″ was probably the worst insult one could one could drone at another over the bong water. “Dude, that guy is like 30, what’s he doing still hanging out at Manray? That’s just creepy”, or, “Yeah, sure I’ll get a real job, maybe when I’m like 30 or something.” 30. Too old to go clubbing, to enjoy even vaguely interesting music or wear combat boots and a feather trimmed black negligee over your favorite velour mini-dress to your 9am playwriting class. In short, 30 was the end of it all.
Could my black-eyeliner-smeared 20-year-old self ever have imagined I would look forward to turning 30? Would I have ever dreamed that the secret is that I’m actually getting cooler with age and not less so? All of those awesome things that the shy, image concerned me would never dare to try in her early 20s? I’m doing those things now. And what of 30 being the end of it all? Not even close. Get this: I’m not even afraid of things like partnership, starting a family and eventually even moving to a place where every spare inch of ground isn’t covered with asphalt and cigarette butts. I don’t ever have to be afraid of those things changing who I am. In my life I’ve met so many badass women who have still managed to maintain their professional goals, potty mouths and travel habits while being kickass partners and moms, I know when my time comes I’ll be able to do it to– and still be me. And what if I don’t choose a partnered life? That’s OK too. I’ve met countless other women who’ve shown me that there is no credence to the spinster stereotype and that being on your own is by no means the same thing as being lonely. Life… whatever you’ve got coming, I’m ready.
Yet, I wouldn’t be the confident person I am today if it hadn’t been for the me of my 20s, bad at home dye-jobs at all. I spent so much of the last decade trying on different identities, seeing what fit and discarding the old ones like thrift-store finds that I couldn’t quite make work with the rest of my wardrobe. I figured out what worked for me and what didn’t, culled what just didn’t feel right and hung on to what did. I worked my ass off to find my passion, become independent and be good at my job. I had a shit ton of adventures and good times along the way. And I learned a lot, I really did. Every train-wreck and triumph I’ve had over the last 10 years has made me who I am today. So here’s a run down, 20 for my 20s. 20 important things I’ve learned, many of which I’m still working on, but hey, life’s a work in progress…
1) You know that thing you have been dying to try but you’re afraid to because you think you aren’t smart enough, talented enough, cool enough, tough enough or attractive enough to do it? You are.
2) While we’re at it, you know all those people who are already doing that thing you want to do? Most of them aren’t any smarter or more talented than you. Chances are the only difference between you and them is that they decided they could do it.
3) It is not your job to make everybody you know like you, agree with you and think you are smart and wonderful and right all the time. In fact, chances are that if you are living your life according to your principals, everyone around you isn’t going to like you agree with you or think you are smart and wonderful 100% of the time. That’s OK. You don’t need to define your worth in terms how much others like you.
4) It is perfectly OK to spend time focusing on the relationships in your life that are mutually beneficial and to let go of those that are not.
5) Don’t ever waste time dating or being friends with someone who makes you feel “less than” or someone you can’t trust our be yourself around.
6) It’s OK to be busy sometimes with lots of different projects. Someday you’ll look back on your life and say, “I can’t believe I did all that cool stuff!”
7) It is also OK to say no to things and unplug your computer, turn off your phone and pretend to not be home for a night.
8. Self care is not vanity or self-indulgence. Taking care of yourself does not mean you are weak and lazy. In the end, your mental, emotional and physical health is all you’ve got so do your best to preserve it! If you are healthy you will do better at your job and be a better partner, lover, friend, artist, etc.
9) Taking time to connect with your true friends is worth it, even if it always seems like there is never enough time.
10) Following your curiosity is always worth it. Money spent on travel and education is also always worth it. That being said, don’t live on credit. Figure out what you can live without in order to afford living that adventurous lifestyle you crave.
11) Don’t let somebody else’s dreams or expectations of you define what you want to do with your life.
12) Don’t dwell on your most negative interpretation of yourself. If you spend too much time being self-critical, you’ll never learn what your strengths are or become a better person.
13) Identify a few core things about yourself that you are proud of, things about you that will never change regardless of your life situation. Use those things as a touchstone to come back to when you are questioning who you are, when somebody else isn’t treating you right, or you need to make a major life decision.
14) Learn to like the body you are in. Work on trying to love it.
15) Never ever be afraid to speak up for yourself.
16) Everything you need is right inside you. You can’t always get what you need from other people, so learn how to achieve goals and feel good about yourself independently without somebody elses’ approval or support.
17) That being said, no woman is an island. Learn how to ask for love, care and support when you need it. Sometimes your loved ones can’t read your mind.
18) You are smart, don’t downplay your accomplishments. Just stand securely with them.
19) If you are itching to take a risk or make a change, chances are it is a good risk or change, chances are you will be successful in your venture. Don’t ever be afraid of the future. Just do it.
20) You always deserve to strive for more, be it more happiness, more life fulfillment, more love, more adventure, a more satisfying job, whatever. If you want it and you are willing to work hard to get it, you owe it to yourself to go for it. Settling for life being just OK is never enough. Strive to be enormously satisfied with everything you do, set realistic incremental goals and don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get exactly what you want right away. In the words of Cheetah Rivera, “Try not to take yourself too seriously, but always take your work seriously.”
I know this is old news to anyone with a vague interest in fashion but…
Anna Sui is coming out with a new line of clothes for Target!
And they are Gossip Girl inspired!
They hit stores on the 13th!
I know, I know. I was supposed to be keeping my fashion dollars out of the big box stores.
I have a big birthday coming up next week and I was supposed to start dressing with a little more dignity, i.e not like a wanna be teenage socialite.
I can’t help it.
I totally want the one on the far left. The black number is a little too Sophomore semi-formal ’98 for me but the silver one… that totally would have worked for a New Year’s Eve On The Moon theme party I had a few years ago. I don’t know how I feel about the jacket over the cute little wrap dress but whatevs.
In general, I’m feeling it.
I think I may have a problem.
Guess what kids? I’m on my way to becoming a D list internet celebrity!
My blog has been nominated for the blogluxe awards, a contest celebrating women bloggers.
Vote for me, Fever 2 Tell under the “most provocative” category. You can vote once a day until July 6th. Go over there and click the hell out of the little button ’till you just can’t click anymore. Go on. You’ve got nothing to do at work today anyway, I know it.
OK, so I know it’s kinda lame that the contest is sponsored by Swifter (because women LOVE to clean!) and it is sort of just a thinly veiled promotional tool for companies that advertise to women BUT it is also associated with Blog Her’s women’s blogger conference in Chicago this summer so that’s cool! The final winners will be selected by a panel of “professional” bloggers and presented with an award at the conference. Even if I don’t place, it’s still good advertising! And if I do win, I get to feel just like Anne Shirley when her story wins the Rollins Reliable Baking Powder story contest.
Thank you to my friend and fellow blogger Kami for nominating me in the first place. Check her out over at The Fence and vote for her in the “funniest blog” category.
The latest internet video to go viral in my neck of the woods is The Story of Stuff , conceived and put together by “unapologetic activist” Annie Leonard. The website bills the video as a, ” Fast paced fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns.” To the delight of many and the chagrin of some the video is already being used as a teaching tool in schools across the nation. Why do I give a crap? In my other life (you know, the one where I’m not a wildly popular feminist blogger with a razor sharp wit and a slew of commenting minions) I am an educator. Peel back the noxious layer of sarcasm and you’ll find that I actually care deeply about young people. I care about nurturing their intellectual growth and curiosity, I care about their developing sense of self and I care about how they form their opinions and their outlook on the world.
In general I think the video is great. In this age of global warming denial teachers have scant resources to provide their students with a balanced scientific approach. However I do see the point that some parents are making that it is a bit much. Not because as one parent complained, “it doesn’t say anything positive about capitalism”. As if the media, their textbooks and the entire culture around today’s kids isn’t pro-capitalism enough! Besides, to me the image of a cartoon U.S government shining corporate America’s shoes is the least disturbing image in the twenty minute video. In fact, compared to the image of skulls and crossbones over a nursing woman’s chest to depict the toxins found in breast milk, that image is downright cheerful. What gives me pause is the fact that I’m not a big fan of dumping large amounts of overwhelmingly negative facts on kids (OMG YOUR MOM’S BOOBS ARE FULL OF POISON AND YOUR PILLOW COULD KILL YOU!!!!!!!1) Without balancing it out with at least as much emphasis on and here’s what you can do about it. In the entire twenty minute video Leonard spends seventeen minutes painting a brutal portrait of how our innocent little trips to the Big Box stores contribute to the rape of our planet and only three minutes talking about solutions. If not framed appropriately by a skilled adult, it could be enough to overwhelm a viewer and make them feel hopeless. The problem is just too big. However I guess skilled adult is the key word here. Think of all the amazing conversations a video like this could facilitate. Think of all the fake town hall style debates, alternative waste treatment plans drafted by students, the haikus written to a felled tree! You could have a regular interdisciplinary education smorgasbord going on here. OK, I’m done with the teacher geek out now.
The real reason why I’m writing about this today is because the Story of Stuff really got me thinking about all of my stuff. After all, my love affair with Target is well documented. I’ve always been so darn proud of the fact that once a year or so I go through my wardrobe and skim off at least two full garbage bags of clothes I don’t wear anymore to give to charity, as if that somehow makes me Mother Effing Theresa. I never stopped to ponder the reasons why my closet is a revolving door of useless crap in the first place. Impulse buying? Guilty as charged. Inability to resist a barrage of shiny and cheaply priced goods? Check. But why is my attitude toward stuff like that in the first place? Is it more than just too much disposable income and a lack of self control? Does it also have to do with the fact that some post WWII Don Draper type was sitting in an office 50 years ago trying to think of a way to jump start the economy and decided that manufacturing goods to purposely wear out was a part of it?
Stuff wears out. Stuff goes out of style. Stuff has to be replaced. All of this time I’ve just taken that idea for granted. Looking further into it I realize that’s not always the case. I think of the Patagonia long underwear I’ve had since 7th grade, it still looks like new and I still wear it every winter. I think of the Doc Martins I wore every day for about six years (even backpacked across Europe in them and wore them to summer camp) before they finally fell apart. Then I think of all the shirts from H&M that unravelled on my body or sat crumpled on my bedroom floor for months after one wear.
Does having all this stuff make me any happier? I always think so when I snatch it off the shelf at a retailer. But it never does. I hate finding places to put it all in my tiny cramped apartment. I hate dragging it down three flights of stairs to the laundromat. And I really, really hate folding it, putting it away and packing it up in boxes every damn time I have to move.
So kids, you are my witness, this self admitted clothes horse (I’ve always hated that expression, horses don’t wear any damn clothes in the first place!) is cleaning up her act. I’ve purged my closet this season but this time I’m not replacing with abandon. I’m trying to consider quality and usefulness over price, and I’m trying to do with less. So far, it’s working. You’d be amazed how much easier it is to get dressed in the morning when you don’t have 8,000 shirts that all look bad with the pants you’re wearing. Having fewer choices actually makes it easier to get dressed. And I’m curbing those trips to Target, I swear. What I’ve got is good enough.
So what’s the story of your stuff? Are you purging, re-arranging or re-thinking your consumption habits these days? Any tips for a career stuff-hoarder?
OK, so most of my readers are aware of my well documented love/hate relationship with American Apparel. An affair that has been complicated of late with the announcement that AA has now launched a line of (sort of) maternity clothing. Now just ‘cuz you got knocked up doesn’t mean you can’t still dress like coked out disco skank! This adds yet another perverse layer to the American Apparel Hates Fat People (or at least fat women) debate. What does it mean that AA is willing to start a line especially for husky guys but their answer to expecting women is to just try and wriggle themselves into some of their stretchier styles? Clearly they have demonstrated an understanding of the fact that larger people need larger clothes, so why doesn’t the idea ring true for the women’s line? Is being pregnant just not a good enough excuse to get fat?
So here goes kids, I’m dusting off my hate letter to American Apparel. Enjoy:
Dear American Apparel,
I appreciate that your 100% cotton garments are so expensive because they are made without any slave labor in sunny L.A where you pay your workers a living wage. Really I do. I appreciate it so much that I continue to buy your products even though you are enabling a generation of hipsters to dress like aerobics instructors from the 80s without even the effort of raiding a thrift store. I appreciate it so much that I even look the other way from your horrific print adds. You know, the ones with some anorexic, strung out looking girl in some vaguely masturbatory pose that’s supposed to be provocative with a look in her eyes that says she’s oh so bored with everything, even sex (which she probably can’t even muster the energy to have since she’s so emaciated that she looks unable to menstruate, let alone break a sweat)? Yeah those ones.
In your Cambridge store today I witnessed a phenomenon that makes me want to whack you upside your collective fashion mullet. To put it bluntly, you seem to think that the only people who should be wearing your 100% cotton slavery free garments are people the size of the waifish models you use to pedal them. Lest you mistake me for a lone whiner, it has been well documented that I’m not the only woman with this problem.
I think a person my size should be able to fit comfortably into a size large at any mainstream retail store. Hell, throughout most of the 1990s (before the whole size inflation thing happened and I woke up the next day and was suddenly a size 6 without doing anything differently) I WAS a medium or a large at most shops. If you are trying to take a stand on the whole vanity sizing things and have Americans start thinking realistically again, then I respect that, although somehow I think your motives are not so altruistic.
Okay, okay, I understand that a womanly figure is threatening to the other greasy haired, concave chested half of your sales demographic, the MALE hipster.
So I beg you, AA, if you can’t muster any compassion for your female shoppers, think of the male hipsters! What about all the sensitive men who’s self esteem you are destroying with your size deflation when they find they can’t fit their scythe like hips into your tightie whities or striped cotton 70′s athletic shorts? Female eating disorders have long been a scourge in modern society, now must you now send the other half of the fashion conscious sector to purge over toilets as well!? Aren’t they better employed spending their parent’s money on weed or flunking out of an art school they aren’t talented enough to be at in the first place? How will they manage to roll out of bed by 3PM to pound a Miller High Life and get to band practice if they are too worried about their love handles? How will these fragile men live their lives if they are forced into the same kind of all consuming body image schizophrenia that most women engage in on a daily basis!?
The real dirty thing about all this business American Apparel, is that I bet the size deflation doesn’t run through to the male side of your clothing line. In fact, I wonder if size inflation/deflation is even an issue with men’s apparel in general. Tell the truth AA, nothing is worse than a fatty, especially a fatty who tries to wear trendy clothing and feel good about herself even if she’s not a size two. That’s just like, ew. And while we’re at it, nothing is more threatening to the image conscious, emotionally crippled pretty boys you like to sell your clothing to than a woman who could kick their asses.
But this psychology is nothing new. We saw it in the 90s with Calvin Klein who said so famously that women over size 10 shouldn’t wear jeans. We’ve seen it throughout history. Because nothing freaks the fashion industry out more than a mature woman who isn’t willing to contort and starve her body by any means possible in order to fit into YOUR clothing.
But I’ve been unfair to you, AA. It’s not just you, it’s not just the fashion industry. It is the culture that supports it. The culture that tells women that we need to look adolescent to be sexy and that a mature woman in power is undesirable.
It’s me too, after all, I bought the little size XL sundress you had on the rack. And the A-line skirt, and the leggings, and the tiny tank tops in a rainbow of basic and fluorescent colors, and the sparkly gold hot shorts. And even though I’m not your target consumer, even though I’m spending my hard earned cash at a store that has tried to ward off my child bearing hips by making most of their styles too small to fit them, I still think I look hot in your clothes if I do say so myself. And sometimes I kinda hate myself for feeling that way. Damn American Apparel, I wish I could quit you.
“What is it about an unconventional women that make people (especially other women) hate on them so viciously for any perceived missteps?”
There they are. Saucy to be sure, but worth all the fuss? I’m not so sure they deserve to rival and practically overshadow the fact that she’s doing cool, groundbreaking things…
Says Cody, “We’re given this chance to promote fresh representations of women. For me, my thought is if I wrote a movie, I’m not going to fill my movie with stock girlfriend characters. I’m going to write about a girl who wears hoodies and likes the Stooges (punk band).”
Adds fellow screenwriting nom Sara Polley: “There’s a more dynamic definition of what it is to be a woman. We are more creative about how we portray ourselves. I think we have a really far way to go, but it is a little bit of progress.”
You’d think that we’d all be a little more psyched for her, especially considering that women make up only 27 percent of film writers. And no, that isn’t because, as a particularly sexist dunderhead ex of mine put it, women just aren’t as funny as men. (To this day, I still get the urge to look that guy up and send him Tina Fey’s press clippings!)
Personally, I think the reason why there are fewer smart, funny leading women out there has more to do with the reasons why we diss on girls like Diablo than that women inherently lack the funny gene.
Since the beginning of time up until recently, women weren’t in control of their own lives. We had to get what we wanted and needed by being pleasing or attractive or just plain manipulative. Though the necessity of getting our way in this manner is waning, generations of mothers have tacitly passed down these coping skills to their daughters. Be polite, don’t be pushy, don’t call attention to yourself, smile and be a lady.
Being funny means taking risks, calling attention to yourself, and putting yourself in positions where you may look awkward or unattractive. We’re trained from birth to avoid those types of situations which is a reason why women aren’t writing and directing films or even starring in very many interesting ones. Instead we’re the girlfriend, or worse, the muse.
A girl who’s willing to stand out, who gets what she wants, and doesn’t follow the old rules is viewed as a big old cheater pants. The fact is, that most of us would like to wear what we want, say what we want and do what we want but we’ve been told from birth that if we break the rules we’ll end up unhappy. What we’re really saying when we diss on Diablo is no fair, I want what she’s got.
Nobody dissed on Daniel Day Lewis for rolling up on the red carpet with pirate earrings and shoes that clashed with his suit. For that matter, nobody says the famed indie writer Wes Anderson is an attention whore for dressing like a mattress salesman from the 70s.
What girls who have nothing better to do than crap all over Diablo for her choice of shoes (that’s naked jealousy if I ever saw it, what girl wouldn’t take a free pair of freakin’ diamond shoes?) are really complaining about when they make fun of her is that they’ve tried to get attention all their lives by being innocuously attractive and now the smart, freaky girl with all the tattoos is getting recognized.
As I used to say to the girls who called me a dyke and a witch in Catholic School, “If not being like you makes me a freak, then I’m happy I’m not normal.”
Let them say stuff. Let them even be a little afraid of you (that usually makes them leave you alone) just keep on being who you are and don’t apologize for it. The weird girls will go on breaking ground and maybe the next generation of girls won’t be so afraid to do things their own freakin’ way, one leopard printed step at a time…
Loaf, muffin top, jelly roll, gut. For some women their butt is their bete noir, but no matter how you slice it I’m one of those girls who’s always done battle with the round lump of dough that sits just below my navel.
The first time I remember resenting this unique part of my anatomy was in 5th grade when a skinny friend and I decided to wear matching two piece bathing suits to a friend’s pool party. My buddy and I were giddy with the results, but I’ll never forget my mom in the dressing room trying to convince me to get something that would cover my “fluffy little tummy”. Before that moment I’d hardly even noticed that I had a tummy, let alone one that required covering. Showing what a child of the late 80′s I was, I came to think of my belly as an unsightly fanny pack of fat. I wasn’t phased by it though because I was confident that once I hit puberty and blossomed into a Playboy model I’d be trading in my fanny pack for six-pack abs in no time!
However, as you might have imagined, a trade-in wasn’t in the cards for me and my gut. Throughout my youth I wrangled with my paunch. In 9th grade I went on my first crash diet and found out the hard way that even when I weigh 103 pounds I still have a (tiny) belly. In college I even had a boyfriend tell me that my loaf reminded him of the fat 6th grade teacher he and his friends used to make fun of. Had you told me back then that my muffin top would become something I could live with and maybe even enjoy instead of merely an abscess to be lanced, I would have thought you were crazy.
After college my self-respect had a new-found resurgence and with that my taste in men drastically improved. Guys are great for finding things about your body you hated or simply didn’t notice and heaping adoration on them. For example, did you know I have a gorgeous back? Well, I do. I was just so busy worrying about the front of me that I never had time to admire my back.
I’ve had many men tell me they love my tummy. Most recently my current beau curled up on my stomach after lavishing it with kisses and said, “You can exercise and get as buff as you wanted to but please, please, please don’t lose this because I love it.” I mean, how adorable is that? Couldn’t you just roll him up in a ball, put him in your coat pocket and take him home with you? Well you can’t cuz he’s mine, but with boys like that around, self loathing seems a little, well, useless.
Not that I need a man to tell me I’m beautiful but having so many tell me the exact opposite of what I feel about myself made me take a second look in the mirror.
I tend to fixate on the negative but lately I’ve made a promise that I’ll spend just as much time appreciating the things I like about myself as I do lamenting the things I’m unhappy with. I tend to view positive things about my body as optical illusions. For example, I’ll tell myself that the reason why my core looks so lean and strong today is because I’m standing at a funny angle, not because I’ve been working extra hard in yoga. Negative things about my body though, those things are “the awful truth”. The rolls on my hips? Evidence that I’m destined to become a 450 pound whale, not the fact that I’m wearing unflattering underwear today.
I was so busy hating my stomach that I never stopped to think that when I really look at it, I like it. I like the look of a firm torso with a pleasing arc of flesh just below it. I enjoy resting my palm on my paunch as I relax in bed at night. I even like the way it looks peeking out from above hipster bikini bottoms. The only reason why I ever wanted to get rid of it in the first place was because someone else told me I should.
I’ve decided that instead of thinking of my tummy as something excess, I’m thinking of it as something pleasing and delicious, like the frothy cap of steamed milk on top of my morning cappuccino for example:
Or perhaps the warm, flaky top of a delicious souffle:
Because that’s what my tummy is, a soft, succulent orb of flesh that leads to more delightful things below.
The results are too close to call. Hillary won more delegates but Barack won more states. McCain has been pretty much declared the Republican winner which has gotten the panties of more than one conservative talk radio host in a twist because they’ve all been jacking off to
Mitt Reagan Romney Mitler for the last few months. Despite that fact, Mittens has been unable to corner the conservative vote anywhere and Huckabee is doing better than anyone ever expected.
People speculate that Barack and Hill have been so kissy-kissy to each other of late because a Obama/Clinton or Clinton/Obama ticket might be in the works for the general election.
And oh lordy, they are anticipating a McCain/Huckabee ticket on the Republican side.
If this happens I’m going to have to have my uterus removed and cryogenically frozen because not only do I refuse to reproduce in an anti-choice climate, I refuse to bring children into this world with a president who says we should stay in Iraq for 100 years if needed.
Until the climate is safe for my ovaries I’ll just have to don these uterus emblazoned underpants.
Or perhaps I’ll be seen sporting these unique uterus shaped earrings
And what girl wouldn’t be delighted to remember her mensing days with a handy uterus shaped pincushion!?
One thing is for sure though, this uterus ain’t comin’ out of hiding until her reproductive rights are guaranteed.
*Huuuuh! Get it, ova?**
** It’s a funny play on words that I thought I might have to explain because since congress re-funded abstinence only education,*** some people out there in blog-land might be missing basic 7th grade human reproductive vocabulary.
*** Oh, BTW, some of the people who allowed that bit of ass-hattery to pass through congress were Democrats, so if that sounds wack to you find out who your rep is and let ‘em know!