Monday, May 14, 2007

What I'm Reading

Heart at Women's Space/The Margins: The 1st Carnival of Radical Feminists.

Ms. Jared at Sinister Sister: Mothers File International Human Rights Complaint Against United States. I got this in my inbox last week, too, and kept meaning to blog about it. But Ms. Jared actually did it. That's why she's a better blogger than me*.

Lost Clown at Angry for a Reason: Besides Bad Coffee. Here's another example of me being a bad blogger*. I've been meaning to write something about this post for almost a month now. Now, I'll be the first to admit that I like my drive-through coffee stands; not only does it provide me a local alternative to overabundance of Starbucks, Peets, and Tullys, but I can do so without leaving my car (when you have my kind of schedule, you need things to be as quick as possible). But "sexpresso?" No, thanks. But pimping out the baristas wasn't enough for one of these "sexpresso" joints -- they use high school girls as their prop (and I do mean that in the most literal sense of the word).

At Best Friend Espresso in Kenmore, baristas go thigh-high. An elevated service window offers customers a nearly full-length view of pretty, young baristas — some of them high-school students — in short skirts, tank tops and high heels.

[...]

Occasionally, Best Friend does theme days, such as "schoolgirl" or adding glasses for a sexy "secretary" look, manager Heather Bacon said.

[...]

When Ryan Reed pulled up to Best Friend Espresso for his usual, a 24-ounce iced vanilla latte, on a recent weekday afternoon, he knew what to expect.

"The owner [Wayne Hembree] always hires super-hot girls," Reed said. "That's basically his philosophy." [emphasis added]

Rachel at Alas a Blog has a link to an interesting article about Leonard Nimoy's new fat nudes exhibit. In her post, Rachel also asks

While I remember my grandparents making comments about how fat people were, I don’t remember the ire associated with it that you see for so many younger people. It also seemed to me that their definition of fatness was different. . . Do you think there are generational differences around attitudes toward fatness? If so, what do you think they are?

Since I am no longer welcome to respond there, I'll go ahead and post here. My answer...depends on who you're talking about and what their background is, I suppose. As for my experience, well, I had a grandmother who constantly belittled my mother as she was growing up for being "too fat" (she was about a size 16, if that). I can also remember vividly a time when I was 12 -- at which point I was approx. 5'6" 120 lbs. with a 24 inch waist (yes, I did know that, and I do remember, because I was obsessed with weight at that age -- I think you'll be able to understand part of it after this post). My grandmother told me, "If you ever want to fit into my wedding gown, you'd better start losing weight now." I was 12! I was already thin, I didn't need to diet, and certainly not for some unforeseeable wedding that may never happen, and even if it did, would be years in the future!!! I still think that it was this very statement that had a huge impact on me not only becoming fat but never getting married.

Marc at Punkass Blog claims that it's the "patriarchs" who were offended by this billboard. Now, don't get me wrong -- I'm sure he's right. I'm sure there are men out there (including some of the more vocal ones that got the billboard pulled). Certainly there are patriarchal men out there who would feel the need to decry the "sanctity of marriage" upon seeing this billboard, not to mention reject it out of the pure need to express their heterosexual masculinity (read: fear of seeing a man's body). But are those the only reasons that someone could or would be offended by such a billboard. Fuck no. Look, "equal objectification" of both men and women doesn't make objectification any better. Never has. And I've always thought that was a bullshit argument for the over objectification of women (No, Peta's ads wouldn't more acceptable if they simply used more naked men alongside the women). And, hell, I'm right there with you when you want to argue that marriage is a heteronormative function of a heterosexist society. But, that doesn't change the fact that a number of people still form loving commitments to people and encouraging people to leave their partners for "better, sexier versions" is just wrong, to me, and is simply based on the same old misogynist notion that women are objects that can be exchanged and upgraded (and again, adding a man doesn't change that!!). Nod: Hoyden About Town.

Blackamazon has a scathing, but must-read review of Jessica Valenti's book, Full Frontal Feminism. I should say right now, I haven't read the book, so I can't testify to this review's accuracy, but I will say that none of it surprised me. While I do understand BA's reasons for turning away from feminism, it makes me sad that she has done so. I'm sorry that she has been confronted with a particular form of feminism, that while currently the most revered in the mainstream media, does not represent all of feminism or all feminists. I'm not going to pretend that us "other" white feminists aren't racist at times, but I'd like to think that many of us are willing to acknowledge that and to listen and learn from feminists of color so we can change, rather than just deny our racism. And that's why we need women like BA in the feminist movement. But then, that sounds like I want to use and exploit BA for my own purposes, and I don't mean that at all. Just...well...keep speaking, some of us are actually listening.

*In my defense, I am currently working 3 jobs (70 hours a week, not including travel time -- mostly graveyard) as well as volunteering 12 hours a month as a sexual assault advocate.

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