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Posts Tagged ‘men’

Friday Fun! (On Health and Entitlement of Women’s Bodies)

February 10, 2012 16 comments

Hello my lovely readers!  Sorry for the relatively smaller amount of reviews this week.  I’ve finished a few books, but didn’t have the time to write up the reviews yet.  This just means next week will be full. 🙂

I have a relatively serious topic I want to talk about today.  You guys know that I take health and the obesity epidemic seriously.  One argument that I’ve heard a lot of unhealthy women make is that they put on a ton of weight to avoid men.  They weren’t comfortable with the attention, etc…  I remember thinking, when I, at the time, was overweight myself, “How bad could it really be?”  Turns out…..pretty bad.

Over the last year, I’ve gone from a size 16 to a size 10.  Over the last month, I’ve had more encounters with men who feel entitled to my body than I had over the entire two years I was overweight.  I know correlation does not necessarily equal causation, but in some cases it does.

I’m a single lady.  I date.  I go places where single people hang out to try to meet new people.  I do what single people in cities do.  I dress attractively, because I WANT to, but also because I’ve worked damn HARD for this body, and I’m proud of my work.  I’m not saying I’m Miss America, and I wouldn’t want to be, but I definitely look happy and healthy when I go out.  Much more so than when I was overweight.  I get hit on. I get asked on dates.  This also happened when I was overweight.  The difference, though, is that now when I dare to say the word no a much higher percentage of them get downright angry at me.

He’ll say something like, “Do you want to go on a date?” I say, “No, thank you.”  He says, “WHY?! Think you’re too good for me?!” or “Well you shouldn’t dress that way if you don’t want attention” or “Please, you obviously need a good fucking.”  (I am not exaggerating.  These all have been spoken or texted or what have you to me).

Worse, though, is I’ll go on a first date. Usually dinner or drinks.  I have a nice enough time, but I can tell we wouldn’t work long-term, and I want a relationship at this point in my life.  He leans in for a kiss, and I turn my cheek or he asks me for a second date and I say no I don’t think it’ll work out.  The reaction generally is, “You owe me, I bought you dinner!” or “How can you possibly know after only one date?!” or “Well, I thought you were ugly anyway.”  (That last one, btw, makes zero sense since he ASKED ME OUT TO START WITH).

What really aggravates me about these interactions isn’t their disappointment that I said no.  Obviously, that is flattering.  What is bothersome is the evident sense of entitlement over MY BODY that they have.  I’m pretty and single.  They’re available and have a penis, ergo, I must want them or I’m a horrible woman.  Since when did my body become the possession of every straight man in the greater Boston area?

Oh yeah, since I started glowing with health.

It’s draining. It’s enough to make me not want to go out some nights.  It’s enough to make me want to stick my earbuds in in public and ignore everyone.  Of course, I’m me, so I’m not going to do these things.  I’m going to keep being my awesome self and feminist hulksmashing the douchebags (verbal smack-down, folks, not a physical one), but.  If I didn’t have such a strong personality or had personal issues or WHATEVER I could totally see this being a thing that would make me stop working out, stop eating healthy, stop it all and just hide to protect myself.

Do you see where I’m going here?  This misogynistic entitlement to women’s bodies is a poison to our whole society.  A POISON.  Every time you police a woman’s body or act entitled to her or watch it happen to a woman and not stand up for her, you are essentially watching the cook poison the food and then serve it to the dinner party without saying anything or trying to stop him.  It hurts everyone, and it is not ok!  It is just as bad as those cultures (that I know Americans judge) that say, “Women need to cover up because they tempt men.”  Our cultural impetus is the opposite.  “This woman is young and healthy and available ergo I deserve her body.”

No. You. Don’t.

I vow to say something any time I hear this attitude happening, and not just to me.  I vow to encourage all women to remember that our bodies are ours and our health is about US and not about THEM.  I hope you all will do the same.

 

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Friday Fun! (I’m Being Boring Lately So Here’s Some Wishlist Highlights)

March 11, 2011 8 comments

Hello my lovely readers!  I hope your weeks went well.  Last weekend I went to a collegiate hockey game with a friend.  It was crazy fun and full of adorable 10 year old boys in Bruins jerseys rooting for BC.  It also was surprisingly warm for a building housing an ice skating rink.  That could be the Vermonter in me talking though.  I also hung out with one of my friends and watched trashy horror movies.

Other than that, my week has been quite normal.  Well.  Aside from having finally done my taxes and seeing I get moneys back for having been in graduate school last year and also being poor.  Yay!  I suddenly feel totally justified in getting my Xbox Kinect.  So.  Since I’m being an epically boring vegetarian librarian alternating between reading a shit-ton, weight lifting and doing chin-ups at the gym, and watching mini-marathons of Teen Mom 2 (for the schadenfreude aspect), I think today I’ll give you all a glance at some books on my wishlist.  (Ok, some of them have yet to make it onto my LibraryThing wishlist, but they’re on my wishlist in my head, ok?!)  I will probably not be able to afford them anytime soon or justify buying them since I currently have a pile of 79 physical books to read in my tiny apartment.  *shuffles feet*  Anywho.  Here we go.

  • Meat is for Pussies by John Joseph
    This is marketed as a going vegan book for men written by a vegan male martial arts fighter.  It’s supposed to blow the myth of being a male vegan equating being weak and/or not masculine out of the water.  Since it’s a perpetual problem that veg*nism has a hard time appealing to the men of humanity, I’m very curious to check this out.
  • Supermarket Vegan: 225 Meat-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free Recipes for Real People in the Real World by Donna Klein
    Fact: I am poor. Further Fact: I don’t have a car. Even Further Fact: The nearest grocery store to me is crazy cheap and mainstream so it’s not always easy for me to find obscure ingredients often listed in vegan recipes.  (I do take the time to order vital wheat gluten and nutritional yeast in bulk from Amazon though.  That shit is awesome).  Anyway, I’m very intrigued by the concept of this book.  I hope the recipes are creative and not just like “pasta, veggies, rice, have fun.”  We’ll see!
  • Canning for a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry by Liana Krissoff
    This comes across to me as the Stitch n Bitch for canning.  I’m very intrigued by canning but am put-off by how old-fashioned most of the recipes and methods in the cookbooks are.  Why am I into canning you ask?  Hey.  Ya’ll know how into local food and preparing for the zombie apocalypse I am.
  • Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris
    Ok, so I could own this already, but I own the previous books in the Sookie Stackhouse series in mass market paperback, and the SERIES MUST MATCH.  Also, I can’t suddenly switch to ebooks for the series at this point in the game, but I would if I could.
  • Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist
    Besides having the most difficult to spell name of any author on this list, Lindqvist also wrote Let the Right One In, which I think is a wonderful twist on/addition to vampire lore.  I can’t wait to see what he does to zombies.
  • The Loving Dead by Amelia Beamer
    All you need to know about this book is that the zombie plague is an STD in it.  AN STD. MUST READ.
  • Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? by Max Brallier
    I was completely obsessed with Choose Your Own Adventure (CYA) stories when I was a kid, even the craptastic fundy Christian ones my parental units made me read.  This is a CYA set in the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE.  It’s like a zombie videogame.  Only it’s a book. COVET
  • The Secret Feminist Cabal: A Cultural History of Science Fiction Feminisms by Helen Merrick
    I’m just obsessed with feminist scifi and any study of or collection of feminist scifi I’ve read in the past has been motherfucking awesome.  Can’t wait to see what new authors and stories I’ll discover through this book.

There’s your glimpse at my wishlist!  Hope you enjoyed!  Hopefully I’ll have more real life stories for you next week.  Also I’m just noticing that this is an interesting mix of zombies, sex, feminism, and veg*ism.  Huh.  I’m *coughs* a unique one, eh?

Book Review: The Year of the Flood By Margaret Atwood

October 19, 2009 14 comments

covertheyearofthefloodSummary:
Toby, a spa-worker, and Ren, an exotic dancer and prostitute, have both survived the  waterless flood–a global pandemic that has killed almost all of humanity.  They also both used to live with The Gardeners, a vegetarian cult that constantly warned of the impending apocalypse.  A series of flashbacks tells how they survived the pandemic while the question of what to do now that the pandemic is mostly over looms large in their lives.

Review:
Margaret Atwood is one of my favorite authors.  I love dystopian books, and she has an incredible talent for taking the current worries and news items and turning them into a near-future dystopia.  Toby’s and Ren’s world prior to the waterless flood isn’t anything to be happy about.  Slums dominate.  Gangs run rampant.  The world is now run by a giant evil corporation (which is somehow worse than a giant evil government? *shrugs*).  It’s really the little things that makes this future world believable.  Kids wear bracelets that have live mini jellyfish in them.  Species have been spliced together to make new, more usable ones, such as the Mo’Hair–a sheep whose wool makes perfect fake hair for women.  The people who don’t live in slums live in corporation-run compounds where everything they do is monitored. What makes this dystopia wonderful is how plausible it all seems.

Really, though, all of these dystopian features are just a back-drop for the real stories.  Toby spends years hiding with The Gardeners and running because one man, Blanco, decided he owned her upon having slept with her.  When Toby defied him, he vowed to kill her.  He haunts her life for years on end.  Similarly, Ren falls in love with a boy in highschool who breaks her heart yet somehow keeps coming back into her life and repeating the damage.

This is a book about mistakes.  About how thinking we own the Earth and its creatures could cause our own demise.  About how sleeping with the wrong man just once can haunt you for years.  About how loving the wrong man can hurt you for years.

This is what I love about Atwood.  She has such wonderful insight into what it is to be a woman.  Insight into what haunts women’s dreams.  When women talk about what scares them, it isn’t nuclear war–it’s the man in the dark alley who will grab her and rape her and never leave her alone.  Toby’s Blanco is the embodiment of this fear.  She sees him around every corner.  She’s afraid to go visit a neighbor because he might find her on the street walking there.  Setting this fear in an other world makes it easier for female readers to take a step back and really see the situation for what it is.  Yes, he’s a strong, frightening man, but Toby let him disempower her by simply fearing him for years.  This is what Atwood does well.

The pandemic, however, is not done so well.  Too many questions are left.  Where did the pandemic come from?  Does it work quickly or slowly?  Some characters seem to explode blood immediately upon infection, whereas others wander around with just a fever infecting others.

Similarly, the reader is left with no clear idea as to how long it has been since the pandemic started.  On the one hand it seems like a month or two.  On the other hand, the stockpiles of food The Gardeners made run out quite early, and that just doesn’t mesh given how much attention they gave to them prior to the pandemic.

I also found the end of the book extremely dissatisfying.  It leaves the reader with way too many unanswered questions.  In fact, it feels completely abrupt.  Almost like Atwood was running out of time for her book deadline so just decided “ok, we’ll end there.”  I know dystopian novels like to leave a few unanswered questions, but I don’t think it’s appropriate to leave this many unanswered.

The Year of the Flood sets up a believable dystopia that sucks the reader in and has her reconsidering all of her life perceptions.  Unfortunately, the ending lets the reader down.  I think it’s still worth the read, because it is enjoyable for the majority of the book, and I am still pondering issues it raised days later.  If you’re into the environmental movement or women’s issues, you will enjoy this book–just don’t say I didn’t warn you when the ending leaves you throwing the book across the room. 😉

4 out of 5 stars

Source: Library

Buy It

In Response to Catcalls and Car Honks

September 23, 2009 3 comments

I don’t know exactly what you’re thinking when you catcall me or honk your horn at me.
Maybe you think you’re paying me a complement.
Maybe you fantasize that I’ll respond with a flirtatious gesture.
Maybe you like seeing me jump in surprise or flinch in nervousness.

But I am telling you right here right now:

I do not consider it a complement.
I do not appreciate you scaring me with a honk of a horn.
I do not like looking around trying to see an accident only to see your laughing face and wave as you drive by.
I do not enjoy your invasion of my space as you lean into me to whisper thinly veiled aggressive comments.
I do not savor needing to quickly decide whether to pretend I didn’t hear your yelled comment or respond by telling you to leave me alone.

I know you do not think it but:

I have a right to walk the streets of my city without being scared by a man in a car with a horn who thinks he’s all that.
I have a right to walk the streets of my city without having my space aggressively invaded by a man who thinks I should naturally enjoy him hitting on me.
I have a right to walk the streets of my city without being harassed

Regardless of what I’m wearing.
Regardless of how hot you may think I am.
Regardless of how much you enjoy making women uncomfortable.

This is mine, and every other woman’s,  right.  I would like you to respect it immediately please.

Note: I don’t mean this to be a poem; this just happens to be the format it came out in.