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Elle Woods: Real American Hero

July 3, 2013

I LOVE Legally Blonde.  Haters to the left.  And for your July 4th reading pleasure, I am going to outline why this movie is the best.  This post does assume you’ve seen the movie or are at least familiar with the plot, which you freaking should be.  If not, get thee to IMDB immediately.

First, to outline the couple problems, because nothing can be perfect.

1. You do not go from a 143 on a practice LSAT to a 179 on the real one.
It just doesn’t happen.  Okay, fine, maybe it’s happened, and there’s some miracle law student out there who bumped that grade up, but otherwise, nope.  That’s going from well below average to the top 99.9%.  Everyone with a 170 or above on the LSAT is in the 99th percentile.  180 is the highest score, and this is not a content exam, so it’s not like she magically crammed a ton of info into her head.  Just, nope.  Still totes happy for her!

2. Gay people stereotypes
Enrique, the pool boy and one of the prosecution’s key witnesses, is about as flamboyant as it gets, and Elle figures out he is in fact gay because he recognizes that Elle’s shoes are Prada.  “Gay men know designers, straight men don’t!”  ahhhh stop.  Additionally, Elle’s lesbian(?) classmate got her Ph.D. in women’s studies with an emphasis on women in combat (which sounds hella interesting, for the record; I would read that dissertation), and is later shown arguing with Warner about how “semester” actually shows preference to men (semen vs. ovaries) and she’s starting a petition to have the next one be the “ovester.”  I can’t.  Semester means “six-month period,” for anyone who was wondering. 

Now that we’ve got the small sad-trombone moments out of the way (such a shame…), let’s move on to why this movie is the best thing that’s ever happened in America.

1. Law school realism
Barring her ridiculous admissions video, the scenes when she’s in school are actually pretty darn accurate.  You DO have first-day assignments, and while you probably would not be kicked out of a classroom for not doing them, you’d better get it together.  The professors DO call on you like that all the time: Socratic method, that’s American law school, they look at the list and “Ms. Cozzetto, please state the facts of this case.”  She seems to have both crim law and civil procedure in her first year, also totally accurate.  And competition for internships (summer associate stuff) is crazy competitive.  Also the amount of work she does.  Pretty accurate.

The one different thing?  She’d be totally hip with her Mac.  2/3rds of students now have them and lots have the brightly colored cases.  Elle Woods, trendsetter.

2. Paulette is the best
The movie’s main love story revolves around a chubby, “lower class” woman and no one, not Elle, not the UPS delivery guy, not anyone except for her ex, makes fun of her or her circumstances the whole damn time.  She gets the hot guy, she gets her dog back, she gets what she wants, and Jennifer Coolidge kills it as usual.  Her relationship with Elle doesn’t feel forced at all.  Which leads me to…

3. This movie passes the Bechdel test with flying colors
More than two named women, they all talk to each other, and about something other than a man.  And just in general, there are so many diverse ladies in this it makes me happy.  Elle and Paulette do frequently speak about men, but Elle takes times out to rescue Paulette’s dog like a champ.  Elle’s two sorority best friends are supportive as hell when Elle decides to go to law school, and while it’s played for comedy (“Elle! We came to see your trial!  Oh look how cute there’s like a judge and everything!”), they showed up to something they have no interest in simply because it’s important to their friend.  The judge in the trial is a black woman, and the lead prosecuting attorney is a white woman.  Elle’s civ pro professor is a McGonagall-esque lady, and even when she kicks Elle out on the first day, no one calls her a bitch.  Elle’s whole sorority both encourages her as she goes out on what she thinks is a proposal date with Warner, and then cheers for her when she gets her LSAT results, because these are things that matter.

Of course, the best example of this is Elle and Vivian, who by all tropes and rom-com rules should hate each other because they’re technically competing for the same man.  But pretty much as soon as Vivian realizes Elle is kind and Elle realizes she doesn’t have to hate Vivian for being engaged to her ex, they start being friends.  And the best kind of friends.  They work together, they both joke about how they are asked to get coffee when their fellow male interns are not, they offer to help each other out.  Vivian eventually dumps Warner for being a punk, and they are besties.  I like to imagine them riding off into the sunset to make the world a better place for women.

4. Elle Woods is so wonderful and kickass I can’t even deal
She’s super happy and kind the whole damn time, even after 1L year, which can easily crush anyone.  She decides she’s going to Harvard, and so she works insanely hard and gets in.  She decides she wants the summer associate job, and so she does the same.  She helps out her classmate when he’s trying to get a date.  She helps out Paulette.  She remembers her haircare rules and because she knows both how perms work AND how cross-examination works, she freaking wins a goddamn murder trial, and I will love the makers of this movie forever for allowing her to use knowledge about “stupid, lady crap” to dominate everyone.  She could easily rest on her appearance and focus on superficial things, but she doesn’t, because she’s chosen other goals.  HOWEVER, and this is the important thing: she doesn’t judge any other person for their choices, no matter how “superficial.”  She decides what’s best for her, and kills herself to get it, without ruining anyone else’s happiness in the process, and especially without having to trample on any other women.  She is my hero.

AND SHE SHOULD BE YOURS TOO, BECAUSE AMERICA. 

Happy Fourth, everyone.  And remember the rules of hair care are simple and finite.

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Quick thing about the Miss Utah deal

June 18, 2013

In case you weren’t aware, this happened at the Miss USA pageant.

I’ve got a nice long list of why I’m angry about what happened and the response.  Yay lists!

1. “She’s pretty, it doesn’t even matter what comes out of her mouth!”
Right, let’s split that “pretty girls can’t be smart” idea some more, so that the entire world legitimately thinks that if you are more attractive you legit cannot be intelligent.  Stop that right now.  And if your argument is “no but seriously, society will just hand her whatever she wants, she doesn’t have to be smart!” well then okay.  Yes, maybe? But don’t reinforce it! 

2. “She put herself in the public sphere so it’s totally okay to mock her”
Nope nope nope.  You’re still being a punk-ass jerk if you make fun of her for panicking in a charged situation.  Did she hurt anyone?  Did she kick your dog? Nah, she just looked kinda silly for like 30 seconds, and if your response is “LOLOL look at this dumb Barbie” that’s awful.  Don’t do that, you’re mean.

3. “lol bitches be trippin/women be tryna speak”
You know you’re awful.  If I hated myself enough, I’d explore the lowest depths of the internet to see how many “haha get back in the kitchen” comments I could find regarding this young woman, but I don’t hate myself.

4. A Real Housewife asked this question
I…don’t really know what to say.  We have a woman whose reality show title inherently makes her “not the breadwinner” for hr family.  Also Real Housewives exists.  I’m sad and I can’t quite articulate why.

5. The question asked “what does this say about society”
You’re attempting to make a person sum up in less than the time it takes to reheat a slice of pizza a topic that has been the source of countless dissertations, nonstop legislation, and a decades-long battle.  But okay, she’s got this.  Granted, she could have just said “sexism” and dropped the mic but I don’t think pageant contestants are encouraged to use that word and/or drop the mic.

6. PAGEANTS STILL EXIST
WHY WHY WHY.  If I think about this too much my brain gets a little too close to rage-exploding.  The Q&A section exists because otherwise Miss USA and the Westminster Dog Show would have too much in common.  It was made by men for the enjoyment of men, and if the word “poise” is thrown around anymore to excuse parading women around in sexy outfits for the “honor” of being chosen, I will make it my life’s mission to ensure that every time anyone vaguely associated with pageants tries to use the word “poise,” it comes out “porpoise” instead.

I am NOT insulting the women participating.  They made a choice that I would not have made, but that’s because the world at large told them it’s an okay choice to make. 

That would be, harsher punishments for parole violators, Stan.  And…world peace!

Fitness

Baby’s first half marathon by the miles

June 12, 2013

I think it’s probably impractical and somehow breaking social rules, but if I could, I would totally wear my finisher’s medal for the next several days.  At least until my soreness wears off.  It is quite heavy and has a bottle opener incorporated into the actual medal, so that makes it even more impractical to wear it around.  I am wearing it as I type this. #yolo

The race I did is called the ODDyssey, and yes, they spell it like that on purpose.  It’s got a costume contest and has optional challenges during the race and just generally doesn’t take itself too seriously.  I’d totally recommend this race to anyone: it was large enough to have pretty great support on the course, but small enough that you weren’t pushing people out of the way.

So, here’s a race recap by time and miles.

Night before: read this month’s Runner’s World which is about Boston, cry like forever (I do not recommend this strategy)

5 AM: Alarm goes off.  I immediately reconsider every life choice I’ve ever made in my sleepy haze.  Maybe I don’t wanna run this morning, bed looks soooo good…

5:30 AM: Out the door because I was a good little girl and pinned my bib on the night before and laid out all my clothes and packed my fuel belt

5:45 AM: Dunkin for iced coffee.  This has become a bit of a prerace tradition for me, even though basically everything that is smart in the world is like “caffeine is TEH WORST dun drink it before a race or u’ll diiiiie” but it empowers me so whatevs.

6:10 AM: Pull into a parking space that is a tad bit far from the finish line (spoiler alert: I hate myself for this later) but will allow me to actually leave the race location without waiting for like an hour to get out

6:15 AM: Force-feed myself an apple

6:20 AM: Get on line for porta potties

Roughly a year later: actually get to USE portapotty

6:40 to like 6:55 AM: Attempt to not panic and get a bit more water in me

6:56 AM: Make friends with girl who asked “so do you see any signs for corrals?  I saw one that was for a 9 to 10 minute mile but I’m at like ‘try to finish, no time goal, my emergency contact information is on my phone screen, got my inhaler’.”  My kind of girl.

6:57 AM: Taking notice of all the people in costumes (this was a costume-optional race), notice a guy wearing very, very little.  Realize he is dressed in the Borat swimsuit.  Attempt to figure out where he pinned his bib and then realize he has a bib number belt.  Overhear a woman say “okay, he wins the costume contest.  Just give it to him.  Then make him change clothes.”

7:00 AM: Panic because I’m still holding on to my crappy water bottle and don’t see a place to ditch it.  Decide to hold on to it for a while.  “A while” turns into like 7 miles but whatevs.

7:04 AM: Lady who did the National Anthem: you killed it, way to go

7:07 AM: Race starts,shuffling towards the start begins, I actually remember to hit “start” on my watch, I am the smartest woman alive

Transition to mile estimates because I frankly have no idea what time it was for most of this

Mile 0.2: Cannot stop grinning because oh my GOODNESS I am running a HALF MARATHON I am THE COOLEST EVER

Mile 0.4: Smile fades a bit because I get passed by this guy who is pushing a lady in a wheelchair, and he is wearing a tux.  Dialing back my dreams of Olympic glory.

Mile 0.5: Guy jumps in blatantly banditing the race.  He is wearing a rainbow tutu and a rainbow shirt and has Pride info pinned to his back.  He gives everyone high-fives and hugs if they want them.  That is how you correctly bandit a race, everyone.  We all ain’t even mad.  Go on with your bad self.

Mile 0.7: So this happened.  This dude was chatting with a group of ladies that he didn’t know (who had matching sequin headbands, you go ladies), and was basically bragging about his exploits in the running world and “when I ran New York, I…” and just generally acting like he was awesome, which was awk but whatever.  He then jogs like fifteen feet ahead of them, turns back, and while running backwards, says “what’s with all the heavy chicks out today?”  I KNOW.  WHAT THE FUCK.  The ladies basically chose not to engage, replying with “well it’s Philly!  and we’re awesome! so we’re out today!” and things like that, and I really can’t blame them.  They saved their energy for the race they were running.  But like, dude? What went on in your brain that led you to conclude that was a good thing to say?  Andrew came up with the best response when I told him this story: “what’s with all the assholes out today? Mostly in your general direction, really concentrated over there…”
Also, not that it matters, because that is a messed up thing to say regardless, but the dude was not like in Steve Prefontaine levels of shape.  Had a little belly going on.  Made it extra strange.

Mile 2-ish: first aid station comes up.  I always feel like I’m letting them down when I don’t need water at that time.  Like “um, no, I’m good, but I’m sure your water is very delicious and refreshing! I’m sorry! It’s not you, it’s me!”

Mile 2.4: see two girls running while carrying a shield and an axe and wearing Viking helmets.  I love everything.

Mile 3.1: realize if this were a 5k I would have PR’ed!

Mile 3.11: realize that I should not be aiming for a 5k PR because I have ten miles left. Oops.

Mile 4.0: take my first Shot Blok like a good little runner, walk for the first time

Mile 5.2: tiny little uphill and I whine like a lot, but so does everyone around me so it’s all good!  Right?  As long as I’m not the loudest!  Right? Also MORE SHOT BLOKS

Mile 5.9: actual salt is streaked on my arms. This has not happened often and I thought I was dying and then I realized I was not.  Good story I know.  I just thought I was growing scales for a minute.

Mile 6.55: Loudest dude ever was manning the halfway point.  Totes fine with it because he was like “KEEP GOING, DOING GREAT” and I live off of that stuff.  I had like ten minutes of leeway at this point to make a sub-3 hour half so I was both excited and nervous

Mile 7: I somehow miss this mile marker and am convinced for a while that I am actually going backwards along the course because “no no there is NO WAY I haven’t gotten to mile 7 no no no”

Mile 7.2: I realize the father and son(?) in front of me are banditing as well, or may have just been out running and got swept up in the course.  I am not mad until like three miles later when he, his son, and another dude decide to run-chat and do the thing people do on sidewalks when they block the whole damn thing at this spot with trees on one side and gates on the other.  No, I am not going much faster than you are but move or I’ll cut you with my bib because I have one and you don’t.  Yeah, I’ll fight your 12 year old son.  I can take him.  Maybe.  (I’m an adult, I swear.)

Mile 8: oh JESUS THANK YOU MILE MARKER

Mile 9: this is the farthest I’ve ever gone in one shot.  I regret not having gone like 40 miles in one shot so this feels like nothing.  It does not feel like nothing it feels like EVERYTHING

Mile 9.5: yes please with the water, aid station; my stomach is doing its thing where it is hungry so it decides to tell me it is nauseous.  No, you jerk organ, I am just low on blood sugar, so shut up and take your Shot Bloks.  Eat them.  Digest them.  Get your act together.

Mile 9.6: Can I buy stock in Clif? I love them so much right now.

Mile 10: just a 5k left!  Oh God, I’m one of those people who says stuff like “it’s just a 5k left!” and actually means it.  At least I said it inside my head!  Oh, wait, the person in front of me said it out loud to her running partner.  I’m safe.

Mile 10.2: Aid station peeps are cheerfully announcing that the aid station in two miles has Gatorade.  I would share in their enthusiasm if they said the next aid station had rocket backpacks, or stretchers, or Jeremy Renner.

Mile 11: Two miles left.  You can totally do this, and you’d better.  This was the point at which I basically started to run for a minute and walk for a minute because I was pretty sure my knees were going to actually crack at this point.  Every step hurt. But basically this was “if you ran this far and don’t finish…oh HELL no.”

Mile 11.3: Somewhat separated from basically everyone, and I realize my compression shorts are swishing.  (whaddup thighs touching hey bigger runners you feel me? yeahhh) I realize they have probably been swishing for 2 hours.  Has everyone heard me swishing?  Am I one of the “heavy chicks” that jerk guy was talking about? Wait that’s a terrible thing to think?  GAH INTERNAL TURMOIL

Mile 11.31: I am running a half marathon anyone who has anything nasty to say is basically on the level of Joffrey Baratheon, the First and Jerkiest of His Name

Mile 12: One. More. And a tenth.  Don’t forget the tenth.

Mile 12.3: a hill.  An effing hill, now???  Seriously?  Ugh, guys, this last mile probably took me like 20 minutes to finish.  I looked at my watch and realized I was not gonna make it under 3 hours, so my goal was adjusted to just “finish the thing.” And also “make a recommendation that the last mile of a half marathon not contain a 40 Degree Hill of Death as its last thing.”

Mile 12.9: This lady who looks like she finished like 90 minutes ago and is now cheerfully going for a bike ride with her finisher’s medal around her neck is all “you can do it!” and in my head I’m all “I hate you for being done but love you for cheering me on!”

Mile 13: I can run this last part to the finish without dying.  This is a doable goal.

Mile 13.1: VICTORY! Also exhaustion.  Dude with the medals stop texting and give it to me or I will fight you.  I will fight you with all the stamina of a newborn and all the strength of overcooked linguini.  Come at me, bro.

Mile 1,000: I parked my car about another half marathon away and my legs only marginally work.  It takes me forever to walk there while sipping my fruit drink, and once I’m at my car I collapse and call my dad.  He answers the phone, “are you alive?”  Excellent question!

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Well, no offense to Eleanor Roosevelt.

June 7, 2013

 I remember hearing the quote for the first time when watching The Princess Diaries.  Which I saw in the theaters.  No shame, love you forever Julie Andrews.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”  Said to a crying Mia, Anne Hathaway’s character, by a pretty rad dude who works for Julie Andrews’ queen character.  His name was Joe.  The scene has a kind of “yeah they’re gonna tease you, but you’re awesome!  Like Eleanor Roosevelt!  And awesome people don’t let crappy people get to them.  So be awesome!  And stop crying and go to high school!”

My initial reaction to that was “yeah!  Mia’s awesome!  Go fight win!  Can Julie Andrews come back on screen now?”  Loved the hell out of that quote.

That is a terrible, terrible quote.  And so are all the ones that are variations on “don’t let the haters stop you from doing your thing.”  (Love you Kevin G.)

This is the first but definitely not the last time I will need to say this: the world needs to stop placing the burden of feeling terrible on the victim.  If someone is awful to you and you feel sad about it, that is appropriate and fine and maybe even good.

I respect the hell out of people, like Ellen Degeneres, who use the expression “my haters are my motivators.”  Some people do legitimately take inaccurate, cruel, terrible things and basically turn that into energy to fight back and keep being awesome.  Seriously, if this describes you, keep killing it and also teach me your ways like immediately.  I am absolutely not telling you to get sad if you’re not.  I’m just saying it’s totally okay to be sad if you in fact are sad, and it’s not your fault if mean things don’t “inspire” you.

When the world encourages that attitude, the “exude positivity regardless of how awful everything can be” is that the world is working at the wrong end of the problem.  That if you’re teased, it’s YOUR responsibility to “not let it get to you.”  To productively channel that sadness and then come out the other side better and different and perfect.

It’s the same concept that some girls and boys experience if they don’t wear the right clothes.  They get teased for not wearing cool things and looking stupid.  They go tell their parents they will get destroyed if they continue to wear their current clothes.  Their parents “fix” it by buying the right clothes, and the teasing stops.  Yay?  Nope, not at all.  The bullies might not be actively bullying, but they’re still being terrible.  They didn’t get any nicer, you’re just now wearing the “right” clothes around the same mean people. 

In time, those people will find something else to be cruel about.  

I’ve seen this in basically all arenas, from abusive bosses to bullying, this concept that we should just ignore it and stay awesome and sticks and stones and you gotta keep ya head up and so on.  The arena in which it seems to show up most is that of weight loss.  I watch the hell out of some weight loss reality shows, including The Biggest Loser, Extreme Weightloss, and MTV’s I Used to Be Fat.  Literally every single one of them has asked their contestants or stars about teasing they received, and use it to “motivate” them during their workouts.  They did this to basically say “push yourself so that these people have no basis in calling you ‘fat cow’ anymore because you’ll be skinny!”

Why on EARTH are they not saying “yo, it’s super cool if you want to get healthy, and if a side effect of that is that you lose weight, cool beans.  But those people, the ones who called you names? Assholes, every one, and you can totally cry about it.  Wanna go find them and punch them?  No, not in your ‘After’ shot, right now.  When you’re still fat.  Because they are not nice people and they have no right to tell you those things regardless of what you look like.”  Probably because the One Republic song they play during the montage doesn’t fit that sound bite, or something.  I don’t know.  

Don’t tell people they need to stay positive when the world is being awful.  All that tells them is that they’re failing on two fronts: whatever they’re being teased about, and ~*sTaYiNg pOsiTiVe*~ 

Nope.  G’head and cry when people are awful.  World?  Tell people to not make people cry.  Much better.

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A more honest college graduation program

May 28, 2013

Disclaimer: I’m basing this vaguely on my experiences at Brown University, and I do seriously love graduation stuff, this is all in good fun.

Ceremony Schedule for Graduation 2013

Way Too Damn Early: the graduates line up, roughly 1/3 of them not wearing their caps correctly

Way Too Damn Early: their families get seated and proceed to hate the graduate for making them get up

Way, WAY Too Damn Early: Mother Effing Bagpipes

(the weather will need to be either 90 with blistering sun, or intermittent rain)

9:30 AM: Procession begins

10 AM in 2035: Procession ends

10:30 AM: National Anthem sung quite proficiently by a graduate with the last lines sung terribly by all of the graduate’s friends and family

10:45 AM: Why the hell are we still using Latin, the president of the University just conferred the degrees on all the graduates but no one had any idea

10:46 AM: Scattered and late applause because what?  The dozen Classics majors are cheering wildly because they understood

10:47 AM: Teenage boy in the family sitting behind you opens up the large pizza they may have had ordered to the main field

11:00 AM: They’re walking again, why are they walking AGAIN.  Oh my God we’re gonna be here forever

11:30 AM: Everyone should be seated, which means the weather will instantly be the worst it’s been all day and the graduates realize that their caps and gowns only amplify the effects of the weather, which means 90 degree heat feels like 105 and cold rain feels like ice

11:31 AM: Graduates discover that there are granola bars and water under their seats and this is the happiest they will be all day

11:40 AM: Senior orations, oh my gosh everything is adorable, they are the cutest, their families must be so proud, I am legit gonna tweet everything they say because they are the best ever and oh my gosh oh my gosh stop it I can’t even

12 PM: Beginning of honorary degree conferring

12:05 PM: College makes rookie mistake and chooses to let Ben Affleck go first

12:06 PM: Crowd loses its collective mind; grandmothers are shouting “SPEECH, SPEECH”

12:07 PM: Ben Affleck talks for like 20 seconds, crowd continues to lose its mind

12:08 PM: Some other people get honorary degrees but no one really gives a shit, legit these people could have eradicated tuberculosis but the college chose to lead with Ben Affleck and it’s unfortunately all downhill from here

12:10 PM (not pictured): Someone from the college starts drafting apology letters to every honorary degree recipient who is not Ben Affleck; has to delete “look, you didn’t make Argo, what did you expect?” and start over again

12:30 PM: Bachelor’s Degrees conferred

12:35 PM: Joint Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees conferred

12:40 PM: Joint Bachelor’s and Master’s and Ph.D. Degrees conferred

12:45 PM: Joint Bachelor’s and Master’s and Ph.D Degrees and Certified Yoga Instructor and Class M License and Food Preparation Certificates conferred

12:55 PM: That one dude who thinks he deserves to see more than anyone else stands up at this random point in the ceremony and continues to stay standing till the end

1:00 PM: A grandfather who is too old to care loudly asks if “this damn thing is over yet”

1:15 PM: Faculty is awarded tons of Awesomeness Medals, graduates and alumni suddenly learn that one of the old dudes on the stage has been a professor for like 85 years and won a goddamn Nobel Prize, like a NOBEL PRIZE, he is BRILLIANT and we have a NOBEL LAUREATE on our goddamn FACULTY, how did we not KNOW THIS

1:30 PM: Literally none of the graduates know the words to their school’s song but they will all give it the Old College Try

1:32 PM: Crowd is restless like a herd of animals before a thunderstorm

1:35 PM: Ceremony ends, graduates launch their caps in the air causing several serious injuries when they return to the ground

1:36 PM: EVERYONE STANDS UP AT ONCE MOVE MOVE MOVE

1:37 PM: Weather immediately becomes 72 degrees with a few clouds in the beautiful blue sky.

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Some youthful things that I don’t understand

May 18, 2013

Presented in no particular order

  • Any and all new dance moves starting with the Dougie
    • No really like what are they, wasn’t like basically all dance invented already including the Harlem Shake which to my knowledge is not the same thing
  • The Disney Channel’s current programming
    • I could not name a single show on that channel right now, and I’m still trying to process the fact that Lizzie McGuire had a baby.  Like an actual baby.  I remember when her biggest issue was murder-mystery-party-related drama and dealing with her younger brother with that friend he had that never talked
  • PINK by Victoria’s Secret
    • Is this a sex thing 
      • No really I don’t get it
    • And the clothes say “LOVE PINK” like what does that mean like “I Love Pink” or “love, Pink” like Pink is now an entity capable of signing letters or like a demanding “LOVE PINK OR WE WILL DO BAD THINGS”
  • Tumblr
    • Yes I have one
    • Adrienne has to post things because I don’t totally get it
  • Crop tops
    • Like this is a shirt but it’s not really on what occasions can you wear this 
    • It’s not an issue of it being “too revealing” because oh my God who cares but srsly when can you wear one
    • Also it’s fascinating because if you asked like a hundred people what body part they most like to show off I wonder how many would say “my lower abdominal area”
  • Putting feathers in your hair
    • It always kinda looks like you just ate a bird and got a little messy
      • No issue if that’s what you’re going for but I think it’s not?
  • Zombies
    • These are people you knew who died terribly and then get back up and start walking around and want to eat your head
      • How is this cool and not the most terrifying thing ever
      • Like seriously the fact that there are zombie-comedy movies out there blows my mind because AHHH THEY ARE DEAD AND THEY STILL MOVE
        • I am a wimp
  • Most slang phrases
    • Yolo
      • I use this regularly but it does not mean I understand it because I say things like “bought another book for my Kindle #yolo” and I don’t think that’s right
        • I really don’t know how you’re supposed to use it, do you say it when you’re doing something dangerous or something good for you?
    • Throwing shade
      • What does this mean, I think it’s like a bad thing?
      • See also “mean mugged”
        • I learned “mean mugged” from Kieffer on Teen Mom 2
    • Bougie
      • Not a damn clue about this one
    • Swag
      • Just kidding this is a GREAT word and I use it correctly all the time
  • Sock buns
    • It took me a really long time to get that this wasn’t just like a fun name for this but you are supposed to put an actual sock in your hair
  • A/S/L
    • I thought this was the abbreviation for American Sign Language
    • I have no clue what it means and I can’t seem to search in an effective way can someone please just tell me
  • Bieber
    • Haven’t the faintest
    • It’s like a boy band but there’s just one boy 
    Uncategorized

    Women and books, women in books

    May 8, 2013

    Earlier this week, the results of a challenge posted by author Maureen Johnson hit The Huffington Post, and I had a grand old time looking through the results, which you can find here.  Basically, flip the covers of books so that the “girly” no longer look girly, and vice versa. 

    My personal favorite was Lord of the Flies, but all of these are truly well done, and I hope there’s work in the artists’ futures.  However, this coverflip is just one tiny aspect of areas that are just straight up ridiculous for female authors and books about women and women who read books.  You know I’m gonna break this down so get ready.

    Women authors
    The number of women who have used pseudonyms or their initials is absurdly long, and this is not some issue that’s no longer a problem.  Rowling did it. Yep, it’s easy to forget because no one really cares too much now that she’s so successful, but she did that on purpose to hopefully sell more books.  It’s not like this is some 1800s throwback issue or even a Andre Norton-era issue.  This still happens.  N.K. Jemisin?  Sci-fi/fantasy/speculative fiction author who goes by initials instead of Nora because this still happens.  She’s also a woman of color, and has problems because of that (like her books being placed in the African-American section), but that needs its own post.  Women authors are scared that their own names will frighten away potential readers regardless of content. 

    Not only is this a problem when women try to publish under their own names like they need to be ashamed of them, but they’ll get shredded for “not getting it” if they try to write about men.  Men writing about women is just always going to be a little awkward and is apparently forgivable, but women writing about men emasculates the men somehow.  George R.R. Martin, bless his heart and his books and may he finish them quickly, is under the impression that women notice their own breasts and the cloth that covers them when they walk.  NOPE.  Writing for a sex or gender of which you are not a member is always challenging, but it is not okay that the problems associated with it are ignored for male authors while female authors are destroyed for it.  Or, reviewers claim they emasculate men if they say anything critical (like Margaret Atwood apparently did to Jimmy in Oryx and Crake).  

    And then, of course, the covers.  Book covers are frequently sexist, racist, and just all around horrible.  Let’s not even talk about the ones that are “now a major motion picture.”  I’m still recovering from seeing Ella Enchanted get that treatment.

    Books about women
    “Books about women” end up in their own category, with “chick-lit” as its own little terrible subset.  Men and women read books about men, and women read books about women.  Please let me reiterate: books about women are not given their own space because women have struggles inherent to their sex.  They are separated because it is assumed that men won’t read them. 

    What sells is brotime and ladytime: bros get fighting and angst, women get “drama” and “feelings.”  Even if those plots are exactly the same, wars are male and drama is female.    

    Personally, I’ve lied by omission when trying to get people to read The Hunger Games; I just conveniently leave out that it’s a female author and female narrator and let the person just buy the book and deal with it.  (Interestingly, the covers on those three books are decidedly not girly.)   

    One of my best moments in college (who am I kidding, this was one of my best moments EVER) was when some truly excellent people brought Tamora Pierce to my campus.  This was an author who truly helped shape my childhood with her amazingly detailed, kick-ass fantasy novels, and she’s been writing since before I was born.  She read an excerpt from her then-unpublished next book, signed basically whatever you wanted her to sign, did a big ol’ question and answer panel, and was just generally amazing.

    Her books’ main characters, 95 percent of the time, are female.  The audience was 90 percent female.  A friend of mine there mentioned she had a male friend who did not attend because he was scared of it being all girls.  This is a powerful, fascinating woman with complex, realistic characters in a world that rivals Middle Earth and Westeros in levels of detail, and she gets brushed off because she writes books for teenage girls so she doesn’t matter.

    I have to lie to people to get them to pick up books with female narrators, while it is just assumed that I’ll somehow adapt to a male narrator because I’ve been doing so for forever.  No one’s ever said to me “oh you might not like it, it’s about guys.”  Jane Austen is forever “girly books” because they’re about women potentially getting married and that’s not exciting.  And then we have an issue with women who dislike Jane Austen’s novels because they don’t find them enjoyable describing themselves as like, traitors to womanhood or something.  Not liking Ernest Hemingway doesn’t make you a traitor to manhood.  But she’s it, she’s all we’ve got, so everyone feels the need to be nice. 

    Women who read books
    Gonna get a bit more personal here, but this is important and related, too.  Women read everything that men read.  No, really.  If a woman says she’s read a book, she probably did!  And if she’s bragging and didn’t read it, she’s a liar, but she’s not a “fake geek girl.”  A woman lying about how much of a fan she is is actually the same as a man lying about that.  And don’t come to me with that “she’s just doing it to sound sexy” bullshit like the woman kicked a thousand puppies or something.  Lying isn’t admirable, but don’t act like it’s somehow worse that it’s a woman pretending.  Also, does this even actually happen INQUIRING MINDS NEED TO KNOW

    And personal protip to guys who talk to me about books I love: don’t try to explain them to me.  Don’t try to judge how much of a fan I *really* am.  And don’t act like I’m somehow infringing on your territory.  Books are for everyone!  If I mention that it took me till book 3 to realize Robb Stark didn’t have any POV chapters, don’t try to convince me that he does have two, especially when you just began A Clash of Kings.  If I am purchasing a fantasy book and reply “yes” to “are you a fantasy reader?” your next move is not to name three authors, listen to my reply that I haven’t read their work yet, and then say “well you’re not really a fantasy fan then, are you?”  When I tell you I read and enjoyed many of Orson Scott Card’s books, please don’t immediately launch into “umm didn’t you know he hates gay people?”

    No mansplaining.  I’m going to read these books and I’m going to know things about them and some books I haven’t read yet and things are problematic and I GET IT.  And there are TONS like me.  Deal with it and talk to me like I’m just another person who read these books. 
     
    Everything I just said obviously does not mean that every book read by, written by, or about women is automatic gold.  But please register the fact that I have to even SAY that.  Because “this obviously does not mean that every book read by, written by or about men is automatic gold” sounds fucking RIDICULOUS. 

    So what do we do?  Pick up something with or by women, and talk to them about the books you like.  Shooting something down because it’s about ladies is unacceptable, and so is shooting down ladies talking about your books.  Involving women is just involving people, and when we all understand that, the world will explode with books and book discussions.

    Or at least I hope. 

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    Things you say that you think are nice but actually aren’t

    April 11, 2013

    When someone says something offensive, I really do try hard to be like “hey actually when you say that it’s not so good to this group of people, plz don’t do it again” under the assumption that most people are not terrible people.  I may be entirely misguided and people need to be yelled at, but I am not so good at yelling, and in my experience they respond better to being gentle.  Like a skittish baby horse or something.  Why did I say that?  I’ve never met a baby horse.  Plus I think baby horses have their own technical names so I’m not even right when I say “baby horse” OKAY STOPPING.  SORRY.

    Anyway, I managed to compile a list of things that I sometimes hear people say that are actually not such great things to say.  If you say them, this does not mean you are a bad person!  No sarcasm!  Seriously! I get that you are trying.  But here’s why you should probably not say these things.  Also, as always, I am a white, economically stable, straight, able-bodied lady.  Plus a few more privileges I am probably forgetting.

    1. “I don’t see color.”
    You may think this is an okay thing to say, and that’s because you are almost definitely saying it from a good intention.  You are trying to imply that color doesn’t positively or negatively influence your opinion of someone.  And that is a good start to not being racist!  F’reals, way to not stumble right out of the gate.

    BUT, and I know this sounds weird, but you NEED to see color.  Not in a “yep you’re black so now I think because I’m white I’m better than you” way, but rather in a “yep, you’re black, so your experiences with the world have almost certainly been different than mine, because the world is not done with racism yet.”  This person may have had some terrible slur thrown at them, have someone assume they’re dangerous because of their color, both, neither, something worse.  You need to see their color/race/ethnicity and understand that the world is not the same for the two of you.  Saying ” I don’t see color” is well-intentioned, I get it, but you gotta see color to even come close to understanding others’ experiences.

    2. “Oh, I LOVE the gays!  I have a gay best friend!”
    This is generally a specific thing said by some straight women about some gay men. This is good that you do not hate gay people!  This is not a true thing for everyone, so not hating them for their sexuality is indeed a good start.

    But, these phrases and phrases like them are grouping all gay people into a stereotype, and just because this dude you work with is super awesome and goes shopping with you and is generally some SATC-glitter-covered happy unicorn who says “GURL” doesn’t mean that he represents all gay men.  Is he your best friend?  Just say that!  It is excellent that you do not care who he is attracted to, but his sexuality is legit and should be treated with respect regardless of his opinion on your shoes.

    3. “I’m not trying to be mean about weight, it’s just I’m worried about your health!”
     Are you?  This is a serious question!  If you hang out with this person regularly and see that they are dealing with some disordered eating, or you think their mental health might be suffering, or whatever it is, then your concern might be legitimate!  Trying to make sure your friend or family member has a healthy relationship with food, exercise, and their own thoughts is not inherently a bad thing.

    HOWEVER.  If you know nothing else about this person than he or she is “overweight,” you are probably not helping.  Question yourself when this comes up.  There is a chance that your “concern for their weight” might actually be “I don’t like looking at fat people because it grosses me out.”  This probably sounds harsh.  But because people are nearly always aware of their size, pointing out that someone is overweight doesn’t sound like a concern for their health, especially if you don’t talk very often (or don’t even know the person!).  It sounds mean.

    So what should you say?  Probably nothing!  They know already, and they are dealing with it or not dealing with it. 

    4. “She’s just so inspirational/beautiful/amazing!”
    This is generally said to the chronically ill and/or disabled.  This person may very well be inspirational, but you should probably be saying this about something really freaking awesome that they’ve done, like build a house or win an election or complete a hundred heart transplants or something like that. 

    I get it, you are inspired by this person’s ability to do things, but these things that are inspirational shouldn’t be things that are like “you were YOU for a whole day and are still happy!  That’s amazing!”  Yes, frequently being ill or disabled makes life much harder, but to say it’s inspirational that this person is just functioning often comes across as patronizing and insincere.  It also can sometimes sound like you’re saying “I would hate my life if I were you, but you don’t!  That’s cool!”  Don’t do that!

    You are on the right track, for sure, because this person may very well do some awesome stuff.  But figure out what that stuff is and praise them for that.

    5. “You’re not like other women.”
    Ahhh you probably mean this to be complimentary to whatever woman you are currently talking to.  And again, good first step!  You’re trying to give her a compliment.  But this is actually not a really great thing to say to a lady.

    She is probably, in at least some ways, pretty similar to some other women, so the accuracy here is a little bit off.  This phrase also ends up sounding like you’re grouping all other women into a category of “Those Bitches” or something similar, so that all of them are objectively terrible while the one you’re talking to is objectively awesome.  If you are trying to be nice to a lady, I actually cannot think of a time when you can say that they are different/better from all other women and have it end up okay.  WAIT.  The Olympics and other athletic competitions.  You can say a woman is not like other women because she is faster than all other women at running a marathon.  But she knows that because that’s what the gold medal is for?  So yeah, back to my original opinion: don’t tell ladies they’re way more awesome than all the other ladies.

    And as a note to other ladies: don’t describe yourself like this!  I get squicked out when women say “I just don’t get along great with girls, we don’t have stuff in common.”  Um, like, ALL of us?  Dude, there’s gotta be somebody, and the common factor in any attempted friendship with another lady is you.  So the problem might be you, not Every Lady Ever.  Being a woman is hard enough without you, dudes, and The World comparing you to every other woman.  Don’t do it!

    I am sure I am forgetting other things in this vein, so if you can think of any, please tell me in the comments!  I’d like to add to my list of “good motivation, bad execution.”

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    Baby’s first 10k

    March 17, 2013

    Okay, so I think I officially really love this distance.  It is long enough to make me feel like a badass, but short enough to make me not die.  Will totes still run a half-marathon in June and train for it and learn how to fuel properly but I gotta run more of these.

    Chip time was 1:20:19.  I was REALLY trying to break 1:20, but this is my first one so regardless of my finishing time, just finishing gave me a PR.  And, apologies for the oversharing, but because I needed a bathroom break between miles 2 and 3 (good one, bladder! You’re really funny!), I know that I can actually break that time at some point.  I walked a little but my mile splits were still under 13 minutes even with my delay and haters gonna hate. 

    Important things are as follows:

    Race people, why why why would you have a course that has a beast hill from mile 5 to 5.5 I hate you just kidding it wasn’t that bad but that is where lots of my walking happened.  The 50-something woman near me was straight up like “this is bad.”  I agree!  But I did it. 

    I still cannot pin on my race bibs in a way that does not look like I was heavily intoxicated while it happened.  I really like this race bib because it says 10k on it.  I am a ROCKSTAR.

    This is such a stupid thing to complain about, but I am extra-sensitive about being a “slow runner,” so that is why I am mentioning it; I have lots of feelings and I don’t even go here.  The event today had a 10k, 5k, and 2-mile “fun walk,” and they split up the courses pretty well, including a fork in the trail where a lady had the pleasure of air-traffic-controller-ing everybody (“10k!!!!!” *waves to right*  “5k!!!!!” *waves to left* *repeat a thousand times*), poor girl.  However, I am decidedly a back-of-the-pack kinda person, and that means by the time I got to the last quarter mile, the walkers now dominated the course and I had to leap over some strollers and dogs.  I cannot actually get angry about this, because this was a fundraiser for colon cancer research, and what jerk is like “I wish fewer people walked so less money went to cure cancer”?  Not me.  But, because I am insecure about my running speed, I took the fact that the road was no longer clear for any of us slow’uns SUPER personally for like 20 minutes and was sad. 

    However, runners are THE BEST (srsly if you don’t run do it just so you can have everyone be nice to you always), are super supportive of anyone who laces up some sneaks, and love you if you are just there.  (Sometimes I say sneaks so I can pretend I’m the Fresh Prince.)  A large part of the course today was out-and-back, and everyone was like “keep going YAYYY” to everyone, regardless if you had turned around already and were doing like a 40 minute race or if you had just finished the first half and were at double that time.  IF YOU RUN YOU ARE A RUNNER AND RUNNERS ARE THE BEST. 

    I got a tech shirt today (this seems to be a thing that happens a lot now? Down with cotton, idk) and it is really green and if I wear it I should probs post a picture.

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    A rage-fueled treadmill workout

    January 20, 2013

    39:30 in my 5k yesterday.  WHAT. UP.  I get that this is far from Olympic quality but I broke 40 minutes holy crap we so excited we so so excited.  On an unrelated note, Old Navy’s active line is hella sweet.  Stuff is cheap and it is truly pretty good.  I got a pair of “compression” pants there this week and they are A+. 

    Sundays, based on my half marathon plan, are “easy” days, and I generally hit the treadmill for these.  Conveniently, a week ago, the TV on the wall was showing some new workout for laydees and I therefore adjusted my speed and incline for each stupid and/or sexist thing the commercial showed.

    (I’m joking here.  This wouldn’t work because I’d be mashing buttons every three seconds.  But the anger did really help me to finish.)  

    Increase your speed by 0.1 every time

    • The founder says “tone”
    • They interview a woman wearing a pastel workout top
    • A bikini-clad model is shown emerging from a pool with no connection to the product being sold

    Decrease your speed by 0.1 every time

    • Someone verbally shits on another workout for no reason
    • They show a perfectly groomed smiling woman performing the workout
    • “I got the body I’ve always wanted!”

    Increase your incline by 0.5 every time

    • They show the beginner, intermediate, and advanced next to each other and there’s legit no difference between intermediate and advanced
    • A picture that could be the poster child for Worst Posture Ever is used as a “Before”
    • They say Hollywood actresses are using this method and fail to mention anyone by name

      Decrease your incline by 0.5 every time

      • The founder asks some of the laydees who have tried this workout “what inspires them” and they all say “you do! and this workout does! and OH EM GEE, it’s just the BESTEST!”
      • Someone says they lost a certain amount of inches without specifying any more than the number (can someone explain this to me?  Sometimes it legit seems like you just chopped your legs off and got shorter or something “WEEE I LOST 14 INCHES” like in height? JE NE COMPRENDS PAS)
      • Anyone in the commercial says “problem areas”
        • Can we seriously retire this phrase forever?  You know what’s a problem area?  Darfur.  You know what’s not?  Your stomach.

      Run at 100% speed and intensity when

      • The commercial legit brings these ladies’ husbands in to talk about how nice their butts are now and how they look better than ever and how they’re “so happy with the results”
        • Okay this one I didn’t plan but I was in the middle of a hill repeat and they brought the husbands in to this weird looking room with their wives to leer at them and talk about how they got “strong in a feminine way” and I just went “you’ve got to be effing kidding me” and cranked up my speed so I could take advantage of my anger-fuel
      • They bring in twin sisters, one of whom has tried the workout and the other who has not and they interview the twin who did not and she says “I saw my sister’s results and I told my husband ‘I’m the fatter twin now!'” and then bursts into tears
        • There are so many terrible things about that sound bite and using it that I don’t even know where to begin 

      I don’t really know how to wrap this up.  Just anger.  Lots of anger.  Love you all.