This weekend, Kira Kazantsev from New York won the 88th Miss America pageant at Atlantic City, which was inevitably followed by a slew of blog posts viciously skewering Kazantsev and the Miss America pageant in general. Gawker honed in on Kazantsev’s “rhythmless red-cup percussion“ rendition of “Happy,” inspired by the movie “Pitch Perfect.” Salon, in an otherwise sympathetic post, called the pageant “a collective American Nelson Muntz moment.” And Bustle redubbed Ms. America ”Miss Symbol of Conventional Gender Mores.”
Every year, I read these posts lambasting the Miss America pageant for being sexist, lame, irrelevant, and outdated, and the contestants themselves for being little more than a dumb person’s idea of ideal American femininity, anthropomorphized celery stalks liberally smeared with self-bronzer and Bonne Bell purple eyeshadow. And I agree with them, to some extent. (That flip-cup rendition of “Happy” wasn’t stellar, let’s just leave it at that.)
But mostly they just make my eyes roll into the back of my skull. Keep reading »
Remember when a bunch of gay men started drawing vaginas as they see them and it kind of blew people’s minds? Philadelphia writer and artist Alex Millard remembers too, and she was struck by the fact that the project exists on the notion that lots of people have no idea what vaginas really look like, whereas phallic images are all over the place. As she puts it, “Almost every person on the planet has encountered the penis in its real or figurative form, consensually or non-consensually, once or multiple times. Penises and their various manifestations dominate our architecture, slang, and organizational structures.” So, she launched a brilliant project of her own — Women Draw Penises. Keep reading »
“The first thing to know about your penis is, that despite the way it may see, it is not your penis. Ultimately, God created you and it is his penis. You are simply borrowing it for a while.
While His penis is on loan you must admit that it is sort of just hanging out there very lonely as if it needed a home, sort of like a man wondering the streets looking for a house to live in. Knowing that His penis would need a home, God created a woman to be your wife and when you marry her and look down you will notice that your wife is shaped differently than you and makes a very nice home. …
Therefore, if you are single you must remember that your penis is homeless and needs a home. But, though you may believe your hand is shaped like a home, it is not. And, though women other than your wife may look like a home, to rest there would be breaking into another man’s home. And, if you look at a man it is quite obvious that what a homeless man does not need is another man without a home.”
This brilliant chunk of wisdom comes from the mouth of Pastor Mark Driscoll (never trust a man wearing a beaded choker, I always say) of the Washington-based evangelical church Mars Hill, which recently announced it was shuttering several of its Pacific Northwest locations because of “financial difficulties” related to bad press. Bad press, huh? You mean people take issue with a religious leader referring to roughly 51 percent of the world’s population, specifically their vaginas, as “penis homes”? Personally, I would be offended if I didn’t find the whole thing so hilarious. Anyway, if a vagina is a penis home, what’s an asshole? A ski retreat in Aspen? Is my mouth a house upstate? DISCUSS. [Death & Taxes]
Some years ago, a young man that I was casually dating invited me to a birthday party with some of his friends who all moved to New York City, from Florida, to go to college. It was a scenario I had long grown accustomed to: I was the only Black girl amongst a group of non-minority people, laughing, drinking and talking.
Then this statement came out of nowhere and immediately wiped the smile from my face: “The best way to keep America safe is to just deport all of the Muslims,” a young White boy said in between sips of a beer.
It pierced my ears, momentarily paralyzing me. My eyes darted towards my friend to gauge his reaction to the words that pierced the air like an arrow launched from a bow, striking me in my chest. He seemed completely unmoved.
“Well, we don’t have to get rid of all of them, just the terrorists really,” he responded plainly.
We never spoke after that day. Keep reading »
“Men Are From Mars, Women Are Venus,” which implies men’s and women’s brains are hardwired differently, has pit people against each other for decades — some see at as sexist drivel while others see at as a groundbreaking truth. Gina Rippon, a neuroscientist and “gender difference denier” (yes, people actually call her this) who will speak at the upcoming British Science Festival this weekend, believes books like that one cause those gender differences in the first place. According to her, the only differences between our brains can be attributed to our minds adapting to gender stereotypes and taking them on as truth. Keep reading »