It’s three adjectives and a value-laden term too many, this story.
As I just joined a German gym, this seemed relevant to my interests — and it is, but not for the reasons you’d think.
“Rampage” is a pretty specific word — one usually used to imply malicious intent on the behalf of the actor. In this case, it seems it’s chosen in error. If you click through, you find out that the “grotesque,” “hefty,” and “sizeable” woman only began this “rampage” when fellow gym patrons told her she was too big for the sauna, and that people like her would have been “drowned in the Middle Ages.”
I might have a LOUD RETORT to that kind of harassment as well.
Good LORD, the woman was at a health club, doing precisely as I was instructed in the first five sentences of my gym orientation this week.
“We go in the sauna naked in this country, just so you know.”
She made no mention of any size restrictions on this particular custom.
In any event, if you were inclined to fat hate or body shame, why on earth would you do it at a gym? If a stranger meeting your notion of arbitrary physical ideal is important to you, wouldn’t you celebrate their attendance at your health club? Gyms can be intimidating enough, just knowing how to operate all of the machinery without looking foolish — add in this layer of bullying, and it makes braving the gym even more foreboding and less appealing.
Now, the editorial adjectives are added in a Daily Caller reblog of a Daily Mail story, and I wasn’t there — but both stories used the word “rampage,” one that means “to rush wildly about.” Sounds like the actions of someone pretty spry to me.
The woman allowed herself to be photographed for the story and says of her actions, “I did not want to sit back and take the insults and asked them to stop.”
So the women who told her that she was too fat to live are in big trouble, right? Nope. For standing up for herself, the “sizeable” gal is facing “hefty” charges.
Now THAT’S grotesque.
Super heroes, princesses, and famous faces — so codified in dress and look, they might as well add the “lady in the triangle dress” from public restroom doors to their club of iconic female imagery.
Iconic, and not altogether free from the gender kryptonite of objectification. And by “not free” I mean, the chick on the bathroom door has the most modest and practical outfit of the bunch.
I had Wonder Woman Underoos — they issued them with every Social Security Card minted in the late 70s. (Genius gift from GIS, you’re welcome.)
When I wore them, I felt pretty heroic, capable, a little fearsome. Nothing in Underoo practice mirrored the cinched-in-waist, hyper-sexualized-cartoon of the Lynda Carter costume. Yet, Lynda’s version is as close to the usual graphic depiction of any female super hero as an actual human being can get.
That usual graphic depiction — lots of skin, preposterously small waist, huge cleavage, LOTS OF SKIN gets renegotiated in this awesome series of super women in getups useful for more than distracting the enemy with a rack of doom. More athletic. More tactical.
Closer to Underoos than Victoria’s Secroos. Dig.
Despite their supposed kid-friendly purpose, Disney princesses usually don’t look much different than their comedically misproportioned super hero sisters — Ariel, Jasmine, even the more covered Belle and Meg look like they came straight from a feverish sketch book in someone’s mom’s basement. Except in this update. Slouchy, cool, with a personality bigger than, “Hi! My midriff is an extrovert!”
Sometimes modernity helps our team of Well-known Women. Sometimes, it doesn’t. When you step away from rogue depictions, looking at the actual modern media beauty-factory standards imposed are enough to make Mona Lisa weep.
If not weep, then at least look like an alien. (Not to impose my Earth-based standard on our intergalactic friends.)
No body is safe.
So, she wasn’t spared the poisoned pen of Photoshop — but at least her costume looks like she could save the world if she needed to. (If you gave her some straps, anyway.)
Hang on, let’s everyone look at our watches for a second. It looks like the big hand is on the “Two Thousand” and the little hand is on the “Thirteen.”
Send him to the stars with Carter’s pajamas. Featuring dogs in space suits, planets, stars and other space graphics, these boys’ footed pajamas are perfect for your little astronaut.
Oh look, we first sent a woman to space FIFTY years ago. What else can’t little girls dream of being? Firefighters.* I’m sorry, firemen. Because, clearly.
He’ll be ready to fight fires in his dreams with Carter’s sleepwear. Featuring a smiling fire truck applique and striped design, these boys’ footed pajamas make the perfect bedtime outfit for your hero. In blue.
Eyeroll. Yeah, they’re just dumb old footie pajamas, the kid isn’t even awake most of the time they’re in them, but really that’s kind of the point. We have to gender even jammies? Still? In case you’re keeping score, puppies, robots, rockets, monsters, dinosaurs, and all zippy vehicles with exciting jobs are for boys, and girls get…butterflies. Oh, and castles!
Fairy princess! Silly me. They get a job to dream about after all.
*Frankie has some firetruck duds she’s waiting to grow into, so she can be awesome like Uncle The Bro. And maybe it seems dumb to get worked up about, little girls also get pink stuff and dresses and boys don’t — but that’s not a job. It’s not part of imagination or play or figuring out who to be. What am I going to say if she figures out the clothes are split — ballerinas on the left, cowboys on the right? Why shouldn’t she like dinosaurs? They’re pretty cool. Of course I say she can be and like ANY of those things, but… what if she asks why?
I woke up yesterday to a stream full of OMGJODIE. The Goldens Globed while I was sleeping, and everyone was losing their minds — “Did Jodie quit? Come out? Both?” The big Cecil B. DeMille Award acceptance speech was everywhere, parsed for those statements, among the more overt thesis which seemed to be: “You don’t own me or access to my personal life and loves by virtue of the fact that I act.”
Fair. But she bookends her speech with a big OLD argument, too.
At 50, Jodie Foster is the second-youngest female to win the honor, the fourth youngest overall. She began:
Well, for all of you ‘SNL’ fans, I’m 50! I’m 50! You know, I need to do that without this dress on, but you know, maybe later at Trader Vic’s, boys and girls. What do you say? I’m 50! You know, I was going to bring my walker tonight but it just didn’t go with the cleavage.
She was accepting a Lifetime Achievement Award. Since when is 50, a lifetime? Maybe if you’re a woman in Hollywood.
Of the 58 winners since 1952, only 13 women have been women. That’s 22%. The youngest awarded was Judy Garland at age 39, with 62 being the median age where it was deemed a life’s body of work was complete and ready for judgment. Of all of the female honorees, 77% were younger or just slightly over that age.
Judy and Jodie were both child actors, a fact that accelerates their contribution and a fair point — except even the scant few older female winners began their careers between 16 and 18. Not fossils, even by Olden Time standards.
The oldest winner, Barbara Stanwyck, was given the award (named for the director who counted her among his favorites) at age 78. (Now her’s is a story of a lifetime — orphan becomes highest paid woman in the United States.) She was also afforded the seemingly masculine privilege of a little more time before she was considered done.
The masculine privilege, we might extrapolate, from having to play mother to a 20 year old at 34, grandmother at 40, and the love interest to some[mam] graying, and 30 years your senior — that is, if you get work at all. Now, it would be one thing if the accelerated honors just meant that women left a mark on the entertainment world faster than their male counterparts — but ask Jessica Lange, Meg Ryan, Michelle Pheiffer, Melanie Griffith, Andie MacDowell and on and on. Look at any marquis from the 80s and chances are the men are still landing roles.
Whether or not she meant to, or whether the audience at home found it compelling cultural commentary on the State of Age in Tinseltown, Foster ended with this:
Jodie Foster was here, I still am, and I want to be seen, to be understood deeply and to be not so very lonely. Thank you, all of you, for the company. Here’s to the next 50 years.
After all, by their math 50 years is enough time to come back and win it again.
When you hear “price gouging” and “pump” in the same sentence, chances are they’re talking about gas prices on the news. Would that were the only context.
Extortion, thy name is Medela.
Babies don’t need much stuff. Sure you CAN get wipe warmers and fancy muslin swaddling blankets, but they’re pretty much optional. Babies need food, dipes, and arms — the rest of the insane amount of stuff you can get is just nice.
Moms however, need one product to make that happen — especially moms going back to work. A pump. If I was still active duty, my 42 days of maternity leave would be over. Frankie would be going to daycare, and I’d be pumping in combat boots. (There’s even a book with that general title, as well as a whole regulation about how long you get to stockpile during the day, and the like.)
You can’t stockpile without a pump. And boy, has somebody realized that.
Contrary to all appearances, apparently the breast pump technology is so advanced, they have to charge prices approaching your fancier cell phones or small computers. But wait, there’s more! The difference in price between pumping one side at a time, and two (especially important if you are at work and under a time limit) is about $100. An extra Benjamin for your extra hoot.
Now then. In reality, I have seen more complicated systems in your average aquarium kit. It’s a tiny motor. Some hobby hose. And a funnel. If you were handy, you might be able to arrange most of a similar system using beer bong parts you’d find at your local hardware store. Materially, it ain’t worth any $350. That picture up there? Totally looks like it’s worth $170, right?
Because they know they’ve got you. There isn’t another option if you’re breast feeding and not with your kid during the day. You can rent — but at least in the Army, you had to also qualify for WIC to do that. Insurance covered them sometimes, but what if you didn’t have insurance? You paid, big.
Interestingly, since pumps are now covered under the Affordable Care Act demand is outpacing production. The good news, working moms who need them can get them — the bad news, will they turn around and soak us through the government?
I’m not a mechanical engineer, so perhaps I’m missing some hidden reason for their cost — because it sure looks like they’re pumping your wallet dry just because they can. There isn’t a “do without” choice here. And that’s pretty gross.
TL;DR version: modern pain relief and letting doctors do their jobs, rocks.
(NO gory details within. This is the last thing I have to say on the subject of birthin’ babies — but maybe it’s not a terrible idea that somebody does.)
They’re hanging posters around town because the traveling salvation show is coming to town. A gen-u-wine tent revival, a redemption of sorts.
The evangelists are coming and they’re full of the good word — for epidurals.
This is not a birth story. There were no “birth plans” harmed in the making of this truth. There was no competition entered in the internet-wide quest of what’s portrayed as the one true labor and delivery experience — the one that’s “drug free.”
It doesn’t matter what Michael Bay says, the internet is full of lies. Just like the “can I run while pregnant?” whopper, the bad rap that pain relief has gotten is an abomination. Sure, they used to manage pain with a wooden spoon in your mouth, but rat poison was also make up.
We’ve come a long way.
Since I moved two weeks before my due date, I was set up for a “birth experience” that left no time for discussions of preference, no tours and introductions, and no time for handing over of elaborate “birth plans.” If you’ve read any mommy blogger ever, you know what I’m talking about.
“How to you handle pain?”
“Do you mean how well, or…methodology?”
“Usually I just need to be left alone.”
“Do you want pain relief?”
“I’m certainly open to the notion.”
This was the extent of brokering the gap the internet has filled with Bradley-Hypno-Lamaze-DRUG-FREE!!!! competitions of will, and I was well into labor when it happened.
“Do you have a “birth plan?”
“No, sir. The internet has birth plans.”
“Smart. This isn’t anything you can control with a list.”
My water had broken and contractions had stopped, so even the prettiest-fonted birth plan would have already been put in the shredder. Most especially the “NO INTERVENTIONS” bullet that so often shows up.
I was intervened with eight-and-a-half gallons of pitocin.
My contractions showed up in ten minutes flat, and did not contain those gaps in between that the labor pamphlet depicts. After four hours of this, only a third of the way to the end, I was well convinced there was no need to stay in the no-pain-meds race. All solutions to this misery, come one, come all.
That one administration of modern medicine, removing giving birth from the Civil War battlefield, turned the entire experience around. Twenty minutes later, able to breathe again, I said to the doctor-
“WHY on earth would anyone refuse an epidural?”
“I have no idea.”
I have no idea either. Other than if we believe what we see depicted in blogs and forums, somehow it’s cheating. That it’s an old-fashioned decision worthy of scorn and side eye. And that if we accept this modern convenience, we’re somehow not tough.
Go without as long as you want — but then get you some pain relief. It completely turned around the entire day — I was able to be mentally present, I was able to get the job done fine (and fast) and I felt great afterward. It was the best decision I made all day.
And I got to take home the same kid. Everybody wins.
A photo essay entitled “The Challenges of Womanhood (Include Parking.)”
Yup, spotted today. One wonders how the fraudulent-use rate for these spots compares to other special needs.
(Though they are the roomiest, most accessible spots, they are also allegedly the safest. I threw away my “Stork Parking” pass because it seemed silly, so I can’t imagine not passing these up on principle every single time. My righteous indignation is Sport-Utility sized, but I can maneuver it pretty well, thank you.)
Elmo no like proper grammatical constructs, and he really no like when costumes of him keep boys a lot warmer than costumes of him for girls.
There’s a whole blog of these spooky discrepancies. Boys can be an astronaut, girls have to be a SEXAY STARGAZER.
Stupid. Scary stupid.
And yes, I say this as someone who has threatened for years to dress as “sexy Charles Nelson Reilly” but in my defense, that requires pants, a shirt, a permanent marker, and an ASCOT.
In related news, I’m going to watch the Elmo documentary this weekend. I can’t be sure, but I bet Kevin Clash doesn’t wear hot-pant jumpsuits to work.
Elmo (Sesame Street)
My thoughts on gender and beauty are no secret — most especially the double standard therein. I’m a rabid proponent of making the mirror matter none, for everyone, not just everyman.
I interviewed someone who’d had twin girls recently, and she talked about how she was very careful never to say, “Look how beautiful you look!” but instead praising things they did well, or chances when they’d been brave.
It must not be impossible to raise a girl to be a cool kid who thinks about makeup in terms of how it will help her dress up as Spider-Man, because I’ve seen it happen.
In the realm of “begin as you intend to go on,” that’s what I’m shooting for. A kid who has an imagination and plays and has an identity well outside the ever-encroaching wasteland of photoshop and prizes awarded for what’s on the outside.
Because having your face shine like sunbeams or Spider-Man is much more important.