I was rewatching Halle Berry’s Catwoman tonite, and it got me thinking. I know that Wonder Woman is supposed to be this great re-visioning of what it means to be a strong, independent woman. I know many people looked at Catwoman as a complete and utter failure because of any number of excuses.
But what struck me is that what the movie does is reveals that women can only be free when they choose to define themselves, when they choose their identity and are true to it. It’s not about being “good” or being “bad,” but being who they are at their core.
For some women, being like Sharon Stone (Laurel Hadere) or Alex Borstein (Patience’s friend Sally) is who they want to be. They want to fit in with the world and build power and freedom within the limitations of what our society thinks is appropriate behavior for a woman.
They think if they can somehow attain that power (through their relative “attractiveness” or how closely to the supposed feminine ideal they can be) then they will be accorded the freedom to be themselves. The problem is, by the time that they attain that height, they have become something completely at odds with who they really are. Sadly, if they choose to try to reflect that inner truth, all of that so-called “power” or “freedom” disappears like a burst soap bubble.
The “living marble” that Laurel has become is a wonderful metaphor for this false self. We choose to try to conform as a way to keep from being hurt. We become who our family wants, who our husband or partner wants, who their children or friend group wants us to be — or who WE think they want us to be.
I’ve started and stopped this post repeatedly over the last few weeks. I can only describe this particular difficulty with posting as the writing equivalent to avoiding someone’s eyes. As I stated in March 1’s post, this relates directly to the same reasons I was physically incapable of controlling my eye contact with my therapist when we pinpointed a particularly painful memory.
The basics of the memory are described in that post. However, since my therapy session, a few other experiences kept poking at that same set of emotions, choices and actions. This repetition is what caused the epiphany. And, like many such revelations, it hit like a Mack truck.
It’s been so hard to face that epiphany that I have had anxiety attacks just about looking closer at it or dealing with the understanding. I’ve been having to focus on things that deal entirely with mathematics, even though my ability to do so has been seriously retarded by my cognitive issues. Dealing with pure equations — even though it takes me at least 10x as long (in fact, almost 70% of the last two weeks has been spent creating a completely math-based set of data collection for my physical and mental health). Before my breakdown, the data collection set up for simple data entry would have taken at most 8 hours).
There is sadly a truism about dating in this over-connected world. There is always a seeming level of disconnect between the types of communication that are available to us. Someone you might enjoy the company of in person can become someone entirely different when texting or emailing.
Plus, we women have to make a risk assessment any time we physically meet someone we’ve only just met on the Internet. It’s actually something we have to do any time we’re out with someone – even someone we may have known for a while.
Men complain that we don’t trust them. That we assume the worst of them before they’ve even gotten a chance.
As girls, we’re taught that men and boys only want one thing — to have sex with us. So before we’ve even started dating, we’re already set up to be afraid — whether it is on a conscious level or not. Then, we’re taught to dress in a certain way, act in a certain way or any of hundreds of other little criticisms about our behavior that eventually mean that if a man or boy actually attacks us sexuality, we are already set up to believe that the problem is with us, that we somehow provoked the attack by how we dressed or how we acted. Rarely, until more recently, was it ever stated clearly in many public discussions that perhaps the rapist is the problem, not us.
I don’t remember where I originally heard this Latin phrase. But it is very descriptive of how I feel as an American right now. No, I’m not planning on dumping on the people who voted for Trump. Some of them did so not because they are racist, sexist, homophobic or any other label you want to give them. So, why did they?
And no, not all of them are “rural hicks” as many urbanites seem to want to paint them.
Some of them actually have traditionally voted Democratic.
We have to talk about the elephant in the room that isn’t President Trump (and, yes, I cringe when I say that. But I was taught to give respect to the office of President regardless of who sat in the Oval Office) who is over in the other corner stomping on our Constitution.
The Democratic Party shot itself in the foot. And they are still not taking responsibility for what they did. Party insiders decided that Clinton was “THE Candidate” even though there were real concerns about her ethics and her choices. No, it wasn’t a “Republican smear campaign” as they tried to reframe those concerns. Those of us who have actually watched her rise to power who didn’t trust her had very good reasons for doing so.
But the party leaders wanted to follow up after the “first African-American President” (That seems like it should be a trademarked phrase, as often as I have heard it spoken about) with the “first female President.” And instead of actually looking around for a woman who didn’t have Clinton’s additional baggage, they chose instead to force her onto their constituency. THAT is as much a reason for why we have Trump as our president as all of the other reasons people are talking about.
Now, I completely understand the idea that if you make a parody of a popular song that you hope you can ride on it’s coattails in the hopes of some form of Internet stardom. I really do. Hell, even doing a cover of it can add to a musical group’s popularity, such as the Haschak Sisters’ version:
But when someone’s parody (No, I won’t paste your parody on my blog — not when it takes up all of the disgusting tropes that artists like Meghan Trainor and the Haschak Sisters are trying to destroy) uses all of the exact same tropes that women — and particularly women of size — are fighting, simply so they can be treated like human beings then yes, I will publicly comment upon it.
Meghan Trainor is a body acceptance advocate. Even the “complaints” about her song “All About That Bass” were baseless (see the quote below).
I’m bringing booty back Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches Hey no, I’m just playing
I know you think you’re fat,
But I’m here to tell you that,
Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top
All About That Bass
Added emphasis is mine.
NOTE: If you are a feminist, and still think she’s not being a body acceptance activist, then perhaps you need glasses. The above-quoted words specifically state that even “skinny bitches” think they’re fat but they are just as perfect as any other female body.
I thought long and hard about whether or not to link to the article I’m focusing on in this post. I’m not interested in adding to the popularity of his posts, so I won’t be directly linking to it. On the other hand, if you really want to read the article, search for washing machine, the Pill and Breitbart, and you will find it.
This unashamedly gay Republican is part of what is considered the alt-right. These are the fringe of the conservative side of the spectrum. They are kind of fringe for the Right as the radFems (this includes many feminists who consider ANY penis-in-vagina sex is ALWAYS rape, and essentially want to eliminate men as a whole. Sadly, many of them are anti-transgender as well) are as fringe for the Left.
I’ve looked at some of his articles, as well as what Breitbart.com stands for. When I first came across his article, I was absolutely convinced that it was a satire website such as the Onion or the Daily Currant. The article was just too far-fetched to be someone’s real opinion, I felt.
According to him, if we got rid of washing machines and the Pill, women in this country would go “back” to being happy.
His complaint about the washing machine was that it “effectively freed up half the human species to enter the workforce. His issue with the Pill is that it is “used to lower a woman’s estrogen levels and reduce the likelihood of her becoming pregnant.”
I’ve made no bones that I think of myself more as a centrist than anything else when it comes to political thought. Yes, I stray more toward the liberal end of the spectrum particularly when it comes to matters of social justice.
Now, why would I emphasize the word spectrum in the last paragraph? Because we seem to have forgotten that no issue in this world is a simple binary set. Yes, there are oppositional states, but the human brain is never quite so limited to the simplistic idea that something is either/or.
What does that have to do with this election? Quite a bit, actually.
We have two different sets of people acting in two different kinds of anti-social behavior. But both kinds of anti-social behavior are based in one simple emotion: Fear.
The word “gaze” when used in a sociological, psychological or philosophical discussion defines the relationship that someone has with their culture and how someone is forced into a particular role due to the power dynamics in that culture.
It is the misunderstanding of the basics of the phrase “the male gaze” that causes many people to stop listening when that phrase or many others like it are spoken.
This Facebook post by Gabe Sapienza is a very clear discussion by a man and an artist of that knee-jerk phrase of “the male gaze.”
As stated by the writer of the article linked above, this is not about Trump or his supposed “locker room talk.”
For me, this is about what we are teaching our children. I have given up hope that we can teach a certain percentage of the adult male population that “rape culture” is a real, provable thing.
We teach our children that males can get away with behavior that females are not permitted. That even though certain behaviors are clearly negative and thereby considered “wrong” in our society, males will be excused for that “wrong” behavior.
I do understand the reasoning the authority figures give for excusing such behaviors. They don’t want to “destroy a young man’s life” for a “simple mistake.” They want to give him a “chance” because it was “just bad decision-making.”
The problem with that is that we are ignoring the victim of this young man’s behaviors. We are telling the victim(s) that they are not excused for their “simple mistake” of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We vilify them for their own “bad decision-making.” And it doesn’t matter if that victim is male or female.
I promised myself that I would no longer get into any discussions about politics. And, guess what? This is NOT about politics.
It’s about making sure my body is MINE — and not owned by some random man who thinks he owns any woman’s body whenever he wants it.
Like this woman, I have been “touched” by a man against my own will. And, I spent a good portion of my life actually believing I had NOT been a victim of sexual assault. Why? I’m glad you asked that question.
The answer, however, is probably something you don’t want to hear.
Unwanted sexual touching has been normalized in our culture for pretty much not only during the entire history of our nation, but was previously normalized in the cultures that spawned our nation.
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