Posts Tagged ‘Feminism’

Forever 21 Sells Idiocy for Just $4.80

I was browsing the Forever 21 Canadian website tonight and came across this refrigerator magnet for sale:

Forever21AntiFeminist

Excuse me? Are idiotic messages like this still going around reinforcing the idea that attractive people can’t also be smart? Bullshit! And shame on you, Forever 21!

Don’t Let Fashion Go to Your Head

One of my friends found this image on a random blog and sent it to me for a laugh. Had to share this with the rest of you. (If my friend ever finds the blog again, I’ll post the link here.)

While I love the fashion industry and fierce females, sometimes stuff like this comes out and confuses me.

Looks like someone’s hairy lower half fucking that person’s head.

Funny Fashion

What the Hell, Avril Lavigne?

Avril LavigneWhen Avril Lavigne first exploded onto the scene in 2002 with Complicated and put a pseudo-punk twist on pop-rock music, I was in mad love with her. Really liked the way she dressed (yes, I liked her ties), the way she sang (even if her live performances were off-key), and the way she didn’t seem to give a shit. It was also pretty cool knowing that she was Canadian.

But, of course, like with most singers in the spotlight, Avril Ramona Lavigne evolved over the years since she became more successful. She churned out hit after hit including the often-mocked Sk8er Boi, the ‘more mature’ I’m With You, and the teeny-bopper anthem, Hot.

Throughout her career, I can’t help but notice how she see-saws between promoting a stereotypical teenage girl and a strong kick-ass-take-names womyn of the world (yes, woman with a y – look it up).

Even though I’m no longer a big Avril Lavigne fan, I can respect her. She has a strong personality despite being 5’2″ tall. Dynamites come in small packages.

Heard that she’ll be releasing her 4th studio album, Goodbye Lullaby, on March 8, 2011. One of the singles on that album is called What the Hell.

Watch the Avril Lavigne What the Hell Music Video Here!

Although I think Avril Lavigne’s music is generally happy-go-lucky and feisty, a problem I have with her songs is that despite getting older, her songs remain very teenage-esque. Some people love her for that, and I can understand it, but I prefer artists who are able to break out of the teenage stereotype and still keep their aging fan base.

Now for a Play-by-Play of What the Hell

At the beginning of What the Hell, we see Avril waking up in bed with some random dude. She’s wearing nothing except a bra and panties. The guy wakes up and looks like he wants to cuddle, but she instead gets up and puts on a dress shirt. All the while, she’s singing about how the guy think she’s messing with his head because she made out with his friend. But “love hurts whether it’s right or wrong”. And she’s “having too much fun”.

The feminist behaviour here is her being authentic to her own wants. And it’s interesting to see how throughout the video, she keeps mentioning his feelings and how he keeps begging her to stay with him. But clearly she doesn’t give a glock! She’ll do what makes her happy. Bitch? Maybe. Bad? Sometimes.

The loser gets out of bed and tries to get fresh with Avril. She isn’t having it! She pushes him into a closet and locks him in there! WTF? Is he Charlie Sheen’s prostitute? (Sorry, I heard that joke somewhere and thought it was too good not to share.)

In the next scene, she steals a taxi cab and drives it erratically to get away from the guy (who somehow got out of the closet and is now pedaling on a bike to try to keep up). She’s carefree with her pop-princess pink-hair highlight, and breaks the rear-view mirror when she tries to adjust it.

In the chorus, Avril Lavigne says how all her life she’s been good, but now she’s thinking what the heck? Might as well fool around and enjoy myself. Who cares about getting serious with any guy?

As she gingerly exits her car, she lets it roll…and it crashes into a parked car.

But it’s the next scene that’s ridiculous with a capital R! She hits a basketball court with men who make her look like a midget. They throw the ball to her, and she shoots an easy lay-up.

Then, in a schizophrenic second, we’re whisked off to a vintage-clothing store where she tries on clothes. The guy (who’s now officially a stalker) finds her at the store and ends up having to pay for clothes she wears out of the store without warning.

And…another scene change! This time we’re in a sketchy hallway. Someone should speak to the landlord because the lights shine only blue.

Enter Mr. Stalker. Throw the poor dog a bone! All he wants is a smoocheroo. So she pretends to get all hot and heavy with him. But then she all of a sudden runs up on stage and starts performing. Our slow-witted Mr. Stalker who clearly can’t take no for an answer and who still thinks he has a shot smiles sleepily as he watches her perform.

Thinking that she’s a total badass, Avril flips the bird not once, but twice. Maybe in 1920 that would’ve been shocking, but now it’s as common a hand gesture as the thumbs up. To be a total badass, you need to do something fucking awesome…like get a “Mom” tattoo…hahahaha!

The final scene is Avril in bed again with Follower, and she winks to the camera because she knows that she’s the one who wears the pants in that ill-fated relationship.

It’s fun to sing the song even though I’m embarrassed to admit it. But because it isn’t much of a departure from Avril’s previous work, this isn’t a tune that I’ll be spinning often.

What do you think of What the Hell? Do you see it as empowering women to be free and do what they want? Or are you sick and tired of it being the same old, same old?

 

All I Want for Christmas Is You

Christmas TreeThis is the first Christmas without my dad. I wish he was still alive to celebrate this holiday. Not gonna lie – this season feels extremely empty for me. I hear the happy holiday tunes incessantly on the radio, and I see the people carrying shopping bags on the bus, but my heart doesn’t feel the same this year. Christmas means nothing if people you love aren’t around.

Ever since stores took down their Hallowe’en merchandise and put up Christmas goods, I felt a strong sense of loss and hurt. Why was I robbed of happiness during a season that prides itself on being the “happiest time of the year”? My dad was taken too soon, and it’s not fair. (Life isn’t fair, and the sooner we realize this, the better, but I’m still sucking on a raw lemon.)

I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer. I’m just trying to be real. And I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels like they’re hit the hardest in December. You look everywhere and you see parents and their kids together. Every time I see a father with his daughter since my dad passed away in March, I’ve felt an undeniable rise of jealousy. It makes my chest feel tight.

Yes, I still have my mom. And I do have a brother. But the closeness I shared with my father trumps all. It’s not like losing a best friend or a boyfriend – you’ve lost ties to your roots. You’ve lost the chance to sit down with the person and reminisce the good times. You’ve lost the chance to ask for advice. You’ve lost a person who you know loves you unconditionally.

Since my dad passed away, not a single day has gone by that I haven’t thought of him. And I pray for him often because he deserves to be in Heaven. I remember the great times we spent together, his funny antics, and the way he always managed to encourage me. I remember his strength, his devotion to Catholicism, his ability to talk for hours, and how much he loved movies.

One of my co-workers who also lost her dad (but years ago) said, “It doesn’t get better, but it does get easier.”

Whenever I’m hanging out with my friends, I’ll often bring up my dad – not in the ‘I feel sorry for myself’ way. But, for instance, if someone’s talking about building their DVD collection, it just makes me think of my dad and how he was such a movie buff. I’ll start talking about my dad’s DVD collection, and how much my dad appreciated the cinematic arts. I think that by constantly bringing my dad up in casual conversation, it’s helping me preserve my memories of him. It also helps others know what a kind-hearted, loving, and great person he was.

Another weird thing I’ve noticed is that sometimes when I go to places where my dad and I went, I’ll find myself looking for him as if he’s still alive and as if he’ll just appear and say, “Hi, Mary! I missed you! I’m back!” Then I’d cry, we’d hug, and I’d be so relieved it was all a bad dream. But, of course, I never see him. And I just see strangers bustling through the mall like insects in an ant farm.

Also, I’ve had lots of wonderful dreams of my dad – new situations and not just rehashing old memories of him. I’ve even woken up with a smile on my face after many. But I haven’t had any new ones for maybe a couple of months. And in my last dream with him in it, he was telling me how he can’t stay around forever and that he has to move on to the next stage in the journey. He wanted me to be okay. And I told him that I couldn’t expect him to stick around here for me, and that I wanted him to be happy (as he deserves to be).

I miss my dad so much.

This Christmas is going to be the hardest for me and my family. I just hope it doesn’t completely suck.

What a Douche!

Funny Soap CartoonYou’re a smart woman who’s been loyal to the same company for several years. You’ve worked your ass off and given it your best shot. But the pay stinks like a rotting carcass.

So you make your way to the boss’ office, mentally preparing a convincing argument as to why you deserve a promotion. Directly asking for what you want shows initiative. What else should you do to get ahead in today’s tough job market? Douche, apparently.

Thanks to Brooke (a reader who left me a comment and link in my previous post), I found out about a terrible Summer’s Eve ad published in the October issue of Women’s Day magazine. Larry Knowles from AolNews did a great job of dissecting the idiocy of the ad, but I’m going to weigh in, too.

Seriously, this ad is so backwards, the ‘genius’ marketing team probably still thinks the denim-on-denim look is still trendy. Wake up! It’s 2010! I mean, haven’t you watched the movie, Pleasantville? Progressive thinking works, people!

The ad features a large photo of a confident smiling woman in a business suit with her arms crossed. You can take her seriously. And the heading in large green letters says: “Confidence at Work: How to Ask for a Raise”. Oh, goody – we’re going to find out some great tips for career advancement, right? Wrong. Dead wrong.

The first oh-so-practical tip for “getting your mind in the right place” is to “start with your usual routine and all the things you do to feel your best, including showering with Summer’s Eve Feminine Wash or throwing a packet of Summer’s Eve Feminine Cleansing Cloths into your bag for a quick freshness pick-me-up during the day.”

We Interrupt You Now for a Major WTF Moment

According to the ad, when asking for a raise, my mind should be on my cooch. Hmm. Double hmm. Shouldn’t I be concentrating on reasons why I deserve the job? Unless I’m a porn star or I work for some lowlifes who promote women based on booty-call performance, I don’t think my vagina will be a discussion topic.

Sure, lots of ad campaigns magnify fears and insecurities, but I think it’s wrong to suggest that women should worry about whether or not their feminine odour is offensive when they have their mind set on asking for a raise. Some marketing pigs only care about turning their wallets into a stuffed turkey with gravy.

Maybe Summer’s Eve should team up with Charmin. I can see it now: “Confidence at Work: How to Break the Glass Ceiling”. The practical tip would be to “start the day off right with a feminine wash. And don’t forget to wipe your bottom well after Number 2 using soft Charmin toilet paper because you already deal with enough shit at work.”

Shame on Summer’s Eve for not having the common sense to put the brakes on this ad before it went public. And shame on Women’s Day magazine for giving the middle finger to its readers.

Kickin’ Ass & Takin’ Names

In Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet, Juliet Capulet says, “What’s in a name? / That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet”. But is it really true? I disagree. What you name something or someone definitely matters. Just ask Apple. No, not the fruit or the computer company. Apple’s the daughter of the boring, harmless-as-flies celeb couple Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow. Yawn.

Grenade. Seriously? Yeah. We were friends at summer camp, and we made quite the hilarious pair. She was this macho, big-boned girl who was nice enough but who also didn’t tolerate any crap. Everyone just knew not to mess with her. And there I was, this small, bony, happy-go-lucky girl who was always making gimp bracelets and friendship bracelets. We actually had nothing in common except total respect for each other. But an angel, I was not. I’d often make cracks about how her mom probably picked Grenade’s name because of the crude way she was delivered.

Sticks & Stones May Break My Bones, But Names Will Never Hurt Me

Names also play an important role in the cosmetics industry. Lots of women (including myself) are suckers when it comes to buying products with punny names. Allow this nail-polish addict to provide examples: OPI: Eiffel for This Color and China Glaze: Kaleidoscope Him Out. Gotta give props to the creative teams who come up with the names.

Normally mascaras have standard, boring names like Blackest Black and some cheaper brands even just use numbers to differentiate between colours. Then you get companies who try to blow the lid off the compost bin. Yes, it’s all in fun (and I did get a laugh when I heard about most), but if you look deeper than the surface level, you’ve gotta wonder if these names are a bad influence or not.

When does being sassy begin to colour outside the lines and paint its way into anti-feminist territory? I’m definitely not a prude, but sometimes I ask myself if some shocking colour names are really necessary. Aren’t there other (and better) ways to get attention from consumers?

Sex sells:

We Don’t See Eye to Eye on Being Cheek to Cheek

I own China Glaze Tickle My Triangle. And I was thinking about buying Cheeky Monkey Brazen Hussy, but the more I think about, the more I feel like I shouldn’t be supporting a company that sexualizes women. It goes against my feminist ideals that I’m trying to uphold (even though I am, of course, still human and hypocritical at times).

Cheeky Monkey is a cosmetics brand that I didn’t know much about until last week, so I did some research. According to their website, the Cheeky Monkey philosophy is all about empowering women:

“Cheeky Monkey is not conventional.

Neither are the women who wear it.

We believe all women should feel free to express their personal edginess. You work hard, make responsible choices and embrace life to the fullest. Engage the cheeky side of things – you get the joke. You know that to be good, you have to be a little naughty. Cheeky Monkey cosmetics are environmentally safe and 3 Free healthy. They are edgy and fun, but above all, high quality. Just like the women who wear them.”

Sounds great, right? It makes women sound like the world is their oyster and that they have the freedom to change it. I don’t have any issue with that. My problem is that they’re saying one thing, but then doing another. We’re all hypocrites, and I’m certainly not one to stand on a pedestal to proclaim how morally superior I am, but c’mon…with a mission statement like that, how can they possibly justify nail-polish names like Cheap Whore and Back Alley Sally? Yes, they make us giggle, but what the hell is empowering about being a slut and being used for your body?

Cosmetic politics.

What do you think?

Betty White Reminds Us to Lighten Up

We live in a world where we tell people not to judge a book by its cover, but we’re actually obsessed with physical appearance because first impressions are lasting ones.

The fact that many women are preoccupied with keeping their youthful appearance is about as new as the Egyptian pyramids.

We strive to discover the Fountain of Youth amidst the drugstore aisles. Some, like Heidi Montag, take it farther and seek refuge in a plastic surgeon’s office as I blogged about here. And many women are even ashamed to admit their age, as if the older they get, the less appealing they feel they’ve become. All that knowledge and all those experiences you’ve gained throughout the years mean didley squat?

Kickin’ It Old School

Old women. Think about them. Chances are that you conjure up images of rocking chairs, knitting needles, evil queens, mean stepmothers, or anti-aging beauty products. And they’re often the butt of chauvinist jokes.

Whoa, Black Betty (Bam-a-Lam)!

Then a person like The Golden Girls sensation, Betty White, saunters in, and talk of her awesome monologue when she hosted SNL on May 8 goes viral. What is it about her that got people talking? How did she break the mould of society’s idea of old women sipping tea while watching reruns of Matlock?

I’ll tell you why she blew your mind.

Betty White wasn’t playing it safe. The Proposal star was candid, and she was proud of being 88 years old. (Seems like she mentions her age pretty often.) Betty White also had guts. She made fun of the youth culture (Facebook, anyone?), and for once the world learned to respect an old lady. Being fun-loving and funny, Betty White stole our hearts.

Betty White in Action

Betty White Says Glock You to Ageism

I’ve looked high, low, and upside down to find a video online that I could link to so you could hear her deliver the now-famous monologue. But no dice.

Instead, we can chew the fat on Betty White’s SNL monologue in black and white. Don’t worry – it’s lean cuisine.

Betty White:

“I really have to thank Facebook. I didn’t know what Facebook was, and now that I do know what it is, I have to say, it sounds like a huge waste of time. I would never say the people on it are losers, but that’s only because I’m polite.

People say, ‘But Betty, Facebook is a great way to connect with old friends.’ Well at my age, if I wanna connect with old friends, I need a Ouija Board.

Needless to say, we didn’t have Facebook when I was growing up. We had phone book, but you wouldn’t waste an afternoon with it.”

Check out the below clip that shows Betty White in her hay days.

Betty White is a living example that you can be old and happy. You can laugh at yourself and laugh at others. You can be comfortable in your own skin. And you can find humour in anything. Her playful attitude teaches us that what makes us forever young is our ability to be young at heart. In the end, that’s what really matters.

The fact that many women are obsessed with keeping their youthful appearance is as new as the Egyptian pyramids.

Riding in a Streetcar Named (Feminist) Desire

Today I came across a very interesting post written by Lynette Long that I had to share.

She wrote an eye-opening piece about street signs. At first glance, the topic may sound like quite the bore, but she digs deeper and uncovers an all too familiar skeleton in the closet – gender inequality!

How many streets do you pass on any given day? Did you ever give them much thought aside from using them to steer you in the right direction to find your destination? I didn’t.

Sometimes the things we see all the time are the things we overlook.

In Lynette Long’s post, Name That Street, she mentions how “street signs are inexpensive, highly visible, and long lasting” ways of commemorating people who have shaped history. The problem she noticed is that most streets are named after men.

What about women? Why don’t we pay tribute to them also? Haven’t they shaped the community around them, too?

How do you feel about this? Does it hit a feminist nerve?

Talkin’ Periods. Enter Exclamation Marks!

First thing’s first – Happy Mother’s Day! Hope you spent quality time with your mom, called her, wrote a letter to her, or at least thought about her. To all those women who’ve struggled, sacrificed their wants, and exemplified unconditional love: I salute you!

Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty.

Periods. This isn’t the grammar police knocking down your punctuation doors. And it’s definitely not the Avon lady. Someone else is stopping by – your Monthly Friend (who apparently needs a condescending nickname).

It’s time to talk dirty – period dirty. Yes, Daniel Day-Lewis, there will be blood…just not the kind you were expecting. And no bowling pins are involved.

Before I go into how women perceive their periods and the media’s strong influence, let’s see how menstruation has been referred to as colloquially.

Redrum, Redrum!

Cher Horowitz from Clueless gets off the hook when she gives Mr. Halli the excuse that she was ‘surfing the crimson wave’. Crudely, having your period is also known as being ‘on the rag’. And then there are the nosebleed science textbooks that call the first period oh-so-fun names like menarche. (Zzz)

Even the word ‘period’ has negative connotations. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Stop. Right now. Stop. You’re in your period. Stop. (It’s like an annoying telegram!)

Women, when you’re in ‘That Time of the Month’, what do you think of? Cramps? Bloating? For some reason, girls are taught from a very young age to fear and loathe getting their periods. They’re told that it’s messy, painful, and uncomfortable. Special over-the-counter medications like Midol have been formulated to help women get through it.

For many years, females have been ashamed of this normal bodily function. Instead of celebrating this, we’re taught to essentially hate it.

Miracle on Elm Street

In television commercials, we see people in lab coats pouring blue liquid over pads to show us how well they absorb.

There are also women who testify that they’re able to play sports and resume normal activities when they’re in their periods because of pads or tampons.

‘Period’ical

Many years ago pads were bulky…like wearing a pillow between your legs. Now they’re ultra thin and even come in petite, regular, and long  lengths. Tampons have transformed over the years, too, with a sleeker silhouette and with the invention of applicators.

Ever since I got my period and became a member of this ‘secret society’, I’ve noticed the packaging of pads and tampons. Years ago wrappers were usually pink. How stereotypically girly! Now, you might think that wrappers aren’t important. After all, you just throw them in the garbage anyway, right? Wrong. There’s been an evolution (and a revolution) that speaks volumes of a feminist movement.

After seeing pink and discrete wrappers all the time, I found it interesting when one day, Always started putting out pastel wrappers in non-traditionally feminine colours. Interesting! I sensed a change, and it was one I liked.

Rainbow Brite

Fast forward several years, Marty McFly. A few months ago, when I walked down the aisle for feminine-hygiene products in the pharmacy, something caught my eye. It was a rainbow. It was vibrant. It was U by Kotex.

Bright yellow, blue, pink, and green wrappers in fun boxes? They stand apart from their competitors because instead of trying to remain discreet, they’re flashing us!

Traditionally, talking about periods or drawing attention to your period isn’t very ladylike. I love how U by Kotex throws this out the window. (Not talking about something just leads to misunderstandings and even unnecessary fears.)

Check out the awesomely sarcastic 46-second U by Kotex commercial:

And here’s another goodie. At just 31 seconds, it does a great job at poking fun of absurd tampon commercials:

Fellow Canadians, you can get a free U by Kotex sample. (I requested mine.) And if you’re American, go here for the freebie.

What do you think about the U by Kotex commercials? Are you also intrigued with how this company took a blatant stand against commonly unchallenged gender stereotypes? Will you be supporting this by switching brands? Or do you think that it’s just another marketing strategy to make money and that it has no other agendas?

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