Thursday, August 18, 2011

Slutwalk and "Humorless Feminists"

Recently, I was talking to acquaintance about how much I love the internet.

"What do you do on the internet?" he asked.

I said, "I read a lot about feminism."

Cue shocked look. I could see him mentally formulating every interaction we'd had and him trying to reconcile it with the idea of HUMORLESS FEMINIST. To ease his calculations, I added, "Yes. That's right. I'm a humorless feminist."

Where does that idea come from, exactly?

Last night the AAUW (American Association of University Women) hosted a panel discussion called RE: Action - A debate on Slutwalk. Much has been written about the Slutwalks and the original Toronto cop who sparked Slutwalks already, but what struck me about last night was how easy to laugh the panelists and entire room was, even though they were discussing something extremely serious.

Slutwalk itself is tongue in cheek; it takes the Toronto cop's words and shows exactly how ridiculous they are.  Obviously: my short skirt does not tell a person I want to have sex with them. My skirt does not have a louder voice than I do.

Alexandra Petri, who was on the panel, told a joke that I'm going to paraphrase:
A man rapes a woman. Later, she has a job interview with him. They go through the entire interview, but unfortunately, at the end of it, he tells her that she did not get the job.  
The next morning, she shows up bright and early at 9 a.m., ready to work. He is taken aback. "I told you that you didn't get the job!"
"Oh," she said, "I thought that no meant yes."
She said that it was the only rape joke that she'd ever heard that was funny. Well, because its one of the few that focuses on how ridiculous the excuses for rape are. Petri pointed out that all the other jokes about rape are actually very serious and not funny. Prison rape, for example, is something that gets joked about all the time, and that is disturbing.

It reminded me of this clip from Chelsea Peretti:

Feminist Film points out:
Chelsea Peretti’s rape jokes are basically about how she recognizes that there is nothing you can do to realistically prevent rape, but how we’re expected to be really afraid of it all the time anyway.  And she does a really good bro impression 
Rape itself isn't funny: its the excuses, the societal bullshit that is funny. Feminists aren't humorless, they just don't laugh at not funny jokes.

Another panelist, Aiyi'nah "SimplyNay" Ford, was all around hilarious. She explained that she wants to reclaim the word 'slut' because she knows her own power, and those words do not hold power over her. She also explained her swearing habits, which lead her to call people "motherfucking motherfuckers."

RE: Action - A Debate on Slutwalk was on a pretty serious subject, but that does not mean that there cannot be a few life-affirming laughs.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sound the alarm bells: 1 in 4 adults didn't read a book last year

Got the message from Bookshelves of Doom with a link to the WaPo article. The takeaway?
One in four adults read no books at all in the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Tuesday.
I know that this is framed in an alarming way, but...I'm not entirely sure why this is a big deal. And I love to read!  I'm trying to read 150 books this year!  Why am I not lamenting the sad state of reading affairs in America? This part from the article:
"I just get sleepy when I read," said Richard Bustos of Dallas, a habit with which millions of Americans can doubtless identify. Bustos, a 34-year-old project manager for a telecommunications company, said he had not read any books in the last year and would rather spend time in his backyard pool.
Honestly, dude, I can relate. In college, I used to start studying in the afternoon for the express purpose of being asleep for an afternoon nap in the next 30 minutes. Lets face it! Americans have other things going on. And that guy loves to be in the pool! Shouldn't I be out getting more exercise, rather reading 150 books? In another article, I could say something like:
"I just don't like to go outside very much. I'd rather stay inside, read, watch television... Besides, its been so hot lately," she said, adding that occasionally she does ten minute yoga routines in the morning.
We're all fuckups in some way according to the media. 

Besides, television has gotten super intense and complicated. Certain programs (The Wire, Mad Men) are like intellectual pursuits. I'm willing to give non-readers a break. Your life is complicated, I'm sure that you're doing what you can, and I'm not here to give you a guilt trip.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Midwestern Girls, Approximately

I don't know, maybe its a Midwestern thing, but where I'm from, you're not supposed to brag about yourself. That's what my mom says. She says you should wait for people to recognize your good qualities. And then you should say, like, 'Oh no, I'm not really that great at whatever-it-is. I'm just okay.' And then they'll say, "No, really. You're great.' And you say, 'I'm really not, but thanks anyway for saying so.' And they'll say, 'Yes you are. You so are!' And you say, 'Gee, do you really think so?' And then they'll say, 'Totally!' And then people think you're good at whatever it is you're good at, but they don't think you're braggy about it 'cause that makes you seem like a real tool. Plus, it's unladylike. 
From Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Honestly, this sort of thing is hard to fight against. Sometimes it is too braggy. But sometimes you are too modest. Where is the line? This happens early in the book, so obviously the character that says this (Mary Lou) grows a set of Lady Balls (Thatchers, if you will) by the end of the book. But there's a difference between bragging and sticking up for yourself.

[Cross posted at tumblr. If you clink a link from this post to, I receive a portion of the purchase price of whatever you buy at no additional cost to you]

Saturday, July 30, 2011

150 Book Challenge: Mini Update

Oh man, so I'm totally failing on reading 13 books this month (only 10!), but due to being so far ahead other months, I'm still super ahead on the challenge.

All that being said: I really, really liked How To Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu. I'm really, really looking forward to reading his short story collection.

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

From George R. R. Martin's A Dance With Dragons

‎"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads only lives one." 

- George R. R. Martin

Friday, July 22, 2011

Being an Adult

Its the new thing to proclaim your childishness for all the internet to see. "I suck at being an adult! I'm a child in an adult body! I saw Toy Story Three!" The best of these is Hyperbole and a Half's "This is Why I'll Never Be An Adult"  The most recent of which that I've read is this one from Hello Giggles.

But even though I spend most of my time watching television, I'm unable to manage time effectively, I ate frozen cheesecake for dinner last night because it was so hot.... I have to admit that I've started that transition, the adult transition. I definitely am no longer in college.

I'm pretty sure that other people's badges of adulthood are different, but mine are:
  1. I'm a wizard at laundry. Seriously. I got bike grease out of my boyfriend's short, I got cat blood out of his shirt a few months ago. And I know that its not me performing the magic, its oxyclean, but not looking at a grease stain and saying, "Fuck it. I'm throwing you away rather than dealing with you," is a sort of triumph.
  2. I make food that isn't macaroni and cheese. 
  3. Related -- I eat a vegetable that isn't a potato once a day and drink tea without any sweetener.
  4. I've kept a cat alive for four years now. I remember when he was still a kitten, and I said to someone that I had a cat. Their reply, "In your college apartment??? Is it ALIVE?" Why, yes. I feed it and take it to the vet and everything.
  5. I have motherfucking goals. Seriously. Like, the 150 Book Challenge for the year. A new one I'm toying with is trying to get to 100,000 total tracks on my account by the end of the year. Doesn't matter that its an inconsequential goal. Still counts.
  6. I'm also keeping plants alive. Outside, or whatever, but in the current heat wave, that is a miracle and it shall be counted as no less.
I feel like its become the new cool thing, the "Oh, I'm not an adult because I wear flip flops in the snow." (True story: I do.) Just like being awkward became cool 5 years ago... which still boggles my mind. Do you know the feeling of being awkward? It is the exact opposite of coolness. I feel sick and want to sink into the pages of Harry Potter where time-turners exist so I can turn the clocks back, or at best, obliviate with a a flick of my wand so that NO ONE REMEMBERS THE WEIRD THING I SAID OR DID. The essence of not being cool.

So I'm owning to being an adult. There are worse things. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011