Tag Archives: feminists don’t laugh

10 Things I Do Not Own and 5 Things I Do, or, Messing With Stereotypes

10 Things I Do Not Own (and Yet Still Manage to Be a Woman)

1. Razors. Or Nair. Or wax. Or any form of depilatory.

2. Bathroom scale. (We do, however, own a kitchen scale. The Man uses it to bake bread.)

3. Wrinkle cream. Or cellulite cream. Or “age-defying” anything.

4. Underwire bra. (I was going to say “bra” at all, but I do technically own a couple soft/sports bras. I just never wear them, unless all my tanks are dirty. And sometimes, even when all my tanks are dirty? I don’t wear anything under my shirt at all.)

4.5 Matching bra and underwear set. Or anything that could be called “lingerie”.

5. Diet books. Or weight-loss cook books. Or calorie lists. Or anything from Weight Watchers.

6. High heels. (After shopping for this year’s Halloween, I do now own a pair. Since my Halloween party plans fell through, however, I have yet to wear them outside the house. Or in the house, except for ten minutes the day I bought them.)

6. Pantyhose/tights. (Though at 5’10″ and 300 pounds I likely couldn’t find any to fit me even if I tried.)

7. Hair spray. Or gel. Or mousse.1 Or a blow dryer. Or curling iron. Or flat iron. Or any hair-related appliance more complicated than a brush. (Though I do own two of those, and a comb.)

8. Purse. (When I say this, people ask me where I keep my Stuff, to which I reply, what stuff? so: )

8.5: Stuff. (I do own a knitting bag, though. Which holds all of my knitting stuff. And, since women’s clothing manufacturers decided Women Don’t Need Pockets, not even in comfy unstylish jeans, for fuck’s sake, it also holds my wallet. Except for when it doesn’t.)

9. Diamond ring, earring, necklace, bracelet…

9.5 Ear piercings in which one might wear diamond earrings (or not). Or, technically I did, for about six months when I was 20. Now I have tiny pin-point scars.

10. Anything that has ever been declared “this season’s must have”. Ever. Not even was-declared-so-five-years-before-I-bought-it, as far as I know.

And yet, somehow, I am still a woman.

5 Things I Do Own (and Yet Still Manage to Advocate for Gender Equality)

1. Makeup that costs more than $25 for one bottle. (Though I must confess, I’ve worn it all of twice. But that has far more to do with laziness than lack of slightly-more-often desire.)

2. A dress. More than one!

3. Knitting supplies. Lots of knitting supplies. Which I use to make things. For other people. Even for men.

4. High heels. (And I’m so looking for someplace to wear them. Any suggestions?)

5. A corset. (I used to have a strapless suede bustier, but the dang cat puked on it, and it was never the same.)

And yet, somehow, I am still feminist2 and advocate for gender equality.

***

The thing is, stereotypes are shit. If you don’t want to shave your legs or armpits or anywhere else, don’t. If you want to wax your genitals, go for it (though, um, OW?). If you don’t particularly want to go along with societally-imposed gender roles, but can’t afford the spoons or loss of social capital or risk to your job or the custody of your children or your life (especially if the gender assigned to you is not your gender, and especially if your gender is not even recognized by wider culture), then you have my sympathy and my solidarity in working to expand the options available to you.

You aren’t not-your-gender because you say “no thanks” to things society says your gender is supposed to own or do, and you aren’t not-a-gender-activist because you say “yes please” (or “fuck it, fine”) to any of those things either. It’s well and good to have conversations about the pressures people3 are under to conform to gender expectations, but if the end result of the conversation is not an increase in the options available and in acceptance for diversity in choices, then we’re doing something wrong.

So, if it’s your thing, shave your legs, skip your pits, buzz your hair, put on a slinky strappy dress and comfy flat shoes — and come dance with me.4

  1. Or, for that matter, shampoo. Baking soda/apple cider vinegar. Look it up.
  2. An adjective meaning “acts mostly in accord with the radical idea that women are people.”
  3. Both women and men — not to mention the pressure for everyone to neatly fall into the limited categories of “woman” or “man”.
  4. Or invite me over for D&D. I could go either way.

Sneak preview

I have in progress for your menstrual delectation the Big Fat Bloody Rag Review1, in which I review nearly a dozen cloth menstrual pad brands from three continents and at least four countries — but it’s going to take some work2, some picture-taking3, and some more testing4, so whilst you wait5 I offer you this:

That, my friends, is what happens when a child whose eyebrow is exactly the same height as a table tries to whip his head away, laughing6, encounters aforementioned table at a not particularly comfortable velocity, cries for an ice pack7, only for you discover you have nothing in which to put ice to apply to his rapidly-growing contusion8 — until you remember: you’re on the rag! And have with you, well, rags! Or expensive organic cloth pad inserts, and you’re going to call that the same difference. One handful of ice and two twists of a hair tie later, ta da! Instant analgesic in a toddler-friendly form.

Try doing that with disposables.

  1. Ok, so I’m still working on the title.
  2. The time for which I do not have.
  3. The camera for which I do not have.
  4. The menses for which I do still have, because the gods are kind like that.
  5. Because you’ve been waiting, right? Possibly even antici…pating?
  6. Because you are pretending to be a napkin monster coming to lick his face clean, of course.
  7. Not ice, mind you, but an ice pack, because now is the perfect time to be highly picky, thanks kid.
  8. Paper napkins apparently being not acceptable to the now-face-cleaning-traumatized child

International Hambeast Day

WHEREAS the author of the web-log site known as Raising My Boychick and located on the World Wide Web at http://www.raisingmyboychick.com (henceforth known as “The Author”) WAS KNOWN TO RECEIVE for the anniversary of the commencement of her extrauterine dwelling ONE (1) infestation (consisting of TWO [2] or more of said beings) of the sub-human being known on the World Wide Web as “trolls” (henceforth known as “Infestation” in the collective and “Douchebag” in the singular) and

WHEREAS said infestation included ONE (1) Douchebag calling The Author and the reader or readers of the web-log site Raising My Boychick “hambeasts” and

WHEREAS users of the micro-web-log site Twitter (henceforth known as “Followers” or “Tweeps”) declared to The Author — despite The Author’s assertions that the definition of “hambeast” that said Douchebag was using equaled “too fat to fuck” — that “hambeasts” sounds exceptionally delicious and

WHEREAS The Author was presented with ONE (1) gluten-free Hambeast Cake for The Author’s Hambirthday by ONE (1) of The Author’s Tweeps (see Appendix A) and

WHEREAS it is never prudent to indulge in pity when one can engage in levity and

WHEREAS it seemed like a damn good idea at the time

LET IT BE RESOLVED that henceforth the TWENTIETH (20th) day of the NINTH (9th) month of the Julian Gregorian calendar, also known as September 20th or 20 September, shall be known as

~~~INTERNATIONAL HAMBEAST DAY~~~

Cake for everyone!
Gluten free!
Kosher!
Vegan!
Tastes of ham!
But yummier!

Hambeast Cake

Yummy!

All blame and/or thanks for the above picture and the idea for IHD go to Lisa Hoang. Many additional thanks go to all of The Author’s Tweeps who made getting called a hambeast the best part of this year’s anniversary of extrauterine habitation. Y’all made my day.

Accept No Substitutions

By the time I publish this post, I will have been gluten-free for three weeks exactly. Since day three (and really since seriously contemplating the idea), I’ve been trying to write a Deep and Meaningful Post about fat acceptance, intuitive eating, diet culture, and food restrictions.

That is not this post.1

This post is because next week is my (and The Man’s) birthday. And I want cake.

I have been assured by many, from those far more experienced in this gluten-free gig than I to those who have merely dabbled because of a non-gluten-consuming acquaintance, that gluten free cake 1) exists, 2) isn’t that hard to make, and 3) is anywhere from very tasty to better than cake with wheat.

“But!” protests my inner nine year old, desperate for her father’s signature and traditional angel food, “it won’t be the same!”

Let me tell you about my birthdays:

I was born at about 41 weeks, just five days before my brother’s was to turn seven years old. I was trying to hang on and wait to be a Very Special Birthday Present for him, so the family story goes, but my reckless mother just had to skip her daily nap and stay out all night2 dancing, and I, fed up, came early3, dancing out of her at 7:30am the next day, contributing directly to my lifelong displeasure with mornings.

And every birthday ever after that4, my father labored in the kitchen, carefully separating eggs, measuring sugar and cream of tartar5, and sifting — sighs with longing — white (wheat) flour.

You have to understand: my dad does not bake. He “cooks” for a certain value of “cook” equaling “heat unflavored hunk of meat to carbon-crusted dryness and, if feeling ambitious, add sides of microwaved plain peas and baked Russet potatoes.” I don’t think I’ve seen him so much as spoon pre-fab cookie dough onto a baking sheet in my life.

But every year, at least once, often once per birthday per member of the household, he baked angelic angel food. Fluffy, moist, never too sweet, airy but never excessively bubbly, so light and sticky even the special angel food cake fork-cutter6 threatened to squish it — angelic.

If you have never had real homemade angel food, and think only of that store-bought white cake masquerading as it, I weep for you. Heaven weeps for you.

I used to help him, when I was deemed old enough and coordinated enough. It was from him I learned the secret of separating eggs, of cracking the shell without breaking the yolk, and by him was taught the cardinal rule: Never Separate Over the Mixing Bowl. Always drain each white into its own small dish, and only when perfectly collected, with nary a hint of yolk, then add to the rest for eventual whipping.

(We never did figure out what to do with all those yolks. Ever year we had ambitions, looked up recipes, but still, sometime in November, looking for room for the Thanksgiving leftovers, we’d find a bowl with cracked yellow crust, remains of the set-aside baby-chick-food-sacks, and we’d cluck our tongues over the waste, and vow to not forget them next year. But we always would.)

Eventually, with several flops along the way7, I assumed the mantle. I made angel food that surpassed the master’s. We’d argue over who would make whose birthday cake, and sometimes I’d win (and I’d make it), and sometimes he’d win (and I’d make it) — but always, always it was angel food. We wouldn’t even bother asking whether, only who and when.

It’s been a few years since I had a birthday at my natal home, and almost as many since I’ve had angel food cake. The past three birthdays, in deference to the pretense that we feed the Boychick exclusively whole foods, I’ve made darn good carrot cake. And it is, indeed, darn good. But it’s not angelic.

I’m pretty sure I could make a just-as-yummy carrot cake using gluten-free substitutions. I’ve been sent gluten free recipes for vanilla cupcakes that make me drool, and for lemon meringue that tempts me to follow the lead of The Man’s best friend, who had pies instead of cake at their wedding. But perhaps precisely because there is no substitute for real wheaty gluteny angel food, it is exactly and only what I’ve been thinking about, lusting for, drooling in memory of in the weeks leading up to my birthday.

And don’t even try to tell me you can make an “angel food cake” gluten free. I will laugh in your face, and then fend you off with Medusa’s comb. It’s like people who tell me to just use carob instead of chocolate8; why remind oneself of the bliss one cannot have with a pathetically inadequate substitute? With each morsel crumbling cruelly in my mouth, taunting me with its mimicry of perfection, reaching toward but falling so very short of the heaven I once knew — how could I not but cry? Better to do without. If you can’t eat the one you love, love the one you eat. Or something like that.

So that is what I am thinking of as I start the fourth week of life without gluten, in these last days of my 29th year9: birthday parties in the home I grew up in; baking with my dad; angel food cake. Things I cannot have anymore, and love without reservation anyway.

What will you accept no substitutions for, culinary or otherwise?

——————————

  1. Everything in this post is true. Some of it even happened.
  2. I.e. 9pm.
  3. For a certain definition of early which may not appear similar to a 41 weeks pregnant woman’s definition.
  4. Or 7 or so of the next 20.
  5. I’ve always wondered: what IS a tartar, and why is its cream a powder?
  6. Imagine a comb for Medusa.
  7. We Do Not Speak of the half-uncooked, half-unmixed disaster. It was still tasty, though, damnit.
  8. Chocolate gives me migraines, yes it sucks, no you couldn’t survive because I am far stronger willed than you, and yes I might have had this conversation a time or two (thousand) before, but no of course I’m not bored of it, pass the bean dip please.
  9. I will be 28 for one more week, so this is my 29th year. Don’t blame me, I didn’t design mathematics.

It’s time for an exciting round of fat-phobic bingo!

Bingo — wherein we all grab a bingo card filled in with heard-them-a-thousand-times hateful tropes instead of numbers — is one of the activist’s most powerful resources, because it lets us mock and laugh at the hate and ignorance we encounter ever day. There’s nothing bigots hate more than when we’re too busy laughing to be hurt by their douche-ass words.

To that effect, grab a fat-hate bingo card (or two — or have a screen-reader friendly version of both), and settle down for this absolute GEM of a comment from Steve, left today on my post On fatphobia, thin privilege, and “eat a sandwich!”. If I view it as performance art, I can marvel at its near-perfection as an embodiment of bigotry thinly (haha!) disguised as allydom.

(But trigger warning for fat hate, for realz y’all. Be in a happy place if you are to read on. Because I might laugh and call it “art”, but this is how some people really feel about us. But if you’ve the spoons, the urge for disbelieving chuckles, and a big pile of baby-flavoured donuts1 at hand, read on…)

My girlfriend is a size two. 35-24-35. Blonde, smart as a whip, dual Masters, saves every dime she makes and has the bank account to show for it. Confident, conversant in dozens of subjects, athletic, teaches professional dance. She gets almost anything she wants out of anyone she comes in contact with. But if not for her size 2 size all the rest of her attributes wouldn’t open the doors and get her the treatment she recieves [sic]. Give her a Michelin midriff, two chins, canklets, flabby arms, sausage fingers and a butt that enters the room 5 seconds after she does and the sledding gets infinitely tougher. Big women can have their increased risk of cardio-vascular disease, diabetes, lower joint aches and wear. Let them be happy with forever looking for flattering clothes. Let them sit at home while hills are being climbed, marathons being run. I know men with large partners and the list of worries and frets they’re subjected to numbers a hundred items to every one my girl presents me. Diets, counting calories, jealousies and insecurities. Thin is better. Much better. And those jabs she occasionally gets about being “too thin”? Silent deflection, resting assured the critic fervently wishes she could crawl inside her skin.

Translation:

I have a Most Favored Possession, I mean, girlfriend (who is probably made of rubber and wishful thinking, but shh), which proves that I have a Very Big Penis, and let me start by telling you about her physical dimensions, because I KNOW that’ll be a hit on a size-acceptance blog, and will prove the size of my exceptionally large schlong! She is So Very Perfect in every way conceivable that I have allowed her the honor of being my Most Favored Possession, I mean, girlfriend! And some of these accomplishments which I have so carefully detailed for you even though they are not mine come much easier for her because she’s so perfectly thin! And I say this so you know that I am an ally, so you will not mind when I continue next with my graphic and hateful description of anyone who is not like my Most Favored Possession, I mean, girlfriend! Because unimaginative and highly exaggerated stereotypes are funny, ammirite?? Now I will toss out some well-known “facts” (who cares about science, the media say them so they’re TROOO!) showing my pity for anyone whom I consider too fat to fuck, because pity proves that I am a good person! Also fat chicks are lazy and have never done anything active in their entire lives ever! And some poor doods have to date these slobs because their dicks are tiny, unlike mine! Those fools have to put up with the consequence of fat-hatred and a lifetime of food policing which of course would never ever affect my Most Favored Possession, I mean, girlfriend because she is so perfectly thin and thin women never have problems or body image issues, ammirite?? And when my Most Favored Possession, I mean, girlfriend does get mean comments, it is only because every fat chick secretly wants to be thin so that I will want to bone her! Fat blows! Can I have a cookie now?

Who’s got bingo? I wanna see proof in the comments, people!

  1. “Q. What the hell is a baby-flavored donut?
    A. The typical fatty’s snack of choice, on account of how we all love donuts more than anything in the world, and also, we’re evil. Obvs.” — From the FAQ at Shapely Prose
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