Some of you have probably seen this remarkably stupid column from the reliably stupid New York Post. If you haven’t, well, as always, you’re welcome. If your clicking finger is broken, the jist of the linked item is that catcalling is awesome provided you have alarmingly low self-esteem. It’s been lambasted here and on twitter. But I think you know me well enough to know that I have to weigh in on the topic now that it has–in internet time–become nearly irrelevant.
I don’t think every instance of catcalling is an attempt to cow women. I’m sure that sometimes catcalls are attempts at a crude sort of flattery. At the very least, a man is just alerting you to what his boner thinks, which, if you think about it, is pretty thoughtful. But for the most part, catcalling–even at its most (ostensibly) harmless–is boorish and bothersome. In other words, you’re not making a woman’s day if you scream at her that you want to motorboat her sweet hiney. Also, asking if fries come with the shake is irresponsible and anachronistic. Can’t we swap those fries with a healthier option, like salad? While, we’re at it, let’s the ditch the shake. And if you think “Hey baby, does a salad come with that yogurt smoothie?” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, well, then maybe you should just abandon catcalling all together.
I’ve digressed. The bottom line (omg, I just typed “bottom”) is that for every woman who finds catcalling flattering, there’s a woman who finds it irritating at best and threatening at worst. So if you err on the side of caution (and I believe you should do just that) catcalling really shouldn’t be a thing; it should cease to exist.
By the way, I should clarify that I don’t necessarily have a problem with a woman enjoying being catcalled. This ties in neatly with the subject of selfies, which I also too wanted to address. There’s been a bit of a disagreement about what purpose selfies serve. I even read a comment arguing that thinking selfies are a cry for attention/validation is misogyny. I disagree quite vehemently with that sentiment. I do think selfies often* are a way of searching out attention/validation. But my feeling is that that’s ok. It’s normal to want attention and validation sometimes. It’s normal to–if you’re a heterosexual woman– search out the male gaze once in awhile. Where I think it becomes a problem is if you’re searching out that validation all the time. And I think it becomes a problem if your self-esteem depends almost entirely on that validation. Doree Lewak, I’m looking at you.
Welcome to Reaganbook, which is a not a huge embarrassing failure at all. Since wingnuts are making a conservative version of everything these days, I anxiously await the arrival of conservative tampons. Granted, I don’t expect their debut to be glitch-free because “Why Aren’t You Pregnant, Whore? God, Your Body Is Disgusting.” is hard to fit on a box. Also, it’s hell to do anything with, graphic design-wise.
Thanks to Origami Isopod for the links!
Fat women are usually, well, nonexistent in mainstream TV and cinema, and when they do exist they’re usually existing as clowns or a villains. (Being a sassy best friend is also acceptable.) Which is why I found Paul Feig’s “Bridesmaids” and “The Heat” so remarkable.
In both films, Melissa McCarthy plays a woman who is professionally and romantically successful. In “Bridesmaids,” it’s evident from the start that Megan is all set, career-wise. But she’s obviously looking for love (or at least sex) and a friendship with Annie. And she’s successful at winning both. As I said in a previous entry, the focus was on Megan’s awkward lovability, not on her weight.
The same goes for “The Heat,” where it’s clear that McCarthy’s character loves her job and has no problems in the boudoir. Here, again, the focus is on Shannon’s –dogged, questionable-tactics-using–pursuit of the bad guys and her burgeoning friendship with FBI agent, Sarah, not her weight.
Louis CK’s show did the opposite–the introduction of a fat woman to the show was all about her being fat. Counter-intuitvely, the episode worked–it was mostly funny and poignant, a tough and tender look at what it’s like to be fat and female. HOWEVER. I had one problem with Vanessa: It’s that she maybe probably kinda sexually harassed Louis. I’m not sure how else to put it. She repeatedly made romantic overtures towards a man who clearly wasn’t interested. Now, in the end, he seemed moderately interested, but until then, watching Vanessa (charmingly) throw herself at Louis was painful to watch. Not for the reason you think–I’m perfectly ok with a woman experiencing rejection. I’m less ok with women exhibiting behaviors we would probably call out in men. It’s for similar reasons I was mildly uncomfortable with Megan’s overtures towards the air marshall in “Bridesmaids,” but because that was played in such an over-the-top, humorous way, I was able to better deal with the discomfort.
These issues aside, I’m glad to see fat women on the screen. Better still, they’re fat women who are characters, not caricatures.
300: Rise of an Empire: If there was anything at all you liked about “300″ you’ll get lots more of that thing in “Rise.” The movie basically just reused the gimmicks that made the first installment visually interesting (to me, at least) and layered it on a story that wasn’t particularly compelling. Imagine the following prototypical scenes:
2.) Attractive brunette actress says something snarky and badass and then smirks.
3.) Attractive men stand around sulking shirtlessly.
4.) Inspiring battle-related speech.
Play these in a loop, throw in some slow-motion blood-spatter, and there’s your movie. I do give Miller credit for creating two women characters who weren’t strippers/hookers. (Though one of them was a rape victim, natch.)
The Heat: My husband says (approvingly) that “The Heat” is just an excuse for Melissa McCarthy to say awful things. I think he’s pretty much right. From start to finish, the movie is just a vehicle for her to be outrageous and funny, and most of the time she is. Sandra Bullock is there too, being likable and stuff, but saying Sandra Bullock is likable is kinda like saying Dolly Parton is a likable–it’s not exactly a revelation for naturally likable people to be likable. Her performance is not notable. But “The Heat” is McCarthy’s movie, make no mistake. And while it’s not a perfect–or perfectly feminist– film by any stretch, I really enjoyed it.
The Lego Movie: This movie surprised me by being as cute and clever as it was. The cast was great, the voice work was great, Morgan Freeman took a break from playing dignified serious characters by to play a dignified funny character, and the whole shebang was consistently funny. When you get to the live action part, you get a fun and surprisingly poignant twist. Plus there’s a unicorn-cat. Really, what more do you want?
Here’s a fun little story: I was recently at the Little Rock Zoo with my family. We left the gift shop with a bunch of brightly-colored plastic frogs. Back at the hotel, my son asked me to “look them up.” I kept telling him, “Honey, they’re not real frogs. They’re just brightly painted frogs. Frogs don’t really look like that.” After being asked several times to “look them up,” I typed “yellow frog with blue legs” into my search bar. To my surprise, I immediately got results that matched PERFECTLY several of the frogs in my son’s new collection. It turns out that most of our new plastic pals were Poison Dart Frogs. And they come in just about every color of the rainbow.
And then there’s this guy.
Some of you may know that there is a new hashtag/tumblr site featuring women who are “against feminism.” But most of you probably didn’t know about Confused Cats Against Feminism. It’s as awesome as it sounds. Sadly, my cat is against feminism too. “Feminism” means my arm, right?
John C. Wright is 54-years-old, which is why it is remarkable that everything he writes reads as if it were posted by a 14-year-old on 4Chan. With a well-thumbed Thesaurus. In fact, his posts are such a messed-up mashup of teen-trollery and florid pomposity I’m beginning to think he’s been punking us.
Ah, but the point of Political Correctness is not to tell a story and make it good, but to take a good story and ruin it.
Fanboys, I know, like looking at woman warriors that are leggy and busty and dress in skintight black leather.
But the important thing in combat is to show a lot of cleavage. I think it is fairly clear that the fanboys are not primarily attracted the heroic stature, muscles, strength, and manly chivalry of these woman warriors.
And if they absolutely, positively HAD to make Thor into a girl, why could Marvel not make her into a cheesecake girl in a chainmail bathing suit, as is the mighty Marvel tradition?
I’m now convinced that John C. Wright is a performance artist. Slow-but-steadily-building-clap for you, John C. Wright. You had us all fooled.
Bonus points for referring to women as “she-soldiers.” The correct word is, of course, “soldiers.” Aww, but you knew that, you scamp.
I have no idea what the Soviet talk has to do with anything, but then I rarely have any idea what the wingnuts are nattering on about.
In other news, my latest piece is up. It’s a been a long time.
Lionfish are super-cool looking– finny, stripy, and spiky. But, blah blah blah…they’re an invasive species and they’re eating their way through the Atlantic ocean. Their effect on coral reefs (major oceanic eco-systems) is potentially devastating. It’s all fin and games until somebody eats the entire ocean. CNN has more.
The Pam Grier of fish
Much like Pam Grier*, Lionfish are beautiful but dangerous–their spines are venomous. However, they’re still edible, so some people have adopted an “eat ‘em to beat ‘em” attitude. And chefs from Nassau to New Haven have put them on the menu.
In summation: Lionfish are really awesome, but we need to kill as many of them as possible.
*To be clear, Pam Grier does not have venomous spines. THAT WE KNOW OF. Also, please do not eat Pam Grier.