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On a quest to a fully furnished apartment, I remember a rather sexist conversation from my past. Being one gender or the other shouldn’t negate you from acquiring knowledge.

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Roseanne

That really was a great show.

 

(don’t mind me)

And thus ended the date.  Well, in my mind anyway.

What prompted this?

I said something along the lines of my typical evening is going home, snuggling my cats, maybe watching a movie while I sew or spin.  Basically what I enjoy was stuff that wasn’t going out to bars/parties with friends or staying up late.   I’m thirty-seven, for peetsake!

I realize that it was probably a not-entirely serious comment, I realize that it wasn’t really meant to be mean, but what it told me was that my idea of a relaxing evening wasn’t comforting and relaxing but was in fact lame and boring and that based on someone else’s opinion I should be doing something else with my evenings to be worthy of the label of “having a life.”

But y’know what?  I’m happy.  Going home to relaxing evenings with my hobbies, snuggled on the couch with cats watching the rain fall, enjoying the quiet moments life has to offer is not lacking a life.  It’s living my life.

There’s lots of similar phrases that get tossed around these days.  “You need to get a girl/boyfriend!”  is another one I’ve heard far too often, as if someone who enjoys being single and doing things that aren’t considered the typical single party things to do is therefore in *need* of someone else to validate their lives.

It was really a bummer because it wasn’t like he had been a jerk or anything.  He was nice enough, I had even been looking forward to the date, but when he told me that I decided he didn’t seem to respect me or my life enough to be further considered for inclusion in it.

If you want to be part of my life, you have to respect that I already have one without you.

I have to say, I appreciate the difficulty of having honest discussions in a relationship.  Sometimes it’s easier to come up with a lame excuse rather than having an argument about the real reason.

Death and Taxes has an excellent article on the recently viral email sent from a husband to his wife detailing in a spreadsheet the number of times over the course of a month and a half that he attempted to have sex with his her and her answer and (where applicable) reason for not doing so.

Sure have to say, if you look at that spreadsheet, it looks pretty bad.  Bad excuses, multiple times in a row, I mean clearly he has reason to be upset, right?

Except that spreadsheet, with all its detail, is missing one very important element: what HE did prior to wanting sex that most likely resulted in her saying no.  But of course, it’s easier to say “I’m tired” than have an all-out fight about the fact that he did something or didn’t do something that was the likely real cause she had no desire to be intimate later that night.

The radio was even talking about it this morning, pointing out perhaps he was using this as a prelude to an extramarital affair as if to say This is why I’m seeking sex elsewhere.  They were pretty brutal on her, suggesting perhaps *she* is the one being unfaithful on her trips.  But then, they were all guys, and so they see things through his perspective of it’s all about sex (or lack thereof.)

Listening to 3 grown men discuss why it wasn’t okay for a wife to reject her husband that many times (not that they ever condoned force, but that wasn’t really the point) was a bit frightening and sickening both.  They might as well have been talking about spousal abuse for all the legitimacy they gave her reasons.

It’s easy when faced with such “blatant facts” to forget that this is such a small blip in the picture of their lives, that we have no idea what he’s like or what she’s like, we don’t know what he did or didn’t do, or what she may or may not have really felt about it.

It’s unfortunate that such information has gone viral and has prompted some very disheartening discussions in this day and age – where it’s still seen as the wife “owes” her husband sex.

Counseling may be in order.  Or maybe just a long bout of introspection and reflection on his part of what he’s doing to contribute to her decisions not to be intimate.

While sometimes it really is just one person – despite what adults always insisted when we were kids – it usually isn’t.  There’s usually always two sides to every story and both generally contribute – if not equally – to any issues happening in a relationship.

Dear Sir: If you love and value your wife, don’t email her spreadsheets of your perception of her “failures” on her way out of town.  Wait till she comes back and sit down and tell her you want an open and honest discussion of why she isn’t feeling like being intimate with you and how you can help.

Dear Ma’am: I know it’s easier to give lame excuses like headaches and tired and such, but unfortunately that is only prolonging the issues and delaying any kind of resolution.  Be open and honest – however much it may cause a fight – about why you aren’t feeling like being intimate with him.

To all people in any kind of relationship: No matter how stupid it sounds, say what you’re feeling.  Be honest with your partner.  Even if you have to talk like a 4 yr old and say “I feel hurt when you [ blank ].”  And be clear that it’s your feelings involved.  It’s easy to throw blame and accusations, it’s harder to own up to our own feelings.  “I felt vulnerable…” “I feel sad…” “I’m not comfortable with…” “I get angry when…”

Feelings are facts.  You can’t really argue with them, they just are.  What you *do* with them can be constructive or not, but the feelings themselves just are, they aren’t good or bad.  So first be honest with yourself about what you’re feeling, then be honest with your partner.  If you can’t even be honest about your feelings, how can you have a solid relationship??

“Not tonight, dear, I’m still angry with you for being childish and disrespectful to me by leaving your dirty clothes in a heap NEXT to the hamper and making me pick them up for you.”

“Not tonight, honey, I’m hurt that you dismissed my feelings earlier today and made fun of me for crying at something you deemed insignificant.”

“Not tonight, sweety.  Slapping my ass and saying ‘here comes Daddy’ is NOT my idea of a romantic come-on or adequate foreplay.”

Would THAT get the point across, maybe?

One of the things that frustrates me most in life is when I know what’s wrong, but don’t know what to do about it.  There is no instruction manual, there’s no hint, you can’t flip to the last page for the answers.  Some people like it call it common sense, but common sense is only previously acquired knowledge that is applied to situations which are similar to what you’ve already learned.  If you have never previously been taught how to deal with similar issues, then there is no such thing as applying ‘common sense’ to these things.

When our entire lives have been dominated by what the masculine image of feminine is, there is no basis for applying common sense to much of how to deal with these issues.  You can recognize them, you can understand the damaging effects, but you can still be just as lost as to how to *do* something about it.

Part of that is recognizing that our society is very damaged, but that we have other examples, other societies we can look to for guidance.  These other societies don’t even have to be perfect, they just have to do one thing – just one thing – that demonstrates a better way.  They don’t have to necessarily be countries, either.  They can be sub-cultures, organizations, they can be ancient societies that no longer exist, but if we have some record of them, some understanding, then we can start to build a fuller picture of what is possible.

I remember years and years ago hearing about a certain American Indian culture – I sadly have forgotten which nation it was – and the way they recognize a girl’s first menstruation.

The women would gather together and make things.  Just, whatever needed to be made.  Think of it like a quilting circle or something, it was a social thing they did together.  The young girls would be at this circle, and listen to the women talking to one another.  They were, from an early age, surrounded by the stories and points of view of their elder women.  The girls would learn to make the things the women made.  By the time she reached puberty, the girl would have made many things.

When she had her first menstruation, she would be taken into a tent with other women who would pass on more adult knowledge to her than she would have received with the other girls.  They would help prepare her for the changes she would experience, and the changes to come.  They would teach her things at this time that she would not have learned before.

At the end of this, she would leave the tent, and take the many things she had made – whether it was a doll or a pouch or a beaded band – and each item she would give to an elder woman, and she would tell that woman what trait or character she hoped to learn from her.

This is a very sketchy retelling of what I heard, but the gist of it is this: women mentored younger girls and women.  Women told their stories to younger girls and women.  Women embraced one another’s femininity.

Rather than associating menstruation with PMS, bitchiness, and queasiness over menstrual blood, or worse, associating any negative emotion by a woman with the assumption she must be menstruating, this natural female cycle was celebrated and given a beautiful ritual status.

We have been taught to demonize something that lies at the very heart of our femininity, to be shamed by it and afraid of it, to be silent about it.  Imagine the empowerment of our girls if we embraced and celebrated this cycle!  If we stopped shaming the very thing that we have that men don’t!

When we stop being ashamed of it ourselves, men will not be able to shame us with it, either.

Embracing this fundamental natural fact of the feminine can be a catalyst that guides us towards embracing every other natural aspect of ourselves, from our body hair to our diversity in body shapes, sizes and colors.  From our natural complexion to our beautiful wrinkles, to our hair without straighteners or dying out our marvelous gray.

Age used to mean wisdom and respect.  Now it’s something to be feared, fought, denied, and resisted at all costs.  Why?  Because the 18-34 yr old male demographic that is the golden audience for almost every kind of media produced.

How do we achieve this monumental task of reordering our perceptions about our own bodies?  Turn off the TV, put down the magazine, the insidious truth of advertising is that it only works if it can convince you that what you are isn’t good enough.  Otherwise, why would anyone buy a product to make themselves different?  If you were beautiful, you wouldn’t need their makeup and hair products and nail polish and diet pills and clothes and shoes and botox and teeth whitening strips and three-step skin conditioner and tanning salon.

So the last thing these companies want you to believe about yourself is that you’re beautiful!  That you’re okay the way you are.  Your disharmony with yourself is the foundation to their sales!

There is nothing wrong with wearing makeup.  There is something wrong with feeling that you have to wear makeup.  The weight loss industry in the US is a multi-billion dollar a year wake-up call that their fix isn’t working, it’s just keeping us unhappy, unhealthy, and most importantly, it keeps us pouring our dollars into their businesses.

What if we taught our girls that their self-worth wasn’t proportional to the numbers on the scale?  The kicker is, you don’t teach this in a lesson plan with pencils and text books and give a test at the end.  This is taught by modeling the behavior that your weight isn’t your measure of self-worth, by restricting the media’s access to your house which displays one vary narrow and often not even a real image of a woman’s body, by giving them the tools to understand their bodies, and the tools to stand up to those who try to define them by their bodies.

It can be scary to be the one who doesn’t follow the social flow of what is expected of us.  But what is expected of us is to conform to a male ideal of what female should be.  I put it to you: who made men the expert on what it is to be feminine!?  Men have been “telling” us for decades that they don’t understand women, so why do we let them dictate how we understand ourselves!?

We need to create a culture in which women teach women what it means to be a woman.  Where feminine is defined by females.  Where our bodies don’t need to be stretched and cropped, lightened and Photoshopped to be considered beautiful.

Imagine if we found just one thing about our femininity that we could embrace and pursue with all our hearts, the kind of revolution we could create for ourselves.

Ladies, let’s have a chat.

We live in a culture – as my last post stated – where, as a female, not only do I not feel grounded in being female, but that I’m surrounded by expectations of what a female should be based on what men want me to be.  There is no shortage of rants we can go on about this topic, about male ignorance, male chauvinism, male ego…

But guess what?  None of that excuses women being sexist, either.

None of that excuses ranting against all men as if all men do anything, because men, being roughly half of the entire population of the world, don’t all think with the same head.  (Nope, not even that one.)  Just like women, men are individuals, with their own ideas, their own ways of being, and especially here in the US, they have sadly short circuited many of their own natural tendencies in the blind pursuit of what they think  it means to be male.

Women, let’s not fall into the trap of following in the footsteps of those whose actions we ourselves didn’t like!

We don’t like being marginalized, let’s not start marginalizing men.  We don’t like being harassed for our sex, let’s not start harassing men for theirs.  We don’t like all being lumped together as being whiny, emotional, manipulative, unfaithful, or  irrational, let’s not lump all men together as being overbearing, sex-crazed, misogynistic, predatory, or emotionless!

Why not you may ask?  Why not, when it seems “only fair” to fight fire with fire; when we do it, it doesn’t “hurt them like it hurts us”?

But it does.  It does, not because men are afraid to walk down the street alone, not because men get harassed at tech conferences, not because men are less likely to be perceived as intelligent or get hired…

But because us treating them like they have treated use does NOT restore balance to our culture, it just makes it even more unbalanced.  I don’t mean that we should just take it.  We absolutely should stand up against it when we are dismissed, marginalized, harassed, threatened, and objectified.  But using this as an excuse to bash men does not solve the problem.

Women are still largely the caretakers of children, whether as mothers, teachers, nurses, daycare providers, babysitters, and more.  Women largely hold these roles in society, to greater or lesser degrees, and therefore our actions and attitudes have a profound effect on these children who may still be searching for where their place in the world is.

That means when a female teacher stands in front of a class of girls and boys and bashes men, she is not restoring balance to a culture out of balance, she is damaging male and female students alike who hear her words and feel her anger.  As women, we do need to have conversations with girls and boys, but it should be in the context of why the negative words and actions are negative, and why they’re damaging.  The conversation should not be shaped by talking about why men are bad or wrong.

Boys don’t just need to be slammed over the head with how awful they are and how horrible they will be when they grow up.  They need to be shown a better way of being, be taught why the current social views are harmful, not just to women but to themselves.

“Why can’t men do that?!”  That’s a good question.  Why can’t they?  We should ask them.  But that doesn’t mean we get to wipe our hands and say “not it.”

Why?  Because it matters more to us!  We’re the ones ultimately affected the worst, so like it or not, we’re the ones who have to keep pushing and keep fighting and keep working toward it.  We’re the ones who have to adopt the most effective means to do this, we’re the ones who have to force the change for the better, because if we sit back and say that’s men’s responsibility, it won’t happen.  And we all know it.

Girls need to be taught why the current social views are harmful, also!  They need to be helped so they don’t just absorb all the negativity and stereotypes.  They need to be encouraged to follow their dreams in the face of opposition – from both men and women!  Even if those dreams are to grow up, get married, and stay home with the kids!  That is a perfectly acceptable dream to have!  And I’m tired of women who want to belittle other women for it.  I’m tired of men thinking they get to dictate my thoughts, thinking I owe them my body, thinking that being angry is the same as being ‘whiny.’

I’m tired of women treating each other like competition, using boys as scape goats, dictating what are or are not acceptable “female aspirations”.

Men being sexist hurts women, girls, boys, and anyone who does not fit a binary gender or biological sex identity.

Women being sexist also hurts women, girls, boys, and anyone who does not fit a binary gender or biological sex identity.

We need to know better than to perpetuate it.  We need to realize that copying negativity does not cancel out negativity.

We need to realize that many, many men don’t know any of this is going on.  That when they do things that are harmful, they aren’t consciously being sexist, they are following the examples that have been taught by society; they’re following the rules they’ve been brought up with; they’re following other men.  So when we confront men about doing something harmful, it isn’t *him* we’re fighting.  It’s the society that taught him, the culture that shaped him, the men that modeled this behavior for him.

A lifetime of learned behavior is not undone in a day.  A lesson of this depth is not understood in a single conversation.  Not for men, not for women.

It “takes a little time to turn the Titanic around,”  Patience and perseverance are things we need to hold to.  It’s personal to us, but we can’t make it personal against them.

Anger, resentment, and bitterness are all understandable feelings to have, but they will not solve this problem, either.  With thousands of years of momentum, we can *want* but we really can’t *expect* even a hundred years to be enough to reverse that course.  We just need to hold to patience and perseverance.

Keep working, keep fighting, keep pushing: but remember we as women are not fighting against ‘men’… we’re fighting against a society and culture that has been shaped by a form of masculinity.  Neither men nor masculinity are the enemy, just the society and culture we’re in.

Yes, I’m totally stealing the quantum physics term because… well, it fits.   Or maybe yarn theory would be a better term, since I spin yarn 😉

This isn’t anything new, in fact this is probably retold, rehashed, regurgitated from 10,000 years of existence, but isn’t that what blogs are for?

Take any random ball of knotted string, yarn, thread, rope,… and untangle.  At the end, assuming you succeed, it’s all one continuous string.

Sometimes it’s so hard to discuss one area of life without getting so caught up in every other connected area of life.  But should we even try?  Like that ball of string, there is no area of life that *isn’t* connected.  You can’t tug on this without altering that.  You can’t understand that without looking also at this.

I love watching documentaries.  Even the completely wild crazy Ancient Alien theory documentaries.  I love watching history documentaries and psychology documentaries and sociological documentaries.  And I know I’m not genius, I don’t have multiple PhDs in a wide range of areas… but it’s funny how watching these documentaries it sometimes seems like if they had only brought in experts in some other field of study, that they probably could have figured out whatever it was that had plagued their research a lot earlier and a lot more accurately.

That’s not to accuse them of not doing so.  I’m sure many researchers, scientists, and such often cross fields of expertise to form conclusions.  But it also seems that it isn’t as routine and expected as it should be.

We do this kind of segregation in our own lives far too often.  Sure, sometimes we connect the dots all too clearly (my frustrations at work affect my relationships at home, for example) but sometimes we can’t see the connection, or don’t want to see it…

work – finances -stress – weight – sleep –  gardening – pets – house keeping – allergies – diet – exercise – creativity – relationships – self esteem – work

It doesn’t matter how segregated we try to make these areas of life, they insist on all tying themselves together into a single string, knotted and confused, tugging one affecting the others… there is no such thing as one area of my life… it’s all the same string.

My relationship with my mother affects my house keeping, my housekeeping affects my self esteem, my self esteem affects my work, work gives me a paycheck which affects my finances, which affect my stress levels, which affect my diet and weight, and all of it affects my sleep, which creates a feedback to my diet and weight and stress, which affect my creativity, which affects my self esteem… every aspect of my life is inexorably bound up with every other aspect.

It makes it really hard to focus on certain areas because ultimately the roots have spread so far that I end up having to look at every area which becomes overwhelming.

I watched a documentary on the worship of feminine in the earliest records of Egypt, how the society was matriarchal at the very beginning.  And it got me wondering about how my own views of what it means to be a woman, what “feminine” is, because today we aren’t really surrounded by feminine, we’re surrounded with the masculine idea of feminine.

But then asking what feminine is makes me question if I can even arrive at an answer, precisely because we’re surrounded by the masculine and the masculine idea of feminine, and I can’t be sure that my own opinion hasn’t been so colored by that as to be unreliable for an answer.

Which makes me wonder if that’s why I’ve always had such a hard time writing women in my stories, because somewhere inside I don’t really know what it means to be one, and when I try to write it it comes out wrong because somewhere inside I know that much of what I think I know is wrong, but I don’t really know where to go from there.

I can’t even write “me” in my stories, because I find I really don’t understand myself, or I get lost between what I would do and what I wish I’d do.

And having a hard time writing women only makes me want to do it more, because I feel there’s this gaping hole that I need to explore, this dark chasm that I’ve been afraid to step foot in because the light doesn’t shine far enough to see where I’m going once I start.

That fear, if I’m really honest with myself, keeps me from doing a lot of things that I feel I need to do.  But it also makes me wonder if some of the things I *do* do to try to be feminine aren’t missing the mark, or even misleading myself.

So I have been trying to answer the question “what does it mean to be feminine” and in doing so I’m exploring what other cultures have defined as feminine, or how matriarchal societies worked and were structured.  Because in my culture, I’m told I should compete with other women for a man, I should dress in a certain way to be attractive, I should be a certain weight to be attractive, I should be a certain color to be attractive.   I live in a society that tells me what I *am* isn’t good enough: it sells me clothes and magazines and movies, diet pills and tanning beds, whitening creams and hair straighteners, fake nails and false pretenses.  It sells me “power suits” and teaches the 5 masculine traits to succeed in business.  Nothing about my culture tells me what I am is good.

I work in a male-dominated industry, in a male-dominated department, in a male-dominated industry, because I followed in the footsteps of my father.  Whom I adore without question.  But all of it builds up.

So the string so far is that the question of femininity affects my job, my creativity, my stress levels, my weight, my relationship with my mother, my house keeping… there isn’t any aspect of my life that isn’t touched by my sex and gender, how society views it, how I’ve been taught to view it…

That is my string theory.   Everything is connected.   And it can make it overwhelming to address anything because everything is involved, everything is affected.

But ya gotta start somewhere, right?  So perhaps where I’m going to start is recognizing that I can control certain things, and I can partially control certain things, and I can’t control certain things.

I can’t control what grocery stores and restaurants offer.  I can partially control where I shop and what I buy (finances being a factor, availability being a factor, seasonality being a factory).  But even after all that, I still can control what I eat.  What I eat isn’t just about ‘diet and weight loss’ as some people think.  It’s about physical health.  It’s about *mental* health!  It’s about finances (physical health may mean less doctor trips to pay for).  It’s about creativity (mental health – while often seen as detrimental – I think is critical to creative expression).  It’s about stress (how I eat affects how I feel affects how I deal with things affects my stress) and also affects my sleep.  And all that feeds back into what I eat, because food and stress are far too often linked, craving unhealthy foods or eating too much when stress is highest.

I can’t control what I have to do at work.  I can partially control how well I do it (time frame being a factor, resources being a factor, outside input being a factor).  But I can totally control my *attitude* toward work.  I really do have that choice.  I can either choose to be bitter and resentful, disagreeable and pessimistic, or I can choose to do my best with every job, even if I’m grossly underpaid, even if I think my bosses are insane.  I can bring a positive outlook to myself and my coworkers and help bring my department up instead of down.  That is within my control absolutely.  Which leads to lower stress, and better eating, and… see above.

And now… I can’t control how my society and my culture have chosen to define femininity and women.  I can partially control how much of that I consume.  But what I can control is my choice to seek out other definitions, other views, other ways of thinking.  Even if I can’t change one other thing, I can choose to find this knowledge, to better understand myself.  And who knows… maybe in doing so, every other area of my life will be altered – just a bit – for the better.

Stress at work, lead to the greater consumption of media to distract myself, lead to watching documentaries, lead to hearing about different ways “feminine” is and has been understood in different cultures, lead to a desire to learn… which leads to greater acceptance of myself, leads to reduced stress, leads to better health, leads to improved creative expression, and maybe, just maybe, that might lead to reaching someone else with a message that might help them, also.

We aren’t all different balls of yarn, after all.  We’re all connected.  Tug on me… who knows who else may be affected.

Merry Christmas

gayapparel

© 2013 Eliza Murdock

FA LA LA
LA LA LA
LA LA LA

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year
to all the straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, asexual, questioning,
brown, Asian, black, white, multi-ethnic,
middle-aged, teenaged, old, young,
religious, atheist, agnostic,
people out there!
Sing we joyous all together
Fa la la, la la la, la la la

Except the assholes.

This isn’t even a joke.  Okay, I mean it is, but it isn’t.

So we’re expecting snow tomorrow in the greater Seattle area, and I was just thinking, I hope the snow plows are out nice and early so I can get to work… and I had to add “too” at the end, there, because well, first I won’t be the only one trying to get to work, but in order for me to get to work those drivers have to have already been at work for quite a while.

Which got me seriously thinking, how do they get to work when the snow is really bad?  I’ve seen street trucks with plows on the front, maybe that’s how?  But yeah, it’s amazing how often we don’t think about who else has to do their part so we can accomplish something.

And what’s worse, we’re getting more and more selfish about making sure we get ours and not caring who has to sacrifice what for it.

We want stores not just open first thing dark and early on the day after Thanksgiving, now we want stores open on Thanksgiving itself!  Never mind that the people having to work are being denied their holiday with family and dinners (at least, I hope that’s what they’d be doing otherwise), we want our stuff and we want it now and nobody had better inconvenience us by *closing* on holidays!

I’ve had people pass me, while I was in the left turn late, heading into oncoming traffic, because wherever it was they had to be was more important to them than considering the accident they might have caused by their impatience and reckless driving.

I’ve heard people talk about a bank who denied them loans as “not giving me my money!”  But it wasn’t their money!  This idea that someone else is denying you access to *their* money is now equated with being denied access to *your* money. (And no, I’m not going to get into the actual details of that not even being the bank’s money, that money was created out of thin air from nothing at all… that’s a different rant.  Being denied a loan for prejudiced reasons is also a different rant, but that happens, too.)

But in general, we’ve become very self-centered, spoiled, and entitled.  We don’t care about lifting up one another, only ourselves.  We don’t care who is denied something, so long as *we* aren’t denied something.  We aren’t grateful for what we have, we’re indignant that we don’t have more.

I suppose it could be the country going through it’s terrible two-hundreds…  (not that it was all that good in the first place) but wouldn’t it be nice if people remembered we’re all in this together?  You can’t climb a latter if you keep sawing off the rungs because they’re “in your way”.

Take a minute today and think of who around you helps you ‘get where you’re going’, either literally or metaphorically.  Think about the janitor (or maybe the family member!) who replaces the toilet paper rolls so you can… ehem.  Think about the person working at the check-out counter so you can buy your things.  Think about the snow plow driver who has to get to their work so you can get to yours.

Just… take a moment and think about others.

And Merry Christmas.

This is likely going to cause the wrong kind of controversy.  Let me say up front this is NOT a post which is suggesting anyone has to ‘get over’ anything, or that anyone is wrong in viewing the world the way they do.  This is about sharing my view.

There is a real and justified cry about the lack of “people who look like me” on TV.  “Me” in this case being anyone not white.  What I disagree with, however, is the argument that the television is therefore full of people who look like me; me in this case being actually me.

Just because she’s white doesn’t mean she looks like me.  Especially if you consider the level of make-up and even Photoshop involved in many ads these days, she probably doesn’t even look like herself!

Just because I’m white doesn’t mean I look at the TV or movies and see it filled with representations of me.  I don’t.  I see beautiful, skinny, wealthy women who wear short skirts and high heels who feel incomplete without a man.   They don’t represent me.   They don’t look like me.  They don’t act like me.

The very, very rare time that a woman is depicted as anything other than skinny and beautiful, she is usually heavy and beautiful, and her sole purpose is to prove that the heavy girl can still get the guy.  Which is great, except it’s limited to roles where the story plot *is* the heavy girl can get the guy.  The average woman on TV is still skinny and beautiful as the default.

Because of the difference in how culture views each of us, there is also a difference in how we view the culture, and how we interact with it.  They say giving a white doll to a black girl lowers her self-esteem, but giving a black doll to a white girl raises her empathy.   I think this is sort of the same idea.  Any two groups might have very different interactions and reactions to what is otherwise seen as the same catalyst.

When black people see black people on TV or in the movies or other media, they see themselves – because of the general lack of it.  But when white people see white people on TV or in the movies or other media, we don’t necessarily see ourselves.  We often feel worse about ourselves because of what we see.  It fuels our insecurities rather than building our esteem.  It’s like the opposite of the dolls.

The irony is, both groups look at today’s media and see someone other than us.  So it’s entirely accurate to say that everyone who isn’t white isn’t properly represented in media, but that doesn’t mean everyone who is white is.  It’s an oxymoron, but it’s true.