Tag Archives: bullshit

Sometimes I just want to break windows and shit.

Imagine what it would be like if every woman responded to the sexual harassment, oppression, rapes, and sexist comments and jokes that perpetrate this anti-woman culture with extreme violence. What if every woman who gets harassed on the streets decided to throw a punch or every rape victim decided to stab her rapist or every time someone made an assumption or comment based on sexist ideas a woman decided to smash something. It’d be a really fucking violent world. An openly violent world. There would be constant violence in the streets and in homes and everywhere.

Sometimes I wish it was like that. Sometimes I wish we would all just fucking lose our shit and start breaking glass and rioting.

Do you think they’d finally listen if we did?

I’ve been thinking a lot about overt female sexuality. Because I’ve been listening to Lords of Acid. And I started thinking about how if you’re a woman you either can’t express sexuality at all (and you’re a real, true goodly lady). Or you CAN and you can be labeled all the things that women who express sexuality get labeled. But beyond that, you are no longer a real, true goodly lady. So anything that happens to you, say, you get assaulted or raped is your fault. By expressing sexuality and a desire for sex, you’re clearly expressing a desire for sex WITH ANYONE AT ALL TIMES EVER FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE AND NO MEANS YES FROM NOW ON. Cause you’re a slut. If you like sex with one person, you’ll like it with the next.

We can choose to have sex or not have sex. We can choose to show our bodies or not. But there still exists the whore/virgin dichotomy. And it’s still hurting every single one of us. And as far as a large part of the world is concerned, if you choose to have sex you’re also choosing to be a bad girl and you deserve all the shit that may or may happen to you. And only bad shit happens to bad girls, right? Which is why we bemoan the past decisions (or the way they look or where they were or what they were doing) of rape victims and make it seem like they somehow brought it on themselves. It’s why we clutch our pearls at the thought of female sexuality and try to make it seem so scary and dangerous. People are so afraid of women having full and complete ownership of their bodies and their sexualities. Because that’s something that men do. It’s a manly thing. And if women do the things that men do, well, it’s like they ARE men and then there’s no power dynamic and we have to be all equal and shit.

I know I’m oversimplifying.

And I know that I’ve said this all before. And the people that I choose to surround myself with have said this all before and will continue saying it endlessly. It’s the rest of the people that I can’t get through to. Those are the people that don’t want to listen or don’t comprehend and those are the people that scare me because it’s people like that who have power, who make decisions about me and my body and the laws and the protections for and against women. I read a really thought-provoking comment on one of Britni’s posts once:

…I’m going to agree with Melissa McEwan here and say, “And just like how people who speak Arabic are better translators of Arabic than people who don’t, people who have immersed themselves in the critical theories of gender are better translators of what is and is not sexism. Identifying and defining sexism is not–as “sexism is a matter of opinion” suggests–a speculative chore. There is an existing framework for recognizing and characterizing expressed sexism—and those who have made it their business to become fluent in it are the closest thing to objective experts as exist in any discipline.”

I’ve spent most of my life, since I was about 11 years old and started reading books about rape and domestic violence, studying these things in a non-academic setting (although I incorporated it into my schoolwork sometimes). Reading books, reading blogs, listening to people’s stories, experiencing the shit first-hand, etc. I’m planning on going to college to study all of this even more. I’m lucky enough to be in a relationship with someone who has also studied these things. It’s easy for me to recognize sexism and how badly it hurts people. It’s other people that I don’t know how to reach. How do you try to point out something as simple as ‘this is sexist’, when it feels like you have to go into a detailed explanation of HOW and WHY it’s so sexist and WHY it’s important and how YES, IT REALLY, REALLY IS SEXIST AND WOULD YOU JUST STFU AND LISTEN TO ME BECAUSE I KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!?

And that’s how angry conversations start. And then we end up nowhere.

Forgive me if this post is really disjointed and makes little sense. I’ve been reading My Fault, I’m Female (you should read it too) and I got really angry and just had to write stuff.

 

 

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Filed under Body, Media, Personal, Politics

The Ones We Might Have Saved

So, we’re a little late to the party – OK, from the looks of it, a few weeks late – but the two of us felt that joining in Arbogast on Film‘s “The One You Might Have Saved” floating blogathon was too good of an offer to resist. Therefore, better very late than never, here are our takes on horror movie characters we liked too much for them to just be killed off, like that, so senselessly! Can you imagine that the filmmakers had the gall to do such a thing? The bastards! (Warning: spoilers are inherent.)

Andreas

I would save Annie Hayworth (Suzanne Pleshette) in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963). Yeah, Tippi Hedren’s Melanie Daniels was the star, destined to end up with Hitchcockian mama’s boy Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor). But whereas she was mostly a spoiled, emotionally fucked-up drama queen learning to cope with an emergency, Annie was the really mature, worldly one.

Annie was Bodega Bay’s schoolteacher, and she was exactly the kind of teacher you wish you’d had in middle school. Resigned to her provincial life in a coastal town she called “a collection of shacks on a hillside,” she was totally jaded. She’d given up on a romance with Mitch after his mother disapproved, and resolved to hang around Bodega Bay… smoking, gardening, teaching, etc. Annie’s whole attitude is delightfully sardonic, and she gets some of the film’s best lines. (Hell, she begins a sentence “With all due respect to Oedipus…”) She’s a woman with little to lose, content to help the town’s children play games, sing that obnoxious “Risseldy Rosseldy” song, and practice fire drills, all with a knowing look in her eyes.

And when the birds strike, whether at a birthday party or at her schoolhouse, Annie doesn’t freak out. She just takes the lead, keeps the kids calm, and does everything she can to save their lives, even at the expense of her own. That is a good teacher. I can remember plenty of teachers who would never have taken decisive action like that, even in the midst of a bird attack, and definitely wouldn’t have sacrificed everything for their pupils. But Annie, for all her cynicism about romantic relationships, still has some fight left in her, and dammit, she cares about those kids.

I grant that Annie’s death does have meaning within the film. It could’ve been a lot more ignoble. Mitch and Melanie dwell on it, try to give her mutilated corpse some dignity, and the trauma sticks with them for the remainder of the film. So yes, her death and its consequences are well-written, especially given the awesomeness of her character. Mainly, I’m pissed off that she dies in the first place. She’s the one spark of sarcastic charm in Bodega Bay, a place full of unironic fishermen, yokels, drunkards, busybodies, and repressed lawyers. Assuming that the birds eventually stop killing everyone and move on, how will Bodega Bay rebuild without Annie?

While glancing through the film’s script, I noticed a line which I don’t think made it into the final movie. It’s from Annie’s surprisingly intimate heart-to-heart with Melanie:

Here I have a life. I’ll go into that classroom on Monday morning, and I’ll look out at twenty-five upturned little faces, and each of them will be saying, ‘Yes, please give me what you have.’ (pause) And I’ll give them what I have. I haven’t got very much, but I’ll give them every ounce of it. To me, that’s very important. It makes me want to stay alive for a long long time.

If only she had. I would not want to be a kid growing up in Bodega Bay without Annie around. She’s the one I might have saved.

Ashley

As Andreas said, we are a little late to the game but who cares! This is such a fun interesting topic that we can’t let it pass up. So here’s a character that I would have saved, Bobbie Markowe from The Stepford Wives:

The Stepford Wives is such a biting, bleak expression of all the things women fear. It’s especially terrifying to a loud, opinionated feminist like myself; the idea that there is no room for substance or personality if you’re female as far as men are concerned. Just shut up, cook, clean and be available for sex at all times (and like that sex, dammit). In a historical context, this film was made during an intensely politically charged era during which second-wave feminism was at a head. It represents with such dark, dead-on accuracy what oppression feels like: the sense of no escape. Despite your hardest sleuthing and strongest determination to escape there will always be something else to hold you down, shut you up,  or completely invalidate you and your words.

Our protagonist Joanna Eberhart and her slovenly, braless, spirited friend Bobbie Markowe are the sole representations of female empowerment and feminist ideology in a disturbing town full of docile homemakers. I love Bobbie. I love her so much. Her quirky, cute disregard for homemaking are a beautiful representation of a woman who just naturally ain’t into that cooking and cleaning stuff. I love Bobbie because I relate to her deeply on a personal level and see myself in her and her fears.

Everything that Joanna and Bobbie stand for is presented in stark contrast to the Stepford Wives. Their comfortable, casual clothing vs. the starched and pressed dresses and blouses of the wives. Their social and political awareness and increasing concern and fear vs. the vapidity of the wives. And throughout the film, you feel a shaky yet comforting faith in their power as a team. Bobbie and Joanna will get through this together. They will escape Stepford and be free women. And then, out of NOWHERE Joanna comes to Bobbie’s house and what does she find:

It’s unexpected, frightening and a horrible blow to the viewer. Dear GOD, no, not Bobbie! Why!? Why, Bobbie! And then things get even more horrifying as Joanna gets closer and closer to the truth about the wives of Stepford. In one of the most terrifying scenes of the movie, Joanna confronts Bobbie proclaiming “I bleed! Do you bleed!” before stabbing her with a kitchen knife. It’s a moment of profound horror, and I may read just a bit too much into it in how I interpret her words and the area where she stabs (not quite her stomach but just below near a more…sensitive area). Instead of bleeding or showing any human reaction at all, Bobbie merely pulls the knife out. She doesn’t bleed. She is not a woman at all.

“Bobbie” then goes into a mechanical loop, monotonously repeating words and phrases, dropping cups and just tweaking the fuck out. Because she’s a goddamn robot. ROBOT. We don’t know what actually happened to Bobbie, we don’t know what horrible end she met and who or what offed her. All we know is that she disappeared and was replaced with this.

Bobbie Markowe is, for me and I’m sure for lots of other viewers and lovers of this film, such a significant loss. The entire film is so bleak. There is no escape. There is no way to get out from underneath the oppression we as women experience living in a patriarchal society. Bobbie and Joanna represent the fight against all of that, the constant angry cry against everything that holds us down. And it’s so upsetting that Bobbie-strong, willful, opinionated, quirky Bobbie-is dragged down and ripped apart by this over-exaggerated caricature of  male oppression. If I could have, I would have saved Bobbie Markowe.

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Filed under Cinema, Media, Sexuality

For only $19.95, you can get 20% more self-esteem!

So today, I got a friend request on Facebook. I wasn’t sure if I knew this person or not because I know a lot of people on the interwebz and I never know if someone might send me a friend request and I also have a bad memory sometimes. So I accepted it just to see and I immediately got this message about how she saw that I was active on the Happy Bodies blog and all this shit and was eager to ‘share something with me and my group’:

Hey Ashley,

The Body Magic is manufactured by a company called Ardyss International. It is medical grade body reshaper, designed by an orthopedic surgeon and medical engineer. The garment corrects the posture, supports the spine, lifts the breasts, cinches the waist, plumps the rump, and creates an instant hourglass figure – no dieting, no pills, no surgery. The garment even causes the internal organs to return to their proper places internally! (I have MRI images that proved this to me!)

As for me personally – I got married last November and some how, some way gained 25 pounds! (my husband is such a spoiler) While my husband loves me regardless, and so do I, I wasn’t really pleased with how I suddenly looked in my clothes. After putting on this garment however, INSTANTLY, my body was transformed and I had an amazing figure. I had an instant boost to my self esteem and confidence, not that I suffered from low self esteem and confidence before, because I’ve always love me!

I am absolutley [sic] excited about this product because of the difference it has made in my life, and wanted to share it with your group. It has truly made a difference in my life physically, mentally, and emotionally. I’ve included a few photos for your review. Please contact me if I can tell you more about this amazing garment and the nutritional products Ardyss International offers.

Most Sincerely and Feelin’ Like Ten Million,

Kimberly T. Hooker
http://www.tenmilliondollaryou.com
Independant [sic] Distributor for Arydss International
757 696 1448

Seriously? Seriously, dude? Other than that whole fucking message being the complete fucking opposite of what Happy Bodies is all about this kind of supposed all-encompassing representation of ‘how women feel about their bodies’ just makes me really angry. Let’s take it bit by bit, shall we?

The Body Magic is manufactured by a company called Ardyss International. It is medical grade body reshaper, designed by an orthopedic surgeon and medical engineer. The garment corrects the posture, supports the spine, lifts the breasts, cinches the waist, plumps the rump, and creates an instant hourglass figure – no dieting, no pills, no surgery. The garment even causes the internal organs to return to their proper places internally! (I have MRI images that proved this to me!)

Because that’s what women want! We don’t give a shit about health or exercise or anything like that! It’s all about that ‘instant hourglass figure’, that perfect fucking shape, with the perky tits and cinched waist and of course, the juicy, plump butt. And okay, the garment returns organs to their proper place….lady, organs are already in their proper place. I mean, that’s typically how the body works. It usually comes with the organs positioned correctly. What I read when I see that is a non-horrifying way of saying, “It moves your organs around!” Why am I strongly reminded of a constricting female undergarment of yesteryear that served this very purpose?

As for me personally – I got married last November and some how, some way gained 25 pounds! (my husband is such a spoiler) While my husband loves me regardless, and so do I, I wasn’t really pleased with how I suddenly looked in my clothes. After putting on this garment however, INSTANTLY, my body was transformed and I had an amazing figure. I had an instant boost to my self esteem and confidence, not that I suffered from low self esteem and confidence before, because I’ve always love me!

Where to fucking start with this? First of all, the little comment about how much the snooky-pie of a husband spoils her isn’t cute or charming or endearing; it’s gross. If this is true, take responsibility for your own damn body; it’s YOURS. And I feel like this is mildly contradictory: “It boosted my self-esteem, even though I don’t have low self-esteem and didn’t really need that boost, but WOW, what a difference it made!” What? But my main issue with this is something that I’ve complained about before. This is a perfect example of how it’s rarely about the health aspect of life and more about the ‘look perfect’ aspect. Our bodies are not okay the way they are; don’t forget that, women of the world, for society will remind you every chance it gets.

I am absolutley [sic] excited about this product because of the difference it has made in my life, and wanted to share it with your group. It has truly made a difference in my life physically, mentally, and emotionally. I’ve included a few photos for your review. Please contact me if I can tell you more about this amazing garment and the nutritional products Ardyss International offers.

It bothers me greatly that my involvement in something as great as Happy Bodies is used as the reason why this bullshit is being spewed at me. This is not what Happy Bodies is about. “It has truly made a difference in my life physically, mentally, and emotionally.” That just makes me sad. The fact that our bodies and the way society judges and deems them either acceptable or not has such immense power over so many of us emotionally and mentally; it’s got half the world in a fucking choke-hold. And this message just upsets me more. This person treats it like some miracle for women, because we can look better! You know what would be a fucking miracle for women? A cure for breast cancer. Available and affordable birth control and other pregnancy services. Reproductive rights. The right to choose what is and is not right for your own body. Not feeling trapped inside your body because you hate it so much. Not chasing some goddamn ghost of the ideal image.

This is the fucking body I live in.  If you don’t like it, kiss the fuck off.

Also: FUCK THESE AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED LINKS!

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Filed under Body, Health, Personal