Friday, November 28, 2008

Shut your lips and talk with your hips

I live in Colorado and split my in-car radio time listening to NPR and 93.3, which is an alternative/pop station. Since I listen to the latter, I am frequently subjected to a popular local hit by the Boulder band 3OH!3. The song is called "Don't Trust Me" and the first few times I heard it my mouth fell open every time it reached the breakdown and these lovely lyrics flooded my car:
Shush girl, shut your lips
Do the Helen Keller
And talk with your hips
Oh. Yeah.

Most of the lyrics aren't that surprising, really. Calling a woman a ho in popular music isn't exactly rare, but this song pisses me off so much I don't even know what to say. WTF? "Girls" should not only shut up, but be deaf and blind as well, left only with their sexuality as a means of communication?

Maybe it's a joke, but it's not a very funny one, and I really could do without hearing it on the radio day in and day out.

Here are the full lyrics:
Black dress with the tights underneath
I've got the breath of a last cigarette on my teeth
And she's an actress but she ain't got no need
She's got money from her parents in a trust fund back east

T-t-t-tongues always pressed to your checks, while my tongue
is on the inside of some other girl's teeth
tell your boyfriend
If he says hes got beef that I'm a vegetarian
And I ain't fucking scared of him

She wants to touch me, whoa oh
She wants to love me, whoa oh
She'll never leave me, whoa oh whoa oh oh oh
Don't trust a ho
Never trust a ho
Won't trust a ho, cuz a ho won't trust me
She wants to touch me, whoa oh
She wants to love me, whoa oh
She'll never leave me, whoa oh, whoa oh oh oh
Don't trust a ho
Never trust a ho
Won't trust a ho, cuz a ho won't trust me

X's on the back on your hand
Wash them in the bathroom to drink like the bands
And the set list
You stole off the stage
Has red and purple lipstick all over the page

B-b-b-bruises cover your arms shaking in the
Fingers with the bottle in your palm
And the best is
No one knows who you are
Just another girl, alone at the bar


Shush girl, shut your lips
Do the hellen keller
And talk with your hips

I said shush girl, shut your lips
Do the hellen keller
And talk with your hips
I said shush girl, shut your lips
Do the hellen keller
And talk with your hips

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I'm stuffed full of food and lolling around on the couch with little energy for writing, so, in lieu of a real post, enjoy the charming Bridget McManus in her Thanksgiving episode of The Jam:

Now, that's my kind of cooking!

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Isn't that a girlie dog?

Just a short note to say that as much as I think President-Elect Obama is terrific for our country, I couldn't help but find some of his interactions with Michelle on ABC's Barbara Walter's special interview a wee bit grating. It's just my gut reaction, but I'd be willing to bet there was a bit of a ruckus off-set, since I dearly hope Michelle wouldn't let him get away with calling her "unreasonable" on national television (as in "we only get in arguments when she's unreasonable")! And what the heck's wrong with a "girlie" dog???

Along these lines, there's an interesting op-ed in today's Washington Post by Ruth Marcus about Michelle Obama and her role as "mom-in-chief":
"No matter how liberated I liked to see myself as . . . the fact was that when children showed up, it was Michelle and not I who was expected to make the necessary adjustments," Barack Obama writes. "Sure, I helped, but it was always on my terms, on my schedule. Meanwhile, she was the one who had to put her career on hold."

Expected to -- by whom? Had to -- says who? I remember reading this passage two years ago, when the book came out, and thinking: Hey, buddy, she has to scale back only because you're not willing to.

And yet, Barack Obama could have been describing so many women today when he explained that, for Michelle, "two visions of herself were at war with each other -- the desire to be the woman her mother had been, solid, dependable, making a home and always there for her kids; and the desire to excel in her profession, to make her mark on the world and realize all those plans she'd had on the very first day that we met."

This is where the identification comes in. The brutal reality is that, like our president-elect, most men do not wrestle quite so strenuously with these competing desires. So when the needs of our families collide with the demands of our jobs, it is usually the woman's career that yields.

(By the way, I'm a little sidetracked by the holidays and family-time, so blog-posting will be light this weekend. I will be posting my fourth wave "manifesto" in the next few days, but, in meantime, don't forget to check out Brianna's take on modern feminism.)

Update (12/01/08):Check out Billy Kimball's take on Obama's dog comments over at The Huffington Post, Barack Obama Insults Dog, Jumps Shark:
The semiotics of dog ownership, for presidents and paupers alike, are equally well established. By saying that he wanted a "big, rambunctious dog," Obama was trying to don the mantle of the "guy's guy." Big rambunctious dogs, through their genetic link to working and hunting breeds, establish one's bona fides with the masses. Those toy breeds who don't have to work for living probably belong to people who don't either - or so the conventional wisdom would have it.


To give Michelle Obama credit, she attempted to give her husband some cover by suggesting that a "girly dog" would be entirely appropriate for "a houseful of girls." It was a nice try, but clearly Mr. Obama meant "girly" in the pejorative sense, not as an adjective denoting "nice for girls," but rather to suggest a dog that lives in conflict with its own manly nature or the manly nature of dogs in general.
Uh, yeah, what he said.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Holiday Ten Tips for Dads & Daughters®

Year-end Holidays can make wonderful experiences and memories for parents and kids—and all the rest of us. They can also be stressful, and whip by incredibly fast. For the past few years, I’ve posted 10 practical tips for Dads & Daughters to keep in mind for making the most of the Holidays, and you can read them by clicking the link above.

These tips are easily “translated” for mothers, sons, or any other sentient being trying to keep the next month or so in perspective. Share your thoughts—and additional ideas—in a comment.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

The state of modern feminism: Brianna's view

(This started out as a comment on Aviva's post, but it got so long that I decided to make a whole new post!)

I've never really been completely satisfied with the current feminist movement. I suppose some of this might be the fault of my family (They think that feminism has done enough already), but whatever the cause, I've just never been quite happy. In fact, when I first started learning about and agreeing with feminist ideas, I was calling myself a 'post-feminist'. Real post-feminism, of course, is really anti-feminism, but what I meant by the term was, that I wanted to move past simple equality, to work for a basic cultural changes, and to include all sorts of ideas, not just the narrow set espoused by the second-wave feminists that I was reading and listening to at the time. And so, when given the opportunity to write for this blog, I was very excited - It's something that has always concerned me!

Third wave feminism has been mildly successful at rectifying the problems I mentioned, especially the problem of inclusiveness. Modern feminists spend as much time working on racial, GLBT, class, and environmental issues as they do women's and gender issues. While this is a good thing, there are many problems, too. Worst of all, I feel like third-wave feminism has stagnated, has stopped growing, even as it is still hampered by a lack of definition (most people still haven't heard of it!)

More specifically, I have three problems with modern, third-wave feminism:

1. Lack of coherence and a resulting lack of involvement.

The infighting needs to stop. The 'what does it mean to be a feminist' argument must stop. (See any thread on any major feminist website for examples!) Now, I don't mean that we can't disagree - I mean that we need to overcome our disagreements enough to become unified.

An example from the other side of the cultural spectrum: I come from a very conservative christian background. Now, conservatives fight all of the time. Baptists, who really make up the core of the christian right, fight constantly. But they don't fall apart - as an example, the minute Glorious Leader James Dobson pulls out all the stops on his radio show, they all drop the arguments and write a million letters, place a million calls, or go protest en masse. They donate money by the ton. And the people who do these things aren't activists - they're ordinary people who are only mildly involved in the conservative movement!

Can we get that kind of response from the average 'I'm not really a feminist - I don't hate men or anything - but I support the ideas.' sort of person? I doubt it. And while third-wave feminism has done a good job of attracting young people who formally thought that feminists were just angry women who couldn't have any fun, I think that in doing this, we have lost our ability to work together on anything. There's too much 'girl power' and not enough real work being done.

2. Lack of a real goal:

As I said earlier, when I was first discovering feminism, I called myself a post-feminist. I had been reading the major second-wave works, and it seemed to me that feminism had succeeded in the goals that they had set for themselves - women do have basic political equality, don't we?

I now know that even this is not true, of course. (and that the post-feminism concept was already taken.) But to hear many third-wave feminists talk, you would think the only thing wrong are with a few misogynists in the media, a few lingering cultural problems, and a bunch of international problems. They complain endlessly about sexist ads, about Rush Limbaugh, and about health care problems. You get the impression that if we could just stop the rape problem, stop the evil corporations, equalize pay, and find a solution to the sex industry, everything would be fine, and we could get down to turning everything into a communal utopia.

But those problems are a symptom, not a cause. The real problems are things like the cultural obsession with the gender binary, the glorification of 'masculine' qualities, the normalization of rape and violence (rather than individual acts), etc., etc. These problems are occasionally talked about - but often, feminists act as if the solution is simply to pass a few laws and insist that the media do a better job!

Now, that's not to say that nothing is being done - many wonderful things are being accomplished. Most feminists, though, casual feminists in particular, aren't doing very much. It often seems, too, that it is the remaining second-wave feminists who are getting things done, not the third-wave!

3. Lack of rigorous thinking:

Okay, I admit it - I'm a bit of a academic elitist. I've spent hours and hours reading dry academic works. And I think that academic feminism is absolutely vital for the health of the feminism as a whole.

Now, I do understand that many don't like all those books and theories - they seem disconnected from the real world - but I believe that we need a foundation of rigorous theory in order to function. The second-wave movement had this to an incredible degree - but the third-wave movement seems to be moving farther and farther away from the academic, which is still tied to the ideals of the second-wave movement.

Thus, the modern feminist movement depends on theories developed twenty or thirty years ago. It's not that new ideas aren't being published, but the big, well known ones seem to be of the Full-Frontal-Feminism variety - fairly popular works for a general audience, not academic works that can really develop new theories.


So what about the future? What should we try to make feminism into? Following the above points:

1. Stop the fighting. Just do it. And, we need to insist that it does matter for feminism to be a movement, not just a girl power club.
2. We need to work toward another fundamental cultural change. We did it once, and we can do it again.
3. More interaction between the theoretical and the practical, between the academics and the bloggers, the women's organizations, the activists. I think that this should help with the first problem, too - theory can help us find real answers, rather than engage in name-calling style faux-academic arguments. ("Classism!" "Ableism!" "Capitalist Pigism!" - sound familiar?)

In summary: We need the intelligence, strength, and coherence of the Second-Wave movement combined with the inclusiveness and individualism of the Third-Wave movement.

I really mean combined, too - not merely coexistent like the they are currently.

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Feminist Flashback #12

From the 2006 documentary I Was a Teenage Feminist:

You know, I'm not even that surprised by these responses. And that's really sad.

Has anyone seen this film? If so, please let me know what you thought of it.

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