Monday, April 25, 2011

I Would Like to Call it Beauty

This beautiful image was created by Alison Church at Alison Paige Photography:

Seeing this reminded me of a song I love by Corinne Bailey Rae (hence the title)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011 Video Player

Why small government Republicanism can be good for feminism: or, if Republicans would stand for what they're f***ing supposed to, women would have more freedoms without government interference: #maddow Video Player

Thanks to my friend Kate for this link.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Am I a Lipstick Feminist or a Female Chauvinist Pig?

I went to the Women's Studies Conference yesterday; I spent the whole day there and I am really glad I did because I got to see a pattern of thought within Lubbock feminism at least in regard to women in the media. To say that women are sexualized in the media is an obvious understatement. You can't really be a feminist, even if you're in the early stages, to realize that. But as Sara Peso White put it, there's really no escaping it, and sometimes we find ourselves consuming it and allowing it to influence our realities of gender roles and female sexuality. According to Ariel Levy, this is when we risk becoming "female chauvinist pigs."

Now, I have not read this book but I am familiar with Levy's work and her basic premises, so forgive me if I get her message wrong here. This book has been mentioned over and over in my classes and is a very influential work so it's probably about time I got around to reading it. In any case, I couldn't help thinking what Levy would think of me and the media that I consume while I was listening to these presentations at the conference.

This blog is meant to be a way for me to rip myself open in terms of my feminism, and it wouldn't be genuine if I didn't question my own motives or wasn't brutally honest about who I am. When the presenters were showing these sexualized pictures of women, I thought of the pictures I had saved on my own desktop of various actresses and artists I admire - and by admire, I also mean feel attracted to. And a lot of them are heavily sexualized images:

I grew up with these kinds of images like other girls, but unlike other girls who aspired to look like them and suffered over it, I just...wanted to get with them. I thought "Man, she's really beautiful" and appreciated what looked like her enjoying her own beauty, her own sexuality, her own confidence. That's what I wanted as a girl, even as I knew I would never look as "perfect" as they looked. Perhaps in a way, my sexual fluidity (I shy away from the term bisexuality as I don't think that label really applies to me well) provided a kind of resiliency against poor body image that many straight girls I knew experienced. This is only a theory, and would need to be tested out, but this was my own meaningful experience.

So, as I said in my blog post about Glee, these pictures are hot, they are arousing, and I like looking at them. Does this make me a female chauvinist pig? Am I looking at these women through the same lens as the chauvinist male gaze? I guess you could argue that. At the same time, I am mindful of the fact that everyday women don't look like this and it is not something to aspire to. And yes, maybe these women are exploiting themselves, but seriously, isn't feminism about making your own choices, not the right choices according to certain people, whether it's feminists or anti-feminists?

In conclusion, I guess I outed myself in this blog post in a couple of ways, both as a sexually fluid woman and possibly a lipstick feminist, which is apparently a bad thing according to Levy and other feminists like her. And as a side note, this does not mean I am just looking for surface beauty in either a man or a woman. I want brains and looks and sex appeal according to what attracts me; I want the whole package. And I'm sorry, but no one, feminists or anti-feminists alike, is going to make me feel bad for what gets me off.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Video - Sharron Angle’s ad - National TV |

Video - Sharron Angle’s ad - National TV |

I came across this reading an article on the View and how angry Joy Behar was about it. I just have one thing to say about it: if Elizabeth Hasselbeck thinks this video is racist, then we have a problem. This is seriously one of the most racist things I've seen in awhile. I am all for immigration reform: yes, gangs, drug cartels and human traffickers do come across the border and yes, this needs to be dealt with. But to classify all illegal immigrants as dangerous gang members out to get innocent white Americans? That's completely ludicrous and insulting. Too bad I don't vote in Nevada, wish I did just so I could vote against this woman. And it is sad to me that increasingly, the only women in politics that receive media attention are the idiots and anti-feminists. But I repeat myself.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sexual, or Sexualizing?

In light of the recent Glee GQ photoshoot scandal, I'd really like to share my thoughts on it as well as the queer issues that are being developed in Glee. I don't really need to provide links: just Google "Glee GQ" and you will be inundated with news and blogs about it, as well as the pictures themselves.

I am a Gleek through and through, and I have felt pressure from some of the feminist community to decry this photoshoot as hypersexualizing young girls in the media. Yes, the pictures are racy; yes, it is only the two women dressed scantily while Cory Monteith is fully clothed (although, think about it people, GQ is a men's magazine and must appeal to its target audience.) But I'm going to give my honest feelings and defend these two actresses that I admire so much. I say only the two actresses because interestingly enough I see certain feminists criticizing only Dianna Agron and Lea Michele while leaving Cory Monteith entirely out of the discussion, for whatever reason. I'll say this simply: those actresses are grown women and are entitled to do whatever they think is right for them. Now, that being said, it's clear to me from Dianna Agron's statement regarding the shoot that she had mixed feelings about it throughout. My feminist goal for all women is to feel informed enough to make their own choices regarding their bodies, and I can see her dilemma without judging it. Yes, they do portray high school students in Glee, but to echo Agron's question, why in the hell would any young girl be reading GQ in the first place? And honestly, they may not need to be watching Glee either. Glee never made itself out to be a purely innocent family show; it deals with mature subjects in a transparent manner. Therefore I deplore the PTC's extremely loose usage of the term "pedophilia," not only because the actors are all adults but because Glee is simply not a kids' show, and I am not criticizing the show for that; in fact, it's why I watch it.

Finally, I will confess something that we are all thinking but not admitting: I'd feel like a hypocrite saying anything bad about these pictures or the actresses in them because they are, quite frankly, HOT; if you deny being somewhat aroused by them, you're either lying or a gay man. Therefore to criticize them would be like a politician who makes a career out of busting prostitutes and yet enlists their services himself. And that's all I have to say about that.

I feel a little frustrated at this point because my original topic was about queer issues in the actual show, and I feel like I got distracted by this mess. I love Glee because it has brought many ADULT issues to the forefront in a mature and discursive manner, including queer themes and teen pregnancy and sexuality. I will further explore this when the madness has calmed down and we can turn our focus back to the show.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Camping: or...

JESUS it's freezing out here, why the hell am I not at home in bed? 


Hi all,

I just got back from a camping/yoga/back-middle-of-fucking-nowhere-woods hiking trip, and it really made me think about how my experiences generalize to my everyday life. This is not necessarily about feminism, but more of a journal that I decided to share with all of you.

It started out just fine, a little hiking and sightseeing. I got my shoes soaked walking through the water, but that's my own fault. (I had fun warming them on our portable stove later.) Yoga outdoors can be a whole new experience, especially by the water. But my leader decided to do a 6-mile hike to our next camping location, something she'd told us about in advance but the full extent of which I was not expecting. It was strenuous, too strenuous for someone like me who is not in the best shape and certainly not used to highly physical activities. I couldn't keep up, I slowed the whole group down the first day. The next day it was too much. My leader had to carry my pack for me and honestly I was crying from exhaustion and sheer embarrassment. Oh my god, I thought, I seriously cannot do this. I wanted to prove that I didn't have greater limitations than the others, that I could carry my own weight. And I failed. It was one of the worst feelings in the world. I kept flashing back to elementary/middle school and being picked last in P.E., or not being able to run the whole way and being the last one to finish every day.

I have not failed at anything in a long time. Maybe I was just trying to be someone I'm not. But this trip made me think a lot about my self-talk and how to handle the experience. "It's okay, you're just not cut out for it," others have said. And I would think, that's not okay. I want to be able to enjoy physical activities, god knows I need them. But maybe I could think of it more as, "I tried this; I failed, but at least I stepped out of my comfort zone when most people wouldn't have in this situation."

Activists I suspect are not used to failing either, but speaking personally I have seen my projects fall through, my ideas not realized, especially when I don't have the help or manpower to really make it what it needs to be. But as long as we try our damnedest to make it happen, it's okay, at least we are trying to do some good in our communities when most other people don't really care or have the time. Keep that in mind when your dreams don't turn out quite how you would like them to.