Monday, December 19, 2011

Nice rack?

This is a fantastic article about a lady who felt that her love live was determined by her large breasts and hips. In my experience, being seen as somehow more promiscuous because of my body is pretty common and really troubling. In most of the movies I've seen, the cup size of the female characters seems to designate their relative hotness to goodness/smartness ratio. Larger breasts means smaller brains and hearts. Having large breasts also completely changes how clothes fit, and the "tasteful yet attractive" window is rendered much narrower because of them-- generally when getting dressed I have to choose between being frumpy and being dressed inappropriately because my outfits so often look like Halloween versions of what I'm going for. "Appropriate for a job interview" on someone else translates to "sexy secretary" on curvier women and "it's hot outside" for some looks like "music video set in the summer" on others. Covering up is theoretically possible, but doing so while dressing in a way that is beautiful or interesting is tough. Maybe this makes me the shallow, vapid temptress my breasts and hips hint at, but I don't enjoy feeling frumpy and I don't appreciate that my only other option is to be seem like I'm actively soliciting a certain kind of attention.

All of that said, I do not think that having certain kinds of curves puts women in a less privileged position than other women. My bra was an A cup until I was sixteen, when I grew into a D cup seemingly overnight. I remember having small breasts very well, and that presented its own challenges. The point is that within the Western Patriarchy a woman's appearance, whatever it is, will be used to her disadvantage. Whatever a woman's body looks like and whatever she chooses to do with it will always be wrong because in the Western Patriarchy, having a female body is inherently wrong. Having small, medium size, large, or any other kind of breasts, choosing to breastfeed or not breastfeed or to wear or not wear a push-up presents challenges, pressures, and disapproval from a male dominated society because having breasts generally marks someone as female-bodied and therefore deserving of less privilege.

What is my point here? Ain't nothing wrong with boobie. Boobie feed the world.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hollaback

Yesterday, the college news hosted a wonderful panel and discussion on street harassment with Hollaback Philly. Two women were speaking, one of them made this film:
I thought it was kind of apt because my summer was kind of the summer of street harassment. Every weekday this summer, I traveled from Bryn Mawr to Camden, NJ via Philadelphia. A broad can't spend that kind of time in the public sphere without getting harassed (male anxiety about women leaving the domestic sphere, perhaps?) and Camden and Philly are areas where sexual harassment is just a part of every woman's daily experience. Every time I told someone from the area that I walked by myself from the train station to a clinic for the homeless, or to a soup kitchen, or to a day shelter, they would get extremely nervous on my behalf and suggest that I find some other way to do things. This was really my only choice, though. I didn't have a car and I didn't have a body guard. I considered taking up a different project at my internship, but I felt strongly compelled to stay the course with the project I was working on. I got harassed every day: in the train, in the train station in Philadelphia, on the street in Camden, Philly, and the village of Bryn Mawr. What kept me going was holding this scripture in my heart:
"As they came forth to lay their hands upon me I spake unto them, saying: In the name of the Almighty God, I command you that ye touch me not, for I am filled with the power of God, even unto the consuming of my flesh; and whoso shall lay his hands upon me shall wither even as a dried reed; and he shall be as naught before the power of God, for God shall smite him." 1 Nephi 17:48
Of course, I never said that to anyone, and I didn't literally believe that anyone who touched me would "wither even as a dried reed", but I kept is as my street harassment mantra because it reminded me that I had a right to be outside to the same degree as anyone else. It reminded me that I had power-- indeed, that I was "filled with the power of God, even unto the consuming of my flesh"-- and no catcall could take that from me. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The College News

Bryn Mawr has an excellent newspaper, the College News, that is specifically feminist. I started going to the meetings a few weeks ago, and have been thinking of writing for them. At our most recent meeting we were throwing around ideas for future articles. Not really believing that anyone would take interest, I offered to write an article about Mormonism and feminism and my experience as a part of both groups. The editors were very excited about this idea, and now I'm going to write a few 500-700 word articles on various topics within Mormon feminism or feminist Mormonism. I'm super duper excited, obviously, but now I have the terrifying task of having to figure out what to write about. Thoughts??

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

MaƮtresse-en-titre

Today, I turned in a rough draft of a paper about this painting:

Madame du Barry by Elizabeth Vigee-Lebrun. She was Louis XV's favorite mistress, as well as a courtesan with many different lovers and a major style icon among the Frenchies (Vigee-Lebrun was the hippest portraitier ever). So basically, she was Marilyn Monroe. The whole time I was writing, I couldn't help but think how her facial expression was exactly like Monroe's in this famous picture:


To me, these images serve to put on display what these women were seen as having to offer: their beauty. Their lovely faces, perfect bodies, artificial hair, and impeccable clothing. We were learning about portraits this week in class, and talking especially about how people tend to showcase their talents-- artists were generally painted with their brushes, knights with a glove in one hand and a sword in the other, and even certain other mistresses of the king were painted with books in hand. These portraits, however, showcase only loveliness.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Two gems from an article on "Ten Things Men Want You to Do Less Of"

The article can be found here. It's just a regular old "here's an insight into the head of every dude!" type of a thing and as usual, it's pretty objectionable. Here are two tips:

5. Changing Clothes
Within this complaint is all the hours spent in front of the mirror, fixing every little detail of the hair, the makeup, the outfit (only to freak out and change it all again). I can’t argue against how great women look—just keep the mirror time within reason otherwise and give me some kind of time frame, e.g. “15 minutes,” or “25 minutes,” and then actually take that long. Because I’m hungry. And we have a reservation. And now I’m cranky. And now we’re fighting.

Oh, it's the woman's fault you're cranky! Of course. I also love it when we're told from Glamour Magazine, a publication that (like any fashion magazine) is all about pleasing men, tells us that it is just really annoys and inconveniences men when women spend time trying to please them.

9. Watching What You Eat
Nothing against salads, or sensible portions, or water instead of soda. We could all use more of that thinking. But calories are just units of energy. Use ‘em!

This is mostly the same as the other one. It's this contradictory message that women receive and have received almost forever where women who aren't unnaturally thin and perfectly groomed are social outcasts and ignored by men... but now we're also hearing that it's irritating to men for no apparent reason when women take measures to become unnaturally thin and perfectly groomed. It's like the issue of the Virgin Mary being set as the standard for women: it is a literally impossible standard to live up to. Of course, I would love it if beauty magazines and the general male community started supporting that women be less appearance-focused, but I won't buy it until I'm also seeing models of normal proportion and reading articles entitled "Go Ahead and Gain a Few Pounds" or "How to Grow the Free-Flowing Body Hair Your Guy Craves".

Friday, January 7, 2011

lady doctor

Has anyone ever seen that episode of Scrubs where Elliot (who is a girl) is being pressured into joining the pediatrics or obstetrician department at the hospital? I'm not sure if that's the correct terminology, but anyway. She was all upset because she thought that the other doctors were being sexist by assuming that all women are only good in those two departments. Fields? I think it's fields. But my point is, who wants to have a stupid man as your OB/GYN? Not that I've ever been to an OB/GYN, but I'm just saying that men do not have a serious understanding of the female body and the way it feels. Especially in the field of obstetrics.

Originally, midwives helped women give birth, not doctors. But once medical education began to evolve and only men were allowed to go to school, the practice of midwifery was greatly diminished.

I'm trying REALLY hard to sound smart and grown-up. Sorry if i say stupid things.

Anyway, the point is that men can't really coach women in labor, because they will never experience labor. Or any kind of menstrual pain, for that matter. So let men be neurologists, pediatricians, surgeons, emergency doctors, and family practice doctors.

But leave the lady stuff to the ladies.