Friday, January 29, 2010

Ta-Nehisi Coates doesn't need my love

But he has it anyway:
I think it's most worth noting that "I forgot Obama was black"--in all its iterations--is something that white people should stop saying, if only because it's really dishonest. One way to think about this is to flip the frame. Around these parts, we've been known, from time to time, to chat about the NFL. We've also been known to chat about the intricacies of beer. If you hang around you'll notice that there are no shortage of women in these discussions. Having read a particularly smart take on Brett Favre, or having received a good recommendations on a particular IPA, it would not be a compliment for me to say, "Wow, I forgot you were a woman." Indeed, it would be pretty offensive.

The problems is three-fold. First, it takes my necessarily limited, and necessarily blinkered, experience with the fairer sex and builds it into a shibboleth of invented truth. Then it takes that invented truth as a fair standard by which I can measure one's "woman-ness." So if football and beer don't fit into my standard, I stop seeing the person as a woman. Finally instead of admitting that my invented truth is the problem, I put the onus on the woman. Hence the claim "I forgot you were a woman," as opposed to "I just realized my invented truth was wrong."

Ditto for Chris Matthews. The "I forgot Obama was black" sentiment allows the speaker the comfort of accepting, even lauding, a black person without interrogating their invented truth. It allows the speaker a luxurious ignorance--you get to name people (this is what black is) even when you don't know people. In fact, Chris Matthews didn't forget Barack Obama was black. Chris Matthews forgot that Chris Matthews was white.
(Emphasis mine. The wisdom, however, is all his.)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

freakish and disproportional

I INQUIRED about the price of a ladies’ tuxedo jacket, since I couldn’t find the tag, and learned that the jacket was not sold separately from its matching black satin teddy ($1,700).

“Would you still like to try it on?” one of the tattooed ladies asked.

“I’d rather see it on you, actually,” I replied.

She very sweetly and immediately obliged.

I inspected the peplum and the Balmain-esque shoulder pads. “It’s a very small size, isn’t it?”

“Well, I’m a 32D, so it fits great,” my helper said in response.

It was refreshing to hear a demi-couture jacket’s merits discussed in terms of cup size. I was surprised that a 32D didn’t look at all freakish or disproportional, like a Japanese robot or Pam Anderson during her Kid Rock phase.
Is it my imagination or does this seem like the opening of a mediocre piece of erotica? Maybe handling all those ben-wa balls made this author feisty. Regardless, I'd appreciate it if, in the future, she kept her surprise that ordinary-sized people are not, in fact, hideous monsters to herself.

Pamela Anderson is 36DD, which would translate to a 32G. Not that that makes her freakish, either, but the author may as well get her insulting facts right. Seriously, Meghan McCain is on the right track here, and you, Cintra Wilson, are feeding guppies to the piranhas of women's insecurity and body-hate.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: WTF, NYT.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Body Image

My friends have seen me naked. NO I'M NOT OVER IT. I wish I could go through their memories with steel wool.

On the plus side, I have now been to Spa Castle.

Over the five or so hours I was under-clothed, I was treated with complete respect; over the next twenty-four hours of my regular life, ironically, I was sexually harassed once and hit on twice. Which is to blame: the lingering glow of relaxation, or the patriarchy?


Attack!Shots of the coupliest New Years Eve ever are now up on Flickr. Although here it looks like I am being attacked, rest assured that those hands belong to people I love.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

New calling

PHONE: Ring! Ring!

ME: Hello?

T.: Hi, sweetie! I have some bad news.

ME: Okay, shoot.

T.: You can't be a bridesmaid at my wedding ...

ME: Okay, that's okay ...

T.: ... because we want you to officiate!

CONFIRMATION EMAIL: Congratulations! You are now a legally ordained minister for life, though you may relinquish your credentials at any time. AS OF Thursday the 14th of January 2010 YOU HAVE BECOME A MEMBER OF THE PRESTIGIOUS CLERGY. You have earned a title worthy of admiration and respect.

And a new chapter begins.

I wonder whether being the minister will be more or less fun than being the bride. (I also wonder whether I'll ever get to be a bridesmaid, but as I recognize that anxiety is both perverse and premature, I won't dwell on it.)

Monday, January 11, 2010

A quick assignment

1) Take a look at this picture.

2) Read the accompanying short article.

3) Then read the comments. Yes, I know, there are over 300 of them. Here's a handy trick I learned in college: Pay attention to what comes first and last and skim what's in between. Or, to get straight to the point, relax your eye to see only the word "health/y."

Whoa, right? Who knew it mattered that women who are paid to look a particular way are "healthy" -- and also that we all agree about what that word means? Maybe I'm sensitive to this issue because I've been so recently immersed in the randomness of cancer. My father was far less healthy than my uncle and he died three years older. From farther away, their deaths are indistinguishable, despite one's purported health and the other's neglect.

Another example comes courtesy of Jezebel: Carrie Fisher, who, as she puts it, used to be "pretty" and isn't anymore. Of course, when she was bikini-ready, she was on ten kinds of drugs, and she's now fat because of psychiatric treatments that keep her moderately sane. ("This is my medication overweight. I barely eat anything and I wind up looking like I've been combing the city for donuts.")

All of which is to say: Health is not as easy to read as we assume it is from a person's physique.

Okay, I hear you saying, rolling your eyes. But these people are exceptions! Or, as my friend Jenn put it, "The AMA would disagree with you."

I'm sure it would. But that doesn't make the AMA right. Jenn and I went on to discuss the issue:

me: these things are averages, not destinies. in any event, i don't think a woman's health has any impact on her ability to model clothes. skinny or fat, i think the only question is Does she look good? and Do the clothes appear to advantage on her body?

Jennifer: I agree. Also, i've seen enough runway shows to confidently say that size zero models still have cellulite

me: ... thank you, honey.

My favorite comment, which I think takes the health fixation to its natural extreme, says, without any apparent irony, "Models ideally would be women who ate right, exercised regularly and managed their stress."

ROLE MODELS, ideally, should eat right, exercise regularly, and manage their stress. MODELS should show up, look purty, date Leonardo diCaprio, and be of whatever size works for them professionally. Models are more than billboards. But they are less than superheroes. I don't care if Kate Moss has a coke habit the same way that I don't care if politicians get their kicks from necrophilia (though I draw the line at screwing with socks on).

Diabetes! Heart disease! OBESITY EPIDEMIC! I'm just saying it so you don't have to. But feel free to say anything else.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

and now for something completely different

Help me out, internets! My everyday boots are shredding on the inside, no doubt from my extended bouts with grief, and I need a new pair stat. They must be what I call Good Clomping Boots. Nothing dandy or flimsy, these boots have to take me into Mordor if need be, or into the icebox of North Dakota.

Complicating factors: 1) I like pretty things; 2) My money likes to hibernate year round.

So, what do we think? Buy these now? (Fluevog, on sale for $99)

Or these? (Fluevog, on sale for $99)

Or should I wait for these to be available again (Frye, via Zappos, on sale for $197? These are sort of the ideal.

"Other" is also an acceptable option.