I read Overheard in New York fairly often, and I can say without a doubt that the entries of stuff kids say are always the best. Example:
Dad, to group of six-year-olds: What do you guys want to play today?
Boy: Crab salad!
Dad, confused: How in the world do you "play" crab salad?
Boy: We cover ourselves with mayonnaise and then run around and pinch each other!
Monday, August 31, 2009
I read Overheard in New York fairly often, and I can say without a doubt that the entries of stuff kids say are always the best. Example:
Friday, August 28, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Ok, you guys, which is more pathetic: the fact that NBC's The Today Show had a poll on whether Michelle Obama baring her legs in public was "appropriate," or the fact that over 300,000 people voted? Tough call, I know.
Monday, August 17, 2009
After reading a few posts around the blogosphere about murderer George Sodini, the man who killed three women in an aerobics class in Pennsylvania earlier this month, I came across one by Kate Harding that hit especially close to home. In her Broadsheet post, she picks out a quote from Sodini’s online diary, saying how he has been rejected by 100 women for being “too nice.” He saw through the BS of women rejecting him because he was “too nice,” and telling him they “bet you can get a date anytime.” Instead of spending time dissecting why some guys live by the mantra “women don’t like nice guys,” Kate asks a different question:
Why are so many women reinforcing the idea that insecure, manipulative jerks who feel entitled to 20-year-old booty if they put on a clean shirt and refrain from saying "whore" out loud are nice guys? How is it that so many guys like Sodini -- the kind who routinely refer to women as "hoes" (sic) and "bitches," and act disgusted by the thought of women having sex with any other men -- have heard, "You're really nice, but..." again and again in the course of being rejected?
Harding turns to blogger Harriet Jacobs for an answer.
She says women are taught, among other things, that "it is not okay to set solid and distinct boundaries and reinforce them immediately and dramatically when crossed ('mean bitch')... it is not okay to make personal decisions that the adults or other peers in your life do not agree with, and it is not okay to refuse to explain those decisions to others ('stuck-up bitch')... it is not okay to completely and utterly shut down somebody who obviously likes you ('mean dyke/frigid bitch)."
Telling a guy the real reasons you're not interested…or offering no explanation at all, because you just met this guy and owe him nothing, would be "rude." And thanks to the conditioning Harriet describes, exhibiting the slightest hint of "rudeness" to any stranger who approaches you with sex on his mind makes you feel not like a normal human being with healthy boundaries, but a mean, frigid, stuck-up bitch. Worse yet, sometimes, the same man who called you beautiful and offered to buy you a drink ten seconds ago will turn aggressive when you say you're not interested; he'll tell you flat out you're a bitch, or a whore, or less printable things. He'll reject your rejection by getting in your face and losing his temper. So really, it's a lot safer and simpler to say, "Look, you're a nice guy, but no thanks/I have a boyfriend/I can't." Most guys will walk away calmly after that -- and hey, it's none of your concern what they go home and write in their diaries.
Emphasis mine. This last paragraph is something I can really, really relate to. It got me thinking over the maybe dozen or so times that I was approached by a man somewhere who gave me a weird/creepy/inappropriate vibe. Sometimes I would be with friends, who could sense my discomfort and pull me away in some manner (sometimes our SOS code would be scratching our nose), but sometimes I was alone. A particular instance was getting on a train in New York Penn Station during rush hour on the way home to New Jersey. The trains get super packed, and I found a window seat and started to read my book. A man sat next to me, and asked me if this train stopped at a certain stop, I confirmed that it did, and went back to reading. The man continued to talk to me, pointing out how much he liked my jewelry. I said thanks, and looked back at my book. I stayed polite, smiled, and continued with one word answers while he continued to ask me personal questions about myself, even going so far as to ask if he could touch my necklace. To that I answered flatly, no. All the time this was going on, I was just hoping he would stop talking to me, or “get the hint” that by my one word answers and minimal eye contact, I did not want him to talk to me. But, I didn’t want to somehow make him angry, or cause a scene, or draw any attention to myself. Others would probably say, “oh he was just being friendly! He just thought you were pretty!” But it was creepy, inappropriate and making me uncomfortable, which is something I think only women can really relate to.
This, unfortunately, is not the only story I have along this vein. I never realized how even if someone is making me uncomfortable, in order to stay safe and not be labeled a “bitch”, I keep my responses polite and give off a smile anyway. In the times I’ve been alone, I definitely don’t want to risk making the man angry, or having him come after me in any way. I’m sure few, if any, of these men were capable of violence, but it wasn’t a risk I was willing to take, even if some of them deserved a firm “leave me alone right now.”
As for Sodini, he probably got tons of rejections that included “flattery,” because the women sensed he was not a safe person to be around and didn’t want to risk him taking his anger out on them. He didn’t take his anger out on any one he knew, as far as the news reports say, but he did take his anger out on the three women he murdered.
I know I’m not the only one out there who has acted this way when it comes to advances of men I’m not comfortable around, so speak up ladies. Were you ever confronted by someone who gave you a bad vibe when you were alone? What did you do? Have you found yourself being overly nice when your gut was telling you you shouldn’t have been?
Thursday, August 13, 2009
You might have heard about George Sodini, a 48-year-old male who gunned down several women coming out of a gym in Pennsylvania a couple of weeks ago, killing three of them and then killing himself. He killed these women because he didn't have any luck dating women and he hadn't had sex since 1990. He was obviously a disturbed person who should have sought some type of psychiatric treatment, as evidenced by his blog.
There is a lot I can talk about here. The first thing that came to mind was a book I read not too long ago, Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men. The author, Michael Kimmel, is a sociologist who has studied young men for many years. For a couple of chapters he focuses on a specific type of hatred that some young men have for women. He outlines that men are continuously told in movies, television, music videos, etc, etc, that women are theirs for the taking. There are gorgeous women everywhere, and they all want to have sex with you. However, once these men get into the dating world, they realize this may not necessarily be true- they will probably find it much more difficult to get the girl, and that most of the women on campus aren't about to drop their panties at the slightest pick up line. This, according to Kimmel, makes these men really, really mad- and in turn causes them to hate women and turn to pornography that humiliates and denegrates women in order to get their "revenge." They hate women because they won't give them what the men feel is owed to them in some way.
Sodini's actions are, of course, an extreme example of misogyny, and one that very few men would ever resort to. But, as Bob Herbert wrote in his column, the humiliation of women and the violence against them is mainstream in our culture- so common that it doesn't even shock us that much anymore.
We profess to being shocked at one or another of these outlandish crimes, but the shock wears off quickly in an environment in which the rape, murder and humiliation of females is not only a staple of the news, but an important cornerstone of the nation’s entertainment.
The mainstream culture is filled with the most gruesome forms of misogyny, and pornography is now a multibillion-dollar industry — much of it controlled by mainstream U.S. corporations.One of the striking things about mass killings in the U.S. is how consistently we find that the killers were riddled with shame and sexual humiliation, which they inevitably blamed on women and girls. The answer to their feelings of inadequacy was to get their hands on a gun (or guns)
and begin blowing people away.
The women Sodini killed were strangers to him- they never met him, never rejected him. He was angry at all women, and the three that were killed that day suffered because of it.
I have been thinking about the women who died at the gym that day. I've wondered if they, like most women I know, always had in the back of their mind the constant fear of being attacked. For many women, the fear of an attacker mugging them, raping them, or assaulting them is ingrained in their brains at a young age, because attacks against women are so prevalent in our news and culture. I wondered if these women ever felt scared walking alone at night, if any of them lived alone and flinched at a loud noise or checked their window locks each night before going to bed. Did they take defense classes, maybe carried pepper spray on their keychains? When they would walk in a parking lot at night, would they hold their keys with the sharp edge outward, in case some man jumped out to attack them?
Life in the United States is mind-bogglingly violent. But we should take particular notice of the staggering amounts of violence brought down on the nation’s women and girls each and every day for no other reason than who they are. They are attacked because they are female.
I bet together, those women did most or all of those things. But it didn't matter- because one of the few places they thought they could be safe, out of all the places and times they were probably worried that they weren't completley safe, turned out to be the place Sodini decided to take his frustrations and gun to that day.
Aside from the violent act, I also started to think about how Sodini said that so many women have told him he was "too nice." In a future post I'll discuss how the women Sodini met probably never outright told him they weren't intrested- and why women in general don't usually do this when meeting men in bars and clubs that they are not comfortable with.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I found this article, "Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin," to be really interesting. Although exercise has been pushed more and more to help fight obesity, it actually has less to do with your weight than your diet does. In fact, as the article details, exercising regularly can actually cause you to gain weight, because not only does burning more calories make you more hungry, but people tend to overcompensate once they've got a workout in. So instead of reaching for a salad you might go for pizza instead because you went for a run that day. Usually, as you might suspect, the food you chose because you already got in a workout has more calories than what you burned off.
UPDATE: Simon at Bloggasm interviewed diet and fitness bloggers on this issue. You can read the post here.
Sunday, August 09, 2009
Apologies for the lack of posts- I was on vacation. Here's a little something to kick start the week, via Kate Harding (it's old, but I just came across it and I think it's awesome).
You, dear male reader, are totally not one of those men. I know this, and I appreciate it. I really do. But here’s where all this victimy girl shit concerns you:
- every time you don’t tell your buddies it’s not okay to talk shit about women, even if it’s kinda funny;
- every time you roll your eyes and think “PMS!” instead of listening to why a woman’s upset;
- every time you call Ann Coulter a tranny cunt instead of a halfwit demagogue;
- every time you say any woman–Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Phyllis Schlafly, Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, any of us–”deserves whatever she gets” for being so detestable, instead of acknowledging there are things that no human being deserves and only women get;
- every time you joke about how you’ll never let your daughter out of the house or anywhere near a man, ’cause ha ha, that’ll solve everything;
- every time you say, “I don’t understand why thousands of women are insisting this is some kind of woman thing”;
- every time you tell a woman you love she’s being crazy/hysterical/irrational, when you know deep down you haven’t heard a word she’s said in the past 15 minutes, and all you’re really thinking about is how seeing her yell and/or cry is incredibly unsettling to you, and you just want that shit to stop;
- every time you dismiss a woman as “playing the victim,” even if you’re right about that particular woman…
You are missing an opportunity to help stop the bad guys.
You’re missing an opportunity to stop the real misogynists, the fucking sickos, the ones who really, truly hate women just for being women. The ones whose ranks you do not belong to and never would. The ones who might hurt women you love in the future, or might have already.
‘Cause the thing is, you and the guys you hang out with may not really mean anything by it when you talk about crazy bitches and dumb sluts and heh-heh-I’d-hit-that and you just can’t reason with them and you can’t live with ‘em can’t shoot ‘em and she’s obviously only dressed like that because she wants to get laid and if they can’t stand the heat they should get out of the kitchen and if they can’t play by the rules they don’t belong here and if they can’t take a little teasing they should quit and heh heh they’re only good for fucking and cleaning and they’re not fit to be leaders and they’re too emotional to run a business and they just want to get their hands on our money and if they’d just stop overreacting and telling themselves they’re victims they’d realize they actually have all the power in this society and white men aren’t even allowed to do anything anymore and and and…
I get that you don’t really mean that shit. I get that you’re just talking out your ass.
But please listen, and please trust me on this one: you have probably, at some point in your life, engaged in that kind of talk with a man who really, truly hates women–to the extent of having beaten and/or raped at least one. And you probably didn’t know which one he was.
And that guy? Thought you were on his side.
As long as we live in a culture where the good guys sometimes sound just like the misogynists, the misogynists are never going to get the message that they are not normal and that most people–strong, successful men included–do not hate women.