Readings

I’m watching Survival of the Dead. It’s OK. Lacks the startling of earlier Romero film’s, but enjoyable for a zombie movie. Dogtooth is…some sort of uncomfortable fairy tale. I fast-forwarded through much of The Prophet. Reading the archives of I Blame the Patriarchy, instead. And so should you.

1. Here’s a little taste of some of the shitty shit that beauty does: (“beauty” being the ginormous factory that is beauty products, standards, advertising, etc.)

• It creates and reinforces the notion of the sex class.

• It creates and reinforces the notion of social status.

• It promotes pointless adversarial relationships between women, effectively isolating them from each other (divide and conquer).

• It promotes physically and emotionally damaging, dangerous practices.

• It genericizes women, transforming them from humans into interchangeable fleshbots.

• It infantilizes women, transforming them from humans into morons who seek baby-soft skin.

• It publicly communicates private information which may be used against a woman, including her caste, sexual availability, and degree of personal investment in patriarchal mores.

• It diverts women’s financial resources from things like health care and organic margaritas to the beauty industrial complex, to the tune of billions a year.

• It diverts women’s attention from stuff that actually matters, like global women’s oppression, to superficial, meaningless, neurotic rituals. One of which is that you must endeavor to be free of scum at all times.

2. Fear of retribution (ridicule, ostracism, harassment, abuse in the workplace) — and by extension, guilt and the imperative of self-sacrifice — is why the overwhelming majority of Vagina-Americans own mirrors and buy carcinogenic products that supposedly make them “shiny,” “radiant,” “glowing,” “pouty,” “smoky,” or “baby-fresh.” …no wonder the right-to-prettiness feminists despise us anti-femininity feminists; what we propose is that women’s liberation is impossible as long as women fail to recognize that the practice of beauty is an expression of internalized oppression…when that feminist panelist on World Have Your Say tells the audience that it’s okay to be pretty, what she actually means is that it’s not antifeminist to engage in physically and emotionally demeaning practices in an effort to be sexually manipulative and to communicate one’s submission.

3. Gender equality survey:

On special occasions, or when he’s seeking your approval, does your boyfriend or husband dance provocatively in lacy satin lingerie and a pair of Christian Louboutin pumps, the price of which would shock you?

In school, were most of the assigned books written by poor women of color?

Does your boyfriend, husband, or father spend a lot of time and money on beauty?

Are some women sluts?

When you go deer hunting, does your boyfriend or husband visit the spa for an herbal wrap, a facial, and a pedi?

Is your boyfriend, husband, or father afraid to walk alone at night?

Does your boyfriend, husband, or father yearn for shiny hair with “luscious volume”?

Would your boyfriend or husband continue to raise your kids and keep house for you if you stopped putting out?

After the presidential inauguration, when your boyfriend, husband, or father had a light lunch with the girls, did the subject of Michelle Obama’s outfit come up?

Is there a fair representation of women in authoritative positions in government, organized religion, media, or business?

When you see a professional sports event, are the athletes usually women?

Does your boyfriend, husband, or father take steps to eliminate his “feminine odor”?

Does your boyfriend, husband, or father ever try to appease you by tilting his head and giggling?

Is your boyfriend, husband, or father expected to wear makeup and heels to work?

Are the bosses at your job mostly women?

Does your boyfriend, husband, or father think it would be good to have “glowing skin”?

Does your boyfriend or husband constantly nag you to leave the seat down?

When it’s time to buy a new car, are you the one who negotiates with the salesman because you’ll get a better deal?

Does your boyfriend, husband, or father carry a can of pepper spray in his purse?

Does your husband thank you for babysitting?

When your boyfriend or husband buys a cute new bag, is he crestfallen when you fail to notice?

Do your fiance and his father eagerly look forward to planning your wedding?

For Valentine’s Day, do you give your boyfriend or husband a sexy nightie and a box of chocolates? Or, if you forget, does he feel hurt?

Has your boyfriend, husband, or father undergone breast augmentation surgery? Tummy tuck? Liposuction?

Does your boyfriend, husband, or father accept with a resigned sigh that the women in his office are usually given higher salaries and better promotions than the men?

Does your boyfriend, husband, or father wait tables at Hooters?

Are you OK with it if your boyfriend or husband gains a little weight, because curvy men turn you on?

When your boyfriend or husband would rather just cuddle, do you pick a fight?

Does your boyfriend, husband, or father clean the toilets with harsh chemicals?

Do you love the way heels make his legs look longer and sexier?

When dudes on the street whistle or make suggestive comments to your boyfriend, husband, or father, does he photograph them and send the pictures to HollaBack?

Is your boyfriend, husband, or father a primary school teacher, a nanny, a maid, or a stay-at-home mom because he finds it so gratifying to make personal sacrifices for others that he doesn’t mind the low or non-existent pay?

Do you send your boyfriend, husband, or father email forwards describing rape avoidance techniques?

Does lipstick scientifically formulated with ginkgo biloba, licorice, and tea tree oil give your boyfriend’s or husband’s lips a fuller, plumper, more kissable look?

4. On E! programming (and can be applied to most reality TV shows):

I need not describe the stomach-churning details of the show entitled “The Girls Next Door,” where a camera crew follows around a few of Hugh Hefner’s interchangable 19-year-old blonde bikini “girlfriends” as they go about the grueling business of being prostituted in a brothel built to glorify a famous septuagenarian perv’s exceptional sexploitational success.

What all this programming has in common is the combined fascination/abhorrence that afflicts all modern media characterizations of women. Particularly of women who have bought into the patriarchal myth to the extent that it has rewarded them with the only thing that counts in this world: attention from men with money. It blows the Twisty mind that the subjects of these “reality” shows never seem to get that the whole point is to make them look like morons so their insatiable public can more devoutly despise them. Why this obvious truth universally fails to expose Hollywood as ground-zero for American misogyny I cannot say, but watching Hef protrude his grotesque liverlips at his teenage girls certainly seems to generate a lot of ad revenue from cosmetics corporations who have convinced a nation that female skin can and should “glow.”

5. Infuriating and NSFW (labial close-ups).  I guess at least (no not at least) you can elect that your vaginia is neither ugly nor pretty. Part two,

I realize that every outward aspect of a woman’s body is up for grabs, physically, culturally, and politically, but until now I had imagined that our internal tissues had somehow escaped the soul-sucking scrutiny of the arbiters of hotness. Clearly this is because it has never occurred to me in a million years to think of any given vulva as an object separate from the woman who (theoretically) possesses it. In fact, I regard this region as manifesting neither hotness nor unhotness. Like a kneecap or an eyelid, a vulva is just there, value-neutral, transcendent of petty looksist concerns, secreting its secretions in secret and no big whoop.

But obviously dudes, who spend all their waking hours trying to figure out how to get up in one, are uniquely qualified to assess and evaluate, according to some standard that they themselves cannot articulate but which I suspect has more than a little to do with a lifetime of mandatory exposure to Hustler, the aesthetic properties of female genital tissue.

So now I am extremely curious to know what constitutes a “bad one.” Is it covered with purulent boils? Equipped with rotating knives? Does it verbally abuse the dudeliness of its male observers? Or is it merely lacking in dewy, just-picked pinkness? Because, as Cafesiren pointed out in a recent comment, “any man who has access to a vagina of any kind, no matter what it looks like, oughtn’t be complaining.”

6. Boyfriends who use pornography should be dumped without delay. Without delay!

Obviously you can’t stay away from all men all the time, and you can’t change the rotten way men think about women, so the best long-term defense is to develop a real awareness and deep sense of your own humanity, so the withering gaze of dudely pornsickness can’t turn you into a commodity in your own mind.

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2 Responses to “Readings”

  1. lazerfox Says:

    about #6: what about girlfriends who watch porn? Wonder if they would say that they should also be dumped :/

  2. Vic Mantolay Says:

    The most sexist crap I have ever read.

    What do these women have in common?

    you
    my mother
    Wonder Woman
    Harriet Tubman
    Hillary Clinton
    Leigh Gunter
    Clara Barton
    Sharon Stone
    Peekaboo Street

    None of their vaginas are clad in gold, but people, subset female.

    By the way I’m a man and I do not hog the remote and I do stop for directions if I’m lost.

    I thought this would be over by now. uuuuugh.

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