Just an Adorable Monkey in the Snow

Response to Swimsuit Edition, Where Sexism Knows No Size, and Why Porn Is Unfair to Men and Women

Response to The Swimsuit Edition, Where Sexism Knows No Size, by Melissaverse. (Please read!)


 

As mentioned in my previous piece, Just Another Porn Opinion, I’m a fairly strong advocate against it, and the obsession we’ve created.

Despite persistent whining from many men (and some women), porn is not natural and healthy.  Studies have shown that porn can rewire the brain and have devastating effects on men and women in relationships and sex.  (Look it up if you don’t believe me.)  In fact, brain scans indicate that watching too much porn can shrink actually the brain.  Scientists believe that pornography can even reduce mental abilities.

To believe that it is a win for women that Sports Illustrated is featuring a “plus-size model” (in an ad!) is an unfortunately representative view on the degrading nature of porn.  America, true to our puritan roots, often shames nudity.  Topless sunbathing and a child sees you?  You could risk joining the growing list of sex offenders.  Revealing dress?  Slut.  Supporter of the FreeTheNipple campaign?  Impure.  So, when nudity, or pretty darn close to it, appears, it is drooled over and obsessed about.  Yet, it is largely misrepresentative of the human body.

Women (and men, too) aren’t perfect. We have scars, stretch-marks, birth marks, and lopsided features.  There is so much beauty woven into the human body.  We’ve all had different experiences, hardships, and triumphs, and they can be seen written in our skin.  We shouldn’t be ashamed, we should be proud.  So why are people paid heaps of money to heavily edit the bodies of women in published works?

What are we telling young girls about themselves when all they see in the media are women with deep tans, perfect skin, long legs, proportionate curves, and tiny waists to accompany high cheek bones, big eyes, and full lips? What are we suggesting to them when they look in the mirror and don’t see that? What are we expecting from men when they see an untouched body that isn’t anything like what they were bombarded with?

This current sex culture is ridiculous. Every time I go to pick up some groceries, I am faced with revolting tabloids of celebrities in swimwear under headlines such as “GUESS WHO THIS IS” “GUESS WHO HAS GAINED 40 POUNDS” “HOW DID SHE LET HERSELF GO?” “THAT BABY WEIGHT IS STILL THERE!”  All the while, I stare down at the cheesecake I had to have.

STM_SM2813_Cover_Newsstand_0_073_1175576.pdf BodyMagazineCover

Are we really surprised that nearly 20 million girls and women in the United States suffer from eating disorders?!

After the media called Tyra Banks, one of the most successful models of all time, fat, she stood in front of the audience (on her own tv show, mind you) in the same bathing suit and said with ferocity, “Kiss my ass!” as the crowd went wild.  And good for her, because if that’s fat, we are all screwed.  But Tyra, unlike most of us, has had years of career success and confidence building moments that she could take the potential blow to her self-esteem with grace.  Many of us who are already struggling with confidence issues might find it harder to stick up to the world.

TyraBanksPeopleMagazine

Go to Google and type in “sports illustrated best selling issue”.  You will get pages of swimsuit edition links, with maybe a sprinkling of a sports story.  There are calendars of tall, thin models in little to no clothing just lounging around.  There are pictures of women hanging around the house in scandalous lingerie.  I personally don’t know too many girls like this.  The ones I know wear oversized sweats with holes in them and a matching old, stained hoodie.  (Sorry to disappoint.)

This culture encourages unhealthy body expectations and self-loathing.  How could it not?  These guys just reassure each other that this behavior is alright.  So how do you tell women that it’s okay to be disgusted, and that it’s okay to be pissed that after 52 editions of woman in impractical swimwear there is ONE ad featuring a larger model.  I say larger because she’s bigger than the cover girl, but she’s by no means large.  How do we tell women that it’s okay to be upset that their boyfriends engage in demeaning porn-viewing behavior?  That it’s okay confront your significant other about masturbating at the expense of an airbrushed, posed model that looks nothing like you?

Why is “scandalous nudity” all that we seem capable of talking about?  Below are pictures of Heidi Klum rescuing her family from a Hawaiian rip tide, and the author has the audacity to peg the act a mere occurrence of an “unfortunate nip slip”!  I’m not sure that having your nipple show is truly suffering, nor that it warrants enough merit to possibly describe the remarkable event.

HeidiKlumHeadline

Melissa makes great points.  Women need to stand up against this ridiculous attitude and men need to refrain from engaging in such temptations.  It isn’t healthy.  We shouldn’t be excited that it’s a big deal for one plus-sized model to be featured in a sexist magazine.  We should be furious that it is a big deal.   We shouldn’t be ashamed, we should be proud.

Kind

Anyone can be kind to someone they like. The real test is can you be kind to someone you don’t like.

-Bryant McGill

Be the Right Person

“Far too many people are looking for the right person, instead of trying to be the right person.”

Gloria Steinem

My Dream Home, In The Future

The past few years I’ve witnessed classmates graduating and buying a house the very same day.  A house.  I don’t know why this is so crazy to me.  I guess because the idea that in a little over a year I could be buying a house that is all mine is a bit terrifying.  Which is why I most certainly won’t.

First things first, I simply could not afford one, perhaps with the exception of a dog house.  Second, I am most definitely not ready to plant myself in one place, and the idea of buying and selling and buying and selling is so excruciatingly awful that it makes me sick thinking about it.

So, for awhile at least, I’d like to stick to an apartment.  They are relatively easy and it’s nice to have a waiting hand ready to fix any problem that may arise.  Plus, a year long lease is not near as scary as a 30 year mortgage.  That way, when the day comes that I am ready to travel, I can ship my belongings back home and be on my way; no realtor fee, no stressful open house, no making payments for an empty residence.  I just need an apartment that is pet friendly and safe.  And small.  I don’t need anything extravagant.

Any money I save from not having to pay interest and home owner’s insurance, I can save towards a future home.  When I’m ready, I want to build my own house.  It’ll be a lot of work, but the more I can do myself, the better.  I want a large plot of land with a modest home.  A few small bedrooms with a large kitchen and living room surrounding an indoor courtyard.  Single story, with a basement.  Big windows with stained glass frames all throughout.

I’d like to build a zero emission home, opening the possibility of no energy bills.  A compost area, a fruit and vegetable garden, and a large yard for my dogs and foster animals to run.

It wouldn’t be easy, but I’d love the opportunity to do most of the work myself.  I’d have a contractor pour the concrete and build the frame, but I could do a lot of the drywall (aka my stepdad could do a lot of the drywall…).  I’d lie the wood floors myself, paint the walls, beg my stepdad to help with the plumbing, and so on.  I’d buy most of my furniture at garage sales and thrift stores, and refurnish any of them that need it.

I don’t need fancy things, I just want comfort.  I want to be proud of knowing that no one has a home like mine, it is completely unique.  This is my dream home.  What’s yours?

Andrew Solomon on Depression

As many of you know, a while back I was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety, a nasty mess I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.  It’s a very scary and unbelievably alienating disease that affects nearly 10% of the adult American population.  Yet, even with such prevalence, it’s hard to talk about.  Really hard.

People have so many questions and honestly I’ve really struggled to answer.  It’s worse when they try to explain why you shouldn’t be depressed to you.  I know, it doesn’t make sense to me either.

Tonight I watch a TED Talk by Andrew Solomon, and I want very much to share it with you.  If you know someone suffering and want to learn more, or if you are suffering and feel alone, I think watching this is helpful.  While sharing his personal anecdote, he explores the prevalence in different demographics throughout the world, the stories of those he’s met along the way, and the sad truth about the lack of affective treatment.  He miraculously conveys such a sad message with a sprinkle of humor and sincerity that has potential to reach people from any side of the spectrum.

“I found myself losing interest in almost everything. I didn’t want to do any of the things I had previously wanted to do, and I didn’t know why. The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality, and it was vitality that seemed to seep away from me in that moment. Everything there was to do seemed like too much work. I would come home and I would see the red light flashing on my answering machine, and instead of being thrilled to hear from my friends, I would think, “What a lot of people that is to have to call back.” Or I would decide I should have lunch, and then I would think, but I’d have to get the food out and put it on a plate and cut it up and chew it and swallow it, and it felt to me like the Stations of the Cross.”

“And one of the things that often gets lost in discussions of depression is that you know it’s ridiculous. You know it’s ridiculous while you’re experiencing it.”

“You don’t think in depression that you’ve put on a gray veil and are seeing the world through the haze of a bad mood. You think that the veil has been taken away, the veil of happiness, and that now you’re seeing truly.”

Good Luck To My Soldier

For the last several weeks I’ve been fairly absent from the blogging world, and with good reason.

Cody Lake

This morning, my best friend swore in to the United States Army.  He left for basic this afternoon.  As sad as I am, I am so absolutely proud of him for following his dreams.

I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us during and after these next few years.  While this isn’t the life I would have chosen, and you expect the distance to get easier, not harder, I know that it’ll be worth it when everything is said and done.

 

War on A Woman’s Wardrobe

This month, Montana representative David Moore pushed for a bill that would ban yoga pants and “any device, costume, or covering that gives the appearance of or simulates the genitals, pubic hair, anus region, or pubic hair region or exposes any device worn as a cover over the nipple or areola of the female breast that simulates and gives the realistic appearance of a nipple or areola while in a public place”.  So basically, he would have any article of form fitting clothing banned.

After an uproar from across the nation, he claimed that it was all a joke.  In his defense, while he did say that they should be illegal, the bill doesn’t specifically address yoga pants, but they would be included in the ban.

Unfortunately, America has been fighting this problem for quite some time.  Women had to fight to wear pants, and then mini-skirts, and now, apparently, yoga pants.  This proposed ban only skirts the surface of the bigger issue here, and that is one of human repression in a self-proclaimed free nation.   Continue reading

The Mind

The unfed mind devours itself.

Gore Vidal

Sometimes there is nothing more toxic than being trapped alone with your own thoughts.

No Riots When Crime Victims Are Muslim

Three Muslim students were shot and killed in their North Carolina apartment.  While the cause is still unknown, there is a possibility of the this being a hate crime.  It’s a good thing that a Muslim student didn’t shoot three non-Muslims though, because that would have caused riots by now.