Feminist Sexism

***BIG EDIT: WATCH THIS NOW

I’m not embarrassed to admit that I’m a happy reader of Cosmopolitan magazine. I think that it broke a great deal of ground on openness about female sexuality. I have a year’s subscription that I got for just $5 off Amazon during a sale. I generally enjoy reading Cosmo, but there are certain aspects of the magazine that I just can’t stand. The fact that a great portion of it only caters to straight women is just one of them (come on Cosmo, grow a backbone like Oreo!).

At any rate, I was finishing up reading the July issue (does it irritate anyone else that magazines come out the month before the date they’re labeled for? It’s like new cars that are called the next year’s model), which had Demi Lovato (yeah I’m gonna be honest I didn’t know who she was until now) on the cover in a hideous yellow zipper dress with cutouts, her obvious hair extensions blowing in the breeze. Headlines include “SEX SUN FUN,” “Sex He Craves,” and “Cosmo’s Weird Little Love Rule (It Works!).” I have to flip through four pages of ads before I get to the contents. Let’s turn to page 108, shall we, the “Weird Little Love Rule,” or, why I’m so pissed off right now. All quotes are directly from the article.

“Why He Should Love You – This Much – More Than You Love Him” (This Much in smaller type)

What. The. Fuck.

Excuse me, what did you say? My man should love me more than I love him?

First of all, Cosmo always, and I mean always, assumes that men who are complete assholes are the most attractive to twenty-something-thirty-something women. It’s “a lot easier to fall for the guy who doesn’t acknowledge your existence.” I’m sorry, but I actually enjoy being treated like a human being as opposed to a piece of ass, so stop encouraging us by including the topic in every article. This article apparently needs to assure the readers that a man who loves you more than you love him is still attractive and totally “doable.” Strike one for double sexism.

Secondly, it assures the readers that a man loving you more than you love him is putting the woman in a position of power. It assumes that women think men who are into them are clingy and needy, instead of just falling for them. Even when the article discusses how relationships fluctuate, having less feelings for the other person is considered having “the upper hand.” Like you’re competing with your partner and whoever is more cold-hearted wins. Ever heard of equality in a relationship? Strike two for double sexism.

Also, “experts agree that picking a guy who digs you about 10 percent more than you dig him is smart.” Smart. As in, if we don’t we’re doing it wrong. It must be true because “experts[!]” say so! Strike three for sexism against women, IN A WOMEN’S MAGAZINE!

The last, and perhaps the most frustrating issue I have with this article is that it emphasizes that men who are more into you than you’re into them let you be yourself from the beginning – instead of hiding your true self weeks, months, years before you’re comfortable around him. Did it ever occur to the writer, or the editors, that you should be authentic from the get-go regardless of whether he likes you more or not? If you’re authentic and he doesn’t like you, well sucks for you but at least you didn’t have to waste your time pretending. Strike… four(?) for double sexism again!

If you’ve read the article you may agree with me, you may not. You might feel that I’m oversimplifying it. Yes, it’s true that relationships ebb and flow with time. But authenticity is the most important thing. Cosmo fails in its mission to empower women with some of its articles, like this one, and promotes treating men like cattle. Sex tips are great, health and gynecological information is also awesome in Cosmo. But they should stay away from love because…

Who cares who loves who more in the beginning, the goal is to be happy, healthy, and in-love. It’s not a game. It’s not a competition between men and women. We cannot remove sexism from our society without acknowledging that men and women are EQUAL because they are HUMAN.

Thank you for reading!

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Incurable State of Being (?)

So, I have a problem. I admit that there is something in my life which I have little or no control over. This is a condition for which there is no medical treatment. It’s something I have to conquer personally, for you see…

I am a bitch.

Don’t worry, I’m not alone. Many women (and men) suffer from a similar affliction. But I, my friends, am a survivor. I will not let this diagnosis bring me down!

What I’m really trying to say is that bitchiness, being overbearing, even straight up bossiness is a disease of the heart. It gets into your system through poor parental mirroring, insecurity, and a cynical worldview and firmly takes root as a result of a constant need to feel more powerful than others.

Strong, independent women are often accused of being bitches, but in reality, that’s impossible because strong, independent women do not suffer from the insecurities that overtly bitchy women do. I want you to understand that being a strong, independent woman is exactly what I want to be, and being a bitch is not helping me get there.

So I’ve made myself a to-do list. I do well with lists.

1) Take a look at my bucket list I made so long ago to remember why I wanted to do all of those things and figure out whether or not they are still important to me.

2) Scrap and rewrite bucket list.

3) Read all of The Lost Art of Listening by Nichols (surprisingly helpful, as self-help books go)

4) Turn my phone off – for more than 60 seconds

5) Write here more

6) RELAX

Last night, I was told that I need to learn to let things go. I think what that means is that I need to learn to relax. I feel an overwhelming desire every moment of my life to live up to an arbitrary standard that is both amorphous and exponentially growing. I’ll never be able to reach it simply because if I keep attaining one level after another, it’ll just keep increasing to god-like proportions. And I’m enough of a bitch now, imagine if my standards for myself where that high! No. What I need is to just get happy with myself and what I CAN do.

Which is where the last and most important item on my to-do list comes in:

7) Rediscover my personal identity

No one can be happy without a good, coherent concept of themselves. So I’ve accepted the fact that I’m a bitch. In order to change that, to become a strong independent woman that won’t take bullshit from anyone, I have to understand myself. It’s a difficult proposition! Do I even want to change? Being a bitch has its advantages, namely: no one fucks with you. But there’s a way to let people know you aren’t meant to be fucked with, without demeaning the identities of all around you.

Recently I was in my sorority house and heard a sister crying loudly downstairs. My first reaction was one of rage and protection. I came downstairs and quietly asked another sister, “Whose shit do I need to fuck up?” That is one of those moments in which I felt, not like a terrible bitch who just wanted destroy a source of discomfort, but an invincible protector of my friend’s emotions. It was a natural reaction, not something I had to conjure out of thin air in an attempt to get some validation. It was real.

I have to realize that I can be powerful without exerting power over others. I can have a personal understanding of how beautiful I am without flaunting it and fishing for compliments. I don’t need to recognition, as long as I get it from myself. What a happy world I could live in if my life was lived for the pleasure of my own personal validation.

Moral of the story: be a Catwoman, not a Poison Ivy

Motionless

During my time in college I’ve spent several semesters as a nude model for the art department. Consequently, I’ve been allowed an inordinate amount of time to sit and do nothing but think. Many art models recommend using meditation as a means of enduring the challenge of remaining motionless for extended periods of time. I, however, am not so accomplished at centering my mind. Frankly, I’m just too anxiety-ridden to relax. More often than not I leave my sessions with tense muscles and sleeping limbs.

I’ve modeled for life drawing classes, sculpting classes, and independent studies. Each has offered a different perspective on the human form and the considerations that a model must take into account when sitting for a session. Regardless of the class though, there’s something entirely liberating about taking one’s clothes off in front of strangers. Of course, the first time you’re handed a wad of cash after a session can make you feel cheap. But don’t we only feel cheap because as women we are taught by society to be ashamed of our bodies? “Society” as I use it refers specifically to American culture (or lack thereof) and to some extent Western Civilization.

Now, I have as many, or perhaps more, body image issues as the next girl. I want perfection in the form of a skinny waist, modest breasts, mile-long legs, and baby-making hips. Pair those attributes with long hair, Cupid’s bow lips, and baby-blue eyes, you’ve got the perfect girl-next-door. But who the fuck is┬áthe girl-next-door? Is she your sister? Your girlfriend? Your mom back in the day?

I bet you’re saying to yourself, “She’s certainly not me!”

And therein lies the problem. We’ll never have the confidence to claim that role for ourselves. We can never be that flawless girl (again, defined as flawless by convention, not truth). No matter your image of perfect beauty, you can never attain it, because true perfection simply doesn’t exist. Humans are creatures constantly evolving to better themselves, not morally, but physically and mentally to better carry on their genes to the next generation. That’s what evolution IS, so it only follows that we cannot ever be 100% psychologically happy with ourselves.

HOWEVER, evolution doesn’t, and shouldn’t, determine our sole perspective on the world. Perfection needs to be separated from the ideal, and the only way we can do this is through mental shift.

Nude art, model in most poses is Miss Dorothy Lees

Nude art, model in most poses is Miss Dorothy Lees (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nude art, model in most poses is Miss Dorothy Lees

Nude art, model in most poses is Miss Dorothy Lees (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let’s take a look at this model, for example: I think she’s gorgeous, her body captured in its true perfection by the artists. She is both feminine and strong. Her musculature curves with a subtle beauty that is anything but artificially constructed. You may not agree with me, but that’s ok. We’re all looking through different eyes. One day I hope to look on this woman’s body, or any woman’s body and feel appreciation, rather than jealously. But until then, I endeavor┬áto improve not just my body to fit my personal view of perfection, but my perspectives.

Please feel free to comment and discuss. I’m excited at the prospect of perspectives on body image that I haven’t heard before!

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