Archive | March, 2010

Pretty ladies are pissed off

31 Mar

According to research featured by the BBC, “pretty women anger more easily.” According to research by me, they have every right to be pissed off.

After all, it’s pretty ladies that are warned not to dress too nicely, or behave too joyously, lest the boys be compelled to physically assault them. It’s pretty ladies who, shortly after being hired, are told that the boss only chose them because they met the minimum standards for attractiveness. And it’s pretty ladies who can’t trust the integrity of their relationships — how do they know they’re loved for themselves, when they’re told every day it’s their looks that sets them apart?

There are lots of studies out there assessing the link between attractiveness and happiness. The interesting thing about this one is that the article skewed the findings to make the anger sound like a bad thing (“uppity bitches!”), when in practice, it turns out it’s actually a good thing:

Attractive women also had higher expectations of what they deserved. … the same women were better at resolving situations in their favour.

So wait. They are good at resolving situations in their favor. They do this by using a tool called anger. Where’s the bad? My guess is the reason the journalist framed his or her story this way is because, culturally, women are supposed to be self-sacrificial martyrs.

The article explains as an afterthought that a similar link in men was found, “…but with physical strength rather than attractiveness per se.” This is interesting for two reasons:

  1. Most science-y studies sample men first and foremost, and then study women as an afterthought. This is because men are considered default humans, and results from studying them are of course always applicable to the female of the species, when she is considered at all.
  2. The only exception to the above rule is when the science-y study is about physical attractiveness. Because sexiness is solely the purview of women. They have no other identifying characteristics! Why study heart disease in women, when instead you can try to figure out which hair color is the sexiest? This study also ventures into that most noble of scientific pursuits

“…blondes rated as more attractive than brunettes and redheads.”

If we can learn anything from this study, it’s that all ladies, whether pretty by society’s standards or not, have damn good reasons to be pissed off.

So go forth and get pissed, ladies and gents. Tell me why you’re pissed, or not, in the comments.

Related posts: Boys of Facebook, Casey Johnson: Beauty, wealth won’t save you

Verbing cunnilingus: The sexy nerd’s quest

29 Mar

Ever since I first learned the word “cunnilingus,” I’ve been trying to verb it. We English-speakers can easily verb “fellatio,” right? It’s easy for folks to fellate, the sexually adventurous have fellated for years, and fellating is pretty common even in states where it’s illegal. But the only amusing vocabularic derivation of cunnilingus is a noun (albeit a fun one): cunnilinguist.

Why is this, dear readers? If it can be assumed that a language’s construction tells us most of what we need to know about a culture, then is it not true that, in our culture, fellatio is an action, whereas cunnilingus is a concept? I will bet you a whole platter of cookies that the reason that there is no verb form of cunnilingus is the same reason that there are about twice as many words for “rich” as there are for “love.”

Ponder on it, and tell me how you’d verb cunnilingus in the comments!

Related post: The Plural of Clitoris

Basketball fans: Man up and stop breeding

25 Mar

Men! Wondering how to prevent yet another batch of squalling brats from interrupting you while you shout unintelligible yet impassioned directives at large-screen televisions, guzzle malt beverages and pick beer nut detritus from your hipster beard? Well wonder no more, my friends: Take advantage of the latest in promotional outpatient surgeries: Get a March Madness vasectomy!

In Oregon, you can take part in “Snip City” (a clever play on the Trail Blazers’ motto “Rip City,” which is only slightly misleading since March Madness is college ball and the TBs are a pro team). In Texas, you can pay a visit to the friendly urologists pictured at right.*

It’s about time someone started marketing birth control to the menfolk. Shunting the birth control responsibility to women is unfair, selfish, and counterproductive. Besides, the side effects of a vasectomy are far fewer than near-lifelong hormonal birth control, which range from depression, bone density loss and high to cervical cancer, embolism and ectopic pregnancy.

According to popular perception, these are acceptable risks for women. But the main “risks” of vasectomy are well-known, and it’s commonly understood that men won’t get them, no matter the health benefits to their female partners. It’s common to hear jokes on television shows about how “emasculating” vasectomies are. No matter that there is a direct causal link between depression and hormonal birth control, and the “negative psychological effects” on vas’d men are speculative.

And to top it all off, vasectomy is the second only to abstinence when it comes to effectively preventing those squalling brats.

The rub is that in our culture, women bear the burden of all sexual responsibilities, from preventing the spread of STDs to childbearing (or not childbearing). It’s women’s bodies that need to be modified and it’s women that drug companies are trying to cash in on. Commercials for hormonal birth control don’t even talk about preventing pregnancies anymore — they pitch themselves as “period control.” Since periods are disgusting and need to be controlled. Just like women! Sarah Haskins made a funny on the topic:

While the marketing campaign for March Madness vasectomies may need a little finessing, it’s good to see that someone out there is trying. Even if it’s for selfish reasons (more vasectomies = more money for urologists), I hope that capitalism does the job it was meant to do, and levels the reproductive playing field a bit.

Extra Credit: Send me a picture of yourself (or your man) in a pro-vasectomy pose (be creative — perhaps a strategically placed bag of frozen peas? But SFW, please) and I’ll send you a batch of reproductive-system-themed dessert items. Click here for my contact info.

*Picture from a deeply amusing blog, via a deeply amusing ladyfriend.

Related posts: Balls, balls, balls; Breedin’; Biology is Destiny; Pregnant Women are Smug; Science Proves Men are Unnecessary

Top 10 reasons you shouldn’t be friends with me

24 Mar
  • 10. I’m a grammar Nazi. This means that even if I don’t say anything, I am silently judging you just a little bit when you abuse an adverb.
  • 9. I’m terrible at conversational segues, and prone to interruption.
  • 8. I will get drunk and call you in the middle of the night. For no reason.
  • 7. I will get bored and whiny if your party does not amuse me. This means I will probably get drunk in order to liven the place up.
  • 6. Then I will make you drive me home.
  • 5. If the ratio of people-I-don’t-know to people-I-know at your party is too lopsided, I will probably get bored and act spastic, embarrassing you in front of all your respectable friends.
  • 4. I occasionally disappear from all social life, leaving nary a trace of my existence. I won’t return phone calls, text messages, or emails; I won’t leave the house or wash my hair.

    Mostly I just lie on the couch in sweatpants and a fuzzy sweater, cradling a cup of swiftly cooling tea and telling my cat he’s the only one who understands.

  • 3. I will insist that you make a big deal out of my birthday.
  • 2. It will take you a really, really long time to break down my emotional walls.
  • 1. I will demand an unnaturally high level of loyalty from you. You will be required to share my enmities, politely ignore my drunken phone calls and never, ever make fun of my hair.

Related: Top 10 reasons you should be friends with me.

    The spray-paint can is mightier

    22 Mar

    I found another piece o’ graffiti of interest in my ‘hood, conveniently located next to a dumpster and an overturned dining room chair:

    I’m posting this for the benefit of my fellow readers of a worthy blog called I Blame the Patriarchy, but also because I very much consider myself a Blamer of Things. Yes, I blame the patriarchy for a number of social ills, but I also blame:

    • Beamer-driving a-holes for making my commute suck
    • Capitalism for ruining democracy
    • DRM for my inability to listen to the rest of “Anna Karenina” during my commute
    • Yuppies for taking the fun out of being a foodie
    • Hipsters for taking the fun out of facial piercings
    • Society for my misanthropy
    • Oregon for making my feet wet 9 months out of the year

    My main point here is that while it may be psychologically easier to accept and work with a reality that is often very much no fun, it makes a helluva lot more sense to see things as they are, find the source(s) of injustice and point your rage and blame in the correct direction.

    Add your own stuff worthy of blame in the comments!

    Related posts: Today in Animal Rights

    Call and response: Tips for the hollaback girl

    20 Mar

    How many of you have someone in your life who says little things from time to time that rub you the wrong way? Mine can be filed neatly into two categories:

    The “blatantly-sexist-but-hey-it’s-a-joke-ha-ha category”:

    • “Sarah makes better coffee than Steve. It must be a woman thing!”
    • “I hear the phone ringing. Why doesn’t Sarah answer it? She’s the only woman around.”

    And the “seemingly innocuous-but-actually scary” category:

    • “Smile! It doesn’t cost anything.”
    • “You must work out! You have such a nice figure”

    The two categories call for two very different types of responses. Let’s address the former first, shall we? The sexist jokes are blatant. But when people say them in a joking tone, they expect you to take them as a joke. You don’t want to come off like a shrew, so you play along, right? Telling people outright that they’re being rude has a tendency to alienate, and you can’t always afford that – what if the “joker” is your boss?

    But you can’t brush them off, or they’ll just get worse. When I was younger, I used to play along because I wanted to be liked. Now I make an effort to point out what’s wrong with the comments in a way that mimics the tone of the conversation. It takes practice, but it’s a worthwhile effort.

    The second type is trickier:

    • “Smile! It doesn’t cost anything.”

    The smile directive sounds innocuous enough, but it’s inappropriate for the simple reason that no one has a right to dictate another person’s facial expressions.

    If you need an object lesson in what’s wrong with “Smile! It doesn’t cost anything!” all you have to do is respond with “Don’t tell me what to do.” Sit back and watch how quickly that “friendly” comment turns nasty. If you respond this way to the wrong person, you can risk actual physical harm.

    Case in point: A man sitting on a stoop, drinking out of a paper bag, ordered me to smile one day as I got out of my car (“Smile, it can’t be that bad” were his ironic words). My lack of response was rewarded with him spitting in the general direction of my shoes before I skedaddled.

    The second comment, “You must work out! You have such a nice figure!” is one that can go either way. Coming from a close friend, it is usually a genuine compliment. Coming from anyone else, it’s a creepy red flag. I had a landlord who said this to me, and often. One day, I told him he was making me uncomfortable with his constant remarks about my figure (I lived alone. He had a key to my apartment. Of course he was making me uncomfortable!). Thirty days later, my apartment was “reclaimed.”

    Unlike the other “innocuous” comments listed here, the “you’re hot” variety has no grey area. When it comes from someone other than your sister or best friend, it is never OK to brush it off. Like with my landlord, the person who is saying it has ulterior motives, and no matter how much you try to convince yourself otherwise, you know it. The sooner you tell him or her to shut it, the better off you are.

    Black Pump Confidential

    17 Mar

    My desire to perform femininity properly runs deep, and is tied directly to an irrational love of footwear. It runs in my family — one of my favorite anecdotes about my grandmother’s later years involves her declining ability to say words correctly, and the resulting bittersweet hilarity when all her stories about shoes became stories about shees.

    But the truth is, footwear fetishes are common to my entire gender. It’s bred into us from the first moment we clomp around in our mother’s high heels, if not earlier. Shoes are an integral part of mainstream femininity, and performing femininity correctly means many shoes, impractical shoes, shiny shoes, shoes we can’t run or even stand comfortably in. Shoes like the ones I bought yesterday:
    I love them, but I hate what they say about me and my desire to conform. One can only resist the evil one-two punch of capitalism and femininity for so long. And since I’ve worked across the street from a giant she-she mall for the last 18 months without blowing a wad of dough on something overpriced that represents everything I hate about the world, I figured I was about due.

    I love the addition to my black pump collection som’n fierce, and have dubbed them my Irony Kicks. I could blame the purchase on simple peer pressure since my trip to the mall was engendered by two coworkers’ needs for makeup and vacation sandals, respectively. When surrounded by women who blow-dry and straighten daily, know how to blend cream foundation and properly layer eyeshadow, I ask you: What choice do I have but to purchase pumps?

    But in truth, I have a long and storied history of shoe-love, with a focus on the black pump oeuvre:

    This collection is pared down, and arranged chronologically from left to right. I could tell you exactly when, where and why I bought each pair. Meticulous? Yes. Unusual? No. Sick? Only insofar as society’s made me. My shoes may be a tool of the patriarchy, but that doesn’t mean I am. I hereby absolve myself of all shoe-related guilt.




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