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Delusional Mom creates problem where none exists, and encourages girls to be delusional too! Sweet! Way to go, Mom!

30 Aug

Yesterday, I made a very rare trip to the mall to pick up some back to school clothes for my children. My oldest daughter, PinkyPinkyPie, will be twelve years old this year, and like almost all pre-teen girls, she has an intense interest in her clothing and how she presents herself.

Pinky has never been one to care much about clothes. As long as they are comfortable, she’s happy. And while comfort is still a big factor for her, she has now added a sense of “fashion” to her sartorial requirements. And I have to say, I adore Pinky’s sense of fashion. Last year, for indoor shoes, she had a pair of sapphire blue sequined combat boots, which I absolutely loved! This year, she picked a pair of black sequined combat boots with silver stars and bright purple laces.


How awesome are those boots? Totally girly, but not over the top Princess girly. Pinky is having a love affair with skulls, camouflage and animal prints, too, and she glams them up with sparkles and small touches of pink or purple. Here is her beloved camo ballet skirt outfit, and I’ve lifted up the edge of the skirt to show that not only is it lined, there are built in shorts so she can do pretty much anything she likes without exposing herself.


It’s really not that hard to find girl clothes that are not painfully frilly or cutesy pie or inappropriately mature for the age group. To be certain, if you go looking for hooker clothes for 12 year olds, you will find them, but you can just as easily find clever, cute, empowering clothing, too.

The store we love is called Justice, and while you will occasionally see the “Girls can do anything rah rah rah” bullshit, for the most part, the clothes celebrate girls without implicitly claiming victimhood or denigrating boys.



I mean, really, the whole “girls can do anything, girls can be anything” sloganeering strongly implies “if no one holds us back”, doesn’t it? It teaches girls to think of themselves as defying some sort of force that keeps them down. To think of themselves, in other words, as victims.

My daughter is not a victim. The only thing holding her down or back is herself. I will not allow her to pass the responsibility for her own life and her own choices off onto some nebulous creation that somehow “victimizes” her before she even begins.

Fuck that.


My dad is my BFF! How sweet is that? Pinky’s Dad is not her BFF, and he’s happy to demonstrate that when she crosses boundaries, but the sentiment is incredibly lovely, and it’s not something you see very often, is it? The celebration of love between fathers and daughters.

Sadly, some chick named Sharon Choski has never heard of Justice clothing, and is apparently unfamiliar with the fact that girls don’t actually get arrested or sentenced to hard time for preferring t-shirts hanging in the boy’s department. The last time I was at Wal-mart, no one checked to make sure I was buying those Star Wars and Lego graphic tees for my son.

star wars

Sharon was so dismayed by the lack of alternatives to girly frilly shit, and so stumped by the alternative of shopping in the boy’s department, that she created a clothing line that consists of t-shirts just for girls.

girls will be

What makes these t-shirts just for girls? Well, they are sized to avoid that boxy boy look. You know, a little more form-fitting. To draw attention to the girl’s bodies as feminine. Hey, way to subvert those gender expectations and get girls to think their bodies are the most important thing about them!


I personally don’t think there is anything wrong with girls being aware of the power their bodies have, but it’s rather rich to claim some feminist, gender defiance impulse inspired your clothing line, and then design clothes to emphasize a girl’s body.

We hope this shirt is just the beginning of our story. Because we believe there is a need for all kinds of clothes that follow the Girls Will Be style – colors beyond pink, no girly embellishments, imagery that breaks gender stereotypes, and styles that let girls be kids.

Our style is quite simple, yet incredibly hard to find. We tweaked a traditional unisex t-shirt to give it a slimmer fit, ever-so-slight shape to the body, less boxy sleeves with a “just right” length, and lighter weight fabric.

And what do the shirts look like?

Pretty boring, if you ask me.




Nothing you can’t find at any Wal-mart or Target. And what’s up with this one?


Popsicles? Things you lick and suck? Oh, okay. Nothing to read into that.

Here are the ones that really interest me:


Be daring. Bold, fearless, adventurous. Oh really? Bold, like SlaneGirl bold, or bold like Captain Kirk? Why not just get her a Captain Kirk t-shirt?


A message like that without any context can easily be misconstrued into “do whatever the fuck you want and damn the consequences”. Just the message young girls need. Consequences do not apply to you.



I am me. Good for you, sweetheart, but YOU are not the only person in the world who matters. Stop thinking about YOU for a second and try considering everyone around you for a change. Yeah, narcissism is exactly what young girls need to add to their trove of virtues.

What about meeeeeeeeeeee?


Be awesome. Sure. Go ahead. How are we defining awesome again? Make robots? Swim with sharks? Be an astronaut? Fly 747s?


Hate to break it to you, cupcake, but it’s mostly boys who will grow up to do and be those things.


Women make up about 5% of the 53,000 members of the Air Line Pilots Association, which represents pilots at major and regional carriers in the United States and Canada.

Most engineers building robots and every other useful thing are men.

More than twice as many men than women attend graduate school for computer science fields, and more than four times as many men are enrolled in engineering,

When women like Sharon tell young girls that girly shirts celebrating femininity and all the attendant attributes are unacceptable, what they are essentially telling girls is YOU SUCK. And feminists applaud message because they just love women so much, right?


Being a girl is shameful. Having feminine interests and inclinations is wrong. Preferring colors and accessories that appeal to women is bad. Everything about being a girl is disgraceful and distasteful.

Girls suck.

Unless they act like boys. Pretend you love sharks and robots and baseball and always, always go ahead and just be your awesome self!

Do you see the disconnect? I certainly do, and it pisses me off. Girls, be yourself, as long as by “yourself”, you mean just like a boy. Boys are way better anyways, aren’t they?

Hey, I love boys. I grew up surrounded by them and I have one of my own, and he is totally adorable and very much a boy. I also love my girls and I am perfectly comfortable with my girls liking girly things.

Because I don’t hate girls. Or the feminine. And I don’t believe that just because women aren’t engineers or airline pilots, we are worth less than men. We’re different. What the fuck is wrong with different?


Some girls hate frills. They really do love sharks and robots and baseball. And that is awesome. Just because some girls are tomboys doesn’t mean we need to shame and hate little girls who are feminine and like to look that way. And we sure as hell don’t need to set little girls up to think that only male interests and occupations are worth pursuing and that failure is the result of some imaginary forcefield holding all the girls down.

Poor little sparkly victims in their sequined shoes and pink tutus.

It’s bullshit. And there is no need to create clothing lines that aren’t feminine. Those clothes already exist.

They’re in the boy’s department.

boys dept

If your girl loves monster trucks and pro-wrestling, then head on over to boy’s wear.

And leave the rest of us alone. We like our frills and rainbows and tutus and sparkles.


And we love girls.

Lots of love,


When men look at women, it’s sleaze. When women look at men, it’s just plain good fun. An American Apparel case study in hypocrisy.

23 Jun

Booty Alert: some images may be NSFW


Late post today, but I was hosting a luncheon for the parents of a good friend, who are visiting from out of town. Lobster bisque and homemade bread. I cheated and bought the butter. I’m so lazy!




After a very lovely lunch and visit, I popped open my Buzzfeed app and one of the lead feeds was “The Five Sleaziest American Apparel Panty Ads Of All Time (NSFW)”.


American Apparel comes under regular fire for its apparently “sexist” advertising, and in keeping with our theme of lusting after human bodies, I thought today we would explore a little slice of objectification hypocrisy.


Let’s start with the PantyTime ads.




panty 2


What, exactly, are the objections to these ads? Are they tasteful? Well, I guess that depends upon your taste, but you have to be some kind of killjoy to not enjoy campfire tent sex. A dancing fire, endless stars above you, the smell of pine trees, a brook babbling nearby. I’d say the hiking lady looks to be in for an evening of some melted marshmallow fun!




Aside: Don’t try that. Melted marshmallows are total hell to get off. They taste sweet and they’re warm and gooey and they’re fun to eat off a willing body but they stick like some sort of glue NASA uses to repair the space station. Trust me on that one.


Let’s take a look at what the Swedish Lady Mafia thinks about American Apparel. In an act of epic bravery and rebellion, the Mafia had a male model mimic the pose of a female model advertising a shirt? Maybe the product is the shirt? It must be.




It’s a stark way of showing how men on the website are predominantly shown fully clothed and standing in modest poses, while women are often shown in various states of undress and striking sexually suggestive poses.


You know, I agree. The lady on the counter is sexy. The guy on the counter looks foolish, but all that demonstrates is that we have very different ideas about how male and female sexuality are played out. We want different things from men than we do from women.


Let’s take a look at this assertion: men on the website are predominantly shown fully clothed.


Oh, really?


man 2


man 3


man 5


man 4


That’s taken off their home screen! Who knows what loveliness lurks deeper into the site?


Calvin Klein featured an epically objectifying advertisement this past Superbowl, and while a few commenters called it out for sexism on Twitter, most of them gave a huge whooping cheer! Here is Jezebel celebrating an ad that has little to do with the product and everything to do with lusting after a body.


Why is this ad okay?


Oh, that’s because it’s a MALE body being objectified.



Let’s talk about the rationale behind hating the American Apparel ads in particular. The central issue, the key point of contention is WHO OWNS THE GAZE. Who is looking? What thoughts do the images invite? With whom does the viewer identify?


I’ve discussed before a film theorist named Laura Mulvey who wrote a paper about representation in which she claims that men own the gaze on film. Men look, women are looked at: ergo, men objectify women.


And obviously, that’s very, very, very bad.


Let’s start with the male gaze (and I’ll assume everyone is heterosexual in this discussion). When a man looks at an image like this:




He is supposed to experience a strong reaction of desire. The ad is designed to illicit very explicit images in men’s minds. The bubble draws attention to her mouth. What would you like to replace the bubblegum with? The stockings frame her barely covered ass. Would you like to uncover it? Those are no fragile nylon stockings, either. They look pretty robust. Rough and tumble. Her hair is already tousled and messy. Can you imagine making it even more dishevelled? And then what? And then what…..


The ad wants men to visualize strongly sexual imagery. You want to fuck her. For male viewers, American Apparel is attempting to create an association in their mind whereby American Apparel = sexy, hot, powerful, desirable, dominant. The company is hoping that the next time a man who has seen the ad walks by a store window, he might just recall those feelings and pop in and pick up a blue shirt.


That’s how advertising works. Create an association, then transfer it onto a product, which you will then purchase BECAUSE of that association. Seems to be working, too. American Apparel is back to profitability.


I looked for some men objecting to American Apparel’s blatant attempt to appeal to a very animal sort of sexuality, but I couldn’t find one. Seems like most men are perfectly comfortable managing their desires and emotions. Go Daddy has some of the raciest TV spots out there, and gets called out as sexist routinely, but…


When GoDaddy aired its first Super Bowl spot in 2005, it was a $100 million company few people knew with a 16% market share. Fast-forward to 2012, and GoDaddy is a $1.1 billion company with a 52% market share.


Sex sells. To men and women both.


Now let’s talk about the female gaze. As a woman looking at the bubble image, you are supposed to imagine being that woman. You are supposed to understand that she evokes a powerful response in men. Men want her. They desire her. She has power over them, and that power has the potential to lead to lots of benefits. You are supposed to want that power for yourself, and when you slip on your own pair of knit stockings and barely there panties, you will feel it. Buy our products so you, too, can control a man’s gaze and make him want you.




Oh dear. Well, now we have a problem. Nearly 40% of women in American Apparel’s target market (18 -35) are overweight.


How are those chubby ladies going to look in stockings and panties?




Tsk, tsk. Not so hot. And that makes women feel a sense of loathing. Confronting a body that men want and desire and long for makes women who fall well short of that ideal sad and depressed and unhappy.


One response has been to feature more fat bodies in advertising, like the Dove Beauty Campaign tries to do. But it doesn’t work. Women still dislike their fat bodies.




We live in a culture saturated with the idea that problems belong to someone else. Whatever the issue, the solution is for someone else to deal with it. And if it is someone else’s responsibility to solve the problems, it’s probably someone’s fault the problem exists in the first place.


Here are the reasons commonly given for obesity:


Toxic environment


Food deserts


Contaminated food supply

Big Government and Big Business Conspiracy

High fructose corn syrup


Fast food


Here are the real reasons for obesity


You eat too much

You don’t move your body enough


The first list are all problems for someone else to solve. The real list has one solution: YOU.


When women are confronted with images of other women who clearly put some effort into what they eat and how much they exercise, it triggers anger and anxiety and a search for someone to blame. If women don’t live up to the images in the media, well then, we have to change the media. And if men continue to desire those fit bodies, then we have to change men, too.


size 22


It’s all about making other people change rather than accepting responsibility for yourself and deciding that it’s your body and your choice and you CAN choose not to be fat.




Here’s how we know that the feminist response to women being objectified and thereby dehumanized in advertising is a straw man argument: the same standards do not apply to men. If objectification is bad and wrong and morally reprehensible, and causes us to view the objectified as less than human, then it’s bad when women do it to men, too, right?


Er, nope.




Let’s go back to the gaze. When men look at this ad, they are supposed to want to be that guy. Buy HOM briefs, and you can be sexy like him! Or just get as close as you can. There is little teeth-gnashing and sobbing in the media from men who are confronted with these unbelievably fit, gorgeous men. Few cries of “sexism”. If anything, guys look at these images and decide to hit the gym.


In the same way that American Apparel ads are designed to trigger explicit sexual imagery in men, ads like HOM are designed to trigger explicit sexual images in women. Here is man, displayed for us, in total masculine magnificence.


What would you like to do to him? Are you on top? He’s already leaning back. Seems like a good choice. His socks and underwear frame those beautiful thighs. Wouldn’t they look good underneath you? The tattooed bicep. He seems a little dangerous. This could get rough…..


Oh my.




This ad appeared in Elle magazine!


Here he is again.




Women are invited to turn their gaze on a beautiful man and let their imaginations run free. And that’s okay. It’s totally okay. It’s more than okay. It’s pretty damn spectacular. Jezebel runs a regular feature called Thighlights, in which women openly slobber over a specific male body part.


Mark William Calaway, Phillip Jack Brooks


thighs 2


thigh 3


Jesus. Look at the package on the guy in red.




Oops. I mean, he seems like a really nice person.


Pretty long-winded today, but my point is this: the argument or critique of women in advertising and the objectification of women’s bodies isn’t a debate about women’s self-esteem at all.


It’s a debate about power. The power to look. The power to want. The power to desire. The power to evoke.


And women want that power for themselves, and only themselves.


Kate Upton makes (fat) women feel bad.




Half naked men make (most) women feel good.




Anything that causes ladies to feel bad is wrong by definition. And the thing that makes ladies feel bad is the power of the male gaze. It assesses them, evaluates them and very often, rejects them. That power must be demonized, derided, dismissed as evidence for men being shallow, stupid superficial brutes who see women purely in sexual terms.


If feminists really cared about the relationship between objectification and dehumanization ( a dicey theory at best), they would care about ALL instances of objectification. They would care about EVERY body that is reduced to sexual utility.


But they don’t. In fact, they delight in watching men having to objectify themselves.


Ford’s entire roster of male models take off their shirts and dance for the cameras to the all-too-fitting song “Drop It Like It’s Hot.” You’re welcome.




Feminists only care about one type of body being objectified: slender women.


Those are the bodies that have power, especially over men. Those bodies are testaments to the true power women can wield in the world: they signal reproductive fitness.





Genetically outstanding babies


babies in a row


All the things feminism tries to teach women are NOT important. The continuing appeal of advertising featuring sexually provocative women AND men tells the real story: it matters. Sexuality is one of the key things that define us as humans. And it will always matter.


When sexuality is turned into a power struggle that argues over the ownership of the gaze, the potential for mutually satisfying partnerships between men and women is all but destroyed. Men are made to feel guilty and ashamed. Their preferences are “sleaze”. And women learn that male sexuality is theirs to control and define. Male bodies are objects to satisfy their desires.




Imagine a group of men with a Victoria’s Secret catalogue in the lunch room at work, openly admiring the angels. Get ready for a meeting with HR, dudes. Sensitivity training is in your future. Now imagine a group of women swooning over David Beckham in Elle. HR is probably sitting there drooling along with all the other ladies.


Now imagine any one of those men dating any one of those women.


A culture in which male desire is disgusting and sleazy and women’s desire is empowering and objectifying is a culture in which sexual ecstasy is pretty much impossible.


“Only the united beat of sex and heart together can create ecstasy.”

― Anaïs Nin, Delta of Venus


Images of beautiful women shouldn’t be threatening. They should be a welcome reminder that we are all physical creatures, inhabiting skins that long for one another’s touch.


That’s not sleazy. It’s beautiful. For men and women both.




Lots of love,




Clothing stores for fat people? Hooray! Clothing stores for thin people? You fat-phobic, bigoted asshole!

8 May


The two stories I’m writing about today popped up almost back to back in my inbox.




One is about the asshole CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, who is pursuing a niche marketing strategy (which has never happened before in the history of the world).


Niche marketing?!? What’s that?


Oh, is that like when you create a website that specifically caters to women?


Oh, never mind.


Here’s the story:


Written by Madam Lardass herself, Lindy West.




“In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” [CEO Jeffries] told the site. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”


Abercrombie & Fitch doesn’t even MAKE clothing above a size 10 for women because ASSHOLES, obviously. And we are talking an American size 10, which is pretty fricking roomy.


See this chick, with her beefy thighs and huge belly and rolls of back fat?


size 12


She’s a size 12. That’s how fat you have to be before you can’t shop at A&F.


One of these ladies can shop at A&F. The other one can’t.


fat and thin


This has nothing to do with what constitutes beauty. Lots of men prefer a size 12 woman, as long as she is fit and firm and has a pleasing hip to waist ratio.




This is about a business targeting a very specific market and offering exclusivity. Why? Because you can charge a price premium, that’s why. It’s not a novel concept. Why do people go to Starbucks when they can get pretty similar coffee at 7-11 for a quarter of the price?


Starbucks sells the Special Snowflake illusion. Why there are 87 000 possible drink combinations! For a mere $5, we will brew something that meets your exacting and exquisite taste. It’s all for you! And only you!




Of course, Starbucks sells 8.2 million cups of coffee every day, so the odds that you ain’t really that special are pretty good. Cognitive dissonance, anyone? Oh who cares.


I’ll have a Non fat half caf triple grande quarter sweet sugar free vanilla non-fat lactaid extra hot extra foamy caramel macchiato, please.




A&F follows a similar strategy. They want young, attractive, cool people to buy their clothes and part of the value is that ONLY young, attractive and cool people CAN buy their clothes. Actually, anyone a size 10 or under can buy their clothes, but you will feel young and attractive and cool because MARKETING.


You will look like a giant asshole, but you will feel super amazing and A&F will laugh all the way to the bank.




Now, here’s the next story:


Okay, so A&F are jerks for excluding fat people, but Destination XL is awesome for excluding thin people?


It’s all part of the same mindset: have your cake and eat it too. From the looks of it, eating cake is something Lindy does on a regular basis. Jesus woman, have a slice. Not the whole thing!




We can have stores for fat people, and stores for all people, but we can’t have stores for thin people.




We can have gyms for everyone and gyms for women, but we can’t have gyms for men.


We can have clubs for everyone, and clubs for women, but we can’t have clubs for men.




We can have hockey teams for everyone, and hockey teams for girls, but we can’t have hockey teams for boys.


We can have rights for humans and we can have rights for women, but we can’t have rights for men.


What’s curious about all these particular examples is that they are all on the wrong side of history. Fat people are a biological anomaly. Humans were not intended to be fat, which probably explains all the negative health consequences that come along with choosing to eat until you can’t move.


Men are more physically competitive and enjoy sports, especially organized team sports, far more than women. Excluding them from gyms and hockey teams in the hopes of making women more competitive and more like men is a losing proposition.


Men control most of the political structures and institutions in the world and that doesn’t look like it will changing any time soon. Women don’t WANT that power.


Young women are less likely than young men ever to have considered running for office, to express interest in a candidacy at some point in the future, or to consider elective office a desirable profession.


In other words, women don’t want to do any of the hard work to create, maintain, oversee and strategically intervene in an economy or society, but they would still like all the privileges that come with doing the work.


Oh, okay. That seems reasonable.


You know, there IS one way to have your cake and eat it, too. Gobble that sucker down, and then puke it back up. There. You ate your cake, and you still have it, too.




Of course, we recognize that particular behavior as a mental illness: bulimia. Eventually, it will kill you. But hey, at least you’ll be able to shop at Abercrombie & Fitch!


Feminism: it really is a mental illness.


And I think I’ll make a cake now.


Lots of love,





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