On #WhiteGirlProblems

After years of some deliberation, I’ve decided it’s pretty much impossible to “be” a girl.

I can start off by talking about the sexual double standard (thank you, sociology prof): the idea that the same action is perceived by the general public completely differently depending on if it was executed by a male or by a female. A guy sleeps around with a lot of girls, his friends applaud. A girl does that, and other girls think she’s disgusting; everyone is well versed in this example. The constant complaint of amateur feminism revolves around the idea of the “slut.”

A girl can be a slut, and not only will guys get with her, but they’ll get with her because of it. They won’t love her and they won’t want to date her. But she’s a dime, right? A guy can be a slut, and girls will be both a-ware and war-y of it. But will they still get with him? Probably. If a man whore wanted to take a girl out, would she hesitate to say yes? No. But let’s be real here: would a guy ask a slut out if he knows she’ll be an easy bang in the first place? Never.

The unrealistic expectations don’t end here. The next topic I’d like to elaborate on is my personal favorite: fashion. We’re supposed to dress “trendy.” And right now, trendy looks a lot like all black, vintage t-shirts, ghetto-fab, rocker-chick-ish, but also polished, put together, and expensive. Naturally, I would take this advice and walk around in ripped boyfriend jeans and a small t-shirt with my black high top Converse 24/7. And, naturally, I do. But most of the time I lack the element of “hot.” It takes one helluva effort to find the perfect mix of Kurt Cobain circa 1992–though most girls who strive for “trendy” have no idea that the MTV Unplugged in New York album even exists–and maybe, like, Kendall Jenner or something. We’ve gotta dress like a tomboy, but in crop tops and skinny jeans. Um, what?

We could never forget the bod. We can’t be too skinny, because then guys won’t like us. But we have to be fit; toned. We have to have some curves in some places–the right places–but not too many. We also have to love food, because we all are striving to be Hilary Duff in A Cinderella Story when she chooses the Big Mac over the rice cake. Besides, Chad Michael Murray likes a girl with a hearty appetite. But then this happens…

…and we all are, like, well, sorry not sorry you’re always too busy talking to the girls who eat the rice cakes.

Do you see our dilemma now? If we eat whatever we want but don’t look like a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, then it’s gross. But if we eat whatever we want and still look like Lindsay Lohan pre-rehab, then we’re in the clear.

In the end, it’s all about making it seem like we care and we also don’t care at all. I probably look like I was dressed by a blind person four out of seven days a week. But guess what? I spent forty minutes picking out that outfit in my hot pink fuzzy robe. #Appreciate. It relates to the fact that we ignore your texts for an hour but, to no surprise, were staring at your little “typing” bubble the entire time. Do ya notice the pattern yet?

The fact that perfection consists of so many things makes perfection itself impossible. If perfection wants to really exist, then it should just be one thing that you can hold, or pet, or grab, or something, and when you have it you know exactly what it is and how it feels and what it looks like and then you can just be happy.

I could be wrong. Maybe instead, perfection should change for us. In reality, HA HA. Unfortunately, we know that perfection can never change. There will always be an idea of what we have to do, what we should look like, and who we have to be that exists in girl world. But since it’s so unattainable, then why the hell am I wasting time trying to convince myself to wear normal jeans?


On Feminism

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Do you believe in the complete equality of men and women?

If you answered yes to that question, then according to AmIAFuckingFeminist.com, you’re a fucking feminist.

This simple question is meant to eradicate the stigma involved with feminism. If you answer “No” to this question, you look pretty stupid.

Last night I was talking to a guy who called me out for being a feminist. I don’t even think I was wearing my “feminist hat” at the time, but I must have said something about not wearing a bra. He asked me why I was “such a feminist,” even though I don’t consider myself to be “such” a feminist. I always thought I was more of just “a” feminist.

My reply: “Do you believe that men and women should have equal rights?” He paused.

“Not really,” he said.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” I said. My jaw dropped.

A long conversation ensued. It contained utter disbelief and pure resentment on my part, and strong defense on his. I asked what he thought about a potential female president. I asked him about abortion and birth control. He agreed with me on all of these matters with little to no hesitation whatsoever.

“So… you’re a feminist.” He still insisted he wasn’t.

There is a problem with the definition of feminism and with the idea of what a feminist looks like and what she (or he?) believes in. Traditionally, we believe feminists are 70’s hippies that don’t shave their body hair. We believe feminists think that women are better than men, and that they should reign supreme in what is currently a male-dominated society. The modern movement rooted in websites like Jezebel and in media forms like episodes of Girls attempts to alter this preconceived notion. Now, feminism is all about the idea that everyone should be a feminist, because if you’re not, you sound like a huge asshole. It’s about proving how easy feminism is to understand and believe in as we strip its definition down into its skimpy Victoria’s Secret lingerie.

By doing this–by making feminism relatable–are we devaluing the concept? Should we be changing the ideas of feminism to accommodate a stubborn society, or should we be focusing on changing the stubborn society to legitimize females?

To me, it seems silly to try to encourage people to put a label on themselves that they historically haven’t been comfortable using. Because of websites like Am I A Fucking Feminist, people know what feminism is. But at the same time, I feel like we’re settling.

There’s a pretty good chance I sound really stupid right now. The chance to spread feminism? Why not take that by the reigns and run with it, right?! Any good girl lover would surely do that! It’s just that throughout my entire life, I was under the impression that I should feel proud to be a feminist–to be one of the few who are knowledgable about what women deserve and appreciate my role in society as a female. Maybe I’m being selfish. Maybe I’m just a victim to feminism, which, after all, is really just a word.

This nuanced-feminism would reply to my thoughts by saying that we aren’t changing the movement at all–that the stigma has always existed and has always been incorrect from its inception. But just because the stigma is incorrect does not mean that we cannot ignore it. The argument that movements like Am I A Fucking Feminist are trying to make is that feminism isn’t a “big deal” and it never has been; it simply stands for the respect of women that men typically always receive. I agree with this new perspective on feminism and I think it’s pretty cool. But if you don’t want to be considered a feminist, then I don’t know if I want you to be one, either. Does the point diminish when we have to change the outward nature of the movement to appeal more to the masses?

I also don’t know why we even use the word “feminist” anymore. Isn’t it more of an equal-ist? An everybody-ist?

The guy I was speaking to last night said that there are definite differences between men and women that we can’t ignore. We just aren’t smart enough as a society yet to figure out how to let that respectfully reflect in every day life. Interesting. Interesting, indeed.

Thoughts on feminism? GO!


On The Super Bowl (And The Boy’s Girl)

Am I a boy's girl yet?

Am I a boy’s girl yet?

My 10th grade history teacher tried to convince my class that football was a modern day version of gladiator fighting. Internally, I somewhat agreed. He was a smart man and made his case well–gladiators fought as a means of entertainment, flooding arenas with fans who wanted to see a man (though it didn’t matter which one) die. Football’s not far off. For some reason, people love seeing bodies hurled at each other. While we don’t watch football players literally fight to the death, we live vicariously through their injuries, wondering if we, too, will make that same, painful expression one day during childbirth.

The Super Bowl is a staple of American culture. Most people genuinely enjoy it, but in the way you enjoy Break-Fast on Yom Kippur. It’s not because you like repenting for your sins, but because the holiday just sends out a festive vibe or whatever. In my book, the Super Bowl isn’t real football. But it’s pretty close, so every girl pretends she really gives a shit about the football part of it when truthfully, she probably doesn’t. Besides, the odds that a team you are actually a fan of year-round playing in the Super Bowl aren’t in your favor. So if you don’t love football and your team isn’t playing, how much do you really care who wins?

There’s a certain stigma attached to the boy’s girl: the girl that likes beer, isn’t afraid of anything, and understands football. She’s attractive, thin–but not too skinny–and dresses simply enough to look good–but not fashionable–and attractive all the same. This girl yells at the television screen on Super Bowl Sunday, gambling away her old babysitting money on bets she swears she’ll win. She probably will win, because that’s just the way the boy’s girl works–not only does she put herself out there, but she gets away with it, too.

Guys say it’s impossible to be “just friends” with a girl. If he’s “friends” with her, he wants to sleep with her. If he’s not, then he has no interest in her at all. This is how I feel about the boy’s girl–it’s impossible for her to actually be a perfect boy’s girl. The relationship between a boy’s girl and herself is too good to be true.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a fucking feminist, I’m not a sexist, and I’ve been nurtured via the milk of liberal arts college to believe that gender is a spectrum. The masculine female and the feminine male wholeheartedly exist. I’m not saying a female can’t thoroughly enjoy football, because I’m sure she can. I don’t not enjoy football myself. But the boy’s girl is different than just a girl who likes football, and she’s too good to be true. It isn’t that she falls in love with football, but she falls in love with the idea of falling in love with football. She falls in love with herself; she’s in love with the version of herself she’s capable of becoming with just a little push–if she were to be just slightly more masculine. If she’s pretty enough/chill enough to have the boy’s girl persona become attainable, then she will grab it with both hands and step into it like it’s a Cinderella costume.

Every girl who isn’t a boy’s girl has a soft spot for girls that are. As frustrating or as fake as boy’s girls may seem, everyone wants to be one. I’m not willing to give up colored tights and dresses and my tendency to remain callously uptight in order to evolve into a boy’s girl. I think I’d rather just be me. But it would be nice, dontchya think?

The truth of the matter is that at the end of the day, girls want the same things that guys do. A girl wants a boy’s attention in the subtlest and sneakiest way possible. So, she transforms into a boy’s girl. Boys don’t think that they can be friends with girls? Well, girls think that they can be friends with boys. And that’s exactly where things get dangerous. The main difference between boys and girls is that eventually, we (girls) can coerce you (boys) into telling us how pretty you think we are, or how badly you want to “get” with us. But we’ll never give you the satisfaction that you’re willing to give us. Instead, we’ll ask you to pass the guac and the pizza and crack us open a cold one during the big game.

A boy’s girl gets away with being a boy’s girl pretty well. But don’t forget: inside, she’s still a girl.


On Airplanes

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Traveling is odd. People find discomfort in being picked up and reshuffled far away from their cats and their refrigerators. If they aren’t having Woody Allen-type anxiety, however, they feel freedom from traveling. I used to have a terrible fear of planes, but not because of the planes themselves. Rather, it was the idea behind them and the events that could take place upon them. Though a “thing” and the “ideas behind it” seem inseparable, they are not.

I was never afraid that the plane I was on would crash and burn. Nor was I afraid of landing on a desert island, regretting leaving my teddy bear and blankie at home because now, I would be stuck for a lifetime without them. I never did well in times of transition, and perhaps traveling was, for me, a transition. Though temporary, I was moving from one place to another. Change never bothered me much, but transition did. The in-between from where you were and where you’re going to be was terrifying.

Once, I took a trip to Florida with my uncle and my cousins. Beforehand, I was scared shitless of the 3 hour flight and the Fountain Bleu that awaited me in Miami. A week before the vacation, I was speaking with a friend who was flying to Canada alone. “Why are you so scared?” she asked. I told her I didn’t really know, I was just naturally an anxious person about everything. “Airplanes relax me,” she said too enthusiastically. “I just think about how I’m going to somewhere better, and it’s all good.” I’ll never forget that conversation. She made it look so easy. When I spent the entire flight from Newark to Miami clutching my cousin’s thigh in a death grip, I realized it wasn’t. That vacation, I was too anxious to eat anything besides Piña Coladas, which naturally made me incredibly sick, inducing my anxiety even more.

I’m no longer afraid of flying. Now, I fly alone, and I actually enjoy it. Humans are creatures of habit, and so the same thoughts run through my mind every time I fly (actually, I have a conversation with myself… seriously):

Sitting in my seat, directly before take off: They say that that planes are most likely to crash in the first five minutes during take off or during the last five minutes during landing.

During the flight: No turbulence, so no vomit. We are in the clear.

During descent: They say that that planes are most likely to crash in the first five minutes during take off or during the last five minutes during landing.

Somewhere in between Thought Processes 1 and 2 I let the most terrifying thought of them all slip through my mind–worse than projectile vomit in a contained space, worse than a smelly person sleeping on my shoulder, and worse than dropping 300 feet in 2 seconds. I don’t think people are afraid of the mechanics of an airplane as much as they are the concept of one. The permanence freaks the shit out of me again and again and again. There’s no escape and there’s no turning back. There’s nowhere to go.

Then I realize that there is, in fact, somewhere to go. And, of course, I am going there. I am getting there. There’s no turning back, but I’m getting somewhere else instead. When I really thought about it once, I realized the funniest thing. Isn’t that just another way of explaining life?

Image via


On Fro-Yo

A couple of months ago, a guy friend jokingly told me that he would sue me because The FYD is a “fallacy.” He said it was a rip off for not properly representing its title. It’s true–I mention fro-yo every once in a while, but I don’t really write about it. On the exact one year anniversary of The FYD, I figured it would be a good time to start.

Frozen yogurt is a very generational thing, which gave reason to the titling of The FYD. Fro-yo is just as millennial as we are not because of the mass amount of chain stores spreading faster than wild fire through an unkempt bikini line, but because of the nature of the product itself.

Fro-yo is quick demand and quick satisfaction. Think fast food for the anorexic. We also believe we can eat more fro-yo than we can ice cream, which is really only half true. Sometimes, I eat fro-yo for lunch or dinner and never feel half-bad about it. If I ate ice cream as often as I did fro-yo (which may or may not sometimes be twice a day) I would feel much shittier, be 10 pounds heavier, and have to go to the bathroom a lot more. We like to think fro-yo is guilt free, which is exactly what we’re supposed to think. Obviously, like all things in life, it isn’t.

Sure, it’s low fat or fat free. But it’s still full of shit, and has enough chemicals to provide a seventh grade girls’ basketball team with full keratin treatments. Fro-yo is kind of like makeup. We can pretend we’re skinny because we make the choice to eat fro-yo and we can pretend we have good skin when we’re really just wearing a lot of makeup. But at the end of the day, you have to realize that you’re just using cash from the third night of Hanukkah to cover up your acne and you’re not losing weight by eating healthier ice cream. If you were actually skinny you’d be eating kale and not cake batter. We’re caught in the vicious cycle of deceit via the deadly sins of Sephora and (insert your go-to fro-yo place here).

You never have to settle on fro-yo. 21 flavors! 50 toppings! It isn’t like a fraternity mixer where you’re stuck deciding between the unattractive Jew and the semi-attractive goy that your mom would not approve of. We should take a moment and be thankful, because back in the day, it wasn’t always like this. The options weren’t always endless. Now, of course, they pretty much are.

Fro-yo started out as Forty Carrots at Bloomingdale’s, where wealthy mothers and grandmothers would take their dressed-up daughters on Saturdays. Today, we all love a good Forty Carrots Instagram. It’s the elegance and class of frozen yogurt captured in Lo-Fi. But fro-yo really rose with Pinkberry in NYC and LA. You could choose from two flavors (maybe three? My memory gets worse with age, ugh) and have the guy behind the counter put two toppings on–more if you had a privileged childhood with money to spend on the luxury of yogurt. Yum.

The problem with trends, like fro-yo, is that they usually die out. Then, they just become another throwback Buzzfeed article to post on your best friend’s wall. Like haha! remember when we thought fro-yo would make us skinny?! Now we just eat large gulps of air!

But I don’t necessarily think fro-yo is a fad. Yes, it’s artificial, but it’s also an indulgence. It’s one of the few things that allow us not to feel constantly shitty about how we look or what we’re doing and how we’re feeling. For once, society was able to provide our generation–a generation in which “plus size” is anything above a size 6–with something good. Kale, I love you, but you don’t always do it for me.

I used to think it was very mature of people to “get coffee.” When I got my license and started “chatting over fro-yo” with friends on weeknights, I felt like an adult. Funny, because in reality, I’m really just a millennial eating fake ice cream, and that’s all.


On “Getting Over It” & Related New Year’s Shit

Carrie does NYE.

The most appropriate photo – Carrie does NYE.

A lot of people think it’s very important to set goals. I think I’m one of those people, but I’m not entirely sure. Over the past year I’ve learned that I think things about myself that aren’t necessarily true. I make lists a lot. I try and get a better grade than I did before or run an extra half-mile at the gym. I set standards for myself. I put pressure on myself. When I mess up, I tell myself I’ll never make the same mistake again. Literally, I make promises to myself in my mind. Obviously, I don’t always get where I wanted to be. But I think about it, and that counts for something, right?

Today, people are concerned with two things: 1) gaining weight over the holidays, and 2) making New Year’s resolutions. I make resolutions every year. I don’t ever look back at them, or keep them in mind as the snow melts and the sun takes me out of social hibernation, but I sit and write a few things down on the last day of December.

I always knew I loved to write. Writing was the one thing people told me I was good at. I didn’t always want to be a writer, though. I went through the usual career phases–National Geographic photographer, marine biologist, professional dancer, etc. But as I’ve gotten older, I realized something: I had a lot to say. Therefore, I had a lot to write.

Last New Year’s Eve I decided I would start a blog. I would post every Sunday (eventually, I decided to post on Wednesdays, too) and I would write about things people would actually want to read and say the things people didn’t always want to say. The Fro-Yo Diaries was conceived and before I knew it, I was a teen mom to this baby of a blog.

Spike Jonze’s recently released film, Her, is about a guy that falls in love with a computer operating system. Think Plankton and his wife Karen circa Spongebob. The FYD has been that thing for me. I’m not in love with it, but it’s the most constant thing there is. We have dates every Sunday and Wednesday. And I’m a great girlfriend. I never cancel (fine, I only cancelled once, but rescheduled for Monday) and I even kept the relationship going long distance when I was out of the country for two weeks. I didn’t realize how people come and go in life until I had something that stayed for as long as I wanted it to. Perhaps this is also because a lot of people came and went this year. That’s ok, though.

This is my last post for 2013. For some reason, I feel like I need to make it a big deal. There are two parts to New Year’s Eve: what goes on internally, and what goes on externally. Everyone loves the partying and the dressing up and the kissing. And if you so choose, you can live that to its fullest. But the internal part only happens to some people. It happens to the dramatic people like me, people who like making lists and having fresh starts even though when you wake up on January 1st, you don’t feel so fresh and you’re still the same person you were the night before. My mom tells me that things get different as you get older. Birthdays aren’t as exciting (or, people don’t give as much of a shit about you); Christmas isn’t so magical. Life is kind of different, too. 

A lot has happened in the past year. Sometimes, I wish I was a Kardashian just so I could have gotten it all on tape. Unfortunately I’m too poor and not nearly beautiful enough for that, so I was forced to discreetly scribble conversations and important moments on my iPhone notepad so I wouldn’t forget a thing. I get criticism for writing about opinions that clash with other people’s, or sharing personal stories that others prefer not be shared. I’ve been told I’m a tad bitchy or rude. I’ve also been told to “build a bridge and get over it.” I’ve received my fair share of “go f*** youreself” and other lovely, lovely words. But I’ve also been told I’ve made people smile and laugh. I’ve been thanked for saying things other people hadn’t, and commended for being so open about some of the things others would rather lock away like an old pair of boot cut jeans.

I learned a very important lesson over the last year: life happens, and if whatever happens is important, I should write about it. I write about what is important to me. If I don’t write about something, then I’m going to forget it. No matter how shitty something is, I don’t want to forget it because it’s a lesson and a blessing and it takes me somewhere else. I call them The Fro-Yo Diaries for a reason. Duh.

Recently, I’ve been having this huge problem where I either can’t sleep at all or I can’t stop sleeping. My insomnia is brought on by this mental and infinite to-do list that keeps running through my mind. But I don’t really want to do any of it at all, and so instead, I sleep because I feel bad just being awake. I sleep all day sometimes. Some nights, I don’t sleep at all.

If you were to ask me this second what my New Year’s resolutions were, I would tell you that I don’t have a frickin’ clue. If you asked me three years ago what my resolutions for that upcoming year were, I’d have the list memorized and edited for grammatical errors. I’ve changed a lot, but that probably isn’t a bad thing. Maybe while I’m awake, I’ll give it a good thought.

Happy New Year’s.
Love,
Hannah


On Tradition

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. Yet again, I start the long weekend eating a stuffed turkey and end it feeling like one. I’ll just rely on two of my all-time favorite mottos: “Whatever” and “The diet starts tomorrow.” Though it would be easy to write about Thanksgiving food, I also find that somewhat nauseating. So instead, I’m going to write about tradition.

Tradition is something that we, as humans, admittedly celebrate but underratedly infatuate ourselves with. When I hear the word, I think of family. For the majority of my life, my family has prided itself in tradition, as I’m sure everyone else’s has, too. I always felt like the nature of our traditions was better than everyone else’s. In the most obnoxious way, I’ve always assumed that our traditions were more, well, traditional.

Once upon a time, I wrote a piece for @JewBoyProblem’s blog, Found at Bubbe’s, about the importance of a nicely set table to my family. In it, I spoke of my grandma’s need to use her fine china as often as possible. It shaped me into a dining snob. If I go elsewhere for a holiday/special meal, and we’re eating on plastic… forget about it. This example of FYD-fam tradition, along with dozens of others, gave me a feeling that my family was special. We have other traditions that weren’t as fancy, don’t get me wrong. But, then again, we really love our china.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to take notice of little ways tradition intertwines itself into our lives that aren’t as obvious as those displayed at a Thanksgiving meal. I finally understand that different traditions—like the generations-old one in my family where you must put butter on your nose on your birthday—do not have to be annoying and/or acne inducing. They don’t have to be weird or embarrassing, either. Tradition has become a feeling that we subconsciously cling to.

Recently, I was having a conversation with someone about the Greek life scene at different schools. “You know,” she said to me, “it’s for people who like that whole tradition-y atmosphere.” For some reason, that struck me as incredibly interesting. I had never before thought about a sorority or a fraternity as being “tradition-y.” If anything, it seems like more mupload-y. You know, like who can mupload the most amount of photos from the most unique and flattering angles of all the food your big got you? Or who can capture us dancing on eleven different elevated surfaces? To be fair, I thought of Greek life as “campy” because your sorority sisters are the closest to your camp friends you’ll ever get. I went to sleepaway camp for seven summers and basked in its traditions. My camp was all-girls, uniform, and incredibly strict. Because of these traditions, I became a better person. Camp was something my mom had done (we actually went to the same camp) and my grandma had done. My family had camp in its traditions, and my camp was traditional. Therefore, camp = tradition of all sorts.

So if Greek life is campy, and campy is tradition-y, then I guess Greek life is tradition-y. I never thought I’d be saying this, but I suppose I am because traditions evolve. Whether sisterhood blossoms by wearing bathing caps and one-pieces in a freezing lake (like it did for me) or by dedicating yourself to a group of girls for four years of your life, it sticks. This is the magic of tradition.

My only hesitancy to modern tradition—tradition that leaks out of decorated paddles and camp songs—is that it doesn’t seem as special as china set on the dining room table. It also seems to lack the individualism that I usually seek. The hardest part about tradition is deciding when it’s time to change… when it’s time to start having Thursday dinner at a Mexican restaurant rather than an Italian one or when you’ve gotta choose between having your Thanksgiving meal with Mom’s side of the fam or with Dad’s. I think we have to realize that ending a tradition to do your own thing isn’t bad. It’s just, well, different.