Anyway, it's a good, quick read. And it says a lot.
Monday, December 31, 2007
Anyway, it's a good, quick read. And it says a lot.
Chicago Sun-Times for jumping into the traditional year-end wrap-up. And I'm all for a list of "The ten women who inspired us in 2007," but just like my last top ten link, this one is really depressing.
While there are some great picks:
- Diablo Cody, feminist stripper-turned-screenwriter
- Hillary Clinton
- Jenny McCarthy, who came out about her son's autism
- Danica McKellar, author of the best-seller math book for girls Math Doesn't Suck. While the title (haven't read the book) is a little quick to assume girls don't like/aren't good at math, the book encourages girls to do something they aren't normally encouraged to do.
- Jennifer Love Hewitt is inspiring because she responded to attacks about her body with,"A Size 2 is not fat"? Sure, she talked a little about girls struggling with body image, but her mention of her specific size seems to negate the good stuff she says.
- Caitlin Upton? The famously ignorant/dumb Miss South Carolina Teen USA? What the fuck?
- Jennifer Hudson, because she won an Oscar despite her painful loss on American Idol.
Link and picture via Pandagon:
This MSN article couldn't get more offensive. Without the details, here are the "5 Doable Resolutions" (natch) from MSN:
1. Cook more often
2. Revamp your wardrobes
3. Book a do-nothing vacation ("Go ahead and ignore the little voice that says you should travel to culturally rich foreign capitals.")
4. Stop having sex in your bed ("and start doing it in every other corner of your house.")
5. Support his guys' night out (I can't resist a full quote on this one):
Sure, it's hard not to resent the hours he spends away from you playing fantasy baseball or listening to Grateful Dead bootlegs with his buddies, not to mention the way he stumbles into bed afterward reeking. But if you consider that letting him have a guys' night without grief may be the single biggest thing you can do to win "coolest wife on the planet" credentials, it's really not such a big price to pay, is it? Tell him he should spend even more time having fun with his friends because he works so hard and it's so important for him to unwind. You're showing him that you truly care about his happiness (and accept that browsing the drawer pulls aisle at The Home Depot doesn't cut it). That's the sort of sentiment that will make your marriage stronger and make him eager to end those guys' nights at a sane hour to race home to your side.So for New Year's, ladies, remember, it's up to you to make your husband as happy as possible. Don't worry about yourself, unless it's to take a vacation with your husband. Fuck him, worship him, and lie to him.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
India is busting out all over.
When I heard a report on surrogate mothers in India on Marketplace, I didn't think it was that big a deal. But I guess I was wrong.
There are, apparently, over 50 pregnant women in Anand, and 40 babies have been delivered since Dr. Nanya Patel started the program connecting women to infertile couples.
As much as I feel the world is overpopulated, and as much as I would encourage adoption, some people just want a product of their own loins. If they can't get that, surrogacy is the next best thing (the surrogate is impregnated via in vitro fertilization using the egg and sperm of the infertile couple).The Indian women get more money than they could ever have imagined, the couple gets a baby. Couples in the US, Britain, Taiwan, etc. are jumping on this baby bandwagon.
Yes, the bioethical issues of surrogacy are intriguing, but I think this is a good thing. It seems like the Indian women are happy, and that they know what they're getting into. Dr. Patel's facility takes care of them while they're pregnant, and it has been a very successful enterprise so far.
That's the issue. "Enterprise." It's hard for us to accept the fact that people can buy babies. That women can choose to use their wombs as money-making machines.
Get over it! Babies cost money any way you slice it, whether it's a simple, normal pregnancy, adoption, surrogacy, or some combination of those. At least this way, the money is going to families in need.
I find this article about the top ten stories of 2007 extremely depressing.
8 out of 10 are about famous girls gone wild.
Granted, this is from a silly gossip rag, but they're not entirely wrong. Why are we so fucking obsessed with shaved heads and rehab? What is wrong with us???
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Okay, this one could get sticky.
When Katherine Heigl called Knocked Up "a little sexist, I kept quiet. I also felt a little weird about the movie. I admit, I enjoyed it. But afterward I questioned how annoying the female characters were. Then, I realized the men were pretty damn annoying. So why did I like the movie? Eh, who cares, I like Judd Apatow.
But now, I need to call the lady out. Her new movie is called 27 Dresses. These dresses all happen to be bridesmaid dresses. Poor Jane is (how original) always a bridesmaid, never a bride. She never says no to anyone. She is, according to the synopsis, idealistic, romantic, and completely selfless.
Wait a minute...a woman wants to get married? A woman has trouble saying no to people? Too weak to NOT put her life on hold for other people? Afraid to stand up for herself? A little sexist, indeed. Maybe you should take a look at your career (My Father the Hero, 100 Girls, Romy and Michele: In the Beginning, not to mention her whiny, annoying, one-dimensional turn on Grey's Anatomy.
Sure, this doesn't mean she can't think stuff is sexist, but after looking at this list, I almost think Knocked Up is the least sexist thing she's done. DEFINITELY the best thing she's ever done.
Benazir Bhutto, Pakistani opposition leader and former Prime Minister, was shot when she appeared at a political campaign rally (I don't know that the shot has been verified). She was then hit by shrapnel when a bomb went off. At least 22 others were killed in the attack.
Bhutto was a strong opposing voice in Pakistan(the first woman to be elected in a Muslim state), and this will likely affect the upcoming elections and the mounting tension within Pakistan. And what will Bush do? The candidates?
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Let's make-believe we're in debt!
Okay, I admit. I probably would have liked this as a girl. I loved playing library or grocery store, where we could pretend there was a check out counter. But we always wanted to be the person working, the person checking people out. We never thought about the "fascinating" world of shopping.
My main problem here is the unrealistic never-ending stream of money. I do wish manufacturers would make this kind of thing unisex, and avoid stereotyping, but we'll save that for another post.
Thanks to Feministing for the link.
Monday, December 24, 2007
This is an interesting article from Our Bodies Our Blog about two recent studies.
Here are some highlights.
Published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the authors report that the prevalence of low birth weight, term low birth weight, and premature birth was higher in black women, those under 20 or over 40 years of age, less educated, and unmarried, women, among other things. They also reported that the prevalence of all of these things increased with an increasing number of previous abortions. Predictably, some anti-choice outlets jumped on this news.
The problem? The study did not distinguish between spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) and induced abortion. It was also conducted via a survey of women between 1959 and 1966, when abortion was still illegal in America, making it difficult both to assess the possible health effects of the black market procedures and to understand the level to which women were honest about what was then a criminal act.
It also ignores how women's health status and access to healthcare may be different in the study population than in today's women. In fact, anyone reading the full text of the article would find these limitations quite clearly spelled out in the Discussion portion. Ultimately, then, this single study cannot serve as a definitive statement on today's risks of induced abortion.
And more people without all the facts:
Following a study published in the Journal of Adolescent health concluding that formal sex education delays teen initiation of sex, there was no shortage of commentary suggesting that this proves the failure of abstinence-only sex ed. Regardless of the other evidence on comprehensive vs. abstinence-only sex education, this study does not make a conclusion on the issue, because it simply can't.
The researchers looked at any formal sex education conducted by a school, church, or community organization, but did not separate the programs by the type of content delivered. As in the earlier study, the authors make this quite clear in their Discussion section, stating, "No conclusions about type of sex education (i.e., comprehensive sex education vs. focus on abstinence-only) can be drawn from this analysis."
Just want to help get the facts straight.
Well, at least it sounds good. Smallville's Allison Mack and Kristen Kreuk, and Battlestar Galactica's Nicki Klein and Sarah Edmundson have teamed up to form a website for college girls.
The ladies have started a survey website to see what girls this age are thinking. Here's a sample from TV Squad article.
* You're finished classes for the day and as you're walking home, you hear the resonant sounds of a bumpin' party. How much would you cough up to see what all the fuss was about?
* How invested are you (emotionally, financially, academically) in the following issues: global warming, abortion rights, etc.?
* You're in a mad rush waiting for your coffee. You finally grab your order and take a sip. D'oh! It's not yours, it's someone else's and... wait a minute... it's amazing! Far tastier, richer, smoother, more expensive than your boring old latte. No one's looking, what do you do?
* What do you hope to get out of college? (One of the answers you can select is "My parents' approval, maybe finally I'll be good enough!")
* Would you swallow a glass of your own vomit for $100?... Now be honest... What about one million dollars?
And just like that, the website is ruined by a bunch of stupid, annoying, presumptuous questions. What the hell is going to be on the site? I don't have to wait for the launch. 50% gossip, 30% my life sucks (aka ask Allison), 20% guys suck. I hope I'm wrong.
You've probably all heard about this creative Digg song.
Love when ladies succeed in getting their shit out there.
Kina Grannis (the guitarist, lead vocals, and songwriter) is one of the top ten finalists in a Doritos competition. If she wins, her music video will be played during the Super Bowl. Plus, she'll be signed by Interscope Records. Vote for her here. Normally, I wouldn't care about this, but she's the only one representing the ladies, and I think she's pretty good.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
It's only been (almost) three years since YouTube launched it's site, so it's about time the Queen of England had her say. It is, after all, all about YOU and YOU can now watch more of the family everyone loves to kinda hate.
"The queen always keeps abreast with new ways of communicating with people," Buckingham Palace said in a statement. "She has always been aware of reaching more people and adapting the communication to suit. This will make the Christmas message more accessible to younger people and those in other countries." (via the AP)
Live vicariously through the garden parties and state banquets. Laugh and cry over The Queen Mother's wedding in 1923.
Embedding of the videos has been disabled, but I managed it. What the fuck is that, huh? Why not let people share the endless, boring lives of rich royalty? Give us our freedom, dammit.
Anyway, thought it was interesting and funny. The videos are really boring, though. I've never understood the fascination or the existence with/of the royal family. It all seems so old-fashioned and the Royal Channel on YouTube just proves that even more for me.
Friday, December 21, 2007
...Then one day, as we stood in line for a movie at the mall, Simone Shaw, junior high prom queen, sauntered by. Suddenly Amy turned to me. "Were you looking at her?" she asked. "Do you think she's pretty?"
My mind reeled. Of course I was looking at her! Of course she was pretty! My God, she was Simone Shaw! I paused for a second, then decided to play it straight.
"Well, yeah," I chortled.
Five days later our breakup hit the tabloids (a.k.a. the lunchroom).
There comes a time in every man's life when he discovers the value of hiding the grosser parts of his nature. He starts reciting the sweet nothings you long to hear: "No, honey, I play golf for the exercise." "No, honey, I think you're a great driver." "No, honey, I wasn't looking at that coed washing the car in the rain."
Some of the "Secrets" are:
Secret #1: Yes, we fall in lust 10 times a day -- but it doesn't mean we want to leave you.
Secret #2: We actually do play golf to get away from you
Secret #3: We're unnerved by the notion of commitment, even after we've made one to you
Secret #4: Earning money makes us feel important
The article itself is bad enough, but the fact that people actually put it up on Digg and 424 people actually took the time to "digg" it. The beginning of the article especially is barf-worthy.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
If we're ever going to get anywhere in the fight against global warming (it's always a fight against something, isn't it?), women need to get their acts together.
According to The Telegraph, UK government chief scientist David King says that women need to fight the urge to love only men who drive sports cars.
Yep. We're responsible. Men only buy sports cars to impress women and women are only impressed by sports cars. In order to fight global warming, hybrids need to become sexy.
Wait, since when were cars actually sexy? Isn't that just a myth that men created so they could buy what they consider "cool" cars? Sure, maybe there are some that like cars. But it's not a dealbreaker, I'm sure. And if it is, why would anyone want to be with someone like that anyway?
Just one woman's humble opinion. But I feel like this is some major digging here. Maybe the problem is more that people make these cars in the first place? Or that no one wants to give up their creature comforts to save the world?
The good/bad news is that we're not alone. Every government has at least one jackass.
If every woman who was a victim of sexual assault got this attention, we'd never hear any other news.
In Danbury, Connecticut, a woman on crutches was arrested for groping santa.
The 65 year old santa was embarrassed. The woman denies any unwelcome or unwanted (to borrow corporate sexual harassment slang) touch.
She was arrested for 4th-degree sexual assault and breach of peace. How, exactly, did she breach peace? Hmmm...
I don't think women should get any different treatment than men for this kind of stuff, but this seems unequal to me. Just check out Hollaback NYC for all the groping that's going on out there.
Is this woman being treated differently because she's a woman? Because he's 65? Because he's santa? I'd say all of the above.
On his radio show yesterday, Rush Limbaugh talked about a picture of Hillary Clinton featured on The Drudge Report.
Here's Drudge's picture:No story accompanied the picture, just the headline,"The Toll of a Campaign."
Eek! A woman with wrinkles!
Rush's comments, courtesy of The Huffington Post:
There is this thing in this country that, as you age -- and this is particularly, you know, women are hardest hit on this, and particularly in Hollywood -- America loses interest in you, and we know this is true because we constantly hear from aging actresses, who lament that they can't get decent roles anymore, other than in supporting roles that will not lead to any direct impact, yay or nay, in the box office. While Hollywood box-office receipts may be stagnant, none of that changes the fact that this is a country obsessed with appearance. It's a country obsessed with looks. The number of people in public life who appear on television or on the big screen, who are content to be who they are, you can probably count on one hand. Everybody's trying to make themselves look different -- and in that situation, in that case, they think they're making themselves look better. It's just the way our culture has evolved. It's the way the country is. It's like almost an addiction that some people have to what I call the perfection that Hollywood presents of successful, beautiful, fun-loving people. So the question is this: Will this country want to actually watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis?
He's completely right. This country is ageist and sexist, which spells FUCKED for an older woman in Hollywood.
But in politics? Is Dubya winning any prizes in the looks department? No. The question shouldn't be will we elect an older woman (60 isn't that old, by the way), but what the fuck is wrong with us if we choose a president by the way he/she looks?
Yes, I think it would be hard for Americans to elect someone with a harelip or no nose (which is also sad), but a woman with wrinkles? That's inexcusable.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Who wouldn't want a candidate who values his wife, right?
Or not. The AP, in all it's wisdom, asked the candidates what their most prized possession was. Fred Thompson's answer? His "trophy wife."
But don't worry, it was all tongue in cheek.
Thanks to my awesome brother for the link.
Friday, December 14, 2007
First, let me say: what a fucking asshole. Sure, I think Rosie O'Donnell is a little annoying, but jesus christ. You could've just chosen not to answer the question.
Second, this was O'Donnell's response, which she posted on her blog:
(Rosie: you're not helping. I'm glad you feel you can speak your mind, as a proud, chunky, lesbian. Honestly. But dear god, stop writing poems. PLEASE!!!!)
Dead in Iraq
by Rosie O'Donnell
the wrestler guy
wants to pummel me
isnt that sweet
and wildly odd
its like a gang of gross guys
a club almost
old dumb white and on tv
nearly 4000 dead in iraq
we r in atlanta
for jane fondas b day
70 and stunning
she - i adore
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I saw this on Feministing today.
An actual headline from the actual New York Post about the death of notorious abuser Ike Turner. While at first, to some, this might seem clever and maybe funny, further thought reveals how offensive and distasteful it is.
Sorry, maybe feminists don't have a sense of humor. But to me, this is horrible.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
When I saw this article on Feministing, I thought it was gross, sure. But what do we expect from Wal Mart? Plus, there's a ton of ridiculously inappropriate clothes out there for girls. On the back, it apparently says "when you have Santa" so it's not exactly as disgusting as it seems. But the innuendo is there, no doubt about it.Well, I was wrong. Claiming "parents" had complained, FoxNews broke the story. Wal Mart pulled the underwear. Feministing has officially changed the shopping experiences of Juniors everywhere. And they called out the hypocrite that is Wal Mart.
Three cheers for online activism! You can read Feministing's victory cheer here.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
For the kid who has everything, meet The Hillary Nutcracker. A bestseller on stupid.com, this little nugget features stainless steel thighs. Sadly, the website tells us: "Like Hillary herself, nuts are not included."
Of course, the website is full of stupid shit, but this is a little offensive. Here's some of the copy:
Look at her! Standing with arms akimbo, legs confidently spread, ready to crack some nuts with her stainless steel thighs. We're not certain if this is an Anti-Hillary item or a Pro-Hillary Item. But either way we think it is really weird and funny.
Alright! So when do we get the cunt-punching Mitt Romney? Or the ass-licking Bush?
I don't know much about Australian history, except that it was the country where convicts were sent. Thanks to this Broadsheet article, I came across this poor girl's story.
Turns out Americans aren't the only ones who have problems with rape allegations. A ten-year old girl, in foster care forever and diagnosed as "mildly intellectually impaired" and a victim of fetal alcohol syndrome, must have agreed to have sex to the 9 boys who gang raped her. According to the judge: "I accept that the girl involved, with respect to all of these matters, was not forced, and that she probably agreed to have sex with all of you."
To be fair, Australians are already calling for Judge Bradley to step aside.
Uh...YEAH! To make matters worse, this is Judge Bradley:
Thanks, Feministing, for finding this ridiculously misogynistic "funny" e-card.
If only I could meet the man who wants a remote to shut up his stupid, feminist wife. I would ... no, words will only diminish my hatred. Let's just say rope and tape would be involved. And NOT in a good way.
Wait...wait. Where's my sense of humor? Who wouldn't want someone to do everything they wanted, have sex whenever they wanted, stop PMSing whenever they wanted. Doesn't really matter that it's enslavement, rape, and oppression. Oh yeah, that's really funny.
Okay, so Huckabee is rocking the polls. Doesn't change the fact that he's a religious Republican who, according to Newsweek, has an explosive temper.
Who knows why he signed the evangelical ad in USA Today confirming his belief in the '98 Southern Baptist Convention's statement on family. ("A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church ... A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ."..."You are right because you called husbands to sacrificially love and lead their wives. You are right because you called wives to graciously submit to their husband's sacrificial leadership.")Aside from completely confirming that I don't like Huckabee, this quote means a little more to yours truly. I've actually been to a wedding...where the minister...wait for it...quoted this affirmation.
As you can imagine, I was speechless and aching to scream at the same time. I'm good friends with the guy who was getting married and, yes, he's an evangelical, but I didn't expect this. I don't know why. I couldn't believe any woman would agree to this. Servant leadership? Submit? How can you say "I do" to something like that?
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Gross. This article from Our Bodies Our Blog makes me want to throw up. Sorry...give me a minute.
Okay, I'm back.
The article covers a Chicago Tribune article about so-called purity balls. The link will take you to a better video than this one:
Nothing like giving up your body and choice to a male power. A sign of things to come?
Oh Wall Street Journal, alpha females?
Apparently, businesswomen aren't sold on Hillary Clinton. And according to the WSJ, it's because they're either Republicans, afraid to speak their minds (natch), or (gasp) they're actually looking at the issues.
In last week's On the Media(great podcast - check it out), there was a piece about the fact that we all call Hillary Clinton by her first name. Co-host Bob Garfield wondered if it made him a bad feminist, or if it just made him a bad reporter (Clinton is branding herself as "Hillary!"). I don't know, but I'm going to stop using the familiar when describing someone I don't know personally. I hate when people do it with celebrities, so why should I do it with a presidential candidate?
In other news: I love Nellie McKay. There isn't a good video of her song Mother of Pearl, but definitely check it out. Here's her only (I think) music video:
She performed both of these when I saw her in Brooklyn. Go: love her as I love her.
Friday, December 07, 2007
As a participant in Web Part Deux (web 2.0, for all you nerds out there, web with interaction, individualization, interconnectedness, and indifferentiation for those who don't know the lingo[I hate parentheses inside parentheses, but I had to note that one of my "in"s is completely made up])...
Okay, those parentheses were too long. Now you've forgotten what I said in the beginning.
Since my brother dragged me into the world of web dos (the Spanish way of saying it), I decided I should pull some of that into my blog.
Nope, I'm not cool enough to delve into anything more interactive than the little comment section below. But I HAVE been doing some surfing.
Is it still called surfing? I feel like there should be a more web the second way of saying it. Plugging? Hitting? Sticking? Clicking? Spotting?
Oh wait. That last one's already something. Interestingly enough, spotting is both a sign of hope and a sign of despair. Hmmmm...maybe that's just right.
Sorry, back from my tangent.
Anyway, I decided to explore the world of feminist blogs. I use Netvibes
as my RSS reader (how web: the next generation am I?), and I need a "women" tab.
No, I won't be getting laid there, or looking at porn, I'll be reading about women (health, news, language, society, you know). And I'm going to add the links to the left over there. If I stop reading one, I'll quietly take them off.
I'm sure these links will show up in my posts from now on. And ladies, if you're reading, feel free to put The Peeled Apple on your blogroll.
Finally, my background music for my search has been this excellent new-to-me band: Straylight Run. I'm listening to they're latest CD, The Needles The Space
Monday, December 03, 2007
Okay, first the toasted-sub chain aired a euphemism-heavy commercial, which seemed completely normal until a woman at the end said her sub wasn't "lacking any meat. And that's what women like." Cue the controversy. I didn't have a problem with that one.
The new commercial is a different story. I could hardly believe what I'd seen.
Okay, tongue in cheek, maybe. Still, the underlying theory is that women are unhappy. If you're beautiful, you constantly want to eat. If you're normal-looking, you're so down on yourself that you're actually PLEASED when a beautiful woman says that she hates you. If your willpower isn't overwhelmed by food, your mind is. While it may be true for me, it's not true for everyone, and it's offensive regardless.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
A new study shows that curvy women might be smarter and have more intelligent kids. You can read more about it EVERYWHERE (note: link is not to everywhere, just to one example).
Is this news? Sure, it's cool. I struggle with weight just like everyone else in the world, so yeah, it's nice to know there's something good about curves. "Curvy women" for this study meant women who's waist was smaller than their hips. The omega-3 fatty acids make us all brilliant.
The media has taken the opportunity to evaluate which celebrities are "curvier" and therefore smarter. Am I surprised? Guess not. But it's offensive and ridiculous. The New York Post has a whole photo essay detailing who's smart and who's not with ACTUAL hip to waist measurements. Who the hell cares?!? People are starving and dying. Why is this front page news?
"Jennifer Lopez's waist-to-hip ratio suggests she's got all that and is smart, too! (AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams)"
Sunday, November 11, 2007
We've all heard by now that Linda Stein's PA, Natavia Lowery, has been arrested for Stein's murder. Lowery confessed to beating Stein with her own four-pound exercise stick six or seven times. Case closed, murder solved.
This is a bizarro case in which no party comes out smelling rosy. Linda Stein apparently verbally abused Lowery. She waved the stick at her and blew pot in Lowery's face.
Lowery has been accused of identity theft and was in charge of things like social security numbers and bank accounts belonging to really rich people.
Anyone who's been a PA knows that it's thankless, tiring work. I've never wanted to kill a boss, but then I've never actually been a PA. If you aren't treated like a human being, you're not going to behave like one. For some, it takes longer than others. For Lowery, it only took four months. Why didn't she just quit?
Regardless, this is an issue of humans treating other humans like garbage. It happens every day and sometimes there are consequences.I'm not in any way condoning what Lowery did. She was stupid for not quitting a job that made her feel the way she did. But maybe this is the pound on the head people need to start treating each other better.
Just saying for the record: I love my bosses. They treat everyone equally and never condescend. Actually, I've been lucky most of my life to have good people telling me what to do. But I can only imagine what it must've been like for Lowery.
Aside from all the general human being stuff, what does this mean for women?
Linda Stein was a powerful woman. She managed The Ramones and went to Studio 54. She was a breast cancer survivor. She was a loud New Yorker. And Elton John is writing a song in memory of her. Lowery...all we know is she has this identity theft thing in her past and she murdered Stein.
The crime, the people involved, it all adds up to "those crazy women doing crazy things." All the papers are ringing with it. They love a good "catfight." I hate it. Sure, she was sort of famous. But would her murder be getting as much publicity if it weren't so...juicy?
And this yoga stick thing makes us all look bad. It's like a D-movie, where women pull hair and wear short skirts. It's like Chuck (seriously, cat fights factor in way too often in that show). I know neither party was thinking about the implications for women, nor should they have. But I, for one, can only hang my head and say: we're not all like that. I don't even USE a yoga stick.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Just finished another Chuck Palahniuk novel (Invisible Monsters) featuring crazy people doing crazy things. I've only read three Palahniuk novels, but in the last two, women were the protagonists. Well, as much as there is a protagonist in any of Palahniuk's novels.
Though Diary is written in the voice of a woman, it was really Invisible Monsters that got me thinking about the way Palahniuk treats women in his novels. Palahniuk's worlds are magical in a grotesque kind of way, but his characters always have one foot in reality. Even if it's an unsteady foot.
Diary is the diary of a woman trapped in a city that happens to be sucking the life out of her for the sake of tourism dollars. Misty Marie Wilmot keeps a "coma diary," keeping track of her husband's attempted suicide coma. Misty is unwittingly at the mercy of the town, but she's a strong, sensible woman (again, to the degree that anyone's sensible in a Palahniuk novel). I think he did a good job here.
But Invisible Monsters was more my speed. The book takes place in a supermodel, Hollywood, sex-change fantasy. The main character is a model. When we meet her, her jaw has just been shot off. She can't speak, has to write everything down. She's hideous. She meets a man who's going through a sex change op. Brandy Alexander takes the main character on a wild ride where the main goal is to score pills from old ladies as they pretend to look at said old ladies' houses. A man joins them, but the main character, who goes by many different names, starts feeding him female hormones to make him un-lovable.
The plot has a lot of twists, some more predictable and believable than others, but the woman in this novel...her goal is to be ugly. Her goal is to leave a life where everyone is telling you how to breathe, how to look, where to sit. Her life has been a lie.
When looking at Palahniuk's women, (in the two I've read with women for main characters) you have to remember that his worlds are fantastical. Okay, normally I wouldn't buy that a woman shot her own face off because it was the only thing she could think of to make her less beautiful. And Misty has a very real relationship with her daughter...until she believes that her daughter's dead based on loose evidence. But within the walls of these worlds, Palahniuk writes very honestly. His women have a true voice. And it's one of the main reasons I like his work so much.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
The Washington Post came out with this shocker yesterday. Gasp! Some feminists don't like Hillary Clinton! But she's a woman. We have to be behind that, right?
Not exactly. A FEMINIST in the white house is the goal. So is Clinton a feminist? NOW thinks so. She is the first first lady to have a postgraduate degree, and the first to maintain a full-time career outside of her husband's, according to Salon. And she kept her maiden name until it supposedly cost Bill Clinton his second term as governor of Arkansas.
I think the real question is: can a feminist stay true to his or her beliefs and get ahead in politics? Hillary is a good politician. But is she still the woman who equated marriage to slavery (it's historically accurate)? Did she "stand by her man" because she wanted to? Or because she wanted to maintain her career? (I have to call out those feminists who baldly accuse her of this, though. She's allowed to make a personal choice even if it doesn't fit in the feminist paradigm. Because that's what it is - a PERSONAL decision. That whole situation was ridiculously public for a private affair.)
Another interesting quote from the Washington Post article: "Women who do nothing to enact feminist policies will be elected and backlash will flourish. I can hear the refrain now: 'They've finally gotten a woman in the White House, so why are feminists still whining about equal pay?"
This is from an article written by Lisa Jervis, co-founder of Bitch Magazine. She's responding to this assumption that a woman president will get support from feminists. She's right, but I don't know if it would be a problem with Hillary. That's what we need to find out.
I didn't answer any questions here, but I'll end with this: if we vote for Clinton because she's a woman, we're no better than those who vote only for white men. I think Clinton's female attributes are part of her personality, and yes, that goes into our decision about who our next president is. But electing someone just because of their sex or race is ridiculous. If Hillary stands strong on issues she clearly believes in - choice, equal pay, etc - I'll vote for her. If she continues to make decisions like her vote on the Iraq War, I won't. Seems simple.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Well, this cheered me up a little after my Halloween tirade.
Who's number one on Pajiba's list of Ass-Kicking Heroines? That's right, my girl Buffy. Anyone who hasn't seen the show is probably laughing right now. But seriously, it's a wonderful show. Feminists, fan-boys, action-adventure lovers, and sci-fi geeks. The show is like food for them. And I didn't even mention the fact that it's incredibly well-written.
But this isn't just a gush-post. What really made me smile was the introduction to the list:
"This was supposed to be a Halloween Horror Heroine guide, but it’s been crafted into a fusion that includes kick-ass chicks of the sci-fi and comic genres for a few reasons: 1) These genres are incestuous; many films, like Terminator (a film that actually scared the metallic liquid out of me upon its first viewing), are hybrids of horror, action, and sci-fi genres and sub-genres; 2) chicks in horror movies are generally portrayed as weak-willed, simpering damsels who can’t do much but unwittingly impale themselves; and 3) in rare cases where females are allowed to kick some horror keister, their characters are largely one-dimensional Tn’A jigglers. Consequently, most lead female characters in horror flicks don’t qualify for the “Ass-Kicking” heroine title, so heroines have been borrowed from the action/sci-fi realm."
So if women are helpless and sexy in horror movies, maybe it makes sense that on Halloween, the night when the world is horror, women go for sex. Maybe we're all just playing a role. In which case, I stand by my tirade below.
I've never understood it. People get dressed up, get free candy. Other people drive around and smash mailboxes. Others throw eggs at houses (for no clear reason that I can see). And women compete to find the sexiest costume they can think of.
First: Halloween. Don't understand the draw. Sure, it's exciting to scare yourself. It's an excuse to party, get drunk on weird orange liquor. But you have to wear a costume, put on make-up. Why?
I know this is subjective. Don't like candy, don't like bats, don't like Halloween. And I think it's the only reason pumpkins still exist in the US. Not that pumpkins wouldn't grow without Halloween, but what else do we use pumpkins for? I mean, really?
I get that it's a chance for people to be someone else for a night. A chance for people to be clever or make fun of politicians with their costumes. But why (WHY) does it seem like the perfect night for women to wear nothing? What's clever or interesting about that? What are you going to be? A cat? Britney Spears? Random sexy girl?
And that brings me to the worse offense of all. Because of this response to Halloween, the costume shops have turned everything "sexy."
I mean, what's next. Sexy Girl Beaver?
I don't normally care what people wear. But if an adult is going to wear a costume, I feel like it should be a clever one. Why do women insist on falling back on the traditional? Be creative, ladies! Please. Or don't. I mean, a witch costume would be good. Just not a "sexy" witch costume.
Okay, I realize I sound like an ass. I'm not offended by short skirts or tight outfits. I just feel like women (and girls) are selling themselves short. Hey, if it's a creative and sexy costume, I'm all for it. I just hate this costume travesty we've just accepted. Cats aren't sexy, and "sexy" isn't a costume. I just want some creativity! Be sexy, I don't care! Just don't be "sexy" for Halloween.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
This AlterNet article got me thinking. I don't think the article makes it's point very well, but it's something I've been thinking about for awhile.
The point of the article: October is the "awareness month" for both breast cancer and domestic violence. According to the article, we ignore domestic violence because breast cancer is sexier. You know...because of the boobs.
I agree. Pink ribbons abound and...well...does domestic violence even have a ribbon?
Yes, in fact. A quick Google search - purple. Wear a purple ribbon and a few people might know you're supporting victims of abuse.
First point of contention - purple and pink? Are we seriously resorting to baby girl colors? Plus, purple for domestic abuse victims? Purple? The color of bruises? This is the least of our problems, I know, but it's still a little ironic. Or sad. Or both.
Second - yes, breast cancer gets more press. It's hot. Like AIDS. Ugh. It makes me sick that disease has been American-ified. But shit. It gets people to donate money. For research. Right?
Some more than others. Let's put it this way - if you're going to donate, it's better for everyone if you don't buy a ribbon or a hat. Just give the money to the charity. Oh, and stay away from the American Breast Cancer Foundation, the Strang Cancer Prevention Center, and the Walker Cancer Research Institute.
So does publicity/popularity for one disease take away money from diseases with less zazz? Are we too focused on saving boobs that we overlook the psyche of the abused?
I don't know. But the more I think about the two, there are a lot of similarities between breast cancer and spousal abuse. Survivors form strong support groups and want to help others get through what they went through. Both can kill. The victims of both are overwhelmingly women. Both started out as "personal" problems and are gaining focus in a broader realm (SEE: women are the majority of victims).
But - breast cancer could have a cure. Could any amount of research eradicate spousal abuse? I am not in anyway saying domestic violence charities can't do a tremendous amount of good. But it's more about the services - shelter, counseling, etc. Maybe it's the research, the race to the finish line we love to give our money to. "Find a cure." You know.
And, yes, we love a nice, clean face to our charities. That's why AIDS has lost panache even though it's still prevalent in Africa.
And we love boobs. Bottom line: people are giving money to charity. That's a good thing. And awareness months? I don't think they really do anyone any good.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
It's time this blog got some focus. No more BCOOs, no more Wallstrips (go to Wallstrip.com to get your fix - I'm writing a lot of them now). This blog is pure ladies. Women. Women's rights (or lack thereof), cool women doing cool things, etc.
I know there are a lot of great ones out there. And I have (and will) quote them a lot. But this is what I care about and what I'm interested in, so there you go.
Hope all one of you will stay tuned. I'll try to post more often.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Good news first: Portland, Maine is awesome!
Okay, so I'm pretty partial to the Portland on the other side of the country, but Maine deserves some major thumbs in the up direction.
King Middle School, in Portland, will have birth control and STD education onsite.
Okay, so it sounds a little more shocking than it really is. An independently operated health care center already exists at the school, but they're now allowed to administer immunizations, and physicals, as well as the little pink baby-preventing pills to middle-schoolers.
Of course, some parents are outraged, in the fist-to-the-sky, why I would-a, do-nothing kind of way. Surprisingly, most are okay with it. What, we're letting our children get an education and teaching them how to be safe and no one's bombing the clinic? It's an outrage!
And we might be able to count on our new chief birth control officer (officially, acting deputy assistant secretary for population affairs) to correct this aberration on the face of society. Susan Orr may soon take birth control away from all of us. With her track record, how could she just sit by and watch all those whores have sex willy nilly?
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Monday, October 08, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
The confession of an existentialist. That's what this book is. A monologue that takes place in a bar and the surrounding areas.
His fall= The Fall = Garden of Eden fall.
I enjoyed it. I find Camus' outlook pretty bleak. Existentialism makes life pointless and leaves people who believe in it free and captive at the same time. Free to make noise and watch it's effect on the world, but unable to mean anything by it. Unable to care.
Anyway, on to freaky, Portland pastures. Next up, a close look at freaks and the people they love, Geek Love, by Katherine Dun. It's a book Chuck Palahniuk talks about all the time. Definitely has the same eyes wide open feel: the main character is a female albino dwarf with a hump.
at 1:16 PM
Friday, September 14, 2007
Ah, love me some Coetzee.
Slow Man is perfect for the writing student. Basically, the climax happens at the beginning, then someone has to come in to force things to keep moving. That someone is a Coetzee creation: a writer named Elizabeth Costello.
The writer places herself into the story, claiming the main character "came to her." She never really explains herself, but keeps forcing the character to do things. She always gives the guy a choice, but makes suggestions as to how to be more active in life.
This surface stuff is pure gravy. The real story is underneath. It's all about love. The main character wants love, wants to be loved, but he doesn't accept the idea of love. Classic tragedy.
Can you tell I loved it? Coetzee is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.
Yes, I know. I wrote "love" a lot. Deal with it.
Almost done with: The Fall, by Camus.
at 1:47 PM
Friday, August 31, 2007
I know more about geisha than I ever wanted to know.
I am really glad to be done with this book. I loved the language in the beginning, but that only took me so far. The central character had no actual character. None that I could find, anyway. It felt like she was simply a tool to teach me about geisha. And I don't want to know about geisha. Maybe I'm forcing my ideals on Japanese culture, but it seems like a completely degrading and socially repugnant practice.
Of course, it didn't help that the author is from Tenessee and male (that's him, on the left of this post). He didn't examine any of the implications of geisha-ism. Maybe that's why people like it.
I'm not saying a male author can't write women characters well - Wally Lamb manages to create a truly believable, extremely troubled woman in She's Come Undone - but this one completely missed the mark for me. He lets the main character think someone is disgusting, but he doesn't let her delve into the depths of her emotion. It just wasn't authentic for me.
As far as the Japanese thing, sure, he has an MA in Japanese History, speaks Mandarin Chinese, and lived in Japan for awhile. Now he lives in Boston, and has written a book tinged with American male sentiment. I didn't buy it.
Next: Slow Man, by J.M. Coetzee. I'm thrilled. I loved Disgrace.
at 7:34 PM
Monday, August 20, 2007
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Friday, August 03, 2007
Just finished Diary, a novel, by Chuck Palahniuk.
I love him. He is unique and can make the most disgusting words beautiful (and vice versa). I didn't like this book as much as I liked Survivor, but I'm still on the Palahniuk love ride.
This book is hard to describe without giving too much away. It is written like...a diary...surprise! A poor woman meets a rich guy and pays a rather hefty price for her happiness.
The novel relies heavily on magical realism and has a distinct ring of fairy tale by the end. I think that's a Palahniuk "thing." The worlds in his novels are always at least hyperbolic, if not fantastical.
I'm sort of rambling here. I JUST finished it, so I haven't had much time to digest. Can't wait to read another of his. Go Portland! (he lives there)
Favorite quotes: "Because everything is important. Every detail. We just don't know why yet."
"What you don't understand, you can make mean anything."
"It's so hard to forget pain, but it's even harder to remember sweetness."
I'm going to take a little time to catch up on my magazines. I have a Bitch, a Paste, and I think two Busts. Hmmm...a bitch, a paste, and a bust. Sounds like a bad sitcom.
at 11:08 PM
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
State legislators in Ohio want to give fathers a FINAL say before a woman gets an abortion. And they mean final.
Before having an abortion, a woman must have the written consent of the father. THE father. The man she slept with. If she doesn't know who the father is (maybe the man who raped her?), she must submit a list of "possible" fathers. The physician would have to conduct paternity tests and, after determining who the father is, get his signed consent.
WHAT THE FUCK??!!! I understand the desire to give men a say, but I'm not sure I agree with it. I know it affects men's lives, but not nearly as much as it affects women's. I have to admit, I feel like it's the woman's body, she gets to decide.
All that aside: a list? possible fathers? paternity tests? Imagine what that does to the woman.
And again, what if the woman was raped? What the fuck is she supposed to do then?
This CAN'T go anywhere. It's just another bunch of guys, led by Rep. John Adams, who think they have the right to decide what women can and can't do with their bodies. I don't know, though. With the current climate, anything is possible.
at 6:22 PM
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Celebrities are dying, politicians are in surgery, people have sex to burn calories, and I finally have time to post
Why are so many celebrities dying? Is it the heat? I thought Tammy Faye was immortal.
Dick Cheney was president for two hours and five minutes, while Bush was having a colonoscopy.
Broadsheet just posted this, which profiles an article about the 237 reasons people have sex. Among the more ridiculous: to get rid of a headache, feel closer to god, change the topic of conversation, and my favorite, burn calories. There is still hope: the top reason was "I was attracted to the person."
Personally, I have sex to make babies. All you people reading this are morally dead to me if you don't feel the same way. Babies. I LOVE babies.
Back in the real world, my beloved Broadsheet also reported that Second Life is a refuge for the under-educated teen. Second Life may help your sex life, with a new island dedicated to sex ed. According to Broadsheet:
There's a screening room for movies about HIV/AIDS, an outdoor classroom where students can watch presentations from sex educators, a newsstand that updates itself every 10 minutes with the top two sexual health stories from Yahoo News, an interactive game/quiz area where students can test their knowledge, and a "sky box" where visitors can have one-on-one sessions with counselors. There's even a vending machine where visitors can buy virtual condoms. The goal, as the explanatory video puts it, is to help students learn how to prevent STDs and unwanted pregnancies, and promote equitable sexual relationships.Free, independent, intelligent sex ed? Right on, Second Life.
Just found out Jenna Elfman is a Scientologist. Shit!
For MUCH more important breaking news: the UN is sending 26,000 international forces to Darfur. FINAL-FUCKING-LY. Thank you Gordon Brown. Here's the story. As Allyn Brooks-LaSure, a spokesman from Save Darfur said, "This isn't the time to pop champagne." But it's SOMETHING. It's a start.
Back in the banalities of every day life, I finished Anna Karenina. I enjoyed the social/political commentary, and the characters were wonderfully contrasting and tied into Tolstoy's criticism of Russian society. The novel is full of characters who are struggling to be themselves - a constant struggle in everyone's life, I think - so it really hit home.
Also joined the rest of the world in finishing Harry Potter. Sad it's over. Because of my transition-full life, I couldn't get my hands on any of the earlier ones while I was reading, so I spent a lot of time trying to remember what happened in the last book. No matter, I still loved it. I do wish they had brought in the idea of the deathly hallows earlier, though. It was a lot to discover in one book.
I'm reading Diary, by Chuck Palahniuk now. I love him. His style is unlike anyone's I've read.
at 4:47 PM