Muscle is Masculine & Wonder Woman isn’t Wonderful.

Firstly let me just say that this post is in no way meant to shame anyone for their body. It is more of a collection of thoughts than a rant and I just want to take a moment to note that men and women of all shapes and sizes are beautiful and that I do not personally believe there is a set ideal physique for either biological sex.

Last week I went to see the new Batman film at the cinema. Now, the release of the film has brought with it a revamp of the debate of the outfits that get assigned to men and women. I won’t get into it as it isn’t what I want to discuss, (I know, shock horror right?) but the basic gist is that many are outraged because the male superheroes are fully clothed whereas the female character is scantily clad. This same debate can be seen pretty much anywhere and, unfortunately for us women, is applicable to pretty much all aspects of life.

I also want to forget about the actors that were cast in this particular film and I want to think about the image of the superheroes themselves. Throw Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot out of your minds as this is not a comment on either of their physical appearances and nor will I have this post misconstrued as such.

What I want to think about is the physical appearances of the original male and female superheroes who feature in the film and by that, you guessed it, I mean mainly the female superhero. As is always the case, my focus here is on the female body. My issue is this, both Batman and Superman have large biceps, excellent pectorals and rippling abs. Wonder Woman does not.

I’m not going to pretend I have a lot of knowledge on comic book characters but, correct me if I’m wrong, the original Wonder Woman has an absolutely amazing muscular physique, does she not? WHERE IS IT?!

Being an amateur bodybuilder myself, I’m probably quite biased when it comes to this subject but I really cannot help but feel that, rather than adhering to the idealised stereotypes of what society considers to be “attractive” for men and women, the casting department or whoever was in charge should have considered a more, I’m going with the term “believable,” Wonder Woman.

The male superheroes are tall, broad and incredibly muscular; the female superhero is delicate and slim. There is nothing wrong with being delicate and slim, the actress who played the role did a great job and had a lovely figure HOWEVER the power and strength that make the male superheroes so super was reflected in their physical appearance. This was not the case for the female superhero.

Let’s be realistic, if a woman was to charge around at the speed of light wielding a huge shield and a sword that weighs more than she does then she is going to have some muscle. This was the opportunity to finally show that strong, muscular women are badass and beautiful but, unfortunately, it was missed. They simply sent out the message, once again, that muscle is masculine and women should not have it. Balls to that.

Image via Instagram.

Bad Feminist: Take Two

“At some point, I got it into my head that a feminist was a certain kind of woman. I bought into grossly inaccurate myths about who feminists are – militant, perfect in their politics and person, man-hating, humorless.

I bought into these myths even though, intellectually, I know better. I’m not proud of this. I don’t want to buy into these myths anymore. I don’t want to cavalierly disavow feminism like far too many other women have done.

Bad feminism seems like the only way I can both embrace myself as a feminist and be myself, and so I write. I chatter away on Twitter about the small things that make me angry and all the small things that bring me joy. I write blog posts about the meals I cook as I try to take better care of myself, and with each new entry, I realize that I’m undestroying myself after years of allowing myself to stay damaged.

The more I write, the more I put myself out into the world as a bad feminist but, I hope, a good woman – I am being open about who I am and who I was and where I have faltered and who I would like to become.

No matter what issues I have with feminism, I am a feminist. I cannot and will not deny the importance and absolute necessity of feminism. Like most people, I’m full of contradictions, but I also don’t want to be treated like shit for being a woman.

I am a bad feminist. I would rather be a bad feminist than no feminist at all.”

 

 

 

 

Dress Codes, Responsibility and Rape.

I’ve been thinking recently about the way that society regulates the female body by dictating what is considered to be appropriate clothing and what isn’t.

More specifically, I’ve been thinking about the way in which young females are policed at school through the use of a dress code that only seems to apply to one sex.

I understand that uniforms serve many purposes and that it is beneficial for students at a school to wear the same thing for various reasons. I also understand that schools want all of their students to dress “appropriately” for their age and that they do not want to contribute to the growing sexualisation of teenage girls.

What I don’t understand, however, is the long list of rules that dictate the appropriate dress for female students. I don’t understand the downright ridiculous uniform policies and I certainly don’t understand the reasoning behind them.

In many schools, fitted trousers are not considered to be appropriate because they show the female’s shape. In other schools showing your collarbones is not allowed. In most schools girls are not allowed to have their bra straps or bare shoulders visible, meaning that a basic vest top is considered to be inappropriate and too revealing for female students to wear.

Why aren’t girls allowed to show their shoulders, might you ask? Well, it’s because they will apparently be a distraction to male students.

Instead of teaching women from an early age that they must keep their body covered so that they do not distract boys, how about we start teaching boys to simply not sexualise every single inch of female flesh?

By imposing strict dress codes such as these, women are taught that keeping themselves covered so as not to tempt boys is the norm and that, essentially, the way that they dress is directly responsible for boys’ behaviour.

More worryingly about these dress codes is the fact that, in addition to leading women to believing they are responsible for the behaviour of men, they let young boys believe that they are not responsible for their own actions.

The behaviour of boys who objectify young girls based on what they’re wearing is commonly justified with phrases such as “boys will be boys” or “you know what boys are like.” This implies that boys have no self control and that it isn’t their fault if they falsely interpret a woman’s clothing as an invitation for sexual activity.

This message sticks with women into adulthood and feeds directly into rape culture. It is the woman’s job to ensure she does nothing to provoke sexual harassment or assault from a man. She should not go out late at night. She should not walk the streets alone. She should not wear revealing clothing. If she does, isn’t she kind of asking for it?

Instead of regulating women’s behaviour and clothing and holding them responsible for the behaviour of men, how about we start holding the men who objectify and attack women accountable for their actions?

Image via Instagram.

Where Is This ‘Friendzone’ You Speak Of?

I have recently developed an issue with the term “friendzone.”

If you check out the term “friendzone” on Urban Dictionary this is what it tells us:

What you attain after you fail to impress a woman you’re attracted to. Usually initiated by the woman saying, “You’re such a good friend”. Usually associated with long days of suffering and watching your love interest hop from one bad relationship to another. Verb tense is “Friend-ed”.
“I spent all that money on a date, just to find out she put me in the Friend Zone(said with eerie echo).”

“You know that hot girl I’ve been talking to? She just Friend-ed me.”

To me, this term seems to imply that a foolish woman has unfairly shoved a really sweet guy into a box labelled “we will never have sex.” It sets this “friendzone” up as a place where men are cruelly sent by heartless bitches who will never grant them access to what is inside their knickers.

How dare she?!

Surely by “friendzoning” a guy, a woman is doing nothing more than exercising her basic right to decide for herself who she has sex with.

The term seems to stem from the outrage experienced by men because a woman has had the sheer audacity to not find them attractive. The more I think about the fact this has now been given a name, the more ludicrous it seems to become.

Men do not have the right to fuck every single woman that they find attractive. Under no circumstances should women be made to feel guilty or shamed because they do not want someone’s penis inside them.

The entire existence of this imaginary place we have labelled as the “friendzone” is ridiculous and basically implies that men and women cannot be friends. Why? Well, if you are simply tolerating a friendship with a woman because you hope it will eventually result in sex with her then, I hate to break it to you, but that actually means you’re not her friend at all. It simply means you’re a douche.

Male and Female Sluts

I was recently speaking to a male friend of mine who confessed that he had two separate dates lined up for the coming weekend. As an afterthought at the end of our conversation he asked me not to mention it to anyone, (so yes I’m writing a blog post about it), because, get this, he didn’t want people to think he was a slut.

A man was concerned about being seen as a slut. I was shocked.

I have only ever met two men who have expressed concerns about being viewed as sexually promiscuous whereas it is a fear that is present in pretty much every woman that I know.

As a general rule, it is women who are slut shamed, not men.

A woman doesn’t even have to sleep with anyone in order to be labelled a slut. She could still be a virgin but God forbid if she has male friends, wears revealing clothes, wears a lot of makeup or speaks to the bloody milkman too often then she runs the risk of being called a slut.

Unfair as it is, a guy can go out and sleep with three random girls in one night and receive praise for his actions whereas if a woman went out and slept with just one random man, she would be called all kinds of names by people attempting to shame her for embracing her sexuality.

This is not the greatest example but let’s just compare the treatment of celebrities who have worked as strippers in the past. Look at the difference between the way the media and society treated Channing Tatum and Amber Rose, (I’m expecting my friends to be impressed that I know who she is), because of their past professions. Amber Rose was humiliated and shamed for having worked as a stripper but Channing Tatum was celebrated and two movies were made about it.

Surely other people are able to see the double standards here? Why is it seen as acceptable to shame one sex but not the other when they are basically behaving in the same way?

We should not be shaming anyone, male or female, for having more than one date in the same weekend. We should not be shaming anyone, male or female, for stripping. We should not be shaming anyone, male or female, for engaging in safe, consensual sex once in a while. As long as nobody is getting hurt, we shouldn’t be shaming anyone for doing anything, ever.

Image via Jamie Noella.

Bad Feminist

“For whatever reason, we hold feminism to an unreasonable standard where the movement must be everything we want and must always make the best choices. When feminism falls short of our expectations, we decide the problem is with feminism rather than the flawed people who act in the name of the movement.

The problem with movements is that, all too often, they are associated only with the most visible figures, the people with the biggest platforms and the loudest, most provactive voices. But feminism is not whatever philosophy is being spouted by the popular media feminist of the week, at least not entirely.

I openly embrace the label of bad feminist. I do so because I am flawed and human.

I have certain… interests and personality traits and opinions that may not fall in line with mainstream feminism, but I am still a feminist.

I embrace the label of bad feminist because I am human. I am messy. I am not trying to be perfect. I am not trying to say I have all the answers. I am not trying to say I’m right. I am just trying- trying to support what I believe in, trying to do some good in this world, trying to make some noise with my writing while also being myself: a woman who loves pink and likes to get freaky and sometimes dances her ass off to music she knows, she knows, is terrible for women and who sometimes plays dumb with repairmen because it’s just easier to let them feel macho than it is to stand on the moral highground.

When I was younger, I disavowed feminism with alarming frequency.

I disavowed feminism because I had no rational understanding of the movement. I was called a feminist and all I heard was, “You are an angry, sex-hating, man-hating victim lady person.”

This caricature is how feminists have been warped by the people who fear feminism most, the same people who have the most to lose when feminism succeeds.”

Exerpts from Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay.

 

 

Please Don’t Pay Me A ‘Compliment’

Why is it that when we try to pay a compliment to someone we always seem to focus on their physical appearance?

I realise that most of the time a person’s looks are the first and most obvious things we notice about them but this still doesn’t really justify our society’s obsession with looks and reducing people to their appearance.

We see it so often with catcalling, a man will make an unwanted comment on a woman’s physical appearance and if she doesn’t respond in the way he hopes she will he complains that he was just trying to “pay her a compliment”.

Here’s an idea, just don’t.

Personally, I don’t see being told I’m attractive as a compliment. In fact, I find it quite annoying. They can call me a bitch and tell me that they were just trying to be nice, I don’t care. Why should I be grateful that somebody finds me aesthetically pleasing? I don’t owe them anything because they noticed me.

Great, someone tells me I’m pretty. Then what? What am I meant to do with that information? All it tends to result in is an awkward interaction where they hope for my phone number and I hope they go away.

Let me make this very clear. Looks don’t mean anything.

I have no control over my physical appearance. In fact, my face is just about the only thing in life that I can’t change, (without drastic surgery, I mean). So, how about instead of trying to compliment me on something I can’t change, compliment me on something I have changed.

I have two degrees. Compliment me on my intellect. I donate to charities. Compliment me on my generosity. I’m goddamn hilarious. Compliment me on my wit.

Compliment me on my hard work. Compliment me on overcoming life’s obstacles. Compliment me on my achievements.

Do not reduce me to my physical appearance. Do not “compliment” me on the one thing I cannot control.

Image by Jake Stimpson via Flickr under this Creative Commons License.

The Problem With “Resting Bitch Face”

I recently read this blog post about the recent surfacing of the phrase “Resting Bitch Face,” or “RBF,” which is used to describe people whose faces naturally fall into intimidating and cold expressions when they are relaxed.

I say this describes “people” who are hard faced however what I really should have said is it describes women who are hard faced. Despite its widespread use I am yet to hear this expression used to describe a man.

I am constantly told I have RBF. When my face is relaxed I look irritated and unapproachable and those closest to me are not afraid to tell me so. Although I am a feminist, I hadn’t given much thought to the inherent sexism and double standards of the phrase before reading the aforementioned article. But now it seems glaringly obvious.

Firstly, let’s take the name “Resting Bitch Face”. Resting bastard face could have worked equally as well yet we opted for bitch face. Bitch.

I’m sure we are all aware by now that “bitch” is a negative term that tends to only be used to describe women, indicating that the phenomenon of RBF can also be linked specifically to women.

Can men get RBF? I guess not. I mean when a man’s natural expression makes him appear moody and intimidating this makes him more appealing to us, (think brooding and mysterious Heathcliffe or Rochester). People don’t assume he’s not a nice person. But me? I get asked whose murder I’m plotting.

One time over the recent festive period sticks out in my mind. It was Christmas Eve and I was lazing in front of the TV with some friends engrossed in whatever junk I was watching and digging into a massive tub of Ben and Jerry’s. Now it is rare I have this kind of downtime so I was absolutely in my element and the happiest I had ever probably been in a while. However, this internal joy clearly wasn’t reflected on my face as a few minutes into shovelling Peanut Butter Cup into my mouth my girlfriend told me I looked like a serial killer.

So, I may look unhappy when I’m caught off guard but seriously, I am not a Disney princess. I do not need to smile all the fricking time.

My point is that men do not have to smile all the time. They do not get asked if they are okay 10 million times a day. They do not get asked who just died. They do not get random people telling them it might not ever happen, or to smile.

Why are we expected to look physically appealing and attractive at all times? This is not something expected of men. Men are simply allowed to get on with their day. Men are not simply reduced to their physical appearance and treated like a little doll here to look nice.

The more I think about it, the more RBF seems to be yet another way to single out those women who do not conform to the feminine ideal that patriarchal society has constructed.

 

Image by Urban Dictionary.

5 Reasons We Should Stop Making PMT Jokes

This post follows a conversation I had earlier about people who crack jokes about PMT and women being on their periods simply because they have a mind of their own and disagree with something that has been said.

I hate these jokes. I could go on about them forever but, to summarise, I simply find them offensive, sexist, illogical and far from funny. In light of this I have compiled a list of 5 general reasons why I think we need to stop using these shitty jokes that belittle those women who dare to have opinions.

1. They are incredibly sexist. The entire premise of these jokes are formed on the basis that having a vagina makes women crazy. This is a notion that should have died alongside the concept of hysteria.

2. They don’t actually make sense. The majority of women experience changes in their hormones the week before their period. Hence the name “pre menstrual tension” with the “pre” part meaning before. Duh.

3. They aren’t funny. In fact they are now so overused they’ve become boring. Get some new material.

4. They aren’t very good comebacks and you should stop using them as such when you can’t find a valid point for the case you are trying to argue.

5. Following on from my last point, there is a high probability that the women you suspect might be menstruating actually aren’t and they’re only acting a certain way because you’re being a dick.

ALSO

For some reason the people who tell these jokes seem to think that only women have hormones. Men experience changes in their hormonal cycle up to five times per hour and are reportedly moodier and more aggressive during certain seasons, indicating that their testosterone levels alter in accordance to not just their own cycles but to environmental changes.

This means that, in actuality, men typically experience periods of unexplained moodiness, frustration and increased aggression more frequently than women do. Feel free to google this if you don’t believe me. I love science.

 

Image by Feral Godmother via Flickr under this Creative Commons License.