Tuesday, July 29, 2008

You Know What's NOT Feminist? Refusing to Take Responsibility for Your Orgasm!

I have to confess that although I do not enter into the danger zone that is website message boards very often, I sometimes can't help but scroll down and read a few (or a few dozen) comments. For me, message boards have the same train wreck appeal that an episode of Jerry Springer does, I know reading them will be mind numbingly annoying, but I'll be damned if they aren't entertaining. My latest skip through the interwebs led me to the message boards of Facebook's "Feministing" group. The Feministing website is my favorite online hangout, and because I'm a FB group junkie, I eagerly joined up on there as well. Unnecessary? Absolutely. I popped on today to see if there's really anything on it to benefit from, or if I would be better off dumping it to make room for the bazillion other capricious, masturbatory groups I need need need to join. Then, against my better judgment, I got roped into some misguided feminist's thoughts on sex and sex work (you think "misguided" sounds cruel now, but just wait until you try to follow her train of thought from pole dancing to guys who can't "eat pussy" in just a few sentences).

I was hooked by title, "Can Sex Work Manifest Feminism?" Presumably, from reading her thoughts, she's wondering if sex work can be feminist...though it's not really fair of her to pose this as a query because she's already got the answer, and it's a big fucking (or not fucking in this case) NO! Of course, to be fair she is posing one of the hardest questions for the movement because it is one of our biggest dividing lines. There's no fantastic way to win here. Either one is anti and comes off as not validating women's choices, thus infantilizing them, as well as looking like an advocate for censorship...or one is pro and in championing a women's choice one starts to ignore all of the preordained factors (patriarchy, anyone?) that led to the decision which often make it more of an only option than a choice.

Honestly, I don't like to get worked up for either argument, as both sides can have valid points when argued well. Although, I tend to support options that will be safest for women and their health. Therefore, as long as prostitution, porno, and pole dancing have willing (not forced), adult participants, I think the responsible thing to do is to support our sisters in the sex industry and help them get better rights and representation. Just check out the mavens with moxie over at $pread magazine. This is a publication written and produced by current and former sex workers that seeks to "build community and destigmatize sex work by providing a forum for the diverse voices of individuals working in the sex industry." Women who through grassroots activism demand better treatment by the government, their male co-workers, and their clients?! Don't tell me these ladies aren't feminists.

My other gripe with this message board posting is when it awkwardly transitions from the sex work issue to her unhappy sex life. For many paragraphs and other postings she vents her frustrations with the males in her bed and their inability to tickle her fancy. Crappy sex is for sure a major reason to loose your mind, and a dude who is more than willing to push your head down on his without so much as glancing at your lady cat deserves to be kicked to the curb, no doubt. However, when a woman can count the number of partners who have chowed down on her girly bits, poorly at that, while implying that her list of gentlemen callers stretches around the block I can't help but wonder (yikes all this sex talk is making me channel Carrie Bradshaw) if maybe someone isn't speaking up and schoolin' like she should.

I'm not laying blame on this gal or any of my lusty lady friends, and I'm certainly not siding with i'll-take-my-bj-without-the-cunnilingus-please guys. However, this whole argument she makes brings up an important point that I find myself considering a lot: how much do we women blame our male-dominated culture/society for those bad in bed boys and how much personal responsibility are we willing to take for our orgasm?

Look, whatever kind of sex you're having, it requires two people and just wanting it to be good is not gonna cut it (uh, duh, remember your first time?). It's one thing to sleep with selfish assholes (did he really not seem like a selfish asshole before the clothes came off?!?!), but it's another to assume that a guy who really cares about you automatically knows your ins and outs like a Google map. There's a lot going on down there, and although we're used to poking around and knowing what's hot and what's not, the guys may need a little tutoring. Should they ask? Hell yes, but not asking doesn't make them private enemy #1, especially if we're not telling. If we're not asking for what we want and telling our partners what we need, aren't we partially to blame for bogus buggering? In addition, if we're not comfortable with asking, telling, teaching, learning, shouldn't we be asking ourselves why we're jumping into the sack with this person, instead of asking why are all men selfish slackers?

Here's an even bigger question: why are we women letting guys give us bad head? I'm sick of women being the victims of bad sexual experiences. It's time to take a stand here, and demand better, and giving up giving head is not the way to get our point across. (It's not fair to withhold sex to get sex, if a guy did that to us I'm sure we'd have even more to say about that.) So guys have no problem telling us that we're using too much teeth, and if we don't want to "go into the bathroom and masturbate after we've had sex," why aren't we telling them the equivalent? They want to know, and until we teach them what's what down there, they are either going to continue grop around like blind mice or avoid the whole thing all together. And for those who sit through class and still refuse to do the work, fail those d-bags, and tell 'em this group project just became DIY.

So Thesaurus.com is Kind of a Jerk

I usually love the helpful intellect of Thesaurus.com, but I was a little pissed when I found that one of their synonyms for the word "woman" is "siren." Like the sirens from Greek mythology that would lure sailors to them with their beauty and song, tricking the men into their death. Nice. So, watch out for women, our main goal is to beguile men out of youth, money, and happiness.

(Other words suggested by Thesaurus.com : vamp, sorceress, femme fatale...seriously who comes up with these?)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

There's a Lot More to Life Than Being Really, Really, Ridiculously Good Looking - Part 2

When my friend called to tell me that "America's Next Top Model" was having open casting calls in the DC area, I couldn't think of a more hilarious way to spend my weekend. We sat together for hours working on the "application." With our gaze fixed on the computer screen, we tried to think of the most clever answers to "What would you do if this show made you famous?" and "Would you ever go to a nude beach?" Long after my friend had to head home, I sat, eyes glazed over, trying to come up with the wittiest response to "What is your ideal romantic partner like?" These reality show questionnaires are of course looking for the "honest" answer. Seriously people, just be yourself. Except that on ANTM, girls are routinely shot down for being themselves. On more than one occasion Tyra has scolded a few modeling hopefuls for not being lady-like or whatever modern day phrase is slightly more socially acceptable, yet not any less offensive. I typed and untyped "must be good in bed" a couple of times under the question about romantic partner qualifications. In hindsight, I should have went with it, as it became clear during the first audition that our cleverly honest, well thought out applications would be taken into little to no consideration. Plus it is one of my qualifications. A major one. I scrapped it though, with the idea of seeming neat and pretty until I made it on the show. Then, once in the public eye, my plan was to be outlandishly crass, outspoken about controversial issues, and outright defiant, while of course winning the competition and shattering the image of perfection in the modeling/beauty industry. The whole process started to become less of a hilarious anecdote to tell later, and more of my chance to change the way Americans conceptualize beauty in one fell swoop.

"Do you have a temper?"

"What kind of people would you want to live in a house with?"

Ridiculous question after ridiculous question, I started taking more seriously. I dumped all of my goofy, sarcastic answers for more polished, droll responses. I wanted to erase the blemishes. Anything that made me sound flippant and irreverent had to go. My application was me wearing make-up. Not a lie, just a more palatable version of the truth.

"Have you ever thrown something in anger? Explain."

"Have you ever thought of running for political office, why or why not?"

“How do you deal with someone who intimidates you?”

At the root of it all, after 7 pages of bullshit MySpace like survey questions, this application is really just asking, “How good of a reality television show contestant would you be?” I was convinced this show was looking for entertainers, not models. They need someone to keep audiences tuning in week after week…someone with personality...and in my dark living room at 2am the night before the auditions, as I typed my perfect answers out with rapt attention, I was convinced. I told myself, that someone is so me.

Rescued Pets are the Best Pets

As an update to the entry I wrote about the AKC lobbying the Obama family to choose one of their pure-bred freak show dogs, here's a little bit from the Best Friends Network urging the soon-to-be presidential family to pick a shelter dog in need of a loving home. What I like about their argument is that they want everyone to get involved. They don't to make this an issue about republicans or democrats, instead their website focuses on the importance of finding homeless animals a loving family. BFN goes on to say, "For a candidate focused on 'hope' and 'change,' adopting a homeless pet is the right choice. Win or lose, this is an opportunity for Obama to effect change on this very important issue." I agree, and I encourage all of you to check out their website and see what you can do to affect your own change. At the least sign the petition, at the most bring home your own shelter pet!

There's a Lot More to Life Than Being Really, Really, Ridiculously Good Looking - Part 1

Outside the BMW dealership, 200-300 girls waited in line anxiously repeating to themselves why they wanted to become America's Next Top Model. Sun beating down on us, my friend and I were a part of this line. We were a part of this handful of girls who had already waited in a line the week before, and were picked, much to our surprise and wonder, to wait in this new line. The next round of cuts. One step closer to the fame and fortune that deep down, when stripped of our good intentions, we all truly desired. We were the chosen few, and our reward was to wait for another few hours outside a BMW dealership in the unforgiving July heat. Standing in line, waiting to be filmed. Waiting to tell a camera that we were pretty, but we also have brains, talents, attitude, kind hearts, whatever. Telling the faceless camera something, anything, to set us apart. Something to make us unique in a sea of similarity. In the sweltering humidity we couldn't help but ask ourselves why we wanted to be America's Next Top Model. Tottering above one another in our highest heels, in what we perceived to be our most fashionable attire, waiting to compete if only for a few seconds with the other hundred girls in line. Make-up smearing from the heat. Hair once perfectly arranged strand by strand, now matted, wet with sweat. Bangs sticking to our melting faces, we all wanted to be validated again. Tell me I'm good. Tell me I'm pretty. I kept thinking, this all started out as a joke.

Friday, July 11, 2008

I'm Ready to Make Beer Bellies the Must Have Look for This Fall

It's time for Tyra to see the wicked style of LTB. Wild hounds couldn't keep me away from these auditions. For a hilarious rundown on the madness, check back next week.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Don't Get Bichon Frised Out! Vote Now!

So the Obamas are great, right? The whole lot of 'em, smart, funny, progressive, attractive... you'd be hard pressed to find a flaw in this group. Until now. The American Kennel Club has shone a light on a major flaw of this White House bound family: no pets! It's true. While the McCains are littered with pets, from dogs with theme names to a gender queer iguana, the Obamas have nothing to offer us but a promise of bringing a dog into the picture after the campaign is over. Well the AKC doesn't want to take any chances here, so they've decided to "help" the Obamas out by letting the public (you!) vote for which breed would be best suited for the job of first dog. I know you are chomping at the bit to have your voice be heard on this somewhat pressing matter, but wait! You can't type in just any ol' mongrel! They've already narrowed down some that you can pick from:

So go now! Cast your vote! Or if this finicky group of "those are dogs? really??" bothers you, check out this angry blogger who is super pissed about the whole ordeal. No, for serious. He calls the AKC "a Madison Avenue Club of Clowns ."

Also, who knew the Bushs have a cute cat? I mean, he's no Socks, but he's in there swingin'.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Where in the World is Rick Moranis?

This is a question I've wondered many times over, and finally I've found the answer on Monsters and Critics. Turns out he "made so much money off of 'Honey I Shrunk the Kids' that he retired. He just doesn't want to work anymore." What? Really? The okay-once-it's-clever-but-three-times-it's- obnoxious, "Honey I Shrunk the Kids," juggernaut was his farewell tour? And now he's too good to lend his voice to a "Ghostbusters" video game? For shame, Rick Moranis, for shame.

The Dictionary Learned It and So Can You, Fishy McNotvegetarian

So among my long list of pet peeves (including, but not limited to: repetitive noise, Kirsten Dunst, and people who misquote movies without first acknowledging that they don't really remember the original line) there is a special I'm-foaming-at-the-mouth-annoyed-with-you spot reserved for people who make a big stink letting everyone know that they are vegetarian then later reveal to you "well, I do eat fish," like suddenly mackerels sprout from the ground. I'm not referring to all who choose to add fish to their otherwise veggie diet, just those who want to come off as hip and with-it to other vegetarians and at the same time look down their nose at fellow omnivores who have the audacity to eat red meat. It's like they've been living in a bizarro world where fish, lobster, clams, and mussels are suddenly made of leafy greens.Well, here's a newsflash for those who see the ocean as a floating vegetable garden: You come off as an asshole to real vegetarians as well as omnivores, so shut-up and learn your real name which is, Pescatarian.

I've been correcting people on this name for years, though it is usually met with much skepticism from these wannabes. Now, however, I've got Merriam-Webster on my side. The newest addition of the dictionary will contain "pescatarian", although, Microsoft Word will still be confounded by it. I'm slightly annoyed by the definition they use: "a vegetarian who eats fish," as it is non congruent to their definition of vegetarian: "consisting wholly of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and sometimes eggs or dairy products." From what I can tell fish falls into none of those food categories, which is why the word "pescatarian" is needed to begin with. I would suggest changing it to "a person who eats fish, but would otherwise be considered a vegetarian." What? Too wordy? Well, that's why I didn't major in word-smithery.

Also, as an added note, I don't really care what and how people eat, as it is a personal choice. I myself have a number of dietary restrictions that probably annoy the hell out of others. So those pescatarians who think I'm hating on you, no worries, enjoy your fish. I just figured that some of the more label obsessed fish eaters would appreciate knowing the correct word usage, since it is clear you want everyone to know your very specific diet.

One more thing just for fun, I know there are all kinds of ethical debates we can have about PETA in the future, but for now check out their facts on fish, and why cutting them from your diet is a friendly move.