Saturday, May 31, 2008

These long links are really messing up my layout
Anyway. Let's talk about sex change operations. Well, no. Let's talk about what it means to be a woman.

Excerpt: "We meet at her home in Lytham, the small seaside town near Blackpool, and it is hard to picture this heavily made-up brunette as a respected Army captain. Her femininity may still be challenged by a husky voice and unmistakably broad shoulders, but her size 12 shape is remarkably womanly.
Her new body is hugged by blue jeans, a fitted jacket and a tight vest top which highlights the cleavage of her breast implants. She towers in stiletto ankle boots that add unnecessary inches, yet says her frame is rapidly diminishing as oestrogen hormone therapy atrophies her muscle mass.
Her flat is a paean to feminine taste, all mauve drapes, vases of lilies, bowls of toffees on glass tables, next to a Sophia Loren book called Women And Beauty."

I have no idea what it's like to feel like you're the wrong gender. Scary and frustrating to a level I have never experienced, I imagine. But when I read the above, I thought, "s/he's more girly than I am!" I am rather girly. I squeal when I'm excited. I like sparkly things, and you know, girly stuff. But it sounds to me like Jan's trying a little too hard (she does have something to prove). Or maybe she just really likes mauve. But I honestly don't understand... well, I don't understand gender issues. I went to a women's college and they tried to "shape" my life and teach me about how men were constantly making life so terribly unfair for women (but never teaching us what to DO about it, other than voting for Hillary. Um, no) but at the same time how gender is "fluid" (does that sound gross? I think it's just the word "fluid." Sorry, I'll grow up now).

And, since I recently saw Sex and the City, I'm in kind of a "NO! That is not what being a woman is about! Wasting money on expensive shoes when we could be feeding starving people is NOT womanly. It's just retarded" kind of mood.

I've neer been sorry I'm a woman, but a lot of that is probably because I've never thought "I can't do what I want because I'm a woman." Well, except lift heavy things. But that's not really because I'm a woman - it's because I'm freaking tiny, and not like my friend Dana, who has these broad shoulders and could probably carry her boyfriend up a hill if she had to and is totally beautiful.

I don't know what women are "supposed" to be in our society. People complain about how women are expected to be dainty and weak, but I don't know who expects that. Plenty of people over the years have expected women to be strong (anyone remember the Great Depression?) If a lot of people expected me to be weak, I would probably be in a rage all the time. But even growing up in what I guess was a conservative household (Dad worked, Mom raised me and planted things and volunteered) I never felt like I was limited by being a girl (except for the overprotectiveness thing... which I totally understand, actually... "Look at those girl out at the mall with no parents around! How easily could they be kidnapped? I don't think they know kung fu!" Just wait 'til I'm a mom, oh man...).

Well, there was this one time. Mom didn't think playing bass (upright... yeah, the BIG violin thing, uh huh) was "ladylike." Too bad - I'd already seen that Elvis movie where the guy lays the bass on its side, stands on it, and plays rock and roll (BTW, don't stand on your bass. They are wood and can break. Fortunately, this has never happened to me, I swear). I told my girl friends in about 3rd grade after I'd seen the movie that I was gonna play bass someday. They were like, yeah, uh huh, right. I don't know why; I think they were just being contrary. One of those girls, who I met up with a couple years ago, didn't remember saying that and didn't know why she would have. Silly elementary school things.

So, when 6th grade orchestra started, I signed up to play bass. The teacher, a woman, said, if you can carry it, you can play it. Fortunately, basses are hollow, so that worked (I can actually lift one above my head and carry it across a crowded practice room - it's more a matter of balance than strength). And now, my mum realizes that, as I'm rather ladylike (ignore the manly belching, please; it's involuntary. Usually.), playing bass does not make a woman unladylike. And of course Mom's proud of my musical accomplishments.

But, as much as you hear about glass ceilings and such, in certain areas in a lot easier for women to be "manly" than for men to be "womanly," which isn't really fair. There's no reason why men can't wear skirts (ask the Scots) or paint their nails (although, as I haven't painted mine in years, I personally would not date a man who's all into manicures... but then again, I don't think metro guys are really worried about what I think of them ^_^ ). Oh, guess who's had nailpolish on his nails more recently than I have - my DAD! Mr. former Navy so not feminine in any way doesn't want his nails to look like total crap. And as he wouldn't know how to fix them himself he's has had a couple manicures, even with some clear polish (which he didn't like, but when he realized that buffing makes his nails shiny anyway, he was like, oh well).

There are just too many issues in this gender topic to really go into it (like, what about boys who like to play with tea sets and Barbies but are straight? I remember reading an article in class about boys who think they're gay bc they like to do ballet or whatever and then realize, wait... I actually don't like guys... I like chicks... hm).

I do tend to think that men and women have some inherent differences/gender defining qualities, but they're manifested in a variety of ways, and it doesn't make sense to say "only women like such and such" or "that's a man thing." I think we cause trouble for ourselves when we try to define gender by likes and dislikes and colors and shoes and jobs.

I guess I wonder if we did that less, would Jan have felt the need to physically become a woman? Maybe, but would that be the case with all transvestites? She said it's really important for her to be seen as a woman, and I think that's similar to how it's really important for women to be seen as the type of woman they want to be seen as (hot, fashionable, strong, dangerous, whatever). *Shrug*

Well, this has been rambly. Time to be productive.

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Sex and the City is not deserving of a four letter acronym. SATC reminds me of LOTR, and it hurts my brain to associate something nearly worthless with ...LOTR (how can I describe LOTR in a few words? Okay, for the purposes of this comparison, let's fill in the ... with "something with characters worth emulating").

I saw the movie with a couple girlfriends and I found it pretty funny (I'm too "old" to be shocked/disgusted by it). Of course, I laughed at the wrong parts. Oops. ^__^ Instead of going into how bad the dialogue was or how much I don't want any of the characters' lives, I will post this, which is probably the best criticism of SATC (ewww) ever written:
This article has made my morning.

I want to highlight this paragraph: "It’s the fertility treatment, plus the waiting until the late 30s, that does it: a whole portion of the world is now only coming into existence because of expensive treatments and pills, the desire to create a child after all those years of consumption, the sudden bursting-forth of an equation in the not-yet-maternal breast: child is fulfillment, not-child is emptiness, followed by a passionate desire to solve the equation, to put a baby on the right-hand-side of it and cancel out the emptiness denominator."

Something to ponder, and probably post about later. But for now I think I have the "I am somehow interested in it but I hate Sex and the City" out of my system enough to go get some work done.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Canada and ish

So I was reading up on the latest Democratic primaries ( at a Canadian news site, and some Canuck is like, America is one of the most conservative countries in the world!

Some people are so sheltered. That guy needs a hockey puck in the face. I don't think it's worth expounding too much on why America is not one of the most conservative countries in the world (for proof, just Google image "transvestite" and count how many were pics taken in the Village. Then count how many were taken in Riyadh.) but I just have to get this out of my system before I write back to my Canadian penpal/Facebook friend; he doesn't need to be on the receiving end of my twitchy rage.

Right, so, *growls*, *ROARS!*, *takes deep breath*...

A'ight, I'm good.

Well, maybe not. My mum was watching some secret lives of women show last night (if they're on TV, how are they secret, hmm?) about a woman who escaped a polygamist cult and is now trying to rescue her sister and other people. Obviously these cults are very disturbing and make me wish I'd taken up vigilantism, but they're also very confusing. I think someone like me would have been kicked out for being too obnoxious (as least I hope I would have been). I try to understand how people can go along with it; I say, "Oh, it's understandable if that's all they've been taught," but is it that hard to figure out when you're being mistreated? I guess it is. One of the women on the show didn't try to escape until her husband decided to kill their disabled child. It's funny (sad?) that so many people bitch about how unfair life is, that they have to go to work and wear pantyhose or whatever, and others aren't allowed to show affection for their 15 children but never say anything. Of course out in the "real world"/my world, bitching is sort of encouraged; not only being an individual but shoving your individuality in the faces of anyone unlucky enough to be stuck in an elevator next to you is normal. And naturally our environment influences how we act, what aspects of our personalities we display... but I really hope, and think, based on what a pain in the ass I was as a kid, that there might be a fewer polygamist men who are capable of reproducing, had I been born into a cult. And I'd probably be dead by now, but you know... I just like to think I would have taken a few down with me. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, in a Steven Seagal kind of way.

That kind of sounded wrong. Having thoughts like that is probably one of the many reasons I'm almost always single. But let's not get into that.

Yeah, I just hope I would have been brave enough. I know I could have been - it's the would have you never find out. Now I kind of get why my coworker is going to run with/from the bulls in Pamplona this year. Most of us are never tested or required to do what the woman who escaped from the polygamists did, and still does, even with all the death threats she receives. Most of us, like me and I guess my bull running coworker, Kojo, just don't have those kinds of challenges. So Kojo's gonna go throw himself into a stupid situation to find out, I guess, how he can handle it. I suppose it is important to find out what you're capable of.

Meanwhile, I'm like, you stupid idiot, if you're gonna do it you better start training now! And arrive early and memorize the streets and look for things to climb in case you're cornered, OMG!!!

And also meanwhile, I'm working on stories about girls with superpowers and girls who get tossed into other realms and almost get eaten, etc. I don't know how much excitement I want in my life (boring can be good) but after I do the whole serious pay off loan/take GRE/finish grad school thing, I might need to, I dunno, find a mission, so to speak. I don't think I really want to be Batgirl (I don't think...) but there's just too much crap going on in the world and if one can do something about it, one should (of course, one has to pick a thing or two to work on and there are just too many choices... human trafficking, polygamist cults, poverty, illiteracy...). If I were really brave, I'd be like my friend Bethany and go teach English in Cambodia. Well, I'll do something. Really, I will!

After I answer 50 emails and grade 7 more essays.