Costume Shopping? Ugh.

Halloween is my favorite holiday. I LOVE dressing up.

However, every year, I learn again just how much a pain in the arse costume shopping is. Seriously, just once, I’d like to walk into a costume shop and discover that all the women’s costumes lacked the “sexy” label.

“What’s wrong with dressing sexy?” a male friend asked.

“Nothing,” I responded. “But I’d rather not spend my favorite holiday tucking boobs back in, and tugging the dress down over my butt.”

That, my friends, is the crux of it.

I want to wear an awesome, well-made costume that is work appropriate. But I’d be willing to sacrifice the “well-made” part if it meant I didn’t spend weeks searching multiple stores and dozens of websites to find what I want at a decent price.

This year? I decided I wanted to be Captain Kathryn Janeway, of the Federation starship Voyager.

Once I decided, I was positively giddy with excitement. I’ve got the lipstick, I can manage the bob, and I’ve got a couple of pairs of boots that’ll work. Now! To find the costume itself.

It shouldn’t be too difficult, I told myself. After all, Star Trek has a huge fandom, and certainly there must be cosplay sites that sell the uniforms, right? And mainstream halloween sites should have them too, right?

Snort. Stare.

Now, while I have found this awesome t-shirt that I absolutely will get soonest, I have emphatically not had the easy time I thought I’d have finding the version of the Starfleet uniform that is worn in Voyager.

In fact, the vast majority of Star Trek costumes I’ve found in the women’s department have been variations on this. Lieutenant Uhura’s costume in the original series: the miniskirt dress.

The rest? The uniforms of operations officers and medical staff. And a Klingon woman. Not a command/bridge staff uniform in sight, save for the miniskirt dress. Call me paranoid, but doesn’t that seem funny to you? A little off?

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Political Chess: Ann Romney, GOP’s Sacrificial Pawn

It was inevitable, once the GOP realized that their war on women was hurting them politically, that they’d seek to use the rhetoric for their own gain.

It’s ironic, but not surprising in the least, that they’d use women as pawns in the process. They did this, of course, to avoid accusations of sexism. But it’s still sexist.

The icing on the cake is tapping into the old working moms vs. stay-at-home moms “fight.” A fight that (guess who?) misogynists began, in order to divide women, pitting us against one another in a faux fight for supremacy.

Why does it matter? Ultimately, it doesn’t. Save for, of course, the policies and societal expectations that force women to make these “choices” and receive criticism no matter what “choice” women make.

If the GOP were smart, they’d reverse course on the anti-women stances they’ve taken. But they want to have their cake, and eat it too, I suppose.

Sorry, GOP. You can’t perpetuate inequality and sexism–and expect women to support you. You’re waging a war on women. It’s not simply rhetoric. It’s fact.

Now, you’re exploiting misogyny to perpetuate the same.

Women aren’t buying it.

 

Ari Fleischer: One of the Worst Displays I’ve Ever Seen

While we’re talking about decorum and civility, let’s talk about Ari Fleischer. He, along with Stephanie Cutter, President Obama’s Deputy Campaign Manager, were on Anderson Cooper’s program last night, to discuss the President’s remark to the Russian President.

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Whenever Stephanie spoke, Mr. Fleischer couldn’t restrain himself from smirking, shaking his head, and interrupting Stephanie mid-sentence.

It was disgusting. I could barely focus on what was being said, I was so astounded at his disrespect, his sexist dismissal at anything Stephanie said. Over and over again: “Well, actually, Stephanie, this is what happened.” “I’d like to point out that Stephanie didn’t answer the question.” (She did. He was too busy shaking his head and waiting for a pause to interrupt to notice.)

Ari, if you remember, was a press secretary for President George W. Bush, as well as being involved in Komen for the Cure’s strategy planning on Planned Parenthood, and interviewing applicants for top positions at Komen.

To Those Defending Misogyny

Yep. Pretty much this.

One of the most frustrating things for me, as a feminist, isn’t that there are sexist douchebags out there. There are, in abundance. They’re assholes.

What’s frustrating for me is, that there are plenty of people out there who spend copious amounts of time defending said assholes.

“Yes, but!” “Yes, but!” “Yes, but!”

Stop it.

You’re a decent person. You know this is fucked up. Just say so. Why side with assholes? Why defend them?

You make sure we all know just how awesome and respectful and progressive you are.

But guess what?

If you’re defending the misogynistic assholes, you’re not awesome. You’re not respectful.

You’re an asshole.

You’re not on my side.

You’re not on this fifteen year old girl’s side.

You’re siding with the assholes.

What? You don’t like that? Then stop defending them.

See how easy that is?

Sexism from Jersey City Superintendent

Last Wednesday, the superintendent of Jersey City public schools, spoke to a group of local pastors, and said this:

“Our worst enemy is the young ladies,” Epps said. “The young girls are bad. I don’t know what they’re drinking today, but they’re bad…[employees of JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs who have volunteered to mentor students have] signed up to help even the dirty, nasty, bad kids.”

Well, aren’t they the heroes?

Seriously? This guy is in charge of the public school system of an entire city? That he thinks so little of the young girls under his charge says a lot about him. It’s disgusting that not only he still has a job, but that people are defending him. Ministers that attended the meeting, and even other school board members, are busy telling the press what this man really meant to say, how he doesn’t think badly of all the girls, oh no, just the bad ones. Commenters on the articles linked in this post jump to point at the police officers stationed at the schools as evidence of the truthiness of his words.

I cannot feel anything but angry for the girls in the JCPS system, and hurt for them. Children are not bad, dirty, or nasty. Girls are not the worst enemy of anyone. That so many think otherwise, and feel perfectly comfortable saying so publicly, shows the depths to which our society will go to tear down young girls.

To the girls stuck in JCPS:

Stay strong. Do not let this cold-hearted, contemptible man define you. You are strong. You are smart. You are brave and courageous, and you are better than Superintendent Epps and his supporters. Rise up–speak out against this hatred. Stand together. Help one another. Follow your dreams.

Protesters have created a facebook page to counter Epps statements. The local papers have demanded the Board of Education call for Epps’ resignation.

Epps so far has refused, perferring only to apologize that he hadn’t meant it that way, and that he used “a poor choice of words.”

I have to disagree, Epps. I think you made your contempt for the girls of Jersey City perfectly clear.

GOP Candidate Speaks About Shoes and Poop.

Wow.

Why should you vote for Ken Buck, leading Republican candidate for the Colorado Senate race?

Because he doesn’t wear high heels.

Why shouldn’t you vote for Ken Buck?

Because he’s sexist.

Good lord. I’m not sure where to start with this one. His rival, former Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton, made reference to her wearing high heels sometime during her campaign, and ran an ad telling Buck to “be man enough” to use his own funds to run his campaign. Buck thought this would be an appropriate response.

Hey, she brought gender into it! That means it’s okay to degenerate her (and all other women) based on gender! Well, okay then.

I’m not even going to go into his tirade about his cowboy boots and the difference between real bullshit and Washington bullshit. It speaks for itself.

In summary: Colorado Senate candidate talks about stupid girlie shoes, awesome cowboy boots, and poop.

I thought we were all grown ups, trying to decide who to elect to a political office. My bad. Turns out we’re all just children on a playground.

Watch out in this game of tag, Buck! We’ve got cooties.

Slut Shaming

Chloe Angyal wrote a piece for the Christian Science Monitor about slut shaming. I’m glad to see this piece on CSM. It’s a very succinct, well written article. It uses an episode of the ABC show What Would You Do show as a lead-in. The show hid cameras in a diner, and filmed patron’s reactions when women, actresses, were abused by their assumed-boyfriends, actors.

Not surprisingly, the patrons defended the women and confronted the boyfriends when the women were modestly dressed, though they were slower to react when the actors were POC, which is a big issue, all in itself. However, when the women wore low-cut dresses, the patrons did nothing. Two even speculated that the women were prostitutes, and when later interviewed, offered that as the reason they did not intervene.

One of the actresses asked, “What difference should it make if she were a prostitute?”

What, indeed.

Women’s clothing is coded socially. Revealing clothing indicates a woman’s sexual status in our culture. Low-cut tops and short dresses or shorts are given meaning, namely, that a woman is sexually active and available. Clothing is of course neutral, nothing about them tells us anything save their fashion choices. But people take intellectual shortcuts in judging people, and clothing is one of those shortcuts used. It’s wrong, of course, and it hurts a lot of women.

Race is another social shortcut. POC women are hyper-sexualized in our culture. Chloe’s article was a good one, but she left out this aspect, and it needs to be addressed. Racist “cultural” indicators of sexuality are part of our society, and they shouldn’t be. Race is intellectually neutral, yet we attach meaning to it. Men of color are violent, criminals. Women of color are extremely sexual, aggressive, bad mothers.

Slut shaming is not complicated, but it is intertwined with sexism, racism, and a whole slew of other isms. Once you examine it, it’s easy to see. Exposing slut shaming in a popular newspaper, and breaking it down for those not familiar with these facts are key to educating, and then eradicating it.

A lot of people are afraid of the f-word, or rather intimidated by it, convinced by all the man-hating, shrew propaganda that’s been perpetrated for years. Blogs are not yet seen as valid sources by many. But a piece in a large newspaper? A good piece to refer friends and loved ones to when trying to talk to them about this issue. We’re trying to change the world–by activism. And talking to people, educating them, is a big part of that.