When Helen Gurley Brown passed away earlier this week at the age of 90, female journalists and writers came out en masse to laud Brown for her contributions to the sexual liberation of women and heralded her a feminist icon.
It’s true that Brown’s incredible 32-year reign at Cosmopolitan marked a sea change for women’s publications, offering a fresh, sexually liberated image of women “having it all” (which in Brown’s world meant sex, money and power). Brown wanted women to harness their femininity to get ahead, and many took to her female-forward, pro-sex message. But let’s not pretend Helen Gurley Brown’s “stiletto feminism” — to borrow a phrase from Washington Post writer Kathleen Parker — wasn’t also problematic. Keep reading »
“The flower to me means strength with femininity. I think that a lot of people say things like ‘You run like a girl.’ That doesn’t mean you have to run soft or you have to run dainty. It means that you’re strong.”
– U.S. 800-meter champion Alysia Montano, currently competing at the 2012 Olympics in London, on the flower she wears behind her right ear when she races. Montano began wearing the flower years ago, because though she always ran, played, and competed against the boys growing up, she never wanted to be thought of as one of them — and she wanted to remind them that they were being beat by a girl. Her opponents now may be other female athletes, but the flower has become her trademark. Love it. [Yahoo News]
Update: 4p.m. Well, that was quick. State Senator
Mary Marty Golden’s website has canceled the event. I guess you’ll have to learn your feminine wiles elsewhere. [New York Observer]
Please tell me this is a joke. This is a joke, right?
The office of a Republican politician in Brooklyn, New York, will be offering a class for women in his district about “Posture, Deportment, and Feminine Presence.” Ostensibly this is a career development event about etiquette, but the packaging is really, really WTF. Keep reading »
“I think that we have parents that we have to answer to [in the South]. My mother would die if she found out that I treated someone rudely. … When I was down there, I was wearing a dress, I got it at Goodwill or something. And she was like, “Shouldn’t you wear a slip under that?” I was like, “I wasn’t going to.” And she was like, [makes a disproving noise]. I was like, “Does it make you uncomfortable?” And she was like, “I think you should wear a slip under that.” Can you see my underwear? “Well, no, but it doesn’t have a lining.” [laughs] I was like, “Oh yeah! That’s real here,” you know what I mean? Those are still real concerns of the Southern culture.”
– Gossip’s Beth Ditto talks to The Village Voice about being from the South (she’s “related to half of Arkansas,” she jokes) and touches on ideas about Southern charm and womanhood. It’s funny to me that Beth Ditto, of all people, may have been raised with these ideas about stereotypical femininity, because the reason that everyone loves her is that she’s all, like, “Yeah, I’m 300 lbs and wearing purple lipstick with mint green eyeshadow, you wanna make something of it?!” Then again, we could all use a friendly reminder that people don’t fit into boxes. [Village Voice]
Back in college, my best dude friend laughingly told me a horrifying — and quite possibly apocryphal — story about a “friend of a friend” whose one-night stand lost control of her bowels during a particularly energetic bout of anal sex. Embarrassed for the woman, I tentatively asked what the man did at that point, figuring he’d gotten angry or flipped out or ran into the bathroom to vomit.
“Oh,” my friend said nonchalantly, “Duh. He took her into the bedroom and kept going.”
The story’s stuck with me for years and not just for the gross-out factor: the more I’d hear about women afraid to crap in their boyfriends’ apartments or in shared hotel room bathrooms on weekend getaways, about psychosomatic constipation related to the mere presence of a man with whom a woman was having sexual relations, the more I’d think about the nonchalant way men talk about shit and wonder if we were really just doing all of this to ourselves. Is it really that men (or, at least the kind of men you’d want near your genitals) need us to be poop-and-fart free to want to fuck us, or have we just convinced ourselves they did? Or, worse yet, are we projecting our own learned squeamishness about our bodily functions onto men, as a way to rationalize yet another internalization of the “our bodies are gross” myths that pervade society? Keep reading »
There’s an interesting essay Chuck Klosterman wrote (it’s really very good, read the whole thing here) where he postulates:
There doesn’t seem to be much debate over what have been the four best television shows of the past 10 years. It seems like an easy question to answer, particularly since it’s become increasingly difficult to write about the state of TV (or even the state of popular culture) without tangentially mentioning one of the following four programs — “The Sopranos,” “The Wire,” “Mad Men,” and/or “Breaking Bad.”
And that’s not just a Chuck Klosterman opinion. A commenter on a Vulture Recap of Breaking Bad remarks:
“This past season ‘Breaking Bad’ passed ‘The Sopranos’ as the best show ever on television (followed by ‘Deadwood’ and ‘Mad Men’).”
Well, if you say so. Keep reading »
“Here’s the thing about being a girlie girl. I think there was a generation before us that felt like they needed to act like men to be taken seriously, like they had to use their sexuality to take control of people. I don’t judge people for that. But I don’t want to take all my clothes off and use myself as an object. It’s part of the machine and I don’t think that necessarily pushes us forward as women. I think you can still be girlie and maintain your power. The fact that you associate being girlie with being non-threatening, that is I mean, I can’t think of more blatant example of playing into exactly the thing that we’re trying to fight against. I can’t be girlie? Why do I need to be defined aesthetically by someone else’s perceptions of what makes me seem like someone who should be taken seriously? I’m going to wear whatever I want to wear, because I’m expressing myself, and I deserve that right. And I like the way that looks. You’re not demeaning yourself by acting girlie. I think the fact that people are associating being girlie with weakness, that needs to be examined. Not me dressing girlie. I don’t think that undermines my power at all.”
—Zooey Deschanel talks to New York about why she exercises her right to be a girly girl and a feminist. What do you think about what Zooey’s saying? [NYMag.com]
More, after the jump. Keep reading »
It figures a mother who made headlines when she taught her six-year-old daughter to pole dance would find another way to make the news: Sarah Burge of the UK gave her girl, Poppy, a voucher for breast implants on her 7th birthday. Burge, who is known as “the Human Barbie” for her slavish devotion to her plasticine looks, said Poppy can cash in her boob job after she turns 16 and her natural boobs have grown in. Do I even need to write about how promising an elementary schooler that she can get a boob job is really f**ked up? No? Cool.
Keep reading »
Don’t get me wrong. I love rules. They’re great. They provide order. Structure. Prevent us from killing each other over the little things (Like your roommate eating the last of the Tostitos) and the big things (Like your roommate eating the last of the Lime Tostitos). Those rules are important, necessary even. But some rules, well they’re not quite as important, not quite as necessary. In fact, they’re not necessary at all.
Some rules, especially rules for girls, well, they’re just made to be broken…
1. Always behave like a lady. Prim and proper and absolutely perfect. Think Martha Stewart meets Sarah Palin. Or something like that. I’ve never been all that good with this rule. Read more… Keep reading »
While any professional bodybuilder is a sight to behold, female bodybuilders are undoubtedly even more fascinating than their male counterparts — for how they challenge expectations of gender. They morph their bodies into hyper-masculine, superhero-like proportions, turning the softness that typically characterizes a woman’s curvy body to rock-hard muscle. Their rigorous weight-lifting literally leaves them breast-less. In an exhibit here in NYC this summer, On And Off The Walls: Female Bodybuilders, photographer Martin Schoeller shows us the part of female bodybuilders the camera usually ignores — their faces. Schoeller, who is well-known for taking up-close portraits of celebrities that are not always flattering, shows us how very feminine, pretty, and delicate hard-muscled mamas can be. The juxtaposition of femininity and masculinity in these photographs is kind of amazing, don’t you think? [Hasted Hunt Kraeutler Gallery via The New Yorker] Keep reading »