Dear Assholes:

February 25, 2009 § 15 Comments

Hello, good friend/acquaintance/classmate/stranger. I’m just writing to let you know that I am in fact aware that my breasts are big. Thanks.

I mean, I’ve only been living with them for years. But thank you, person/classmate-who-I-may-or-may-not-know-particularly-well-and-don’t-necessarily-feel-comfortable-with for informing me. Your comment about my chest really spurred meaningful and insightful conversation and didn’t embarrass or dehumanize me in the slightest. I feel incredibly respected.

No but seriously. Don’t tell me to, “put them away,” or notify me that you could probably swipe a credit card through my cleavage. I don’t want to hear it. If my bra is visible and you would like to enlighten me of that fact, that’s fine, but making a “hilarious” comment about my breasts because you somehow feel that it’s appropriate or because you “only want to give me a compliment” ISN’T charming. What it tells me is that you’re more interested in discussing cup size than anything I may have been able to add to our conversation.

And another thing, wearing a low-cut shirt doesn’t give you the right to comment either. I’m sorry if I’m showing cleavage, that must be really difficult for you, but I’m sure you can move your eyes about six inches to the north. It is NOT my fault that you think yourself incapable of doing the simple task of looking at my face. And NO, wearing a low-cut shirt does not mean I’m “asking for it,” no matter how many people may have told you so. Please desist.

This may seem harsh, but I have HAD IT with STRANGERS and even CLOSE FRIENDS of both genders thinking it’s entirely normal to say, “Wait, oh my God, but you have really big tits,” in the middle of a conversation. And I’m fucking sick of letting such inconsiderate assholery get to me.

With the most sincere “go fuck yourself” I can muster,
Phoebe

I Love You, Dustin Lance Black.

February 25, 2009 § Leave a comment

This is going to be quick. Did anyone catch Dustin Lance Black’s (writer of the film Milk about the gay politician Harvey Milk) emotional acceptance speech? I think it’s beautiful and touching and extremely hopeful. So much love.

For your viewing pleasure:

Target Women: Skin Care

February 23, 2009 § Leave a comment

Basically, my love for Sarah Haskins knows no bounds. In her latest Target Women segment, she discusses skin care and all the psued0-science used to appeal specifically to women.

The Manic Pixie Dream Girl

February 17, 2009 § Leave a comment

In October, National Public Radio released an article and four-minute movie alongside it entitled Manic Pixie Dream Girls: A Cinematic Scourge? In case you’re not familiar with the term Manic Pixie Dream Girl, in the article it’s defined by film critic Nathan Rabin:

The Manic Pixie is, in his words, “that bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.”

And while I agree with the NPR article and video posted for the most part, I do have a a bit of an issue with it: the character of Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I don’t find her to be the typical MPDG as defined by Rabin. I think she’s more complicated than that. She IS the type of girl that will, “go off into a quiet corner and cry,” and does so in the movie. And while I think her main device in the movie is to uplift the male protagonist, she isn’t actually a secondary character in the slightest. In fact, I think many people who watch the movie care more about her than him. I also think that a lot of the “adventures” (for lack of a better word) that they go on together aren’t solely for him, but for her as well. She wants to have a good time and do crazy things. She likes him, so he’s included in her antics. Another thing that separates her from being a typical MPDG is that she doesn’t come into his life and cause him to undergo a change, as is the normal formula, but she is the one that undergoes a change because of him. I think there’s a fine line between being one of those free, live-life-to-the-fullest characters and being a character who only does such things to help their love interest (no matter how unrealistic both characters may be). It’s the latter that I take issue with far more that the first.

Another problem I had wasn’t so much about the article, but it was with myself. While reading through the list of MPDG’s, I came across Natalie Portman’s character from Garden State, Katherine Hepburn’s character from Bringing Up Baby, Penny Lane in Almost Famous, and Annie Hall. These are all movies and characters that I love and have loved for a long time. Does that mean that I’ve bought into sexist bullshit that everyone’s supposed to buy into? As a feminist am I obligated to dislike all of these characters because they portray unrealistically bubbly, happy, free and completely shallow versions of real women? And even if they are sexist, as long as I recognize that, can I continue to like them? Also, in our modern day cinema, among the slutty female characters, the bitchy female characters, and the neurotic female characters, MPDG’s don’t offend me the most.

Okay, well I’ve sort of gone off a bit and I apologize if this is unclear, as I’m still trying to sort out my opinions and feelings regarding this topic. Thoughts, anyone?

For more on the MPDG phenomenon:

16 films featuring MPGD’s (A. V. Club)

MPGD’s are the Scourge of Modern Cinema (Jezebel)

A New CoverGirl

February 15, 2009 § 1 Comment

It was announced a while back that Ellen Degeneres would be the new CoverGirl for CoverGirl Cosmetics, but I hadn’t seen an ad featuring her until literally minutes ago. I really enjoyed it. Not only is she refreshing as a model because she’s not traditionally beautiful, but I also love how she appears to be making fun of makeup commercials throughout the entire commercial.

The 8 Most Sexist TV Ads

February 11, 2009 § 3 Comments

A friend sent me this list today of TV’s 8 most sexist ads and, while I’m aware that cracked.com isn’t exactly a feminist-friendly website, I thought this was spot on. I also think that while the writer did a really good job of finding the most blatantly sexist commercials, it’s important to note that there’s also a huge amount of subtle sexism that pervades advertisements in our culture, enforcing gender stereotypes that people don’t even think to question.

Surprisingly though, this list doesn’t mention chocolate.

Language and Sexism

February 8, 2009 § 2 Comments

Recently in my Spanish class we were given a new list of vocabulary words to learn. On this list was the word mujeriego, which translates to womanizer. Now usually with Spanish nouns and adjectives there’s a masculine version (with an “o” at the end) and a feminine version (with an “a” at the end), however there was no feminine version on the list.

A friend of mine raised his hand and asked, “What’s the girl version of mujeriego?”

My teacher pondered for a while before shrugging her shoulders and saying, “I don’t think there is one… The only one I can think of is a word that I really shouldn’t say in class.”

Puta – Prostitute or slut.

Maybe there is a female version of the word that I’m just not aware of. Anyone know of one?

Just something to think about.

“She’s such a nice girl…

February 7, 2009 § 5 Comments

She needs a boyfriend.”

I have a friend who’s constantly saying this to me anytime one of our single female friends leaves the room. It’s always bothered me that apparently the appropriate reaction to his comment is to nod because GASP, SHE’S A SINGLE GIRL. HOW TRAGIC. Anyway, only yesterday did I finally give him a response: “Not every girl needs a boyfriend. Lots of girls are okay with not having one.”

He, however, chose to ignore this and continue on with the conversation we had been in the middle of.  I wanted to force the issue, but I was tired and didn’t really want to get into a conflict. Lame, I know. I’ll stick it to him next time.

But what really irks me about this whole thing is how completely condescending it sounds (and IS!). He never says, “She’s so bad ass,” or, “She’s so smart.” It’s always, “She’s so sweet,” or, “She’s so pretty.” As if only the cute, sweet ones deserve men. It also makes the assumption that every girl we know is straight. A “sweet girl” never needs a woman. And while I’m sure he thinks he’s giving them a compliment (since he only wants what’s best for them), what I really believe it translates to is:

“Wow, she’s such a great girl, but something’s missing. Let’s get her a guy! Then she’ll be complete!”

Because, duh!!! Without a guy, she’s not a full person!!!

BREAKING NEWS: [Insert starlet's name here] has gained some weight!

February 6, 2009 § 6 Comments

If you haven’t been living in a cave for the last few weeks, I’m sure you’ve heard the news: Jessica Simpson has GAINED WEIGHT.

Am I the only one sick of seeing photos of her everywhere I go? Whether it’s an image splashed across the cover of People Magazine or linked to from one of the blogs I read or even on some pop-culture television show, I always end up getting frustrated by the obsession with women’s weight gain patterns that the media (hell, society!) tends to have. 

And it’s not just this one isolated case. From Kirstie Alley to Janet Jackson to Oprah, people just can’t seem to stop analyzing their weights. It’s also not just in cases of extreme weight gain either. How many false pregnancy accusations have there been? Often headlines have read, “JENNIFER ANNISTON PREGNANT?” or “KATIE HOLMES LOOKS PREGNANT.” A woman in our pop culture isn’t allowed to put on any weight without suddenly being knocked up. What’s even worse is the photos that have been put out in the past of celebrities”pigging out.” Oh ha ha! A famous woman indulging in a cheeseburger! What a fatty! Look how gross she looks!

These types of images (with big arrows pointing to “baby bumps,” ones showing how an actress has clearly “let herself go,”  and depicting women “stuffing their faces”) express to the public how far from the norm an overweight woman is supposed to be. You better keep that tummy tucked, or you’ll be the laughingstock of everyone you know! 

While this phenomenon isn’t only directed at women, it seems much more traditional to critique a woman’s weight than a man’s. How often have you seen images of male celebrities with captions about how clearly they need to get back on their exercise regime? 

Just think about the incredibly unrealistic standards women are held up to when Angelina Jolie isn’t allowed to eat a fucking sandwich.

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