Things I am findin’ kinda awesome at the moment…

Posted: March 30, 2011 in Blogging, Movies, Sexism, women

One, I gotta say, since I shut down the old joint I have really noted who has kinda stayed around because well, holy crap, I am more than the sum of my former bloggy goodness…and its kinda cool because who reads here is kind of a diverse bunch, I like that.  And yeah, I was happy to see AntiPrincess pop up and comment (heya AP, how you been?)  Need more Kim thou…never enough Kim in blogland.  But yah, digging the diversity of folk around this blog these days.

Other things of note worthy diggness:  Have y’all seen the movie “Winter’s Bone”?  If not, I cannot recommend it enough.  I really, really liked it, in so much that I plan to own it, and probably read the book it was adapted from.  There were a million different things that I liked about this film, from the music to the style of film to the characters, but something I was very impressed with was…aside from the lead character being a pretty tough cookie, and a young woman…the whole cast?  Real Looking People.  None of this glammed up Hollywood BS where the actress playing our decidedly NOT glamorous lead had to be hawt and made up and perfect, all of the actors in this flick, every single one of them…looked like a real person.  They fit the story.  This thrilled me beyond words.  So yeah, see this movie, the God Emperor of Rome Commands It! 

And speaking of the non-glam Win of “Winter’s Bone”, Joan Kelly has a post up that I love more than…well, okay, no…there are very few things on this earth I love more than biscuits and gravy…but well, I like it a whole lot.    One, anyone who actually manages to quit smoking has tons more willpower than I, and two…its a good post.  I really, truly, honestly myself do not care if, how, or when various women do or do not engage in femininity in all its various forms.  I honestly think there are women who absolutely enjoy it, and those who absolutely hate it and do it only because they have too, and some who sometimes feel both those ways about it depending on time or reasons…but sure enough, I do not think for a second that it something that women are not encouraged, pushed, guided, heck, even forced into, and I sure as heck do think there are consequences for non-compliance…from outright aggression and ridicule to, well, being rendered invisible to…well…everyone.

It’s also a subject I personally have very mixed feelings on.  I think it is stupid that it is forced on women and they are so harshly judged due to compliance or non compliance.  I think it is flat out disgusting that things like “sexy clothes” and make up and diets and nail/hair salons and stuff are pushed onto girl children at a mind-blowingly young age.  IMHO, there is NO dang reason that young girls need micro mini skirts and super low rise skinny jeans, or sparkly glitter lipstick, or appointments to get their hair highlighted, or any of that shit…and it is all out there and happening  (I mean, heaven for fend girl kids just get to be kids for awhile before they have to worry about being pretty and hot and skinny and perfect and having a boyfriend and shit like that…grumble).  I know how absolutely horrible teenage girls can be to each other over everything…and at that age, so many girls end up with so many issues because they are being picked on for being too heavy, or not pretty enough, or having boobs that are too small or too big , or not having the latest trendy clothes, make up and hair styles, and well, just about every other dang thing you can imagine. …

Yet, I also know how much easier a great many things can be for you if you are considered conventionally attractive or pretty or hawt or whatever.  I know because I have, and always have had, thin privilege that my life is easier for it…and totally true and honest?  You know what…I’ve not much ever feared getting grey hair, or some wrinkles, or having scars (good thing, eh?), or a bunch of other things…but I have- since I was aware enough to notice- feared ever being overweight.  Why?  Because I have seen how heavy people, esp, women, are treated and talked about.  And it sucks.  I also dang well know that…aw screw all the long explanations and stuff:  consider my job.  It pays to be seen as attractive.  literally.  Conforming to the heels, thin, make up and long hair and femmey femme fem stuff makes life a shit ton easier a whole heck of a lot of time.

And growing up I missed the worst of it I think because one: thin, two: tom boy, three: couldn’t afford any of the trendy fashiony popular pretty girl shit anyway, so I never even had the chance to get caught up in that rat race bs teenager shit.  Thank God, I think.  But be that as it may…

No one gets outta the forced femmy machine unscathed.  I may ignore a lot of it these days;  I rarely wear make up (but you know, I do think I look better when I do), my hair..well, shit, its lucky if it gets washed once a week, let alone preened over very often, I generally dress like one of those spooky backwoods militia people (but I do dress up sometimes, and have several pairs of heels, and a ton of sexxxxay stuff), and you know what?  While I might scare people in my general civilian wardrobe…I absolutely and without a doubt get treated better when I am Girled-Up…by both men and women alike  (unless of course, I look er, slutty, then the guys might be nice and chatty, but the gals can get mean and catty).  And I admit without shame but with absolute knowledge that it wasn’t my original idea that I shave/wax.  Obsessively.  Now, since I have been doing it for so long I actually feel uncomfortable if I do not, and have developed such an aversion to body hair that I don’t just do the normal woman deal (legs, pits, womanly bits, eyebrows, whatever), hell, I wax my dang forearms and shit…but I wonder if I never had, or if it was not what women did, if I would be bothered by body hair at all?  And see, that right there, that’s the killer of it all right there:  Women have hair.  On places other than their heads.  It is natural.  It is the way they are made.  Body hair is about as real, full on womanly woman as you get.  Just like sweat, periods,wrinkles that come with nature, gravity having its way with breasts, grey hair, morning breath, acne or dry skin, scars, stretch marks, and everything else that goes on with women…a lot of which goes on with men too….but Being Feminine?  Hell, that means lying about being a woman and what goes on with us naturally and hiding all that natural shit under make up and hair dye and perfume and brazilian waxes  (which, btw, that shit hurts).

But a lot of us do it.  Sometimes. Full time.  Whatever.  Why?  Because it makes us feel better.  Why?  Because then we get noticed, or fit in…or at least are not as often singled out for ridicule…and I cannot nor will not ever blame someone for wanting to avoid that shit.  But is sure as shit ain’t fair.  Might not even be sane.  I sure as shit bet most dudes wouldn’t do it.  The one great truth however is that being feminine has shit all to do with being a woman.

Wow, that actually turned into a post…I can dig that too.

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Comments
  1. ginmar says:

    It’s drag, is the way I think about it. I was always into both and everything when I was a kid—haven’t changed much. I love the lace but I loved my uniform and being able to sweat and get dirty and be proud of it, too. But there was an element there of stripping away all pretenses and finding the true self underneath. You’d be surprised how much you and I dress alike these days—-well, I bet you still don’t like pink camo. Which I’ll overlook, because multi-colored camo with various other patterns is teh cool.

    I hate those make over shows—let people wear what they want, dammit. It’d be a whole hell of a lot interesting if everybody dressed like they want to.

    • Ren says:

      yeah, pink isn’t my color. My favorite is basic black, really…but camo is fun. And functional. And…comfortable…and (snerk) I can match my eyeshadow to it if I feel like wearing eyeshadow! And make-up CAN be fun if its not a forced thing…neon green eyeliner cause ya want to? Rock on. Perfectly glossed lips because at the office, well, it is frowned upon not to be made up? Freakin’ bullshit.

      • ginmar says:

        I like the pink camo because it’s ‘ironic. Nobody pegs women as soldiers, so I like to hoist them by their own petard. I like pockets, too—-pocket and secret pockets, and belt loops and tools and gadgets…..The more the merrier. And damned comfortable shoes with enough support to support these many-times broken ankles. Comfort is the big deal these days.

        And make up at work as a regulation? Yeah, screw that. Although I do tend to think of make up as ‘fingerpaint for adults.’ I always did like coloring books.

        • Ren says:

          It’s odd, i guess maybe cause of where I am at? Seeing women military types is NOT unusual. There are more men, of course, but a surprising amount of women in uniform here. Not at all unusual to hear a woman reply “I’m in the Army” to the “so, what do you do” question around here. Which is cool, imho.

          and hells yes to the pockets upon pockets and belt loops for gadgets (eyeballs wallet chain, key ring and leatherman).

    • Roy Kay says:

      >I hate those make over shows—let people wear what they want, dammit. It’d be a whole hell of a lot interesting if everybody dressed like they want to.

      Gin and I agree on something?

      What I do find interesting about make over-shows is that if you wait a few episodes, the “make-over” goes in exactly the opposite tack. “She shed her plain look and had her hair curled.”/”We got rid of those frilly curls and emphasized her natural shape.”

      I wish ALL women were taught, just as men often are, to simply say “Eat shit, world. I’m me. Get used to it.”

  2. Idiocracy says:

    Has the over-feminine returned as a sort of reaction against 80s power-dressing or did it never really go away? If little girls enjoy looking pretty that’s one thing and want to imaging growing up too fast, that’s one thing. Children always grow up too fast for adult approval. When they’re told to look a part they don’t really understand, that’s exploitation for money. They’ve hooked the adults all they can so now there’s only the kids left.

    You could point to the emphasis on boys being rough and tough and avoiding anything that might look ‘gay’ but that does seem weaker now than the prettification of girls. It all serves to give each sex an exaggerated (and usually impossible) ideal of as much difference from the other as possible – divide and rule, anyone?

    It seems to come in waves. There’ll be a time when both reject the excesses but boys are more willing to let their hair down (literally like Hippies) and join the girls and then a reaction where the girls toughen up and want to show they can kick ass as much as the boys and don’t want to spend hours doing their faces and selecting a dress just to go shopping.

    You make and miss an interesting point about hair. Some men do shave pubic hair. A lot of women don’t (it’s a cultural thing and Caucasians have more body hair than most). But men shave their faces. In all the argument in the red corner that women shaving is ‘cleaner’ in the blue corner that it’s trying to look immature, nobody questions that there are times when beards are so fashionable that shaving is almost a gay statement and others when a beard is usually a statement of far left or ‘tree-hugger’ affiliation. In between was a time when very short hair and a half-hearted moustache was a gay emblem. Nobody argues whether men are trying to look immature or feminine by shaving their most visibly different hair from women and children

    Shaved heads are common for men. A few generations ago they would have avoided that like the plague as suggesting army or prison. Now it still suggests those but as machismo.

    So maybe all the waffle about the denial of womanhood that shaving all over implies is – just waffle. It could just as easily have gone the other way because there used to be a USA law forbidding pubic hair to be shown (and Germany had the opposite to show that porn models were adult). Women could easily have kept their bush to show they were not ‘immoral’ porn stars.

    The most likely guess is that’s it’s been particularly prevalent in the USA because the USA developed fast during the 1940s and 50s and sudden modernization in a lot of places maybe led to being overly fastidious about hygiene. Today nobody advertizes deodorant on the basis of ‘BO’ because that is only a problem with the kind of slobs who would never use one anyway. It is used ‘just in case’ because we are more sensitive now to normal fresh sweat. I’d guess that when standards shot up 60 or so years ago, if you couldn’t wash every day at least you could remove pheromone (and other) spreading hair.

    I don’t get the shaved eyebrows though. It has always seemed perverse to shave them and then draw lines back on that fool nobody!

    • Ren says:

      uh, i dont shave off my eyebrows…I by nature have ONE eyebrow, so with liberal use of tweezers and wax….i make it so I have two eyebrows.

      “There’ll be a time when both reject the excesses but boys are more willing to let their hair down (literally like Hippies) and join the girls and then a reaction where the girls toughen up and want to show they can kick ass as much as the boys and don’t want to spend hours doing their faces and selecting a dress just to go shopping.”

      Heh. Heheheheh. You’re new here, aren’t ya?

      Also, re; Men and Facial hair…there have ALWAYS been men with facial hair. There are sure enough times when it is more propular to have it or not have it…but often times the fashion trend in facial hair is relegated largely to metro areas in the US….you leave the US or even go into more rural areas within it Facial Hair on men is pretty standard.

      • Idiocracy says:

        Thanks for the answer. I’m glad I misread about the eyebrows! Fascinating about the rural beards. I was thinking more of ‘top people’ I suppose. Think of a famous man anywhere with a beard today. Then try to think of one without 100 years ago. But nobody reads much into it where they do with however women choose to present themselves. It’s true that I guess outside of the US and Europe beards are pretty standard. In those places they usually do have patriarchal overtones.

        There are times (can’t remember the last one I have to admit) when it feels good to wear something that gets you called ‘Sir’ instead of ‘Yeah mate, what do you want?’

        There’s a big difference when women dress ‘feminine’ whether it’s work, club or posh formal dinner. You’d be just as out of place in the last wearing a ‘respectable’ office suit as jeans. But ‘feminine’ shouldn’t mean ‘girly baby-doll’. Girls can look great with piercings but too many look a bit silly for women over teenage. It makes me wonder whether piercings and tattoos are playing the same kind of part for women that make-up used to.

        I don’t think it’s so much that girls are encouraged to feel good about how they look as that boys are often discouraged. True, some girls are made into awful little dolls. That’s sad because they’re the ones that’ll probably grow up looking at magazines to tell them how to look instead of knowing what suits them.

        One thing a woman can do that a man can’t – come to work in skirt or pants depending how she feels and nobody gives a damn! It’s worth remembering that one of the biggest imports once Russia opened up was cosmetics for women wanting to be valued for themselves more than for just how many widgets they churned out. There’s been times when fashionable men wore make-up too – 1920s and 1700s mostly.

        • Ren says:

          Eh, I have tattoos, a lot of ’em…and have for awhile, and piercings and tattoos are a decidedly unisex thing nowadays I think…used to be more women had peircings and it was seen as acceptable- whereas not so for men, and men could have tattoos, and it was less acceptable on women….thou there are STILL a lot of people who think tattoos period are for military men and convicts. There is definately still some class bias (more than sexism really) when it comes to having ink.

          And actually there are still jobs where women cannot wear pants. or could not until VERY recently…Flight Attendant comes to mind- the uniform is very strict for them….and I know some guys who can and do wear kilts to work, but it is by no means common.

          Famous Man With A Beard: Gerrard Butler often wears a beard I think, and a ton of Rock Stars and Pro Athletes have goatees at least…Ice-T comes to mind.

          • Idiocracy says:

            It’s always interesting to see these fashions change. Women’s tattoos were still sort of more ‘feminine’ than men’s at one time – butterfly on the hip, that sort of thing and much brighter. That could be improved ink over the old typical sailor’s blue & red. Of course women always had their ears pierced but that was for dangly earrings. Have to admit, I prefer those to just a dull metal ring or a row them round the ear. I think it’s switched that there’s more tats on women and piercings on men round here now.

            It can be overdone. I was getting some booze yesterday and next to me was a chubby ageing greaser whose face would have come off if you put a magnet near him – about four rings in each nostril and lips like an accident with a spring just to start.

            • Ren says:

              I personally am not big on lots of face/body piercings…not a look I like on me or on most other people. A few, sure, not an issue, and some folk, men or women, well a nose or eyebrow or lip ring suits em. Ear peircings, from just a standard set to lots of holes are not something I even much notice (hell, three holes in my right ear, 8 or so in the left)…and lots of folk have LOTS of earings…but yeah, it can be, IMHO, excessive. A lot of metal in the face or on the body is just not my thing.

              But I do love ink, and have pretty non-girly tattoos myself, almost all of them just in black ink (only one with color)…it is pretty acceptable for a woman to have a tat or two, on the ankle or back of the shoulder or whatever…but when you have a lot, on places like your arms and whatever, well, people will look at ya funny.

              • Idiocracy says:

                I think it’s called ‘taste’. Some people just don’t know when or where to stop – I draw the line long before genital piercings! That may not be so bad on a man – it’s only muscle and veins but on a woman I’d imagine it desensitizing (certainly getting in the way!) Same for tongue. Eyebrows make me wince. Ears & nose, maybe a lip stud or two. Rings in the nose – those teardrop studs look like snot. What I haven’t seen on white women for some years is a jewel set in one nostril. It’s common on Indians.

                My best female friend (but not lover) used to be a punk. She’s 16 years younger than me that used to be a hippy. We actually have a lot in common – just they got sick of us ballsing it up. She used to have tattoos. One was a cannabis leaf just above the breasts. She’s been trying to sue a laser clinic for ten years for leaving scars excising them.

                In fact they don’t really show and she doesn’t tan or even like the sun so there’s no danger there. I have a childhood burn scar that shows up white in summer. But hang – everybody gets a bit paranoid about what’s ‘out of order’ and if you can do the buggers, do ’em. They charged her enough to screw the job up.

                I remember a lot of face and body painting (done a bit myself on friendly legs & breasts – those can make great ‘eyes’ 🙂 ) that wasn’t really any different from tats except it came off.

                I like unnatural make-up. Not in the old 50’s sense of overdone but like blue or green lips & nails, design on the cheek. Sally Bowles! You can change that to suit your mood. It wouldn’t bother me to wear it myself. Not so sure about Goths though – a bit too austere.

                People have always liked to decorate themselves. Maybe it’s the first thing that made us human (Ooh, I’m me. Me think me look more like me with some of that mud and that feather on me)

                One thing about women, the chances of some moron attacking you because of the way you look are a lot lower than for men – especially a female moron. She’s more likely to abuse than to hit. That probably includes physical sexual attacks too – ‘dress code’ is a *really* pathetic excuse “I didn’t even have a dog’s back-off response to a turn-down”? Women can feel more relaxed about looking how they feel best for themselves – well, maybe not in the back of beyond.

                It’s never what you do that matters, it’s why you do it.

                • Ren says:

                  Heh, I am the proud owner of one hell of a scar. I rather like it now that I am used to it.

                  As for women being attacked for how they look, physically or otherwise…well, I might argue that with you. Men don’t get raped “because their skirts were too short” and women will sure as HELL physically throw down with other women for a WHOLE lot of reasons, at least here in the US. And socially? Um, yeah, you are never ever gonna convince me that women do not take MORE shit for not conforming than men as a general rule and on the whole. Ever. I mean, I would disagree with “Women can feel more relaxed about looking how they feel best for themselves ” very, very, very much.

                  • rootietoot says:

                    “I would disagree with “Women can feel more relaxed about looking how they feel best for themselves ”
                    Just a couple of days ago I was in a conversation with my 19 yr old about this very thing. He was talking about girls and how they dress, high heels and such. I asked if he noticed that I never EVER wore them and he said yes, how come? So I said “a happy and comfortable woman is far more attractive than a miserable one in high heels” and he had to ponder that. So I asked him would he prefer to see a woman dressed in a way that made her sexually attractive,but uncomfortable, or a woman who was able to take a long walk with him or go mudbogging (he’s a Good Ol’ Boy),or climb in a tree stand. He pondered that as well. I have no idea what kind of impact the conversation had on him, but I hope it made him consider a different definition of ‘attractive’.

                  • Idiocracy says:

                    Yeah, I thought about it and then decided it probably balances out because people are more likely not to want to get involved with a bunch of blokes or treat it as just ‘what men do’ or he ‘probably deserves it’ than if a woman’s involved. So it can go on more publically. That makes it harder to avoid by keeping out of back streets.

                    Unless you’re talking girl gangs, there’s probably a wider range for women to look acceptable.

                    I’d like to put the sexual attacks because of what you wear to rest because the other side of that is that not looking obviously sexual is safer and I don’t think that’s any truer than not looking rich is proof against getting mugged. It’s just an excuse to say that a woman’s clothes invited an attack. They might invite *attention* and she might want them to but that’s a massive jump away from pathetic excuses for not accepting a turn-down even if she’s the local pro out for business.

                    That’s bad for girls because it teaches them to be afraid that men naturally don’t have any sexual control and it’s bad for men because it tells some that it’s natural to have less control than animals and others that women are frightened of being noticed.

                    If you wear a diamond necklace in the wrong part of town you’re a fool. That’s one thing. It’s a very different thing from a lame excuse that it’s impossible to avoid snatching at the sight of a diamond and any wearer knows that. That’s just offensive to all sides. Anybody expecting that to be taken seriously as an excuse is saying they need treatment before they’re safe to let out in public.

                    Women are as entitled to ask for it as much as men. And they’re just as entitled to turn offers down as men. I have seen some amazing US comments that make you wonder how safe any woman would feel alone with the judge! If anything the UK can go a bit overboard in the other direction and get uptight about judges telling teenagers it’s unwise to flirt with a bunch of drunks on wasteland. There’s a difference between responsibility and blame that some people don’t always get.

  3. Kai says:

    I’ve heard a lot about it! Some people I consider close friends and who know me pretty well have recommended it. And with your recommendation, I do believe I’m going to have to see it at some point. Hope you’re doing well 🙂 I have to say I admired your guts but didn’t know exactly what to say (some addiction history in my family but thankfully not me) when I read your “Name Your Poison” post…

    • Ren says:

      Kai: It really is a good movie…IMHO anyway. And well, thus far I have remained unscathed after naming it lol.

  4. Joan Kelly says:

    Thanks for the link, Ren, and the kind words. I’m glad you liked the post. As I’ve told you in private, your encouragement about putting it out there, whatever post I was going to write about femininity, really helped me feel more determined to write and post it. I still don’t feel like it’s said everything I feel or want to say, both personally and politically about femininity, but I’m still glad I put something out there.

    I do feel like it is a struggle for me still to try and balance my disdain for the misogyny that creates and propels femininity itself, against the fact that I don’t have disdain at all for women who practice it. Women who *defend* it, their defenses may get on my nerves, depending, but I have always loved both femininity-practicing and non-feminine women, it isn’t something that makes me feel good or bad towards someone. Except, I will say, I do fucking love perfume, but non feminine women can and do wear scents as well so that’s not exclusive to femininity!

    More later as I want to have time to digest more of your response above. Also, you are the second person I respect who has raved about Winter’s Bone (the other being my best friend) so I’m for sure going to check it out. Thanks again for this post and for linking me.

    • Ren says:

      I figure people who fem up ALL the time have their reasons, just like folk who don’t ever, so on….and I think a lot of folk who defend it feel attacked…which I can also get (hell, as a chick with a boob job, I know how folk can be)…but in truth the whole thing is kinda crazy in so much that so many women feel the HAVE to do it.

  5. rootietoot says:

    I’m pretty content with being invisible. I never could pull of the makeup/fancy dress thing, the orthopedic issues prevented anything but practical shoes, financial ones prevented frivolous clothes,so I got used to short practical haircuts, no makeup and sneakers. As for other women, I kind of felt sorry for the ones who thought they had to doll up for acceptance,but also understand how it feels to know you look good. Fortunately the only jobs I’ve ever had required a uniform and practical shoes. I am not sure how I’d handle one where I had to be in 4 inch heels and hairless.

    • Ren says:

      there is Nothing Wrong with Practical imho!

      • rootietoot says:

        I don’t think there’s anything wrong with knowing you look good, either. in my case it would be like putting a silk dress on a cow, just silly and pointless. I am one of these people that doesn’t really ‘clean up well’, so it’s easier to simply stick with practical and invisible. and invisible lets you ‘people watch’ with impunity 🙂

        • Ren says:

          wooo I LOVE people watching! Airports are the BEST for that…malls and flea markets too!

        • Ren says:

          oh, and a comment on short hair:

          I wore my hair short for YEARS…like spikey rocker chick shaved short…soooo easy to take care of…also cut it pretty short (like a bob I guess) shortly after I got burned (kept it from sticking to the healing ick), but my hair grows fast and I have, for the most part, worn it long for the last decade or so….and I do have nice hair, and it can look nice, but it is SUCH a pain in the ass and its not like I actually take care of it (it gets washed occassionally, other than that? Ponytail, at all times). I threaten to shave it off fairly often….but I do kinda like it long even thou I never do anything with it…the knowing I can do all kinds of different stuff with it if I WANT to is pretty much why I have it long LOL.

  6. chamblee54 says:

    Hey. I found a comment exchange with you in an old post, and decided to check out the new environment. It is a good looking site.
    You mentioned a while back that you enjoy history. You might want to drop by my place sometime…http://chamblee54.wordpress.com. I have been on a historic picture binge. There are lots of public domain (magic words) images at the Library of Congress. As for the opinions at my site, they are just as ugly as ever.

  7. RachelCervanes says:

    I have to say I hate both tattoos and body piercings. However, I don’t think it makes any kind of statement about those who do/have them. It has little to do with feminism, or anything like that. We should be free to express ourselves however we want (provided it meets minimal common cultural standards; i.e., exposed breast in the mall might be problematic. Some folks might have a coronary, you know?

    I know a 12 year old girl, wonderful child, who just bleached her hair blonde. She’s trying to grow up too fast.

    • Ren says:

      GASP, you hate ink! THAT’S IT, off my blog! (ROFLMAO). AHem, my mother detests tattoos…my inkless brother is the golden child lol.

      • rachel cervantes says:

        You know you love me….besides how many other friends do you have that are prissy lil ole ladies? You have to keep me around for variety.

  8. Idiocracy says:

    Think I’d rather a girl of 12 colored her hair blue – she might be following a ‘trend’ but at least it feels like a more unusual (so interesting) trend than blonde.

    The bit about exposed breasts raises some tangential points. We go ape-shit about women covering their face (OK, admit I don’t like it either) and some as bad about just covering their hair – like *every* respectable Catholic or Orthodox did 20 years ago – but there’s places where a woman would never dream of revealing anything as personal as her face for any man to lech at and nobody gives a flying fart if they see a kid sucking at her tit. They still remember that’s what it’s really there *for*. How many that rant on about ‘niqab’ and ‘hijab’ are just as uptight about covering boobs and legs?

    Legs especially, why does a man always look a bit weird in shorts and a skirt a definite no-go and even when women do wear short skirts, ‘symbolically’ they cover their legs in nylons? My guess – no reason at all, just what’s familiar, ‘the way we do it here’.

    It’s worth remembering that other people might do it a different way and even if we can say that they’re ‘conditioned’ – well so are we and most of the time there are far more important things to worry about.

  9. Joan Kelly says:

    I’m against piercings and tattoos on me (though I had a pierced tongue for several years, solely due to being in love with my best friend who had one and being (more) crazy back in those days where I thought such a thing would psychically “link” us (did I mention the crazy part?), but I find them neat to look at on other people. I think I just like looking at imagery, period, so whether it’s on vivid tattoos on people’s skin or a print on someone’s wall or an ad in a magazine, etc., I’m a fan. I’m afraid I am a tattoo’ed person’s possible worst nightmare, in that I associate nothing unique with anybody in accordance with the particulars of their tattoos – to me it’s all just “oo look, something pretty to see!”, ha.

    Rachel, it kills me too when 12 year old girls do stuff like wear makeup and dye their hair. It kills me inside (by which I mean, makes me sad and frustrated), but at this point I’ve accepted that there’s no way I was the only 12 year old girl on the planet who thought she knew everything, including how to better raise herself than any possible parent, and who thought that makeup and hair and whatever else was my own damn business, and how dare any adults try to tell me I was too young! Go bug some actual fucking babies, is how I felt about it. So I assume it may be what a lot of 12 year olds feel like.

    I wish it wasn’t so, but in some ways I have to say too, I don’t entirely mind a middle-finger-aimed-at-authority-figures from girls entering and in the middle of puberty. Impotent though it may be (ideally, from my perspective, they’d be flipping off The Man, literally, but such is life…) Any sign of stubbornness and life makes me feel hope, like maybe she will hold onto that and not have it snuffed out completely, so that by adulthood it may finally be reoriented back in the direction of being solely in her own favor, a sense of having a right to herself and a sense of owing nobody else a damn thing.

    I know, it’s rare, nearly to the point of a pipe dream, but I do have to dream…

    • rachel cervantes says:

      I also agree with exposed breasts being culturally conditioned. The only reason I would suggest it be avoided is the ramifications.

      The bleaching of the hair is especially problematic. Her mother has some serious mental health issues, her father (who is divorced from her mother) struggles with some other issues, and self esteem is a problem. So, is she trying to be adult or seeking affirmation by being attractive to men? I fear it’s the latter. She’ll never get it and will be badly mistreated in the meantime.

      I wish I could intervene, but anytime I offer help, the mother either asks for money or pulls away. So, if I’m to see her at all, I have to be very laissez-faire and just be there when she wants me to take the girl off her hands for a night or two.

      She’s an amazing kid, too, so it really is painful to watch.

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