I’ve been thinking about this recently:

Because here’s the thing.  I do think it’s important to teach distinction among different parts of the female anatomy.  It drives me crazy when people say things like, “I shave my vagina.”  It just bothers me.  Because, ow.  Mostly, I feel like it’s just a bad habit to get into, because younger people who haven’t had to learn all that anatomy yet (or who don’t have a sex ed program that will make them memorize what part’s the labia and what part’s the cervix) are more likely to have a warped view of how sex and female pleasure works.  And of how different women enjoy different things.

I was in Vagina Monologues not too long ago, and a character has a line about how unsexy the word “vagina” is, and she uses, “Darling, would you stroke my vagina?” as an example.  The use of “vagina” in that play bothers me a ton, actually, but this was the worst one for me.  I would NEVER say that.  Not even because I think it’s weird to refer to the whole general area by “vagina”, but because I think it’s seriously vague and possibly misleading.  That doesn’t tell your partner what you want AT ALL.

But, going back to the article I linked: I have less of a problem with “vagina” being used generally around Jezebel, because most of the people reading are interested in, and therefore more educated about, women’s issues.  And she makes a good point about writing humor, which is probably where a lot of the word choice in Vagina Monologue comes in, too.  I GET that.  I don’t really appreciate the author posting an article like that, but I understand her point.  I just also think it’s very important to teach specificity.


High Heels

Shit like this pisses me off:

There’s another one I’ve seen of a girl at a mirror putting on makeup, captioned with something along the lines of, “You did okay, God, but I have a better idea.”

Yes.  You’re right.  Women go through the effort of putting on makeup and walking in heels because there would be absolutely no negative consequences if they refused to do those things.  Silly women!  Always so concerned about their appearances instead of math or whatever I guess men are supposed to think about.

The bottom line is, women who appear the way that society prefers them to appear are more likely to be successful in a variety of activities.  This includes finding a partner, getting a job, making friends, whatever.  Look at this:

While the article raises all sorts of great points, the one I’m focusing on is that women still have to appear more feminine to succeed in male-dominated fields.  Women aren’t running around in heels all the time because they’re only concerned about looking good for men or looking better than any women in the area.  Often, women are wearing heels because they’re expected to.

And don’t get me wrong.  Heels and makeup can be fun.  I highly recommend that everyone of any gender buys some bright colors to smear all over their faces.  And I tend to prefer any face with eyeliner rather than without it.  But look: I always wear makeup to interviews.  I don’t always wear makeup to classes or social events.  (And as for heels, I’m in no place to comment, because I’m super tall and really ungraceful, and don’t think that wearing heels will actually make me appear more feminine.)

So, internet: shut up.

Scumbag Women!

A casual acquaintance posted this link on Facebook, accompanied by how he’s not sexist, but “a lot of this is so true”:

Let’s address these one by one!

1) Hitting people!  Solution: BOTH OF THOSE PEOPLE ARE ASSHOLES.  I agree that there is an unfortunate misconception that it’s okay for girls to hit guys.  I myself am occasionally guilty of supporting this.  Not supporting actual violence, but supporting the idea that some people deserve to be punched.  And lots of people of both genders see girls hitting guys as this cute little way girls show affection because they can’t actually do any harm.  So, yes, I see what you’re saying, and I agree this is a problem, but I don’t see this as “Scumbag Women” so much as “Wow, society has got to change.”  Which I think is true with most of this.

2) Surprise kisses!  I actually think that lots of girls would / do love being surprise kissed by a boy.  I think the issue here is consent.  You have to be surprise kissing someone who WANTS to be surprise kissed by you.  This is obviously difficult.  I believe that you can get consent through body language, but it’s also possible to misread said body language.  So it’s easier for everyone if you just nix the surprise and ask.  I mean, look at the picture sequence provided with the “boy surprise kissing a girl” set.  That woman is so clearly not into that!  How is this about women being jerks and not about that guy clearly being an asshole?  To sum it up: I think both genders can pull this off and both genders can fuck this up and it’s really better to just talk to your partner than try to pull this shit.

3) Girls/boys in the wrong bathroom.  Solution: unisex bathrooms.  Seriously, I don’t understand gendered bathrooms.  I don’t understand the supposed “threat” of males in female bathrooms.  I don’t know if a lot of men want to watch women use the bathrooms?  I don’t think that’s supposed to be sexy.

4) Helping people carry stuff.  Yeah, if anyone calls you a “fucking pussy” for being unable to lift a heavy box, STOP HANGING OUT WITH THAT PERSON.  And if anyone tells you that they should help you carry something “’cause you’re a girl,” without you having asked for help, stop hanging out with that person, too.  Both of these people are sexist.  This one makes me really mad.  Like being unable to lift a box is going to turn your genitalia from male to female or some shit.  I don’t even know.

5) Looking at the other sex’s body.  I…don’t know.  I don’t think a lot of girls look at guys’ penises a lot.  Especially not as a seduction tactic.  Is that a thing?  Does it work?  And, look: when I wear clothes that make my boobs especially visible, I am okay with people looking at them.  I understand that that’s not true for everyone.  But there is a difference between “looking” and “staring.”  It’s natural to look at and notice someone’s body.  Staring at any part of anyone’s body, though, is weird.  Go out and try staring at some random person’s ear.  It’ll creep them out.  It’s creepy.

6) Splitting the bill.  I think part of the difference here is that in the first case, the guy reaches for the bill and the girl offers to split it, and in the second one, the girl expects the guy to pay for everything and he suggests splitting the bill.  And I agree that any girl who uses that as an excuse to never see a guy again is kind of focusing on the wrong things.  Personally, it would make me uncomfortable if a guy insisted on paying for my meal.  But again, I don’t think the guy in the second scenario is dating the same girl as the first guy.

7) Crotch/boob grabbing.  Is the first scenario actually a thing that happens?  If it is, that is terrible.  That should not be a thing that happens.  But that doesn’t mean that the dude from the second scenario doesn’t deserve to be listed as a sex offender.  Both the woman from the first thing and the man from the second thing deserve to be prosecuted.  And I really dislike the way they’re using language here to make the woman seem intentionally manipulative in both these scenarios.

8) Masturbation.  Again, those are two very different girls.  No girl who masturbates is going to call you a “disgusting pervert” for masturbating.  I agree that masturbation should be de-stigmatized.  But again, I think this one is more about society’s perception of masturbation, especially female masturbation.  If it was more okay for girls to masturbate, more girls would do it, and fewer girls would expect guys not to do it.  This is a problem.  You’re right, Mr. Internet Dude.  But I fail to see how this is girls being “scumbags.”  These girls don’t get to masturbate because they think only perverts do, and you’re mad at THEM?  They think it’s not okay for them to masturbate!  Think how much it’d suck to feel that way!

9) Gamers.  Plenty of male gamers get laid.  And I’m sure plenty of female gamers don’t.  Shut up.


Ten Things I Want To Tell Teenage Girls

I first got the idea of making this blog when a friend posted this link on Facebook:

I was in the mood to read something that would make me angry, so I clicked on it.  And, actually, I didn’t have a problem with most of the points on the list.  I had a minor problem with the existence of the list itself, but it was mostly harmless.  Except for the first point, which reads:

“1.  If you choose to wear shirts that show off your boobs, you will attract boys. To be more specific, you will attract the kind of boys that like to look down girls’ shirts.  If you want to date a guy who likes to look at other girls’ boobs and chase skirts, then great job; keep it up.  If you don’t want to date a guy who ogles at the breasts of other women, then maybe you should stop offering your own breasts up for the ogling.  All attention is not equal.  You think you want attention, but you don’t.  You want respect.  All attention is not equal.”

I have a serious problem with this.  Several, actually.  First of all, what if you don’t want to “date a guy” at all?  That doesn’t seem to be an option in the author’s universe.  Second of all, who the fuck are you to tell these girls if they want “attention” or “respect”?  Third of all, what makes you think that girls giving into the pressure of people telling them to dress modestly is better for their self-esteem and self-identity than them giving into the pressure of the media telling them to dress in revealing clothes?  Fourth of all, WHAT THE FUCK.  This is DANGEROUSLY close to telling girls that if they receive attention or contact that they do NOT want while they were dressed in this way, that they deserve it.  To be clear, I don’t think that this is what the author intended, and she would probably not agree with that statement.  But if you say something like that to a teen girl, and to ALL teenage girls, THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE SAYING.

The friend who posted this is several years older than me, and is an intelligent person who I respect and who I think I can have an intelligent conversation with, so I wrote out what I considered to be a toned-down response, reread it, and posted it.  The responses from people who I knew were reasonable, suggesting that really, it’s the author’s wording more than her sentiment that I was taking issue with, which I think has some truth in it.  I dropped it.  I hate people who get into fights over shit like this on Facebook, and I am trying so hard not to be one of those people.  Then someone who I do not know commented with, “Telling teenage girls the truth is a bad thing?”  I didn’t respond.  Neither did anyone else.  BUT YES, RANDOM INTERNET PERSON.  TELLING TEENAGE GIRLS YOUR WARPED PERCEPTION OF “TRUTH” THAT WILL LEAD THEM TO BELIEVE THAT THEIR CLOTHING CHOICES MAKE THEM RESPONSIBLE FOR OTHER PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOR TOWARDS THEM IS A BAD THING.

I have decided to make my own “Ten Things I Want To Tell Teenagers.”  I hope there will be ten, at least.  I’m making them up right now.

1) Dress however the fuck you want.  Seriously.  Your comfort is first.  If you’re more comfortable fitting in with your peers, feel free to follow trends.  If you’re more comfortable in clothes that cover you up, go for it.  If you’re comfortable in clothes usually designated for the opposite gender, fucking rock that shit.  Don’t let anyone tell you how you’re “supposed to” or “have to” dress.  I mean, respect dress codes and consider other people’s comfort.  For example, I am most comfortable not wearing a shirt, but not everyone wants to see that much of my body, and I try to be conscious of that.

2) Take responsibility for your actions.  Especially when it comes to sexual decisions.  There’s a lot of shit out there that will tell you that teenage boys are hormonal machines who can’t control themselves and that girls are passive beings who sex just kind of happens to.  This is wrong.  All of you are people. Real, live, almost-adult people.  If someone does not want to have sex with you or kiss you or hold your hand or give you a high five, hormones are not an excuse to do it anyway.  Talk to your partner about your wants and needs before you do anything.  Proper communication about these things does not get taught.  Romance doesn’t mean being able to read each other’s minds.  Use your words.

3) You don’t have to know what you want to do for the rest of your life.  Seriously.  I for some reason keep watching Glee and the teacher keeps being all, “There are three seniors in Glee Club who don’t know what they want to do with their lives!  This is a problem!”  That’s not true.  The rest of your life is a long fucking time.  Feel free to be unsure.

4) Keep your options open.  This kind of piggy-backs on the last one.  You may not get into your top choice college.  Or your second, or third, or tenth.  You might end up somewhere better than you imagined.  Or you might transfer.  That is okay.

5) Fuck high school.  If you have a great time or a terrible time, it doesn’t have to define the rest of your life.

6) Don’t get engaged to your high school sweetheart.  During high school, that is.  If you guys end up together forever, more power to you.  But come on, guys.  You’re gonna change a lot over the next few years.  If you really believe you’re gonna be together forever, why rush the whole “marriage” thing?

I’m bored with this now.  So, there.  Six things I want to tell teenagers.  And I guess “teenagers” really means “high schoolers who intend on going to college” in this case.  But don’t worry, I have more things to say!

EDIT: I forgot the most obvious one, given the content of this post:

7) If anyone treats you in a way that you do not want to be treated based on how you’re dressed or how you act around other people, that is THEIR fault and not YOURS.   There is nothing you can wear that means you were “asking for it.”  The only way you can be “asking for it” is by literally using your words to ask for it without being coerced or manipulated.  If you did not give consent to be touched and somebody touched you, that is not okay and not your fault.  And, “But you have sex with everyone else!” does not mean that you have to have sex with the imaginary douchebag who’s saying that sentence I just made up.