No Offense to Fifty Shades…

No no, all of the offense. I hate you, Christian Grey. You’re an abusive dom and you disgust me.

Musings from a Tangled Mind

Mr. Darcy

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A response to “50 Ways To Be A Woman”

In a group I’m a very active member of on FB, this blog post was shared today. The contents of it significantly annoy me enough to warrant a blog post of response as a way to counterbalance the arbitrary nature. (I do have some self created things saved in my drafts, more on those later.)

I intend to quote (indicated as bold text) and then respond to each item. I have used do not link to include the blog article so it will not help their search positioning with added clicks.

Let’s begin, shall we?

“1. Practice good personal grooming habits. If you are going to have colored hair, keep your roots covered. If you are going to have fake nails, keep them filled. Take care of your skin, take care of your teeth.”

Having healthy personal care is important, but do what the fuck you want with your hair, nails, and face. I can’t argue with the teeth thing tho. Dental hygiene is the difference between being able to eat a fresh apple at 90 and having to get root canals at 30…

2. Dress modestly. Gain attention through who you are rather than the parts of your body you choose to expose. It is worth far more in the long run.

image

3. Certain fashion staples will always remain timeless. A few conservative dresses, a string of pearls, a nice handbag and a good pair of pumps should always be in your wardrobe.

No1curr. If that isn’t your style, don’t feel obligated to own those things. We what you want to wear.

4. Write thank you notes. It is one of the best ways to make a good impression and literally takes five seconds. It is a dying art that so desperately needs to be revived. If someone is nice enough to give you a gift or recommend you to a position, the least you can do is give them a proper thank you. People remember thank you notes.

This is actually a good idea, I have no criticism of it. In fact, I agree. Wrote thank you notes, even if they’re insanely late (much like the holiday gifts I still haven’t mailed yet…)

5. Get involved. Join societies and organizations that have a positive influence in your community. Create positive exposure for yourself.

Do so, yes, but don’t do it for the reason that last line insinuated. Do it because it’s right and  good for your community. Be involved because it’s very human and very humble to help others. Do it because you care. Alternatively, do it because you don’t care. Maybe it will help you slough off those sociopathic tendencies.

6. Learn how to write checks and keep a check book. You may never need to use it, but if there comes a time that you need to, you’ll feel stupid if you don’t know how.

People still don’t know how to do that? What ARE they teaching kids in school?! I learned how to do this in 10th grade!

WikiHow is your friend.

7. Form opinions. On political matters. On current events. Be able to contribute to a conversation as an informed member of society. Knowing when to exert these opinions and when to keep them to yourself is just as important.

YES! Emphasis on FORM! Form, as in develop, as in don’t just take ehat someone says as Bible. Not even the Bible is Bible. Nothing is. Question the shit out of everything…within reason. No one likes a cospiracy theorist any more than they like a dunce.

8. Take a stance and do not falter. Reach security in your beliefs and live your life in accordance to those you hold true.

No. NO. This is called dogma. Have principles, yes, but be receptive to the possibility, however remote, that you are wrong. It makes mistakes easier to recover from.

9. Get an education and make use of it. Women all too often hide their intelligence which is truly the greatest waste of ability in the world.

Get an education, yes. I don’t care what biological distinction you have. Stupidity hurts everyone, especially people who have to communicate with someone who is willfully ignorant.

10. Learn to handle your liquor. And if you can not handle your liquor, simply do not drink.

THIS. Nothing to add.

11. Learn to walk in high heels. And if you can not walk in high heels, buy cute flats instead. There is nothing attractive about a woman wobbling around like a newly hatched chicken.

No, fuck this. Wear whatever shoes you want. This is ridiculous.

12. Allow yourself to be treated like lady. If more women would sit down and be ladies, more men would stand up and be men. Just because you are capable of opening your own door, in the presence of a man, you should not have to. Allow men the indulgence of being men and take pride in the privilege of being a lady.

What the fuck does this even mean? No. Shut up. Some of us don’t always feel like a lady. Go away, mosquito.

13. Keep your business to yourself. Be leery of who you trust and realize there are certain things you should keep to yourself.

Actually, yes, this is true regardless of what’s going on between your legs. I’m guilty of not doing this as often as I should, but I have enough tact to know when I truly would be over sharing. Sometimes, however, I do it just to irritate people.

14. Handle confrontation with grace and dignity. There will be people with which you do not agree. Respect the opinions of others and their right to disagree with you.

PLEASE?! I don’t care what you’re arguing about or with whom, being a douchecanoe about it afterwards will just make you a shameful trash can. Also would like to add that if someone chooses to exit an argument or discussion, that is their prerogative. Your need to finish something doesn’t supercede their need for solace. It’s possible they will happily pick up the discussion later after they’ve calmed down.

15. Use social media sparingly and in a way that only further dignifies you as a woman. In an age of digital exposure, we make the mistake of becoming too present in social media. If it’s not going to present you in a positive light, don’t post it.

Use social media sparingly period. Working on this myself. It wasres entirely too much time.

I will say, however, that I only recommend doing it for mental health. I don’t care what you post where. That’s your business. Ties in with over sharing a bit though, know where and when to post what.

16. Do not be afraid to admit that sometimes you need help. Even if it is a man’s help.

Oh shut up. Admitting you need help isn’t relevant to your sex or gender identity. Being able to admit vulnerability is fine, assuming that it’s women who need to do this is beyond ridiculous.

17. Practice good telephone manners.

Except when someone else is being a douche first, then let the kid gloves come off. Don’t be afraid to fight back against assholes.

18. Be kind and courteous to all those you encounter for you never know who their impression of you will reach.

Naw, some people don’t deserve it. Express situational awareness. If they’re being rude or condescend to you, they don’t deserve good manners.

19. Find your own personal faith and do not allow it to be shaken.

Or don’t. This isn’t a pissing contest. Believe what you want to believe or believe nothing. Your personal philosophy is nothing to do with anything or anyone else. Don’t go forcing it on others either because that is ride and irritating. See 13

20. Do not restrict yourself to gender stereotypes, but do not blatantly defy them for sport.

Do what you want this suggestion was good until the end. Be yourself. No one else can do it for you.

21. Accept defeat gracefully. At some point you will fail. Accept it and bow out gracefully. Move on.

Yeah this one’s fine and it’s pretty perfect as it is.

22. Cultivate yourself as an interesting person and develop a personality that is unique to yourself.

Also perfect as it.

23. Be the woman a man needs, not the woman that needs a man.

Or just, you know, be a person who can stand on their own two feet and is willing to accept help. This is slightly redundant and kind of stupid.

24. Understand your self worth and never settle for less than what you deserve.

Yeah,got nothing for this. It’s perfect.

25. Cross your legs.

Fuck off. I don’t have to do shit. Also! In many countries outside of Western culture, this gesture could incense someone’s wrath.

26. Do not lower your standards.

Yeah, um, this is redundant. This is similar to 24. What?

27. Find your passion and pursue it. Wholeheartedly and fearlessly.

This is good advice for both sexes and all genders.

28. Bend the rules when necessary, but observe them whenever possible.

Agreed. One cannot bend or break the rules without knowing them.

29. Do not develop a reputation as a gossip. People will not trust you and will not have mercy towards you when it is your name being slung through the mud. Which will happen at some point or another.

I fucking hate gossips and I couldn’t agree more. Make sure you keep other people’s names out of your mouth. If you’re going to whisper, do not name and shame.

30. Do not validate your self worth around a man. You are more than someone’s girlfriend. You are more than someone’s wife.

You don’t need someone else to validate your existence. I don’t care what gender or sex you are. You don’t need anyone else.

31. Do not pursue a college education to platonically find a husband.

People do this? Um… Ew. I can’t actually say anything against this because I agree. That’s stupid.

32. Do not outwardly reject society’s conventions of a woman just because they differ from your personal convictions.

This contradicts previous points and is past irrelevant and stupid. Disregard this completely if you orefer not being confused.

33. Know there is a time and place for everything and observe this advice accordingly.

Except sometimes (often) things don’t fit into a tidy little box like that. Be flexible with your situational responses…regardless of sex and gender.

34. Laugh. A woman’s laugh is infectious and there is so much to laugh about. You just have to find it.

Fuck you I don’t always want to laugh. Laugh when you want to, cry when you need to. Fuck anyone else who tries to control your emotions for no goddamn reason.

35. Find beauty in every day. It’s there. You just have to find it and you will be glad that you did.

Yeah, I agree with this actually. This is not a gendered piece of advice, however.

36. Find your bliss. Life is too short to be unhappy and an unhappy woman is very unattractive.

You’re unattractive for writing this tripe.

Just do the best you can, especially if you struggle with a mood or personality disorder. The author of this article is clearly ableist trash.

37. Do not be afraid to put yourself first.

Can’t argue with that. You cannot care for anyone else if you don’t care for yourself.

38. Do not feel guilty for having ambitions and pursuing those ambitions. Wanting to have a career does not make you any less of a woman than wanting to stay at home.

Oh please. Men can have a desire to stay home too. This is asinine…

39. Do not be ashamed for seizing the opportunity to stay at home to raise your children. If it is the right decision for you and your family, it is a wonderful opportunity you should consider yourself fortunate to have.

Same goes out to you, stay at home dads. You should feel good about raising babies too.

40. Respect your fellow women.

Respect your fellow women humans.

41. Do not feel ashamed of your feminity. Embrace it. Wear pink.

Do not feel ashamed of your femininity humanity. Embrace it. Wear pink colors of your choosing.

42. Develop a certain extent of self-reliance. You are not expected to change your own tires, but as a grown woman, you should know how to pump your own gas.

Why does the author keep repeating things like this? It’s good to be self reliant no matter what gender you are. This is, again, asinine.

43. Protect your financial interests and remain aware of your financial situations as a family, couple, or single woman.

Well this includes nearly everyone so… I can’t really argue with it. Financial health is very important. So is financial education. Just add “etc” to the end of that and it’s fine.

44. Do not be afraid to say no.

Yeah this applies to literally everyone.

45. Do not allow yourself to be manipulated.

Also applies to literally everyone.

46. Become an advocate for other women. We are all in this together.

Become an advocate for others. Period. Take up the mantle for those who aren’t able to do do themselves.

47. Never allow a man to make you feel inferior.

This goes out to men, women, the androgynous, and also works in reverse. You are not inferior to anyone else.

48. Be the kind of woman you’d want your daughters to be and your sons to date. Hold yourself to a higher accountability and serve as a role model for other young women.

Be the kind of person you’d want your children to be. Have high standards for yourself.

You are not obligated to be role model for anyone. You are not someone’s token.

49. See the big picture and make your decisions accordingly. You are someone’s daughter. One day you may be someone’s wife. You may be someone’s mother. You may be someone’s boss. You may be someone’s Sunday school teacher. Your life could go in so many ways you may not realize at 18.

Ignore everything but that first line. Don’t skip the forest for the trees. Don’t let the trees blind you to the forest either.

50. Respect yourself.

Why wasn’t this the first one?

———

In all, this article was infuriating in every sense of the word. It had potential to be good. It had potential to be positive. Instead it just served to reinforce the same misogynist bullshit we deal with daily. I’m not even sure the author was the author. I feel as though, with the wording, it was ghostwritten by a very bitter man and her name was just placed in the byline to create a false sense of security, thereby creating a fallacy. This is, of course, just my opinion. I would be more shocked to find myself wrong about it than for my idea to be true. I hope a woman didn’t really write this. Because if she did, this is as bad, or worse than, the yoga pants thing…

—A. B-H

I, Hypocrite

Can we please talk about inclusive body positivity when someone has had plastic surgery?

Someone very close to me had a surgery many years ago. I didn’t agree with it, I still don’t and they know this. I’ve called myself body positive but I realized how hypocritical I am when I say that after realizing that I’ve been berating and bashing them for this choice they made about their own body for almost a decade now.

I am of the camp that one should love themselves as themselves because that’s the body you were born into and why should you change it just be happy with it. It’s a false position to be in given that, should the opportunity present itself, I would very happily become a cyborg (think Maj. Kisaragi Makoto from GitS, folks, not a robot).

It’s really strange to me how I could claim for so long to believe in other people’s right to dress how they want, color their hair (or not), break free from the mainstream (or not) and that that was their business and theirs alone, yet I’m over here policing someone else’s right to feel good about themselves in their own skin using a body mod I don’t particularly agree with.

And that’s what it all boils down to. Plastic surgery is body modification at its most simple, accepted form. I’m usually really great at making bridges between seemingly incompatible ideas, but that has somehow eluded me all this time until today.

I will admit fully that the credit for this epiphany goes to this video by the lovely YouTuber by the name of Peach MilkyTea who makes rather mellow beauty and style vlogs. Some people may look down on these because they’re about things like fashion and makeup, but I find them incredibly enjoyable not just because I care about that sort of thing, but because her positivity has really shone through in most of what she’s done. Her candid discussion of what is considered a taboo–admitting that one has had surgery at all–allowed me the opportunity to have this epiphany and for that I shall be eternally grateful to her. Maybe the above mentioned loved one will too…

Battle armor

It is nigh impossible to demonstrate to someone how much you have changed when they are bent on seeing you for what you were years—no, that’s the wrong word—decades prior. So you shed that skin, like you do daily and unconsciously in a biological fashion, but with intention, with grace, and in silence. You mourn that little death quietly to yourself and only those who know you most intimately will catch glimpses in your eyes of what was once there being lost. A sliver of innocence stripped from you. Youth slipping away permanently.

You become harder, less forgiving, less pliant…but only just so. You learn to fake it. You play the cynical game everyone else is involved in out of necessity. But inside? Deep inside you’re still mourning. You’re still crying. You’re still pining endlessly and silently. You feel too deeply to do otherwise. You can’t be anything but a mass of emotions presenting itself in perceived, misunderstood aggression.

So you cope. You laugh at jokes you don’t think are funny. You smile at people you’d rather tell to go to hell. You pretend it’s all fine. And you garb yourself in black because it’s the only way to show it without saying a damn thing.

…and each day you do it all over again. No one else any the wiser.

You cope. And you sigh, because in the end unburdening yourself to them just makes it hurt that much more.

And you cope…

—A. B-H

Impassioned and Unapologetic

You know what my problem is? This is probably going to surprise you: I care too much.

I’m sensitive but I hide it well. I’m constantly anxious but I don’t show it. I feel deeply, I think deeply, I love hard and I give all of myself from the beginning which leaves me vulnerable. I’m not the best at expressing that in words in the moment (you try translating from images to words and see how well it works out) but it’s true.

I’m passionate. Intense. Difficult. I always have been since early childhood. I mess up a lot and I’m kind of a jerk sometimes but that’s me. This is what you get. I make no excuses or apologies, I just want to be me. I don’t mince words. I don’t sugar coat and I don’t tell people what they want to hear. I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

I treasure every person that comes into my life and stays even a short while so, of course, I’m terribly hurt the moment they decide to leave in a way that is hard for me to understand (especially without explanation or when I feel the cause to be unjust). This has been happening a great deal of late and I am left to wonder why. What am I doing wrong? I already know I can’t change myself (that effort was wasted several times already and it would be insane to continue beating that dead horse) so what, exactly, am I doing that is so problematic? Issue is no one ever tells me so I’m left scratching my head every time it happens. Name calling, deflection and projection do not count as explanation.

I’ve been called all sorts of things in the past which I pretend bounced off, but they didn’t: abrasive, aggressive, savage (which is actually racist in my case), cold, insensitive, dense, rude, disrespectful, depressing, negative, mean-spirited, selfish. None of them are true. In fact they couldn’t be further from the truth. I come on strong but I’m not being aggressive just to pick a fight. Yes, I love a good debate, but I don’t appreciate it when personal attacks begin to get sucked in. I want to argue a point and have heated discourse without everyone losing their heads over it.

I’m pretty well constantly faced with the difficulty of friendlessness and isolation. (Disregard how many people I’m connected to on Facebook because, frankly, how many of them can say they truly know me? Maybe about four. MAYBE.) I’m strange, eccentric even. I get that. People are intimidated because I’m so much of myself all the time that they think I’m crazy. Really I just don’t hold back. I actually think it’s much crazier to restrain oneself so much that enjoyment is impeded. I spent my entire childhood like that. I don’t need to continue living that way. It’s not healthy or fun and as far as I can tell we only get one shot at this.

For those who can’t handle it? I’m not sorry that you can’t. It’s not for you and that’s just fine. However, I do ask that you don’t waste my time or yours because the flames are hot and they’re going to stay that way until long after I’m gone if I can help it. I refuse to tone myself down to appease another’s ego. I also refuse to tell my child to hold back when of an age to comprehend that even slightly.

Waiting Room

He awoke to an intense, even blinding light. Through the open doorway he could see another room. “Hello?” he called nervously, his voice faltering slightly. He was met with silence. There was nothing at all. It was quiet, eerily quiet. A soft breeze blew through the open window beside the bed but there was no sound. No sound at all. He rose, the bed frame squeaking and groaning under his weight. Sticking his finger in his ear to test it, he could hear the soft scratching of skin on skin. It wasn’t his hearing that was the problem.

Swinging his legs out of bed, he placed his feet gingerly on the floor, expecting the laminate to be cold, only to find it pleasantly warm. His brow furrowed. He didn’t remember his bedroom floor being so clean… Maybe she’d cleaned it while he slept. Shrugging, he rose, rubbing his palms together and shivering. Despite the warm floor, the air was cool. Then it dawned on him; where was his shirt?

He looked to his right. The white chair was almost invisible in the white room, escaping his bleary-eyed notice. On it lay a slip of paper, tented in the seat. He picked it up.

“It’s nearly time.”

“What the hell does that mean?” he thought to himself, tossing the sheet aside and further rumpling his already messy hair. A shadow of annoyance passed his face.

A feeling of discomfort came over him. He realized that he was not at home. Where was this place? What day was it? Why was he here and how had he come to be here?

None of it mattered. He was consumed with a desire to be home. Searching for an exit, he found himself turning toward the window. Where had it gone? He did not recall when the breeze stopped blowing.

Remembering the other room, his stomach cramped. Turning, he faced the open door…or the door that had been open. When had it closed? Just what was this place?

He grabbed the doorknob and turned. Air sighed through the gap. He saw them then. Flinging the door open he took it all in. Keys, dangling, lying on the floor, falling through a vent in the ceiling. Keys everywhere. He entered the room. A key brushed his face. Lifting his arm to reach for it, he saw it then. A mark like a keyhole on his wrist. No…not like a keyhole at all. It WAS a keyhole.

He stared blankly up at the ceiling.

———————————