James Bond Cross Dresses For Equality

This video was made by a group called We Are Equals.

Thoughts?  Helping or mocking?

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The Flip Side of the Impossible Beauty Standard

Kailie Kloss Airbrushed Ribs

Usually when one looks at a photograph of a model in a magazine we assume it has been airbrushed, we assume it has been photo-shopped to make the model look better; skinnier, larger breasts/butt, brighter eyes, flawless skin, etc.  But what about the above picture where the models ribs have been smoothed out?  She’s been make to look more…healthy.  Thoughts on the above image and the use of photoshop?  What does this say about our society when even the women who live up to the ideal standard of beauty have to be digitally altered to look less sickly?

Image Source: NUMÉRO MAGAZINE AIRBRUSHES OUT KARLIE KLOSS’ PROTRUDING RIBS

 

You Are Now A Woman

What marks the transition from girlhood into womanhood?  Is it related to age or experience?  I know a lot of women who are uncomfortable using the word “woman” to describe themselves, but somehow girl doesn’t quite seem to fit either.  Men have an easy in between word of “guy.”  You have the option of using boy or man, and if you are unsure, guy suffices for both.  What about women?  I suppose “gal” would be the “guy” equivalent, but it feels different.  I’ve heard “lady” used before too, but that often comes with completely different connotations.  Women seem to be stuck with girl or woman.  So, what’s the difference?  I myself even felt a little uncomfortable when I decided to change my language when referring to myself.  It felt weird calling myself a woman, but I knew I wasn’t a girl anymore.  I had entered adulthood.

What really bothers me is the double standard of it all.  In a speech class I took in college the professor refered to it as un-parallel language.  Ever since then I’ve noticed it when adults, both men and women, refer to men as men and women as girls.  It is extremely troublesome to me.  Boys are being called men before girls are being called women.  So what is it that makes a boy a man before a girl is a woman?  Several things come to mind, though I am in no way claiming to have the answer.  The first thing I think of is the infantalization of women, and the second is the sexualization of girls.  But ironically that’s not what I want to talk about.  Maybe I’ll tackle it in my next post.  I want to go back to what I started with, what marks the transition into womanhood.

Not too long ago a friend on mine got married.  I had to miss her wedding due to work so I did what any good friend would do; I Facebook stalked her, both to congratulate her and to vicariously enjoy the wedding through pictures others had posted.  As I was perusing her wall a post caught my attention.  It said, “You are now a woman” and that was it.  (Actually it said “You. Are now. A woman.” because grammar and sentence structure don’t count on Facebook, but that’s besides the point.)  I stopped reading and stared at the post.  The longer I stared at it the more upset I became.  I was upset that marriage was being used as the milestone into womanhood.  As someone who, at this point in time, is thoroughly enjoying being single and has little interest in marriage, I was even a little offended by this post.  As I shared in an earlier post, I have recently moved to a larger city.  Since moving I have been able to connect with several other single women.  And I say women quite intentionally, because that’s what they are.  Some of them are the other professionals I work with and others I have met along the way.  One in particular is a family friend who is middle-aged.  And she is not married.  The thought that this excludes her from joining the ranks of womanhood is jarring to me.

By using marriage as the defining factor in becoming a woman so many are being excluded.  Marriage is not a requirement.  And if you are married it doesn’t mean that you have somehow become a bona-fide adult.  Going to a small christian college where the saying “ring by spring” is popular means that most of my friends got married in college or right out of it.  What really blew my mind is when they got married after freshman year.  To be perfectly honest I feel like some of them are just “playing house.”  I do not feel like they’ve necessarily made “the transition” yet.  So why are young, married women being included and older, single ones not?  There is something wrong with this picture.

We are perhaps glorifying marriage.  There are very real consequences to this.  Some I have felt myself.  Without a husband sometimes I have to fight a little harder to be taken seriously.  I’ve been called selfish for not wanting to get married (or have children).  I am always a little surprised by how much other people care about my relationship status.  It’s often the first question I get asked when meeting a complete stranger, or catching up with an old friend I haven’t seen in years.  My favorite was when I turned 21 my grandfather, whom I love very much, told me I was now too old and no one would want me.  He has since just given up on me I think.  🙂

Just because I have made the choice to remain single does not mean I am not a woman.  It also does not mean that I don’t deserve to be treated with respect and taken seriously.

 

Check Please

Last Sunday I went out to lunch with a few people.  Our group consisted of four women (including myself) and one man.  After we were done eating can you guess who the server brought the check to?  If you guessed the man you’d be correct.  The only problem was he wasn’t the one paying for the meal.  The woman who had asked us all to go out had an expense account she had planned on charging it to.  She said something to the server, who either didn’t hear her, or chose to ignore her.  After the meal was paid for the server brought the receipt and the card back but laid it down in front of the man again.  Guess she hadn’t been paying attention the first time.  So, once again the check was passed across the table.

This got me thinking about “check etiquette.”  If a heterosexual couple with children goes out the check will most likely be brought to the father.  Especially if the children are younger and/or female.  If the children are older it would still probably go to the father but they may be asked if they want to split it and that probably depends on where everyone is sitting.  If it is two men the check will most likely be automatically split unless there is an obvious older man, then it will probably be brought to him.  Two women who look the same age would be the same.  Mother and child it would be given to the mom.  Unless it is an older son, then probably to the son.  Grandparents are tricky.  I’ve noticed most of the time the check always goes to the oldest looking man unless something is said before the check is brought.  If a married couple goes out with a single friend I’ve noticed it is often given to the married man, unless otherwise specified.  Married/dating couple is the man hands down.

A couple of things are going on here.  First of all gender seems to trump everything else.  The check is brought to the man.  The next deciding factor is age.  It is brought to the oldest person.  I tend to find this practice sexist and ageist.  Let’s focus on the sexist piece since that’s what sparked this post.

Men are expected to take care of women.  They are expected to act “gentlemanly.”  And that can be everything from paying the check to opening the door for a woman.  This is better known as chivalry.  The problem with this is the assumptions it makes.  It is what is known as subtle sexism.  Whether you think about this way or not it is assuming the woman is not capable.  That she cannot take care of herself and needs to have things done for her.  She cannot be independent or have her own voice.  (More on chivalry, subtle sexism, and door opening later.)  This sounds awfully sexist to me.  Assuming that a woman cannot pay for her meal is sexist.  It is providing a double standard for men and women as well.  Men are expected to pay the check and it is seen as emasculating when they don’t (or if they can’t).  Why is it that paying for her meal makes him feel masculine?  Is it more gentlemanly to split the check if she asks or assert his ability (need?) to pay for it himself therefore ignoring her wishes?

Here is an article written by Abigail Collazo about an experience she had on a date and what it was like figuring out who would pay for the meal.  She is the editor of Fem2ptO.  Though I think she makes a few leaps in logic near the end (and in the middle), the first half at least is interesting.

The Reality in Romantic Comedies

I’ve never really been a fan of romantic comedies, or “chick flicks” as they’re commonly called.  I should like them.  They are the only genre made virtually exclusively for women.  Men role their eyes when the newest movies come out, hoping they won’t have to go see it on date night.  Women beg their boyfriends/husbands/significant others to watch a romantic movie framed with a candle light dinner and some snuggling on the couch.  It doesn’t really sound that bad.  Some quality time over a harmless, feel good movie.  Nothing wrong with that right?  Plus there are some of them that men and women generally agree on as being good.  When Harry Met Sally is one of them.  I’ve rarely heard a bad word about this film.

Even though I might enjoy a romantic comedy now and then, there is still something about them that rubs me the wrong way.  Especially more recent ones.  They seem to reflect what is going on in the larger social context.  Movies like No Strings Attached or Friends With Benefits promote the theme of causal sex outside of a committed relationship (side note, I have not seen either of these).  In general though this genre of movie seems regressive, sexist, and promotes hegemonic masculinity.  Let me break down what I mean.

Hegemonic masculinity has to do with the dominant perception of what it means to be a man.  Men are dominant and women are submissive.  In these movies we see white, straight men with washboard abs.  He is often aloof, most likely a jerk, and only after sex.  I think of movies like The Ugly Truth and What Happens in Vegas.

The woman on the other hand is usually a mess.  Either experiencing a terrible break up or so career driven she has no time for men.  You’re typical “Bitch.”  In the break up scenario we have a wonderful man stepping in and fixing her.  In the career driven track the man enters to show her that yes, she can experience love, if only she would loosen up a bit.  Usually he treats her terribly, leading to some sort of crying scene where she realizes that yes, she does in fact love this asshole that has been making her life miserable.  Does anyone else feel disturbed by these plot lines?  Again they feel incredibly sexist and regressive to me.  They show that a woman can only be truly happy with a man in her life.  Being single is miserable, unnatural, and at the worst a sin.  Even the woman who tells the world she is happy to be single is in fact secretly longing to be swept off her feet.  Scenes are full of women in coffee shops or parks gazing enviously at canoodling couples around them.

Another disturbing aspect of these movies is where the woman takes abuse from a man either because she loves him or wants to change him.  An older example of this is the beloved children’s movie Beauty and the Beast.  Not a romantic comedy but just bear with me.  Belle is literally locked in the dungeon, forced to wear clothing she does not want to, held captive, and continuously being yelled at.  Yet, at the end of the movie we are shown that if you love someone enough you can bring the humanity out of the beast.  This goes beyond sexism to me, and is down right dangerous.  Abusive and obsessive relationships are never okay and we should not be teaching our women (especially the young ones) that  this is acceptable.

So, in the end, we are attempting to put both men and women in a box with these movies. Enforcing the sexist scripts the we have been living into for ages.  Men must be dominant, strong, and independent.  Women on the other hand need a man, mustn’t be too independent, and always want children over a career.  It is a lot to live up to.  For both of us.

I can watch a romantic comedy now and then, but usually not without my blood pressure rising and annoying everyone around me with my snarky comments