For those of you who don’t know, I’m a huge fan of Yahoo! journalism (fan being the keyword, despite my deliberately confusing use of italics). See, I’m not a fan in the traditional sense in that my feelings about Yahoo! Journalism are comparable to those I have for kitten road kill; it sickens me, but forces me to question my own humanity when I can’t take my eyes off of it. And while I’d rather obtain my global headlines from more legitimate sources like The New York Times or TMZ, when the only cost associated with reading Yahoo! is my brain’s slow but steady decay caused by constant exposure to Kim Kardashian cellulite pictures and headline videos of misbehaving cats, I feel it’s a pretty good trade off.
Today while at work wasting my potential as always, I decided to scour Yahoo! for contemporary pop culture references I could use to make myself seem wittier than I am, when I saw
an article titled ““Model Pose Sparks Outcry”.” Now for me, anything involving models is undeniably fascinating since they are sort of like an Earth bound alien species, with their over-sized heads and skeletal body types, so needless to say I couldn’t resist this scintillating (not really) headline.
But as with every Yahoo article that assumes illiteracy among the masses, after clicking a link to actually read it, I was automatically redirected to a ridiculous video involving worthless human beings talking with authority about topics on which they are not actual authorities, while trying to be funny and younger than they are. I can’t tolerate those sorts of things, even when I do them, so I am admittedly reacting solely to the text.
Basically Vogue published a sensual/sexual/does anyone know the difference between those words anymore (?) cover, featuring model Stephanie Seymour being “choked” by some irrelevant male model no one cares about. Apparently this caused “feminist outcry” by four not-valid-enough-to-name women’s advocacy organizations who are claiming the cover promotes domestic violence. They are now pushing Vogue to pull the magazine.
So, I have considered myself a feminist since I was six years old and first declared to my mother that “I don’t need a man” and will never marry because it was stupid. Though I’m sure she took it more as an early sign of lesbianism than political advocacy, I can assure you that it was probably meant as the latter. But throughout my entire life I have had to defend that label (feminist, not lesbian) to men and women who called feminists crazy, man-hating boner-shrinkers. I don’t like it, but it comes with the territory.
However, I have to admit it gets increasingly difficult to defend feminists when they continue to pull legitimacy from the actual problems women face in the world, by making headlines over utter silliness. I can see being upset if the cover looked like this:
But it doesnt. This is a ridiculous thing to be upset about. The actual cover is hardly promoting violence, what with the vacant sex faces and sup-par grope fest. And honestly, who cares about the self-proclaimed edginess Vogue attempts to exude? The female demographic Vogue largely caters to is assustomed to having their self esteem beaten down month after month; this may be an emotional relief. But mostly, I can’t handle the fact that something as inconsequential as this can garner more attention than many of the legitimate problems women face in the world. Therefore I give you the following list:
Things More Offensive to Women Than This Ad
1. The lack of maternity leave in the United states.
2. The fact that women’s reproductive rights are still used as a wedge issues in politics.
3. The fact that there are still countries around the world that allow child brides, public stoning, and female circumcision.
4. The fact that according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, around the world 1 in 3 women have been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused.
5. The report by the Journal of American Medical Association saying 1 out of 5 high school girls is in a physically or sexually abusive relationship.
These are just some of the many issues that men and women should be concerned about, as well as countless others involving other demographics. Why advocacy organizations continue to waste their energy on petty campaigns that diminsh their reputation and the reputation of all feminists is beyond me.
Perhaps it’s a Romney/Ryan conspiracy. What do you think?
The girl who can’t just ask people why they are white
It’s no secret that I’m an overweight, pale, blonde girl. I wear double digit clothing sizes, makeup that is literally labeled “translucent” and have hair so light I would appear to have lesser eyebrows than Whoopi Goldberg. In other words I could moonlight as a beer wench at Oktoberfest any day of the week.
Yet my entire life people have treated me as if I were somehow unaware of my appearance. Phrases like “the South Beach Diet would work perfect for you!” and “OMG, like, what’s with your skin?” have been thrown at me since I was five and a girl on the playground told me I looked like an apple, a body type label that has stuck with me throughout adulthood.
In high school I spent many nights lying awake in my bed thinking about every part of my body that was flawed. My hair was too thick, my brow bone too strong, cheeks too chubby, arms too flabby, boobs too big, boobs too small, skin too broken out, stomach too big, thighs too thick, legs too short, skin too pale, hips too wide, butt too small, feet too arched, etc. Every part of my appearance was a disappointment to me and the constant reminder via CW dramas, flawless high school peers, and thoughtless family members and strangers, that there was a better alternative to me and all of my imperfections, that I could never and would never physically attain, made me ache inside to see a reflection that was no reflection of me. It was this kind of mindset which made me value being told I was “pretty” as a greater compliment than being told I was “smart, funny, kind, talented, creative,” etc.
It has been six years since high school graduation but I have only in the last two started to feel like I am not some kind of mangled rawhide, covered in slobber and dog hair, lying on the floor of an illegal puppy mill in Idaho. Vivid, I know. But perception evolves with the passage of time and what I couldn’t see when I was in high school is that I am actually pretty. Not to everyone of course, but to myself.
But my reason for writing this has nothing to do with how gorgeous I think my hair is now or how classy I think my pale skin is, and how even though I need to lose some weight for health purposes, I no longer want to be thin. I’m writing this because I think the biggest problem with the issue of beauty is that beauty doesn’t actually exist. Beauty is an intangible perception of something else that cannot be proven, but merely argued. Which leads me to my next point: the sickness of comparative beauty.
There’s a strange movement right now in our culture. On one hand, models look more emaciated than ever, and on the other women like Christina Hendricks are garnering mad attention for their naturally curvy bodies. Pictures like this are being passed around the internet:
While I can grasp that this is trying to send a positive message that thicker girls are just as sexy, if not sexier to some than skinny girls, I hate the fact that we need to tear one group down to lift up another. I also hate that the definition of female beauty is being dictated by the men who date them, designers who dress them, and people like Perez Hilton. I also hate that instead of rebelling against this system, we women allow it and promote it by being competitive with other women, diminishing each other for our differences. And lastly I hate that in a world of increased eating disorders, skin cancer rates, and deaths related to cosmetic surgery, we live in a culture that still promotes the constant alteration of our bodies. Viewing our faces and our bodies as blank slates for culture to imprint all over is a recipe for self-destruction.
Forget the fact that a few centuries ago artists would have had a throw down over who gets to paint me naked, in today’s society, I and so many other girls are not considered the “ideal” for one reason or another. But the fact is, that even despite the after-school special undertones of what I’m about to say, everyone is beautiful to someone, in their own way. Blonde or brunette, curvy or thin, fair, or tan or black, or whatever other generalized term we can create to label ourselves, everyone is beautiful because they are different. Because there are no two people EXACTLY alike. Because no person will ever be duplicated. Everyone is the master copy of themselves, which makes us each pretty undeniably special. And sometimes being special is actually better than being just like everything else.
So before you tan your skin to make it look more like someone else’s, or dye your hair to fit in with the trends, just think about the fact that you are the only person in the world with that skin color and that hair, and by choosing to make it some other color, you are choosing to say goodbye to one of the things that makes you unique. Let’s all learn to accept each other and ourselves for who we are so we can all live together in fat, skinny, ugly, pretty, peace.
And remember, real women have confidence, and sometimes that’s all we needs.
The girl still working on the confidence thing