Mail-order Brides and the Little Mermaid

I’ve been to a few sketchy websites in my time, (Please don’t report me to the Internet Police) and one these websites, where I was not pirating binary systems relating of the Big Bang theory, were advertisements for Asian and Russian girlfriends. Strangely enough, I am in no need of a Russian girlfriend, but it caught my attention nonetheless.

It reminded me of something my professor said in my Sociology of Gender class. Men who ordered Asian brides reported the highest happiness and satisfaction with their marriage/purchase. The highest out of anyone anywhere, in fact. That is, until their wives learned to speak English. The husbands and wives quickly separated as friends after that.

This got me thinking again. (Confound this brain of mine). Isn’t this sort of like Ariel and Eric in The Little Mermaid? I mean, they had no means to communicate to each other. No sign language, no hand gestures, no writing notes back and forth to each other (come on, she didn’t know how to write). They had no means of communication. All their interactions were based on body language and physical attraction–kind of like a mail-order bride. Except Eric didn’t realize he was going to be marrying the woman who showed up on his doorstep.

And now you too can combine the best of both worlds with these stunning Ariel-inspired wedding gowns. “Channel Ariel with charm and wonder…” is the tagline for these dresses.

You can take a personality quiz on this site, and then get matched up with the Disney character that “is your inner princess”. Do you want to be a sixteen year old fish? Are you trying to relive your childhood? Are you too a fish literally out of water?

“Your flaws are childish, but you also look at the world with wonder and excitement, as a child would.”—> Straight from the website.

I’m kind of creeped out. Are you kind of creeped out?

I do like the very classy sky/meadow green screen in the background though. It really makes me want to buy the dress.

No, it makes me want to buy the girl.  And… runaway with her to a vague grassy hilltop? That is, until she learns how to talk back. Then I’m on to Sleeping Beauty bride.

Being a Nerd is Hard. (Anxiety Sucks Ass)

 

When I say being a nerd is hard, I’m not talking about watching Star Wars for the seventeenth time… this month. Or reading comics books, or playing video games consuming your life and you can’t remember what the sun looks like because you’ve been too busy beating Ocarina of Time again. No, I’m talking about the other side of the word “nerd”. The introvert. The socially awkward. The Sheldon/Howard/Raj side of it. (Leonard seems pretty well-adapted to me).

I just went outside to wash a cup in the lounge kitchen area. People down the hall started to talk. Two girls and a guy. Just talking. I couldn’t see them. And suddenly a heaviness descended on my chest, like a fat raccoon with little beady judgmental eyes was sitting on me. I couldn’t breathe. My stomach felt like a tense fist. I just wanted to get out of there. Abandon the cup, save yourself!

(Thank God Harry didn’t say that in the Lestrange Vault)

Anxiety…. Anxiety is hard. My first year in college, I lived in the dorms. There was a community kitchen in the lounge area. I had frozen burritos and pizza rolls in the freezer down there. It was down the hall, not thirty feet away. It would literally take three minutes to go out, microwave a burrito, and get back into my room. I wouldn’t do it. I would go sometimes all weekend long with barely eating anything.

I don’t know exactly why I couldn’t go down the hall, I would just get too… I don’t know how to describe it. I couldn’t. I would sit on my bed and try to talk myself into getting a burrito for ten minutes, I would finally scrape up enough courage to go get food, and before I could open my door more than a crack I would hear voices of girls in the lounge laughing, and I would slam the door shut. The pit of my stomach would clamp up; my body would suddenly feel cold and clammy, like refrigerated meat; and a black, slick fear would replace my hunger.

Anxiety is not rational. No matter how much rationality and logic I poured down my own throat, I couldn’t break the unforgivable curse Anxiety had cast on me.

Just the other day, in fact, I had a little emotional breakdown (can breakdowns even be little?) at the prospect of walking the five minutes to one of the nicer eateries (which is totally a word. I Googled it) on campus because the closest one to me closes on Fridays. My friend offered the solution of asking one of the many girls who live on my floor if they wanted to go with me. That was even worse than going alone. In fact, that idea was at least five times worse. Don’t get me wrong, all of the girls on my floor seem super nice, and nothing bad or traumatizing has ever happened to me at said eatery. But I couldn’t stop crying while just thinking about going.

Now, you may think that this post is me fishing for comfort, or support, or sympathy, but that’s not what I want at all. I am ripping my chest open and revealing my red, beating heart to the faceless, nameless sea of people sailing the frothy, cold internet… and it’s terrifying. But it’ll be worth it if one person, somewhere, somehow stumbles upon this entry, reads it, and thinks: “That’s me”. My deepest wish is that someone out there will realize that they’re not alone, that they’re not the only one who has these sorts of fears and doubts. Because for a long, long time, I thought I was alone. In fact, for a while, I couldn’t even name these feelings. 

And I know anxiety isn’t an exclusive “nerd” problem, nor do all nerds have anxiety. But I know at the very least some do. I’m one of them. And if you’re one too… I know not who you are, nor how you came to find me, but may I just say…. Hi. How ya doing?  

I don’t have any sort of answers, but I still hope this helps. The best I can do is say I understand.

Best Wishes,

thenerdfightingfeminist

 

  

Watch Out! You Don’t Fit into Society’s Rigid Gender Ideals and Therefore are about to be Crushed by an Ironic Symbol of Masculinity! she called only too late…

Here for you now, I present a collection of Milwaukee’s Best Light Beer commercials… Enjoy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGItoKaX0BM

What do all of those commercials have in common? Beer. And also hegemonic masculinity.

Hegemonic masculinity is the term used to explain the criteria for being a “real man”; a model for all men to show how they “should” be. Generally, in American culture, there is only one complete unblushing male: a young, married, white, urban, heterosexual, Protestant, father, college educated, fully employed, handsome, tall, of the appropriate weight, and has a recent record in sports. And anyone who fails to qualify in any one of these ways at any time is likely to see himself as unworthy, incomplete, or inferior. Right? All other men who don’t fit this criteria are not manly at all. 

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The tagline of the beer is “Men should act like men”, and those who do not act like “men” should be crushed to death by an enormous beer can that falls from the heavens. Of course.

Clearly, this is unfair and sexist towards men. The men deserve to die because they are not acting like men, but are acting like women, and men becoming women is a fate deserving of death?

However, these men are not acting “like women”. They’re just not being stereotypical, hammer-up-the-drywall, macho-macho-masculine dudes.

The man who was showing love, warmth, affection, and sensitivity to a dog instead of working on the car? He definitely needed to die.

The guy who checked in with his wife? Acknowledging that he cares about his relationship? Obviously worthy of death. How dare a man be considerate. That’s just not how we do things here.

The dude with the clothes matching his wife? Whipped! He lost control of his woman. (And if you notice, once the guys reject him, his wife does too. She lets go of his hand and kind of inches away from him. Rejected by everyone.)

The man blotting his pizza, caring about his health, and perhaps even his appearance? Dead. And good riddance. (This is ironic because most older men in America have worse health than their wives. Not to mention this is a Light Beer commercial.)

A lot of this idea of masculinity has to do with the time we live in. If you notice, all of the “real” men are doing manual labor: digging a hole, fixing a car, grilling outdoors…. A hundred years ago, the perfect man would be he who did not have to do any physical labor. He would have slaves or servants to do it for him. Today, that has completely changed. The men were smoking, eating, drinking, working, getting dirty. Their masculinity was about brute strength. And this doesn’t really seem all that odd to us, because it is in fact hegemonic, and we don’t realize it’s there. We’ve integrated it into society so thickly, so deeply, that it only seems natural to us. Of course guys are rough and sweaty. What else would they be?

However, if this idea of “masculinity” was in fact natural, a hundred years ago the manliest men would also be digging holes and greasing up the … horses. If this really was natural, there wouldn’t be such great differences across time and space.

Here in America, two guys holding hands—not cool. Guys don’t generally hold hands, not unless their lovers. But in Africa, across the sea in the Middle East, guys hold hands. It’s a sign of friendship, of comradery. Guys do it all the time there, and it’s normal, it’s natural.

A guy I know, we’ll call him Gerard, served a Mission down in Africa recently. He had a tour guide to help him navigate the town. The tour guide was going to show him where such-and-such was, so he reached down to grab Gerard’s hand and instantly Gerard snatched his hand back, absolutely shocked. His tour guide looked at him strange, he was kind of hurt and confused. The tour guide was just trying to show him the way. Why had he not wanted to hold hands with him? Weren’t they pals?

It was extremely weird for Gerard to hold another man’s hand, and it was weird for the tour guide not to because of these two conflicting ideas of masculinity.

What’s so wrong with two guys holding hands in America? Oh right, because it’s “gay”.  … Oh, sorry, that was my cue: *Gasp!*

But wait, now why is that a bad thing? Oh right, because of this thing called hegemonic masculinity that says all real men are straight men, and real men are hardass Schwarzenegger S.O.B.’s that would never show affection or emotion because truly they’re half robot inside. And any deviancy will be met with the swift and just verdict of a giant beer can falling out of the sky to murder them on the spot. Silly me, how could I forget?

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Whoopsi daisy! How did that get there?