Wednesday, February 27, 2013

February's Book: How to Be A Woman

February was not so well-spent on a book called How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran.

As I complained and complained about how painful reading this book was, one person suggested that life was too short to read books that I don't enjoy. What she doesn't know is my commitment to finishing something once I've started it. (With the exception of Kite Runner. Yeah, I said it!) So, let me explain why I started reading this in the first place. My dear friend Emerald wanted me to accompany her to a feminist book club because she wanted to force herself to be more social. Though we've both been to this club before, and it's absolutely not feminist in the way that white cis-gendered women sit around a table and talk about how they choose easy to read books because they don't want to be challenged too much. You know, don't think too much about your privilege or anything. So I started reading this book, painfully if you've forgotten, and then I realized I'd be in Utah during the group's meeting. Hecky darn! (That's in honor of my trip to Utah.)

I read it anyway, and I finished it. I'm going to save you ALL the trouble of reading it by telling you right now everything you need/want to know about the book.


In this chapter she says:
"Traditional feminism would tell you that these are not the important issues: that we should concentrate on the big stuff like pay inequality, female circumcision in the Third World, and domestic abuse. and they are, obviously, pressing and disgusting and wrong, and the world cannot look itself squarely in the eye until they're stopped.

But all those littler, stupider, more obvious day-to-day problems with being a woman, in many ways, are just as deletrious to women's peace of mind. It is the 'Broken Windows' philosophy, transfered to female inequality. In the 'Broken Windows' theory, if a single broken window on an empty building is ignored, and not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may break into the building, and light fires, or become squatters.

Similarly, if we live in a climate where female pubic hair is considered distasteful, or famous and powerful women are constantly pilloried for being too fat or too thin, or badly dressed, then, eventually, people start breaking into women, and lighting fires in them. Women will get squatters. Clearly, this is not a welcome state of affairs. I don't know about you, but I don't want to wake up one morning and find a load of chancers in my lobby."
 The first paragraph here is not something I'm even going to touch yet. I'll bring that back around at the very end. What I want to bring to attention is while the Broken Windows philosophy is a great philosophy, it isn't to be used on people. Here's this "feminist" writer objectifying women quite literally by comparing them to buildings. Saying they're weak enough that if they were to have one thing wrong with them (this broken window) that people can come in and break all of the windows. Light a damn fire! Women aren't vacant buildings. They are strong, and they will survive a broken window.

"I don't know if we can talk about 'waves' of feminism any more -- by my reckoning, the next wave would be the fifth, and I suspect it's around the fifth wave that you stop referring to the individual waves, and start to refer, simply, to an incoming tide.

But if there is to be a fifth wave of feminism, I would hope that the main thing that distinguishes it from all that came before is that women counter the awkwardness, disconnect and bullshit of being a modern woman not by  shouting at it, internalising it, or squabbling about it -- but by simply pointing at it, and going 'HA!
', instead."

What an incredibly unhelpful thing to say. Ha? A man grabs a woman's ass, and she returns with a laugh? No, he suffered no consequences from that. It could've been considered an encouragement. Someone refers to a woman as a slut, and we respond with a laugh? No, now that seems okay. Now it seems like it was fine to call a woman a slut.


Nothing to say. She gets her period and is really stupid about it.


She talks ignorantly about porn and how she needed to start shaving. I made notes, but they're not even important.


She explores a whole chapter about how she doesn't know what to call breasts, vagina, or penis. She skirts around the topic the entire chapter and acts like saying any of those words should be considered anything other than what they literally are. If those words make you uncomfortable, I really think you ought to take stock on your life and figure out where that discomfort comes from. These things need to be called what they are: breasts and vagina. Waltzing around a word perpetuates a stigma until everyone grows up unable to talk about sex, what they need, how they need it, and the likes. Society continues to be broken with this sick attitude towards sex where women are objects with "pussies" and "the girls." Slut types are perpetuated for women who are comfortable with their bodies, when there shouldn't be anything wrong with owning your own body and doing what you like. BREASTS, VAGINA, PENIS! Deal.


"So here is a quick way of working out if you're a feminist. Put your hand in your pants:

A) Do you have a vagina? and
B) Do you want to be in charge of it?

If you said 'yes' to both, then congratulations! You're a feminist."
 Feminism isn't solely about being a woman. It's about liberating all injustices done to everyone. People of color, queer folk, trans folk, disabled folk, aged folk, impoverished folk, all prejudice you can imagine is a goal to be tackled by feminism. Liberation and justice for all. If you have no introduction to feminism, please go read The Fifty Double Standards book, quick and easy read. Very brief and shallow description of feminism, but Moran is so off on what a feminist is, in my opinion, it's shameful.


I wrote "Not worth reading."


She proceeds to call people who aren't fat, "human shaped." Fat people who don't feel bad that they're fat are "lavish." Compulsive eating is the same as crack cocaine, and our friends should be confronting us about our problem. Sheer ignorance.


You can see I'm really starting to hate my life and this book. I repeatedly ask Shelley to take my phone away, so I don't throw it across the room in frustration. I wrote no other notes on this chapter besides "horribly offensive."


Notes read: First time I laugh, still rather unintelligent.


Don't remember what garbage she wrote, but my notes read, "Slut-shaming is a feminist faux-pas, and here she is doing it. I'm so confused what any of she's saying so far has to do with feminism or how to be a woman."


Notes read: I have no idea what your stupid point was. You made me tired.


Notes read: I don't know your point, STILL!


Notes read: I literally fell asleep a lot. Twelve chapters in, and I don't know what you're getting at. How should one be a woman?!


Notes read: First chapter where I've seen her point and appreciated her input.

Read this one?


Notes read: I fell asleep again. I've stopped paying attention. I wonder what I'll have for lunch tomorrow.


 Only other chapter I've enjoyed. Read this one.


No notes left.


In the postscript, she then proceeds to tell us she has yet to figure out how to be a woman. Everything she just wrote about for sixteen arduous chapters had absolutely no point 'cause you don't need to sweat it. Now I'm bringing back that first paragraph about domestic violence, pay inequality, and female circumcision not being terribly important. Sixteen chapters of non-important things that, at the beginning of the book, you told us were far more important than those three horrendous injustices happening every day that need to be stopped immediately but won't be. No, instead let's focus on what to call boobs then climb in our beds and say, "Shit, none of this mattered at all."


March will be featuring Farrrah Abraham's book My Teenage Dream Ended. This should truly be a blast. Again, I have a copy I can send you, and I'd be happy to if you'd like. Shoot me your email! If you leave it in the comments, I'll immediately delete it after I've seen it.

Last month's review

Sunday, February 3, 2013

January's Book: Big in Japan

This previous month to kick off my New Year's Resolution, I read Big in Japan by Jennifer Griffith.

To be honest, I never would've picked this book up on my own accord. My cousin and her boyfriend own (?) the publishing company that published this book, Jolly Fish Press. And if we're continuing on this plight of honesty, I still wouldn't have picked it up if my cousin hadn't posted that it was on sale for the Kindle for 99 cents. (Okay, so obviously, when I link this on my FaceBook, I'll be blocking her and her bf from seeing it.)

Big in Japan is about a man named Buck who lives in Texas. He's extremely overweight and fairly tall. These things cause him to be the laughing stock throughout his life. He gets a call from his parents one day asking him to accompany them to Japan where his dad is trying to legalize a drug there. The person who's supposed to fund the project wants to meet the entire family. Buck and his family venture to Japan where Buck is introduced by the youngest boy in the project funder's family to sumo wrestling. The story takes you on a "ride" of his journey as a white man into sumo and becoming a celebrity based on his size and falling in love with a teeny, tiny Japanese woman.

Here comes that plight of honesty again, I started the book back in December. It was so slow and difficult to get into. Once my New Year's Resolution kicked in, I figured out how many pages I needed to read to have it done by the end of the month. It was painstaking. The writer was so obviously vanilla Mormon with her choice of curse words for the characters to say like, "Holy cats." Obviously not a reason to stop reading a book but enough for me to roll my eyes up to the sky. At times the book had me turning pages, at other points, I was checking Twitter for @hutchhxcx tweets and DrawSomething for new challenges. Needless to say, I finished the book. Wouldn't recommend picking it up. I linked it up at the top, as you probably saw, and you're obviously free to check it out. I'm content with the 99 cents I paid and wouldn't pay the seven something it costs now. I'm pretty sure I can loan it, don't know how. But if you have a Kindle and want me to loan it to you, just let me know. I'm positive that I've sold it to you. You really might like it, though. I didn't.

Next month's book is How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran. I'm a few chapters in and dying inside. This lady's trippin' so hard. My friend sent it to me for free. If you have an iPhone and download iBooks to read it on, I'll send it on over to you. Shoot me your email. So far though, she's been fairly crude and graphic to a point that even makes me queasy.

We'll revisit this in March.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

New Year's Resolution

Welcome to the New Year, y'all! It's February, so I'm assuming you're used to writing '2013' now.

Every year as I make my New Year's Resolution, I like to do something that I know I can absolutely accomplish. Transitioning from December 31 to January 1 does not suddenly give you resolve to turn your life inside out. That stuff comes from within, takes time and hardwork. My life is a constant quest to be a better person.

For 2012, my resolution was to always text back when someone texted me. One word responses were not required but became second nature after a while. The reason for this resolution was that I felt since moving out to Denver, I was losing touch with friends and family back home. People would text me, and I wouldn't text them back. I realized that was my fault. I put in more effort, and I now actually enjoy texting.

2013's resolution will be to read one book a month. So I figured in addition to expanding my reading, I would also be given more opportunities to blog. So, as I read my books, I will be writing reviews on them then featuring what the book will be for the next month in case you want to read along.

I finished January's book last week and got started on February. But I'm going to post the review tomorrow. So, see you tomorrow. Happy Saturday, everyone.