Happy birthday to me! (Part 2)

Well, it’s been two years. I might be the slackinest feminist on the internet, but people come here anyway, so I must be doing something right (though I suspect that all I’m doing “right” is letting through annoying comments that people feel the need to come back to argue with).

What lies in store for the ‘chine in 2010? I’ve got a few posts in the queue, but I have no idea what awaits. I’ve outgrown my original mission, whatever it was, and I’ve yet to replace it with anything. I know I plan to add installments 10 and 11 to the porn series,  to finish up the Why I Hate Men series, and to continue dashing off snotty recaps of the television shows, commercials, and print ads I come across that strike me as misogynistic/insane enough to comment on, but I can’t say right this minute what the mission statement (or even the intended audience) of this blog would be, which I think accounts for my escritorial laziness of late. I’ve either got to refocus on writing regularly about pop culture in lay terms in order to convince thoughtful passers-by to be willing to notice misogyny, or I’m going to need to take the time to lay out some of the more complicated thoughts I’ve been having about feminism, world economic systems, the international order of nation-states, and frozen yogurt. The former seems a little redundant (though probably more effective in the grand scheme of things), while the latter sounds a bit too daunting on top of school and teaching. I’ll keep thinking about it.

Thank you to everyone who has been reading all along, who just got here yesterday, who contributes to the dialog by commenting and responding, and who supports the cause of dethroning the phallocrats. Thank you to everyone who has supported me this year, be it by linking to me to say I’m awesome, linking to me to say I’m a c-word, linking to me to complain about my comment policy or some particular comment, writing nice comments, writing nasty comments, writing stupid comments, writing paranoid screeds about me on pro-porn websites as if I’m the evil emperor of the internet, making awesome YouTube videos related to my posts, or making hilarious YouTube videos about what a dick I am. I appreciate it all, sincerely.

It all begins anew tomorrow.

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Strip your way to sexual objecthood with Flirty Girl Fitness!

Am I late on this one? Oh well, I don’t care. I’ve been on break for a few weeks and I’ve been hanging out in Atlanta with Davetavius, which means I’ve been watching WAY more cable than usual since I have no cable in New York. We watch a lot of MTV because, let’s face it, what channel is more entertaining than MTV for people whose chief source of entertainment comes from laughing at others’ expense? And what other network can boast a show like Jersey Shore? I mean, it’s almost better than the first season of Tool Academy (the second season was a serious embarrassment to the franchise). For those of you fools who aren’t watching Jersey Shore, it’s a show about eight people most people (the people on the show included) would call guidos partying at the Jersey Shore for a summer. In other words, it’s Real World: Jersey Shore with narrower casting parameters. The people on the show are unbelievable. They’re such caricatures of themselves and of everything people think about New Jersey that I’m seriously amazed that they exist and that only one of them is actually from New Jersey. They spray their tans on, they douse themselves in cosmetics and hair products, and they spend hours a day at the gym despite being on vacation. The men, that is. The women are less vain than the men, but they still clearly drop a lot of coin on hair extensions, make-up, booty shorts, and plastic surgery.

A few of my favorite elements:

  • Snooki, informing the show’s producers of the qualities her ideal mate would possess, says she’s looking for a “juice-head” who is “half nice guy, half jerk-off.” That’s right. She’s actually seeking a jerk-0ff  ‘roid monkey.
  • J-Woww’s completely insane fake breasts. She looks like she’s had soup bowls implanted in her chest.
  • J-Woww’s style. First of all, she calls herself J-Woww. I do not believe for one second that someone else gave her that nickname. Second, she dresses like a member of the band Vixen (and I mean “Edge of a Broken Heart” Vixen, not whatever the hell they’re doing now, which I’m sure is the opposite of cool).  Half the time, that is. The other half of the time, she looks like a heroin addict on her way to a creative loungewear fashion contest.
  • The Situation. Again, a self-applied nickname. One of the cast members’ name is Mike, but he calls himself The Situation, and so does everyone else. I’m pretty mad I didn’t think of making my friends call me The Situation first, but how about you all start calling me Integri-T? I mean it, dude. No one is ever allowed to call me Nine Deuce again. But back to The Situation – who makes up their own nickname? I’m pretty sure the whole point of nicknames is that they’re affectionate appellations friends bestow upon one, not a dorky attempt at turning oneself into a brand.
  • MTV: the network that doesn’t condone violence against women in bars (anymore). For the first three episodes of the show, MTV played a set of clips from upcoming episodes which included footage of some dude cold-cocking Snooki. It was one of the most jarring things I’ve ever seen on video, and I was aghast that MTV would stoop so low as to use it to promote a show. I suppose it’s pretty silly of me to be surprised at anything MTV does (remember the Ikki twins?), but this shit was really disturbing. Cut to the fourth episode in which the incident actually occurs, and MTV blacks the scene out. We see the guy getting rowdy, we see a black screen, then we see Snooki lying on the ground crying. And not only has MTV all of a sudden decided that showing a man punch a woman dead in the face isn’t kosher, but they’ve also taken it upon themselves to speak out against violence against women with an on-screen message at show’s end reminding us that hitting women isn’t OK. Now that they’ve realized that using real, actual, live violence against women to up ratings is still a bit too much for the average viewer (for now at least), that is.
  • House music. Everyone in the house loves house music in ways that bewilder and fascinate. For example, the men get together and beat their fists on the ground at dance clubs while listening to house music, explaining that the beat is hitting them so hard that they have to beat its ass in return. I swear. Another example: all of the members of the house seem to like to get together on the dance floor and “battle.” And by battle I do not mean anything like what one sees on America’s Best Dance Crew, I mean they all try to win a contest the objective of which seems to be to create the most hilarious combination of simulated sex and the kind of acrobatics one normally only sees on playgrounds. Battling is the opposite of sexual, however, as J-Woww makes clear when her boyfriend accuses her of having behaved inappropriately with another dude at the club the night before. She replies,”It was just house. It wasn’t R&B, it was HOUSE. We were battling all night.” When her boyfriend remains dubious, J-Woww calls Snooki to the phone to back up her story. Snooki confirms that they were indeed battling to house music, and that nothing untoward could thus have occurred. Remember that next time someone accuses you of cheating.
  • Sammi, who might be the biggest asshole alive, goes by the nickname Sweetheart, and can be heard during the intro credits referring to herself as “the sweetest bitch you’ll ever meet.”
  • Everyone on the show is scheming and plotting to get someone to fuck them at nearly every moment, but no one ever scores. It’s bizarre and really kind of funny. Pauly D and The Situation go out every night in search of poontang, only to get “blocked” by their roommates, friends of the women they’re trying to trick into bed, etc. The only people in the house getting any action are Sammi and Ronnie, who are in a relationship with each other, which is hilarious because Pauly D and The Situation are constantly giving Ronnie a hard time for not being out at the club with them trying to score.

I could go on, but I won’t. The show is unbelievable. I strongly suspect that the producers intend for it to serve as a lesson and a warning about where our image obsession, affection for porn, and vapid materialism are taking us. If not, it’s still really funny despite being fairly terrifying. I vote you watch it.

What does all of this Jersey Shore business have to do with the post title, you ask? Nothing, except for the fact that I was watching Jersey Shore when I saw the commercial I’m about to share with you (and except for the fact that the show and the product in this commercial both exist within the patriarchal matrix — starring Keanu Reeves).

Sigh. I guess I’d like to commend the people who schedule the ads for MTV. I can’t think of a more perfect fit between show and commercial than Flirty Girl Fitness and Jersey Shore. Except maybe Manswers and Girls Gone Wild.

Flirty Girl Fitness, for those of you who can’t watch the video or don’t want to, is a series of fitness videos that teach women how to dance like strippers while burning fat. One volume, “Booty Beat,” instructs viewers in the art of “sexy” music video dancing, while another, “Chair Dance,” outlines the finer points of humping a chair. But the real selling point is the Flirty Girl Fitness Pole, which you can try in your own home for only $1! The kick-ass cardio strip workout that one used to have to pay big bucks for at Crunch Fitness can now be yours for only $19.99 plus the $1 pole try-out fee!

The ad presents us with about 20 women who likely spend more time per day working out than they spend in a week eating swiveling their pelvises to shitty dance music (clearly NOT house, to be sure), regurgitating Britney Spears dance moves, rubbing their pubic bones on chairs, sticking their asses in the air, and wrapping themselves around poles. Between those clips are interviews with actual Flirty Girl Fitness users along with their before and after photos. We don’t, however, see any footage of anyone trying the workout for the first time. Hmm. Interesting.  I wonder why that might be? Well, I suppose it could have something to do with the clear message in the commercial: the women in the before pictures are disgusting, the opposite of sexy, useless bags of fat that need to drop 40 pounds and learn how to fuck inanimate objects if they want any sexual attention, but they need to do so in private, because no one wants to have to deal with a woman whose BMI is over 3 and who hasn’t already mastered the booty blast. Not to worry, though, fatty — if you spend a few bucks and several months on this fitness program, soon dudes everywhere will do you the gracious favor of actually wanting to see you degrade yourself for their bonerial pleasure.

Well, fuck. I give up. If this product is filling an actual demand, we’re hosed. The men have won and it’s time to pack it in, throw in the towel, gather up our toys, whatever, and go the fuck home. It’s funny. I’ve always thought women were smarter than men, but men must be geniuses if they’ve convinced this many women that stripping is fun, empowering, cool, good exercise, or whatever the fuck else is going through the minds of those who order this product. It’s basically the equivalent of tricking women into thinking ingesting semen is a good nutritional move, for fuck’s sake, and the fact that anyone has fallen for it makes me want to weep/puke for womankind.

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The Esquire is a better feminist than me this week.

Although I’ve been shirking my responsibilities as the world’s foremost feminist blogger who says “fuck” more often than “the,” the Esquire still sends me outrageous articles here and there. Today he sent me this one from Slate, in which William Saletan discusses studies of women’s physical responses to descriptions of sexual assault and the various ways in which those responses have been interpreted. The big news, apparently, is that many women display physical signs of arousal even when they are mentally repelled by something such as a description of a sexual assault. The Esquire asked, “Why is this being studied? Were these studies funded by some fraternity’s ‘No Means Yes’ program?” I think that about cuts to the center of the issue. Do read the article. It’s really something else.

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