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!


Flavor of the Week: Christopher Columbus

He has really nice hands

He has really nice hands

One of the greatest struggles a child has is remembering the names of the ships that brought the white people to America who got kicked out of Europe because they wouldn’t let them film “Sister Wives” over there. I would always get confused between the Nina, Pinta, Santa Maria, and the Mayflower and what each of their respective historical purposes were. After googling “what is the difference between the nina the pinta the santamaria and the mayflower” just to make sure that I had my facts straight, I concluded that the Mayflower brought the cast of “Sister Wives” over and the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria were not just the names of every house keeper in the tri-state area but also carried Christopher Columbus and his men to “discover” North America.

Christopher Columbus, not to be mistaken for Chris Columbus (the man who directed your little brother’s fav movie, Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief), is a controversial man of epic proportions. There is an entire grassroots movement towards abolishing the holiday we celebrate in his honor. This, if you think about it, is especially rude to and ignorant of the Canadians who celebrate their Chinatown version of Thanksgiving on the American Columbus Day.

Here is Columbus looking rather Nice Jewish Boy-esque

Here is Columbus looking rather Nice Jewish Boy-esque

Columbus was neither very attractive nor very Ivy League. He thought it would be a great idea to sail westward to reach the East Indies. Like, I see what your trying to do here, but unconventionality only works in situations such as wearing transparent tights under jean cutoffs in an effort to “stay warm,” or when you have to edit a photo on minimum three different applications in order to mupload it in the trendiest manner.

People don’t like Columbus because he didn’t treat Native Americans with respect. It also pisses a lot of people off that we give him the credit to “discovering” America when a) Leif Ericson, some meaty ginger viking, already came and b) the land had clearly been discovered if people were living there. I think in truth, this is kind of like a “why don’t we all just stab Casear” situation and a lot of people have some pent up jealousy that there are no countries left for them to discover… just new iPhone apps to create. You know?


Flavor of the Week: Post-its

I’ve always known that if I were to ever become a millionaire, it would not be due to a million-dollar idea. It would be more likely that I’d receive a million-dollar book deal, and even more likely that I’d win the lottery (just to put things into perspective for you). Steve Jobs had a million-dollar idea by transforming the world of transportable music. To do something like that, I figured, one would have to be wildly intelligent. My intelligence about technology and other 21st century “things” extends no further than my aptitude for Facebook etiquette. If I were to ever be inventive in any sort, I would have to create something so simple that the world would change forever. I would have to create something like Post-its: the smartest dumb invention of all time.

When you break it down, Post-its are small scraps of brightly colored paper with a centimeter-wide strip of sticky shit on the back. There’s no excuse as to why I can’t invent something like this. After all, the inventor of the Post-it must have been an OCD mother of four (maybe temple sisterhood president?) who makes us question, “Oh, just how does she do it all?!” with the utmost amazement and sheer respect.

I use Post-its more than I used Google translate in high school and more than I used this girl I knew in elementary school just to eat Nutella at her house combined. Here is why we effin’ love Post-its:

They can be used as wallpaper for the poor, unemployed post-grad.

They contribute to some of our nation’s greatest works of art.

They don’t judge you for still having a Blackberry.

They serve as a great alternative to an overpriced paint job after you scratched Daddy’s Jaguar.

If you aren’t into eating solid foods these days…

And, finally,

Their ad department is really great.


On Higher Education

Amanda Bynes stars in Sydney White, a movie about “higher” education

The discussions I typically have amongst my friends are usually intelligent. For example, we enjoy talking about theoretical concepts in religion and politics. We also graze upon public policy and amongst public policy, we indulge in the topic of education. As a group of friends that is, for the most part, pretty intellectual, we care about education and are rather opinionated about it. Now that school is back in session, these tiny movie clips of conversation are playing on a reel inside of my head like memories I can’t seem to get my mind off of. I’m wondering if over the next “x” amount of years I spend learning, I’ll figure out the answers to some of the questions about the way stuff works. But for now, I figured that these bits of discussion and information would be good to share. Mean Girls has relevance because we can’t stop quoting it, so my everlasting questions about our system of higher education are important because I can’t stop thinking about them, right? Like is that not the basis of all logic?

The topic we’ve discussed most was more of a thesis than anything else, and it is this: not everyone should go to college.

Today, you constantly see ad campaigns pushing for a college education. Is it true that in today’s society, it seems as though lack of a four-year bachelor’s degree and even some form of post-graduate education is necessary to land a well-paying steady job? Yes, it definitely seems that way. So when I say that not everyone should go to college, I am totally aware of the fact that 9 times out of 10 in the world we live in today, higher education is necessary. But do I think that society should have remodeled itself the way it did to fit that statistic? No, not at all.

You used to not need to go to college to live pretty well-off. If you think about it, that’s why so many millennials are the first in their families to attend college. A university education is incredibly expensive (and perhaps overpriced, a topic I will delve into a little later). If you know that the career path you plan on following is not going to ever require that you know half of the things you are going to learn in college, then why waste your money and time? Economically, it doesn’t make sense.

Because of the influx in the amount of people who want to attend four-year institutions, the application process is increasingly competitive. A college acceptance is starting to become similar to winning Willy Wonka’s golden ticket. Or, for those of you who stick to diets of lettuce and coffee, think of it as willing the mega-millions. I happen to not be a huge fan of the lottery example because there’s a larger likelihood that from your college education you’ll spend around $100,000 and graduate unemployed and in debt to your parents, the bank, or if you’re lucky, both!!!! But, hey, I’m just a pessimist.

If you’re aiming for a career that will really require four years (or more) of higher education, then go for it. If anyone is in favor of being as educated as possible, it’s me. I have binders full of worksheets I made while I was in elementary school. Every weekend–hell, every chance I got–I would force my younger brothers to “play school.” My parents bought me a giant whiteboard and a set of Expo markers. If it were up to me, I would be in school forever. But why continue going if a) you aren’t super passionate about learning, like I and the other anomalies out there are, b) it isn’t necessary for the lifestyle you want to lead, and c) the expenses are outrageous?

You could say that the real problem here is the very cost of education; if higher education wasn’t so expensive, then it wouldn’t be so difficult to give another four years of your life to learning, and although your career may not require all of the learning that is non-specific to your trade, the price of the education would make the whole experience worth it regardless.

And, now, on the topic of expense: why is college getting increasingly expensive? I’m not so great at economics, but I know the rule of supply and demand. When supply is low, demand goes up, and price goes up. When supply is high, and demand is low, price goes down. Although college is getting more competitive, there is a larger number of students now than there ever was before. So demand is high, but it also seems that supply is high. And… price is high? Something isn’t right here. I’m no Econ major, but what do you expect from a pointless liberal arts education anyways?!?!

If anything, I feel like the value of a college education is going down. When everyone’s getting a college degree, no one’s getting a college degree. What I mean by this: when everyone’s wearing Doc Martens, they lose their cool. Now do you get what I’m saying? So, we’ve resorted to various graduate degrees. When something is less unique, it’s less valuable. This is not to say that I don’t feel absolutely #blessed for the education experience I’m receiving. I wouldn’t change a thing for the world. But maybe I’m just a victim to the times.


On Attraction

There are many upsides and many downsides to having more than half of your friends be guys. An example of a downside would be last night, when I had seven of them over for dinner and I spent a solid twenty minutes making a beautiful salad, which only one of them put on his plate. When you don’t have anyone to share the experience of a good salad with, things get rough. An example of an upside is that when they’ve finished eating, they are each willing to take his own plate and bring it into the kitchen without so much as a single complaint. And, to top it off, they have excellent manners.

Another large upside is that boys generally tell it like it is. So when I went out to breakfast with one of my closest guy friends this morning, he not only told it “like it is.” He told it “like it is,” and a whole lot more.

I asked him if he’d rather be really tall and fat, or really tall and really thin. First, we agreed that there are definitely pros and cons to each situation. I couldn’t really decide which I would rather be. But before the conversation extended any further, he said something that caught my attention.

“Well, I’d think you’d rather be tall and thin, right?”

Tall and thin?! Why would anybody in their right mind ever, ever, ever want to be tall and thin????!!!!!

My immediate reaction to his assumption was “What?” The certainty with which he made that statement was with utmost confidence. But when I stopped and thought about it for a second, I realized where he was going. “You’re right,” I came to admittance. “I would, actually, definitely rather be tall and thin.”

His response summed it all up for me: “Of course you would. Because you’re a girl.”

Before I continue to dive deeper into our conversation, I want to address the fact that right now, you’re all probably thinking, “Of course she’d rather be thin. Who doesn’t want to be thin, even if you’re tall enough to be the lovechild of Yao Ming and Khloe Kardashian, the trademark giant, you would still rather be thin than be fat.” Let me defend my thinking—I imagined that being tall and fat would make someone more proportional, and perhaps one would prefer to look proportional than they would to look like a malnourished Kenyan child on stilts.

Getting back to the story: I asked him what he would prefer to look like, and he said to me, “It doesn’t really matter. I don’t think it really matters for guys.”

“Why’s that?” I asked.

“Because guys can get girls either way. Girls look more into guys than guys into girls.” Although it seems obvious when I say it out loud, in the moment, I was shocked. I could not get over how true that statement was. He continued:

“Some girls like guys who are funny, some girls like athletic guys. Appearance doesn’t matter as much for girls.”

Just when you thought that there couldn’t be enough materialistic betches in the tri-state area, my lovely male friend made us seem that more down-to-earth. Who would’ve thought? Girls care about what’s on the outside, but sometimes, we care about what’s on the inside, too. To state it factually, a guy’s “success rate,” as I’ll call it, does not depend as much upon his appearance as a girl does. Hmm… this could mean a lot of things. This could go a lot of places.

Maybe we don’t give ourselves enough credit for being things like “deep” and “caring” and “emotional” and “sympathetic” and “grateful” (yeah effin’ right). Or, maybe we’re just that easy—so easy that we will fling ourselves at any guy. If you spin it that way, it sounds like we lack self-respect for not ensuring that we are with the most attractive of men. Or maybe we have self-respect for caring about what’s inside and not letting ourselves be with very, very, very attractive assholes (even though obviously we are all with very, very, very attractive assholes at least once in our lives… it’s like a frickin’ right of passage).

According to my friend’s dogma of attraction, guys have an easier time getting girls because they don’t consider personality like we do. If you look the part, you have the part. Done and done. That means that it isn’t necessarily difficult for girls to get guys. Instead, it’s difficult for girls to find, and get, the guys they want. That’s why our “success rate” is lower—because we make it that way. Not because we don’t have game, because you know that we do.

If you’re a funny guy, we like you because you’re funny. OK, fine. Maybe it’s because you’re Jewish and you’re funny. If you’re an attractive guy, we probably like you because you’re attractive. Maybe you’re funny too, but that’s rare. It’s more likely that you think you’re funny. And if we decide that we want to be with you, be happy that we did.

 


Flavor of the Week: Thought Catalog

Are you alternative? Are you cynical? Do you like to write? Do you like to write in list-form to make your topic matter appear more dramatic? Do you enjoy and relate to dark humor? Have you ever had your heart broken? Do you want to write about how your heart was broken, but in list form, analyzing the process of figuring out the “Top 5 Mistakes Men Make In Dating,” the “7 Things To Tell Yourself When You’re Hurting,” or the “7 Things Your Future Self Would Tell You Now?”

Well, then, you should write for Thought Catalog.

ThoughtCatalog.com is like a BuzzFeed for depressed teenagers still in that Panic! At the Disco phase or for lonely twenty-somethings who are inseparable from their slouch-beanies and are really into the internet. It operates from Williamsburg (obv) and refers to itself as an “experimental media group.” Now how trendy is that?!?!

This is Chris Lavergne, the publisher behind Thought Catalog. He obviously has really dark hair because it goes oh-so-well with his dark, intellectual, hipster soul.

Something magical about Thought Catalog is that I can find a way to relate to every article. When I’m having serious boy issues, I read “How Can You Tell If You Love Him” or “Here’s 20 Ways To Figure Out If You’re Being A Crazy Psycho Bitch” or something like that. Those articles don’t literally exist by name, but it’s probably only a matter of time until they do. I’m sure I could write them.

If you don’t catch my drift about Thought Catalog, below is the cover of a digital book they published containing different essays from the site. Of course, the book had to be digital, because they are just #struggling that much in Williamsburg.

Of course, the book cover looks like this.

Thought Catalog is great for many things: procrastination, feeling better about your life because your eyes are opened the the heartache of metrosexuals wearing jeggings in their studio apartments, procrastination, and much more. Truthfully, I read their articles a lot. But then again, I’m me.


On the Importance of Intelligent Boyfriends

Last week at lunch with a friend, I was discussing the nitty, gritty details of the status of my current love life. When you talk about boys with a friend, the conversation can always be sure to lead in many different directions–what we like about them, what we don’t, who they are, who we wish they would be. This last clause got me thinking about the minor qualities boys have that make them come up a little short (pun somewhat intended).

Each girl has, in her mind, a specific list of what she likes about boys in a particular order. First, the list is catalogued by category. For example, first could be height, second attractiveness, third quality of humor. But then, she will within each category have another ordered list of preference. If the most important quality to her is height, then she will either prefer shorter guys or prefer taller guys. This list will appear in a different order in everyone’s mind. So while two girls may both prefer taller guys, the importance of height in general could be absolutely key to one and totally irrelevant to the other. I really hope you’re hearing me here. I’m aware of how ridiculous I may sound.

Height never bothered these two lovebirds. Very chic use of metallic, boys.

The one category out of the many existing (there are hundreds, of course) that my friend and I discussed over seared tuna salads was intelligence. Recently, a close, and very smart, male friend of mine told me that he always imagined me “ending up with someone very intelligent.” Because of the circumstances in which he divulged this intriguing comment (sitting outside of a fairly large party, surrounded by a group of people loudly socializing with red solo cups), I didn’t take it to much heart upon its release from his mind into the real world. A few weeks later, however, I found that I couldn’t stop thinking about that comment. What does it say about me that he thinks I should be with someone of high intellectual ability? What does it say about what he thinks of me? And, most importantly, how crucial should it be that we have smart boyfriends? 

I feel like this could go all the way back to the early 1900s in the era of Elizabeth Cady Stantons and Susan B. Anthonys. If we truly believe that, modernly, there is no need to conform to traditional gender roles within male-female relationships, then I wouldn’t even have this question. Technically, it shouldn’t matter if my boyfriend was smarter than or was as smart as me because it would be absolutely fabulous if I, being the female, was the breadwinner while my trophy husband stayed home and compared strollers with the Irish au pair next door. I often consider myself to be a pseudo-feminist that appreciates a relationship of reversed roles. However, when I found myself seriously questioning exactly how smart any boyfriend of mine should be, I realized that the traditional “couple” stereotype still, naturally, exists. At lunch, my friend and I both admitted it–we want smart husbands. Sorry, Elizabeth.

Boo, you whore.

After our discussion of my guy friend’s comment at the party, and our admittance that we are not as feminist as we once thought we were, I put the big question out there… should it bother me if I’m ever smarter than someone I’m with? I automatically  backtracked to every boy I had ever liked (whether the feeling was mutual or was not) and thought about just how smart he was. Her response was quick, and, in my opinion, wildly brilliant: “Well, now you’re asking something bigger,” she said. “How do you define ‘smart?’

Men, as confusing and complex as they are, can be smart in many different ways. Some babes may be impressed when their guy can speak about football for three hours minimum. I’m not this type of girl. I’m much more impressed when I have a male friend over who is able to survive a philosophical, intellectually-stimulating conversation without sounding stupid. It is not hard to keep a conversation going when you’re talking to a lot of Jewish people; it is difficult, however, to sound like you have an interesting/intelligent opinion every time you open your mouth.

I think that I consider someone “smart” to be someone who is not only good at participating in discussions about current events, societal theories, whatever is “in style,” and historical happenings but, in addition, enjoys these conversations. Then again, I also am interested in having a boyfriend that is willing to go shopping with me and will not make me feel fat when he takes me for fro-yo but then doesn’t get any himself. That is rude, obviously. I think smartness can be measured in a multitude of ways. What it comes down to, I believe, is how he handles a relationship. This can possibly gauge more light on his level of intelligence than anything else. Lying is dumb (it never works in your favor, buddy), ignoring me is dumb (if you feel the need to ignore someone, you shouldn’t be dating her), and taking someone else’s side is dumb (you don’t always have to agree in a relationship, but you always have to be a team). I hope I don’t sound too high maintenance. I don’t sound too high maintenance, right?

So, boys, as the female race, this is all we’re looking for. It’s not too much to ask. Really.