Monday, February 24, 2014

Japanese Women now free to enjoy mouth meat.

this is the (partially obscured) face of equality
By Ana

Good news! Those muffled moans you've been listening to all month are actually the sound of Japanese women taking an appreciative bite of out of their hamburgers... from behind a chastity muzzle. (So you can stop glaring at your neighbor every morning the elevator. Sorry, Mrs. Papadopoulos.)

According to Huffingtonpost, who probably won't mind that I borrowed one of their images,  this revolutionary East Asian dining accessory, is referred to as  the "Liberation Wrapper."  (Which, as it turns out, doesn't mean "condom," aaand might also explain why the Trinidadian guy at the gas station looked so confused.)

Instead its a type of napkin used to "cover a woman's face, thus "freeing" her to devour a burger without fear of exposing one of her germiest cavities to the world. (I assume they eat their beef raw too? ...Is something a racist or Alec Baldwin might say.)

According to Mr. Huffington, this creepy convention, brought on by the "trend known as “ochobo” --AKA having a "small and modest mouth" -- has caught on to the point where it's considered rude for women to flap their beaks in public. So when Japanese restaurant chain owners noticed a gender discrepancy in the sales of their large Classic Burger, they chalked it up to their female customers' adherence to cultural norms... Hence a need for the Liberation Wrapper. It all makes sense!

hey girl, why you covering up those fine lips?

And I thought I was oppressed for being a government sponsored infant carrier.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Am I pretty?

by Anči

Most of you are probably aware of the disturbing new You Tube trend, summed up by the phrase "Am I pretty or ugly?"
Just your average after-school activity

If you haven't heard of it, you can probably imagine what it involves. Basically it's an exercise in public humiliation, among(st) adolescent girls who... regularly  1) stare into a camera, and 2) ask the notoriously Noble-Hearted-You-Tube-Commenters to tell them whether they're pretty or ugly.  (I'm suddenly much less of ashamed of spending so much of my pubescent free-time interviewing celebrity-me in front of a mirror. "Did I feel a lot of pressure after being named one of  People's Most Beautiful? No, not really. I don't really focus on those things. Although it's always nice to be included.")
 If you've ever been on Youtube, you can probably imagine what the majority of the responses are like: (To those of you who wrote down "Dick pics captioned with an angry, misspelled request for fellatio," I'd say... That's a really specific answer.  And where are you writing that down?)

As expected, Bust reported  that "70 percent of the comments came from men. Not only were they highly derogatory in nature, but "most of them were definitely over 18.""

It was also pointed out that "The comments from females... were almost exclusively provided by the under-18 crowd," which paints a really creepy picture if you ask me.

Just the fact fact that the two primary contributors to this "trend," are underage girls, and grown men should tell you exactly which group benefits from the sexualization of young girls. And more importantly, which group it hurts the most.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

On Mediocre White Male Syndrome.

By Ana CL

As a creative person, I am naturally friends with a lot of other creative folk-- all of whom comprise a diverse range of perspectives that constantly energize and elevate me.
 Because writing like all other arts, is hard work-- (which I do for free) and because community is everything when you're a struggling blogger, I rely on these perspectives for solidarity and guidance.

The one group of people who I get the least acknowledgement and support from however, are creative white guys-- who routinely dismiss, and overlook my contributions, while expecting me to fall all over their artistic/activist endeavors (to the point where they literally interrupt, and talk over me, whenever I bring up my projects.)

In their defense, this behavior is a symptom of a much larger societal ill I like to call:  "mediocre white male syndrome--" a condition wherein the affected white man sports an inflated sense of talent and worth, at the expense of women and people of color.

And this behavior isn't even limited to a mere disregard for women's perspectives--it's also made plain in the aggressive and active belittling of our work. (through a process called "mansplaining")

It isn't enough that in a would-be-dialogue about writing, a creative white guy will dominate our discussion with superfluous self-aggrandizing details about his personal "search for truth" (gag)   Nay, he will also go out of his way to  "show me my place" most notably by referring to my blog as a "fun project." (unlike his pieces, which he simply refers to as his "work")

Then, in an attempt to appear gentlemanly, he'll give me "advice" I didn't ask for-- which coincidentally also functions as thinly disguised disdain for my efforts:
For starters he'll imply my writing doesn't serve a purpose, by mentioning how pop culture's influence is overhyped. Get it? Everyone knows its bullshit, so why bother trying to analyze it?
(except I don't think it's bullshit, which is why I'm the one writing this blog, and not you.)

Then he'll suggest doing some more "original work" (like he does, since he's never been influenced by anybody, ever,)-- a hint he'll  follow up with a patronizing observation about the feeble repetitiveness of online feminism. (Funny, I was going to say I find his insights repetitive and feeble.) Then when my annoyance becomes obvious, he'll tell me to lighten up. Because clearly, I'm the problem in this conversation.

I don't have one particular person in mind, as I write this. And i didn't jump into this post fresh off of an infuriating conversation. What I am describing here is in fact a pervasive attitude  held by many of my white male peers. Not all of them reach the heights of entitlement i've just described, but nearly all of them have (consciously or not) positioned themselves as a figure of creative authority over me.
And I'm sick of it.
Guys:  You don't know better than me. Your ideas aren't better than mine. Your work isn't more original than mine. And you don't know more about feminism than I do.  So.
Stop. talking. down. to. me.

Society has conditioned women to want to appear nice, and you've taken advantage of that, every time I felt compelled to indulge another self-absorbed tangent  about your craft with appreciative receptivity. I don't ever regret being thoughtful, and supportive-- and i'm certainly not going to adopt your method of rudeness instead. (I have my own standards, thank you.) But while I will continue to be fair, I will stop insisting on being nice. 

You think this won't affect you dudes, but it will. Because you rely  a lot on the support and admiration of women. (much more than you think.)


Sunday, February 2, 2014

That Awkward Moment ... when a film perpetuates harmful gender stereotypes

Not my image, obviously.

By Isabelle M

Last night a friend and I went to see American Hustle. Unfortunately, when we arrived at the theater, the showing was already sold out. Faced with such choices as Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and I, Frankenstein (really?!) we chose the only comedy available, even though neither of us knew what it was about. And that’s how we ended up seeing That Awkward Moment.

Now, I am naturally dubious of anything starring Zac Efron (even his name looks strange - shouldn’t there be more letters in it?) because all I know about him is that he was in something called High School Musical and that he did a lot of cocaine and went to rehab. But I like Michael B. Jordan, and the movie did have its moments.

The premise of the movie is that three guy friends in their (late?) twenties vow to stay single and yet somehow get some action pretty much every night of the week. Their mission is made almost impossible by beautiful women throwing themselves at them practically every day, begging them to settle down. But of course none of them are worth it. Once the women walk out on them it doesnt matter, because Zac (and his friend who was so unmemorable I’m not going to bother to learn his name) can just replace her on his “roster” with another hot girl. Yes, they have “rosters” like a sports team.

But that’s not the offensive thing I came here to talk about. The absolute worst part of the movie, to me, was when some girl Zac Efron is sleeping with and going on dates with at least twice in one day had the audacity to think they were in a relationship, and asks if she can come by. Zac and Michael and Unmemorable Friend are sitting on the couch when she rings the bell. The guys tell Zac to tell the chick to get lost. Zac buzzes her in anyway, and then something amazing happens.

She totally charms them! How? By conversing on literary theory? By talking about her first novel that she’s having published at the young age of …. I don’t know, 24-ish? No, by pouring the scotch she brought with her, and then playing Xbox with Zac’s friends. Then, at the end of the night, she leaves. She doesn’t try to stay the night (women, so needy! Amiright?), she knows when it’s an appropriate time to drink, when it’s an appropriate time to shoot aliens in a videogame, and she knows when to bounce.

THIS is what bothered me about the movie. THIS is the moment I have been thinking about since we left the theater. Because there is something so wrong about sending the message that a woman is only likeable when she acts like a man. Zac’s (totally worthless) friends think she’s cool because she is the antithesis of what they think women are: needy, weak, insufferable. She acts like “one of the guys” and that is the only way she gains acceptance.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with drinking, or with liking to blow up aliens on your Xbox. But when the film juxtaposes “worthless” women (Women who like shoes more than anything else on earth! Women who want to know “where this is going” after having sex twice a week for 6 weeks, etc.) with “desirable” women whose only differentiating qualities is that they act “cooler” (read: more masculine) we have a serious problem. But I suppose we knew that already.