Posts Tagged ‘Relationships’

Sweep the Leg, Johnny! We Shouldn’t Brush Off Sweeping Gender Stereotypes

Nice guys. They are often subject to ridicule, and we’re quick to peg them as chumps or losers – they ‘have no balls’. This backwards way of thinking puts unnecessary pressure on men to live up to the stereotypical standards that they must be macho, aggressive, and egotistical to be respected.

Instead of rewarding them for talking about their feelings or being chivalrous, many men find themselves being the nail that gets hammered. And when you’re down for the count on more occasions than you care to admit, you wonder if it’s even worth it to get back up.

Even a feminist like myself is strongly attracted to the bad boy – the guy who you should never introduce to your mom, the person who cusses like a sailor, and the man who encourages your bad drinking habits. There’s something wrong here.

Sure, the element of danger is hella sexy, but how evolutionarily adaptive is this? There’s no future with men who are essentially assholes. They won’t stick by you through thick and thin. They’re all about the wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am. Then peace out.

Why is it that nice men seem to finish last?

While you think about that, check out this funny short clip I came across on Funny or Die featuring The Karate Kid star, Ralph Macchio (all grown up, but still as sweet as ever). You’ll also see some other familiar faces including Molly Ringwald and Kevin Connolly.

Click on the link below to watch the clip called “Wax On, F*ck Off!”

http://FunnyOrDie.com/m/40m8

The premise of the hilarious video is that poor Ralph Macchio is such a nice guy that his wife, friends, and even gardener are concerned and stage an intervention. They claim that he’s polite, kind, and gentle so there must be something wrong with him. He didn’t become an alcoholic or get tangled with prostitutes. He didn’t start taking drugs or have a sex scandal. Basically, he’s being questioned for being one of the good guys.

This is totally not meant to be taken seriously, but it’s interesting to see gender stereotypes brought to the forefront in such a comical fashion.

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Death Is a New Day

Just a few months ago, I thought that dealing with my dad’s stroke recovery was the hardest thing I ever had to deal with. I was wrong. The death of my father trumps everything. Hands down.

I was closer to him than anyone in my entire life, so being stripped of the relationship, knowing that I couldn’t just call him up to talk, and realizing that I’d never see him in person again was overwhelming and devastating to say the least.

Even though it’s been nearly a month since his passing, I still haven’t gotten over it. And I never will to be honest.

But I’m trying to stay strong despite the fact that I feel as though my life has completely fallen apart. The future is full of more uncertainty than I ever thought was possible.

But this isn’t a complete sob story.

Despite the obvious emotional burden and tight time constraints, my mother, brother, and I persevered through hardship. We managed to plan a respectful funeral service and visitation that I truly believe would make my father proud. And he would be happy to see how hard we worked together as a family like never before to do the right thing.

You see, my father didn’t prepare his will before he passed away. It was tragic because he had been planning on making one and he was going to tell my mom everything she needed to know ‘just in case’ after he fully recovered from his stroke. My mom had even planned to retire this summer so they could spend more time together. Nobody thought that my dad wouldn’t be around.

When you don’t have a will, it makes it much harder when it comes to dealing with single bank accounts and other assets. My mother had to prove her relationship, and there were a lot of technicalities that created headaches. And along the way, we dealt with a lot of insensitive, idiotic assholes.

We had to do so much at a time when you just want to crawl under the covers, get drunk, and bawl your eyes out. And funeral costs are damn expensive even when you go for just the basics. It made me wonder what those who are really poor do when someone dies. I can’t even imagine. Luckily, while at first we couldn’t gain access to my dad’s single bank account, we could use his savings to pay for the funeral costs. That helped. And what also helped was that my dad had pre-paid for his cremation and chose the location in the cemetery.

Now, I’m not trying to hijack this blog and turn it into a blog about dealing with death. It will remain a feminist blog. But that also means sharing my experiences. Perhaps that will help others facing a similar situation. Writing about my dad and telling everyone how much I love(d) him helps me cope – it also helps me keep his memories alive. I never want to forget what an amazing relationship I had with him.

I’m going to share something really intimate with you all. It’s the eulogy I wrote for my father. First of all, there’s nothing I could ever write that would do him justice. He deserves so much more. Factor in how I had to write this in an hour and literally the day before the funeral visitation (because we were really that busy with preparations and running around to get everything done in time).

Obviously I wasn’t in the mood to write at all. Every time I put pen to paper, I thought, “I can’t do this.” But I kept picking up the pen I repeatedly put down. And the whole time, I was upset with how I only had such a short amount of time to write the single most important thing in my life. It wasn’t fair.

I also choked up a lot while reading it aloud at the funeral visitation. There were several times throughout the reading when I didn’t think I could continue. However, I didn’t want to bail out or give up. There are many things in life that you can back away from and be weak, but this wasn’t one of them. You get a single chance to do this, and you’ve got to do it right.

I forced myself to write and read the eulogy because I think he would’ve wanted me to do it, and it would’ve made him so happy. Plus, everyone deserves to know about him and how wonderful he was and how much he did for me and my family.

So here it is:

Anyone who knew my father well knew that he loved to talk – the cat never got his tongue and he usually had the last word. Just when you thought he was done talking, he’d jump to a new topic that would last another hour. I’d often have to cut him off because, like the Energizer Bunny, he could go on and on and on and on! And if he got on the topic of God or religion, well, you’d better get comfy.

I loved hearing the stories he shared about his childhood and his early working years when he was a waiter at various restaurants. And it made me laugh when he proudly told me about his appetite as a bachelor – milk by the carton and huge steaks.

But it was his stories of struggle and hardship that really touched my heart. At a very young age, my father had to make his way in the world practically by himself. He was in a new city with hardly any money in his pocket and with little to no parental guidance. Despite the obstacles, he not only coped, but thrived. He befriended many colourful characters, and, of course, met the most important woman in his life – my wonderful mother.

Although my dad loved to talk, he was a good listener, too. No matter how many times I came to him to complain about school or work or relationship problems, he would always be there to lend an ear and give useful advice.

In some ways, my father was your typical guy – he loved hockey games, poker, action movies, electronics, loud music, and vehicles. He even told me that while he could sleep soundly after watching a scary movie, a romantic movie would keep him up all night tossing and turning!

But in many ways, Peter Shaw wasn’t your ordinary garden variety. He wasn’t afraid to wear pink, once he let me put nail polish on his toenails, and he even let me give him a mud mask (which he enjoyed!). Yes, my dad had an impeccable sense of humour – he was always cracking jokes and seeing the light side of any situation.

My father was also very bright. When he was in rehab recovering from his second stroke, the therapist asked him to name all the animals he could think of as part of an exercise. Of course he mentioned lion, bear, and cat. But he also mentioned ocelot. The therapist didn’t know what an ocelot was prior to looking it up in the dictionary. (Even I didn’t.)

My dad may not have gone to university, but he was a lifelong student who enjoyed learning new things every day. And he taught me everything he knew about love and forgiveness, faith and strength, courage and perseverance.

But of all the lessons my father taught me, there’s one that stands out and that I feel is appropriate during a time like this. He always told me that when you’re at your lowest, you should be at your strongest.

Even during the last months of his life, my dad remained a fighter. Let us all celebrate his vibrant life, see him as an inspiration, and try to be strong in the face of this great loss.

Heidi Montag & Plastic Surgery: Low Self-Esteem Cuts like a Knife

People love to hate Heidi Montag (or Heidi Pratt since she is married to the most hated reality TV villain, Spencer Pratt). She’s been the butt of many cruel jokes revolving the staged ‘candid’ shots of the couple hamming it up for the paparazzi and her failed attempt at a music career. When she went under the knife, it only added fuel to the fire.

The Hills star has transformed before our very eyes. In season one, she looked sweet, bubbly, happy, and natural. Then a few seasons later, she opted for a nose job and breast implants. Then in November, she went through 10 plastic-surgery procedures in a single day and came out looking like this. (Watch the Access Hollywood interview to hear Heidi Montag speak out about her experience.)

I actually thought Heidi looked gorgeous before her surgery – she had this sparkle in her eyes that I can’t quite describe. When she smiled, her whole face smiled.

I’m also not against plastic surgery. I’ve fantasized about having breast implants someday, but threw that dream out the window because I always come back to the same conclusion: I don’t want to rely on surgery to make me happy. I want to become stronger from within and learn to accept myself as is. That is what a real feminist does – deal with hard problems instead of resorting to quick fixes. And I never want to define my happiness solely on the size of my boobs. That would just make me depressed.

Heidi Montag’s plastic surgery got me thinking about how closely a woman’s self esteem is tied to her looks. There’s a suffocating amount of pressure on us to look a certain way – fake.

Even though we know that the photos of those models have been airbrushed and even if we know that there’s nothing real about that woman, we still think, “Wow, she’s beautiful” and then pulled out the mental yardstick as we compare our physical ‘failings’ with her positive attributes. It is this process by which we gradually loathe ourselves and make it our goal to look like someone entirely different.

You could say that we learn to disrespect ourselves.

But it was something Heidi Montag said in the January 25, 2010 issue of People magazine that pissed me off and made me pity her. When asked if it worries her that people will fixate on her large breasts, she replied:

“I hope so. They better! That’s kind of the point. Sex appeal is really important and it’s not saying that you’re only sexy if you have big boobs. That’s not true at all, and honestly the way I got Spencer, I had no surgery. It was my inner beauty that he loved.”

So she wants people now to notice her because of her boobs. Lovely. So many women have fought so that we could come as far as we did since getting the right to vote. But now ignorant statements like this throw the stick in the bicycle’s spokes.

And she claims that Spencer Pratt loved her inner beauty, and that’s what he fell in love with. Well, what about Heidi? Does she also not love herself for her inner beauty? Apparently not since she was quoted as telling someone during an interview that she’d rather die than to be flat-chested. Nice.

Things like this bother me because it’s proof that women still have such problems linking their self worth with how others perceive them. Instead of being happy, you’re happy because someone else is happy.

Reality’s Bark Is Just as Bad as Its Bite! There Are No Earplugs

After being dull,  ugly, and dormant for almost a year after its final blossom bit the dust, my orchid has sprouted about 8 new buds on the stem. Funny how just a few months ago I considered throwing it out because it was becoming an eyesore in my apartment. But I didn’t…and I kept watering it regularly and making sure it got enough sun.

My dad had a stroke on Tuesday December 8th.

He’s 70 – he’ll be 71 in January. He doesn’t walk with a cane, he loves to drive, he’s a hockey fan, and he always ‘gets carded’ at Shopper’s Drug Mart because he doesn’t look like a senior. Even nurses at the hospital said he was ‘very good-looking’ and that ‘he doesn’t look older than 59’. One nurse asked me if he was a doctor because ‘he looked like one’.

My dad’s not your regular garden variety. And nobody in my family has the same spunk or sense of humour that he does. I admire him for his ability to persevere through hardship – he had a hard life growing up yet somehow made it on the right side of the tracks.

And there I was in the emergency room looking over at the man who always loved talking a mile a minute and cracking jokes like they were going to become illegal. I’ll never forget it. He looked dead. His eyes were fixated in one place, glazed over and looking to the top far right. He couldn’t move his left arm or hand at all, and his speech was slurred so much that you could barely understand him.

I found out he had a stroke when I was at work. My mom called. (She always told me that she wouldn’t disturb  me at work unless it was an emergency, but strangely enough, when she called, I didn’t think it was weird. I thought she was going to ask me about something trivial like my holiday office hours or a forgotten password.)

When she told me, I think part of my mind went blank. I felt as though I was in some sort of sick ‘dream’ and that I would wake up and say, “Oh, thank God it was only a dream!”. But it was real.

My hands and body were literally shaking as I told HR that I had to leave work and go to the hospital. The last time I shook uncontrollably like this was when I was in elementary school and this douche bag tried to break into my home when I was home alone. (I scared the fucking bastard off by yelling, “What do you think you’re doing?” out the window, by the way. Sometimes even criminals have a conscience…or fear of getting caught.)

I’ve never seen my dad like I did on December the 8th. And I’ve seen him through a lot. In 1993, he had a successful quadriple bypass surgery. Years later, he had a very minor stroke that we didn’t even know was a stroke until we saw 2 neurologists. (One was an asshole, but the other was really helpful…and interestingly enough, this good neurologist was at the hospital when my dad had his 2nd stroke and he remembered my dad!)

Maybe I’m clairvoyant because I booked off my vacation from work from the 10th to the 16th in advance. It’s almost like I knew that something would happen. Weird how things work sometimes, right?

During that time, I met with tons of doctors – pharmacists, general physicians, psychiatrists, physical therapists, etc. They all said the same thing – he may never regain all the functionality he lost.

Load.

Of.

Fucking.

Crap.

I was at the hospital every single damn day. I was there for practically all the time that visitors were allowed to stay. And I was fucking exhausted. Every day, I’d wake up, open my eyes and think, “How’s my dad?” and “What time can I get to the hospital?”. My every waking moment was about hospital-related events. And I even had some ‘dreams’ about visiting my dad at the hospital. No wonder I was so fucking tired.

But each day, there was a ray of hope. My dad is a trooper like no other. And thank fucking God! (I really need him! I’m closer to him than anyone else in my family.) Each day he had some significant improvement. One day I noticed that his eyes were moving more and finally he was able to look around normally. Another day, he regained his use of his fingers and left hand.

His speech didn’t improve.

Oh yeah, and did I mention that when he had the stroke, he was at TD Bank? I will forever sing their praises because they called 911 fast. My dad was at the mall and decided to line up at TD Bank. He almost went to get coffee at McDonald’s. Can you imagine how slow their employees would be to call for an ambulance? Also,  my dad told me that he had left his cell phone in the SUV. He normally would go back to get it, but that day, he didn’t. I’ve thanked God that he didn’t because if he had the stroke in the parking lot, chances are that nobody would’ve noticed and called 911.

Sometimes banks aren’t all evil.

When I arrived at the hospital, guess what? Lots of my dad’s stuff was missing – wallet, down jacket, car keys, and shoes! We thought someone stole them because the idiot hospital workers couldn’t find it. I felt dizzy just thinking about it. My brother said that we should get a locksmith to change the locks at my parents’ place. And we had to find the spare car key so we could drive it back home so it wouldn’t be towed at the mall’s parking lot. As if we didn’t have enough things to fucking working about!

After a lot of stress, the hospital workers finally found the missing belongings. And thank God! When you’re going through something as awful as this, the last thing you need to worry about is your security!

Since then my dad’s been transferred to another hospital. Then on Friday, he was moved to a rehab centre where he has to live for 2-3 weeks. We’ve asked the doctors and he can have a pass so he’ll be able to come home for Christmas. But then he’ll have to go back to the rehab centre. That sucks, but at least he’ll be out for a little while.

As selfish as it sounds, I feel like I’ve been robbed of my Christmas. It’s about spending time with family and having happy memories. I hate hospitals.

But some good has come from it all. I’ve learned the strength of my brother and mother. I’ve also seen a new side of my boss that I haven’t seen in 4 fucking years  – he actually HUGGED me and acted genuinely concerned! I’ve also witnessed the power of the human spirit and how even a person suffering from a stroke can bounce back and make the best of it.

Through all the positive, though, I can’t help but cry and wish it weren’t so. I miss my dad the way he was before. I miss not having to worry so much. I’ve forgotten what it’s like not to cry and have swollen eyelids. Life sometimes sucks. But we get through it. Supposedly we become stronger people because of hardships, but I think I’m still a softie.

Please keep my dad in your prayers. And please pray for me, too, because I’m not as strong as I would like to be and need to be. There are some tough times still to come, and I could use every ounce of help. I ain’t too proud to beg!

I want to be like my orchid.

Rape Survivors: How to Move on and Become Thrivers

GlockomaGlockomaRape is forced and unwanted sexual intercourse that’s always a twisted power issue.

The victim can be female or male, although the stats show that it’s more often a female. (However, it’s also important to keep in mind that males are less likely to report an incident than females are, so the stats aren’t accurately reflecting reality.)

Rape is never an easy topic to discuss, especially when you’re the victim: “Will they blame me and think that I was ‘asking for it’?” “Will they believe me?” “Why did this happen to me?”

It isn’t any wonder why so many rapes go unreported. And the stats don’t sing any happy-hardcore tunes, either. Play the violins.

I Need It – Stat!

GlockomaAccording to Helen Lenskyj in An Analysis of Violence Against Women: A Manual for Educators and Administrators, an insane 60% of Canadian college-aged males indicated that they’d commit sexual assault if they were certain they wouldn’t get caught! Glock that!

So for them, it seems that the crime is only deemed wrong if they suffer negative consequences. Oh how I’m reminded once more that we live in a fucked-up Me Generation.

Statistics Canada’s The Violence Against Women Survey indicated that 50% of all Canadian women experienced at least one incident of sexual or physical violence. Of those women, nearly 60% were victims of more than one of those incidents! What the glock?

Clearly if it’s been happening more than once, we need to examine why this is the case and we must teach women how to stand up for themselves and report these crimes to prevent them from happening again or we’ll just continue this sick cycle carousel.

Chances are that if you aren’t a victim yourself, you know someone who is. Despicable behaviour like rape or sexual assault shouldn’t be a hush-hush topic. Let’s talk about it openly so that women can learn to arm themselves mentally and know what to do if (heaven forbid) they’re ever put in that situation.

Surviving rape is probably one of the most challenging things that a woman can go through. But by actively seeking out positive support, you can go from survivor to thriver.

Things to Remember & Things That’ll Help:

  • Blame: It’s not your fault & nothing you did or didn’t do will ever justifiy a rape.
  • Trust: It may be hard for you to get close to others, but in time, you will be able to. Don’t let some asshole screw up your future relationships. It’s not worth it.
  • Control: After this bad experience, you probably feel vulnerable and like you’re not in control of your life. You are! Build up your self-confidence again by concentrating on the things you can readily control like your diet – hit the gym regularly and eat healthy meals.
  • Accept: The only way you can move forward is to accept that something bad happened to you, but you can’t let it rule your every waking minute. Accept it, but don’t dwell on it.
  • Distract: Keep yourself busy doing the things you love to do (like joining a martial-arts class or learning how to cook a new vegetarian dish).
  • Vent: Instead of bottling up your emotions or masking them with booze, redirect it to something positive & artistic such as oil painting, playing a musical instrument, or designing jewelry.

Resources (Because You’re Not Alone):

Disney’s The Little Mermaid: Teaching Girls to Float Instead of Swim

GlockomaDisney’s The Little Mermaid is a movie that many girls enjoy watching because of the sing-along songs, colourful characters, and generous sprinkling of humour throughout.

It’s definitely one of my favourite Disney movies even today. That being said, it’s not without faults, especially when you place it on the slide under the feminist microscope and look beneath the surface.

The Little Mermaid shares a common plot with other animated films geared toward girls: an attractive and good-natured female protagonist (Ariel) falls hopelessly in love with the man of her dreams and will do anything to snatch the suckah and live the happily-ever-after life. (This is the whole Noah’s Ark Syndrome that I discussed in an earlier post.)

At face value, it’s a sugary-sweet tale of how true love exists and how it overcomes everything – even a giant Ursula with all the powers of King Triton (Ariel’s father)! But beauty is skin deep – let’s get to the interesting ugly side, shall we?

Under the Sea

GlockomaYes, movies are for entertainment purposes, but I’m a strong believer that everything contains political messages and that it’s all a matter of whether you look for them or not. So let’s keep our eyes peeled like a banana because even subtle things can have a profound impact.

First, please watch this short YouTube clip that includes the song Poor Unfortunate Souls from Disney’s The Little Mermaid. I’ll discuss some alarming points of interest after.

Now for my observations!

GlockomaExhibit A: “The solution to your problem is simple. The only way to get what you want is to become a human yourself.” (Ursula, 1:09)

Analysis: What Ariel wants is the Prince who apparently is “quite a catch”. And according to the the sea witch, she can only attract his attention by compromising herself – trading in her mermaid tail for a pair of legs. Why she doesn’t ask Ursula to use her powers to transform the guy into a merperson and live with her in the sea is still a question mark for me. Seems like there is the automatic assumption that she must change for him.

GlockomaExhibit B: “And I fortunately know a little magic. It’s a talent that I always have possessed. And dear lady, please don’t laugh, I use it on behalf of the miserable, the lonely, and depressed – pathetic.” (Ursula, 1:55)

Analysis: As she says “miserable, the lonely, and depressed”, she summons a figure of a scrawny male and a chubby female from her bubbling cauldron. This visual teaches children horrible lessons on body image. Basically it says that if you are over or under the average weight, you are a ‘poor unfortunate soul’ that needs help and only a miracle can fix you.

Glockoma

GlockomaExhibit C: “Poor unfortunate souls in pain…in need. This one longing to be thinner. That one wants to get the girl. And do I help them? Yes indeed.” (Ursula, 2:10)

Analysis: While the lyrics definitely show more emphasis on ‘fixing’ the physical attractiveness of the female more so than the male, the visual balances things off. When Ursula snaps her fingers, the female becomes slender and the guy becomes Mr. Beefcake 2009.

Apparently all that’s involved in finding a girlfriend/boyfriend is your looks. This part tells us to forget conversations or sharing similar interests – the only way to hook up is all superficial. If only things were so easy – interesting how we’re so willing to believe that all our problems can be solved merely by changing our appearance. (Plastic surgery, as popularized in the media, definitely paints this message in red, but that’s an opinion I have that I’ll save for another post.)

GlockomaExhibit D: “Before the sun sets on the 3rd day, you’ve got to get dear old Princey to fall in love with you – that is, he’s got to kiss you…not just any kiss – the kiss of true love! If he does kiss you before the sun sets on the 3rd day, you’ll remain human permanently. But if he doesn’t, you’ll turn back into a mermaid, and you belong to me.” (Ursula, 3:05)

Analysis: Ursula implies that being a human is what Ariel should strive to be because it’s better than being a mermaid. If we unpack this thought and stretch it a little like Gumby, it’s almost like saying how women are expected to conform to the male normative because its of a higher, respected status.

Also, Ursula makes the assumption that true love is shown through public displays of affection rather than other actions. There’s nothing wrong with kissing (it’s fun!) but why is this the only legitimate way for the Prince to prove his love of Ariel to the sea witch? Physical love doesn’t equal true love all the time.

GlockomaExhibit E: “If I become human, I’ll never be with my father or sisters again.” (Ariel, 3:40) “That’s right, but you’ll have your man. Life’s full of tough choices, isn’t it?” (Ursula, 3:45)

Analysis: What does this tell us? Getting the man you want involves huge sacrifices that can cut you off from other important and healthy relationships.

GlockomaExhibit F: “You’ll have your looks – your pretty face! And don’t underestimate the importance of the body language…The men up there don’t like a lot of blabber. They think a girl who gossips is a bore. Yet on land it’s much preferred for ladies not to say a word. And after all, dear, what is idle babble for? Come on, they’re not all that impressed with conversation. True gentlemen avoid it when they can. But they dote and swoon and fawn on a lady who’s withdrawn – it’s she who holds her tongue who gets a man.” (Ursula, 4:26)

GlockomaAnalysis: Whoa, right? The payment Ursula demands is Ariel’s voice, and she blatantly says that men aren’t interested in what women have to say, so they may as well be mute.

The message presented here is that guys are far more likely to fall in love with a woman’s looks than her intellect and that if you want a man, ladies, you have to stifle self-expression and expect to be treated as a sex object.

And those were all from just that one short clip!

But of course, Disney isn’t stupid – they also have some parts that appeal to feminists. For instance, in Part of Your World, Ariel sings about female empowerment, wanting to learn more about the things around her, and feeding the ambition to strive for better things in life.

The next time you watch a Disney movie (or any movie, really), watch for these types of messages, and you might just be surprised what seemingly-innocent films are teaching kids!

(I probably won’t get a chance to write another blog entry before July 1st, so I’ll take this time now to wish my fellow Canadians a Happy Canada Day! And for my American readers, hope you have a great 4th of July! All others, enjoy your day, and thanks for visiting. Please come back again soon!)

Jon & Kate Plus 8 Becoming Jon Minus Kate Plus 8

GlockomaRocky road bars are delicious and easy to prepare. Rocky road marriages are bitter and hard to survive.

Who would know better than Katie and Jonathan Gosselin? Their relationship was broadcast for all the world’s critical eyes to see on what is now one of TLC’s hottest reality shows – Jon & Kate Plus 8. As if having eight children wasn’t enough stress!

You’d have to be living under a metamorphic rock to have not heard about the couple’s recent turbulent relationship. ET Canada, Access Hollywood, Us Weekly, and other gossip sources all planted the seed of suspicion in the air. Was Kate having an affair with her bodyguard? Who was that female Jon was seen leaving with after partying? The stories were unraveling like some cheap pants from a fly-by-night business.

I admit that prior to the reports of a crumbling marriage, I had never really watched more than a snippet of the show. But then like millions of other viewers, I fell prey to the hype beast and tuned in on May 25 to see the season premiere of Jon & Kate Plus 8.

Kate and Jon spoke openly about the rift in their relationship, and when asked what the future held, they both couldn’t say for certain except that they’d be there for their kids no matter what. A family torn apart. Now people were treating it like a Battle of the Sexes, and they began to pick sides.

The feminist in me noticed how quick the public immediately pointed the finger at Kate. They criticized her for being a diva because she was bossy and controlling. And some people said that she was a spotlight hog because it looked like she wanted the attention more than Jon. (If you watch any episode, you’ll notice how much more vocal she is compared to her husband, and therefore the camera is focused on her more often than Jon.)

A lot of people were quick to pounce on Kate with their claws extended. To me, she symbolizes the modern woman who’s able to fulfill the role of nurturing mother yet who still is independent and travels for her job.

Obviously what we see on Jon & Kate Plus 8 only accounts for edited moments when the cameras were rolling, so we can’t assume that we’re getting the total truth. Still, I have to say that from what I have seen, I think it’s refreshing to see a woman who’s undeniably in charge. Instead of the played-out traditional threat “Just wait until your father gets home!”, I imagine that at the Gosselin residence, it’s more like “Just wait until your mother gets home!”. That’s right – it’s the woman who lays down the law.

Sometimes she may come across as a cold and strict disciplinarian, but I believe that sometimes you have to have an iron fist. It’s not always about going to the spa and picking which colour to have your nails done. And hello, having eight kids? You have to exert tough love sometimes because if you’re a softie, they won’t just walk all over you, eight children will feel more like a stampede!

GlockomaKate has also come under another attack, which I’m going to defend. Some have said that she’s just hungry to be a TV star and doesn’t care about exploiting her kids for the sake of fame. Maybe she is the Very Hungry Caterpillar. But…maybe she was just really resourceful. Let me explain.

Imagine that you have eight children…going through hundreds of diapers, feeding those little mouths, and hearing all of them screaming and crying! Not only is it tons of work, but it costs elephant tons of money, too! I think that Kate was really resourceful when she pitched the idea for a TV show following the trials and tribulations of parents with multiples (as they call it).

I’m sure she knew what she was doing. If the crew has to film her at home, most likely they’d give her a “studio home” or spruce up her existing pad. And no doubt when a show’s successful, they’ll pay for a lot of things (e.g. transportation, food, trips, etc.). It was a very creative and clever way for Kate and Jon to be able to afford having so many kids. If not for TLC giving them so much, well, TLC, Kate and Jon’s bills would’ve taken a sledgehammer to more than just the Porcelain Piggy (i.e. the piggy bank).

Another point of interest is that Kate isn’t your typical woman portrayed on the Dick Tube (by the way, that’s what I say instead of Boob Tube). Okay, yes, she’s shown in the traditional role of a mother with a protective wing, but what’s different is that she’s not nearly as emotional as many women on TV who always seem to be crying or who are afraid about something. Kate usually has everything in check and can control her emotions.

And then there’s Jon. I’m intrigued by his quiet demeanor. Most men on TV are depicted as being loud, arrogant, obnoxious, and/or violent. But he doesn’t fall into any of those unfortunate categories. I like how he’s always calm and doesn’t look like the type who would blow up or instigate a yelling match.

Plus, I love the interesting twist of how Jon was the one who quit his day job to stay home with the kids so Kate could travel and still work to promote her book. Usually you hear more about stay-at-home moms than stay-at-home dads. It’s refreshing to see someone bringing attention to an important group that’s usually invisible in popular media (and on a hit TV show no less!).

The next time you watch Jon & Kate Plus 8, look for the things I’ve mentioned regarding their personalities. Even if the show was meant to only be candy floss for your curious mind, it surprisingly is a great longitudinal case study illustrating a strong woman and a softer man.

GlockomaWhat do you think?

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