What Do You Look Like In Your Bathing Suit?

Funny how beauty ideals change so quickly and so vastly. An ad actually campaigning women to gain weight?? The madness! The sheer madness!

I mean, you can’t walk into a grocery store today without ten different tabloids and magazines shouting Quick and Easy Ways to Lose 10 Pounds by Tomorrow! With Spring creeping up upon us suddenly out of the darkness of winter, this dreaded topic of swimsuits is sure to be on many a woman’s mind.

Corsets, crash diets, diet pills, diet t.v. dinners, diet soda, diet sugar, starvation, bulimia  anorexia, and now that even isn’t good enough anymore and so we have photoshop to finish the job. We forget that for thousands of years round hips and soft curves were considered feminine and healthy, sexy and beautiful. It’s only within the last 50 years that a boyish figure has turned popular. And the figure is boyish. Skinny, gangly, tall… that sounds like a young boy to me. Some models are so skinny that they actually lose their menstruation cycle. Can you see the point I’m making here?

Your curves are womanly. Demonstrated by the advertisement above, people wanted to be voluptuous, sensuous, lascivious even.

They wanted a little badonk-a-donk in the trunk of that wagon you’re draggin’, girl! Own that booty. Because, despite popular belief, not

Hothothothot... *cough* I mean.. what?

Hothothothot… *cough* I mean.. what?

all guys want twigs. I know that we’re trained to think that, but believe me when I say there are plenty, plenty of guys out there who do not subscribe to the so-skinny-that-your-ovaries-stop-working look that movies, television, magazines, and billboards keep picturing. There are professional athletes that prefer women who have a little extra on the side. Big, buff traditionally “hott” men who we’re taught should only be into models, cheerleaders, and gymnasts, but they do not. Every single human being on this earth has their very own tastes and preferences, many whose interests line up exactly with you.

So if you want to wear a bikini, wear that bikini. Even if you have love handles. Let those lovely handles come out in all their glory! If you have a behind that makes people double take and say DAT ASS, wear that bikini! Own it, all of it, because its yours, and that ass and those love handles are beautiful. No, for realz. Believe it. You are harder on yourself than anyone else in the entire world. You should be confident, you should love yourself, accept yourself for who you are rather than wishing to be someone else. When you love yourself, no one else can touch you and nothing else will matter.

Say these words: I. Am. Beautiful!

Why I don’t like One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful,” a feminist perspective.

The other day my sister asked me why I felt the need to break my arm lunging to change the radio station when What Makes You Beautiful came on. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. It’s wasn’t just because they were a boy band, or because I had already heard the song enough times to fill a lifetime, or because I’m just not into this particular type of music, but something else. I figured out why. It’s the lyrics.

I’m only going to put in about half of the song. I think that’ll be enough. The song is about this guy singing to this girl about how beautiful she is.

You’re insecure
Don’t know what for
You’re turning heads when you walk through the door
Don’t need make up
To cover up
Being the way that you are is enough

Everyone else in the room can see it
Everyone else but you

Let’s start here, focusing on the first few lines. You’re insecure/Don’t know what for. I do. She’s insecure because she’s been bombarded with media and images of beautiful, perfect, unattainable women; women from television shows and movies and billboards and magazines, and she feels like she doesn’t compare. She can’t compare. She’s in high school (presumably). Those years can be the shittiest in life. Her breasts aren’t big enough, her lips are plump enough, her eyebrows aren’t waxed enough, her butt is too small or too big. When she looks in the mirror she doesn’t see the beautiful young lady she is, she sees the love handles on her hips, and the gap in her teeth, and her eyes are too far apart, and her scrawny legs. She doesn’t see the girl you see, because women aren’t supposed to. To know you are beautiful is to be full of yourself, or too confident, stuck up, conceited.

But also, perhaps she is insecure not about her beauty, or her weight, but we can conceive that perhaps she feels inadequate for other reasons, such as she doesn’t have as many friends as she would like, she doesn’t feel smart enough, she hasn’t been to a party, she secretly doesn’t want to drive, or rebel, like all of her other friends do and so in that way she feels like she is an outsider, etc. There are other reasons to be insecure besides beauty.

[Chorus]

Baby you light up my world like nobody else
The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed
But when you smile at the ground it aint hard to tell
You don’t know
Oh Oh
You don’t know you’re beautiful

Let’s be honest here, she could be faking that hair flip and coy glance downwards. Whoever this little girl out there is, no offense to you, but it is a possibility.

If only you saw what I can see
You’ll understand why I want you so desperately
Right now I’m looking at you and I can’t believe
You don’t know
Oh oh
You don’t know you’re beautiful
Oh oh
That what makes you beautiful

But wait, a minute ago you were saying how she shouldn’t be insecure, but it is that insecurity that you like? That’s what makes her beautiful? That is exactly what I just said up above in my very first paragraph. Girls aren’t supposed to be confident. They’re not supposed to know they’re beautiful. We like them insecure. We like them anxious. It makes girls “cute” and “delicate” or some other bullshit like that.

So c-come on
You got it wrong
To prove I’m right I put it in a so-o-ong
I don’t know why
You’re being shy
And turn away when I look into your eyes

Everyone else in the room can see it
Everyone else but you

Well, I just told you why. Or maybe she’s just shy. Maybe she likes you and is embarrassed. Maybe she grew up in a family that never taught her the skills to look people dead in the eye when they talk.

There’s basically no new lyrics after this point in the song. It just repeats itself a few times before ultimately coming to a final and complete end.

I just don’t really understand the song. Yeah, boy meets girl, boy likes girl, girl is beautiful, boy sings about girl…. but then he sings about her beauty, she doesn’t realize her own beauty, that’s why he likes her, and then he wants her to own her beauty? The logic doesn’t quite follow.

Why Gay Marriage will be hard to Achieve

I find that most of my human interactions happen in cafes or cafeterias or restaurants. I wonder why that is. Something about the watering hole, I’m sure, brings people from all backgrounds and thought bubbles into one place. The watering hole is an equalizing gathering place.

Enough musing. As I said before, I was in a cafe. A regular college cafe full of regular college students. Behind me I heard a group of girls laughing and talking about Buffy, Firefly, and Joss Whedon. I was just thinking about turning around and talking to them, perhaps I would even whip out the Firefly DVD case I happened to have in my backpack, when the conversation turned to Nathan Fillion, and then to Neil Patrick Harris.

And, unfortunately, the conversation took a predictable turn.

“He’s so hot! It’s too bad he’s gay.”

Too bad he’s gay. I am so sick of hearing this. What does that even mean? Like, if he weren’t gay, you would have a shot at him and Neil Patrick Harriscould get married to him and live happily ever after? I don’t think so. Even if Neil was the womanizing Barney from How I Met Your Mother, random girl in Utah, I still don’t think you would have a shot at his genitals, and even if you did, you’d probably break up anyways. Just saying.

But then these girls went on talking.

“He can act, sing, dance, and he’s gorgeous! What a waste that he can’t have kids.”

Alright, first of all, just because he’s gay doesn’t mean he can’t beget children. There are such things nowadays thanks to this witchcraft called science like artificial insemination, or surrogacy, or drunken horny one night stands. All those things can and have fathered children from gay parents. But more importantly, what did you just say?

What a waste.

Those words have been ringing in my head ever since I heard them.

What a waste.

A waste of what? I understand the fact that you would like to get good genes into Humanity’s gene pool and continue on the Harris line of awesomeness, but those words. A waste of genes? A waste of a pleasurable sexual encounter? Or are you somehow implying that he’s a waste of life?

That last one seems a little extreme, and she probably never meant that in her wildest dreams, but you can’t help but stop on those words and wonder what was wasting away?

This is the problem. This is why it’s going to take a while for marriage equality, because of an underlying attitude in today’s culture that undermines equality. .Too bad…... What a waste…... Why are all the good men married or gay….... This attitude, that gays are some how not worthy, or they’re stealing away chances of happiness from women, is more detrimental than the hardcore anti-gay protesters. Because there’s always going to be someone who will protest, but it’s like this attitude is infecting the pro-gay people.

I believe in gay marriage. It’s just too bad that they’re gay.

That’s not really helpful, now is it? It’s not really equality, it’s not really tolerance, and it’s not really acceptance. In the back of people’s minds, there’s still this nagging. We can’t seem to accept people as people–purely and only as people who have feelings and ideas and something to contribute to the world other than children and sex.

How many times have we seen this? Just go to any Adam Lambert song on Youtube and see for yourself. The comments are not about how well done this song was, or what an amazing voice he has, or what the video means. All of the comments are qualified and tainted with something like

… if only he wasn’t gayadam lambert

… too bad he’s gay

… I don’t care that he’s gay, he rocks

… Isn’t he gay?

…..

I mean, seriously, when did he come out? Three, four years ago? And we still can’t get over it. We can’t just talk about his music, we can’t just say he’s talented, we can’t have a conversation about him being hot or him being our favorite singer without yourself or somebody else chiming in You know he’s gay, right? I’ve never been able to.

This ‘If Only He Wasn’t Gay’ thing has to stop. It has to. Sticks and stones may break bones, but words hold the real power. They last. They hurt. They break. They change the world.

The words that come out of our mouth reflect our thinking, and right now it doesn’t look good. How we think affects how we act, and our actions affect others.

We the people of the United States hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The Wrath of Salad

The other day I was eating in an eatery here on campus, and the table next to me had two guys sitting at it. Big guys. Strong guys. One’s shirt didn’t have sleeves. Why is this important? I’m just trying to paint you a picture here, people.

(Gah! I just missed a fantastic picture opportunity. The guy looked like this:

hot guy

…. You know, only with most of a shirt on.)

Anyways, the guy’s shirt is not what made them stand out. It was that both of these guys were munching on huge platefuls of… salad.

Yes, salads. and as they ate their salads they dug around in the lettuce with their forks, playing with their food, hunched over slightly (as guys are wont to do when they eat). Why did this catch my attention?

know why it caught my attention. It was society’s gender stereotypes that had leaked down into my brain. I could feel the hegemonic masculinity oozing out of my ears.

Girls eat salads.

Girls watch what they eat.

Girls care about their health.

And guys eat burgers and steaks and fries and grease.

And I am so disappointed in myself for having these inclinations. Because of course salads aren’t just for girls. That’s stupid. Kudos for those guys for trying to get more vitamins in their diet. (Although, you really should chose the spinach over the iceberg lettuce. Iceberg is really just water and chlorophyll.)

Those tiny leafs and bits of chopped carrot don’t negate your masculinity. It’s not like Kriptonite to Superman.

Or suntan lotion to these guys

Meanwhile in New Jersey

.

Or denture cream to the world. (That stuff is gross. Just have your not-good-enough son-in-law pre-chew all your food for you. That’s what they’re good for.)

… What? No, ignore that last thing. I don’t know what I was thinking. Point is, eat your salads. Just look at how happy this guy is!

YUM!

YUM!

Mmmm…. salad.

Hot Guys & Beautiful Babes

How do women act sexy? Swing our hips, flip our hair, bat our eyelashes, stick out our chests, lick our lips, the possibilities are endless. I could go on and on.

How do men act sexy? Swing their hips? Bat their eyelashes? Stick out their ample bosoms? No, that’s not attractive. Not for men. So what do they do?
To figure out this question, I Googled hot men. In no way do I support oogling hot men (just kidding, yes I do), and I do not recommend you do the same at home (Do it!). I find myself under unusual circumstances and it was purely in the name of scientific inquiry that I, for the greater good of the community, took on this steep challenge (are you buying that?).

Anyways, my findings were conclusive. While hot women (I Googled that too) were mostly in poses sprawled across the ground, men were in poses flexing their muscles. While women looked soft and delicate, men looked strong, tough, stern–sometimes almost angry. They were showcasing their power, their strength, their “manliness”, while women showcased their “femininity”.

Now, you might be thinking: why is it okay for girls to look at hot men on the internet, but then turn around and scoff when guys look at hot girls?

Or, you may be thinking Damn, look at that body! because you’re looking at hot guys.

Double standard? Perhaps.

Girls aren’t supposed to be sexual, only guys are (by the norms and stereotypes in society). And girls who show their sexuality are labeled as sluts, whores, or floozies.

Or, sexuality is a natural thing that we try to hide away in the dark recesses of society, when it is natural, when we all do it, when it’s a healthy part of life and we shouldn’t be ashamed of it. But that doesn’t mean we should all read porn in public now.

To answer this question, we could point fingers and say guys do it to girls all the time. Everyone does it to girls all the time. So why shouldn’t we do it back to guys? But then I say: Ah ah ah, thou shalt judge not. Treat others as you wish to be treated. Be the change you want to see in the world. That ain’t no mature way to handle things.

But I did also say that sexuality was natural and healthy, so why should we hide it? Why don’t we like it when we see sexualized women in advertisements? (by “we”, I might mean feminists, or women, or gender scholars, or you and me, or anyone in general)

How about this car ad by BMW?


Or this fashion ad by Dolce & Gabbana?
(selling jeans, I think?)


Or this one for Calvin Klein Jeans?
(because we’re all staring at those great pair of pants)

What about this fashion ad by Superette Botique?

That last one’s pretty intense. At the bottom of the ad it reads: Be caught dead in it. Yes, this is a real ad. But it’s not from America, not that that matters in the long run.

Yes, sexuality is healthy and normal, but these images are not, especially when they are being mass produced in order to sell something. Some people say that these images are not the media’s fault, that these images are the photographer’s way of reflecting reality back to us in order to make us think about gender roles and violence. But at the end of the day, this is still an advertisement. This is still trying to sell those jeans, or that shirt, or a used car.

There is no easy answer for sexuality, except this: respect. The common theme throughout all these ads is there seems to be a lack of respect for human people, the men and the women.