Happy Birthday Jennifer Lawrence, and thanks for being a role model

You go girl

You go girl

I don’t like to glorify celebrities as role models for young girls. Little girls are encouraged to look up to pop stars and actresses who are famous for their looks, instead of scientists, authors or other professionals who use their minds to make a difference. However, the fact reminds that a lot of emphasis is put on how women look, so little girls do need positive role models when it comes to appearance, and Jennifer Lawrence definitely fits the bill.

If I had to describe Lawrence in one word it would be awesome. She portrays badass characters like Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games and Elissa from House at the End of the Street. She is incredibly fit, but unlike many Hollywood celebrities she isn’t sickly thin or in the business of starving herself. She’s said in interviews that when she gets in shape for a part she aims for looking healthy and strong, not stick thin, which is a wonderful example to be setting for the young girls who will be hanging on her every word.

Lawrence acknowledges that by Hollywood standards she is overweight (which is ridiculous in its own right) but you know what? She doesn’t give a shit.

There should be more actresses like Jennifer Lawrence, both in the talent department, and in the way she handles her responsibility to her viewers and her own body.

 

See more positive female role models 

Read about awesome female literary characters

 

Camp Gyno

So, this is probably the most feminist ad ever produced.

In a world of menstrual shaming, ambiguous blue liquid, and eighteen-year-old actresses portrayed as “shocked” by their first period, this commercial is completely refreshing. Not only does it say forbidden words like “vagina,” vag,” and “menstrual” cycle, it also alludes to the actual color of menstrual blood (red. Duh. Like all blood. Why is this so shocking and offensive?) and stars 10-12-year-olds. It is accurate, revolutionary and hilarious. Is this a turning point for tampon and pad commercials?

Feminism should feel like your favorite bra

As a busty lady, I love my bras. It is the only article of women’s clothing that has true integrity. It is less about creating flattering angles and slimming my body and more about making sure I don’t throw out my back while trying to lug around my colossal fleshy orbs of womanhood. My slacks may betray me by tightening over night, and my blouses may pouf in an unflattering way or treacherously display too much cleavage when I’m not looking, but I can always rest assured that my bra has my back (well, technically front, but you know what I mean). So in love am I with my wide supportive straps, heroic under wire  and spacious cups that whenever I hear women express disdain for bras, I have to assume that they are victims of the wrong bra. Because as much as putting on the right bra feels like sliding your boobs into a comfy La-Z boy armchair made just for them, the wrong bra feels like shoving the girls into an ant hill made out of dry sand and those little T-shaped plastic tags that hide in your clothing and stab you in the ass all day. Understandably, a bra like that is bound to turn off any female, but any woman who has experienced the boob-balancing bliss that is the right bra could never speak an ill word against those over-sized slingshots.

Feminism is a lot like a bra. It exists to support women, it makes some men uncomfortable, and I can’t imagine navigating the world as a woman without it. It used to come as a surprise to me that so many women refused to identify as feminists. After all, what kind of deranged masochist would be against their own rights and liberation? But I’ve since learned that a very small percentage of women are actually such deranged masochists; most anti-feminist females have simply encountered the wrong kind of “feminism.” So to clear up two misunderstandings at once, I’m here to tell you three things that good bras and good feminism have in common.

 

feminism definition

IT FITS ALL OF YOU

You know what sucks? Double bubble. The phenomenon of your breasts rising like a puffy souffle over your too-small cups. It’s not comfortable, not flattering, and it’s enough to make a woman resent every time she’s forced to wear a bra, because no one likes a garment that simply doesn’t fit. Incidentally, no one likes a political philosophy that doesn’t fit either, which is how so many women get scared away from feminism.

But what causes double bubble in feminism? Mainly bully-feminists (or hipster-feminists). These embarrassing byproducts of the movement are people who want to keep feminism exclusive, which is oxymoronic for a set of ideals designed to make society inclusive. That, or they think that feminists can only come in one flavor. They will say things like “you can’t be a feminist if you’re a Christian,” or “you can’t be a feminist if you’re pro-life,” or a republican or love the color green, and other such nonsense. The truth is, feminism is not an exclusive club. It is for men, women, liberals, conservatives and communists. You can wear a burqa and be a feminist. You can live by whatever beliefs you want, and as long as you’re not trying to take liberation or options from other women based on your beliefs or anything else, you can be a feminist. A bra that squishes half of your boob out of the cup isn’t a good bra, and a feminist who wants to play the “I’m more feminist than you” game isn’t a good feminist.

Feminists are meant to be human bras, not douche bags.

IT DOESN’T PINCH

Or scratch or give you a weird rash on your back.

The point is feminism should never hurt anyone. It’s not about dominating men or making a certain type of woman feel inferior to other types. It’s not about denouncing religions or cultures– just some of the primitive harmful practices that may come with them.

Now, that isn’t to say that being a feminist will never have unpleasant consequences, because it almost certainly will. There are misogynists who seek out feminists to harm and demean them; that’s why we need feminism in the first place. But if someone snapped the strap of a perfectly good bra against your back are you going to blame the bra or the asshole who snapped it?

IT SUPPORTS YOU

It aids the parts of you that are all female. It prevents the potential pain that your womanhood could cause. It makes it safer to jog down the street. These are all statements that are true about both bras and feminism. In short, both should be all about supporting you. 

I hate the perception that feminism is just for a certain kind of woman– that idea itself is very anti-feminist. You see, feminism was created to free woman from their narrow boxes of existence, not unpack them and shove them into new boxes. Feminism is for the business women, the housewives, the stay at home moms, the single moms, the women that don’t want to be moms at all. Feminism is meant to be the perfect bra of woman-kind. Let’s keep it that way.

And because I love her, here's a related quote from Caitlin Moran.

And because I love her, here’s a related quote from Caitlin Moran.

FOR FUN: OTHER THINGS BRAS AND FEMINISM HAVE IN COMMON

  • Neither have the potential to destroy families, society or democracy
  • Both are awesome
  • Neither are signs of the impending apocalypse
  • Men have no reason to be frightened of either of them
  • Neither are anything to be ashamed of
  • Both are machine washable

Where the heck have I been?

Would it be too much of an understatement to say I’ve been a little absent lately?

I know, aside from re-posting article I’ve written for other publications, I haven’t messed with this thing much at all. Before I begin to explain myself, I want to think all of the old readers who have continued to check back and nag me about updating, and also to the new readers who saw the old time stamps but checked out the content anyway. You guys seriously rock.

Now why haven’t I been posting? For the last few year, I was in charge of my college newspaper. It was fun, rewarding and gave me some wonderful job experience, but it was also demanding of my time, energy and sanity– add on top of that that I was a full time student and working a second job at another newspaper, and I didn’t have a lot of spare time.  As much as I love this blog and the incredible feedback it received when it was more active, when I did have free time, the last thing I wanted to do was write. It’s hard to come home and get the motivation to write about things I love when I spend all day pouring my energy into writing things I don’t necessarily care about.

Since I graduated and left my job at the paper, I’ve been slowly flexing the creative muscles that have to be stilled for news writing, and I’ve been putting all of my energy into working on my novel, which also got jilted favor of the paper. Though I’m ready to get this thing back up and running, I still intend to reserve a generous chunk of my time to my creative writing, because that’s where my true passion is. (Yes, yes, I know; every twenty-something wannabe blogger is ‘working I’m a novel.’ I’m a cliche, sue me.)

All that being said, I do want to start posting again at least weekly! I have a lot of ideas saved up, and I hope in time my readers will all come trickling back. I know, I’ve hurt you before, but I’ve changed, I swear!

Classic lit. meets modern dystopia: A must read feminist fiction

Classic lit. meets modern dystopia: A must read feminist fiction

Check out this book review I wrote for The Broadside. It’s about Hillary Jordan’s dystopian novel, When She Woke. This is a must read for lovers of classic literature, dystopian novels and, more importantly, advocates of women’s issues. The book portrays a startling realistic look at what the future for women could be if we don’t encourage feminism.

Birth control is a girl’s best friend

This ring is more valuable than any diamond.

Along with men, women all over the nation are locking their gun cabinets against the threat of gun control. However, many of those same women are oblivious as their true greatest form of self defense is at risk of being stolen right out of their purses and bathroom cabinets.
The fact is, babies–those bouncing bundles of joy– aren’t always a blessing; an unplanned birth can be the most effective shackle of all. Quicker than anything else, a baby can derail a woman’s career–or whatever other pursuits shave may have that involve the dedication of many hours–often permanently. Birth control, particularly “the pill” and other forms that women issue to themselves, allows women to have control over their own bodies, and therefore their own lives. They can decide when to have a baby, or to never have one at all.  It allows them to pursue a career with nothing tying them to the house, free from the obligations of a child or needy infant. It allows them to be free.
The women’s movement would have been nothing but wishful thinking without the introduction of the pill in the 60s (long before the sexual revolution, mind you). Women were increasingly expressing dissatisfaction with their lives, which revolved mainly around their home and children. Women wanted to enter the workforce, but they were kept caged by unplanned for pregnancies, and then the obligation to raise the resulting children. The pill was the key that unlocked that cage. At that time, abortion and full-time childcare weren’t likely options for most women, but finally preventing pregnancy all together was an option. Not only that, but it allowed women in poverty to better their situation, without the addition of more crying little mouths to feed. The birth control pill was the magic little pill that freed women from their homes, soothed the headache of the the impoverished, lessened unwanted pregnancies and made equality between the sexes a conceivable (no pun intended) future. And yet there are those who want to limit accessibility to or ban completely this miracle cure.

The real problem with birth control

There are so many straw man anti-birth control arguments floating around these days that the entire nation has hay fever. I’m sure you’ve heard most of these:

  • Birth control encourages promiscuity
  • Birth control is a threat to the family structure (just like feminism, homosexuality and that damn rock and roll music)
  • Birth control violates religious freedom (because it’s mandatory for everyone to take it, you know)
  • Women can take birth control if they want, we just don’t want to pay for it

What do all of these arguments have in common? They’re all camouflage for true, single reason why anyone has a problem with birth control, the same reason why women should love it– it gives women control over their own lives.

So ladies…

Your freedom is at stake, but it’s not because America has been poisoned by socialism, or because Obama wants to take away your guns. It’s because a percentage of your countrymen want to take away your control over your body. Even if you have a partner who is willing to take on the main role in child raising, or you can afford full time childcare, a pregnancy alone is enough to break some careers.

The introduction of birth control made women’s liberation possible. Taking away access of birth control could bring the entire movement to its knees. Don’t be fooled by the red herrings out there. Know what’s at stake and fight for it.