Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Parenthood Redux

Warning: Spoilers if you haven't completed Season 3 of NBC's Parenthood. 

Ok, I have just got to gush a bit (and it isn't the first time.) I just freaking love this show. It pulls me in so much that I can't even think straight. I pretty much just sit here and marvel at how bad I want to be a member of the Braverman family. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Dolly Parton is Legit and Love Ain't Obligation

The other day, I stumbled across this amazing tweet: "To me, obligation is not love. Letting someone be open, honest, and free-that's love. It's got to come natural and it's got to be real."

I don't follow Dolly Parton, but now I'm thinking I should. This stuff speaks to my very soul, as I'll expand upon in a moment. However, this only serves to drive home a point that one of my friends has been making as long as I've known her: Ms. Dolly Parton is the real deal. Parton's modest up bringing is well known. I feel that her modest beginnings contribute to her savvy business management. She also has had the same husband for going on 46 years. Long story short: I like her.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"Every" Shape? Looking at Sizesploitation

This post is a part of my “Out of the Kitchen” weekly column at The Progressive Playbook in which various news and pop culture items will be examined through a feminist lens.

This morning, I saw this ad floating around which claims to depict what Levi jeans look like on "different" women's body types, with the headline "Hotness comes in all shapes and sizes." (Clearly the subtitle should be: if you wear a size 4 or less.) Seriously, not to snark on these women, because this is not about their bodies...but they're all fairly the same. With the exception of marginally different bust size and butt positioning, they look almost indistinguishable. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I Regret Getting Married

As I've recently written, I've been married three years now. In fact, my anniversary is on the 28th. There is no question: I love my husband. He is absolutely my favorite person in the world; my best friend, my life partner, my daily inspiration. I have been with him for 9 years and everyday I am thankful for my amazing, egalitarian, supportive, and laugh-til-I-cry relationship with him.

So it's probably surprising that this whole blog is about why I regret getting married.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Oh, Last Names

This post is a part of my “Out of the Kitchen” weekly column at The Progressive Playbook in which various news and pop culture items will be examined through a feminist lens.

Birth control access controversies this week have given me enough fodder to write feminist blogs for years. Well that and Chris Brown. I've decided to rise above that bull and focus on something else right now so that I don't blow a gasket. That something else is the topic of last name changes.

I feel like this topic is pretty well worn territory and can sometimes be a big can of worms but regardless, I thought I'd throw in my two cents on the whole thing. For some background, almost three years ago, I got married and kept my last name. The subsequent three years have proven to me that while feminism has made significant strides in this area, it's still a highly contested subject. (Here I'd like to put the disclaimer that this entire discussion is super heterosexist, as my objection to name changes rests on the patriarchy of the tradition of male-female pairings. Plus, same sex couples are still denied their right to marry in most places.)

I guess before I go on, I might as well detail why I made the choice I did. For me, it was a process. I married Mr. Nerdy Feminist after being together for 6 years. Those 6 years were a critical time of learning for me and I went from a teen who was marginally interested in justice issues to a full blow feminist. My feelings about my last name corresponded with this transition into my full political identity; I started out as someone who didn't necessarily want to change my last name but figured I someday would, to someone who thought I'd hyphenate, to fully against the concept.

For me, if I would have changed my last name, there would be no way to remain critical of mindlessly patriarchal traditions if my own actions did not support this. It would be flat out hypocrisy. And I couldn't see any good reason to change my last name.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Picture Worth a Thousand Tears

A coworker had warned me that this was going on today...but it wasn't until I saw this photo on Shakesville that it really hit me. This image is from a hearing against the Obama administration's requirement for employers to provide birth control to their employees.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hating Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is perhaps the most divisive holiday I can think of. For every person using it to celebrate love and romanticism there are 3 people complaining about it as "single's awareness day" and it being a holiday created by greeting card companies.

On one hand, I get that Valentine's Day has kind of a crappy social message. It tends to be about traditional, heterosexual relationships and a very chivalrous view of romance. I don't really dig that. Plus, I feel pretty strongly that every day with your partner you should strive to be thoughtful and loving.

On the other hand, I feel like hating Valentine's day is a waste of emotions. There is little in this world that is more important that love, if you ask me. So fundamentally, anything that is all about love is by default a good thing. I feel pretty strongly that the solution to a better Valentine's Day experience is to not make it all about squishy, heterosexist, romance, but rather ALL love.

Monday, February 13, 2012

I Figured It Out...

Trigger warning: intimate partner violence.

In August, Chris Brown performed at the VMAs and I asked, "What do we do with Breezy?" The bulk of my concerns were this:
It is very, very disturbing to me for someone with a proven track record of anger management issuesviolence, and abuse to be so heavily marketing to teen girls. I truly want to believe that people can change, but many abusers are repeat offenders. If the message we are sending teens is that you can brutally beat your girlfriend, lay low for a year or two, and then re-emerge and continue your ridiculously successful music career, how can we expect young people to condemn violence in their own lives? And what does it say about our society when we continue to implicitly reward this type of behavior?
Here we are in February 2012 and the answer from the Grammys is clear: we give him awards and allow him to perform twice. And to quote that NYDailyNews.com piece, his "comeback is complete."

Friday, February 10, 2012

Rosario Dawson is Right

I was cruising through Miss Representation's YouTube videos for funsies and I came across this clip of Rosario Dawson, an actress who I admittedly know little about. But here, she's hit right on one of Hollywood's biggest problems...all too often the stories told are from the male POV. But a real feminist media wouldn't include purely positive portrayals of women. It would strive for well-rounded, non-stereotypical portrayals of women, written by women. That includes women who overcome obstacles, are flawed, and authentic. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Moneyball, The Help, and the Oscars

This post is a part of my “Out of the Kitchen” weekly column at The Progressive Playbook in which various news and pop culture items will be examined through a feminist lens.

As I'm sure I've mentioned before, I am a cinephile. As such, I see a lot of movies and the Oscars are one of my favorite times of the year. For the past few Oscar seasons, going into the big night, I have made it a goal to see all of the best picture nominees. Because I do spend so much time at the movies, and the Oscars highlight the best of the best, this goal is usually not difficult for me. For example, last year I only had not seen one movie at the point of the nomination announcements. So this year, I was stunned when many of the nominated movies where films that I had passed on seeing, chiefly because I had no interest.

Two of these movies were Moneyball and The Help, which I passed on for different reasons. However, this weekend in order to reach my goal by Oscar night, my partner and I rented both. The more that I mull them over, the more that I can' t help but feel that these two movies are emblematic of bigger issues in Hollywood.

Brad Pitt in Moneyball
Before I jump into my bigger thoughts, I'd like to give some background as to why I didn't see these films in the first place. The reasons for Moneyball are simple. I'm not a sports person. I don't really dig sports stories. I can get into a sports movie, if it is one that develops its characters and has a story line which is broad enough to appeal to a lay audience. (In other words, it can't assume that I know or care about the sport. We're talking The Sandlot or A League of Their Own.) From the looks of Moneyball, this wasn't the case. So I passed.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Shorter Memebase: Rape is for the Lolz

I've been mulling over posting this because I think it reveals just how very low my standards are for a laugh on the internet. Despite my reservations, I'm just going to go all in. I read Memebase. It's shameful, and I know it. The jokes are frequently low brow and every -ist ever existed. While I am well aware of this, I skim over the crap as every so often there's a gem in the mix that makes me giggle.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Bowl 46: A Shitty Gender Situation as Ever

So the culmination of the football season just happened...and, you know, there's a reason that the Super Bowl has its own tag here...while all other tags are much more general (like "education" or "sports.") It's because the Super Bowl is a yearly reminder that women just aren't that important.

This year was no exception. The whole thing went down in my hometown of Indianapolis. While I was really happy to have the eyes of the world on my old digs, I was epically disappointed that the advertisements are a case of same shit, different year. If an alien civilization had only access to Super Bowl commercials as artifacts of our way of life, they would find a pretty bleak picture of both men (sex driven meat-heads) and women (sexed up, throw away objects.)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Things that Need to Disappear from Our Vocabulary...Edition 539, Heterosexist Garbage

As I was reading Jezebel this morning, I came across a quick blurb on how "One Million Moms" doesn't like that Ellen DeGeneres is the new JC Penney spokesperson. They said,
Funny that JC Penney thinks hiring an open homosexual spokesperson will help their business when most of their customers are traditional families...DeGeneres is not a true representation of the type of families that shop at their store. The majority of JC Penney shoppers will be offended and choose to no longer shop there.
In addition to making me roll my eyes so hard that I pulled a muscle, this reminded me of another of the many things that I think we should be totally removing from our vocabulary...any phrase or statement that asserts that gay people need to hide their lifestyle or alter their behavior in public. Examples include...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Susan G. Komen Foundation: Extremism Over Mammograms

This post is a part of my “Out of the Kitchen” weekly column at The Progressive Playbook in which various news and pop culture items will be examined through a feminist lens.

My mom is a breast cancer survivor.

When she was diagnosed in early December of 2009, I was just 20 days short of the biggest transition of my young life. I was moving 1,100 miles away from everyone I knew. Of course, the idea of leaving my family at a time when my mom would need more support than ever was terrifying. That Christmas, 3 days before my departure, I gave her a Susan G. Komen shirt. I had a matching one. I wanted her to wear it and know that I was thinking about her no matter where I was.

The Genderbread Person

I absolutely love this. Like a lot. Like maybe too much.

It should really clear up any confusion that remains about these very different facets of sex and gender.

(h/t to a commenter at Jezebel.)