Most of the year, my interior dialogue (and sometimes exterior, because I talk to myself a lot – if you find someone in the produce section looking overwhelmed and talking to herself about seasonal recipes, odds are it’s me. Just ignore her.) in front of a mirror sounds like this:
Now, what I’m hoping this panel got across is that while I am not in my “ideal” weight range, I really am not all that self-deprecating about it. Sometimes it bothers me that I don’t care as much as I’d like to care about it, if that makes any sense. Basically, while I don’t have the world’s best body image, I like to think that it doesn’t hold me back in life, either. As someone who has dealt with eating disorders in the past, I would rather be the size I am now while being mostly apathetic about it than be thin and obsessing about it. And if you’ve never dealt with an eating disorder, that is a whole other dimension of “obsession” that you can be thankful you’ve never experienced – unless maybe you’re a compulsive gambler or you have legitimate OCD (not the “haha I like to eat everything off my plate in a clockwise direction I’m so OCD!” OCD – that is not real OCD), then you might get it.
Anyway, to go back to the original title of this post, while most of the year I’m ambivalent about my body image, Halloween is different. It’s not that it makes me obsess about my weight or consider previous unhealthy lifestyle habits (i.e., vortices of self destruction), but it does make me think about my body a whole lot more.
Consider typical female costuming strategies:
- Slutty _______________________ (fill in your own blank: slutty nurse, slutty librarian, slutty firefighter, slutty milkmaid, slutty pirate wench … pick one)
- Oh wait, are there other strategies?
I kid (mostly), but if a woman goes into a costume store, that’s kind of your only option. And if you wanted to make your own costume and impersonate a celebrity as a not-thin woman, you are left with….. Adele? Camryn Manheim? Oprah in the early 90s? Monica Lewinsky? Paula Deen before Type II diabetes? An elderly Queen Victoria? (Also, that would be a perfect family costume – cover your child in fake blood and play him/her off as an inbred hemophiliac – I am full of great ideas today.) Our choices are limited. Beyond women who are actually a comparable size to oneself, you are left with attaching the prefix “fat” to your costume title. Examples:
- Fat Frida Kahlo (although I like to think that Frida wouldn’t care if she’d put on some pounds)
- Fat Marilyn Monroe (like maybe if she had lived long enough to develop a hormonal imbalance that required corticosteroids to correct)
- Fat Disney Princess of your choice (this would actually work if you did this as a couple’s costume with a Fat Disney Prince – you could wear a disclaimer that says, “SHUT UP, ‘HAPPY EVER AFTER’ REQUIRED SOME CAKE, OKAY?”)
I still don’t have a costume figured out for this year, but right now a fat, slutty Frida Kahlo kind of seems like the way to go.
I like using my blog to make me sound hideous so that I don’t get creepy emails. So far it’s working.
I will freely admit that when I received a friend request a few years ago from someone with whom I’d had a big falling out in high school, I assumed the worst. I checked out her profile, saw an Ivy League school in the current education, and knew exactly why she was getting back in touch. I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt, added her, and upon having access to my profile she noticed that I, too, was in grad school, but was scheduled to finish a semester after her. The message she left me went something like this:
I finally found someone graduating after me!
We don’t talk anymore.
Facebook is both a blessing and a curse – on the one hand, you know what everyone’s up to! On the other hand, you know what everyone’s up to.
Sometimes I can’t decide if it’s smart or insane to prepare for shopping as much as I do.
First of all, there’s appearance – I want to look like someone who has money so that salespeople will suck up to me.
The more important thing, however, is mental and emotional preparation. I hate shopping malls. I think that shopping malls need more bars and pharmacists.
Have you ever gone to a makeup counter without preparing yourself mentally first? Don’t do that, it’s terrible for you. It’s worse than smoking. Smoking will kill your lungs slowly, but going to the makeup counter can kill your spirit instantaneously. UNLESS you go in prepared.
Could this be avoided if you just went to Walgreens to get your concealer? Technically, yes, but without samples and color matching you’re going to spend so much damn money trying to find the right shade that you might as well have shelled out to Clinique, whose product is better anyway. If you can’t tell the difference, then you must have goddess-like porcelain skin, and you may step off because you are not one of those people who need to brace themselves for makeup counter interactions.
Every time I walk up to a makeup counter, I am prepared for someone to immediately feel licensed to point out every single flaw on my face, the one part of my body that I can never cover, and on which I know that we are all judged. Yes, Clinique lady, I might benefit from exfoliating more. Oh, my pores are so big that you can see them from 3 feet away? And you see that I have sunspots? It’s never too early for eye cream, you say? Yes, I do still have acne blemishes on a regular basis.
They are really good at making you feel like some kind of beast that no one will ever love because no one can bear to look at your face. They are trained to make you look in a mirror and see nothing but problems.
Now, I’m realistic. I don’t have perfect skin. I need some help with it. But my personal rules for the makeup counter are:
- Remember that you are not hideous and that people do love you, and would still love you even if you used all that shit on your face that Estee Lauder is recommending which caused your skin to melt off.
- Only allow them to treat one problem per visit. One day, go in for your blemishes. Another day, go in for getting a summer moisturizer for your oily skin. Make it a separate trip for eye cream. Don’t let the person behind the counter make you feel like an acne-ridden behemoth whose ancient-looking face could be McDonald’s backup fryer.
Solidarity, sisters. Do not let the makeup counter defeat you.
I made the mistake of watching an interview segment this morning about the Millennial generation. It was a panel of “experts” (a term I’m using liberally here, because it was really just a few Gen X’ers and a couple of hegemonically privileged Baby Boomers) debating the merits and shortcomings of the Millennial generation with emphasis on the latter – despite the title of the segment being “Why Millennials may be lazy, and why they may save us.” In the interest of full disclosure, I am technically Gen Y (I think?) or at the very upper end of the Millennials, depending on whose generation boundaries one chooses to accept. Regardless, I thought it might be interesting to watch a potentially positive take on a generation usually disparaged by mainstream media (they cater to us, but don’t like us, apparently).
There will also probably be more profanity in this piece that I usually use, because I’m angry on the internet.
If you’re interested in the segment in question and feel like being indignant with me, here it is: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/3036789/ns/msnbc-morning_joe/vp/51828081#51828081
Thing that annoyed me #1: “We need these people to bail us out.”
A Gen X’er actually said this. As if they aren’t young enough and don’t have enough time to make a difference. You’re putting a lot of faith and trust in a generation that you apparently don’t even think capable of moving out of their parents’ houses, much less embarking upon a meaningful career. Sure, you know what? We’d love to clean up your mess. Between the general entitlement of the Baby Boomer generation and unfounded apathy of Gen X’ers, you guys have done a fantastic job running this country the last few decades. Which leads me to…
Thing that annoyed me #2: The misuse of the word “reverent.”
I’m sorry, but what about the contemporary leadership in this country is supposed to inspire reverence? There was one guy on the panel in particular that was very disturbed by a “lack of reverence” on the part of Millennials. He spoke about about how Millennials shouldn’t feel entitled to contact a CEO of a company, and how it’s not a good thing to have 7 jobs before we’re 26. A) The lack of access and accountability of authority figures is what led to the economic collapse, so fuck you, and B) Many of us would love to have a career at one company and get a pension at the end of it, but that’s NOT FUCKING REALISTIC FOR US. If we did anything differently, he would be criticizing our lack of adaptability.
Thing that annoyed me #3: General pessimism about our character and perceived self-centered-ness. Predictably, we were also criticized for a tendency to take “selfies.”
We came of age in an era of a misdirected war with a president who wasn’t intellectual enough to be our 9th grade geography teacher. We made it through an insane economic collapse and have watched both our jobs and our parents’ jobs be outsourced to countries with cheaper labor. We are afraid to go to the doctor for fear of how much it may cost us just to take care of our bodies when our finances are already so fragile. We are taking on more of a burden of debt to be educated than any generation before us, and we spent our middle school and high school years overachieving to pad our resumes in hopes of getting into the schools that put us into a position of being saddled with debt before we even have a chance to buy a home or invest our savings (side note: hahahahaha “savings.”). So you know what? If someone wants to take a fucking selfie, who gives a shit? There are a lot of times where it’s hard to find anything else to believe in besides ourselves.
And yet, despite all of this, we’re still progressive. We are accepting of the lifestyle choices being made by the people around us. We have bigger fish to fry than worrying if the guys next door are just roommates or in a committed and loving relationship. We see people succumb to the despair and futility of their circumstances – maybe they drop out of school, start a drug habit they can’t kick, have a child they can’t take care of – and it baffles us that there are still people who are willing to fight about the gays next door’s right to adopt children out of the foster care system, or a woman’s right to choose (hint: if you don’t have a uterus, shut up.).
What I’m getting at here is that denigrating the Millennial generation doesn’t help anyone. It doesn’t make us feel any better about the world around us, and it sure doesn’t make us feel like there’s any point in trying to improve our country and our planet. Want to motivate us? Stop bitching. Be helpful. Stop caring about shit that doesn’t matter and start looking at the big picture. The Millennial generation is inheriting an unprecedented mess, and there is a lot that is too late to change. But not all of it. And the only way anything is going to get fixed is if people either start helping or fucking get out of the way.
I debated seriously on whether or not I wanted to post this. Not because of how any reader would react, but because of how the permanence of publishing these words would feel. Then I reminded myself that you can’t only think things that make you feel good because it atrophies your empathy, and makes it harder to find reasons to aspire to better.
4 years ago, I waited in line at 7am with smiling, chatty people stretching around the block in the freezing cold to vote for Obama. A few months after that, my man met me in Detroit and we drove to West Virginia so we could wake up at 2am, then take a train to another train, and trekked through DC in less than 20 degree temps to secure a place where we could watch the president swear in on a monitor. I miss that sense of optimism.
This past November, I voted early with no ceremony, resigned to vote for Obama because he at least seemed better than the other guy (and because I didn’t want to see Joe Biden fade into obscurity – who doesn’t love Joe?), and because I had a faint sense of hope that maybe, just maybe, this guy could find a way to get something done as a lame duck, when he couldn’t be concerned with getting himself re-elected.
I spent this morning watching West Wing reruns because that felt less bittersweet to me than watching the actual ceremony. 4 years later and we still don’t have any comprehensive policies for future environmental impacts due to climate change. My generation still thinks that we’re more likely to see a Bigfoot than receive anything from the social security system that still draws from our paychecks.
I don’t want to confuse my dissatisfaction (read: anger and frustration) of Congress with my disappointment of the president. I know Obama has been stonewalled, and I know the system is deeply flawed. We live in a country where most people are satisfied with their local congressperson (if they can even name them) but hate Congress as a whole – it makes no sense. It needs to be reformed. But that’s not what this morning was about.
I am happy that there are people still celebrating today. I’m not one of them, but I’m glad that there are people who can find the happiness in this.
I hate getting indignant before noon. It just makes me tired the rest of the day, even if it results in a victory (spoiler alert: victory was mine this morning, but I am battle-weary).
Also: I should never call customer service at an hour that is traditionally not conducive to the consumption of alcoholic beverages.
I’m getting married next year, so I thought maybe I’d turn this blog into a wedding planning blog!
I’m so kidding. I would never do that to you. I don’t have time to plan a wedding, much less write about planning one.
But, I did run into this lovely article by Fox News, and wanted so badly to post on Facebook about it, but I made a deal with myself earlier this year that there would be no more politics on Facebook, for my sanity’s sake. (Seriously, arguing about politics on the internet with people you know is a lose/lose proposition in which I am no longer willing to engage.) So, the solution was to blog-vent.
I’m not going to argue the notion that women’s generalized gender expectations and aspirations have not changed in decades past. More women are working, many are out-earning their partners, and being a single mother is no longer a scandalous notion. But, women are still socialized in such a way as to at least partially perpetuate traditional gender roles. Many women, while out-earning their partners, are still doing the majority of household chores. Romney still expects us to be home to cook dinner.
And there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be home or enjoying taking care of one’s family and household. But, I think many of us can agree that it is not necessarily and automatically the responsibility of the nearest woman to accommodate these basic needs for her family/community. I love cooking and enjoy putting dinner on the table, but if the man in my life judged me for not making that my number one priority over career/education/sanity, then you can bet I’d have a problem with it.
Here’s my major beef with the idea of a “war on men”: It is never presented in such a way as to illicit any sympathy from someone who doesn’t already feel like a disenfranchised man. These arguments are almost always presented in the same way as is done by Fox News in this article: men feel entitled and feel like women don’t need them so we force men to take their balls and go home (pun not intended, but relished).
And to go back to my original point, the expectations and generalizations hurt everyone. I think most men do not feel that there is a war being waged against them by women. I think that there are a lot of good men out there who have altered their expectations of gender roles based on how our world has changed to enfranchise more women.
Also: why must “feminism” be a dirty word? Feminism does not imply that we don’t need men and that we don’t want them to have a place in world. It does, however, question why the two most widely recognized genders must abide by antiquated assigned roles that can be grossly skewed to advantage some over others.
The author of this article (a woman, by the way, whom I will attempt to judge solely on the quality of her writing and refrain from calling her a traitor to her gender) appeals to women and men to surrender to their roles, because marriage will be awesome again if we do that (marriage for whom? And I’d love to hear this woman’s take on marriage equality).
If we must assign blame for the article’s presumed lack of marriageable men, why blame ourselves for doing what is in our own best interest? Why blame women for having the courage to buck gender norms and lead lives where we can have choices and seize opportunities?
[Men] want to provide for and protect their families – it’s in their DNA. But modern women won’t let them.
Really? We’re going to use the DNA argument? Because that’s the same argument that a lot of people use to justify rape. We are bigger than our hormones. We are capable of being respectful to each other and nurturing relationships without requiring either party to act a certain way for reasons that amount to “just because.” However, you can’t expect people to just intuit how they need to approach a new idea. We need to educate young people about healthy relationships, and that will lead to more marriageable men and women.