Thursday, October 25, 2012

I Get A Little Ranty

I've read two stories in less than a week about teenage girls who were hounded into suicide by taunts of "slut."  It's goes without mentioning it, doesn't it, that the boys they were slutting around with were spared any abuse.

It breaks my heart.  It breaks my heart that this never seems to stop happening.   And goddammit!  It makes me so goddamn motherfucking mad!

I remember being in high school like a million years ago and a classmate had the word "SLUT" written all over her locker.  She'd allegedly given a blow job to some boy in the school parking lot.  I remember another girl telling me "she deserved it."  The boy deserved his high fives.

We send such fucked up and, GOD, complicated messages to girls - we force them to walk this increasingly narrow line between being hot and being respected.  I wonder if men understand how complicated this whole "lady in the street/freak in the bed" thing is?  I'm 43 years old now and I still haven't figured it how to walk that line.  Instead I figured out how not to give two flying fucks about it.

But our girls, you guys!  What about our girls? We're sending our girls out into a world where they HAVE to be hot.  But not, you know, WHOREY hot.  Slutty girls are disgusting, amirite?  I ask you: why does Charlie Sheen get to be charming, secondthirdfourthfifth chance rogue while Lindsey Lohan ain't nothin' but a train wreck? You know why, motherfucker?  Because we write SLUT on the girl's locker while we high five the boys. 

On the other hand, girls, you better make sure the boys want you!  I remember a conversation I had a few years ago with a couple of guys about Lady Gaga.  These grown ass men were disgusted by how un-pretty Lady Gaga was.  Fucking butterface.  Where does she get off being famous without being pretty.  You HAVE to be hot.

But keep it classy.  Otherwise: you're disgusting. Slut.

I'm a little ranty.  Forgive me. 

You know what?  I started this off wanting a feminist "It Gets Better." But as I write this, the less I want it.  I don't want gentle assurances that eventually most people grow out of this and stop calling girls sluts.  Because they don't! There's still this large segment of American society that insists that girls fit this narrow, uncomfortable FUCKED UP lady in the street/freak in the bed binary.  Powerful pundits who are also disgusting middle-aged fat fucking fuckwits call Sandra Fluke a slut and people laugh and applaud!  And then they laugh and applaud when the same fucking fuckwit waxes disgusted by how old Hillary Clinton is!  How fat Michelle Obama's ass is!  There are great big grown up men who think the prime directive of women is to make them come and then make babies.  There are duly elected senators who think that rape is something feminists made up!

And, GODDAMMIT!  It makes me so mad.  It makes me so angry that this fifteen year old girl got hounded by kids (boys and girls) who are, in their own sad stupid way, victims of our fucked up cultural norms where girls get SLUT written on their locker and boys get high fived.  

We owe ALL our kids better.  We owe our boys the chance to see girls as, you know, people.  And we owe our girls the opportunity to be who they want to be and to stop, GODDAMMIT, punishing them so dreadfully when they step outside the respectable/hot binary.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I Ain't Livin' Vicariously

When I'm at work, I like to have someone talking in my ear.  Not someone I know, mind you.  Random strangers on the Internet.  I usually have a podcast happening or last night's Rachel Maddow.  But since I'm at work, and working, I generally don't really take in what any of these people are saying.  It just makes me unavailable to the other folks in my office because I am exactly that kind of asshole.  Today I listened to an hour and a half long episode of the Marc Maron show in which he interviewed Jimmy Walker.  My takeaway from that is that Jimmy Walker says "fuck" sometimes, which I was surprised by.  I also discovered that Jimmy Walker is only eight years younger than John Amos (who played his dad on Good Times).  But I didn't learn that on the podcast.  That showed up when I decided to look up John Amos on Wikipedia because I remembered hearing that he was disappointed by the mugging and dyn-o-mites of Jimmy Walker.  According to Wikipedia, it was a little more complicated than that.  But seriously, isn't that crazy that only eight years separated the actors who played J.J. and his father? 

Anyway, I digress.

This morning, I clicked on a video of Lana Wachowski giving a speech as she accepted an award from the Human Rights Council.  I don't know what she said because I was working through other stuff, but according to Gawker, it was really wonderful.  Here's the speech in case you want to pay attention.

But let's take a look at her:

Doesn't she look like someone you'd like?  Well, I don't know you.  Maybe she doesn't look like someone you'd like.  But she looks like someone I'd like.  She looks nice.  She looks fun.  She looks smart.  I actually don't have any fucking idea what she looked like when she was Larry, but I bet Larry didn't look nearly as great as Lana.  I just love the way Lana looks.

But enough about Lana Wachowski.  Let's talk about me!  I'm going to take her heroic act and make it all about me in the shallowest way possible.  Aren't you excited?

I've long regretted my misspent conservative youth.  I don't mean politically.  When I was a Sophomore I wore a "Fritz is Hitz" button to school (ask your parents). I've always been a liberal politically.  But socially, culturally? Look, it was the 80s.  It was the south.  I went to Catholic schools.  I had bangs and wore Firenze sweaters.  And my hair was dirty blond, and completely natural.

In my late 20s or 30s (I can't remember exactly when ), I started coloring my hair.  But always blond.  Lighter blond, but blond. Well, there was this one time when I flirted with red. But when I showed up at Aunt Katty's house in my temporary red dye, she looked at me with such profound disappointment.  "But, Meg," she said.  "You're a blonde!"  I am.  She was right (and blond too!).  I dyed it back posthaste.

And then there was this Girl Scout Meeting last year. We were doing hair and nails and girly stuff like that.  I brought some of that spray on hair color and put a pink streak in my blond hair in between dolling up the girls.  I loved it.  I loved the way it looked.  I loved it way more than I loved my hair when it was red.  I loved it more than I've ever loved my hair before.  But I washed it out because I am a woman in my 40s and, as such, far too old for such frippery.  I sighed and sighed through that shampoo.  And afterward, I told Laney, "Oh, I hope when you're in high school you dye your hair crazy colors!  It's so much fun.  And I wish I'd done it."

But today I looked at Lana Wachowski and thought, "well, look at her!  She's got pink hair!  She's in her 40s!  And look how great she looks." And goddammit, she was brave enough to make herself the gender she wanted to be and that's, man... that takes real courage.  Also, and not for nothing, I'm not going to get a chance to relive my misspent conservative youth.  And it's not fair of me to put the pressure on Laney to relive it for me. 

So I bought some pink stuff and I put a pink streak in my hair.  And I love it.  I don't wear much jewelery and I ain't hardly a fashionista.  But I love my pink streak.  And I don't care if it makes me look like I'm clinging to a distant youth or being silly or inappropriate.  It makes me smile when I see myself in the mirror.  And, lordy, couldn't we all use a little of that?  

Sunday, October 14, 2012

So , My Night So Far...

I read this piece on Gawker about various famous people's experiences with "The Talk."  And in it I learned that Jennifer Weiner has talked about "your changing body" with her nine year old.  Which got me to wondering about MY nine year old.

Laney and I have had talks before.  She knows how babies are made (if you are wondering, I highly recommend a book called It's Not the Stork for your little ones).  But tonight she got out of the shower and walked around naked, as is her wont, and something about her little girl body just seemed so on the verge (an expression from my mother).  So we had a chat tonight about the hair that would grow and the periods that would come and the like which led naturally to what will shortly become a mantra in the Bon household:

Me: Who owns your body?
Laney: Me
Me: Who else owns your body?
Laney: No one else owns my body

I'm going to start doing it in cheer form.  I'm going to make up an interpretative dance to go with it.  I'm going to print up bumper stickers for her skateboard.  As the FSM is my witness, I'm sending that child out into the world with the fundamental understanding that she has sole dominion over her body and that stands equally for the boys who try to Nice Guy (tm) her or the queen bees who critique her weight or the GOP fuckwits who try to wrest reproductive control from her.

And then I told her she could come to me with any questions, any questions at all, and walked away hoping that she would.

And then I sat in the bathtub and cried and cried.

It's ridiculous, you know.  Laney is a little girl.  She has a couple of years left to be a little girl.  But I remember so well when she turned three and my friend, Claire, said, "I can't believe she's three already!  Well, of course, she's just three."  I'm pretty sure Claire said that last week.  I write about this a lot, don't I?  My mother says I've always felt the passing of time too acutely.

Ah, but you know that thing they tell you when you're dealing with babies?  That thing about how the days are long but the years are short?  After a while the days get short too.  They hurtle by with the fierce force of a speeding locomotive.

Sigh.  Sunrise, sunset, right?

(In the interest of full disclosure I should also mention that I am PMS-ing like a MOTHERFUCKER right now.  This is a side effect of menstruation that I have not yet shared with Laney.  She'll probably figure that one out on her own.)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Lightening Up - Now a Post about Bacon and Vagina

Actually, I've tricked you!  I am also scolding you in this one.

It seems like last year, folks around the world decided that only by using the word "vagina" they could ensure that their readers/listeners would collapse in heaps of uncontrolled laughter.  But this was never true.  It wasn't the word "vagina" itself that was hilarious.  It had to be used in appropriately humorous circumstances in order to be funny.  Like this:

That's funny.

Bacon is the new vagina.  Consuming bacon is not inherently hilarious.  Enjoying bacon is not inherently hilarious.  Stop it with the easy humor.  If you want to make hilarious bacon jokes, do the work around making it really funny.  Like this:

Seriously, you guys, why don't more people watch Parks and Recreation?  If you watched Parks and Recreation, you'd know about Ron Swanson's Pyramid of Greatness, in which Bacon is covered under the category of "Pig Protein," because Parks and Recreation is funny:

War and Guernsey and Drones and Stuff

I've been derelict  in my blogging responsibilities. I imagine my legion of fans has been mourning and worried and feeling neglected.  I apologize for this.  Work has been so very nutso crazypants and also there is so much good TV on right now.  I mean, in a world where Modern Family has once again become awesome, and there's that whole Bota box of Cabernet in the pantry... how's a gal supposed to find the time to snark all over the Romney campaign or mockingly sooth the easily terrified breast of the anxious liberal?

But I skipped pilates this morning in favor of sleeping a whole lot (ahhhhh) and thought I would take the time this rainy Saturday morning to blog a little.  Unfortunately, the topic kicking around my head over these blogless weeks is pretty depressing, even if it was started by a good book.

I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society a couple of weeks ago and just loved it.  It's like Pride and Prejudice in that on the one hand it's witty and charming and ostensibly about this super romantic love story but is really about the imminently painful and difficult circumstance the characters are forced to live in.  In P&P it's about the tenuous, powerless position women occupied.  In Guernsey, it's about war.  And this got me to thinking about war.

During WWII, everyone was part of WWII, right?  Certainly, the soldiers (as they do) did the lion's share of the work.  But, in WWII, everyone sacrificed, everyone contributed to the war effort.   In America, there was rationing and blackouts.  In England, they carried on while bombs dropped on their cities and had to make agonizing decisions about whether to keep their children with them or send them away (cannot imagine making that choice...cannot).

We've been at war now for over 10 years in America, and the sum total of sacrifice is done by the slimmest percentage of Americans.  Our taxes haven't gone up.  We can still buy whatever we can afford (which is, to be fair, less and less).  War is something other people do, something that happens to other people.  The rest of us (which is most of us) are required only to "support the troops."

So we display magnetic "support the troops"decals on our cars.  But our support doesn't extend to paying the tax which would provide services for these returning veterans.  And our facile, simple "support" allows us to ignore the human effects of our distant war in distant lands.  This article should be required reading for every American.  Those drone attacks are the great shame of the Obama administration and the great shame of our nation.

War should be hard for everyone. And we should be aware of the effects of war. All of them. When we take the time to know what's happening, when we make the sacrifices to pay for what's happening, we're less likely to wage war without a good goddamn reason,  the very thing we've never had in our adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Instead we have easy platitudes and smug moral certitude. And we've filled our power ranks with war profiteers and politicians that use our sacrifice-free patriotism to make gravy on the corpses of 19 year old American soldiers and countless Pakistani children.

At the very least, we should be paying a tax to pay for war.  Sadly, that little sacrifice is probably all it would take to force us to take war seriously.