I’m Just Not Impressed

Am I supposed to be?

Posts Tagged ‘The Beauty Myth

Anger is an energy.

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(Originally titled “I think you owe me a great big apology” – a quote from the NIN song “Terrible Lie”. He has sort of apologized for the “plump” remark, to be fair.)

So, Trent Reznor has decided to hang up his twitter hat. That’s nice. Not something I’d even really notice, since I’ve not been a big Nine Inch Nails fan for 15 years or so, if not for the acquaintance who pointed out this charming paragraph:

Looks like the Metal Sludge contingency has discover Twitter! Finally! For those of you that don’t know what this is, please let me explain. Metal Sludge is the home of the absolutely worst people I’ve ever come across. It’s populated mainly by unattractive plump females who publicly fantasize about having sex with guys in bands. Kind of like a role-playing game where people NOBODY will fuck make up stories about their incredible sexual encounters with people they WISH they could fuck. It would be kind of funny in a sad and pathetic way except the fun doesn’t stop there – hate and good old-fashioned outright blatant racism are also encouraged to spice things up and remind you how truly ugly these scourges are. TRULY ugly on the inside (the outside is obvious).

Ugly on the inside, indeed. Now, I know next to nothing about Metal Sludge and the Wiki is less than helpful. Nor do I really care. And maybe the majority of the people posting behind that fabulous page requiring an affirmation of the First Amendment are truly abhorrent, unpleasant people who no one really would want to wile away an hour or three with. I have not a clue (if they are truly obsessed with any band or celebrity to the point of sending death threats and hate mail and blatant racism, then, really, I wouldn’t want to invite them to a party).

But, if that’s the case, then why, pray tell, is is necessary to comment on their physical appearance? Why the fat-hating nastiness about the inherent unattractiveness of “plump” women. If they are truly such abhorrent specimens of humanity, it shouldn’t matter whether they are supermodels or, well, not supermodels. Making nasty claims about people’s appearance and supposed lack of sex life is pretty damn ugly too. I don’t care who you are.

Apparently Reznor did clarify his remarks here:

Just glanced at this stuff. May I clarify:
I have no issue with PLUMP people and I apologize if some of you incorrectly inferred I was equating being overweight to being unworthy. I used that term for two reasons: one – these cunts on MS portray themselves as in a very inaccurate way, because they can. It’s their one place they can wield a little power and escape their pathetic lives. Two – I knew it would hurt them and it most definitely has.
Place my comments in context. If you haven’t seen the type of comments we’ve been getting and the sheer level of ignorance, you have no reference in which to comment on this.

I know MOST of you are not a part of this and I didn’t mean to offend you – this situation has angered and saddened me.

And THAT is it from me on this topic. 

So, these folks actively misrepresent themselves (something which is clearly extremely rare on these here internets). I do not begrudge Reznor his anger. I do not begrudge him the loathing he has for people who send racist tirades about his fiancee or who send death threats or who are by all evidence rude, unpleasant, horrible people.

 I do, however, hold him to the same standard I would hold anyone – that mocking of appearance and sexual attractiveness, while easy and appealing – is still problematic, no matter how abhorrent the subject of the mockery.


Written by emandink

June 17, 2009 at 2:40 pm

It’s food. Not a hand grenade.*

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I’ve been blogging elsewhere about my desire to lose weight.  At least that’s what it started out as.  Along the way, this blogging, in the best possible way, has forced me to examine in more detail my attitudes about food and size and acceptance.

While I certainly applaud the concept of fat acceptance, I’ve always been more of the “it is okay for other people, but I still need to loose 20 lbs” school of thought.  But one of the things that trying to blog consistently about diet and exercise has helped me realize is that I do feel measurably better – both physically and mentally – if I engage in regular moderate exercise.  I may have exercise specific aches and pains, but I have fewer headaches and less back and knee pain and just feel better than I do when I’m sluggish.  Likewise, I do feel better when I try to make “better choices” in the “have a grapefruit instead of a piece of cheese” vein.   But you know what turns me into a cranky screaming harpy?  Tracking my damn food intake and feeling guilty about eating things that I enjoy.

So, I say no.  I refuse to feel guilty about food.  I refuse to think constantly about what I “can” or “should” eat.  I would rather have to buy whole new wardrobes in sizes 16 and 18 and beyond than to keep beating myself up about the fact that I want to eat dessert or am sick of Lean Cuisines and turkey.  Do I want to eat food that is good for me?  Absolutely.  Should we be having less McDonald’s and pizza at my house?  Absolutely.  But I refuse to feel guilty for liking a cheeseburger better than a grilled chicken sandwich or worse.  I refuse to talk about having a cookie as “being bad.”  I refuse to feign sheepish guilt at getting the damn onion rings.  I refuse to turn away the dessert menu just because I had a fruity cocktail before dinner.

Forget the new year’s resolution to lose weight.  I will eat what I want and I will keep exercising.  If the scale moves or the waist shrinks, great.  If it doesn’t, great too.  

*Title inspired in part by this post by fillyjonk at Shapely Prose.

Written by emandink

January 27, 2009 at 2:21 pm

Mythical Feminists

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Thanks to a discussion elsewhere on-line, I’ve been thinking on The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolfe, which has gotten me thinking on my relationship to and evolution within feminism.

I first read this book in 1992 – what must have been the first paperback edition – for an introductory Women’s Studies class at the University of Illinois.  I confess that at the time, I was not too keen on the book.  It – like much of what was taught in that particular class – felt too didactic.  Too much like victimization.  I had been raised in a home where feminism was almost taken for granted.  I liked sex (or the idea of it, anyway).  I liked black eyeliner and coloring my hair and wearing lipstick the color of a bruise.  I liked using a fake id to get into bars and clubs wearing clothing that would barely cause an eye raise in today’s youth culture, but which felt daring at the time.  I liked playing with standards of beauty and subverting them to my will.  Arguably, I’m still at it, but not in quite the same way.

I left what I thought of as “mainstream feminism” for a long while because I felt judged by the young women in that particular class and I felt silenced by a teaching assistant who I didn’t think appreciated my “difference”.  Looking back on my mindset at the time, it was I who was being closeminded and chafing at being required to look at the world through a more critical lens.  I felt personally attacked where really, there was the need to acknowledge that the world was larger than my experience.

Likewise, as time went on, I felt stifled, even betrayed, by a campus “feminism” that I wanted to be more flexible and critical in its dicta.  I cringed as WS majors declared that the subject of a diary of life in feudal Japanshould have left her husband – completely ignoring the social strictures of the culture and the time.  By the time I was in law school, I felt stuck between the second and third waves, both of which held appeal,  but neither of which I felt I could relate to.  I held on to “feminist” as a label – I never cottoned to the idea of “womanist” or * “I believe in equality but don’t call myself a feminist”.  But I definitely fell off the awareness wagon for a time.

But back to The Beauty Myth.  To paraphrase the overall message of the book as I recall it and as discussed in the community that prompted this, the activities that comprise beauty ritual are not the problem.  It is the compulsion to participate in those rituals whether women want to or not, whether we do so even to our detriment because we feel our place in society depends on them, whether the ideals of a beautiful exterior take the place of loving who we are, instead of highlighting the best of what we love about ourselves.   I expect I will be returning to this

I still have the copy I read for class and I want to re-read it.  Susan Faludi’s Backlash, too.  There’s a lot out there that I need to refresh my memory on. 

* Edited belatedly to correct my misconception that “womanist” was a general term used to replace feminism. I was woefully ignorant of the origins and actual use of “Womanist” as a term to describe the experiences of women of color which are often at odds with the privileged position of mainstream feminism. Which I neatly illustrated there.

Written by emandink

June 30, 2008 at 8:56 pm