healthy shape ** radio topic

Xposted from modVoxPop

Tamara de Lempicka

Tamara de Lempicka

The other day I lamented during a radio show that it’s impossible for a woman to just be.  It seems the women I know and hear about are either overweight, watching their weight, dieting, getting in shape, laboriously counting calories or carbs, or nipping and tucking.  Other measures of vanity toward the almighty feminine are included in this concern, but of particular interest to me right now is health and body size.

Health and Body Size: the official preoccupation of women.  Even when we consider fat pride in contradiction to Western beauty standards, we are still talking about perimeters of body size.  And when we try to shift the conversation away from inches and pounds towards health and body pride, there remain complications.  Like the fact that we can’t seem to embrace ‘health’ or ‘body pride’.

Among the many, my most rage inciting encounter recently was while watching Julie Louise Dreyfus on Ellen.  Dreyfus was recently on the cover of Shape, which seems to want to be a magazine about ‘healthy’ lifestyles.  When asked by Ellen how she kept in such good shape, Dreyfus claimed to not really work out but  run sometimes and of course, heavily restrict food before the photo shoot.  I was so mad I punched a throw pillow.  

Magazine covers of healthy lifestyle magazines are often photos of fit, not necessarily famous people.  They showcase to the reading and passing public the epitome of good shape in many instances and, of course, subconsciously suggest that  we too will look like that if we buy the magazine.  Though after hearing Dreyfus’ interview, what I suspected all along about lifestyle magazines promoting health turns out to be true.  That is, they showcase bodies that are either unattainable or attainable only through drastic, sometimes lethal, unhealthy methods, despite being healthy lifestyle magazines. 

So the healthy body that just bes is hard to come across in media, but the proud, unapologetic body is even harder.  One of my fav people(<3), Beth Ditto of The Gossip (<3), once posed nude for NME.  But as you will see if you click the link, despite being what would likely be considered obese, there is not a dimple of cellulite on her, pointing quite obviously to airbrushing out of ‘flaws’.  It doesn’t make me punch anything, but it still makes me mad…and sad…

Even real, healthy bodies are obviously flawed. Why can’t we just deal with it? And also, I need better language than ‘flawed’ for this connotes a perfection from which to stray.  Booooo! ( I blame the patriarchy).


Filed under ash., health

I’m Just Not Into Essentialist Notions of Gender

After a feminist rant from a friend about the film “He’s Just Not That Into You“, I decided to put myself through the certain torment of watching this film based on a book based on a line from a hit TV show.

Thank God for Rational Men or else nothing would ever get done... am I right?

Thank God for Rational Men or else nothing would ever get done... am I right?

Over the last few years this book has been recommended to me and I have heard it’s praises sung by women who are so glad to have been told “how it is.”  This book is held up as some kind of Holy book filled with spiritual mantras to repeat to ones feminine brain when it becomes too laborious to think for ones self (as all Emotional Women have experienced from time to time).

If He’s Not Calling You… He’s Just Not that Into You.

If He’s Not Sleeping With You…He’s Just Not that Into You.

If He Doesn’t Want to Marry You… (everyone now!) He’s Just Not that Into You.

I have several problems with this book and now movie.  To begin with,  my personal opinion is that popular culture self help books are crap (I’m looking at you Dr. Phil).  They are written by people who are making piles of cash off of your personal suffering and are in no way held accountable for the information they provide.

Second, these types of books are written in broad terms to apply to as many people as possible.  They are like those online quizzes that claim they can tell you deep secrets about yourself based on what colours you choose and in what order you choose them.  The results are so sweeping that everyone can find something in the resulting paragraph that relates to themselves and so they believe that the internet quiz is the only thing that truly knows them, even better than they know themselves.

My main problem with this title rests outside the genre of self-help and falls heavily on the fact that “He’s Just Not That Into You” relies on one pillar of Capital “T” Truth,  Men are Rational and Women are Emotional.  This brand of essentialism has divided women and men for centuries and in that essentialism Rational Men are superior to the inferior Emotional Women.  The authors of this book claim that they wrote it to help women but it seems their idea of help has more to do with putting down women and their intelligence than talking about communication with potential partners.

I found an excerpt online where in author Greg Behrendt replies to women’s (clearly made up) letters.  One woman, Nikki, tells Greg that he is silly for telling women that they shouldn’t call men because she has called men all the time and sees nothing wrong with it.  Greg proceeds to put her down, tell her she is wrong, throw in the age old “Men are pursuers, you are emasculating them by calling” story and then gets a woman, co-author Liz Tuccillo, to back him up.


Is this advice suppose to make me feel bad about myself?

Is this advice suppose to make me feel bad about myself?

Before I start choking on my own rage lets try to wrap a few things up.

I have to ask, why is this book hiding behind a message of empowering women when it is really insulting them and teaching them nothing about how to be communicating individuals who are confident in their needs, desires, and pleasures?

Also, why are men not being encouraged to be communicating individuals who are confident in their needs, desires, and pleasures?  In the movie the only advice given to a man about how a woman is treating him involves two gay men explaing how “gay signals” work before telling him to “man up” and take charge of that little lady.  After all, women just want to be dominated don’tcha know?

Instead this book and this film, encourage essentialist views on gender that state men “just are a certain way” and women need to learn that and adapt to it.  Why are women the ones who need to change?  Why are women the ones who have it wrong and need to learn from men how to get “it” right?

I call bull-shit on the tired notion that Rational Men need to teach Emotional Women how to better serve men.  Because that is what it really comes down to.  This is not about women’s fulfillment or relationship health, “He’s Just Not That Into You” is about molding women into passive, un-intelligent, play things.

I can understand it though… because I mean, really, if Emotional Women started thinking for themselves, who knows what they might try to do…


X-Posted at Peeling the Yellow Wallpaper

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Filed under I'm Just Not Into It, Radio Topic, Uncategorized, Xtine