LET TITTIES BE FREE!
BURN YOUR BRAS.
…but I like my bras. :(
WELL THEN WHIP YOUR BRA BACK AND FORTH.
Not to be the Debbie Downer here, but um? My bra is not a patriarchal constraint. It’s something keeps me comfortable and able to exercise and move around without SEVERE BACK PAIN.
For those of human beings of any gender stripe with large breasts, bras, binders and other such articles of clothing can be goddamn lifesavers, okay? They can both support a person so that they can have better posture and allow someone to have the body shape they prefer that makes THEM feel good.
I wear a DD-cup bra. I even wear my bras to bed because it’s so uncomfortable for me to do otherwise that I won’t be able to sleep. I once tried going a day without a bra and that included doing rather leisurely exercise. Afterwards? My breast physically ached and my back was killing me. I had to down a double dose of Aleve just to get through it.
When I wear a bra to give me support, I can actually feel comfortable in moving around, exercising, and doing other things that I like to do. It lets me do it without wrecking my spinal column.
I’m not going to tell other people that they need a bra if they don’t feel like they do. If your body is such that you can shed the brassiere and go around in complete comfort, power to you. And I certainly won’t nay-say any other person who wants to take off the over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders and fling them to the wind. Not everyone NEEDS a bra.
But some bodies do. My body does.
So please don’t call this thing that enables me to FUNCTION HAPPILY a patriarchal constraint because even if there were no patriarchy, I’d still wear a bra. Because it would still make my life easier and more comfortable and more functional.
Go and read this and signal-boost it. Because honestly, if you or anyone you know (of) has ever asked about, for example, why it’s offensive when white people don Native American-styled headdresses or clothing or why sugar skulls at Halloween - this is a good answer.
“All you’ve done is prove to them that I’m a meaningless secretary, and you’re a humorless bitch”
- Joan Holloway
“The Summer Man”, Madmen
I come here to sing the praises of those humorless bitches (or bastards, or whatever word best defines a person) who’ve been practicing the fine art of NOT taking a joke and getting nothing but shit for it. The ones who don’t laugh, who don’t even crack a begrudging smile when somebody’s humor gets vicious, mean, and cruel. The ones who stand up and walk away, who say “not cool”, who whistleblow, who keep a straight face and let their dissent be known. I’m here to sing the praises of the knights who say “No!”.
I’m talking about those people who when told “oh, it was just a joke” or “it was supposed to be funny!” or “get a sense of humor, geez!” when they stand up and tell others that no, that joke isn’t funny. That joke about fat people or that comedy sketch that reinforces stereotypical, oppressive ideas about people of color or the one that turns rape and abuse of women into punchlines (there’s a kind of irony in it being called a “punchline” in such a circumstance).
A lot of these people (I’m one, sometimes) get accused of being too serious, of having no sense of humor, of being a stick in the mud who ruins everyone’s good time by having to point out that, no, actually, it isn’t funny when you tell a joke about Muslims where Muslim = Terrorist and you misquote and misconstrue large parts of a belief system for the amusement of the ignorant, who take sacred names in vain or decide that the actions of a mere handful of individuals stands for the attitudes of millions. Nor is it any funnier when you send it around in an email in large, bright blue comic sans font forwarded from a long line of people who seem to enjoy such things.
I’ve spent my life being told to just smile and nod when someone says something that hurts me, or that is offensive, because it’s supposed to be funny. And the intent of the joke teller is more important than whether it’s actually funny to me. If I feel like crying rather than laughing, because it brings up the bullying I experienced in school, or the trauma I’ve seen friends suffer, there’s something wrong with me.
I’ve lived a life being told, essentially, that what people may not feel free to say openly and in all seriousness, they can get away with under the guise of comedy, and that I’m supposed to take it. That comedy and humor and jokes are a free-for-all, where everyone is game and if you don’t want to be part of that game, if you don’t want someone to use your body, your race, your religion, your gender, your life, your very self as an object of ridicule, as a means to amuse others, then you’re the problem - not the person who thinks that reinforcing prejudice to the sound of laughter and applause is admirable.
Because humor is a way of telling truths, and when a person tells these hurtful jokes or uses comedy in such a way, they’re telling the truth of their own hatred and looking to get positive feedback for it.
I can tell you right now that the people who tell fat jokes are the people who also make very serious remarks about why I shouldn’t be allowed to fly on an airplane or why I’m the cause of all the health care problems in my country (the U.S., FYI). The people who tell jokes about Latino and Hispanic people are the ones who support such tragic fuckery as the immigration laws in Arizona, and the ones they hope to pass in other states.
I’ve lived in such states, and the people who used to try to tell me jokes about “There was a Mexican man, a Black man, and a white man” are the ones now nodding their heads in agreement with Tea Party rhetoric, the ones who whisper to me, “Have you heard how this nice neighborhood over there has become infested with illegal immigrants?” when describing a slight influx of Latino people - using the language you’d use for a COCKROACH infestation to describe human beings, and assuming that because of their race that they can’t possibly be U.S. citizen, or that they were ever given a fair shot at being citizens.
Such jokes are funny to a person precisely because they hold such bigoted attitudes towards the objects of the joke, not in spite of open-minded, accepting ones.
You know what, I’m done with this “anything goes” theory of humor and comedy. I’m done with people who think that because they have the privilege to laugh at certain things rather than feeling them as the all too real attacks that they are that I should laugh with them.
So I sing your praises, you brave and humorless bitches. All of you. I come to tell you that I’m with you. That’s you’re right. It’s not funny and it’s not harmless. It’s not all in fun, not for the people who are hurt by those attitudes.
Because it’s those who stand up and say that it’s not funny who REALLY make me smile.
In case my last reblog/post thing confused you re: the model in the roses, what the fatphobic yogurt ad was playing on was the poster image for the 1999 film American Beauty, which looked like this:
[Image: A pale skinned, very thin young woman - actress Mena Suvari - laying naked on a bed of rose petals. Rose petals cover her breast and torso.]
And which a Brazilian yogurt company parodied in this image:
[Image: A larger, very curvy medium skinned woman laying naked on a bed of rose petals. Rose petals cover her breasts and crotch area. The original Portuguese text reads: Esqueça o gosto dos homens nunca mudar. Iogurte Fit Light. This translates in English to: Forget it, the tastes of men never change. Yogurt Fit Light. Apologies if I’ve transcribed the Portuguese wrongly. The translation comes from several sources.]
The purpose of such an ad, which not only evokes the original image, is to make a sharp contrast in the mind of viewers and ostensibly to prove that if you prefer the thinner version (Mena Suvari’s body), that men will and the beauty of a woman’s body, obviously, is measured in how attractive she is to men.
Even if we’re generous in our interpretation of the ad and it’s about showing how it doesn’t matter how well a fat woman keeps herself, how attractive she is to herself, how happy and otherwise good looking - men will never prefer a fat woman, so she might as well give up the ghost on thinking fat can be beautiful and eat this yogurt so that she can be the real deal and not just the sad imitation.
In other words: give up your delusions of self esteem, and eat this yogurt so you can be actually pretty.
So, yeah. Body policing, misogyny, and fatphobia (not to mention doses of cissexism and homophobia in the implication that women obviously will be straight and care what men think or that anyone with a female-presenting body WANTS to be thought of as a woman in the first place.)
Aside from the backfiring nature of the ad, because that woman is so hot that I had to go look up the Google Translation of “Fuck me, beautiful woman” in Portuguese. Google says it’s “Foda-me, mulher bonita” but I don’t trust Google.
The original point of it is to pit a thin woman’s body against a fat woman’s body for the purposes of demeaning the fat woman. It’s a tactic that other companies have tried in the past, including Bacardi, though the U.S. corporate headquarters claims that it was an Israeli affiliate that did it and they didn’t know. I don’t know about you, but if a company ACTUALLY celebrates diversity rather than bullshitting for the sake of PR, don’t you think that would be clear enough to their affiliates that they wouldn’t come up with ads that contradict the philosophy of their parent company?
And before any U.S.-ian identified person thinks that this is some problem with a backwards country (backwards being “not the U.S. or maybe Canada or England, maybe” in many minds), keep in mind that just a couple of months ago, Gap made sure to remind people that their legs were ugly with an ad saying: Put some pants on! Because we can’t all look good in shorts.
The thing that’s sad about this is that the yogurt companies have done and what Gap did are just more overt examples of what seems to be the single most popular advertising strategy in the U.S. (and many other places), which is to pit women against women, making sure that the “fat” ones feel bad and the thin/medium/non-obese/overweight ones stay chastised and wary of what can happen to them if they stray outside the lines of socially excepted beauty.
It makes me think of Madmen episodes I’ve watched where there are bunch of men in a room thinking up ideas for products to sell to women - especially the episode where, in trying to sell (IIRC) cold cream, the older male advertiser insists to Peggy that women just want to get married, that the key to success is in making them think that this cold cream will help them get married.
And it makes me think, “Wow. We’re not nearly as far from the 1960’s as we want to believe.” - which of course should indicate that I’m a fairly privileged woman because I think here in the U.S. there are a lot of people (GLB+ folks, trans people, non-binary people, people of color, disabled people, etc) who can tell you that there are many places where it’s still 1965.
It all boils down to a society where selling to women involves slapping them in the face first, or slapping their friends, sisters, coworkers, teachers, partners, and others and then making sure to waggle a finger and say, “Hey, this could happen to you. Straighten up, fly right, get thin, be pretty, be straight, be cis, be light/white.”
And in the face of such absurd woman-hating, I think this is an appropriate image in ways both metaphorical and literal:
[Image: A Lego figurine of a stormtrooper from Star Wars laying in a bed of red circles meant to represent rose petals with circle-petals covering the Stormtrooper’s chest and crotch area.]
Because let’s face it, folks. The kind of hate-on society has for women (which includes teaching women to tear themselves and each other down so the patriarchy can sit back, prop its feet up and have a drink) really is kind of like a bunch of stormtroopers who not only like to bust out at you when you’re just on a Diplomatic Mission to Alderaan, but when you turn on the TV or try to buy some clothes or want to eat a meal or, hell, just look at yourself in the mirror. Because if they can’t blow up your home planet, they’ll at least try to blow up your self worth and your ability to respect and treat other human beings well.
Now *THAT’S* the motherfucking Dark Side right there. Because just like this ad, fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate and hate leads to more goddamn ads.
However many it takes to conquer, pillage, destroy and control various non Empire populations and cultures in order to get a ton of extra resources to create the lightbulb from scratch and then use slave labor to screw it in.
And at least 7 to wank about “reverse racism”
So, a really valid question/point came up in some of the reblogs to my reblog about this hot mess over here.
And you know what, it’s absolutely true that a lot of women (value for women: those who identify themselves as women) shave or do other things just because they like it, not because they feel pressure or think they “have” to, but because they just happen to like having non-hairy legs or arm pits or other things. I know that part of my reason for shaving my own legs is that the feeling of stubbly/hairy legs rubbing against my jeans just really, really annoys me. In fact, it’s kind of a thing where it sets me off and I feel uncomfortable and itchy all day, especially on warm days.
It doesn’t make me a traitor to feminism/womanism or any other woman-empowering movement I might identify with. It doesn’t make anyone else a traitor or a self-loathing woman to do so, either. Feminism/womanism should never EVER be a source of shame for a woman. If it is, it’s not the individual woman in question who is doing it wrong, it’s whoever is wrongly applying the principles of a movement meant to empower women.
Because the point of feminism/womanism ought to be giving women not only the legal freedom, but social freedom to choose what they damn well want to choose without being policed or harassed or pressured because they identify as women and thus, are subject to a society where women MUST follow certain unwritten societal rules and standards. It means that shaving or not shaving should not come with consequences and judgements, with shame or with the weight of the opinions of others. It shouldn’t be a catch-22 where one way means you’re facing the blast of sexism and the other means you face accusations that you’re aiding and abetting, co-conspiring with the very oppression that you live under.
It means being a woman should not be a zero-sum game or a lose-lose situation. EVER.
And if my previous reblog made someone feel like they were being judged or were somehow doing it wrong because they shave or do any other thing. My bad. Not your bad. You read what you read, and your experience of that is valid. My bad for not being clear.
So, no, shaving doesn’t make you anything but a woman who doesn’t want hair on a certain part of her body at a certain time for her own reasons which are nobody’s damn business.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where others don’t see it that way and thus, there are a lot of women out there who do feel intense pressure concerning their bodies or beauty/hygiene/self-care and if those women do express anxiety and stress about those things, the answer is not to tell them to relax while calling them “females”, as though being a woman is inextricably linked to chromosomes and genitalia that are traditionally identified as “female”. HINT: Plenty of women do not possess these things. They are still women because THEY IDENTIFY THEMSELVES AS WOMEN and that’s all that counts.
Recognize and respect them or get the fuck out.
The pressure and policing women feel is A REAL EXPERIENCE that we live through, though our experiences vary woman to woman depending on other intersecting identities. Telling us to “relax” is basically another form of “stop whining”, another way of dismissing the reactions and feelings and realities in which we live. It’s just another jerk on the street telling us to smile, because it’s more convenient to pressure women not to show the effects (large or small) that sexism has on them, not to show the thousand tiny cuts or the large gaping wounds, than it is to GET RID OF THE SEXISM AND MISOGYNY THAT CAUSED THEM. Because for those people, that’s more comfortable and to hell with what it feels like for women. They should just relax. Ride a bike, eat some pizza, ignore their own pain and don’t spill their blood, sweat, or tears on someone’s nice new carpet in the House that Sexism Built.
In case someone out there was wondering if I’d disappeared? I’m in Nashville right now for my bestest best friend’s wedding, and I’m the maid of honor (yay!) and since plane tickets are unbelievably expensive and the hubs and I like roadtrips anyway, we decided just to drive the distance and visit some of my southern relatives along the way. Bet you didn’t know I’m actually a Southern girl, did you? (Yep, raised in a small Tennessee town all my life).
So that’s why I’ve not been posting or reblogging or anything for the last week or so, because, well, Epic Roadtrip also comes with Epic WiFi Shortages. Don’t worry sweet justice and pretty things will resume once I’m home again in queens.
Anyway, we’re having a really wonderful time here in Nashville. My best friend, Ms. S and her fiancee, Ms. J, have completely turned their backyard into this utter wonderland, and I squeed when I first saw it. I may have to put some pics up (with their permission) to show the world just how rocking their self-made wedding venue is.
Oh, and if anyone is ever traveling to Music City and needs a good lesbian/gay bar? I completely endorse the Lipstick Lounge in East Nashville. There’s even karaoke. Some utter goddess did Etta James and people were coming up to the stage to worship her. It was spectacular. Oh, and the chicken wings? Spectacular. Also, they make some great drinks.
So, just in case anyone really wanted to know about my personal life and why I’m not posting or what not, there you go.
I’m really flattered that you liked the post. And sure, I’d love to x-post it on your site. Please tell me how I can do that. Sorry for the late reply, I’m at my BFF’s wedding we’ve been having such a blast with her and her bride-to-be that I’ve barely had time to check email.
So anyway, let me know what you need me to do, and btw, I checked out your site. I really love it and I’m definitely going to be following your tumblr/site as well!