Guys at the Gym

Ever been to the gym? If you have, the guys are usually lifting big, heavy weights. And if they are lifting weights, they’re usually grunting and groaning as they do so (at least in my experience. I don’t know, maybe you go to a quiet gym or something). Also, those men tend to like drop their weights and let them crash to the floor.

Now, when I lift weights, I usually can handle lifting them without any moaning. I can also put down the weights without dropping them. What is it about guys wanting to make so much noise and stuff? Is it involuntary?

I’ve figured it out. It’s all a display of their masculinity. It’s a way to show off their strength or prowess or manliness. Someone in the back of their mind, they must think that grunting makes them look tougher. They drop the weights to say “Yeah, I just lifted that over my head. What up?  #swag.” Yes, they say hashtag swag. (You probably can’t hear it because they mumble it to themselves most of the time.)

Now, at first I supposed it to be like a mating dance. Like that of an ostrich or giraffe to try and get the lady’s attention. But maybe its not. If I imagined an all-male gym where I snuck on a beard and fake underarm hair to work out, I think I would probably find this same behavior, even without any ladies present.

I think it’s a display of masculinity for the benefit of other males. They’re doing for each other, not for us. And I’m not saying they’re mating dancing for each other. I think it’s more like “Look, my antlers are bigger than yours. Suck it.”

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.

7 Easy Steps to End Gender Wage Gap

The Gender Wage Gap exists. Truly, it does. And you can’t just write it off (like Romney tried to) by saying women make different choices–they stay home with the kids and lose a few years of experience, or they drop out of school to start a family, or they take part time work so they can be home when school lets out. Economists have controlled for everything there is to control for–sex, age, education, majors, hours worked, full time or part time, experience, race–and women still come up about 77 cents to the dollar. (In Utah its 55 cents to the dollar. [But you know, all those wive’s incomes for one family really add up in Utah.]) So to fix this, here are 7 easy-peasy steps to end the wage gap and increase equality in the workforce.

1. End Salary Secrecy

Ever have a job where the boss tells you not to talk about your salary to other workers? Yeah, that’s because he doesn’t want you to find out that he’s paying you less than the dude next to you. If people can’t discuss what they’re paid, how will they ever know if they’re being cheated? It’s the perfect plan.

2. Raise Minimum Wage

2/3 of all people making minimum wage are female. [See Step 5]

3. Fix the Broken Career Pipeline

Get rid of the glass ceilings (women not being promoted), the glass elevators (men rocketing up the career pipeline when in a female-dominated occupation (teachers, nurses, caretakers, etc.), the sticky floors (keeping women on lower levels of jobs. Like the glass ceiling), and the glass cliff (if women do break through the glass ceiling and get promoted, that position is precarious. Such as the first pregnant women CEO–Marissa Mayer of Yahoo. Yahoo is failing, which is why she was promoted there).

4. Pass Family Leave Policies

Paid leave for things like maternity leave/paternity leave/family emergency leave

5. Increase Child Care Support

How can mothers both be in charge of the children and work all day long? It’s impossible! If only there was some sort of place that would care for other people’s kids during the day. You might even call it… Daycare! Problem is the average fee for full-time childcare for an infant exceeds 10,000 dollars a year in 16 states. The minimum wage right now of 7.25 an hour, for 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year with no vacation equals 15,080 dollars a year. Do we see the problem in math here?  [See Step 2]

6. Encourage Unionization

Jobs that are unionized offer better pay, better benefits, generally more family leave policies, have more flexibility in schedules, paths to negotiate, etc. The United States today is becoming increasingly de-unionized.

7. End occupational segregation

Still today, in 2012, there is occupational segregation. Women are still teachers, nurses, caretakers, while men are doctors, lawyers, CEO’s, politicians, etc.

There you have it. 7 simple-as-pie steps to end the wage gap between men and women and increase equality and fairness for all in the 21st century. Let’s get cracking.

What do Lady Gaga and the Hunger Games have in Common?

What do Lady Gaga and the Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence have in common? Good question. They’ve both been in the news, not for what they do, but for how much they weigh. Oh unknowable universe, what will you come up with next?Lady Gaga gains weight

In case you haven’t heard, and this news made headlines by the way, Lady Gaga has gained weight. Yes, that news made headlines.
She’s gained about thirty pounds, and she has no intention of losing the weight. [Fuck yeah.] She’s going to dress the same and do all the crazy weird meat-related things she’s always done, but just going to do it with a different figure. And, depressingly unsurprising, she has been criticized for gaining a few extra pounds, but in the way of Lady Gaga, she doesn’t give a shit. Her words: “I don’t feel bad about it.”

And she shouldn’t.

In case you didn’t know, Lady Gaga was once a child. A very voluptuous Italian child. She used to make herself throw up because she thought she was ugly because she wasn’t breath-thin. Now, I think she intentionally gained weight (at least in part. I read in an interview that she talked to her
 image consultant or some other big wig about discussing her look change) to give girls a role model to look up to that wasn’t as thin as the legs of a giraffe [not that Lady Gaga is necessarily the best role model for young girls, but inevitably she is so let’s look on the bright side]. Which is awesome. How many stars out there diet and exercise and diet and exercise to look thin and beautiful? A whole damn lot. Thank god someone is taking a stand. It’s a damn brave thing to do, because people are going to be spitting fire. Actually, they are already.

On a similar note, Jennifer Lawrence is refusing to diet for her roll of Katniss. Some critics have said that she should be a lot skinnier if she’s supposed to be a starving girl. This follows that standard in Hollywood that people need to suffer and change their appearance for a roll. Like Natalie Portman, who was praised for dropping 20 or so pounds for her movie The Black Swan; or Danny Devito who gained 60 lbs for a roll. Or Rene Zellweger who had to gain weight for Bridget Jones Diary, and then had to loose it for other roles.

Lawrence said that she was very aware of how she looked for Katniss, and she was focusing on being fit and healthy rather than skinny Jennifer Lawrenceand malnourished. I’ve been on a few online forums looking at this stuff, and what I keep running into is that people think she’s crazy beautiful, which she is. But I kept finding comments somewhere along the lines of “She’s really hot, so it’s okay she’s not super skinny” over and over again, and it pissed me off. There are a whole lot of assumptions to be made based on that one comment. It’s okay not to be skinny if you’re beautiful; or she’s beautiful despite the fact she’s not underweight; or maybe if she hadn’t been crazy beautiful, their comment would change to Yeah, she should have been skinnier if she was a starving girl.

(By the way, Katniss was not a starving girl, despite living in a starving town. In the books, Katniss was a serious hunter. Her family ate better than most of the families in District 7 because she was always bringing home food for them. She wasn’t starving, she shouldn’t be thin, people don’t know what they’re talking about. How in the world could she have won The Hunger Games if she was thin, frail, and weak?)

But both these stories about Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lawrence… are they really news worthy? Apparently so, because they are. Because people search these kind of things out and read about it. Why does this matter so much? I think it’s sad that there are news articles about these women’s weight. Choosing not to diet is newsworthy. Gaining a little weight makes headlines. Is this or is this not kind of fucked up? I’m not talking about journalists and news sites doing a really bang up job of bringing the public important news; it’s this standard of beauty, this pressure on women, to be beautiful and thin in the media. I always hear about the pressure the media puts on women… it’s right here! We’re still doing it.

We hear about Lady Gaga gaining weight, and not about some one like let’s say Adele, because Lady Gaga is a sex symbol, and her gaining this weight is contrary to the popular public belief of what beauty and sex is.

We hear about Jennifer refusing to diet because she’s a famous woman and famous women have a long line of history of being thin and
gorgeous; of being anorexic and bulimic; of popping pills and getting plastic surgery done to be plump and symmetrical; of being the most beautiful people on earth. And hearing a celebrity is on a diet is not something that the public shakes their head at and says “She’s already beautiful. She should just love herself for who she is.” No, we instead go “Yeah, good for her, losing some weight,” or “What diet did she use? I want to try it too.”

These famous people, the people flooding the media, are invariably and unfortunately the people that we as a whole try to model ourselves against (probably more so children and teens than anyone else). The more people we have coming out and not only saying love yourself for who you are, but actually doing that, the better off we’ll be I think. That message will start to seep into the younger generations. They’ll take it seriously because a celebrity said it instead of their moms.

Hm, I wonder if I’ve gotten a smidgen off point here? Oh well. Let’s bring it back. Anyone who thinks it is their business to tell these women how they should and should not look can go fuck themselves. There, that seemed to wrap it up nicely.

Is Pink Really a Girl Color?

I Google Imaged “pink” just to see what I’d get. The first picture?


I can’t say I’m disappointed. I am a huge fan of P!nk, but that wasn’t quite what I was going for.

So I switched over to just regular Google. The first two links were for Victoria Secret something-or-other, and then P!nk, the singer.

Then I Googled “color pink” and these are my results:
 
 

I was thinking about this because as I sat on my bed I noticed that there is a lot of pink on it. Pink bedspread complete with pictures of sparkling pink diamonds, a pink Hello Kitty sheet, and then a pink blanket on top. (Yes, I’m in college. The sheet and bedspread are from my little sister. Her bed was roughly the size of my dorm bed so we used these sheets, and my Grandma made the blanket.) I looked at it and thought to myself, What a girly bed. If a random person was to walk into my room, without knowing who lived there, the only reason they would think a girl lived there was from the pink bed. Everything else is Nightmare Before Christmas, Firefly, books, and pirates (Why hello, Johnny Depp. You’re looking quite well this evening). Well, maybe they could tell by how many bottles of shampoo I have. man alive, I have a few.

Now, why is pink a girl color? It just is, right? It’s only natural to see pink and think: girl! Why is that? Oh, right. I remember. It’s because when we’re born, girls are born in pink and boys are born in blue. No… wait. We wrap girls and pink, and boys in blue. Then maybe it’s because all girls like to play with pink toys, and all boys like to play with blue toys! No, no, that’s not right either. We make girl toys pink and boy toys blue. (And then we separate the toys into princess and superhero.)

Then how come pink? Well, I did a little bit of research trying to figure this out. Apparently, it’s been argued that way back in ancient times, when humans were hunters and gatherers, women were attracted to the red berries, and that sort of reddish tone became associated with women. Whereas men were associated with blue because they were always watching the sky for the weather; good weather, good hunt, or something like that. It’s also been suggested that women prefer pink because of the red tones, which women can see better because our sex chromosomes apparently affects our eyesight.

None of this is true. I already know why. It’s the market. Pink isn’t natural to girls just as blue isn’t natural to boys. We’ve just created it that way, and then we replicate it , over and over again buying pink dresses and hats for our little girls, because it seems “natural” to us. In fact, it’s not. In the early twentieth century, boys wore pink and red while girls were dressed in blue. (They thought that since pink was the stronger color, it was more suited for boys. And blue was a more delicate color, meant for girls.) And now for some reason they’ve switched.

Which is why I think it’s so hilarious when I get these “real men wear pink” things. As if a color could somehow negate your testosterone. This Real Men Wear Pink is a struggle not for manhood, not even from gender roles, but basically from the media and the market. The market has decided that pink is for girls, and we abide by this idea. We’re fighting ourselves. Ourselves, I say!

The market–Walmart, Target, Toys R Us, Kohls–has a sort of control over our lives. It affects us. We can see it in the clothes we wear, in the goods we buy, in the things we use. Remember back at the beginning when I mentioned all my shampoo? Why is that a girl thing? Because women are expected to have nice hair. Shiny hair. Bouncy hair. It’s supposed to smell good and look great, and when we tie it in knots it should hold strong. How many shampoo or conditioner commercials do we see a day? How many of those hair commercials are for women? Most of them. I’ve seen a few for men, but only a few.

What needs to change is not the markets, however. Because the markets are dependent upon something: us. For the markets to change, our attitude has to change. Pink was for boys, so the market sold pink boy shirts. Then, pink was for girls, so the market changed. Now I’m seeing more and more guys wear pink, and the stores are selling more pink boy shirts once more. Gone are the days when pink was only, just for, and specifically for girls. To change the world, we much only change ourselves, and the world will follow.

Maine and Maryland Come Out!

More cool-ass news, guys! Maine and Maryland have come out! By popular vote, no less. The public majority of both states recently (like, three days ago) voted to have Marriage Equality.

Dude, that’s fucking cool.

Tolerance and Acceptance strikes again!

I’ll have to add Maine and Maryland to my Marriage Equality States song (stolen from Jesse Tyler Ferguson’s Tie the Knot organization. Don’t know about it? Like bow ties? Click herehttp://www.tietheknot.org/) Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts  New Hampshire, New York, Vermont… Washington D.C., and now Maine and Maryland. Now, just imagine that, but in song.

A Marriage Equality Act is also expected to pass in Washington, too. And an anti- same sex marriage proposal in Minnesota is expected to fail. The gays are taking America by storm! Soon we’ll all be fabulous, and there ain’t nothing wrong with that.

Planned Papahood = Abortion-Tire care-Starbucks Shops Galore

This is funny, outrageous, and sexist; I know. But I started to wonder, is it also true?

There are a few ways to look at this question (if you overthink it). Just in case you have that same pesky problem I have with thinking, let me clarify the perimeters of this discussion:

When men become pregnant, we’re not talking about guys’ hormones/biology/body changing and essentially becoming women.

We’re not talking about all of human history being reversed and are now and have always been a matriarchal society instead of patriarchal. The gender roles are not swapped.

This is not a sudden switch, like suddenly guys are waking up with giant bellies and swollen feet.

Guys stay guys. History stays the same as it’s always been (men in power). The only thing that has changed is the fact that guys carry the babies. Yes, magically. No, more like a seahorse. Let’s say a seahorse. Men raise the fetus in his stomach, and then also gives birth.

The essential core to the picture shown above is this: Is the abortion argument really about the fetus?

Some other lesser questions hiding in the background are: If a woman was president, would she immediately legalize abortion? Is this
just another way for men to oppress women? Are men (and by men, I mean the majority of men in Congress/in power today) only seeing  one side of this argument: their side? Would men have so many abortion clinics in this alternative universe because it’s okay for men to have sex, but not for women? [Disclaimer: I know not all women are pro-choice, and I know not all men are pro-life. But seeing as the people making the Federal decisions regarding a “woman issue” are in Congress, and Congress is filled with primarily men….]

Back to the main question. Is abortion really about the baby? Perhaps. Perhaps not. The picture is outright saying it’s not. Abortion wouldn’t even be a problem if men were the ones having babies. It’s about power. Which, I kind of agree with. Abortion, by all means, is not a simple question. There is no simple answer, and saying there is a simple and concrete answer ignores the basic reality of the question. A baby is not the only one affected (if you believe a fetus is in fact a baby) in the decision. I have to argue that the mother is the one affected most of all. Whether or not that fetus lives or not, it’s not conscious enough to really know what life is. The mother, on the other hand, is painfully aware. And whether or not that mother goes through with the pregnancy or with the abortion, she has to carry that weight, that decision, probably for the rest of her life. Something growing inside of you, or the lack there of, is not something you can forget easily. What ever decision you chose sticks to you like a poltergeist, and stays there.

And no matter how compassionate, or caring, or loving, or understanding, or open-minded a man is, I’m not sure there’s any way for him to fully comprehend the full weight of a life inside of your uterus. No matter how many times you explain to him what it was like, what you were feeling, or what you thought, he’ll never know for himself. Because he can’t know. How could he know? Unfortunately, he’s not a woman.

There’s something here that no one can fully explain. A mysterious, ambiguous third factor lies in this question. A factor that no science, no numbers, no amount of extrapolation and deduction and conclusion-drawing can make clear. Abortion is steaming with this factor. Its why it’s such a hard question, pro-life/pro-choice. And it’s also why I kind of agree with the first picture. I do believe that part of the abortion arguments is actually about the fetus, the human life involved, but that’s not all of it. This is never going to be a fair fight as long as men exclusively are making the reproductive choices. Men should not be making these choices for women. If men understood the whole gravity of it, and the bits and bearings, I do believe that the decisions being made would be different. Or at least, we might be discussing it a little differently.