In Response to Matt Walsh’s “Homophobic Rant Against Michael Sam”

This post is in response to Matt Walsh’s viral blog post about the Michael Sam.

 

Dear Matt,

I have to commend you for your effort, because truly, of the homophobic people in American society you have really showed yourself as one of the more well-spoken of the posts I have read regarding Michael Sam.  I think that your points about keeping sexuality private is a valid issue.  I think that those who flaunt their sexuality for the media are in the wrong, generally speaking, and in past months I have seen much more of Miley Cyrus than I ever hoped to.  However, the “two way street” that you describe, is not just for Michael Sam.

You said that he can’t “have it both ways” as in keeping his private life private and simultaneously seeking out media outlets to “come out” to the general public.  Some can say this is a publicity stunt, and though they may be right, there is another side of the “two way street” that people seem to be forgetting.

Discrimination based on sexuality has been historically been a silent battle.  It’s not that people such as yourself, Matt, have a problem with someone else being gay, it’s that you shouldn’t have to know.  This feels strikingly similar to asking the gay community of America to stay silent, purposefully hide who they are to the public, and fear being “outed”.  Michael Sam seeking out media is for the public, but it’s more than just shouting from the roof about who he sleeps with, it’s a statement that America is allowing for publicly gay figures to not be punished for their sexuality like they have been in the past.

As much as we’d probably like to think that this country is filled with people “fawning” over Michael Sam, there are many, yourself included, who criticize his coming out as solely a ploy to get sponsors.  If that is the case, welcome to capitalist Hollywood Matt.  It’s the way celebrities have become celebrities for many many years, but you didn’t write an article about how Kanye sought out the media to announce his engagement to Kim Kardashian, because maybe that just isn’t offensive enough to you.  Michael Sam’s fame, while coveted, just doesn’t feel the same as a 72 hour marriage to me.  It feels more like a part of American society that is changing, and yes it is a historical moment, because other countries in the world right now are murdering people legally, because of their sexuality.

So let me just clarify for you that you don’t have to care about Michael Sam’s sexuality.  You don’t have to write a blog post for your 13,000+ followers about shaming a man who publicly made a statement about something he believes in, because it seems to me that you do almost exactly the same thing in your spare time, or even for a living, like someone else we know.  And Michael Sam probably doesn’t care what you think about him “as a man”, or as a public figure, because he is too busy riding his success like every other celebrity that has existed forever.

So the reason I’m responding isn’t because I think Michael Sam is the new Ellen Degeneres, because let’s face it, Ellen’s coming out was WAY more controversial (getting her removed from her own show, and pulling her sponsorships, in this country, less than 25 years ago).  I am responding because your comments were so heinously hypocritical, that I thought you should be publicly outed for it.  And me?  I’m going to post this anonymously, because unlike you, I really actually and honestly do not care if people read this.  America has already proven that we as a country are moving in the direction of acceptance, so I suggest you either get to accepting, or stepping out of the way, because when it comes down to it, this country has already decided whose side it’s on.

 

Unconditional love,

F.

x0x

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America’s Last Laugh: Contemporary Rape Culture

It’s been almost two years since Tosh.O assaulted the American public with his shocking and terrifyingly ignorant Comedy Central special, which featured the worst joke I’ve ever seen on national television (watch it here, but be advised, it’s horribly offensive).  And yet in the year and a half since, I find myself struggling every day to defend my anti-rape-joke stance.  I know I usually use the media to defend and explain my assertions, (and I will again use some pop-culture references in our exploration of this fucked up mentality that is way less anomalous than you’d like to think) but I also have a personal account of a public discussion about Tosh’s “joke”.  And yet it’s not even the joke that ends up pushing my buttons so hard I just have to break down and say something to the internet (though it definitely didn’t help).  What absolutely ruins me is the idea that with all the things you are not allowed to say on television, rape, in any capacity is not censored.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think that exposure to rape and sexual assault in an educational and realistic capacity is important.  For those of us who haven’t personally experienced sexual assault, it is a window into the serious consequences, emotional and physical, of the victims.  For those of us who have experienced that kind of trauma, sometimes it’s just too hard to explain to people who either don’t know or don’t care to know about what we’ve been through, and some artistic representations that do it justice take some of the pressure off of us to represent the whole phenomena when we’ve already been through enough.

Don’t know what I mean?  This video from French writer/director Éléonore Pourriat appeared on Buzzfeed this week and has since gained over 4 million views.  TRIGGER WARNING: This video depicts realistic sexual assault and nudity.  Regardless, it is an enlightening view of both how artistic interpretations of sexism and sexual assault can make us think critically about the world and our own actions.  Watch it Here.

Recently I had a conversation with about 20 people about Tosh’s 2012 joke and the reaction from the room was seriously surprising.  My opinion was and still is as follows:

How is it that you can’t say words like “fuck” or even “tits” on Comedy Central, but rape is okay?  What kind of message does that send to viewers?  Shows like South Park and Family Guy use characters that are known pedophiles or rapists.  Those shows even air on networks like FOX that are generally far more censored than smaller private/cable networks.  Going further, how are nipples, the basis for sustaining human life, blurred out, but rape, an indisputably negative and harmful action allowed to be aired as early as 9pm?  I don’t know about anyone else, but I was definitely staying up til 10 in middle school.  Do we really want 12 year olds repeating the message that rape jokes are okay?  And if you say that just because we air them doesn’t make them okay, how can you explain to kids and adults alike how to know the difference?

The responding argument was that Tosh.O, Family Guy, and South Park are allowed to joke about it, simply because the others do.  It’s a phenomena that happens all too often in this weird juvenile side to American culture- popularity out-rules and over-powers morals.

So what do we do?  Stop watching.  The only thing that media responds to is popularity.  If TV shows/networks knew that certain jokes brought down viewership, maybe we’d have a shot at affecting the way that the media treats rape.  Change the channel.  Chances are you have hundreds of them anyway.  Do you HAVE to watch the show that makes millions of victims feel both obsolete and victimized all over again?  Regardless of “popular” opinion, you always have a choice.  You support the organizations that you pay attention to.  The websites you visit most often, the channels you watch, and let your children watch as well, everything you do in the media reflects on the information you consume.  Media is catered to the populous, so here are some simple things  you can do to start changing the way you consume media.

1. If you hear/see an offensive representation of sexual assault, speak up and turn it off.

If you watch a TV show or channel that airs something offensive to you, don’t subject yourself to that kind of media!  If you see a website that has an offensive article, stop visiting that website.  You don’t have to tell everyone around you that you’re doing it, but if a friend asks, explain your decision.  It’s your choice, in the endless expanse of information we have available today, you shape your environment- make decisions you are happy with.

2. Share positive or enlightening messages.

A lot of people who are dismissive of rape, just don’t know how to be empathetic.  With all of the exposure the majority of people consuming mass media have to rape as a source of amusement, you can counteract that.  You don’t have to become an activist, or post nothing but Oprah episodes on your Facebook, but then again, how bad would that really be?

3. Be a shoulder.

The worst part about all of this desensitization to sexual assault is that there are a lot of people who get laughed at or pushed aside when they experience abuse in their own lives.  You don’t have to take on everyone’s problems, but if someone comes to you with a serious situation like this, don’t push them away.  Let them talk and try to listen, or help them get professional help.  Trust me, there is nothing like feeling supported and understood when you are a victim.  And there is nothing more enlightening than hearing a real experience first hand.  Rape is real, and joking about it doesn’t make it go away, it just makes it harder to get help.

I am endlessly frustrated by this “they did it so I can do it” mentality.  We are the “they” and if we stop doing the things that we think are wrong, eventually “they” will have to stop too.  We are not just consumers of media and culture, we are the makers and shapers of culture.  It is everyone’s responsibility to change the things that are wrong with society world-wide.  And if you wait for the world to change on its own, or accept popular culture because its popular, you are doing your country and yourselves a disservice.  It could be a different world, but nothing moves if you don’t push it forward- so move forward.

xo

F.

Shape Shifting: The Clothing Industry and What They Do to Us

A man and a woman go shopping.  Pick any store you could find in a mall.  They walk in, go their separate ways, look around for awhile and agree to meet back at the entrance.

As the guy:

I walk over to the shirts, the jeans, the shoes, all with sizes that are identical to every other store.  Number measurements in inches that I know to be mine, and though the cut may be different, I have a pretty good idea of what’s going to look good on me.  Ideally, I can remember my size waist, leg-length, and neck width in inch measurements (or I call my mom- what? I don’t do that).  This approach is what we’ve been told to know since we got our first fitting for whatever special occasion required a real suit for the first time (bar mitzvah).  Some guy with chalk poked and pinned me and told me what I should look for in clothes- and as traumatic an experience as that can be, it sets us up for shopping simply by matching numbers.

So I walk around and look at some shoes I can’t afford, a shirt I like but don’t need, and about twelve jackets that I wish I could wear everyday all the time because they make me look like a secret-agent-business-man-earthy-hipster-hippie-badass.  I don’t buy anything.  Walking through my entire section (disguised as half the store but it actually about 1/3 the items of the women’s section) takes about 20 minutes if I’m really looking.  So I head back to the entrance, and I wait… and wait… and wait.  Finally I start thinking “what could possibly be taking this long?”

As a woman:

Walking into a clothing store is a little bit like wonderland.  We have bright colors and shiny metal flowers and about a thousand varieties of the exact same color jeans- boot, mom, flare (I swear I’m not just naming things I saw in the opening sequence of that ’70s show).  We could spend 20 minutes just looking at one shelf, because the options are endless and mostly ambiguous.  We think we are a size 6, because that is what the majority of our closet is at the moment.  So we take 2 medium long skirts, 3 size 6 jeans, 2 medium and 2 large blouses and cart ourselves off to the dressing room where a trendy, smiley, make-up-ed woman is handing out numbers.  After ten minutes of waiting we finally get into the dimly lit bathroom stall that may or may not have a door (curtains do not count) and look into the fun house mirror and think, “is everyone seeing this many pores when they look at me?”

I take my clothes off and prepare to get into the first skirt, but instead I get distracted by how flat or fat my ass/chest/belly is that day and just stand there for a couple minutes looking at all the shit I think I should change.  Finally I put on the first skirt.  It fits but the pattern isn’t right, it’s too busy and it might call attention to that one barely-there blemish on my face because the flowers are the same color and actually about the same teeny tiny size (wait, do these flowers look like zits?  Are they supposed to look like that?  I’ll just grab another one).  I try to button up the blouse so I can see the whole affect but that fourth button on the bust is creating  the incredible hulk out of my chest so I try another, and another, and a size up.  The size up bags under my arms and the size down finally fits my waist but that bust is gonna bust so I surrender to the jeans.  The first pair doesn’t make it past my knees, the next, makes it allll the way up but won’t close around those hips, and though the high rise jeggings button up perfectly over my belly button, somehow they push everything else together into one horizontal pouch that makes me look I’ve grown a stomach separate and apart from my torso.

Having tried on everything, I think I’m going to crawl into bed for the rest of the day and trust that Netflix will distract me from my failed fashion endeavor.  Then I spot the dress that was left in the stall.  Size 6.  Meant to be.  I pull on the baby doll a-line and turn around.  I spin, I twirl (nobody puts baby in a corner damn it).  It’s perfect.  AAAAAnnndddd it’s $120 dollars more than I planned to spend.  So I leave to go meet the patient man than has been waiting for me for 47 minutes at the entrance of the store, empty handed.

This is not about gender.  This is about the subjectivity of fashion marketing and manipulation.  Brands define their market by creating clothing designed for their desired body type.  Don’t want to make clothes above a size 8? Cool, you can totally turn curves away from your cotton cuts and leave them to wonder why they aren’t shaped like an Olsen.  Welcome to Abercrombie where we make every shirt 2 inches too long and 2 inches too narrow for the average man’s height and width. We hope that only tall douchebags will shop here because everyone else will feel like they look terrible in our clothing (if they’re arrogant enough, it’s ok).

What seems to be obvious to me, but is somehow irrelevant to American fashion, is that clothing, like bodies, can be measured. *GASP* Try to hide your immediate shock and awe- anyone can have a measuring tape wrapped around them a couple times to solve the mysteries of the misshapen fashion world, but because brands get to pick their prey, we all get shafted when it comes to clothes.

For example, men’s clothing and those who like to wear it think that they have half the store to themselves, but the reality is that there are large sections of the same pieces in many different measurements, and not much variety.  Styles and shapes change from store to store, but most men’s jeans don’t come with a shapely description of where they’re gonna hug what.  Men get about a third of the variety of women, and the amount of exclusively in men’s stores is less than half of women’s clothing boutiques.  It’s unfair.  Want to know why all the guys in your high school looked the same?  Because your mall or town or shopping center had about  7 pairs of jeans for them to chose from.  Maybe guys would express themselves more if the way we marketed to them gave them that option.  American fashion seems to assume stereotypes of band t-shirts, generic prints, or button downs and everything in between is some variety of vintage looking fades, sweaters, and jackets.  I am not a huge Kanye West fan, but this dude wears skirts from fashion runways on stage.  He wore one on SNL- remember that?  Not that men should have to wear skirts, but seriously it’s been hundreds of years of laced shoes, long legged slacks, and button down shirts.  You think that that’s all every man wants to wear?  Maybe we should make variety a little more accessible and little less of a privilege, so at least there can be a choice involved in dressing to reflect oneself.  I think the box we’ve drawn for men’s fashion is too small for the variety of people who wear it, and that needs to change.

As for women’s clothing, the list of complaints is fairly simple: no measurements.  Do you know how different a size 6 is in Express as opposed to Forever 21?  You can’t get a sizing chart in the store unless you harass an employee long enough to pull it out of the back room desk drawer (seriously, I’ve watched it happen).  They give you the measurements of the items in inches.  IN INCHES. Why can’t I have the measurements in the damn store before I try it on?  Why isn’t it posted on the window before I walk in and feel terrible that my ass is too big for this specific version of cookie-cutter beauty?  Stores want everyone to think they can shop there- broader audience bigger profit right?  Let that girl sort through the racks for 30 minutes to find a t-shirt so she can stand in line with her friends and your indie covers of Christmas songs.  It is painful to look for a pair of jeans blind (and listen to those covers- seriously corporate, do you want people to leave faster?).  It’s like being Goldie Locks in the bears’ house except there are hundreds of bowls of porridge and all of them are way too hot or grossly cold and one in that hundred is just right, but by the time you get there your tongue is so burned you aren’t even hungry anymore, you just think your tongue is fat. #STAHP

In the EU, most women’s clothes are sold with waist sizes, like men’s clothing (most of the time).  It is actually harder to find a piece of clothing without a measurement than with one.  When I figured this out I was shocked and super pissed that American fashion can be so subjective and downright cruel.  Imagine trying on 3 pairs of jeans in a row and knowing that you will be fitting into all of them beforehand. That’s not a miracle, that’s measuring.  What a remarkably simple solution!  So why don’t we do it?

In America we actually have stores that sell completely different measurements with the same “size”.  In other words, women’s sizes are entirely subjective to whatever the company wants to say women should look like.  They decide how tall the women will be that they market to, how curvy, how busty.  It’s not the people who are having trouble fitting into that size six if the size six is actually two whole inches smaller than their favorite pair of jeans.  It doesn’t make anyone feel good, and for me, it discourages me from going to those stores, especially when the online clothing market is growing.

Let me be clear; it’s not you that needs to lose 10 pounds for a dress or pair of jeans because clothes are so much more flexible, adjustable, and expendable than bodies. Who is to say that your favorite brand has always had the same measurements?  Maybe that size 8 you have on is the size 6 of a year ago- there is no regulation of sizing, so maybe don’t get so hung up on the numbers.  Get your numbers and stop guessing.  It’s frustration that is entirely optional- so I’m opting out.

If you, like me, are looking to be the ultimate over-achiever in your shopping habits, I’m going to spare you some pain here.  Every store has a size guide on their website.  So before you go shopping, take out the tape measure and do some research, because it’s not about squeezing yourself into someone else’s idea of beauty, it’s about making yourself look and feel beautiful- ya gotta feel fly to be fly!  It is totally possible almost anywhere if you stop looking at the numbers and start going by the measurements.  Here are some links to stores’ sizing charts- just look at the inches!

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F.

The Big Bisexual Bang: The Sexuality Spectrum

Channing Tatum allegedly “came out” as bisexual a couple years back and ever since has been this dancing, stripping, manly beacon of pan-sexual tendencies. Whether or not the Chan Man actually spends his time lockin lips with all the chromosomes, I don’t really know, and I try not to base my opinions off of tabloids instead of interviews (celebrities actually talk you know). A couple years before Channing found the lime light, there was another bisexual beauty…Anne Heche. She was Ellen Degeneres’ hubby before they split and she remarried. Heche however, did not get the praise and acceptance that Channing was welcomed by. Maybe because she was talking about being abducted by aliens, or maybe because America just won’t let you mess with Ellen, but it was a big deal (See this article in People from 2000 talk about the big break). Bigger than college girls kissing big deal. She was a lesbian and then she wasn’t. Ah! The apocalypse! Or maybe, just maybe, sexuality isn’t quite as black and white as pop culture wants to make it. Maybe our neat labels should be a little more like holograms, and should be able to change, like most human beings do.

Everyone knows that sexuality in Hollywood is basically a caricature depiction of femininity and masculinity, and that until recently (like 2010 recently) gay and lesbian actions were as much a stunt for young starlets as slipping a nip on the red carpet.  Remember Britney and Madonna locking lips at the VMAs?  It was ALL OVER the news for way too long.  That kind of publicity stunt reminded me of the whole Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson nip slip debacle at the Super Bowl a couple years later.  It wasn’t a relationship, and we weren’t witness to a real kind of love, sexuality was and often still is about the entertainment value.  I have a lot to say about Miley Cyrus and her ridiculous tumble into this weird sub-culture where everybody licks things and promotes serious drug habits and exploits other sub-cultures, but her VMA stunt was the same kind of sexuality puppet as all the others before her.  It was to get us talking, and boy does America like to talk.

The REAL story is that in America, sexuality confuses us.  Neil Patrick Harris, one of the more progressive gay-rights activists in Hollywood, plays a suave womanizing character on How I Met Your Mother.  I end up thinking, how can we keep promoting this weird degrading character and the actor who openly represents almost the complete opposite and not realize how contradictory it is?  Just because everyone knows someone who acts like a Barney Stinson, doesn’t mean we should accept that kind of behavior as a social norm unless EVERYONE was allowed to act that way.  I still don’t see any women in sitcoms who get to pick up guys like Barney picked up girls.  And I certainly don’t see any accurate depictions of the gay dating scene, or any gay/lesbian Barney-like sexual beings on TV.  I love Will and Grace as much as… well anyone who likes Will and Grace, but I don’t think we get the suave sexual gay man or woman vibe from those characters.  They are entertaining, but still caricatures of actual life.

This isn’t even what I meant to talk about.  What I meant to explain, was that bisexuality is not the mythical unicorn of sexuality.  In fact it’s a lot more common than our culture admits.  The one thing I like and support about this new Miley-esque pan-sexual movement, is that it encourages people to consider sexuality as a spectrum, rather than the boxes and labels that a lot of the entertainment industry puts people in.  Which brings me to this- you are not a label.

You don’t have to be straight or gay or bisexual.  You can just be.  You can make out with a girl one day and a guy the next and like both of the experiences.  That doesn’t make you bad or weird, it means that you are capable of sexuality that spans beyond the conventional definitions of American culture today.  I think that as a society, and because of the gay rights movement, we are finally moving towards a way of thinking that allows people to be judged based on who they are rather than who they kiss.  But that kind of thinking spreads like any other trend, and we have to first recognize what we are trying to promote in order to transfer a message worth agreeing with.

Here is F’s Sexuality Spectrum:

1. Sex is not forbidden, but it is always risky (emotionally and physically) and is always CONSENSUAL.

If it’s not consensual, it’s not sex. Rape culture is not cool.  Sex is cool.  Don’t think it’s ok to laugh about non-consensual sex, or non-consensual situations no matter who is involved and what gender they are.  No is no, drunk is drunk, be educated enough to know the difference.  And just as importantly, be accepting enough to let sex be just sex when everyone is on board.

2. Love is not gender-specific, and neither is sex.

Men, women, transgender, and transsexual people all have hormones.  We are all people.  Most of us want to have sex, love, and be loved.  You don’t have to choose whether you love men or women, you can choose the people you love because of who they are and how they treat you.  Sex and sexual acts are possible between any and all gender variations, so as long as you both want to, do what makes you feel good.

3. You don’t have to be straight or gay or bisexual… neither does anyone else.

Sexuality is not black and white, there are a million shades of grey in between, and you don’t have to pick a side and stick to it.  You can choose your partners based on mutual attraction.  That attraction might depend on the day.  That doesn’t make you wrong, it makes you human.  Try to be as open, honest, and understanding of yourself as possible.  Once you can understand, accept, and love your own tendencies, its much easier to spread that love and understanding to others.

In our constantly evolving sexual culture, it is important to remember that there are universal messages that we can apply to everyone.  We can spread the right things instead of just shaming all the wrongs.  I think it’s time we started spreading a message worth believing in, and worth practicing.  So if you think so too, pass it on.

x0

F.

The Hair Dare: No shave…Never.

Does anyone actually like to shave? Guy or girl, doesn’t matter. The idea of dragging a knife across my face or legs just never seemed appealing. So why do it? When did it become the social norm? Welp, I read some articles and looked at some sources (Courtesy of an awesome article from Women You Should Know) and did a little looking on Wikipedia, and what it seemed was that shaving changed with the fashions and just never stopped.

When sleeveless dresses first arrived in the 1920s, getting rid of “unsightly” hair was the thing to do, kind of like dream catcher or owl tattoos now (sorry to those of you who have meaning behind them… some college kids are ruining your swag though). But in the winter? There’s no practical reason to keep the pits all prickly– let it go!

Except… most never really do. Sure for a week or two when there’s no chance of getting any, but do men and women really just keep themselves trimmed for their love life? Like attracting someone was worth the insane itch for like 3 minutes the morning after a shower? Ok fine, maybe. But I still just don’t get why hair is so masculine.

Women have had hair forever. All women. In fact in some cultures, women commonly have facial hair. In some Sikh cultures it is considered a sin to alter your body in any way including shaving, so some women who have facial hair feel totally comfortable with it (remember Balpreet Kaur and how awesomely she called out her critics?).

I am lucky enough to only have one out-of-place stupid wirey follicle that grows once every few months on my throat, but even that one puny hair drives me actually insane when it shows up. I’ve even named it. It’s a Gertrude (sorry to any Gerties out there, it just really felt fitting). And I have no problem with facial hair… I actually really admire it. I love beards. But one hair, just one, is enough to make me pull over on a highway and pluck it to death.

In terms of men with facial hair and their significant others, I understand the difficulties of real beard burn, but aesthetically I just don’t get the boyish clean cut hairless thing as a mandate for all men. Sure, if you want to spend hours grooming, more power to you, but I am just not on that bandwagon. I think people with severely shaped eyebrows are terrifying. They look like evil Disney queens. If getting all plucked and shaved makes you feel sexy, awesome! But beards are sexy too, and flaunting them and their lack of conventional beauty-maintenance could apply to body hair of any kind. Be happy to be comfortable in your own skin, whatever that means.

In terms of our dirty bits, there are scientific explanations for our luscious locks down there. In other, clearer terms, pubic hair is there for a reason. Back in the olden days, in fact before the olden days, when men and women weren’t wearing pants yet, pubic hair was protection from whatever dirt or disease was floating around near the special bits. Now, some of us wear underwear, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t serve the same purpose. Our hair still helps us regulate heat and even feel things!

Also, it seems that every hair removal technique that goes on down there is pretty dangerous.  Chemicals, sharp metal pieces that are never shaped right to do the job, or even wax… hot, burning, wax.  I think that if 5000 years from now humans still exist and are looking back on our time, Brazilian waxes will be used as a method of torture.  Laser hair removal will take 20 seconds once every two years.  Less often than even doctor’s appointments (which will still take 2 hours by my calculations).

I understand wanting to stay the mystery of what is beneath the bikini, and I am all for keeping trim and neat, but the obsessive need to be hairless in our American culture, kind of freaks me out.  Are we trying to look prepubescent?  That’s on purpose?  Why is looking like a kid a turn on?  That’s all kinds of messed up in my eyes.

When it comes down to it, like everything regarding fashion, do what makes you feel good!  As a wise man once told me, “you’ve got to feel fly to be fly.”  So do what you gotta do, whatever that is, but remember that hair is TOTALLY NATURAL and by all means NORMAL.  So if you find yourself rushed in the shower, or just a little more turned on with some fuzz, don’t be afraid to put down the tiny sword and surrender to your body’s natural tendencies.  In the meantime, I will do my best to accept my Gertrude, and keep my eyes on the road.

x0

F.

THE FEMME WORD LAUNCH

Hello all!

As of this Saturday, The Femme Word will be posting 2 Saturdays per month about everything from facial hair to sex toys and social issues.  Please spread the word!  Our first official post will be out at midnight on Saturday, September 21st.  Here’s a little teaser to get you excited from “The Hair Dare: No Shave… Never”

 

…I still just don’t get why hair is so masculine. Women have had hair forever. All women. In fact in some cultures, women commonly have facial hair. In some Sikh cultures it is considered a sin to alter your body in any way including shaving so some women who have facial hair feel totally comfortable with it (remember Balpreet Kaur and how awesomely the called out her critics?). I am lucky enough to only have one out of place stupid wirey follicle that grows once every few months on my throat, but even that one puny hair drives me actually insane when it shows up. I’ve even named it. It’s a Gertrude (sorry to any Gerties out there, it just really felt fitting). And I have no problem with facial hair… I actually really admire it. I love beards. But one hair, just one, is enough to make me pull over on a highway and pluck it to death…

See you Saturday!

 

x0

F.

A New Kind of Feminism. Not Just For Women.

Feminism, as defined by the latest Oxford English Dictionary, is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.”  Why do you think the vast majority of feminists are women then?  Is it because women care about their rights more than men care about women’s rights?  Maybe, though I know many men who are more for women’s empowerment than some women I know (like at a Beyonce concert vs a Chris Brown concert).  It seems to me that “feminism” is often seen as an exclusive club for men-bashing, sign-holding, armpit-hair-having women, to talk about why it’s hard to be a woman in this time and age.

I don’t know where this reputation came from aside from pictures of protestors from the 1920s advocating for women’s right to vote in America, (which I think we can all agree was well deserved) but I’ve never seen a feminist that fits that description.  Although women were “radicals” asking to be heard back then, feminism is not so far-fetched now.  If you don’t think that women and men should be paid equally, receive equal benefits, and have equal opportunity for employment, your political views probably sound pretty ancient to most Americans.  So if we in America are a culture that values women and their contributions to society, why would supporting those rights be somehow so radical that to be a feminist is to be a woman-loving, hard-headed, and downright annoying individual?  It’s hypocritical, dumb, and as far as I can tell, totally false.

Feminism is not feminine.  If it was it would be associated with painting your nails and watching Grey’s Anatomy.  Feminism as a stigma somehow emasculates men, and masculinizes women, while totally ignoring the whole point of the word; gender equality.  Everything that’s wrong with the way we misinterpret feminism in America is a mirror to what’s wrong with gender stereotypes in our culture as well.  Feminism is confusing because it makes us take a step back from the body parts and examine gender in your actions rather than your appearance.

What I have to ask is, why is that so terrifying?  Why in America is it so confusing for a woman to be butch or a man to be feminine?  I know that gay rights is a hot topic right now, but I don’t even mean who you sleep with, I mean who you are.  Why are we so terrified of reassigning our roles to fit modern times?

Once again, I don’t know.  I know that I know plenty of men who cry all the time and plenty of women who never do and are all still pretty great people.  Turns out, regardless of your mannerisms, preferences, gender, or sex, you are still a person who deserves rights, respect, and empathy from your peers.  We could judge people based on the way they check their fingernails or who they sleep with, or we could look at people for what they do for others, and the injustices they stand up for.

So just like straight men can wear pink, gay men can wear clashing outfits, gay women can do their hair and makeup everyday, and straight women can dominate in the bedroom.  The stereotypes that we assign to people are bashing individuals for their personalities.  We alienate outliers based on an outdated standard of behavior that we haven’t taken the time to push forward.  The point of all of this?  We can change it.  Feminism doesn’t have to be a bad thing, it can be a way to accept each other for who we are and what we value rather than how we look.  Feminism, like gender equality, is for everyone.  The issues that plague every she, he and they are our issues.  We are all feminists.  Wear some pink.  Get over it.

Xo

F.