Yes, All Women: A Response

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I know I kind of hit on some of my feminist views last Thursday and this week I had every intention of finding something more on the nerd end of my posting spectrum. That was until I heard about what happened at UCSB last Friday.

(I haven’t had any time alone with my laptop this week so this is pretty much a rant. Hopefully I’ll get another little something up later this week.)

I didn’t get in on the #YesAllWomen on twitter mostly because I suck at twitter and remained oblivious in the first few days but I’ve finally had the time to do some catching up on the twitter sphere and current events in general and I am pissed.

I’m mad at the lunatic Elliot Rodgers who committed this act, I’m mad at the forum of sexless, entitled, losers who engaged with him online, and I’m mad at the #NotAllMen response to women’s claims of everyday misogyny.

I’m mad that the press is giving more weight to his mental state than the reason why he saw it fit to open fire in a sorority house. Yes, this guy was obviously unhinged and completely fucked but more attention needs to be given to the blatantly misogynist views that still exist in our society. A hatred of women that is perpetuated and shared by others. The hyper masculine expectations and focus on sexual conquest that is pushed on men. This isn’t just a fundamental issue of one man, this is a fundamental issue in our world.

If you want to play the numbers game in the end Rodgers did kill more men than women but that doesn’t make it any less of a misogynist hate crime. He hated women and other men. Women for not giving him the attention and sexual satisfaction he believed he deserved and the men he thought took it from him as if a woman’s consent is something that can be taken.

These days kids are swapping v-cards like I did Pokemon cards.
These days kids are swapping v-cards like I did Pokemon cards.

I’m mad that there are still people in this world that think of half the population as the lesser. The out pour of women online sharing how they’ve been victims of misogyny is sad and terrifying and hits way to close to home. The fact that so many instances of harassment are able to occur is disgusting. It’s even more disgusting how unsurprised I was.

I’m mad that there are men who can’t understand the point of #YesAllWomen. It wasn’t an attack or a generalization it was women sharing their personal experiences. They weren’t blaming all men as some seemed to believe. No one thinks all men are killers or rapists or bad people. Few men would ever do what Rodgers did and many men have never sexually harassed a woman or done anything intentionally that would make her feel uncomfortable. You are not the problem. The problem is the men out there who do rape, harass, and demean women.

All the #NotAllMen hashtag did was prove the relevance of and need for #YesAllWomen. We need it because a large portion of the population isn’t listening. Instead of trying to understand what the women of the web were saying and letting the reality of what they face everyday sink in. Some men instead went on the defensive. Some used it as a way to discredit women’s claims. Some used it to make themselves feel better about the situation. None of those responses were mature or helpful in anyway. They should have seen this as an opportunity to stop and reflect. A chance to learn and try to improve our society’s view and treatment of women.

There was also a lot of support from men on twitter and that was the most touching part of the whole trend. For those of you who maybe didn’t get it I’m going to ask you to try again. Understand that this is not an attack on you. I’m not trying to shame you or villianize you I’m trying to explain to you what it’s like to be a woman. You’re at my blog so you must be a pretty stand up guy with a big heart and even bigger penis. I hope that last bit didn’t diminish my point in anyway. I meant your soul’s penis. Like, if your soul had a penis it would be huge because your super cool and would be rewarded with a massive schlong or something… I digress.

I'm also sorry for the terrible ghost dick images I've put in your mind.
I’m also really sorry for the terrible ghost dick images I’ve put in your mind.

I’m going to share some of my own #YesAllWomen statements based on experiences of myself and of the women in my life.

Yes, All Women: because leering from men shouldn’t make me ask myself “am I showing to much skin?” when I’m out in a sundress.

Yes, All Women: because I shouldn’t be propositioned to toss in a blow job with a customer’s purchase.

Yes, All Women: because I should never have felt the need to tell my friend to call the police if I went more than three minutes without texting him while walking home.

Yes, All Women: because when a customer needs help with their cellphone I shouldn’t be told “I just feel like he would know more.”

Yes, All Women: because being a friend to me shouldn’t make a guy feel entitled to sex.

Yes, All Women: because I shouldn’t have to keep an eye on my drink at all times.

Yes, All Women: because I should be praised for my work ethic and not just my “pretty smile”.

Yes, All Women: because If I say I’m into comics I shouldn’t have to prove it.

Yes, All Women: because I shouldn’t have to lie about my relationship status to get a guy to stop hitting on me. “I’m not interested” should be reason enough.

Yes, All Women: because when I read an article in the paper about a sexual assault the victim’s outfit should be irrelevant.

Yes, All Women: because I should be able to trust a male friend not to try to take advantage of me after I’ve had a few too many.

Yes, All Women: because I shouldn’t instinctively fear any strange man walking behind me or I’m stuck in an elevator with but I do.

Yes, All Women: because If I choose to game online I shouldn’t receive requests for nude pics or rape threats for crime of being female.

Yes, All Women: because “no” should be taken as a “no” and not an invitation to convince me.

Yes, All Women: because my parents shouldn’t have to worry about their little girl’s safety anymore than they do their son’s.

Yes, All Women: because I shouldn’t have to explain what does and doesn’t qualify as consent.

Yes, All Women: because speaking my mind shouldn’t make me a bitch.

There were men who got it. There were men who didn’t try to dictate the conversation but listened, sympathized, and tried to reach out to their fellow men. It’s those men, the men who will make a difference, that give me hope and remind me why I don’t just say “fuck it” and run off to join a lesbian colony.

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Plus Sized Double Standards

I don’t want to brag or anything but lately I’ve become aware that I’ve become pretty attractive physically. I have the body of a supermodel… from the 1600’s.

Jacopo Palma's portrait of Venus is a pretty solid likeness. But you know, with better skin.
Jacopo Palma’s portrait of Venus is a fairly solid likeness. You know, but with better skin.

I’ve never been called skinny, but the word fat has been known to be thrown around. I’m not huge but I’m by no means a delicate flower. I think I can remember the first time I realized I was a bigger girl. I was about 5 years old and I’d asked my mom for a treat of some sort, I can’t recall what but I can recall her response: “Do you really think you need it?”

At that age I had no idea what she meant. She asked me to look down and tell her what I saw. It had never occurred to me that I looked any different from any other little girl my age but at that moment I started to clue in to what she was getting at. I played coil. “My feet” I answered. She gave me a sympathetic look and said “Really? You can you see them over your tummy?” I can’t remember how the rest of the exchange went but I know afterward I ended up in my bedroom in tears.

My mother wasn’t trying to be cruel or  to hurt my feelings. That was the last thing she wanted. I’d gotten the round gene from her and she didn’t want to see me go through the teasing, bullying and insecurity she did as a kid. She wanted to help me. She wanted me to be aware so that I could fix it and avoid the same blows to my self-esteem that she took and still carries with her. She wanted better for me.

After that incident I was acutely aware of how little I resembled any of the princesses in my disney movies. How could I be a princess? I wasn’t beautiful and dainty like a princess was supposed to be. I was closer to the sea witch Ursula in physique than I was to Ariel.

Er, used to be.
Er, closer to what she used to be?

My weight has always been a touchy subject for me. I was teased in school because kids are assholes, I was shy, and being over weight made me a bigger and slower target. Not that I was beat up or anything. I was a girl. I got sly implications, laughed at behind my back, and if I was lucky out right insults. Sometimes I still can’t shake that paranoid feeling that when complete strangers are laughing it’s at me. Fuck, it was years before I was even comfortable eating around other people.

As a young girl the media teaches you to rank your self worth on your physical appearance. You can’t walk past a magazine rack without seeing actresses being criticized for their weight be they “too fat” or “too skinny”. There’s more interest in how much weight an actress lost for her new role than her performance.

Who cares if Anne Hathaway won an Oscar for 'Les Miserables', I heard she lost 25 pounds for the movie.
Who cares if Anne Hathaway won an Oscar for ‘Les Miserables’ the real achievement was the 25 pounds she lost for the role.

Some people even get mad at celebrities for gaining weight as if the act is some kind of personal slight against them. One of the things that made me the most livid was tabloids poking fun at Kim Kardashian for her weight gain in the months right after having a baby. By no means am I a Kardashian fan but the mean spirited things said about her inability to slim down within weeks of  giving birth were horrendous.

I think pretty much everyone would agree that Adele is an exceptionally talented singer, musician, and woman but yet you can’t find a music video on youtube where some asshole hasn’t deemed it fit to comment and mock her weight. Adele might be packing some extra pounds but she’s a total babe regardless of her dress size.

What's that? I'm fat? Sorry, I couldn't hear you over all these grammies.
“What’s that? You think I’m fat? Sorry, I couldn’t hear you over all these grammies I won.”

The media expects everyone to live up to an impossible standard of beauty that can only be achieved in photoshop and then gets mad when we can’t deliver all the while praising women promoting positive body image. It’s fucked up ya’ll. That’s why beautiful and slim Jennifer Lawrence can make comments like, “If anybody even tries to whisper the word ‘diet’, I’m like, ‘You can go fuck yourself”, or “In Hollywood I’m considered obese”, and everyone loves her for it even though she’s far from being considered a plus sized woman by anyone’s standards. She can say those things and be celebrated because she is conventionally attractive. If Lawrence was 40 pounds heavier would everyone feel the same way? Sure a lot of people would still rally behind her but there’d be a lot of people telling her she was a bad, unhealthy, role model as well.

Most of the movies and shows I watched growing up had a lack of female protagonists or even well rounded female characters and if she had a well rounded body you could just forget about character development all together. Even todays leading ladies follow a strict set of rules, one of which is she has to be attractive, especially if she’s going to have a love interest. Big boned girls are a) comic relief, b) awkward sidekicks, or c) dreaded obstacles for wingmen. At least we’ve always got Hairspray but that’s about it.

No, 'Shallow Hal' does not count.
No, ‘Shallow Hal’ does not count.

Boys are bombarded with expectations of looks and manliness as well but in regards to weight they also enjoy the trope of the loveable, chubby, goofball, every man. Yep, if you’re a man than funny trumps pounds every time whether the genre is comedy, action, or romance.

When it comes to film and television, men have no problem ending up with girls who are “out of their league” it’s even expected. Fred gets Wilma, Seth Rogan can knock up Katherine Heigl or marry Rose Byrne, and Jonah Hill can land Emma Stone but as much as we love Melissa McCarthy and Rebel Wilson you’ll never see them making out with Ryan Gosling. That’s why I was routing for Elizabeth on New Girl. A heavier set girl snagging a hunk like Max Greenfield? You never see that shit!

Plus she gave us some of the best Schmidt moments of the season.

Pudgy guys are paired with smoking hot wives in nearly every sitcom ever made, one of those shows was King Of Queens.

Admit it, you watched for Maury Ballsteen.
Admit it! You only watched for Maury Ballstein.

The couple in the show consists of the husky and often unbelievably stupid Doug and his hot and often bitchy wife Carrie. Their relationship was the show’s main dynamic despite Jerry Stiller being the funniest thing on the show. Everything was fine for fans and no one cared about Kevin James weight, but Leah Remini was mocked plenty when she put on weight in later seasons mostly due to the fact that she had a fucking baby. Apparently people weren’t so forgiving when she had a harder time loosing the weight than most celebrities like she broke some unspoken contract with the public to never have an actual human body.

After 15min of looking this was the fattest picture I could find of her where I wasn't certain she was pregnant.
After 15min of looking this was the fattest picture I could find of her where I wasn’t certain she was pregnant.

This next bit is for my extra curvy ladies. One of the hardest things I had to wrap my head around as a kid was my sister’s looks. My sister is tiny in every sense of the word. She’s short enough and thin enough to carry around in your pocket. She’s the very definition of petite. She could have been a ballerina. Her and I look almost nothing alike. She was always pretty and I was always frumpy. Trying to understand how she could be so skinny and perfect when I was such a tubby little troll was difficult.

She got the looks and the friends and I got good grades. I was a smart kid. I had to be. The way I saw it I didn’t have looks going for me so I had to make up for it somehow. She seemed to be effortlessly liked where as I felt I had to work so hard to get people to see past those extra pounds. This definitely housed some totally unfair resentment on my part. She couldn’t help the way she was anymore than I could. It wasn’t her fault I felt ugly it was societies expectations of me that did. I had no right to be angry with her.

I do what I want.

This leads me to a huge flaw with the body image movement. In response to being bombarded by the media with images of what we’re supposed to look like many women understandably go on the defensive but sometimes it goes to far. We’re so mad at mainstream culture for making us feel bad about ourselves that we lash out at the thin girls as if it’s their fault all because they’re slim. Just like it’s not ok to knock Jessica Simpson or Tyra Banks for gaining weight it’s not right to show people a picture of the always thin Alyson Hannigan in a bikini with her arms behind her back and call her anorexic.

Don’t the paparazzi know she’s been known to rip skin from people’s bodies when she’s mad?

The reason why skinny women are the subjects of so much resentment and anger is because they represent that ideal we’ll never achieve. We associate their physique with starving ourselves and all those other unhealthy things girls do to try and loose wait. And no matter how thin anyone gets society tells them it’s still not skinny enough and that’s why that tiny girl on your Facebook feed is always trying to close those “last 10 pounds”.

None of this is their fault. They’re susceptible to the same pressures we are and making fun or tearing down someone for being naturally skinny is just as bad as teasing someone for being fat. No woman’s (or man’s) body should ever be the subject of ridicule. We’re all people with our own flaws and insecurities who deserve compassion. That’s something I’ve come to realize in recent years.

That and making a woman who hated and killed her self with a bottle of pills the poster girl for self-esteem.
That and making a woman who hated herself and died from taking a bottle of pills the poster girl for self-esteem makes no sense.

I’ve accepted that I’ll never look like the photoshopped models in magazines. How can I except to achieve that when they don’t look that way? I’ll always be thicker and I’m actually happy with that. If I was to wake up tomorrow morning weighing 110 it wouldn’t feel right. It wouldn’t be a proper representation of who I am. Sure there are some creases here and there I could do without and that’s why in the last month I’ve really made and effort to eat better and work out. Not to loose weight but to stay healthy. I don’t want to look like a balloon or a stick figure. I just want to look like I’m capable of kicking a little ass if need be.

 

Passing Judgment

These days passing judgement is largely frowned upon despite how useful your judgemental nature actually is in scenarios that really could save your life. Does that bear look stronger than me? Does that meat smell diseased? Can I trust the opinion of someone who thinks The Big Bang Theory is funnier than Community?  The answer to that last question was no by the way.

We all know Blossom’s been the only funny thing about that show for years.

Everyone always says they don’t judge people, because judging people is wrong. I’m hear to say otherwise. Fuck being politically correct! I judge people. I judge people often and in most cases I see nothing wrong with that. I can’t help but judge people. I see the way someone is dressed and my mind jumps to conclusions about them without actively trying. It’s a fundamental part of how the brain works. I’m a judgmental asshole and so are you. The only difference is you pretend not to be.

I find you guilty of hypocrisy!
I find you guilty on charges of hypocrisy!

I try not to judge people by race, sexual orientation, gender or anything they can’t control. Ok, maybe I’m a little slack when it comes to race. I can’t help it if I’ve noticed that asian people have no problem returning anything and everything no matter how few quarters it cost them. like that one lady who returned a toothbrush that she bought last week that cost her 99cents. Or that other woman for whom an extra 20cents on a bottle of moisturizer was a deal breaker. This definitely leads me to think that eastern culture tends to be a little on the cheap side. Don’t look at me like that. They’re the once perpetuating the stereotype not me, I’m just an observer.

And what I've observed is people trying to get a discount for a dent in a can of tuna. True story.
And what I’ve observed is people trying to get a discount for a dent in a can of tuna. True story.

I try to judge people based on their behaviour and I deem this fair. If you make a scene in a public place I’m going to assume you’re emotional. If you take the time to pass a homeless man some change I’m going to assume you’re a pretty decent human being, and If you litter without remorse I’m going to assume you immigrated here from Mordor. Totally fair.

I know this is stereotyping but orcs don't give a shit about the environment.
I know I’m stereotyping again but orcs don’t give a SHIT about the environment.

I admit I can be prone to making some more elaborate judgements based on things far more subtle than that crazy black guy down on Granville who’s always sing-song shouting about Jesus but that doesn’t mean they aren’t right. For instance:

1. If you come into my work and only buy a large bottle of mouthwash I automatically assume you’re drinking it to get drunk. Same goes if you buy mouthwash frequently. Picking up the original flavoured mouthwash doesn’t bode well either. It’s hilariously sad how common this actually is.

You can try to fancy it up all you like buddy, but I can seem the mint on your breath.
You can try to fancy it up all you like buddy, but I can smell the mint on your breath.

2. If you comment on my blog from your youporn account I’m going to think two things, 1) you’re very comfortable with your porn viewing and probably your sexuality and 2) you’re probably fapping while reading my blog. For me this is a little flattering, but this doesn’t say much about you as most of my posts are decidedly unsexy.

Oh baby, I love it when you make jokes about your roommates unkept vagina and how long it's been since you've last shaved your legs.
Oh baby, I love it when you make jokes about your roommate’s unkept vagina and how long it’s been since you’ve last shaved your legs.

3. If you “don’t watch tv” I figure you’re most likely a pretentious douche. Have you seen tv lately? That shit is amazing. At the very least you don’t even watch the news? Come on.

4. If you tell me you’ve never masturbated you’re sexually repressed. As I always say there are only two kinds of people in this world: people who masturbate and liars.

5. If you’re an international student I am going to go ahead and assume you pay for everything with your parents Mastercard.

6. If you haven’t seen Fight Club than I know you are not yet a man. If you saw Fight Club and didn’t get it I know you never really will be.

7. If you say things like “Kate Middleton is the best thing that’s ever happened to England” I’m going to deduce that you failed grade twelve history. I think things like the Magna Carta, The Slavery Abolition Act, and the National Health Service may have done more for England than the Duchess of Cambridge.

If we're talking about style she's got nothing on Winston Churchill.
If we’re talking about style she’s got nothing on Winston Churchill.

8. If you buy pricy gluten free foods but don’t have celiac disease then you’re a grossly misinformed health nut with malfunctioning taste buds.

9. If you’re a self described “artist” than you probably don’t spend a whole lot of time in the real world. Telling people you’re an “artist” is a euphemism for being a creatively driven loser who doesn’t think they should have to work. Do you get paid to produce this art? If you answered no than you’re not an artist. You’re a barista/student who dreams of being an artist.

except for this barrista who is in fact an artist.
Except for this barista who is in fact an artist.

10. If you quote scripture in everyday conversation then I’m pretty damn sure you’re someone I don’t want to spend a whole lot of time with.

11. If you order decaf or a non-coffee beverage at a coffee shop I question your motives as a person. You’re clearly an anarchist because what the fuck is the point of going to Starbucks if you want a smoothie?

Some men just want to watch the world burn.
Some men just want to watch the world burn.

Are there not places that specialize in smoothies where you can go? Why order a caffeinated beverage without caffein? That’s like ordering a cheeseburger and asking the server to hold the burger. You don’t want a cheeseburger, you want a grilled cheese sandwich. Just like you don’t want a coffee you want tea.

What the fuck is this shit?
What the fuck is this shit?