Feline

“No Scrubs” by TLC came out 17 years ago, and boys are still hanging out the passenger side of his best friend’s ride, trying to holler at me.

In the past three days, I have noticed an upsurge in the frequency at which this phenomenon has been occurring. Whether I be trotting into my apartment from a night out with friends, into the grocery store to buy ingredients that I will attempt to use later in a meal that will certainly not turn out as planned, or simply embarking on a leisurely stroll, dudes with muscle cars feel the need to “holler” at me.

Rap music blaring, base bumping, and the unmistakable vibrato of a young adult male simultaneously make me jump and look over my shoulder on a too-frequent basis.

I shared my frustration with this cat-calling nonsense on Facebook the other day, as mature twenty-somethings do, and was even more annoyed by the responses I received.

The direct status I posted reads:

“Dear men,

Whenever you’re faced with the decision of whether or not to yell “nice ass” out your car window at a human woman, pick no. Every time.”

Sassy, a bit condescending, and moderately funny. My typical flavor.

And also a direct reaction to an experience I had just previously had, late at night, when I was walking from the sidewalk to my apartment, by myself.

One commenter pleaded, “But what if she has a nice ass?”

Great question, sir! And I thank you for asking. If she does indeed have a nice ass, notice! Glance at it as you drive by. We as humans are sexual beings. You can even fantasize about her ass in your mind if you want to! But for goodness sake, do NOT slow your speed, roll down your window, and shout at her when she is in a solitary state in the caliginous night. You will undoubtedly frighten her and leave residual paranoia until the sun rises the next morning.

Another (male) commenter asked, “Can I yell it at guy?”

This is a toughie. I am obviously not a guy, so I don’t feel qualified to offer a legitimate answer to this question. From my perspective, being shouted at, even if it is a “compliment” can be startling, if unexpected. In fact, I have lived my adult life with a tiny pink bottle of mace in my purse, just waiting to be used in the inevitable situation in which I no longer feel safe. But I don’t think guys typically emerge from their homes with a constant fear instilled in them by their parents that they could be assaulted while innocently walking the streets at any time.

Well, white, cisgender, straight guys, anyway.

In sum, I’d say don’t do it, regardless of the sex of the person you are hypothetically “hollering” at, just to stay on the safe side.

And my favorite comment, also made by a dude: “I would be flattered.”

Flattered, you say? In the exact context in which I experienced it? Late, late at night, as a 110-pound woman with next to no muscle mass, no company, and no mechanism of defense? As you’re walking maybe a few yards’ distance from your car to your residence with the intention of coming home and going to bed without being involuntarily degraded, objectified, and sexualized by a stranger driving by in his vehicle? You would be flattered?

“Nice ass!”

Flattered.

I can assure you, being cat-called summons a whirlwind of emotions within my little body, but “flattered” is certainly not one of them.

What do you guys get out of doing this? Is it to impress your buddies in the passenger seat? Is it because you feel like you’ll get something out of it? Get a rise out of us? Get our number? What? WHAT IS IT?

Sigh.

I have been fuming over this for the past few days, and my therapist has advised me to write out my feelings so that I can stop dwelling on them. I’ve done that, taken my Melatonin supplements, and now my nice ass will drift into a dreamy slumber.

Goodnight,

 

M.

 

 

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Adjudication

“M, how do you feel about the SCOTUS ruling of nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage?” none of you are probably wondering.

My short answer can be summed up by an excerpt the lyrical masterpiece that is “Same Love” by Sir Macklemore.

“Damn right, I support it.”

My long answer is more for me to put my feelings down so they can take a break from zooming around my cranium for a bit. Also, i’m not here to offend anybody or engage in any type of argument, so if you’re looking for that type of thing, jump on your Facebook home feed and comment on the first rainbow post you see.

The reason I support the legalization of same-sex marriages is because I feel that the message that anti-same-sex marriage folks are sending is that that the feelings that same-sex couples have for each other are somehow less valid or less significant than a straight couples’, thus not deserving of the same marriage rights as a straight couple.

Now, I am heterosexual, so I cannot speak for anyone who is homosexual, but I just don’t see how there was ever a ruling to be made in the first place. It frustrates me that there is any kind of discrimination in the first place, even if it has been resolved decades before i was born. I just don’t see anyone (or anyone’s marital union, for that matter) as lesser than anyone else’s.

I know that people against same-sex marriage are against it because it ‘offends the traditional family,’ but guys, legalizing gay marriage does not devalue, de-legalize, or harm straight marriage in any way. We’re just getting progressively closer to treating all humans as equals, so calm down and keep believing whatever it is you do, and realize that regardless of which side you’re on, same-sex marriage is now legal in every state in the U.S.

This is a hot topic in my family, as we have members that are strongly for the ruling, and members that are strongly against the ruling, and the drama is better than the Kardashians, to be honest. What i’d like to say to them (if I had the balls) is that because all parties involved are heterosexual, this ruling does not affect any of us in any way, so any type of arguing, both for and against, is completely redundant and irrelevant.

So let’s celebrate! Because a marginalized group of our society has become a smidge less marginalized, and that is always cause for celebration. How exciting is it, that we are here for such a significant point in our nation’s history?

M.

Feminists Can Like Flowers, Too.

I am very open about the fact that I identify as a feminist. I love talking about my philosophies on the matter of equality, and I DON’T like people opening my doors for me.

Because feminism is such a huge part of who I am, I think I give off the impression that I don’t want to be taken care of. People tend to think that ALL feminists are bra-burning, anti-chivalry, prideful people. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I do not fall under any of the aforementioned categories. (Well, I might be a little prideful, but I think that we can attribute that to my German-ness more so than to my feminist attitudes.)

I LOVE chick flicks. I would literally melt if someone gave me flowers and/or chocolates. I’m soft and love polka dots and bows. Sometimes, I want somebody to take care of me. I want to be wined-and-dined as much as the next girl, and no, none of that invalidates my membership in the feminist community.

What it does, though, is make me feminine, and that’s not a bad thing.

And maybe that’s the problem-we tend to think that feminism and femininity are contradictions. By my understanding, however, the whole point of feminism is to put femininity on an equal playing ground as masculinity. To eliminate the stigma that feminine traits are less desirable than masculine traits.

Wanting to be taken care of and “swept off my feet,” so to speak, does not make me anything but human. The need to be taken care of is a basic human need, and one that man and womankind alike spend their lives pursuing. Wanting romantic gestures all that jazz in no way undermines my desire and belief that I should be treated as an equal.

It goes both ways. In order for a dating relationship of any sort to work, that romance thing has got to be going on. Both partners are equally responsible for keeping that “spark” alive, and co-dependence should be the desired outcome.

I am obviously capable of taking care of myself 100%. An ideal romantic interest would be able to take care of himself 100%. The co-dependence thing comes voluntarily. If people are interested in one another, they will do cute, cheesy, romantic gestures because they want to make the other person happy. Not because they are so inclined to fulfill certain roles. And I definitely don’t believe that allowing a man to court you puts you in a submissive position, especially if the both of you are putting in equal work to date each other.

The other day, I was discussing this topic with a friend of mine, and she presented me with an ultimatum. Either I put down my equality guns and let some knight in shining armor place me on a pedestal, or I keep my “independent woman” front. Why can’t a girl have something in the middle? I understand that it’s a delicate balance, but I don’t believe that it’s unattainable.

Just thinking.

M.

Cyber Courtship

Alright humans, we need to have a talk.

Have you heard of Yik Yak? Maybe it’s a very well-known app, and i’m just behind the times as per usual, but it has been installed on my SmartPhone as of recently. I love it. It’s like, you can post anything you freaking want to, and every Yik Yaker in your area can see it without having a clue as to who the author is.

This app can be used for good, or it can be used for evil. For the most part, the newsfeed consists of humorous, slightly embarrassing entries. But, as with most things, there’s gotta be a couple of assholes who ruin it for everyone.

I’ve noticed a lot of posts on the Yak from young men (assumption) complaining about girls catfishing them on online dating sites, i.e. Tinder. One of the posts was complaining about girls that look “thick” or whatever terminology the kids are using these days, but in real life they’re just fat. I dunno, a lot of really fat-shaming comments were made in response, which was completely problematic on its own, but it got me thinking about this whole catfishing and online dating business.

So, we have social networking platforms that enable us to share everything from photos of our food to photos of ours and others’ faces with our dear friends, enemies, and strangers from Ethiopia of whom we’ve never met before, but accepted their friend requests anyway to be polite. (Guilty as charged.)

It’s no secret that basically anything posted on the World Wide Web can be viewed by anyone with access to it. Because of this, we tend to shed ourselves in the best light possible, because let’s face it, at one point or another, someone is going to see something we’ve posted on our personal pages, and it will change their opinions of us forever.

This applies especially to dating or “hook-up” apps such as Tinder. The intended use of these apps is to find an attractive being to date or make out with or whatever activities you guys do when you meet up with a Match from Tinder. I don’t wanna know.

With the objective of making oneself attractive to others, it would only make sense that we post only the best photos of ourselves, complete with the best filters that Instagram has to offer. That’s not just us ladies, I know dudes be using that Sepia as well. And yes, editing photos enables us to present ourselves in completely unrealistic ways.

Back to the catfishing, I don’t think that enhancing one’s profile photos is considered catfishing. People on dating websites should be going into these accounts with the knowledge that the information presented on anyone’s profile is a reflection of them on their very best days, plus or minus a filter.

So stop getting upset when the individual you are meeting up with from these sites doesn’t look quite like his/her photos. That would be an unrealistic expectation.

Actually, y’know what, scratch everything I just said. My real advice to you would be to get yourself off the computer and go meet some people face-to-face so that you can avoid the whole catfishing problem all together.

Swipe right!

M.

On Acceptance

I just noticed that an annual charge to my debit card to maintain my web address, so I guess i’ve been at this blogging thing for a year now. How fun!

I have a question for you guys. How does anyone justify the marginalization/oppression/degradation of any community of people?

Perhaps peoples’ prejudices are engrained in them on a subconscious level, thus disabling them from seeing that they are marginalizing a specific type of person?

I mean, even from a religious perspective, there is NO viable justification for holding any type of prejudice toward anyone. Hate the sin, not the sinner, am I right?

I dunno, I’m not excluding myself from holding prejudices, and i’m sure I have them. But what I don’t do is treat others differently based on things as silly as their ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

If you think about it, all of the characteristics that a person can be marginalized for are just that-they’re characteristics. An individual’s gender identity, ethnicity, SES, or sexual orientation are a PART of a WHOLE person.

I don’t think it’s fair at all to stereotype individuals based on these parts of them. For example, Alan Turing (the WWII war hero) will always be labeled as “that gay guy who broke Enigma.” What in the hell does being gay have to do with breaking Enigma?

We wouldn’t say “that straight guy who became the first president of the United States,” would we?

And why so?

Because it’s entirely irrelevant to the aspect of a person that we are discussing.

I know it’s childish of me to say, but I just don’t and can’t comprehend why we can’t all just treat each other like equals. I hate stereotypes. And I hate the marginalization and discrimination of any group of people. And it kind of tears me apart that it happens so frequently and drastically and can affect virtually every aspect of a person’s life.

It’s not right.

M.

Primitive

I thought i’d humor myself this semester by enrolling in a “Marriage as an Internal Process” course. The entire focus of the class is to stress the importance and benefits of the institution of marriage, and to help all of us suckers figure out what we can and cannot demand from a spouse. It’s been fun, for lack of a better word.

My class has quite the diversity of students. One girl is a single mom, we have three newly-wedded hubbies in the house, a handful of us single people hoping to learn how to change that via this course, and a handful of married women. On the first day of class, we were assigned to break up into small groups and discuss why we thought divorce happens, and why people  choose not to get married. Some of the responses that were given literally caused my head to explode across the four walls of the classroom.

My favorite response? A perhaps twenty-five-year-old wife raised her wedding-banded hand and said in a negative tone, “I think that the cause of divorce can in large part be due to women’s rights.” *Clank!* That was my jaw hitting the floor. Psycho say what?

Let’s dissect this bone-headed comment for a moment. This woman blames the accumulation of human rights for a specific gender as being the culprit for tearing a marriage apart. May I remind everyone that there has to be a cause for a woman to want a divorce, and that there was a time when if a woman was being abused by her husband, she just had to shut up and deal with it and make sure she had dinner ready on time tomorrow to avoid another abuse?

I refuse to see women’s rights as the cause for ANY negative outcomes. Women should have had the right from the beginning of whenever marriage became a thing to back out of it for any time and for any reason, ESPECIALLY if that reason is due to abuse or unfair treatment by her spouse. End of story.

Today in class, we watched a documentary on mail-order brides. Don’t even get me started. Well okay, i’ve already started. Mail-order brides are a perfect example of objectification. And it makes me sick. The featured “couple” was a British dentist who had mail-ordered a bride from Thailand (I’d estimate she was approximately a third of his age). He seemed like the happiest camper alive-his arm flab draped over her shoulder as he told the story of how they came about as a couple. She said nothing, she couldn’t speak English. He was the most gluttonous, repugnant man I’d ever seen, and she was a dainty, lovely, submissive Asian woman.

He talked about their relationship, and she sat in total oblivion. She spoke no English, but he told us not to worry, he didn’t mind so long as she had food on the table for him when he came home. He told us how he allowed her to visit her friend who lived down the street so long as she called and asked for permission. I’m not sure how she did so, due to their language barrier. She bore him three children, and she looked like the saddest, most disappointed woman I’d ever seen. But we’ll never know how she felt, she wasn’t given the opportunity to express herself.

This crap i’ve described for you goes on TODAY. It’s trafficking. It’s wrong, and it’s dehumanizing. Any old rich guy can hop online and pick himself out the prettiest, naive, foreign woman, and take her to wife. Granted, these women go into it willingly, falsely believing that these rich, old Western men will respect and love them. I cussin’ hate the patriarchy.

I’ve been angry about this all day. Mostly because there isn’t a damn thing I can do to change it.

On a lighter note, I learned that the reason i’m attracted to Brad Pitt is his exceptional facial symmetry. So do with that information what you will.

M.

The Acceptional* Feminist

Last night, a fairly new crony and I went on an excursion to “the ruins,” an old, torn up structure that rests on the side of a hill not out of walking distance, and not too steep to climb up to in sandals.

We sat down side-by-side and took in the city view and had deep discussions about life. Naturally, the topic of feminism, and my firm belief in human equality, was a major topic of discussion.

“I’m a feminist,” I mentioned, as casually as you would say, “I’m a sophomore,” or “i’m a dog person.”

He hesitated for just a fraction of a second, just noticeable enough for me to know that I wasn’t going to like what I was about to hear out of his pie hole.

You wanna know what he said? Okay here goes:

“Oh, but you’re a GOOD feminist,” he said.

It kind of reminded me of the way I repeatedly pat my dog on the head after she pees outside rather than on the carpet.

I blinked away any possibility of a stupor of thought before clarifying for him that Feminism is inherently a GOOD and all-around beneficial movement for society as a whole, and had to differentiate between a feminist and a man-hater.

Now what, you may ask, qualifies me as a “good feminist” to this young man?

Is it the fact that I like wearing skirts and shave my armpits (and legs, all 3 months of summer, anyway) and wear mascara on a daily basis? Is it that i’m straight and let guys take me on dates and don’t make a scene if someone opens a door for me?

Is it that the way I present myself JUST SO HAPPENS to conform to a lot of society’s list of acceptable ways to present yourself?

Because if that’s what makes me a “good feminist,” then I don’t want to be a “good feminist.” That’s the whole point, right? To show that women DON’T NEED the acceptance or approval of men and are human people who, gee, I dunno, do things because they make them happy?

Trust me, I don’t do any altering of my own appearance in pursuit of the approval of men. I wear skirts because dang it sometimes it gets really hot here in Utah and I just so happen to despise pants. I wear mascara because it makes me feel more alert, awake, and ready for my day. I shave my legs because I think it feels really disgusting when you brush your legs against each other and can feel the hair follicles moving.

Notice how none of my reasons for my feminine hygiene regimen have anything to do with men? Yes, me, too.

I guess some people really will never understand that NOT ALL FEMINISTS are bra-burning, man-hating, vengeful women.

Some are.

Some feminists are just your average-joe college girls who love bows and slug bugs and bleaching their hair and dates with preppy boys who wear Jake by Hollister cologne who simply refuse to be treated as second-class citizens because their anatomy differs from that of their male peers.

But conveniently, and luckily, for me, I have been deemed a “good feminist,” by a man.

Hooray for wanting equal rights in a manner that suits dudes!

M.

*Note: I am completely aware that “acceptional” is not a real word… yet. But this is MY blog, MY rules, and MY vocabulary. For your convenience, I have provided a reference guide.

Acceptional: (adj) containing qualities/behaviors that are both acceptable and favorable.