Feminism: The Other F-Word

John Oxton, Flickr Creative Commons

As is the case with so many of my posts lately, this one started with a xoJane article. This one happens to be about how Taylor Swift and the author don’t identify as Feminist (capital F). I don’t think any of us find that shocking. Here’s a girl who makes her living singing syrupy songs about break-ups with the kinds of guys who I get great joy out of giving the heave-ho. I also think of her as being eternally 16 because she continues to write songs that have the emotional maturity of a 16-year-old. (Maybe ya’ll have guessed, but I’m not a big Taylor Swift fan.) How can you be mad at a 16-year-old for not being a feminist?

More to the point, I do identify as a feminist and have ever since I took my first Women’s Studies class in college. Back then I tended to wear army green pants and gray shirts and spent too much money on Ani DiFranco tickets. These days I only go to see Ani when it’s free (which, oddly, happens more than you would think) and I try to incorporate more colors into my wardrobe. I no longer care to resemble camouflage. But I’m still a feminist.

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Put Your Fight Face On

Rory puts on her Fight Face.

As I’ve written many times lately, I absolutely love XOJane. In fact, I’m a little obsessed. Today, the story that caught my attention was “The Time I Almost Broke a Bottle Over a Groper’s Head on the Train.” The title should be pretty self-explanatory. But there was one part in particular that got me thinking:

Reading all of these stories about women going dead-possum in the face of harassment, and of women waiting for their attackers to just go away, makes me nearly as angry as when I witness these things in person. They will never just go away if you sit there. Scream. Flail. Act like a fucking lunatic until someone sees you. Go for the eyes, for the balls, for the throat. If you won’t, I will, and one day I will probably get hurt doing it.

I started thinking about this, and wondering which end of the spectrum I fall on. At first I thought I’d never really had an experience that would test my fight or flight response… but the more I “thunk on it” the more I realized I was  wrong. I often find myself reading about the creepy/scary/terrifying experiences women have and how they react, and I find myself saying, “This stuff doesn’t happen to me.” And I’m only kind of right about that… Continue reading

Make-Up is For Ugly Girls

How much better does Kim Kardashian look without make-up?

First of all, a disclaimer: I don’t actually believe you have to be ugly to bother with make-up. Make-up can be a lot of fun, but I read an article on XOJane that got me thinking about the issue. In “The Trials of a Good Online Dating Profile Photo” Kristin Booker discovers that photos where she’s more natural looking have better results than photos where she’s all tarted up. This seems to come as a surprise to her, but to me it seems obvious.

I’ve always believed that make-up causes more problems than it solves. This is, in part, because just applying a lot of chapstick in the winter usually leads to a pimple for me. When I wear more make-up than usual, the same thing happens. That creates a vicious cycle so I just steer clear of make-up on most days. Continue reading