Archive | February, 2008

Plastic boobs can tell us a lot about our society.

28 Feb

Has anyone besides me noticed the strange goings on in the world of mannequin boobs? Aside from the problem that the vast majority of mannequins hover somewhere around a size 2 when the average woman in this country wears a size 12, there is something amiss here. It seems these days that if a mannequin’s breasts haven’t been grotesquely enlarged, they have at least been adorned with conspicuously erect nipples.

coldadidas.jpg

If we must have fake plastic people in the form of mannequins and dolls, I’m all for anatomically correct representations of the human body, but I seriously doubt that’s the intention here. I mean, I know most of us have nipples, and that most of them have the capability of becoming erect, but I also know that that isn’t their default state. It takes either cold or sexual arousal to create an erect nipple, and something tells me these clothing stores aren’t trying to create an association between their products and a brisk winter’s day.

Then there are the new mannequins with the ridiculously large breasts. The makers claim that these mannequins are hot sellers because of the growing number of women with breast implants and the resultant demand for clothing designed to fit a size 4 body with 34 Z breasts or whatever the fuck these are.

 

miami-boobalicious.jpg

Isn’t this a symptom of the fact that our perception of what a woman’s body ought to look like has gotten away from us? That mannequin on the left looks like an anime character, not a human being. Mannequins purportedly represent an ideal (fascistic) body type, which makes this trend quite troubling. It means that breast implants are becoming so commonplace that the general public no longer thinks it odd for a female mannequin to have breasts six times larger than those that nature could provide a woman with. It means that the “ideal” body type is no longer something that can be attained without surgery. It’s distressing to me that porn culture (which is the source of the breast implant craze) has seeped into the mainstream to such an extent that the average woman now apparently doesn’t do a double-take when presented with a representation of the human female body that is so distorted that it reminds one of science fiction. In both the erect-nipple and the giant-boob incarnations, these mannequins are a representation of the fact that women’s bodies are, in all circumstances, to be seen as sexualized objects, and that mannequin makers have (probably correctly) surmised that women have internalized that idea to the point that they won’t demur when confronted with such oddities. Fucking sweet.

(This is kind of a silly aside, but what if some people in the future found these two sorts of mannequins and, knowing nothing of 21st-century American culture, attempted to construct some conception of our culture therefrom? I would really like it if people commented with what kinds of theories they think these future anthropologists would come up with.)

I may be a liberal, but I’m no faggot!

28 Feb

Why is the only feminist on Air America a dude? I’ve been listening to Thom Hartmann lately in the shower (mainly because my schedule this semester allows me to sleep until noon, when his show starts) and I’m really amazed at how often I hear him bringing up the misogyny Hillary Clinton has been faced with throughout her campaign. I say that I am amazed because almost no one has discussed this issue with any kind of clarity or in any kind of depth, and I’m glad to hear at least one person bringing up the 600-pound gorilla.

I generally think Air America sucks and is an embarrassment to the liberal cause. I mean, choosing Al Franken, possibly the least funny man in the world, as the network’s big star was a terrible idea, and Sam Seder and Rachel Maddow notwithstanding, the other hosts have been either brain-numbingly boring or irritatingly incoherent. Or worse, too conservative. But that isn’t my main beef with Air America. The real problem with Air America is that, despite the fact that each host has his or her own pet issues, some of which are fairly fringe-ish or kooky in some way or another, NO ONE talks about women’s issues with any kind of regularity or seriousness, and that includes the female hosts. When it comes to women’s issues, Randi Rhodes, the station’s most well-known female voice, is nothing but a sell-out (not to mention a total fucking embarrassment in general).

This lack of feminist voices on the only mainstream liberal radio network in the country brings up the larger issues of the role of feminism within the liberal community and the disregard for women’s issues in the liberal media (what little of it exists). There seem to be two problems keeping women’s issues out of the spotlight. The first is that, for some insane fucking reason, women’s issues are considered “fringe” issues that do not warrant inclusion in mainstream political discourse. I suppose that means that satanism is a fringe issue for Slayer.

The other problem is that men dominate the liberal media and generally come in one of only two types: the type who generally avoids discussing women’s issues, and the type that actively displays his misogyny. The number one example of this last type has to be Bill Maher, who I wouldn’t mind seeing have a bungee-jumping accident, closely followed by Alan Colmes, who, besides being terrifyingly boring, frequently makes use of the air time he’s allotted on Air America to discuss such gripping topics as his enthusiastic sanction of breast implants. Even Keith Olbermann, who I normally want to kiss on the cheek every week for blessing us with his clever anti-Republican invective, has been known to say a piggish thing or two, which is uncool even when it does have to do with Paris Hilton.

I think the characterization of liberal men by conservative sexist homophobes like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh as candy-ass closet homosexuals has everything to do with both of these phenomena. I won’t get too academic here, but we all know that the reason unreflective straight men hate gay men is that they see them as having consciously chosen to take on a feminine role, which threatens the very foundations of the value systems these renobs hold so dear. Insinuating that liberal men are gay is insinuating that they’re like women, and who the hell would want to be one of those in a patriarchy such as ours? The result of that line of thinking is that even the most liberal of men are running around waving their arms over their heads yelling, “I’m a liberal, yes, but I’m no faggot! I think women ought to shut up and be happy to be sex objects!” There’s really no escape from this quagmire; liberal women in the public eye avoid women’s issues like the plague for fear of being accused of identity politics, and liberal men just aren’t meeting the challenge in any serious way because they’re afraid of being called nancy boys.

I’ll have much more to say on this later, but for now I’ll just congratulate Thom Hartmann for being man enough to speak out on women’s issues.


Bookmark and Share

What the fuck is wrong with Portland?

24 Feb

This whole vegan strip club thing has really gotten me thinking about my old hometown of Portland, Oregon, and I think there might be something seriously wrong with the citizens of that riverside burgh. I say that because Portland has spawned not only the most ideologically screwy idea of the month, the vegan strip club, but also the fucking Suicide Girls, a company/group of renobs that offends my sensibilities on so many levels that I may have a hard time getting to all of them in one post. There is clearly a screw loose in the collective minds of those that make up Portland’s counterculture milieu that both of these phenomena bring to the fore. To wit: the young people of Portland have found a way to be fashion and culinary iconoclasts without having to deal with any of the complexity and uncertainty involved in actual iconoclasm.

It’s pretty easy to get all indignant when your boss forces you to take out your stupid piercings when you go to work or to feel a tinge of remorse for eating a fuzzy cow, but it’s not so easy to come to terms with the larger forces at work behind those discomforts, because doing so requires a fair amount of intelligence and usually results either in uncontrollable rage (if you’re into nu metal) or a feeling of weltschmerz and utter hopelessness (if you like Morrissey). What I am referring to, of course, is the patriarchy’s not-so-invisible hand in nearly all of the small oppressions these pseudo-punks find so uncool. Talking about resisting authority is fairly embarrassing at this point in our cultural development, but I think it’s important to realize that there is a difference between resisting authority in superficial ways while still perpetuating the patriarchal status quo and actually seeing oppressive authority for what it is, wherever it may crop up, and resisting it in a meaningful way. I’m not claiming that doing so is easy, or even that I’m doing it (although I’m trying to in at least a small way with this blog), but I’m also not going to congratulate people for a bunch of bullshit posturing that revolves more around dumb tattoos and ugly haircuts than thoughtfulness.

And that’s exactly what the Suicide Girls phenomenon is all about: superficial and cliche rebelliousness masking a tired rehashing of the pornographic exploitation of women. The idea that the women involved are empowering themselves is revolting; the company is owned and operated by a man, the women are paid nearly zilch for the honor of degrading themselves for an audience of perverts who listen to Reverend Horton Heat, and the company locks its “models” (prostitutes) into contracts that forbid them to “model” for any other sites and rob them of any rights to their own images. Where’s the empowerment? Is it in the fact that they don’t adhere to the mainstream blond porn ideal? Then I guess that means that women who participate in any kind of non-mainstream porn are empowering themselves. If that’s so, then what’s the criterion by which to judge how empowering a particular kind of porn is? The less mainstream, the more empowered the women are? Snuff films must be empowering as fuck, then.

I had a friend who was in a band that I won’t name, who were opening for another band that I won’t name, and when they went on tour the headlining band brought a few Suicide Girls along to go on stage first to, uh, warm up the crowd. I went to see my friend’s band when they came to town and was unfortunately exposed to the absurd and insulting spectacle of the Suicide Girls before I was able to get drunk enough to not notice. It was quite possibly the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever seen. Two emaciated women with black electrical tape over their nipples and generic rockabilly tattoos came out and danced around, pretended to molest each other, and flailed their arms around to the tune of Peaches’s “Fuck the Pain Away.” The audience included more women than men, but I still felt like I was one of about four people in the room who thought it a bit odd that I had gone out to see a rock band but had instead ended up in a strip club in which the strippers all looked like Murder City Devils fans. The dudes who were there, despite considering themselves to be some countercultural motherfuckers, acted just like any NFL-loving asshole at Dirty Dan’s and whooped it up whenever the women pretended to make out with each other. Punk as fuck.

Talking about what is and isn’t punk in 2008 is pretty silly, mainly because whatever was going on in the punk scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s has been supplanted by marketing campaigns that have brought us to the point where Panic at the Disco is called a punk band, but I do know that dressing up everyday sexual exploitation and patriarchal gender roles in flaming cherry tattoos isn’t punk. It’s fucking nonsense. What Suicide Girls are doing is meeting a market demand created by dudes who want porn that matches their “alternative” hairdos and love for the Misfits, not representing an alternative kind of sexuality in which women are seen as sexually autonomous human beings, which is where the real sexual revolution is at. The mere fact that a large proportion of the Suicide Girls are Bettie Paige impersonators should tip even the most brainwashed of “sex-positive” “feminists” off to the fact that the company is selling little more than the idea that women exist to be used by men.

Meat is murder! Women are meat!

22 Feb

Twisty Faster over at I Blame the Patriarchy has just tipped me off to what may be the dumbest thing I’ve heard of since I found out about the people behind Tapout: a vegan strip club in my home town of Portland, Oregon. (The news articles about the story are stomach-churningly titled, not to mention unbelievably unreflective, but if you want to see them, click here, here, here, and here.) Portland, supposedly a bastion of lesbianism, left-wing sentiment, and several other things that scare the bejesus out of Lars Larson and his merry band of anti-seatbelt half-wit listeners, has no shortage of strip clubs. It also has no shortage of vegans. But where’s the connection? Was there really a vast pool of vegan men and non-feminist lesbian women that were missing out on their chance to degrade and commodify women’s bodies because they were too put off by the smell of buffalo wings? I know my fair share of vegans that are into having sex with women, and none of them are into strip clubs, so that can’t be it.

It seems that the dildo who opened the club, one Mr. Johnny Diablo (I can hear the rockabilly music now), thinks he’s going to use the club to promote his vegan ideals to carnivores. He apparently thinks he’s going to give samples of his Mexican-inspired meatless creations to the clients in hopes that the combination of blue balls and tasty treats will train them, Pavlov’s dogs-style, to want to give up meat. But not all meat: says Mr. D, “We put the meat on the pole, not on the plate.” Fuuuhck. PETA would love that shit. It goes great with their whole “using women’s bodies to tell people not to use animals’ bodies” campaign.

I’m a vegan apostate, but Portland’s vegan community has always impressed me. For a town so small, Portland does seem to have a lot of things going for it, including its own vegan grocery store (which I can’t even find in my own neighborhood in Manhattan) and an abundance of fairly well educated and thoughtful citizens, many of whom have figured out that killing and abusing animals isn’t cool. People in Portland are also much less obnoxiously impressed with themselves than San Franciscans and Seattlites, exhibiting almost none of the pretentiousness that makes me hate urban liberals (of which I am one, so don’t get mad). But maybe some of that pretentiousness would do these motherfuckers some good; somebody needs to point out to this dickwad that there is a bit of an ideological conflict between veganism and the human meat trade. I don’t know how convinced I am that I need to be a vegan in order to be a good feminist, but I do know that being a vegan and not a feminist is one of the most illogical stances one can take. I mean, basically, Johnny Diablo is saying that it’s not only OK to treat women with less respect than cows and chickens, but also that we should abuse women in order to convince people not to abuse cows and chickens.


Bookmark and Share

Dude with awesome name saves woman from UFC fan.

21 Feb

Jezebel has an article up today about a waiter named Colt Haugen, who I’d like to nominate as Dude Who Isn’t A Total Shitbag of the Day. He apparently saw some guy drop a Valium into his blind date’s drink while she was in the pissoir at Ruby Tuesday, where he works as a waiter, and decided to word his boss up about it, which led to the would-be date rapist’s arrest. I wonder how many times that day a waiter, bartender, or fellow customer saw the same thing and didn’t say anything. Colt is a cool guy with a cool name, and I’m glad he exists. He deserves a 22 of Cool Colt as a reward.


Bookmark and Share

I’m the hero of men with weak stream all over the world.

21 Feb

I had no idea that my post about Flomax would generate so much traffic. And I’m also apparently a source of information for perverts. Here are some of the search terms people have used to find my blog:

  • rape kids asshole (I can’t figure out if this guy is a serious sick pig or someone who hates pedophiles.)
  • women who like being degraded (Looking for a dating site?)
  • larry flynt insane (I’m on board with that.)
  • larry flynt asshole (I’m also down with that, as long as the person wasn’t looking for a photo of Larry Flynt’s asshole.)
  • and about 60 different combinations of the words “flomax” “men peeing” “weak stream” and other urine-related terms, including “kayaking”.

I had hoped I could use this blog to educate people about feminism. Oh well, at least I’m helping people who suffer from weak stream and wonder, “is it normal for men to get pee on there?”.


Bookmark and Share

Can’t decide whether racism or sexism is a bigger deal? Ask novelty t-shirt makers.

19 Feb

Just when I thought they couldn’t make anything dumber than that “Without me it’s just aweso” t-shirt, one of the many, many, many online novelty t-shirt makers has come out with this bit of comedy gold:

hos_bros.jpg

I’ve already had more than enough of these stupid fucking joke t-shirts, but this one is some seriously ridiculous shit. It isn’t hard to imagine the brainstorming session that produced this shirt. Some asshole named Jeff with a backwards Old Navy hat, a baseball shirt, baggy jeans, and flip flops slapped down his Buckwild Motherfucker Pale Ale and was like, “Bro, forget that dick in a box shit. We should be making political shirts. It’s an election year and shit, dude.” And since those guys can’t seem to get enough of that ultra-logical “pretending not to give a shit about girls so your male friends won’t think you’re gay is where it’s at” thing (hence that other bit of sartorial genius, the “Prose before hos” Shakespeare t-shirt), here it is. But there’s a twist! I suppose the message here is, “Down with women, up with black guys,” if these renobs even thought that hard about it. In any case, it’s pretty fucking lame. I’m not a humorless, easily offended prude. I like shit that’s funny, even if it offends some of the people that come across it. The problem is that effective off-color humor has to be carried out by people who are aware of the full spectrum of ideas that they are presenting, which these dudes are definitely not. Just in case anyone’s not picking up on all this shirt has to offer, I’ll tell you the main reasons why it’s not cool:

1) They’re calling a US senator and the first viable female presidential candidate a whore. And they aren’t even spelling it right. I don’t think I need to point out how completely fucked up, and hence completely representative of our culture’s treatment of women in the public eye, this message is.

2) It’s stupid. I know Jeff thought it was clever as fuck, but he was wrong. It makes no sense whatsoever to anyone but the three people in America who are advancing the “Down with women, up with black guys” agenda: Snoop Dogg, Young Jeezy, and the leader of the Five Percenters.

3) It’s not even remotely funny. This is some serious pseudo-edgy bullshit that challenges no one and breaks no boundaries. Offensive comedy is meant to make people reconsider their unexamined opinions or to make people aware of the absurdity of other people’s biases. This shit does neither. Even a t-shirt that said “I like to fuck old ladies” would be funnier.


Bookmark and Share

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 490 other followers