No place is safe.

May 21, 2009

So, I’m now working, like…three? Four? Four ridiculously flexible part-time jobs, which require, like, an hour of schedule-wrangling for every hour I work. So I’m busy. But the money’s flowing in, so that’s good.

I was buying myself some pick-me-up candy (Laffy Taffy!) at the gas station the other day, and when I drove up to the building I saw this in the window:

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(I went inside to take the picture.)

Anyway, the transcripts:

Sign 1: BITCH PARKING (but that’s Ms. Bitch to you) – All other will be Nagged beyond belief

Sign 2: PRINCESS PARKING ONLY – ALL OTHERS WILL BE TOWED

Who needs a madonna/whore dichotomy when you can have a bitch/princess dichotomy instead? With pepto-bismol pink for all!

Also, really, Ms. Bitch? It’s, um, not the 80s anymore. “Ms” isn’t some weird new crazy-bitchy-feminist thing. Almost all the women I know go either by “Ms” or by “Dr.” But I suppose a princess would never insist on being called Ms — no, she’s either Miss Princess or, even better!, Mrs. Prince Charming.

The invocation of Nagging would be annoying even if they didn’t use the Totally Random Capitalization to emphasize it. A woman, even a Ms. Bitch, can’t threaten anything serious; the most power she has is the power to Nag. Truly, to be a Bitch is a terrible thing.

But wait, what’s this?

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Sign 3: Got Bitches? – PIMP (emblazoned on a shiny, shiny goblet)

But now it seems like men want Bitches! Or at least, the PIMPs do. Do Bitches turn into something nice when a PIMP acquires them? Actually, I’m not even sure about the part where the PIMPS have “got” their Bitches. Did they get them at the store, or something? Is that why we can compare them to milk? Do they go in the cups? The shiny, shiny cups. With rhinestones. And hot pink leopard print.

I’d make a joke, like, “Are we sure this isn’t the PRINCESS cup?” except that, by implying that these PIMPs are deserving of ridicule because they are feminine, I would be cheapening my main point, which is that they deserve ridicule for wishing to own Bitches, as if Bitches were something to purchase or consume, like milk. Also, it would make me a big ol’ hypocrite. So instead I’m going to ask, why would the sort of man who wants to declare his own PIMPitude and ownership of Bitches nevertheless choose to declare this aspect of his personality with something that is, well, pink? Is the femininity supposed to somehow neutralize the misogyny of the rest, to make the whole thing “satire” or “a joke” so that it can reasonably be displayed in public? Misogyny and femininity, going together like matter and antimatter to make nothing. (Except don’t those explode?)

Or is there some other subtext that I’m missing?

I’m not sure. I am, however, sure about this one:

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Sign 4: NOTICE: Sexual harassment in this area will not be reported. However, it will be “graded.”

Yeah, this shit is 100% reprehensible. The idea of a “safe zone” for harassers is absolutely terrifying to me. Sexual harassment is almost never reported as is– propagating the idea that it shouldn’t be reported at all only makes people’s lives less safe. Also, making sexual harassment into a joke, like it’s no big deal and never scary or hurtful for its victim, is, uh, bad. When the joke is that sexual harassment shouldn’t be avoided, but rather, scored, and presumably practised for improvement? That’s… worse.

Words fail me.

But no worries, everyone, these signmakers are totally not sexist or anything! (Like, where did you get that idea?!) I mean, look: GURLZ RULE!

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By… humorously decapitating a Generic Dude stick figure. By slapping him? Because the world is a zero-sum game, and for a “girl” to “rule” she has to violently attack men. While wearing a skirt, to mark her as the Other kind of person, you know, the sex class, whatchamacallits, girls.

….That’s almost like saying that women are human!

Also note that this sign is on the lowest rack of the stand, and was turned toward the wall until I rotated it for a picture. Whereas the first two were aimed out the window at incoming customers…

I think I’m going to stick to my current form of slightly-cheesy wall-adornment:

WeCanDoItPoster[1]

Yeeeah. That’s the ticket.

I’ve got one of these on my closet wall. Jealous? Damn right you are! I have a tin Rosie the Riveter lunchbox too, and I used it to bring my lunch to school through all of high school. I should bust it out again; my life should have more Rosie in it.

Because these days, it takes a Ms. Bitch like Rosie to convince me that We Can Do It, and to give me any hope at all. The rest of the world seems to hold a dissenting opinion.

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Quick Hit: Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged

April 6, 2009

More from That Dude Who Sends Me Cool Email Forwards:

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year-old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.


The “feminism Google Alert” blogaround!

April 5, 2009

To provide myself with ample blog fodder, I maintain a google alert for the word “feminism,” but I’ve been putting off, y’know, actually blogging any of it. So! I present to you: posts about feminism!

First, the angry-making category (also known as the Darth Vader NOOOOs):

Anyone for a pink fairy cake? Be a goddess but don’t quit your day job.

Then a couple of weeks ago The Courier-Mail declared the rise of the young domestic goddess. “Housewives are back and baking, reclaiming the kitchen and returning to the ways of their grandmothers before them,” the paper, unencumbered by statistics, reported.

Ha! This looks like a good start! (emphasis mine). One of the things that really stood out to be in Faludi’s Backlash was the prevalence of articles reporting on “trends” that were, in fact, not trends at all, but wishful thinking. No surprise that it’s happening again! But wait… what’s this? An endorsement of this “trend”?

…I am glad we are moving beyond the drudgery mantra, where you are letting the sisterhood down if you speak about housework without using the word mindless and moaning about wet towels left on the floor. Was there ever anything modern and revolutionary about women volunteering to be martyrs then complaining endlessly about it?

Geez, misrepresentation, much?

In an article provocatively entitled “Women’s Liberation Through Housework”, Rena Corey wrote about how, growing up in the 1970s, she learned to view women who cared about housework with condescension. “A lot of girls in my generation took to heart this message of liberation from the perceived drudgery of housework and grew up to have careers that our mothers never even dreamed of. But apparently, even with the monetary and psychic rewards of paying jobs, we still yearn for that cozy, clean nest,” she wrote.

NOOOO! (Emphasis mine, again.) I promise you guys, I have absolutely no yearning to clean my kitchen.

Rethinking Feminism.

Rarely a good thing in a mainstream newspaper, but let’s see how it goes.

Media assault on feminism has now a reached a record “high”…

Yes…

…sadly those who support the movement have been caught up in their own web to take notice.

…NO!

Feminists chose their battle with haste. They jumped into the abortion debate with so much passion that other important issues were completely neglected. Work-life balance, affordable childcare, health, education, employment, violence against women-issues of importance to today’s women do not seem to be a priority. As a result, young women do not see the feminist movement as something for them to be part of. They see it as a fistfight between the pro-choice and pro-life groups. In short, religious right has a serious advantage.

NOOOOO! Seriously, what the hell? Feminists don’t blog about work-life balance, affordable childcare, health, education, employment, or violence against women? Who the hell has this reporter been talking to?

The no-casual-sex challenge: would you do it?

Yet despite how much feminism hoopla exists around the subject, and no matter how many times we are told that women needn’t be afraid of putting themselves out there if the chemistry is right, the lighting is good and he paid for her dinner (even if it is the first date, the first encounter or with a complete stranger), there are unfortunately some grave emotional consequences …

This is all thanks to a magical (yet detrimental) little hormone that gets released into our bodies when women do indeed do the dirty with a bloke that she mightn’t even have feelings for until the fateful night. It’s called oxytocin – otherwise known as “the cuddle hormone”. The way it works is this: even if she’s not that into him to begin with, she’ll inevitably start to have strong sentimental feelings towards the bloke she’s just bonked thanks to the surge of hormones racing in her blood and affecting her brain.

As former groupie Dawn Eden wrote in the Times Online while expounding on the subject: “Women are built for bonding. We are vessels and we seek to be filled. For that reason, however much we try and convince ourselves that it isn’t so, sex will always leave us feeling empty unless we are certain that we are loved, that the act is part of a bigger picture that we are loved for our whole selves not just our bodies.”

I would rant about this, if only I could stop projectile-vomiting. At least it’s horrific from start to finish– no awkward questions about how to categorize it! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve been overwhelmed by the oxytocin released when I was messing around with Mr. Experiment With Bisexuality and I guess I have to go ask him to marry me now, or something. My “cuddle hormones” demand it.

——

Some in-between articles:

1960s pioneer Steinem: Every woman stands for feminist movement.

Don’t call her an icon of feminism or the instantly recognizable face of women’s liberation. Don’t even call her Ms. Steinem. Just call her Gloria.

Can you think of anything less feminist than insisting that Gloria Steinem be referred to be first name only, rather than by Ms. Steinem, the title she specifically invented so that women could be addressed respectfully? Augh! The article isn’t the worst of the lot, at least, since much of it is simply quotes from Ms. Steinem; those are good. Everything else, not so much.

Common Cents: Chivalry? A sandwich isn’t going to make itself.

Whenever the demon of nostalgia rears its nauseating head, it’s only a matter of time before someone points out “chivalry is dead.”

The next time this happens, stop whatever you’re doing, look them in the eye and say “good riddance.”

Traditional wisdom tells us to not speak ill of the deceased, but traditional wisdom is exactly what I’m speaking ill of.

Yeah! I like this guy! He’s a good ally!

Now don’t get me wrong. Sometimes I’ll play the doorstop.

If anyone — regardless of sex — carries something heavy, I might take a second out of my day to help.

Some doors are more easily opened from one direction or another, and I might give a well-timed nudge when a stranger is on the wrong end of hydraulics.

To be clear, I do these things, not because I have to, but because I want to.

Yeah! Chivalry sucks, but basic politeness is fine.

And occasionally if I’m on my way to class — and an especially good-looking female follows — I’ll snap the door shut behind me and sing, “fatty, fatty, two by four, can’t get through the schoolhouse door.”

Not because I have to, but because I want to.

Huh? What? I’m actually sincerely baffled here. How does that make any sense?

Gentlemen, the next time you sense a girl wants you to take the check, lean back in your seat and pre-emptively thank her for treating you.

Have fun with it.

Wait a second… are you a jerk after all?

I don’t have time to split ponytails over which side of the sidewalk to walk on. If we go out to dinner, we’re splitting the bill.

If that makes me less attractive, then those unique, entitled snowflakes can all run back to their fathers.

The world has changed.

Adapt, or worthy males will select someone else.

It’s only natural.

Oh. Huh. You are a jerk after all. How disappointing.

Is Rihanna a product of feminism, or a victim of it?

This is a bad question to be asking. I am not sanguine.

Some critics don’t blame Brown, or Rihanna, but the culture of feminism. “We’ve so confused ourselves that now many teenagers in Boston are excusing Chris Brown. Why wouldn’t they?” writes National Review’s Kathryn Jean Lopez. “He and Rihanna are equal, and we expect no more from men — in fact, we’ve conditioned a generation or two now to expect less.”

Is Rihanna the product of feminism, or a victim of it? RedBlueAmerica columnists Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk weigh in.

Bluuurgh. How is it possible that “men and women are equal” but “we expect less from men”?! Doublethink FTW! But let’s check out those two columnists:

Clearly, something is wrong with the culture when young people say that the young woman had it coming. There can be no doubt, however, that feminism’s futile effort to deny the differences between the sexes has had consequences.

Among those consequences is the widely accepted belief that girls can and should be a sexually aggressive (i.e. promiscuous) as boys. Another is the popular idea, born out by a national illegitimacy rate approaching 40 percent, that fathers aren’t necessary. Yet another is the trend among a subset of women to leave their husbands for other women.

I AM THROWING UP IN MY MOUTH RIGHT NOW, OH MY GOD.

Why is this article in the “in-between” section rather than the “angry-making” section? Well, it’s because our second columnist is a lot less of a raging douchebag than the first:

I don’t know why those Boston teens blame Rihanna for her beating. I know they’re wrong. And I know that feminists — informed by feminism — are the first to say so.

…Feminism showed us the beginning of a way out. It insisted that abuse victims not be blamed for violence done to them. It insisted that “no means no.” It insisted that a woman doesn’t give up her rights to safety and dignity once she signs a marriage license. And it insisted, most importantly, that women are not secondary, inferior beings. That last assertion, in particular, seems an obvious truth — and yet it has set off two generations of howling outrage from those who see the empowerment of women as the neutering of men. That anger, in turn, has been channeled into a bizarre effort to blame all of society’s ills on feminism.

I’m glad they included this dissenting view in the post itself, because otherwise I’m not sure I could have survived all the concentrated assholamine. (Check that link out too, by the way; it goes to I Blame the Patriarchy, an excellent antidote to antifeminism.)

——

Then, some stuff by actual feminists! So we can end on a positive note. 🙂

Forget feminism, films are still a male domain.

It has always been an unwritten rule in the film industry, both in Mumbai and the South, that when it came to the box office it was only the hero who mattered. If the film was a hit, none of the credit went to the heroine. While the actor dominated the film, actresses were expected to be content with a role that comprised of six to seven scenes with a few songs thrown in. To add insult to misery, heroines were also handicapped with a short career, — they had a career span of five to eight years when they could enjoy being at the top of their game — after which it was presumed they were over the hill, or were married with children. Of course, none of this applied to our heroes who, despite being married and having children —or for that matter — being on the wrong side of 40, continued to enjoy a career which spanned 20 to 30 years.

It’s fascinating (if sad) to get a take on the Indian film industry, and to see that Hollywood actually compares favorably some places. Feminism! We need you!

Islamic feminists distinguish Islam from Muslims.

Anyone attempting to take stock of the position of women in the Muslim world cannot help but be confused. One finds stories in the media all the time about injustices committed against Muslim women, such as “honour” killings, child marriages and discriminatory legal judgments in matters of divorce, custody and inheritance.

On the other hand, one also comes across stories about the remarkable strides made by Muslim women in education, career development and political activism in countries as diverse as Bangladesh, Morocco and Turkey.

How can we make sense of such a dichotomous picture?

The answer is simple: by distinguishing the religion of Islam from the Muslims who practice it.

Those who study the Qur’an know that Islam elevated the rights of women beyond anything known in the pre-Islamic world. In fact, in the seventh century Muslim women were granted rights not granted to European women until the 19th century, such as property ownership, inheritance and divorce.

That said, Muslims who codified the Qur’an and Hadith (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad) into Islamic law did not succeed in expunging the patriarchy of the pre-Islamic world from their practices.

This distinction between the faith and the various manifestations of its practice is a subtle but extremely important one.

This is one of the more serious posts I’m linking to today. Read it. It’s good.

Grrl Style: Feminism — JK!

I have to confess, when I saw only the first line of this in my RSS reader, I was sure it would enrage me. Rarely am I so happy to be wrong.

I am so over feminism. I mean, honestly, who was I kidding with all that “women and men are equals” bullshit?

Thankfully, I’ve finally come out of my bra-burnin’ college phase and into a new realization: that women are, in fact, the weaker sex.

I have no idea who this gal is, but I love her.

History is the proof: Out of all of the United States presidents, how many have been women? None. Coincidence? I think not.

Girls are simply too fucking crazy and hormonal even to vote, let alone govern. To quote the great Brooke Hogan ruminating on Hillary Clinton’s ludicrous presidential campaign, “I think it’s kinda crazy that a woman is running, because I think that women deal with a lot of emotions and menopause and PMS and stuff.

“Like, I’m so moody all the time, I know I couldn’t be able to run a country, ’cause I’d be crying one day and yelling at people the next day, ya know?”

Hey! Whiny privileged college dudes! This is what satire looks like!

——

So there we have it! Two thousand, three hundred and eighty-three words on THE STATE OF FEMINISM TODAY. Wasn’t it a fun ride?

I only made it through, like, a third of the posts I planned to look at it, but whatever! Plenty of time to come back for seconds tomorrow!

If you’ve got any more links, leave ’em in the comments!


My life is hilarious.

February 27, 2009

Another old photo that I love…

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Yeah. The best part? You can’t even tell if the road is under water until after you’ve gone down the hill and turned the corner… a position it would be nearly impossible to reverse out of. Plus, it’s a one-lane bridge.

Oh, Arkansas…


Apparently this is a humor blog now…

February 15, 2009

All the greatest scientific minds of the ages were hanging out in heaven. They decided to play hide and seek. Einstein agreed to seek first, so he covered his eyes and started counting to a hundred.

“One… two… three…”

All the scientists ran off to find hiding places, except Newton. Instead, he drew a big square and stood right in the middle of it. When Einstein reached 100, Newton was standing right in front of him.

“Newton is out!” he shouted to the other scientists.

“No, that’s not true,” said Newton. “I’m not Newton.”

By this time the other scientists had come out of their hiding places, and they informed him that he most certainly was Newton, and so it was his turn to seek.

“But the area of this square is exactly one meter,” he tells them. “At one Newton per square meter, I am actually Pascal. So Pascal is out!”

Pascal closed his eyes and started counting to a hundred.


Quick hit: a non-sexist sex joke?!

February 15, 2009

I think StumbleUpon has finally found me a sex-related joke that I don’t find offensive:

Four coworkers always golfed as a group at 7 A.M. every Sunday.

Unfortunately, one of them was transferred out of town, so they began talking about how they would fill out the foursome.

A woman standing nearby said, “Hey, I like to golf. May I join the group?”

They were hesitant, but invited her to play a round, after which they would decide whether to bring her in permanently.

They all agreed and she said, “Good, I’ll be there at 6:30 or 6:45.”

She showed up right at 6:30, and wound up setting a course record with a 7-under-par round.

The guys went nuts and everyone in the clubhouse congratulated her. Meanwhile, she was fun and pleasant the entire round.

The guys happily invited her back the next week and she said, “OK, I’ll be here at 6:30 or 6:45.”

Again, she showed up at 6:30 Sunday morning. Only this time, she played left-handed and matched her 7-under-par score of the previous week. By now the guys were totally amazed and they asked her to join the group for keeps.

They had a beer after their round and one of the guys asked her, “How do you decide if you’re going to golf right-handed or left-handed?”

She said, “That’s easy. Before I leave for the golf course, I pull the covers off my husband, who sleeps in the nude. If his pecker is pointing to the right, I golf right-handed. If it’s pointing to the left, I golf left-handed.”

Another member of the group asked, “What if it’s pointing straight up?”

She replied, “Then I’ll be here at 6:45.”

I think I like it because she is totally kicking all their asses, and they appreciate her skill. Normally this is when people (i.e., men) would be whining about ambitious bitches, but no! They ask her to join their group permanently, buy her a drink, and ask her her secret– almost like she was a real person! I also like it because it involves penises, sex, and a woman competing with men, but does not rely on any sexist stereotypes that I can see. Plus there’s no awkward shaming about the fact that she has sex, as far as I can see.

Or maybe my standards have just been unreasonably lowered? I mean, this is the caliber of humor I have as a comparison:

A fellow bought a new Mercedes and was out on the interstate for a nice evening drive. The top was down, the breeze was blowing through what was left of his hair, and he decided to open her up.

As the needle jumped up to 80 mph, he suddenly saw flashing red and blue lights behind him. “There’s no way they can catch a Mercedes,” he thought to himself and opened her up further.

The needle hit 90, 100… Then the reality of the situation hit him. “What am I doing?” he thought, and pulled over.

The cop came up to him, took his license without a word and examined it and the car. “It’s been a long day, this is the end of my shift and it’s Friday the 13th. I don’t feel like more paperwork, so if you can give me an excuse for your driving that I haven’t heard before, you can go.”

The guy thinks for a second and says, “Last week my wife ran off with a cop. I was afraid you were trying to give her back!”

“Have a nice weekend,” said the officer.

Ha, ha! No sensible man would want to spend time with or even see the woman he pledged to love forever! It’s funny because it’s true!

What do you think? Have I finally found an unobjectionable sex joke, or am I being too accommodating? Have you heard any good (or terrible!) jokes lately? Share your thoughts in the comments!


Quoth Stephen King: “Twilight” author “can’t write.”

February 9, 2009

This just kind of made me laugh. Not necessarily the content (though I agree wholeheartedly), but the over-the-top “journalism.”

Stephen King’s opinion may drive a stake through the heart of “Twilight” author Stephenie Meyer.

Oh ho ho! Get it? It’s because she writes about vampires! And “driving a stake through the heart” is a phrase we use as a synonym for “breaking the heart” in… no situations!

But it gets better:

According to Stephen, “Both Rowling and Meyer, they’re speaking directly to young people… The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn. She’s not very good.”

Meeooww!

Oh yeah. Stephen King/ Stephenie Meyer CATFIGHT! Meeooww! THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE.

(In my head the Meeooww! sounds like the Wilhem Scream. Meeooww!)

Actually, leaving aside the ridiculousness for a moment, it’s interesting that the author went with the “Meeooww!” since the “catfight” framing is usually used when two professional women in the same field are “fighting.” It’s part of how women, and women’s emotions are trivialized– genuine anger is blown off with stupid jokes like, “oh, the claws are coming out! hiss!” It also plays into tokenism in the sense that any two women in remotely similar fields are thought of as “competing,” and perfectly professional, polite disagreements (even slight ones) will get the similar “ooh, catfight!” response, playing into the idea that one woman in the department is enough, or that there are “good reasons” that there are only a few.

I’m honestly curious as to why the author chose to take that framing and apply it to a situation outside that frame.  I suppose there are two women involved (J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer); neither of the women in question has said a word, but that doesn’t generally preclude people from imagining in a “catfight.”

(Putting on my misogyny hat…)

Maybe it’s because Stephen King is a girl! Meeooww!