Thursday, October 20, 2011

"That Girl" Syndrome

A reoccurring theme in my life and on this blog is the way women discuss, label, and I would argue devalue each other. I recently considered how often I hear and partake in this conversation:

Girl 1: Oh, "That girl" she sleeps around with lots of guys.
Girl 2: I would never do that. I'm not "that girl."

The phrase "That girl" is overused in normal conversations, and those labels stay with women. It is times like these when I get fed up with being on such a small campus where identities and social groups are solidified after the first year. Why is there such an obsession with putting people in categories? I'm a dynamic person and my interests have changed since high school, yet sometimes I feel like I live in a box at Denison. 

Is it a matter of just not caring about the labels others place on you? I wish I could do this, but I find that some labels just get to me. Also, labels about women are frequently negative. Why don't we have more positive discussions about women? 

One of my favorite quotes is: "Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique."
-Pablo Casals

Why don't we say "That girl. She's a marvel. She's unique"!

This post reminds me of the song "I'm Not That Girl" in Wicked

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

YouTube Child Sensations: Offensive, Funny, or Disturbing?

I love a good YouTube video, particularly this child covering Darren Criss's version of "Teenage Dream." Yet, what happens when parents go too far? 

This YouTube video of two little girls in ballerina costumes singing Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass" has me worried. One area of concern is the point in the song where Minaj sings, "He's just got to give me that look/When he give me that look/Then the panties comin' off, off..." These children are five and eight-years-old. I don't think I can find a more blatant example of the early and over-sexualization of young girls. 

Ellen did a segment on her show where she brought the little girls on for a duet with Nicki Minaj. I have a problem with this because it is encouraging the girls to emulate Minaj's image and continue to sing her lyrics. Young girls are constantly receiving mixed messages about their sexuality. They can look sexy but not be sexual. Even if the girls don't understand the lyrics, they are still being exposed to them. I think many of the "popular" songs today promote a culture that disrespects women and removes a woman's control over her body. The song promotes a culture where women's panties come off when a man looks her way. Even if others don't agree with my points, I still think there needs to be more conversations surrounding these YouTube videos and the future consequences they have on children.

Check out Minaj's official video for "Super Bass"!

Rihanna's Not Your Role Model

On Tuesday, Rihanna was named Esquire's Sexiest Woman Alive. To celebrate her title, she posed nude for the magazine's cover.

She offers some interesting comments in the article about not thinking she is "sexy" while she simulates sex on stage during her concerts and admits to wearing racy outfits. While there is nothing wrong with embracing sexuality, Rihanna's songs position her and her listeners as sex objects. In the interview, she shares that she "doesn't want to be anyone's role model. She just wants to be a musician." I would argue that just being a musician is not possible when millions of children consume her music and image.

Ryan Gosling's Teaching Feminist Theory?

Love this! Check out the Feminist Ryan Gosling Tumblr.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

What I've Been Reading

This event that occurred in Texas in April came on my radar recently. A girl, 11-years old, accused 19 men of raping her on four separate occasions. A serious case of victim-blaming is happening where 13 of the men have entered not-guilty pleas. The suspects claim that she lied about her age and "she wanted this to happen." FYI, no one EVER wants to get raped.

The Amanda Knox acquittal raises many questions about the ways women are framed in the media. Italian prosecutors framed Knox as a promiscuous "she-devil" while American commentators claim she is a victim of "inept, evil" men.

New children's book, Pirates and Princesses, reinforces and breaks stereotypes?! A boy and girl can still be friends on the playground if one is a princess and another is a pirate. So boys and girls can play together as long as they maintain rigid gender roles?

These videos will give you a major case of wanderlust.

Notice anything strange about this image...
He's posing the way a woman would in a magazine. Doesn't this look ridiculous?

Friday, October 7, 2011

You know you've hit rock bottom when...

You know you've hit rock bottom when... you get asked out in an email. My streak of awkward male encounters continues. Without going into too many of the painful details, I met Boy A on Wednesday at a work function. He then sent me a long email about how he "thoroughly enjoyed" our conversation and is looking for a friend. After a few more paragraphs, praising my good conversational skills, he then gave me his number to "hit him up sometime." Now I didn't think it was creepy until he wrote... "Like tomorrow!!" emphasis on the two exclamation points. I replied that if he had any more questions about my job he could visit me in the office, so there he was at the office yesterday while I was working. I answered a few more questions for an article he is writing, and then he left. A few minutes later I get an email from him asking for my number, so we can "keep the conversations going."

Really? You just saw me in person a few minutes ago. Also, my boss informed me that he was lurking around the office for 20 minutes while I was meeting with a different student. Maybe one day in the future I'll be laughing about this experience, but to be honest, I just feel like crying. I think I deserve a hell of a lot more than an email. 

My friends and I have spoken a lot recently about what it means to be "approachable" and why boys on this campus don't approach women unless they are drunk, at a party, and looking for some quick action. The lights are dark. The music is blasting, and in my experience, boys just grab you without any intention of learning your name. What about me screams "Creepy men, approach me with your awful pickup lines"! This blog post about "The art of being approachable" says that women should practice being playful and flirtatious in public to exude confidence and "attract more of the men you want to meet."

a) I'm not going to practice being flirtatious in public nor am I going to change who I am to attract a man.
b) Just because I smile at you or wear a dress does not mean I'm into you. This goes back to the stereotype that boys have sexual urges that they cannot control, and therefore, poor treatment of women is excusable. I control my body and what I do with it.