Five Ways You Offend Women by Insulting Fifty Shades of Grey

Provocative title, isn’t it? Anyone who reads my blog is familiar with my love-to-hate affection for the Fifty Shades of Grey series. After all, I’ve captioned it here, here, here, and in my last entry I showed you my homemade Pin the Penis on Christian Grey game. There are many things wrong with this series, but quite frankly, that’s a topic that’s been exhausted as of late, by individuals willing to take it a lot more seriously than I. In fact, while researching for this blog post, I found this one, which makes a lot of great points and this one, which makes me giggle.

Reba: “Everything makes you giggle, Belle.”

I do have a pretty low threshold.

So, don’t misunderstand my point here. I am not defending the series, as a whole. It’s just that in reading all of the thought-provoking and giggle-inducing critiques, I’ve come across a few criticisms that insult women all on their own. For instance:

Women who read Fifty Shades of Grey are unintelligent.

Zetus lapetus, is this book badly written. The characters are abhorrent, the dialogue is beyond a reasonable suspension of disbelief, and it is just so redundant. I don’t care that Anastasia says “double crap.” I just said “zetus lapetus.” I care that she says it 88 fucking times. It’s just… unreadable, but you know what? That’s just me. I read books about pushy special ops alpha males and werewolf love stories and that one about the sexy alien king. One of the most well-read women I know has a soft spot for hobbit slash fanfiction. Does that make either of us any less intelligent? If your answer is yes, kiss my ass, because I’m also reading The Teenage Brain, by Frances E. Jensen; and I devour at least 10 articles a day on everything from current events to the issues facing prison libraries.

If your argument against Fifty Shades of Grey is that intelligent women can’t read poorly written smut, you are one of the reasons reading is not a more popular hobby. Some people don’t watch American Idol or Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Some people just Googled “most popular reality show” to make that point. That doesn’t mean they don’t need to turn down their brain to relax. Not everyone considers reading a chore all the time. There are two kinds of librarians: literature snobs and those who hate literature snobs. I am the latter. I am intelligent. Sometimes I read smut.

Ana is only 22.

I’ve seen multiple criticisms of Fifty Shades of Grey fixate on the age of the heroine. For one, they get it wrong. Ana turned 22 in the third book, Fifty Shades Freed, so actually, the character in the movie is supposed to be 21, until otherwise specified. If you’re gonna bitch about something, do it accurately.


When I was 21 years old, I lost my baby to a nearly second trimester miscarriage. Six months after that, I helped my best friend bury her infant daughter. That year, I accepted over $20,000 in student loans, graduated college, made the decision to enter graduate school, and chose to leave my ex-husband. Perhaps it wasn’t the typical middle-class American 22-year-old experience, but I was unequivocally an adult. By 22 I had bought a car, moved several times, paid my bills, taken out more in student loans than I could possibly earn in a year, and made major decisions about my future career path. That is typical. So, how dare you tell me that I wouldn’t have been of sound mind to enter into a sexual relationship of my choosing? If a woman old enough to vote, marry, drink, be tried as an adult, and sign binding contracts wants to sign a pretend contract before consensual sex, it doesn’t matter how much she giggles or how “mousey” she appears. I was 23 when I learned to apply eyeliner from a YouTube video and actually style my damned hair. That’s not what made me an adult. Being both responsible and accountable for my own choices was. Regardless of where things go in the books (spoiler alert: it ain’t good), Anastasia Steele was both of these when she met Christian Grey. Her age had absolutely no bearing on the situation and it’s disrespectful to young adult women to imply that they are not capable of making their own choices.

Ana is still a virgin.

This article is not the first one to take issue with the fact that Anastasia Steele has never had a sexual experience until she meets Christian Grey. The writer actually suggests that, because Ana has had no genuine interest in a man and doesn’t masturbate, it’s more likely the character is asexual. For one, the lead character in a romance isn’t asexual. That’s not how the genre works. Two, we learn later that Ana has had encounters with the opposite sex and they just haven’t gone anywhere. In regards to masturbation, I do know women who just aren’t interested. A lot of women have trouble reaching orgasm, both by themselves and with a partner. Their bodies just work a bit differently and without an emotional connection, physical stimulation may lack appeal… and that’s okay.

My biggest problem with focusing on this criticism of the series, however, is the assumption that a woman who is not sexually active is asexual or somehow abnormal. I am 27 years old and I have not had sex in five years. Furthermore, I’ve only kissed five people, ever. I am not asexual. I’m just not interested in sharing my body with someone with whom I see no future. I once let a man in a bar kiss me, with tongue, when I’d just met him that night. It makes me uncomfortable even remembering that, because physicality without an emotional connection just doesn’t do it for me. Different women have different needs and it’s just as offensive to shame a woman for not being sexually active as it is to call another a slut.

Fifty Shades of Grey is only popular, because the hero is rich.

While Christian Grey sure isn’t my dreamboat, I can tell you that in the current dating pool of grown men with flat-billed caps and job titles as specific as “n/a,” it’s not so far-fetched to think that, perhaps, it would be easier to repair deep-seated emotional scarring than to motivate a man to get his shit together. Regardless, I’m not convinced that the ability to “buy all the planes” is what appeals to the Fifty Shades of Grey target audience, particularly the over 30 bracket. This article actually suggests a somewhat circular logic: women are reading Fifty Shades of Grey, because women are reading Fifty Shades of Grey. Finally, a woman with traditional goals (marriage, children, an optional career) can come out and say…

No longer is it only Carrie Bradshaw that gets to talk dirty, but housewives too!

As a librarian, part of my job is analyzing literary trends. This is why I am particularly aware of the rise of the billionaire romance novel. Along with Christian Grey, in the last few years we’ve been introduced to Gideon Cross, Gabriel Emerson, Jesse Ward, and many other laughably wealthy and emotionally damaged heroes. However, long before well-worn copies of Fifty Shades of Grey hit nightstands all over the world, we met the heroes in these series: Rock Chick, KGI, Black Dagger Brotherhood, Psy-Changelings, Immortals After Dark, and The Sookie Stackhouse Novels. Every title listed stars leading men who are borderline abusive and financially set. That describes most contemporary, paranormal, and historical romance. This shit ain’t new. Not only does the insistence that this book simply broke new ground with an abusive megabajillionaire give the title far too much credit, it also implies that all women who enjoy romance are gold digging whores. That’s just not nice.

Note: I have been known to declare that I’d let a man string me from the ceiling and whip me if he’d pay off my student loans, but I am hardly the standard by which all women should be measured.

Fifty Shades of Grey is responsible for sex injuries.

This article and many, many more suggest that the rise in bedroom play injuries is the fault of Fifty Shades of Grey. Maybe it’s the researcher in me, but…. I call bullshit. You are an adult. You likely have a smartphone on you at all times, meaning you literally have endless information at your fingertips. If you are stupid enough to purchase a spreader bar and use a trashy novel for a user manual, you are the only one to blame for the broken spine. Have some faith that the majority of women are intelligent enough to manage a Google search, y’all.

I can say a lot of bad things about Fifty Shades of Grey. A lot of writers can. I mean, two twenty-somethings e-mailing each other? What is this, Amish country? Between Ana’s “inner goddess” and Christian’s “laters baby” this librarian actually fell out of love with reading for a few days. I love when women ask me to suggest titles “like Fifty Shades of Grey,” because it gives me the opportunity to introduce them to much better written erotica. Perhaps I can get them started on Kristen Ashley’s special-ops-saves girl books. Maybe I can send them back in time with one of Karen Marie Moning’s sexy highlanders. I can even show them more plot-light erotica, but with with steamier scenes that don’t read like a child reporting her molestation – “Then he touched me… down there!” You know what I won’t do, though? Insult them.


How You’re Empowering NO ONE

I don’t call myself a feminist. I don’t call myself anything. I just don’t think that respecting other people’s decisions and hoping for the same needs a title, especially not one with such vastly different definitions… most notably, it seems, ones that completely contradict this statement. Gaily, now… Gaily loves the word “feminist.” Gaily has a tramp stamp of the word feminist. The semester she took a women’s study course, I wanted to push her out of her ’97 Bonneville… but that’s because she was insufferable, not because she was wrong. See, Gail! I SAY NICE THINGS!

Gail sees feminism as an expression of female empowerment to truly do whatever we want in life… only with a lot more words, citations, and angry ranting.

As much as I provoke her, though, we do generally agree on this topic. I’m down with her definition and the many people who share it. I am not, however, down with the ACLU’s definition that I can’t have a dissenting political opinion without discriminating against women.* I’m not down with Wendy Luhabe’s claim that it’s empowering to stay-at-home moms to suggest their contribution is worth exactly 10% of their husband’s earnings and every family needs to follow the same financial model.* I’m not down with the gals who think LEGO is anti-women for creating gender specific toys*. I’m not down with a lot of “empowering” statements made in the name of misguided, so-called feminists. For instance:

Educating women on keeping themselves safe is not vicitim blaming.

If you keep up with current events at all, I’m sure you’ve read about the nail polish that was created to prevent date rape. Pretty simply, the polish will change color when it meets a laced drink, warning the wearer not to sip. That’s great, right?!? No. Apparently, not. According to some, this effort is completely misguided. In fact, one activist responds to this development by stating that “we need to think critically about why we keep placing the responsibility for preventing sexual assault on young women.”* Waaaait, a minute. Did you just tell me that it’s anti-woman to protect myself? We prepare men to defend themselves all the time, usually starting with some kind of exotic personal combat lessons at age 4. Teaching a man how to ward off a bully or a mugger is commonplace, but women? Noooo. We should use passive, ladylike if you will, methods to teach people not to attack, instead of taking our fate and safety into our own hands. Women have been taken advantage of, as the generally physically weaker sex, since the beginning of time. FINALLY, someone has stumbled upon the brilliant idea to ask that bad guys just not be bad anymore.

Victim blaming is a disgusting tactic. Telling your teenage daughter that she shouldn’t have been alone in that boy’s dorm room, as she sits on the exam table crying, is horrible and you should have your mommy card revoked. There, however, is nothing wrong with a freshman orientation that warns young women about being in dorm rooms alone with strange men. Encouraging women to take self-defense classes, carry pepper spray, use a gun, wear detective nail polish, is no different than teaching a man to prepare and protect himself. You are not moving us forward or building us up by fighting these things. You are weakening us, by teaching us to put the responsibility for our safety on others, male or female. Yes, it is important to teach young men that no means no, but why can’t this be done alongside a discussion about watching your drink and not walking home alone? Can we not both empower men and women? Did I wake up in 1954 where only the boys get to take karate lessons? Are you fucking kidding me?!?! 

It is not empowering to tell me that my vagina makes me easily susceptible to brainwashing.

Recently Mayim Bialik posted an article about why she hated Disney’s Frozen.* To sum things up, she felt it wasn’t as feminist as people claimed, because there was a love story and that it was even guilty of man-bashing, because the villain is male.* This is hardly the first anyone’s ever heard of the irrevocable harm of Disney Princess movies. It seems every mommy blog has an opinion on the subject. That’s not all, though. Little girls are also in danger from Barbie, LEGO, and shirts from The Children’s placePsychology Today even published an article about the damaging effects of the Twilight Saga. As a society, Americans are just petrified of the influence our female children are getting from the entertainment industry.

Hold on, just one second…

he man

liono ninjaturtles goliath_gargoyles_by_jrmcleod-d5hpkiz

There. I’d like to introduce you to the men of my childhood. Up top, there’s He-Man. Next, Lion-O. Then, of course, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Donatello (not pictured: Leonardo). Finally, Goliath. Did you, perchance, notice any commonalities here? Yes, yes, indeed, I think there might be one. What could it be…? Oh, there it is! Even the gargoyle looks like he’s got roid rage! Do we care? Are there any Time magazine articles on the dangers of 80’s cartoons on male body image? No. I’d love to say that the reason is because we’ve found other, more admirable traits, in these characters. They’re heroes, y’all! Who cares what they look like, when they inspire our boys to want to save the world?!?! But the same can be said for Barbie’s career success, Cinderella’s work ethic, Bella Swan’s literary fascination. So… what’s the difference? Why, we’re women, of course. Our fragile pink brain matter is just so susceptible to the negative influences of toys, that we need a national boycott against LEGO.

Let’s not stop with toys and movies, though. Nope. According to the National Organization for Women, “persistent stereotypes that steer women and men toward different education, training and career paths” are a true threat to our livelihood in general. They’re actually the entire reason I make less money than a petroleum engineer! I haven’t favored care giving careers my entire life, such as when I wanted to be a nurse, a teacher, and finally a librarian, because of my choices and individual personality. It’s because I’m weak-minded and was busy doing my nails, reading Teen Beat magazine, and desperately trying to work up the courage to ask Danny to the Sadie Hawkins Dance. Gail didn’t choose not to go to college, because she didn’t want loans with no clear career path. It’s because she was never told that she could be a paleontologist or a computer engineer.

paleontologist barbie

computer software engineer barbie


Even when presented with the statistical facts that the wage gap is closer to 5 cents on the dollar than their reported 21, NOW is there to remind me that I’m not really in control of my own destiny, because I’m a woman. Wow. I feel so empowered. Maybe, Barbie is just a doll. Maybe, Repunzel is just a story. Maybe, some women want to be stay-at-home moms, or nurses, or dare I say… librarians. Maybe, if your daughter is getting the wrong ideas from Disney movies, Barbies, and our society as a whole, you just need to spend more time with your daughter.

My political opinions are not anti-woman, just because you disagree.

You can disagree with my libertarian, pro-life stance. We can even still be friends. We all have different values and opinions and that’s fine. That goes both ways, though. You cannot insist that, because I don’t think the government should regulate healthcare, I want to hold women back by refusing to pay for their birth control and abortions. If you’d ask before making these assumptions, you’d realize that I’m just as against paying for teeth cleanings, back surgeries, and biopsies for anyone. You cannot tell me that, because I acknowledge that science considers a fetus a completely unique life form, I am anti-woman. My pro-life stance is entirely scientific, not religious, and I resent the implication that I can’t form an opinion without a priest telling me what to believe. I have not quoted scripture on this issue and I will not. My argument is secular. Your disagreement does not equal my sexism or religious intolerance.

Similarly, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, if I believe that a private business, which does not receive any taxpayer dollars, does have the right to discriminate for non-life saving services (baking a cake, printing a t-shirt, hosting a ceremony), it’s because of my church attendance.* It couldn’t possibly be that I don’t think the federal government should be micromanaging private business. There’s no way I’ve considered all angles, like the fact that a car dealership could refuse my service because I’m a woman. Except… I have. Nowhere in the constitution was I granted the right to a car. It’s not there. Nor was I granted acceptance into an all male university or service in a restaurant where someone thinks my dress is too short. If a business employs completely despicable tactics, such as these, I simply do not feel that the U.S. government has the right to play recess monitor.

It’s alright if you disagree with me on these issues. I’m not looking for a political debate. Your insistence that I have, once again, been brainwashed by men or faith… that I have no right to my own opinion without joining some kind of war on women, though, is offensive. No matter how vehemently you disagree, you cannot decide what my motivations are or insist that I just haven’t thought these issues through. I am a strong and intelligent person and refusing to acknowledge that and my right to my own mind is not empowering.

In short, I am not opposed to the word “feminist.” I am simply opposed to anyone who tries to “empower” women by telling them how to live and think, while calling it feminism. It is not empowering to tell women to leave their protection up to someone else. It is not strengthening the female cause to declare that little girls can’t play with gender specific toys without their fragile minds crumbling to the influence of a patriarchal society. It is not building anyone up to insist that any woman who disagrees with your political viewpoint is the victim of male mind control. Perhaps, instead of tearing each other down for our self-defense classes, Cinderella obsessions, or voter registration cards, we should work on building each other up… you know, empowering.

There Is No War on Women

That’s right. I said it. I’ll say it again. There is no war on women.


Fine. Perhaps I need some qualifiers. There is no legal war on modern day, American women… says this modern day, American woman.

Up through recent history, I would have vehemently disagreed with the above statement. For most of time, physically, women were the weaker sex, by nature; while intellectually, women were the weaker sex by design. Both ideals were perpetuated on a global scale. Not until 1870, were married American women allowed to own property. In 1918, Great Britain granted the vote to women over 30. It was 1920 in the U.S., before women finally won any rights to vote. Britain then took a few leaps back, deciding acts of lesbianism shouldn’t have the same punishment as male homosexuality, because women were too naive to comprehend such behavior. In the U.S, it was not until 1960 that the FDA approved birth control pills, which was leaps and bounds ahead of Great Britain’s 1974 availability.

Depending on your theological beliefs, man is potentially seven million years old and the institution of marriage (as we think of it today), is estimated to be around 4,000. Still, I was five on July 5, 1993, when it officially became illegal, in all 50 states, for a man to rape his wife. That’s right. Twenty-one years ago, women were still considered property of their husbands, in the same sense as a fleshlight. So… I am not saying that there has never been a war on women, in this country. I am saying that it has been won.

Where, exactly, am I hearing of this “war on women”? Well, let’s start with… 

The Trivial Crap

Recently, some very successful women have declared that they’ve been held back (clearly, Condoleezza Rice) by the male sex for calling them “bossy.” I’m not going to write about how ridiculous this is, because so many other bloggers have already covered it, but to sum it up, these women are demanding that we stop using the word bossy. This is a thing, y’all! This is a pretty minor issue, sure, but isn’t that a point in itself? Have we run out of evidence of a “war on women”, so thoroughly, that we have to ban words that are completely gender neutral, while enabling young girls to blame their failures on mild extrinsic factors? I’m sure this one will blow over quickly enough, but I’m also sure some equally stupid movement toward “gender equality” will rise up, drastically favoring women; such as when parents were appalled by The Children’s Place’s distribution of a t-shirt implying that girls would rather dance than do math.

children's place

Admittedly, it was a terrible idea, but was it the horror that mommy blogs made it out to be? No. Especially considering that little girls will still wear this to school.

boys are stupid
“Boys are stupid. Throw rocks at them.”

Given the choice between the two, I’m really more concerned that one shirt incites violence, than I am that the other declares shopping to be more fun than equations. Why is there no emphasis on the villainization of little boys and how that affects them? Why are we only supposed to be concerned with the mental health of our little girls, with the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, when society regularly tells little boys that they need to look like Chris Hemsworth in Thor? How is self image even gender specific?

The Glass Ceiling and Equal Pay

Alrighty then. Let’s address a less trivial issue.

– glass ceiling –


an unfair system of attitudes that prevents some people (such as women or people of a certain race) from getting the most powerful jobs

Well, the woman whose life has been so irreparably damaged by a fairly innocuous insult, that she must start a movement to ban words – suck it, first amendment! – is the COO of Facebook and worth $1.05 billion. I think Sheryl Sandberg’s very existence kind of covers the issue of whether or not women can find “the most powerful jobs.”

What about everyday women, though? They still only make .81 for every dollar a man makes, right? Well, no… not really. When this subject comes up, I have to remind myself that Research for Fun is not a game normal people play. I’m a librarian. I’m a researcher by trade and by heart. This topic happens to be one of my favorites to study and in fact, the 81 cents on the dollar statistic is intrinsically flawed, because it’s figured by averages and nothing more. Many studies show that when all factors are considered, such as the fields women choose, the hours they work, leave time, priorities such as pay vs. working conditions, et cetera, the perceived “wage gap” closes itself. The differences remaining are often so negligible that they can be attributed to aggressiveness in pay negotiations and things of that nature. While a man will probably choose a more stressful, time consuming, but lucrative career path, such as petroleum engineer, a woman is still more likely to choose something in a caretaker field, with more vacation time, steadier hours, and lower pay, such as librarian. 
Reproductive Rights
Finally, the biggest claim I can find that declares a “war on women” is made by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), in regards to an attack on women’s reproductive rights. Before 1936, it was more or less illegal for a woman to learn about birth control, as the topic was considered “obscene” and banned from distribution through the mail. Today, for better or for worse, any 12-year-old can perform a Google search and walk into a drugstore to grab some condoms. As a society, we don’t hoard information on the subject at allWhereas a woman’s doctor might have been able to tell her father or husband if she was using contraception 50 years ago, now HIPPA laws mandate doctor/patient confidentiality, no matter the individual’s age or marital status. Those issues were an “attack” on women’s health and reproductive rights and are, clearly, no longer the norm. In regards to abortion, not until 1971 did Roe vs. Wade actually grant a woman the right to the procedure (as long as the fetus was not viable outside the womb), without explanation, in defense of her privacy. 
Now, I am not going to debate abortion here, because that is not my point. My point is that abortion is debatable, as a moral issue, not a gender issue. Nationally, 51% of Americans consider themselves pro-life and the make-up of pro-life men vs. pro-life women is actually at about 50%. These people, both men and women, are not attacking women. In their minds, they are protecting the innocent, and don’t want to personally fund their destruction. Regardless of your take on the issue, you cannot argue that these laws are gender biased, because their proponents are distributed fairly evenly, between the sexes. Yes, a woman is the only one who can get pregnant, so these laws target her. By extension, however, a man is the only one whose potential child can be disposed of without his consent, so these laws target him. The presence of gender, does not make the subject gender.
ACLU also mentions “medically unnecessary ultrasounds.” Define unnecessary. Personally, I feel that any medical procedure, should be thoroughly explained. When I miscarried, I had to look at an ultrasound of my emptying uterus, as the doctor explained what was happening. I had to look at the bloody fucking wandbut it’s too much for someone to be informed about what’s happening to them by choice? I’m not suggesting anyone play clips of crying babies as they perform these ultrasounds, but that’s not what’s being done, either. “Here’s the heartbeat” is hardly the same as “here’s the eyes you will never see open.” If that is what your doctor said to you, then get a lawyer.
So there it is. There is no war on women. Sure, there are still some kinks to work out of the system, but I don’t think we gals are unique in that. A gentleman at a gun store once responded to my request to look at a Springfield .45 XDM with “You don’t need to be messin’ with that.” Was it sexist? Yes. Was it a declaration of war? No. When I Google image searched “international abuse toward women”, I found pictures of decapitated heads shrouded in burkas, children undergoing female circumcision, and women in various stages of recovery from acid attacks. We’re awfully quick to throw around the word “war” in a society where both of these things are pretty universally abhorrent. Perhaps some households, some religions, some small sects of society hold strictly traditional gender roles, but if they’re forced on adults, we consider it abuse.
sexist children's book
“Boys fix things. Girls need things fixed.”
In the 70’s, When my Gramma’s boss found out that she was going back to school, he told her that he didn’t care what degree she earned, she would 
never be an accountant. Today, though? The only job I can’t hold is King, and I don’t think any American is entitled to that, anyway. Every now and then, my Gramma will say longingly “Women can do anything, today.” Yet, as a society, we don’t seem to see it. We’re too busy demanding equal pay for kindergarten teachers and physicists. Personally, I chose a less lucrative field. Some claim that that’s because women are socially programmed to do so, and to that, I say fuuuuck you. How dare you tell me that, because I’m a woman, I’m not intelligent enough to form my own opinions and set my own priorities? How dare you say that to any woman, be she the stay-at-home mom or Sheryl Sandberg, herself? I didn’t become a librarian because someone called me “bossy” when I was little (and they totally did) or because society told me I wasn’t capable of more. I wanted this, because I’m an intelligent and capable adult. So, suck it. 
The same goes for this reproductive rights argument. If you’re not happy with the fact that a woman can get a medically safe abortion in all 50 states, you need to have a sit down with my great grandmother and her wire hanger. No. That’s not a joke. I’m not entirely sure what more you want out of abortion laws, but I am certain that my views on the subject are not an attack on women. Again, how dare you say that I’m not capable of forming that opinion on my own, that it’s some brainwashing accomplished by man as they feel the need to assert their control over the female body? How intensely arrogant that I can’t just disagree with you, while remaining fully informed. I write this blog for fun and I’ve got over15 citations listed. I promise, I’ve done the research.
From what I can see, the only “war”…
acid attack
Acid attack. Still wanna go with that word?
… on women, that I’ve experienced, is when other women tell each other that they’re making the wrong life choices. (No, that doesn’t apply to pro-lifers in general, because they feel they’re considering a different life, that cannot speak for itself.) Despite the fact that I’ve survived a wretched marriage, obtained a master’s degree, begun a professional career, and cared for myself financially and physically for years, I’m making less money than men, because I was programmed to do so. Similarly, that girl from high school, who wants to become a professor, surround herself with cats, and never get married or have children? She’ll change her mind. She’ll see the light and realize the right way to be female.
It’s not possible for me to have a different interpretation of the concept of “life.” I just must not be informed of the biology behind Plan B and can’t defend an innocent without attacking “all women.” On the other side of the debate, a woman can’t take Plan B, without being called an irresponsible slut or being told that if she gets pregnant, she asked for it. It is possible for us to have differing opinions without insulting each other. From what can see, it’s not men flinging these comments. If there is any remaining war on women, it is being waged by women.



Money Management for the Little Miss

When I was four years old, I remember my mother driving us somewhere, even though my dad was going. Wait. What?!?! Women can drive even when a man’s available?!?! When I was five, I realized that there are actually women who drive pick-up trucks and they don’t belong to their husbands!!!!! Incidentally, this was around the time I decided to give peeing standing up a go and my brother kept getting yelled at for his aim. No joke. I felt a little bad, but I also giggled.

It’s no real secret that the Midwest is a sexist place, but it was only in the 90’s that I thought penises operated F150’s, the man always makes more money, and was shocked to find my third grade teacher was a boy. I don’t live in the middle of nowhere, people. I can see my suburban town’s water tower from where I sit and I am only about 25 minutes away from several major cities. The Midwest just happens to be the land that equality forgot.

Don’t get me wrong. I love being a girl. I like traditional men and their pick-up trucks. Not having to ever open a door, due to a combination of my genitalia and geographical location is the shit. My undergraduate degree is in home ec. For the most part, when my dear, dear, feminazi best friend goes on a Vagina Rant, I just pat her on the head, tell her she’s cute, and ask her why she isn’t in the kitchen. My Gramma fought for my right to make my choices so I wouldn’t have to do so. I’m pretty content. However, even I am still appalled by the photo Gail sent me of this local technology center’s curriculum advertisement.

math for women
Could y’all, like, use some pictures instead of words… and maybe a little pink glitter?


OH! It’s like money, but for girls!

It’s hard to type over the distracting sound of my own retching.

“A Woman’s Perspective”
I don’t like math and that is apparently the fault of my clitoris. However, from what I understand, those people (I mean men) who do like it, find it appealing that there is only one answer. It’s all the same… whether or not it’s done on a Hello Kitty calculator. What precisely will I get from “Money Management: A Woman’s Perspective” that I won’t get from “Money Management”? Based on this advertisement, I can only assume it’s shorter columns of smaller numbers.

“Designed Especially for Women”
Okay. Let’s get one thing straight. If I sign up for this class and I don’t get a choice of pink or purple feathered pens on the first day, I am going to be pissed. If you Google the above phrase, you know what you get? Medicine and shoes, both of which must be designed for women, because their bodies are different from men’s. Math is 114% about the mind. Get it? I said 114%, because I have boobs and I’m stupid. Is this class physically designed for women? Are there special ergonomic chairs built for the female form? Or is it just that the problems themselves are more feminine?

Q: If the average menstrual cycle is 28 days long and Maria’s period began on day 1 and ended on day 7, on what day will Maria need more tampons?

Now ladies, I know you want to answer “chocolate”, but really think outside the box on this one.

“Understand the Basics”
Is the class for women, because it’s rudimentary? Does the men’s class start with division and multiplication while the women start by counting the horn on a bedazzled purple unicorn? Were we just too busy giggling about boy bands over our copies of Teen magazine to learn about that math stuff?

“Learn Where You Stand Financially”
Well, you’re apparently $29 in the hole for this ridiculous Numbers for Your Vag course.

I can only assume this is referring to the money coming in versus the money going out. That’s budgeting, y’all. Even an incredibly specific budget is going to be categorically gender neutral and the amounts vary from person to person regardless of genitalia.

Oddly Specific Budget Categories for Women
Body glitter
Gynecological Appointments

“Where to Put Your Money”
“Why, that’s just silly! I put my money right here, in my purse!”
“No, no, sweet thing. We’re talking about investments.”

Why would a woman’s best investment choices differ from a man’s? As Gail put it, in what tampon company should I invest? Money is money. It doesn’t matter if you make it off of Women’s Apparel or Viagra. It doesn’t matter if you’re using it to buy lipstick or tools.

“What to Do Right Now!”
Apparently, these little ladies might start thinking about funneling some of that babysitting money into their daddies’ dowry funds. One goat just won’t do these days.

Again, what choices should a woman make about her money right now that a man shouldn’t? She should plan a budget. Oh, wait, so should he. She should have three month’s income in savings. Oh, wait. So should he. She should start thinking about retirement. Oh, wait…

That Condescending Exclamation Point
Let’s get these ladies excited about numbers!!!!!! If there’s one thing the women understand, it’s lots of exclamation points!!!!! Can we maybe heart the i’s as well?

“You know what? How’s about we cut this short and she can just let him take care of the money?”
“OH EM GEE! That’s totally what my final paper was about!”

I know that men and women are different. Not only do they differ physically, but they tend to think differently and act differently. I don’t have a problem with that. How much of that is biological and how much is environmental, though? Does any woman benefit from being taught a gender neutral subject in a gender specific way? Is telling a woman that she needs to enroll in “Math for the Gals” any less harmful than telling a little girl that it would be more realistic to play nurse than doctor? I understand that you have to split the contact sports up based on stature to even the playing field, but should my old high school still be calling our girls’ teams the Lady Broncos before we send them off to take Calculations for Chicks?

I’ll help you broads out, here.

It’s unknown, but this isn’t helping
Absolutely not.

* Reblogged from December, 7, 2012.

How much do I NOT want to be a princess?

Thiiiiis much.

Every little girl wants to be a princess… or, in my case, an Olsen twin. I also wanted to be Belle, though, since she had talking dishes and furniture. I was so disappointed when they all turned into humans in the end. True story. Despite everything I’m about to say, honestly, I’d still totally let Beast inflict emotional abuse and trauma on me for that kickass library. I’m tellin’ ya, Anastasia Steele did that all wrong.

Fuck your iPad, Christian Grey. Chain it up and fuck it with a pool stick.

For Halloween, playtime, birthdays, a Tuesday, we all went as princesses, because as Americans, we were raised to view a monarchy as magical and, perhaps, even mythical. My surprise when I discovered princesses really existed was almost as profound as when I discovered little people did. What?!?! They existed alongside witches and fairies!!!! It was a perfectly rational conclusion!!!!

Blame him.

Eventually, however, we grow up and rewatch all of those movies and, if we’re lucky enough to have been born in the right decade, we watch a woman our own age live out her own princess fantasy… and we realize (if we over-analyze always)… it sucks.

For the most part, I think the idea that little girls get any truly negative messages from Disney is horseshit. However, even as a child I thought it sucked ass that poor Jasmine wasn’t even allowed to choose her own husband. I also wondered why she wanted a liar and a thief, but who am I to talk about that one, amiright?!?

Hmmm… maybe Disney did cause my divorce.

When I was nine years old, I got my second indication that princess wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. It was in the form of a roar of discussion and debate on the death of Princess Diana and how her prince had her murdered… or didn’t. Who knows? Either way, she died way too young and wasn’t brought back by True Love’s Kiss. The princess gig was sounding less and less appealing.

As a teen, I went back and watched all of those other Disney movies about how Cinderella marries a man she barely knows; Ariel has to go from being an awesomefuckingmermaid to a boring ol’ human just for her prince; Snow White has to friggin’ die to be with hers; Belle has to develop Stockholm Syndrome to be with hers. What the fuck?!?! Being a princess sounds horrible!!!!!

Today, I am 25 and there’s Kate Middleton, a completely un-animated “Princess.” I’ve met a lot of women who love to follow the “fairytale romance” of Prince William and a commoner. It’s just “soooo romantic!” Well, for starters “commoner” my butt. Maybe her great-grandparents were cloth merchants and miners, but the Middletons founded their £30 million company in 1987, when their eldest daughter was six years old. I admire hard workers who carved out their own place in society, rather than just taking what the taxpayers hand them, so frankly, the Middletons are the bomb. Those folks started out as friggin’ flight attendants and now their mail order party supply business is worth so many U.S. dollars that I can’t find a currency calculator to tell me how much that even is. My point, though, is that their daughter was not a “commoner” in any sense beyond her lack of royal blood. She was poised and privileged for the majority of her life and could hardly relate to your average middle-class American woman watching the royal wedding at 3:00 in the morning, raw cookie dough in hand. After all, she did go to the same college as the future KING.

Now she was a true commoner.

So yes, technically Catherine Middleton had no royal blood, but were there a whole lot of other options? Marriage between cousins is sort of frowned upon these days, yo. Fun fact: it wasn’t when Queen Elizabeth II married her third cousin in 1947. Regardless of the recent lack of inbreeding, here are the reasons I don’t even kind of want to be the Duchess of Cambridge.

Prince William
I’m divorced and jaded. Having admitted that, I honestly just don’t buy the whole “… and they lived happily ever after” fed to us, about this couple, by the media. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think this is some kind of set-up or scheme. I just don’t think that this couple would even have been able to truly fall in love with all that was at stake. We’re talking about dating the future King of England, y’all. Kate’s an intelligent gal, so there is no way she missed that her future late mother-in-law (did I get that right?) was “tested for virginity.” No one gave a fig if Prince Charles was pure as the driven snow. They just didn’t want him sullied by Diana’s rotting womb in fucking 1981.

Okay, officially channeling Gail. Anyway, that’s a lot of pressure. Even if Kate and William truly did fall in love, can you even imagine the trust exercises involved in that relationship? Normal people fall back and hope their future spouse catches them at the marriage retreat. William had to hope Kate didn’t go to the media about how big his tinkle was and Kate had to hope he eventually got over his tendency not to let her get too long of a look at his tinkle. No wonder they dated for eight years. I hope they are in love, now. I genuinely do. I just think there’s a good chance that they were just really good friends and William felt Kate was the only trustworthy “candidate” (see above animation); that Kate felt a responsibility or obligation to her good and loved friend (romantic or not) and her country. I hope it’s the former, but I wouldn’t want to be Kate on the off-chance that it’s the latter. Additionally, Prince William was so damned handsome when he was younger. I remember thinking how cute he was when I was a little girl and lamenting that he was six years older, because that’s why we wouldn’t work.

prince william young
Oh, my…

These days, he’s still six years older, but…

prince william 2013
Oh… my.

… now he looks like a Family Guy skit.

nigel pinchley

The Eyes
There is a That sight fucking exists. That is how much people give a shit what this woman does. In addition to opinions on her bedroom traffic and clothing choices, there are articles on Kate’s pregnancy, diet, and even her topless sunbathing. Photos are included in that last one. I, a Southern American Librarian have seen the future Queen Consort’s boobs. That’s royalty. Within hours of pushing a human being from her much-speculated vag, a hair dresser showed up to get a tired new mom photo readyThat’s royalty. Ariel combed her hair with a fucking fork and Kate Middleton isn’t allowed a ponytail?

You lied to me, Disney!!!!!! Mickey Mouse will die aflame and screaming!!!!

The Parenting
Let’s just ignore the sexism inherent in the birth of an heir. Okay. Let’s not.

The fountains at Trafalgar Square are seen lit blue to signify the birth of a baby boy to Britain's Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge in London

Would the fountain have been pink? Would it? Yes, yes, I’m channeling Gaily again. Men and women are different and have different strengths and should be valued for those. Clearly, however, their ability to run a country isn’t one of them. Before writing this article, I could not have told you Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh’s name with a gun to my head. Again, Southern American Librarian here. I’m on another continent and I’m not in politics, but I could probably still tell you we were on our second Queen Elizabeth… because she’s Queen and the ruler of that country. Would we have seen such enthusiasm for a female heir, though? I mean, there’s absolutely no way to tell at this point, because the next royal child will be fourth in line and quite unlikely to ever run the country, so the enthusiasm will be lessened regardless of gender. While I know a future queen would be celebrated, I can’t bring myself to believe it would be with the same exhilaration. Everyone wanted a boy. I’m not sure I’d want to raise my child in such a traditionally sexist family. I’d like to note, however, that Queen Elizabeth II has been making strides in this, having declared in January that all children of the eldest son (not just his eldest son) be granted the title of Royal Highness.

The fountain was indeed blue, however, so we’ve welcomed Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge into the world. What if Kate wanted to name him Michael, after her father? I’m not talking about giving the kid an American suburb name. “Introducing King Brantlee!” I’m talking about a biblical, respected name. Maybe she wouldn’t even try to use it as a first name, but rather a second middle. Psh. Let’s just name the kid Prince George Alexander Michael Louis of Cambridge. Who the fuck is going to make fun of the future King of England, anyway?  Oh. Right. She wouldn’t get to do that. Ever. She did not even get to name her own baby. 

So, she’s raising Prince George the future King of England. When I was in Kindergarten, I was going to be a pilot, because they could fly. Then I was going to be an Olsen twin… then a veterinarian… then an actress… then a lawyer… then a witch… then a psychiatrist… then a marine biologist… then a nurse… then a pharmacist… then a home-ec teacher… then a nurse… then an English teacher… then a home-ec teacher.. then a librarian. If I wanted to change my mind tomorrow and go to medical school, I could do that. Prince George, however, gets to be King. That’s it. Of course, the British Military is always an option, like his father chose. Prince Harry was in the military, also, but was pulled from the front lines in the Afghan War, because people found out about it. If Prince George decides he wants to be a psychologist, a math teacher, a veterinarian, anything other than King of England, tough shit. At best, he may get 77 days on the front lines. I want to tell my babies that they can be anything they want to be, as long as they’ve the aptitude, ability, and drive (participation trophies are for pussies). I don’t want to raise them without choice. That sucks

The Lack of Choice
Not only is the future of Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge (last name Mountbatten-Windsor… maybe) set in stone, so is that of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Kate Middleton is just as educated as her royal husband. Starting in late 2006, she was an accessory buyer for a clothing company, also working part-time for her parents’ company as a cataloger, photographer, webpage designer, and marketing officer. The article just says “until January 2011.” You know what happened in April 2011? Kate became a wife. That’s all. Ten years earlier, she had such dreams of a career as to attend a college fit for a King and take a position as a buyer. She took the job in November of 2006 and quit in January of 2011.That’s four years in a career for a woman who wanted a career. She doesn’t get to be Duchess and buyer, though. Now, she just gets to wear pretty clothes and dress up her little Prince. I’m not saying that can’t be satisfying. I’m saying that it sucks that the woman doesn’t have a choice anymore. Unless she wants to create a scandal the likes of Diana’s and Charles’s divorce, Kate will continue her life as the future Queen Consort and Royal Baby Maker, with charity work as the only reasonable option for outside fulfillment. She will behave and she will look pretty while doing so. Fuck that. I went to school to help people one-on-one. I want to be a librarian. I would rather have the option of being a middle-class librarian and a wife and a mom one day than to ever be “Princess.” 

princessrupert giles
Really. I‘d rather be a badass librarian.

Wikipedia is technically just as valid as most sources.,_Duke_of_Edinburgh,_Duchess_of_Cambridge,_Duke_of_Cambridge

Real-Life Photoshop: How Cosmetic Surgery Resonates 10 Years Later

As a kid, I had small moles on my face. By the time I reached middle school, they were prominent and I hated them. I once took Biore pore strips and placed them strategically, only to cry my eyes out when they didn’t remove moles. I took pictures of pretty actresses and drew brown dots on their faces to see if they were still pretty and showed them to my mother. When she wasn’t hitting me, the woman was terrified of being anything other than my best friend, so she caved and throughout seventh and eighth grade, I had five moles removed from my face, in a series of outpatient procedures. I was too young to make this sort of decision, but I don’t regret it.

A half-naked 14-year-old who had never even been kissed, I was mortified by the instructions “bend over like you’re diving” as Polaroids were taken in the plastic surgeon’s office. I asked when I’d get the pictures back and teared up when I learned they’d be kept on file for insurance purposes. In short, I was waaaay too young to be getting a breast reduction.

child surgery

Despite this, my mother was a nurse and used her pull to find someone who would agree to do the surgery. The doctor tried to talk my mother into waiting a few years, or at least until I’d lost a little weight, but I insisted and she agreed. The insurance claim was sent after my fifteenth birthday, in September. By December, I was excited for my first ever surgery, which just happened to be both cosmetic and elective.

I had claimed shoulder pain and the insurance company decided they’d save money in the long-run to just nip (pun only realized during proofreading) this problem in the butt. I did not have shoulder pain. I was humiliated by breasts that nearly sagged to my belly button and was forcing them into a size DDD bra that did not even fit. Those monsters don’t come cute. I’ve never regretted the decision. I have scars and can’t feel the underside of my breasts, causing sores from broken underwires to go unnoticed until looking in the mirror… and I still don’t regret it.

In fact, these procedures changed my whole outlook on plastic surgery. Previously having been one of the many individuals who consider plastic surgery to always be fake and self-indulgent (at age 11?), I soon realized that it’s just about the person undergoing the changes in themselves, and no one else. It’s hard to say someone should be happy with who they are when you were purchasing granny bras at age eleven while tearfully declaring you “look like a chocolate chip cooke!” I had parents who were too busy screaming at each other to make sure I bathed properly or washed my clothes regularly; forget about dressing cute, listening to the right music, or you know being nice to people. Fitting in wasn’t really my thing and the self-consciousness that came with facial moles and Big Mama breasts did not help.

granny bra
For realz. Change into that in the locker room before sixth grade gym.

 All that having been said, my mom made a bad decision on both counts. Ell oh ellsies. My mom made a lot of bad decisions…

  • the time she offered to buy us beer at 15
  • letting me and other people’s children jump off the roof onto the trampoline at age 12
  • kicking me in the stomach when I didn’t clean the litterbox
  • using the knowledge that I was a cutter as leverage to threaten me with therapy when I argued with her
  • giving me the “just be home before I go to work in the morning” curfew at sevenfuckingteen 

memory lane

Today, I’m a relatively confident adult. I’m fairly comfortable with who I am and how I look. I’d like to be about fifteen pounds lighter, but I’d rather have hips and red gummy worms than no hips and no red gummy worms, so… meh. Whatev. I am of perfectly sound mind to make the decision that I’d like to have the mole on my back removed, because I’m generally kidding when I tell Gail I’m going to do so with a cheese grater… or a blowtorch like that scene from Sons of Anarchy. I’m also twenty-five. I cannot fathom letting a child choose elective surgery. Regardless of the fact that the insurance company considered the above procedures to be necessary, I wasn’t afraid of cancer, nor did I actually have any shoulder pain. My issues were all psychological. Rather than destroying my view of therapy for the rest of my life by threatening me with it to get her way, my mother should’ve acknowledged the whopping self-esteem issues I had and arranged for me to speak with someone every couple of weeks, while putting me in social groups that were relatively free of teasing and judgement, like a church youth group. If, by age 16, building my confidence still did not fix my issues with the moles on my face, fine. She could schedule a consult with a dermatologist. If, by age 18, building my confidence did not fix my issues with the nipples at my bellybutton, she could schedule one with a plastic surgeon. Waiting three years seemed like an eternity at 15… which is why my mother should’ve helped me to see the big picture and made certain I could handle the decision I was making. Honestly, that time wouldn’t have changed my mind on either issue, especially the breast reduction (a pound and a half was removed from each), but it would’ve lessened the chances that I’d regret choices I made in utero.

“Hey, you up there! This nose seems a bit squished. Schedule a rhinoplasty.”

 This problem, however, is not limited to youth. The “mommy makeover” has taken even the middle-class by storm. One plastic surgeon reports that mothers are his largest customer base. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS), 36% of the 9.9 million surgical and minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures performed in 2006 were on patients between the ages of 30 and 39; 29% of them were aged 20 to 29.*

I’m not knocking a tummy tuck if you just can’t fix it with diet and exercise. I will criticize the people who couple it with liposuction, without first losing the weight and keeping if off, though. What is the point of taking on thousands of dollars worth of surgical bills if you’ve no guarantee of an ability to maintain the results? I never wash my car. Like ever. So, despite the faded doors and banged up front bumper from my recent fender bender, I’m not paying to have it painted. I may as well light that money on fire, because I’m not going to suddenly start washing my car. Getting liposuction and a tummy tuck and then getting fat again is the same.

If you’ve done the sit-ups and counted the calories, joined that Zumba class, and bought the push-up bra, though, I get it. I do. That doesn’t even apply to just the mommy makeover customers, but also the women who hate that bump in their nose, or the skin hanging from their chin, or those paper-thin lips. I understand how they feel. Trust me. I’ve had breasts that swing.

However… ten years later, I’m acknowledging that I may not have been in the best psychological place when I made the decision to surgically alter my appearance foreverPerhaps, rather than flocking to have ourselves physically Photoshopped, we should spend some time trying to come to terms with who we are and consider that our issues may be psychological. Maybe it’s not so much the wrinkles in your forehead that make you uncomfortable, but rather aging itself. Maybe that loose skin at your stomach isn’t the problem, but instead it’s just that your marriage is lacking some romance and you don’t feel attractive. Maybe you’re just insecure and your nose makes you look unique and distinctive and changing that will just make you look bland.

jennifer gray

The constant photo altering and image filters we see on Facebook aren’t helping this body dysmorphia trend, either. Grown women are enhancing their own clavicles, presenting a slimmer vision to the world, only to be disappointed when they don’t see that in the mirror, even if the real thing is perfectly healthy. I fear for the generation of kids who grow up with “corrected” photos hanging on the wall. The real world will never be as colorful or as unblemished as that photo shoot and they will never actually look like that. If it’s fucking with the heads of adults who are doing it themselves, they… are… screwed. 

Also… maybe I’m completely fucking wrong. Maybe the sagging skin at your forehead is far more severe than you should be seeing at 35. Maybe your husband calls you sexy every day, but you just can’t find business suits that look right. Maybe you more resemble Tucan Sam than Jennifer Grey. I certainly know that I don’t miss the feeling of the underside of my breasts sweating on my stomach. I greatly prefer that barely noticeable scar on my face to the Austin-Powers-worthy mole. Isn’t it worth some introspection, though? Because if I’m right, those problems aren’t going away with a little visit to the doctor. I didn’t suddenly become the awesome and fucking hilarious gal I am today after the stitches were pulled, when I was fifteen. That took years of personal growth. If there are deeper issues that aren’t being addressed in addition to/instead of cosmetic surgery, you’re still going to be having trouble facing your own mortality and changing body. Your marriage will still be suffering. You’ll still be insecure and uncomfortable with the idiosyncrasies that make you who you are. Because, regardless of how content that makes you, that last bit is fact. We are exactly who we were in the womb. We, as a society, should take more pride in that and give serious consideration to its alteration. We should stop this constant catering to insecurity and discrimination with invasive procedures, “repairing” the slightest blemish. We should start practicing what we preach when we tell our little girls that they are beautiful just as they are


… and if, after trying to come to terms with our individuality, we still hate that fat around our midriff that just won’t fucking DIE, then thank goodness for modern psychology and modern medicine.


Real Women Have Vaginas

… and/or two X chromosomes. I’m protecting myself from any potential off-topic transgender/had my vagina removed due to cervical cancer comments.

x chromosomes
That’s mine. I’ll spare you the picture of my vagina. You’re welcome.

I grew up in the 90’s with a dieting mom. This means I played in more than one Weight Watchers’ daycare, took Snackwell cookies for lunch, and don’t like regular Coke as an adult, because I never had it as a kid. It’s actually pretty unfortunate to order my bacon cheeseburger and bacon cheese fries with a Diet Coke, because I’m pretty certain the server is giggling internally and thinking “You want bacon in that?”… then I feel intensely self-absorbed because no one gives a shit what I order. Despite the Jenny Craig food in the freezer and all of those trips to the natural foods store, however, I grew up a little chubby after age eight. When I broke my wrist that year, the doctor weighed me at 106 pounds and my mother (who was and still is overweight) publicly scolded me and acted mortified. Thanks mom. The broken wrist didn’t hurt enough. Also, who’s been feeding said eight-year-old?!?!? Throughout my childhood, I always thought myself fat, though at 25, I realize I wasn’t more than chubby until my senior year and college. Being the chubby girl, though, I was comforted when I saw this movie:

real women have curves

I don’t remember much about it, but the basic premise of this Lifetime-esque title is that, despite being ridiculed by her mother for her weight, the main character can still be and feel beautiful. It’s a great message and America Ferrera, the lead actress, has become a household name and defense for being beautiful and curvy, along with Christina Hendricks of Mad Men and Gennifer Goodwin of Once Upon a Time (though she was fuller figured in her days on Big Love). It’s wonderful that we’re accepting that a woman doesn’t have to starve herself to be beautiful. That having been said, why does this notion have to be accompanied with the phrase “real women have curves” or “zero is not a size” and pictures like this?

comparing weights

We’ve gone from dubbing the gorgeous Keira Knightly as the standard by which we should compare ourselves to claiming she’s not a woman, because she’s physically fit. Zero is just as much of a size as 16, because there’s nothing actually measuring 16″ either. If you want to call her a size 20, you’d better get comfy going by size 33.* In addition, we’ve become outraged that most plus-sized models are a size 10. Why is that so upsetting? I’m a size 8/10 and okay, I can’t actually wear anything in the plus-sized section, but when I buy something that does fit me, the model wearing it is probably smaller than a size 00, and they don’t sell that in my section either. It’s the same. It’s also just marketing. The designers don’t want back fat in the picture, because they know you don’t want to wear something that gives you back fat. Bitch all you want about airbrushing and using  that size 10 model to advertise your size 22 blouse, but no one’s buying it if it gives the model rolls. They just aren’t.

Today, when a skinny woman turns her nose up at an overweight woman, it’s considered tasteless and superior, but society releases a movie titled Real Women Have Curves and insists that “zero is not a size” and it’s empowering? My. Stretch-marked. Ass. Defending obesity is not empowering and I’m pretty sure Marilyn Monroe would be disgusted that she’s now the spokesperson for extra mayonnaise. Christina Hendricks, Gennifer Goodwin, and America Ferrera all have one thing in common: a healthy weight, which, I might add, America Ferrera did not have in Real Women Have Curves. They’re all gorgeous and so was Marilyn Monroe, but they aren’t obese. I point this out, because more often than not, it’s unhealthy (not curvy) women making these statements. Regardless, said “curves” do not make a real woman any more than they unmake her. At size two or 26, if she has a vagina and/or two X chromosomes, then she is a real fucking woman. You don’t get to take her femininity and gender away from her because you’re insecure, whether you’re sneering at the ladies in Lane Bryant or the gals on the beach in bikinis. These are equal crimes and if you’re unhealthy on either end of the spectrum, you need to plan a fitness and diet program that works for you, rather than focusing on the weight of everyone else.

jennifer love hewitt people
Jennifer Love Hewitt went on record to say “size two is not fat.” She’s right. It’s not. She’s also not a size two here and should own up to it instead of acting ashamed of her likely healthy size 8 figure.

Sadly, weight is only one of the ways in which we gals like to tear each other apart. There’s also our professional lives. Since women started entering the workforce in greater numbers, we’ve been debating which is the best course of action, being a working mom or a stay-at-home mom, because of course you’re throwing your life away if you choose not to have children.

until you've counted fingers and toes

Recently, I was discussing with a coworker whether or not I’d like to be a stay-at-home mom one day. The answer is no. I’ve spent seven years in school to help people in my community better their lives through self-education and I know that if I leave my technology-heavy profession for ten years to raise children, I won’t be able to go back. I also know that I don’t have the patience to stay home with children all day, and therefore wouldn’t be content. Everyone would be happier if I worked. I feel that people miss out on time with their families, because of poor prioritization more than by having a career. For example, the average American household has a television on for 6 hours and 47 minutes daily.* In short, turn off the fucking T.V. and raise your babies, whether you’ve been home all day or not and they’ll be fine. I gave my coworker a work appropriate version of that, to which she essentially responded “to each their own”… then threw in “I just didn’t want someone else raising my children” in a but that’s just me tone. She genuinely didn’t mean anything by it, so I didn’t respond, but that is the equivalent of my saying “well, I’d rather contribute to my family in addition to caring for my kids, but that’s just me.” God bless social networking, because I get to read about this ridiculous cat fight all day long, for in the Midwest most 25-year-olds have a few toddlers.

stay at home moms

working moms

You’re both wasting an awful lot of  time in an e-slap fight for two people who claim to be so busy. A woman who stays home with her children takes on the job of full time teacher, maid, cook, financial adviser, personal shopper, and psychiatrist and she does it all day long. The woman with a career performs her professional duties and then those listed above when she gets home. Neither is less of a mother or woman than the other, just as the childless woman is no less a woman. Being an adult, raising a family, having a career, and being in a marriage are all hard when you do them right, regardless of which of these life choices you make or combine. What works for one may not work for another and that is wonderful, because I don’t want to live in fucking Stepford. We need to be supporting, not shredding, each other. Women complain constantly about men keeping them from success, but you know what? We don’t need men to tear us down as long as we’re so good at it. We want to be taken seriously in the workforce and society but those of us who can’t wear that extra 20 pounds to work proudly and still love our skinny stay-at-home mom friends for their life choices, don’t deserve to be taken seriously.

marilyn monroe on society

perfect mother

There’s some supportive advice I can get behind.


Hunting With the Game Warden

hunting with the game warden

So, earlier this month, I was planning my budget… lolzies. I’m just joshin’ ya. I was painting my nails glitter pink! Anyhoo, it was about that time I saw the above photo on Facebook. My first thought was “Jeepers, I agree! It would suck to have a fiscally responsible man with me when I’m shopping. I much prefer to just spend willy nilly with no regards to my financial situation or that of my family! I am, after all, just a silly little woman.”

Wait. That’s a damnable lie. While I do own pink glitter nail polish, when I saw this I was filled with annoyance… but the cute, non-threatening, kittenish kind, of course, because of my VAGINA.

angry kitten

I get that this is just supposed to be a cutesy sign to hang in the kitchen next to the old fashioned brass novelty cake pans that I don’t have/want, but I don’t understand why someone would want to hang this anywhere. A game warden is in charge of enforcing hunting, fishing, and trapping laws, ultimately protecting the balance in the animal kingdom. Hunting with one would probably be pretty awesome, because he’d know exactly what I could and could not target so I didn’t kill something endangered or just too frickin’ adorable to die. By this comparison, shopping with aforementioned fiscally responsible husband, who knows exactly what can and cannot be spent in regards to our family’s happiness and stability… well that sounds pretty neato as well.

Here’s my real qualm, though. I’ve never been hunting. I own and shoot pretty pink guns, but I’m strictly an indoor girl in temperatures below 50 degrees. I’m pretty damned vocal about it, too… meaning I whine and that tends to scare off deer/boar/ducks or what have you. Freezing my ass off with red cheeks and chapped hands ain’t cute and I like to be cute. Bawling my eyes out because I shot something fluffy isn’t exactly adorable either. I am way too much of a damned girl to hunt… but I’m still aware that if I changed my mind, it would by my responsibility to find out what I could and could not kill. If I shoot a deer and it’s not deer season, I can’t just point to the game warden and claim he didn’t say differently.

dead unicorn
What?!?! No one told me!!!!

We are women, hear us roar… until our throats get a little parched, amiright? We want to hold the same jobs as men for the same paycheck, but at the end of the day, we don’t want to own up to how we spend said paycheck? Not only that, we want to publicly broadcast our unwillingness to do so? The idea that I need some testicles following me around, telling me that I really can’t afford that $218 Fossil purse is just offensive. Personally, I’m a traditional gal. I’m happy with doing the laundry if he mows the lawn. I just don’t like the assumption that I am incapable of working such complex machinery as a lawnmower. Perhaps, one day when he’s sick, I can even fire up that beast myself and just mow the fucking lawn, because it’s not that big of a damned deal. Similarly, even if he is the one who manages the finances, it’s still my responsibility to follow the guidelines we’ve set. Regardless of whether or not the game warden has accompanied me on my hunting trip, the laws still apply. Regardless of whether or not my husband’s standing next to me, I still can’t afford that Fossil purse. If the problem is that he can’t allow me to look at and long for said purse without reminding me of my financial constraints, then fine. We have an issue of respect and his inability to show me some in public… and I definitely want that on Facebook, right y’all?

Financial irresponsibility is not a vaginal secretion. My clitoris does not take away my culpability when I break my budget. I don’t understand why “budget” is such a four-letter word today, anyway. In the words of Dave Ramsey, “a budget is when you tell your money where to go instead of wondering where it went. Stop acting like it’s anything else.” Personally, I’ll forever remember that summer I went on the Free-Movie-Theater-Popcorn-From-a-Trash-Bag diet. It was also known as the Belle-Needs-a-Hasty-Divorce diet. Yeah… strong budgeting skills continue to bring this girl to the yard.

What’s for dinner? Ooooh, nothing, my favesies.

Excuse me, Miss. You dropped your dirty bra on my newsfeed.

My bachelor’s degree is in Family and Consumer Science Education (home-ec), which is a degree focusing on a wide range of things. Stereotype mostly dictates these as sewing, cooking, child development, and marriage. I once burned Easy Mac. My dog’s alive because he barks at me if he doesn’t have food and he probably didn’t actually eat that bullet that one time. I’m 25 and have been divorced for two years. You can’t learn everything from a book, y’all, amiright? confused with book I, however, can sew and bake like a badass motherfucker. So there’s my proof that some lessons stuck. Another one of those lessons was how to be really bad at marriage… not that this was necessary to learn from a textbook, because Facebook provides me with constant guidance into this venture. The following are all paraphrased Facebook statuses, mostly only straying from direct quotes because I couldn’t bring myself to include all of those spelling errors.

 – “Ugh. I’m so tired of the fighting and verbal abuse. I just want a divorce.” –
You know how you get a divorce? You call a lawyer. If you truly “want a divorce”, you’re typing it into a search engine, not the Facebook status bar. You don’t want a divorce. You want to villainize your husband, so that your mutual friends will realize that you’re the wronged one in the relationship when it finally ends, and take your side. What you’re doing, however, is attacking him in public. This is the E-equivalent to taking off your high-heeled shoe and beating him with it in a Wal-Mart while screaming that he’s an abusive bastard. You don’t look verbally abused when you make this post. You look like the verbal abuser, who is making an effort to humiliate her husband to the masses. This is especially true when he makes no similar posts ever in time about your marital issues. If he’s calling you a worthless, fat, cunt, whose children are right to ignore her, it’s still not appropriate to lament about this on Facebook. It’s appropriate to call up your mom and sister to cry and tell them your marriage is a wreck. It’s appropriate to break down at a family dinner to your grandma and a room full of supportive cousins. It’s even appropriate to drink 8 LITs at a bar on Thanksgiving while blubbering incoherently about how he was supposed to make 60% of the income and not pawn your jewelry while your best friend gets the keys. All of these interactions are as perfect as can be in a disastrous situation, because they are confined to people who give a shit. That list doesn’t include your high school student council members, that girl who bullied you and was friended just so you could watch her get fat, or the third cousin who was never really open about why he went to prison.

abusive woman – “I just carried in a fifty pound bag of dog food all by myself. I always wanted to be a single mom. Oh, wait…” –
This particular woman’s husband was working out of town fighting wildfires, while she was staying home cuddling the baby. Don’t get me wrong. Babies are gross and loud. I wouldn’t want to be left alone with one, either, and I can imagine this is difficult… you know, sort of like how putting out wildfires is difficult. This is such a regular social networking trend that I want to bomb the Internet. I’ll flat-out admit that I am completely and totally biased here. These women are bitching about a man who works too hard to support his family. Try sopping up the blood from your foot because the cat knocked a glass off the counter three days ago and he never cleaned it up, despite not having had a job for three fucking years. Spend four years with a man who is too lazy to bathe and then you can bitch about how your husband has a well paying job in which he’s working in extreme and dangerous climates to buy diapers for your child. These men aren’t workaholics regularly taking on 80 hours a week. They just have mutually agreed upon jobs with unpredictable and sometimes non-local hours. Said jobs are often worth it, too, because they pay well enough for these women to stay home and whine on Facebook while their husbands bust their asses. Again, it’s not that these women are bad wives for feeling lonely, frustrated, or overwhelmed. They are, however, ungrateful and unsupportive partners for posting these thoughts on a billboard read by their husbands’ friends and entire family. If my son ever married a woman who complained publicly about having to carry fifty fucking pounds, I’d be perfectly willing to call her out on the fact that this is the approximate weight of a six-year-old and there are plenty of actual single moms carrying those inside all alone with a lot less bitching, because being a single parent is a lot more difficult than carrying dog food funded by their husbands.

overwhelmed mom
Key difference: she works to pay for that dog food and then carries it in alone.

 – “I’m so glad my husband decided that my telling him he could have one or two beers with the guys meant he could get plastered and leave me to take care of three boys alone.” –
No.Your husband does not need your permission to have a beer with his buddies, just as you do not need his permission to buy that new Coach purse. You are both adults and should be making any and all decisions with regards as to what is best for your family and whether or not this splurge is possible without hurting the overall unit. If he dropped the ball doing that, fine. People make mistakes. Telling your friends, family, high school acquaintances, and his friends, family, and work buddies when you fucking tag him in this status, however, does not undo the damage, and hurts the family unit far more than his original crime, by involving other people. I have never seen a man post a status update of “I’m so glad my wife decided that getting her nails done was more important than buying new tires for the car” or “I’m so glad that my wife got so drunk last night that she threw up in the entryway, passed out and pissed herself.” It’s not that these women don’t make mistakes or go too far, just that their husbands aren’t choosing to share it with the world. man screaming at computer – “I am so tired of hearing my husband tell me that the money I make doesn’t mean anything. From now on, I’m just going to take my money and spend it on whatever I want then, if it’s so unimportant.” –
Why in the hell would you even want to post this on a social networking site? No one sounds good in this statement. You have an unhappy marriage and you’re officially choosing to no longer contribute to it financially? Maybe next you’ll post about you got drunk, threw up in the entryway, passed out and pissed yourself. Sure, your husband comes off as a jerk here, but you look like a child throwing a keyboard tantrum. Perhaps, instead of bashing him on Facebook, you could take some of that paycheck and put it towards the marriage counseling that the world now knows you need. woman throwing keyboard None of the feelings that inspire these posts are particularly bad. You’re losing faith in your marriage. Fuck, I feel ya there. Run, run, run, and don’t ask me for marital advice, because that is always the answer. You feel mistreated. You’re lonely and overwhelmed. You’re upset about the fact that your husband made a bad decision and it’s affecting you. You’re feeling under appreciated. I getcha. I felt all of those things all of the time in my marriage. You have my sympathy… or you would if I fucking knew you outside of Google Chrome. I don’t, though. I know that when we were kids, you liked Batman, you have a golden retriever, your baby isn’t that cute, you like to take pictures of your overpriced manicures, you’ve put on a few pounds, you’ve decided to call yourself a “photographer”… but I haven’t seen you in person since high school. I should not know your marital issues at all, unless you’ve personally sought me out for comfort. When I got divorced, I had multiple family members ask at Christmas how over it was, because they hadn’t heard anything about it. I’d filed the paper work before I told any of them. That’s because, with the majority of them, we weren’t that close and they only kept up with me through Facebook, where I never complained about my marriage to Voldemort himself. What ever happened to the old adage about not airing your dirty laundry in public and why do so many women in my generation not understand it or realize the value of keeping private issues private? This is social networking, not your private blog. Everyone you know can read this. Yes, indeed, it is specifically a female problem. I have never seen a man make any of these personal posts about their relationships (though I’m sure it’s happened and is just rare) and it’s ridiculous that women think it’s okay if they do. Equality doesn’t mean we get our turn to humiliate. If a man posted on Facebook “I can’t believe she just spent $200 on the UGGliest boots when she needs new tires” or “I love that I’ve been stepping over bottles of nail polish in the living room for two days”, I would be mortified and expect him to immediately take it down and apologize. Why don’t we owe men that respect? Furthermore, why don’t we owe our relationships that respect? I get a say on this trend, because ultimately, when you air that dirty laundry for all to see, you invite those people to comment on your shitty laundering skills. bra on computer

The Purple Pill

You may have noticed I don’t have a blogroll. You probably didn’t, though, because who cares? A blogroll lists the blogs a person recommends. I read blogs… obsessively… because I am a truly obsessive person. When I was a kid, I used to get really into a show or a book and I would talk about it for weeks. I’m still that person. I may control it a little better, but… wait. No. I don’t control it better. That was someone else.

It must have been her.

I don’t list the blogs I read, because they aren’t blogs that my readers would necessarily enjoy. While there are some touching divorce blogs, funny dating blogs, and entertaining satire blogs that I follow, the majority of what I read covers my latest obscure obsession. I went through a phase a few weeks ago where I followed the blogs of several people taking on group sexual relationships. Then it was blogs criticizing Fifty Shades of Grey. Then it was erotic blogs. Then book blogs. Now it’s blogs discussing the Red Pill and anti-feminism. For those of you who didn’t drink seven cups of black coffee so strong you could chew it, because you were up procrastinating on graduate school work last night, allow me to enlighten you. The Red Pill is a movement of sorts that pushes back against extreme feminism. It’s spearheaded by men who are tired of being treated like shit by women who have taken the women’s rights movement too far and think it means they don’t have to have respect or consideration for the opposite sex. That’s the most unbiased description I can give and I think it’s pretty good, because I’m pretty unbiased about this. The people “swallowing the Red Pill” are consenting adults who have chosen to go with the traditional idea that a man is the head of the household and it’s working for them. It’s none of my business. But it’s fascinating.

Yes, I’ve gone on a few Rosie the Riveter rants in support of women’s opportunities and choices, but that’s exactly what they are: opportunities and choices. Telling a woman that she has to hold a corporate position, when she just wants to be milked by snuggling infants is just as harmful as confining her to the kitchen when she wants to go get an MBA. We live in a society where we can make our own decisions and I’m all for that. End disclaimer and back to my point.

My dad’s family is highly matriarchal and Catholic. The couples are mostly wealthy, with each individual bringing in a large sum. We women are all loud and I’ve heard my grandma K shout “That’s fucking bullshit” in her nicest Christmas outfit with a drink in each hand. There are as many opinions as there are hugs. The love and liquor is plentiful. All the gals wear the pants on the little stuff (how to decorate), but will usually defer to the men on the big stuff (that move to Texas). My dad, however, was the obvious head of the household in all ways growing up. Because of my parents’ drawn out and explosive divorce, I was largely raised by my Gramma, who worked as a corporate supervisor in tailored pants suits and heels and was one of the first moms on her block to get divorced in the 60s. This woman never swears, unless it’s in defense of one of her baby chick grandchildren and where her heart should beat, she has the sneezing baby panda instead. She’s that pure. She’s traditional in the sense that she thinks it’s a travesty that my brother does the dishes while his wife lounges on the couch, but doesn’t understand why a woman has to take a man’s last name. She’s an adorable little contradiction. So where does all this leave me in regards to gender and relationship roles?

confused woman with maths
Confused as fuck.

When I was a teenager, I desperately (and perhaps unhealthily) wanted a man to take care of me. My mom had made certain that I had no relationship with my dad at the time and I was often abused at home when she couldn’t handle the stress of raising the teenager with whom she’d isolated herself. That being said… what the fuck happened?!! I married my ex-husband, who didn’t work, clean, bathe, feed the pets, or contribute in any way. Quite the contrary, he stole from me, trashed the apartment, abused my animals, burned down our house for monetary incentives, lay around all day, cheated on me, and even lied to fabricate jobs that weren’t paying him. He was the worst sort of person and no man at all. On the one hand, he was nothing close to a traditional man eager and willing to practice traditional gender and relationship roles. The very opposite of him should still appeal, yes? Well, yes, in theory, it does. I love my alpha male romances. On the other hand, I’ve had two years to take charge of my life and care for myself and I’m not sure I could ever hand over those reins again. You can only retain so much trust in people after looking at your dead pets all over the front lawn.

Gail is divorced also and had a similar situation to mine. Her ex didn’t contribute in any way, but he constantly quoted biblical ideals about being the “man of the house.” This has sent her running for the hills from anyone who might use that phrase. Today, as we discussed the Red Pill blogs we were both reading, I brought up my concerns. My Gramma has always told me that someone must lead in a marriage. She thinks it should be the man, but her main point is that someone always has more power. Maybe she’s right. Perhaps someone always is more dominant. The Red Pill school of thought titles this “Captain” and “First Officer” with the man taking up the hull. It’s a somewhat extreme take on gender roles that has Gail insisting that there can be two heads of household with no superior dominance. Gail has a kind and gentle, laid back boyfriend, whom she has seen infuriated once or twice, just not at her. They’re neck in neck for who is the most passive. It’s like watching kittens lick each other and trying to decide who’s angrier.

becca and adam

Partly just to piss her off, I told Gail that she was the Captain and just couldn’t tell, because she didn’t like the idea of wielding such power. She refuted my claim and I asked whose name was on the lease since Terry moved in with her. She said that was immaterial and I sent her an “Aye, aye” and the following picture.


Frustrated, she ended the discussion, so I sent her another:


I’m funny as shit. Gail’s lucky to have such an amusing friend.

Regardless of where Gail’s relationship lies, it’s still up for debate for me. Can there be a mutual partnership running the household? Should there be someone in charge, regardless of whether their sexy bits are concave or convex? The Blue Pill is assigned to men who passively let their wives run the show (like Terry, Gail) and the Red Pill designates men who’ve woken up and decided to lead. It’s a Matrix reference and it’s all a little extreme for my tastes, but intriguing. It’s working for these people. It’s giving the men a sense of control and making the women feel protected and they’re enjoying the initiative he takes. We all complain that he won’t just pick a restaurant… so he picks a restaurant. It may not be for me, but it’s made me wonder. Is there a middle ground? Must someone come out on top? Who should it be? Does it even matter?

I must say, I am girly as fuck. I love pretty dresses and the color pink and makeup and nail polish. I own pink guns. I think men should open doors and pay and that if a parent stays home with the baby, it should be the concave one. FOR ME. This doesn’t apply to other people, because I don’t give a single fuck about what other people decide makes them happy. Maybe I have a hot pink master bath and a dozen pretty dresses, but that doesn’t invalidate anyone for not following suit. This isn’t 1943 where women have to stay home and cook and breed. It’s also not 1983 where women have to fight for Vagina Rights and work 60 hours a week or they get their girl power ring taken away. It’s 2013 and we don’t have to do anything.

The key factor in all of this, of course, is respect. The feminists are demanding respect for women and the Red Pill enthusiasts are demanding respect for men. Most women still make .80 on the dollar to men for the exact same job. We’re teaching little boys that girls are cherished and protected, but wrapping those little ladies in shirts that say “Boys are stupid. Throw rocks at them.” In society and in a relationship, each group needs to respect the other, genitalia aside. It drives me crazy to see a woman on Facebook complaining that her husband is away on business. REALLY!? How about you have him plant his ass on the couch for four years? That’ll put hard work into perspective. Similarly, my brother regularly tells his wife that her salary means nothing, because she doesn’t bring home as much. It’s broken all around and we need to concentrate on respect and gratitude and praise in general. Example: “Hey, honey. Thanks for not killing all the pets and pawning my Gramma’s jewelry while I was at work.” Was that so hard? But that still doesn’t answer whether or not someone must hold more weight.

I suppose my “girly as fuck” declaration makes it clear that were someone to be in power in my future relationships, it would likely not be me. Despite my oh-so-witty banter with my Gail, I’m not an aggressive person. I’m sometimes too passive, because I tried everything with my ex-husband. I was his cheerleader. I left him alone. I nagged him. I cried. I begged. I screamed. I threw things. I ignored the problem. None of those brands of conflict worked, so I just naturally avoid conflict now. I work in a public service position, which exacerbates the issue, because this is an asset. It truly is. I love my job, but it is paved with eggshells and I know it. I’m good at it. Therefore, I don’t want to be in charge of other people at home. Were dual leadership an option, I could do that. I could be a teammate in leadership. My profession is all about group work. But is it possible? Or is my Gramma right and someone will inevitably tip the scales? Is it better to acknowledge this upfront and be aware of the dynamic or to be surprised when one person takes over, despite who it might be? Is it best to expend the effort to co-captain the relationship and family as Gail has insisted Terry do?* Or will this inevitably become a battle for power, causing more trouble than it’s worth? Is there a purple pill? I have no answers. But it’s fascinating stuff… and it renews my relief that I don’t have time for dating right now.

purple pill

* You just recently came to me for help pissing someone off, Gail. Just keeping sharp.