Relax, He Wants You to Maw Down and Wear Cheap Chonies

couple macking on the beach According to Glamour, there are seven reasons why your “man” adores you as is. I have a bit of a problem with the concept of “as is”. I associate the concept with final sale sweaters with ink stains not coverable by a cabbage rose brooch, not loving relationships. But then again, I’m still doing cabbage rose brooches like it’s 2000. so I might have missed a few things.

John Ortved writes:

It’s not your boobs. Or your butt. Or even your bank account. Sure, we men like all of that. Ultimately, though, we’re in it for exactly one thing: you. As a sometimes sucker of a boyfriend myself, I’m well aware of how tempting it is to try too hard. But I’m tired, and I’ll bet you are as well. So consider this a to-don’t list, and chill.

Holy mansplaining, Batman. I was laboring under the delusion that loving relationships work best as a partnership rather than a dictatorship. I stand corrected.

The article goes on to list seven reasons why you can chill including such gems as:

No need to inhale a steak on a man’s account, but we love women of all shapes—with bodies and legs and soft things to hold on to—and it takes food to get that way. (By the way, your ribs? They’re meant to protect your organs—please don’t make seeing them a fitness goal. Thanks.)

Despite giving the appearance of embracing body diversity, the concern trolling about eating habits and body shapes is rather disgusting. The message is still: I dictated the terms of desirability based on what behaviors, aesthetics and fitness goals I deem valuable.

Then there are quotes from male participants providing supporting evidence of just how open minded and progressive this is article for women.

Charles, 28, from Boston: “My girlfriend was really into trying this move from the Kama Sutra. In order to get it done, all of my focus turned to balance, abdominal clenching and other nonsexual, lifesaving things. Not fun.”

Thanks, Chuck! Clearly the fault lies squarely with the girlfriend who was trying too hard. Ever heard of the statement, “Hey, this ain’t working for me.” Try it. It works!

And forget downstairs grooming. Turns out, it’s unnecessary because he says so!

Let’s be real: At the end of the day, it’s your vagina, and you should give it whatever haircut you want. But “extreme maintenance” should be the name of a reality show on TLC, not something that you do to your body. Men have a range of tastes, everything from full monty to landing strip to a grown-out seventies bush. If it’s that important for your guy to be with the ridiculously clipped, stripped and shaved women of online porn and you’re far from interested in going there, simply point him toward the computer and tell him to feel free to help himself.

While I appreciate the freedom to dress my vagina in corduroy and denim, I don’t need anyone to grant me permission to make my own choices.

“No-frills cotton underwear says that a woman knows she’s hot and she doesn’t have to convince me of it.” —John, 29, Gainesville, Fla.

My hackles go up every time I read this sentiment expressed in articles. A person’s choice of underwear is simply another fashion choice, dictated more by personal tastes than anything else. Maybe, now I know this sounds ridiculous, just maybe, a person rocks sexy chonies because it makes THEM feel sexy, without regard to other people’s opinion. My personal philosophy on chonies comes from Erika Lopez who wrote (I can’t find the exact quote, but this is a pretty good approximation) “Panties would just get in the way of everything we’re trying to accomplish here.” I wonder if I should get some “No-frills” cotton chonies. I don’t think so. If there are chonies to be worn they have got to be show stopper chonies. But that’s just me.

I’m not snarking on the writer, but I am questioning why we need another article telling women in a rather patronizing tone what to do to make relationships work. Placing the responsibility squarely on women gives the appearance of agency when the opposite is the case.

198 thoughts on “Relax, He Wants You to Maw Down and Wear Cheap Chonies

  1. I’m going to have a loving relationship with the word “chonies.” I don’t know where it’s been all my life, but we have some catching up to do. ;-)

    Nice post.

  2. I learned so many awesome words from this post, chonies, mansplaining. Way more useful than the original glamour article!

    My chonies are never no frills, my girlparts want to be just as glamorous as the rest of me!

  3. These sorts of things are so fucked up because they seem to assume that all men are the same. Men want women with soft bits! Then other folks go, Men want skinny women! Obviously, there’s an epidemic of men generalizing their own experience. “I like boobs, so all men like boobs. I’t scientific!”

  4. I have a well-stocked drawer of, well, drawers, and I have both sexy chonies and plain white cotton panties. I think it’s the case of the nut–sometimes you feel like one, and sometimes you don’t. In any case, I choose for myself, not just an out-and-out choice one time, but every day, every time I shower or change clothes.

    This reminds me: I was thrilled to find the local Target stocking underwear in plus sizes of late, but more than a little angry to see that the choices are not only just cotton in mostly ugly colors and prints, but that the proportions are all off and the cuts are really strange too. A pair in “my” size measured fifteen inches from the crotch to the waistband in the front. Newsflash designer: I need my panties to be wider around than straight sizes, but I don’t need to swaddle my navel in elastic.

  5. I too have a drawer absolutely full of drawers. I have every color and fabric of the rainbow, and they are Awesome. I have to wear a uniform to work, which sucks, but every day I am wearing something bright and fabulous underneath it.

  6. Lucky David Sedaris for getting a writer’s reference from SP!

    And my sexy knickers collection makes me way to happy too swap for the… puritan? boyish? 99.44/100% pure? look every day. Those kinds of unterhosen interfere with my all-day fantasy that I live in a feminism-having-1940′s-WWII-free universe. At least in matters of fashion.

  7. I can appreciate articles like that at least a little, because it IS nice to hear, just once in a while, that maybe the entire world isn’t completely horrified by my love handles, or that bf probably isn’t secretly gagging because I didn’t shave down there. I mean, I KNOW it, it’s just nice to hear.

  8. I always read this type of stuff with the assumption that the quotes are fake and that an actual human male wrote NONE of it. First of all, no one talks that way in real life. Like, who would actually say “But ‘extreme maintenance’ should be the name of a reality show on TLC, not something that you do to your body. ” You know who says shit like that? Magazine writers who are trying to be funny.

    I guess it doesn’t matter whether this crap comes from actual males or writers pretending to be males while pretending to know what actual males want. Either way, it’s some dumbass trying to tell us how to exist.

  9. For me, a big knickers day is a call to arms. If I’ve put plain cotton big knickers on, you can bet your life I have plan for the day and pity the fool that gets in my path. Its certainly not a “hotness” issue. Yack.
    Also – its wonderful to know I’m not the only corduroy and denim lady front-parts dresser.

  10. This is so fucking great.

    And yeah, this incredibly asinine excuse for progress always chaps my hide. “Look how pro-woman we are, telling you NOT to be skinny and NOT to shave off all your pubes! With this man in charge, baby, you’ll never notice you have no agency!”

  11. What are “chonies”? Is it just another term for panties/undies/underoos? Or a specific subgenre? I’m afraid to google them, I’m at work. :(

  12. Underwear. Derives from the Spanish word calzones or calzoncillos.

    Thanks Urban Dictionary.

    My mom always used that word. I didn’t realize she hadn’t made it up until recently.

  13. Addendum: Reading this article again, and on the Glamour website in full, I getting the funny feeling that it wasn’t written by a guy but a woman; who wanted to do a backlash against common relationship myths but then decided to “man it up” by making it sound like orders being issued. Or is that just me?

  14. Rules 1-10 for my underwear: if it’s not coming off in less than an hour, it’s cotton. Sweet, breathable cotton. Hopefully in a color that won’t show through my pants. Usually, the cheap stuff that comes in packages, because I am cheap with my undies, and the washer in my apartment complex enjoys sliiiding open the zipper on lingerie bags and shredding the contents. (The washer needs serious therapy.)

    This universalization of what men want also drives me crazy. If I had a partner driven wild by lacy thongs, I would wear them more – not because I’d be trying too hard, but because I like driving my partner wild on occasion. (Other things – not so much.) Pretending that your personal preferences are universal (NO guy cares about girly shit that shaving and underwear and makeup) pisses me off. And this creation of a double standard, where women have relentless pressure to do things to please partners, and then are told that they’re silly for trying so hard, is bullshit.

  15. I find it ironic that the guy who wrote this:

    It’s one thing when they teased her grandma, but when I did, it became “Why does Whatshisname hate Gammy?”

    doesn’t get that when a man starts telling women “you don’t have to…” it’s going to come across very differently from a self-help article written by a woman.

    A lot of us white guys still view it as our privilege to tell everyone else how to be, or not be, as though what we want was all that mattered.

    BTW, I’m also sometimes known as “Mr. Snarkysmachine.” I hope my commenting on her posts is okay here.

  16. It’s just another line to walk, you know? Be thin, but don’t be too skinny, showing your ribs is gross! Be into food, but don’t make a pig out of yourself. Wear enough makeup to be pretty, but don’t look like you’re wearing makeup, that destroys the illusion. Be good in bed, but don’t go all kama sutra.

    And it’s such bullshit to say that men don’t notice or care about these things. There are men who tell their girlfriends to go on diets or wear makeup or shave their pubes. And there are men who aren’t jerks about it but do notice and have preferences. My husband does notice whether my hair is curly or straight, and he likes it curly. My ex-boyfriend liked it when I got all dolled up and wore extra makeup. And while I am all about my cotton bikini panties, my husband likes me in thongs and corsets and sexy lingerie.

    I mean, where does he think these worries and fears come from? Does he think we made them up in our hysterical little lady brains? Argh.

  17. Maybe I’m not as jaded…but I really don’t read it that way. I read an article similar when I was a lot younger and I read it as being inspiring that I didn’t have to be what the magazines told me I must be to “get a man”. I just had to be patient to look around and find someone who liked me for me and not have to change who I am fundamentally to not be alone. To me, it is more of an affirmation that not all men want the super skinny, but that some actually do like women with curves of all kinds.

    And I did find him and he is great. I wear jeans and big t-shirts and white cotton undies and he thinks I am hot…trust me, I can tell! LOL And even after my old body was completely obliterated by my 2 pregnancies he still thinks I am hot with all my soft bits that weren’t there before (and I have A LOT of them now).

    What bothers ME about stuff like this isn’t that it was written, is that there isn’t enough from the other side. I mean, how many articles to you really see in guy mags that are about what women REALLY want? And we aren’t talking about sex here…DH works with a guy who is a complete JERK ASS who can’t figure out for the life of him why he can’t get a woman. he goes on first dates and that is it. Most of the “keep your woman” articles aren’t about what we really want, it is what men think women really want…and I think that does a disservice to men AND women.

    I am sure there are plenty of women out there that like jerk ass men, but I have yet to meet one…yet all these articles aimed at men are about making them decent people and therefore having a good relationship, it is more about getting them laid.

  18. Why can’t these bossy men who like women just the way we are go boss other men around? Because I’d like to see fewer articles like these and more articles directed at un-brainwashing men who think they should be able to tell women what to do with our bodies!

  19. I read it as being inspiring that I didn’t have to be what the magazines told me I must be to “get a man”.

    But it’s still a magazine telling you overblown nonsense about what men really like. It’s just that instead of telling you that no man likes women who aren’t thin and hairless with expensive underwear, it’s telling you no man likes women who ARE.

  20. To a certain extent I agree with both Sandy and Snarkysmachine.

    questioning why we need another article telling women in a rather patronizing tone what to do to make relationships work. Placing the responsibility squarely on women gives the appearance of agency when the opposite is the case.

    This I agree with. The guy is still giving women advice to “be yourselves” as if that had never occurred to us before, or it had occurred to us but we were waiting for a man to give us permission to carry it out.

    But at the same time, I think there are a lot of women who ARE waiting for permission. Okay, not from this guy specifically, but from more members of society. It’s one thing to insist that I can make up my own mind and do what I want with my body and my underwear, but it’s hard to actually go through with it when all the feedback I get from men and women alike is: “Lose weight, you’re too fat. Shave your pubes, your bush is too big. No one’s going to love your fat, hairy ass if you don’t do something with yourself.”

    So when some guy rarely writes an article saying, “You know what? It’s your belly and your vagina, and feel free to dismiss any guy who insults either.” It doesn’t make me angry or think “How dare HE tell ME I’m okay the way I am!” It actually makes me feel a little bit better. Maybe it shouldn’t.

  21. Chonies! Lovely. I rather like the British Indian “chuddies” as well.

    I loathe this article and its million “you silly womens do you not realise men don’t care about any of that crappy girlstuff you feel MYSTERIOUSLY COMPELLED to do and which you all do ENTIRELY IN ORDER TO PLEASE MEN because that is the only factor on which you base any of your decisions including whether to eat or not”

    Also, it claims “No man in history has ever complained that a woman wasn’t wearing enough makeup.” Bzzt. Wrongo. You win the goat.

  22. “You know what? It’s your belly and your vagina, and feel free to dismiss any guy who insults either.”

    “but better not scorch the earth, haha, amiright fellas?”

    I mean, you have to notice that every time he says “anything you do is okay” he follows up by slamming women who do fit the typical mold.

  23. And what if we find normal ol’ cotton undies sexy? Why does he get to dictate why I wear my underclothing? I don’t like lace and satin and thongs; they make me feel ridiculous. But cotton is soft and pettable and does not disguise my shape with frills and excess engineering.

    Now, if more underwear were available in sexy black *velvet*, that I could get into…

  24. BTW, I’m also sometimes known as “Mr. Snarkysmachine.” I hope my commenting on her posts is okay here.

    You may win the distinction of being the only SP husband/boyfriend to actually read the blog.

    I want to quote MissPrism’s entire comment for hilarity and brilliance, but that would be a little silly.

  25. But at the same time, I think there are a lot of women who ARE waiting for permission. Okay, not from this guy specifically, but from more members of society.

    That permission only comes with conditions. Unfortunately, there are no unconditional societal permissions to be had. The idea that one needs permission is harmful to women and it’s a concept I cannot co-sign.

    Also, it claims “No man in history has ever complained that a woman wasn’t wearing enough makeup.” Bzzt. Wrongo. You win the goat.

    Oh man! Goats and Stoves is basically what life comes down to.

  26. That was meant to say its million “…” clones, because a version of this article with one or two phrases changed has been published 122,000 times, but I got carried away.

    Sometimes I could swear womens’ mags are entirely written by a randomisation program like the ones that write spam email.

  27. 1. Excellent post. I think people have already said everything I wanted to say about it.
    2. Am I the only one who learned “chonies” from the song “Caress Me Down”?

  28. You may win the distinction of being the only SP husband/boyfriend to actually read the blog.

    To be fair, Al and the other Mr. Machine do get a lengthy recap of blog drama every time the four of us go out for drinks, which is often enough that they can probably be forgiven for not reading. If the rest of you would just move to Chicago already, we could get all the menfolk up to speed.

    And welcome, Mr. Machine #2! It is even OK if you comment on other people’s posts! Not that anyone besides Snarky is posting right now.

  29. Ugh, I kind of hate these articles. I get that it’s meant to be encouraging, a reminder that in real life there are plenty of men who don’t expect or want you to be a huge-breasted rail-thin hairless blonde in sexy lingerie, but… I don’t know, it just comes off as patronizing. It’s so, like… “Hahaha, of course women aren’t constantly objectified and held to unreasonable standards in this society! You just imagined that in your pretty little head, honey! Why, men like you just as you are!”

    Which, as everyone else has noted, is pretty ironic when the entire article is just one more guy saying “Hey, ladies! Dress like THIS and look like THIS and do THIS thing! That is how to make men like you!”

  30. @Jessikanesis:

    I think we can still lament the society in which so many women feel the need to have permission for this and so many men feel perfectly magnanimous and not at all fucked up about giving that permission. The fact that there are women who will respond positively to this… I think that’s as much a symptom of the problem as anything else. I mean, good for them, if it gives them a push. But I’m not prepared to consider the article itself a positive sign. “Less repellently negative”.

    ———————————-

    What bothers me the most about this is that he’s pretending his underlying premise is that men like different things and it’s wonderful that women come in so many varieties (31 flavors!)… but then he goes on to dictate what he likes as a goal for all women.

    “We like women of all shapes and sizes, so remember, get a good amount of padding and put some meat on those ribs, like all the shapes and sizes we like have.”

    “It’s your vagina and you should do what you want with it. As long as it’s not something that’s ridiculous and belongs on porn sites.”

    I also found the “You don’t have to be the daughter my parents never had.” one baffling/vaguely insulting… there’s the assumption there that if a woman connects with/gets along with/is nice to her significant other’s mother, it must be an attempt to please the SO. It can’t be about any genuine feeling she feels, I suppose?

  31. “I dictated the terms of desirability based on what behaviors, aesthetics and fitness goals I deem valuable.” – and this is why this sort of “advice” will never feel permissive or freeing in any way to me, although I don’t discount that it can do so for others. It’s okay to have “bodies and legs and soft places” because men say so. Don’t strive for visible ribs, men don’t like that. You don’t have to partake in elaborate grooming rituals – men don’t mind if you don’t! Empowering stuff.

  32. I love my granny panties because they are cheap and comfortable. I do not care what message they send to others, only the messages they send to my bank account and my nerve endings.

    Sometimes I mix it up, when I feel like it. Someday I would like to have a whole wardrobe of high-quality, matching bras and panties with charming embellishments and details in a variety of colors. That day is not today; it will come when I have more income and/or a better understanding of lingerie construction and the use of my sewing machine. And all of that stuff will be comfortable as well, because I will make sure it all fits, which is more than I can say for the sexy underwear I wore in college. (Well, let’s put it this way: any pair of panties I can buy in a store is not going to fit me quite right, just like store-bought pants never fit me right, because I have a much bigger/deeper ass for my hip size than manufacturers anticipate.)

    I will never forget the time I had a conversation with this dude I was dating about how I liked to wear fun underwear, because it was something that made me happy, just for myself. The dude thought this was awesome. Then when he actually saw my underwear, he judged it and me negatively because it wasn’t his definition of “fun”: my underwear was cotton in various bright colors with silly pictures and slogans on it; he had been expecting silky, lacy scraps of fabric.

  33. Two more things that annoy me about the “but men don’t CARE!” argument: firstly, it always has a “so long as” attached. I’ve read thousands of times that “but men don’t CARE!” about shoes, makeup, highlights, jewellery, skirt length, underwear, body fat, laughter lines, leg hair or what have you… so long as you’re not actually clumpy-shoed or spotty or grey or fat or dowdy or frumpy or fat or wrinkled or disgustingly hairgrowy like some kind of mammal.

    Secondly, I’ve never heard a man even try to pretend he doesn’t notice good looks, but all those individual things add up precisely to what society calls good looks. When the author says in effect “I didn’t notice your haircut, so it was pointless,” it just shows that he’s unobservant about the contribution of individual components to an overall effect.

  34. I could write one of these, trot out my personal preferences, and then tell men that all women everywhere share my dislike of facial hair and tighty whities. It would be a drop in the bucket compared to the bazillion articles just like this one telling me what all men everywhere like.

    Now that I have men’s permission to wear granny panties and eat steak, I feel so much better! If only some man somewhere would sound off about whether it’s ok for me to like video games I could rest easier.

  35. Thank you so much for posting this. I recently had a sort-of relationship with a guy who likes fat women. Being fat myself, I initially thought, “hey, great.”

    Turns out, not so much. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever been more insecure about my body in my life. His likes and dislikes were every bit as restrictive as the guy’s before him; the line was in a different place but it was just as difficult to walk. I actually started uttering things like, “yeah, I know I’m fat, but I’m not fat in the right *way.*” Ummmmwhat?

    I felt the same way a couple weeks ago on Jezebel (and I love me some Jezzies, don’t get me wrong), when the report came out that “men prefer” tube-shaped women. Most of the comments talked about how gross that was, and how happy they were to have curves. I get that they were trying to be accepting, but it took a LOT of strength not to get down on myself for that. Because I’m fat, but also tube-shaped. It was like a no-win situation.

    Luckily, I ditched the dude, shook off the comments, and am back to my old self. Y’all here are a huge part of that process for me, and I thank you sincerely.

  36. Alexandra Erin: yes, that item on the list pissed me off too. “You don’t have to be the daughter my parents never had, but you DO have to remind me when my mum’s birthday is coming up and oh, could you pop out and buy a card while you’re at the shops?”

  37. I think we can still lament the society in which so many women feel the need to have permission for this and so many men feel perfectly magnanimous and not at all fucked up about giving that permission. The fact that there are women who will respond positively to this… I think that’s as much a symptom of the problem as anything else.

    Yeah, no argument here. And this particular article is pretty hypocritical in that he tells women to do whatever they want, assuming that will make them look and act the way he prefers, while patting himself on the back for being such a not-shallow guy.
    But would there be a way for a man to express that he isn’t the type of guy who expects women to maintain a certain figure/undergarment wardrobe/”porn star” haircut, without sounding like he’s giving us permission?
    I suppose the correct answer is that it doesn’t really matter what he expects or doesn’t expect to begin with.

    Also, is it too late to wish for educated adults to stop referring to the entire region bordered by thighs the on the side and waist above as the “vagina”?

    Bwa-ha-ha! I guess he thought it sounded prettier than “crotch.” Which doesn’t exactly rearrange basic anatomy to make it correct, does it? Perhaps we should start referring to the entire male package as the “penis.”

  38. Alexandra Erin: yes, that item on the list pissed me off too. “You don’t have to be the daughter my parents never had, but you DO have to remind me when my mum’s birthday is coming up and oh, could you pop out and buy a card while you’re at the shops?”

    Love, Executive Assistant style!

  39. I read this article and sort of liked it. But next month there will be an article about ways I can lose weight to please my man (although not in those exact words, of course) so I guess it’s a wash!

  40. Also, is it too late to wish for educated adults to stop referring to the entire region bordered by thighs the on the side and waist above as the “vagina”?

    WORDY MCWORD, Alexandra Erin.

    Dear World, the vulva isn’t an automobile. Embrace anatomy. No love, me.

    DRST

  41. Also, is it too late to wish for educated adults to stop referring to the entire region bordered by thighs the on the side and waist above as the “vagina”?

    I use “cha cha” because it sounds festive. I dislike “business”. My cha cha doesn’t carry a briefcase.

    I used “vagina” in keeping with the word choice of the author.

  42. Snarkymachine..I like “cha-cha”, it DOES sound festive. Its British equivalent would be
    ” Fou-Fou”. Hands across the water!

  43. @FJ and others: I think it’s possible to both cheer snarkysmachine’s awesome critique of these types of messages, and enjoy them on a shallow level once in a while. Remember that huge SM thread about “what kinds of non-feminist-approved things do you do to feel good once in a while” (wearing skirts and makeup came in for both much love and much scorn?) What happened to “this doesn’t work for me but I can understand that it might work for you?”

  44. It’s the tone that bothers me. This is stuff many women agonize over. The breezy mansplaining like, “Oh you silly women, you just try SO hard, and really, you don’t HAVE to! It’s all in your silly widdle female MINDS!”

  45. On vagina – it actually doesn’t bug me in the least as its used in generic, colloquial contexts; the stricter anatomical terms have their place, but language can shift depending on the context, and this shift doesn’t seem to have negative consequences (e.g., confusion, denigration).

    On the article – that “he likes it when you chow down on steak!” trope seems to be everywhere in the last couple of years and it drives me insane. This article is slightly – slightly – better than the NYT style section article a couple of years ago on the same topic which, of course, felt the need to include a “unless you’re fat; then you better stick to salads, fatty” caveat, but it still sucks.

  46. By the way, is there something like UrbanDictionary but without the unspeakable horror? Seriously, half the entries there could be replaced with n. A hypothetical sexually humiliating act i just thought of and would totally do to a girl if i ever got near one

  47. @ Kelly: hell yeah. Thing is, you’re still supposed to knock yourself on your ass to be whatever they decide is presentatable. You’re just supposed to hide that work from them.

  48. By the way, is there something like UrbanDictionary but without the unspeakable horror? Seriously, half the entries there could be replaced with n. A hypothetical sexually humiliating act i just thought of and would totally do to a girl if i ever got near one

    Agreed. I searched for something within the Shapely Prose archives. I will do better next time. Thanks for pointing it out!

  49. Seriously, half the entries there could be replaced with n. A hypothetical sexually humiliating act i just thought of and would totally do to a girl if i ever got near one

    Urban dictionary is blocked at my work under the category “hate speech”.

  50. I should say too that my own Mr Paintmonkey said recently while I was idly flipping through a glossy Glamour-esque magazine, “Why do you keep on reading those things? All they do is distort how you see yourself and give you false bullshit. Be who YOU are, they are just designed to bring you down.”
    Didnt think of a valid reply, just had to nod in agreement.

    God love Mr Paintmonkey.

  51. @S. Machine – Yes, I was commenting on the original author’s word choice, not your reply to it. I’m sorry I didn’t make that clear.

    It’s not the sort of thing that makes me see red, but coupled with everything else that’s irritating about that article… it just sort of seems like a capstone on his “look at how much I know about the ladies!” thing.

  52. Yay chonies!

    (I like to tell my husband to give me some chon-chon when I’m in the mood for lovin’)

    Your lexicon is pretty amazing Snarkys.

  53. I would like to read an article from a man who previously claimed in print that “you can totally do whatever you want with your hair, body, makeup, and clothes,” who then partnered up with a older, dominant feminist, maybe of a wild-gray-hair-having, Ferron-listening, boots-wearing, health-food-store-owning kind*. Then I will believe that he wasn’t really saying, “my beautiful young girlfriend can look however she wants” all along.

    *and I’m not making fun here; those things are awesome.

  54. Your last line is brilliant–I am writing this in all-caps. That’s the thing that bugs me about so much of the third-wave feminist rhetoric about “choice.” If it’s my choice, it’s all good. Except articles like this really do point out just how much “choice” we as women really have in the context of popular culture. Feel free, this author tells us, to groom ourselves the way *we* want to. Ummm. Thanks, dude. For the permission. That I apparently didn’t even realize I needed!

  55. Karen: Snarkysmachine was referencing David Sedaris’s “Dress Your Family in Courderoy and Denim” in her post. Only, I don’t think Sedaris quite meant “dress your family [i.e. ladybits] in courderoy and denim [knickers].” Then again, he might have done… it’s hard to say.

    Incidentally, do the men of the world who expect their partners to be completely hairless only have sex once every four to five weeks, in the forty-five minutes between when the wax irritation goes away and the horrifyingly itchy red irritation bumps? Or do their partners know some magical non-bump-causing hair removal practice none of the rest of us have ever heard of?

    Occasionally, for the hilarity of it, I call my cha-cha the kinds of euphemistic terms one reads in the kind of romance novels set during the Napoleonic wars. You know… flower of womanhood and suchlike. As in… I have adorned my womanhood in the cotton knickers with the skull and crossbones bunnies on.

  56. MissPrism:”Two more things that annoy me about the “but men don’t CARE!” argument: firstly, it always has a “so long as” attached. I’ve read thousands of times that “but men don’t CARE!” about shoes, makeup, highlights, jewellery, skirt length, underwear, body fat, laughter lines, leg hair or what have you… so long as you’re not actually clumpy-shoed or spotty or grey or fat or dowdy or frumpy or fat or wrinkled or disgustingly hairgrowy like some kind of mammal.”

    Precisely.

    As for my unmentionables, I am super-fond of lacy/shiny/see-throughy yet comfortable gear. They perk me up and make me feel quite chipper.

  57. I actually like this article on a sort of getting-to-101 level. Yes, it has some problematic assumptions (like the whole “giving permission” thing) but I’m imagining some woman out there who’s all into the whole diet culture, makeup, etc and always worried she isn’t as fill-in-the-blank as she “should” be, who stumbles across this article and thinks “hey! Maybe I should try being MYSELF for a change and see what that’s like!”

    So in my imaginary scenario, at least, this article’s existence is a good thing.

  58. @millefolia
    I agree with you a bit on this one. I’m constantly struck by how many women I meet and speak to who think it’s a complete barnstorming revelation that you might want to just be the person you are for your own’s sake. I have a friend who almost kills herself in the gym for her husband…she’s tiny, and guess what, he spends all his time openly staring at larger big-breasted women. Still she kills herself, starves and bemoans her imperfections…things like this website would literally melt her brain, and I think actually make her angry because it’s so far away from her neat reality. I’d like her to read these things but I think she’d probably just mock it all with her husband to underline her obediance.

  59. Perfect timing! I actually saw this article last night at the gym and was really honked off by the condescending tone. I remember seeing something about how missionary position sex is really great, and women should just relax and. . .lie on our backs. I’ve actually never heard that one before! It’s so liberating to be told what sexual positions we are free to enjoy.

    I think one of the (many) larger issues here is the magazine myth of “effortless beauty”–achieved through a fair amount of discipline and artifice. The fabled “natural look” is merely another aesthetic ideal to replicate, rather than a radical digression from normative beauty standards. Forget embracing your own individual beauty–put on some $50 tinted moisturizer, and get some subtle highlights already!

  60. Also, it claims “No man in history has ever complained that a woman wasn’t wearing enough makeup.” Bzzt. Wrongo. You win the goat.

    I would introduce the author to my jackass ex-boyfriend, but then I would have to speak to said jackass ex-boyfriend myself, so no thanks.

    I’ve read thousands of times that “but men don’t CARE!” about shoes, makeup, highlights, jewellery, skirt length, underwear, body fat, laughter lines, leg hair or what have you… so long as you’re not actually clumpy-shoed or spotty or grey or fat or dowdy or frumpy or fat or wrinkled or disgustingly hairgrowy like some kind of mammal.

    Yep. I’m of the guy down the hall who complained near-daily about the amount of makeup his ex-girlfriend wore. She wore it to cover up skin problems that made her really insecure and unhappy; the makeup made her feel more normal and less self-conscious. Did it matter to him that she had valid reasons for wearing it? No. Would he have complained about her skin if she’d gone around barefaced? Probably. Did it ever occur to him that it was none of his damn business whether she wanted to wear makeup or not? Nope, not once.

  61. millefolia and paintmonkey, I hear what you’re saying and I kind of agree that, for women who are very much identified with being attractive for men and worry that their “flaws” are ruining their attractiveness, it can be nice to hear that some guys like a little chub, or natural eyebrows, or whatever. But I think a message that didn’t include a prescriptive male perspective (you can do what you want because I say it’s OK) is not too much to wish for. These kinds of articles also bother me because it’s evident the male writers are still not questioning their right (responsibility?) to give the OK to women to do what they want with their bodies. It’s from the perspective of, “hey little lady, please don’t ‘disfigure’ yourself with beauty rituals because *I* think you’re cuter with less makeup.” I just wonder why any man would be given space in a women’s magazine to tell women how he thinks they should look, unless it’s because the magazine ostensibly for women is invested in, and embedded by, the male perspective. That’s not as helpful as some other, equally un-radical, messages could be.

  62. P.S. I am as much a victim of needing to be thought “attractive” by men as anyone. I’m just talking from the intellect this time.

  63. Lu: “I just wonder why any man would be given space in a women’s magazine to tell women how he thinks they should look, unless it’s because the magazine ostensibly for women is invested in, and embedded by, the male perspective.”

    I would say that a vast majority of women’s magazines are basically guidebooks in how women should please men, with some lip service given to how to excel in one’s career or start a business or whatnot. The recurring themes in them are how to land a man and how to keep a man, and even articles about how to be a happy single have underlying tones of “but don’t enjoy the single life TOO long, because OMG YOU MUST HAVE MAN! GO TO GYM AND GROOM PUBES! MAN MAN MAN GET HIM RRGH!”

  64. Yes, that was my implication, Jane, but I was trying to explain why changing from “men want their women to be hott” to “men want you to ‘be yourself’” isn’t much of an advancement in consciousness-raising when both are saying what men want, in a source that is itself suspect.

  65. Also, this is sort of a bit of a tangent, but what is with the thing of referring to un-shaved pubic hair as a “seventies bush”? I am pretty sure that women have had pubes during numerous historical periods other than the seventies. It’s not some wacky trend that popped up along with disco and flares, surely.

  66. AnthroK8, I adore this line: “I have adorned my womanhood in the cotton knickers with the skull and crossbones bunnies on.” It’s making me snorfle.

  67. Also, this is sort of a bit of a tangent, but what is with the thing of referring to un-shaved pubic hair as a “seventies bush”? I am pretty sure that women have had pubes during numerous historical periods other than the seventies. It’s not some wacky trend that popped up along with disco and flares, surely.

    My guess is it’s a reference to 70s porn. ‘Cause, you know, normal womanhood is dictated by the current porn trends.

  68. I’m so sick of seeing random dudes lecture on what women should or shouldn’t do or should stop worrying about/worry about more because that’s what they (dudes) like. Whether on relationships, kids, jobs, or what kind of fucking undies to wear, they just assume that all that’s on our minds is the man-pleezin. And that they (no doubt the representation of ALL heterosexual dudeship)are letting you in on the little secret to being a successful little lady. Because being a lady-type, your success is measured in your mastery of the man-pleezin arts.

    Gah. Sorry, I was just reading this thing on a blog about nail polish of all things and then in the comments there’s this rash of anonymous dudes going “all you women are stupid bitches–men don’t even care about that stuff/think what you find tacky is sexy so what is your problem?” and I’m sick of seeing it everywhere, like it’s doing us a fucking favor.

  69. Thank you, Snarky. I hate shitty articles like this. I guess, though, an article wouldn’t sell many magazines if it addressed how both women and men have relationships that either work or don’t work for them, for a million different reasons that are too complicated to go into in a stupid magazine article, but include generally liking who the other person is and the choices they make.

    I’m totally gonna go inhale a flapjack now. On my own account. But thanks for your concern, Mr. Ortved. (Also: I think you’ve mistaken the vagina and the vulva. I assume that’s not a problem for you.)

  70. I have noticed that since I’m a woman, all kinds of clothes I wear seem to say all kinds of things. Funny, I’ve personally never heard them talk. Maybe they speak in some kind of secret man-frequency?

  71. I love this. I just love this. I’m nodding in emphatic agreement. Yay!

    Yes, the I’m-giving-you-permission vibe is INCREDIBLY condescending. And plus, it’s not actually permission, is it? It’s yet more “don’t”s. “Don’t be fat fat fatty fat, but don’t be one of THOSE women who’s a control freak about food.” “Don’t have pubes that Your Man doesn’t like, but don’t be one of THOSE women who’s obsesses with pube grooming.” “Look effortlessly beautiful — and by that I mean have whitened teeth, professionally tousled hair, very expensive and carefully-applied makeup that doesn’t look like MAKEUP because we don’t want to see artifice but at the same time you can’t expect us ACTUALLY to like your face the way it is. Oh, and please don’t be all weird about what I’m asking of you. I don’t like to think about that, and anyway nobody loves a headcase. HEY! And that’s awfully nice of me, isn’t it? To give you permission not to strike me as a headcase? WOW I AM THE NICEST GUY EVER! I am giving you permission to be an effortlessly yet carefully made-up self-hating non-headcase! Yes that’s right! You may please me by spending shitloads of time and energy disguising the fact that you spend shitloads of time and energy trying to please men because that is what’s asked of you. You’re welcome, babe!”

    This kind of “be yourself [whisper] within the terms I’ve laid out [/whisper]” ‘permission’ is what pushes acceptable femininity into the realm of the truly logically impossible — as opposed to being just actually, existentially impossible for almost all women ever.

    At the end of the day, I suspect this is about intra-dude competition. The “tell the guy you’re with to stuff it if he doesn’t like your bush” bit was what really gave it away. This is about one dude telling you that he’s better than your mean boyfriend and you should be with him instead. Whatever that might mean for you isn’t so much the issue. The really IMPORTANT stuff happen in competitions between dudes — in this case, between this guy, and the boyfriends of the women of the world. This is just his floor routine for the Dude Olympics.

  72. Am I the only Single Lady (TM) who read this as Hey there, ladies, you’ve got a man! Relax! Meaning: Those of you who don’t have a man, keep working at it!

    @Karen: I noticed AnthroK8 hasn’t gotten back to you yet. The reference to dressing your Vagina in corduroy and denim was (I think) a reference to the David Sedaris book “Dress your family in Corduroy and Denim.”

  73. Also, this is sort of a bit of a tangent, but what is with the thing of referring to un-shaved pubic hair as a “seventies bush”? I am pretty sure that women have had pubes during numerous historical periods other than the seventies. It’s not some wacky trend that popped up along with disco and flares, surely.

    I call it a full frontal Altman bush. That’s the first place I saw pubes that majestic.

    Am I the only Single Lady (TM) who read this as Hey there, ladies, you’ve got a man! Relax! Meaning: Those of you who don’t have a man, keep working at it!

    I’m not single, but your point is exactly the reason why it’s not empowering for anyone. It erases queer women and single women or anyone else who is not frothing at the crotch at the idea of relationships as the be all end all.

  74. This reminds me of when men say “women are smarter than men.” I think a lot of them mean it, and they’re really proud of themselves for being so progressive. Then they very earnestly inform every woman they meet, because somehow they assume that they’ve uncovered this great truth, but she, despite her superior intellect, would never work it out on her own.

    The thing is, it doesn’t matter whether “women” are smarter or nicer or more practical or whatever. I’m not women. I’m A woman, with one body, and one mind, and one career, and trying to pin a medal on me based on a quality you think I share with 51% of the population isn’t really a personal triumph. If anything it’s evidence that you don’t recognize me as an individual.

    It’s hard for me to get up in arms about the “women are smarter” line, or articles like this, because (a) I think they’re trying to be helpful, and I hate to discourage good intentions, and (b) I don’t think they’ll get it. They truly won’t understand how it could be offensive to tell me to be myself, or tell me I’m part of a smarter gender. So I say something noncomittal like “well, everyone’s different” and change the subject.

    BTW, on the subject of girl-part nomenclature: I had an ex who grew up being told that boys have a penis and girls have a moneymaker.

  75. Urgh. I really hate articles like this. They lie in so many ways. There’s always the hidden message of ‘don’t worry – boys will still like you!’ Because God forbid I spend 5 minutes of my without considering what effect I’m having on men.

    And is it just me or does the fake-reassuring of ‘don’t shave your legs, men won’t care!’ carry a hidden message of ‘and you won’t be like those awful scary feminists, who men really do hate’.

  76. I imagine that I would have read this article at 17 years old and kind of thought, “Whew.” But like everyone else has been saying, I realize now that that’s the wrong response, because it’s not reassuring when a man is phrasing something like he’s giving you PERMISSION to do anything. I commented somewhere else that I can’t take men who prefer certain types of women seriously (and by “types” in this case I mean stuff like make-up-wearing vs. non-make-up-wearing, frilly panties vs. cotton bikinis, etc.) because most men really don’t have any idea what kind of effort does or does not go into those choices, or who can’t seem to wrap their heads around the idea that women didn’t have THEM in mind when they made those choices. Not to mention that the author of the article is probably so freaking ugly. It sounds totally immature and stupid on my part, I know, but it just irritates the shit out of me when medium-to-totally-not-attractive guys who are terrible dressers and total frumps in general are all, “You don’t have to do all that for me,” and I’m like I KNOW I DON’T, I HAVE TO DO IT BECAUSE WELL-ADJUSTED PEOPLE WITH GOOD SELF-ESTEEM TEND TO MAKE A LITTLE BIT OF AN EFFORT. ASSWIPE.

    I’m finally getting the wherewithal, when a man thinking he’s going to impress me says something like, “I just hate make-up” or “I hate that you’re wearing high heels,” to reply, “I hate YOU.”

  77. I feel like more than anything this is a man’s way of getting his likes and dislikes to become the norm, the new beauty standard. There are guys who love girls who are exactly what is on TV, there is nothing they like better, and that’s what they would like regardless of what was on the TV. However, since what they like is on TV they have an interesting benefit. Honestly whenever I hear guys complain about how they only show one kind of woman on TV they’re almost never doing it for the benefit of women who have to live in this society without looking like Megan Fox or whoever. They’re almost always trying to change things so that only the body type and women that THEY like are on TV.

    When I talk about how horrible the standard of beauty is, I usually get back, “Yeah! we need a new standard of beauty!!” Which presumably means whatever they look like. The thing is, we need to not have anything for a standard of beauty, but when I say that I hear peoples’ minds shouting “Then how will I know what to like/what to look like?!?!?!”

    This article could have been much shorter, if it was really meant to make us feel good:

    “Do whatever you want with your body and clothes and face, your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/life partner is with you because they like what you’re like. If you don’t have a SO yet it’s just because you haven’t met someone yet, not because you never will, or that you’re gross.”

    Or it could be a reprint of a post Kate wrote a while back that said basically the same thing. (Sorry I can not for the life of me remember even a partial title for it, all I know is that she posted it one Valentines day, I think, maybe.)

  78. I am pretty sure that women have had pubes during numerous historical periods other than the seventies.

    Interestingly enough, in the 19th century, with the proliferation of lithographs and photographs, pubic hair was what set “art” apart from “porn.” The MORE pubic hair a woman had in an image, the more pornographic and raw it was considered- usually appearing in lithographs of live women. In “art,” women were painted as having little to no pubic hair. It’s interesting that the trend has totally reversed now.

    Am I the only Single Lady (TM) who read this as Hey there, ladies, you’ve got a man! Relax! Meaning: Those of you who don’t have a man, keep working at it!

    I see it a little bit that way. But then it’s also curious that in movies, books, etc. you always see the coupled/married women who take this writer’s advice as being a sort of drain or burden on their husbands, who are almost always enticed by women who look more like a “typical” type for men. You can’t freaking win, can you?

    p.s. I am also now really craving a calzone, in an icky kind of way. Thanks, Snarky’s. :)

  79. I love both cha-cha and chonies. I used to use chonies all the time in California, and I miss hearing it out here on the east coast.

    And I’m with SX. I think the thing I hate most about articles like this is that while they’re giving me permission to “be myself” they’re doing it in the context of making it acceptable to the male gaze, which is kind of total BS. I mean, if I’m going to be myself, that means (gasp of shock and horror) sometimes I’m going to be radically unacceptable by any standard that isn’t actually liking *me*.

    And I think this is just where I go ugh and throw up my hands!

  80. Love the post, love the thread. I am soooo tired of the “What I Like Is Universal!” school of magazine writing, even apart from the “Do whatever the menz like TODAY” aspect of this one.

    Aside: I also love Amy Poehler, whose anti-shaving op-ed on “Weekend Update” began something like “Used to be, a woman’s ladygarden was the size of a slice of New York pizza…”

  81. @alibelle

    Rock on! I’d love to read a version of your article in every magazine, ever. With one extra bit: And if you don’t feel like you want a SO now, or indeed, ever, please ignore all this ;)

  82. A big resounding yes to everything in this post.

    I also need to declare my undying love for the word “mansplainin’”. :)

  83. And plus, it’s not actually permission, is it? It’s yet more “don’t”s. “Don’t be fat fat fatty fat, but don’t be one of THOSE women who’s a control freak about food.” “Don’t have pubes that Your Man doesn’t like, but don’t be one of THOSE women who’s obsesses with pube grooming.”

    In a tangential sort of way this reminds me of something I really wish I could erase from my mind: a clip of some horrible reality dating show where they teach women how to get men, and one of the segments it had was a “humorous” game show setup where an audience of men rated a woman’s habits and preferences as either “cute” or “crazy”. The clip I saw showed the emcee reading from the card, “The cans in her cupboard have to have the label in the front”. The entire audience of men rated it “crazy”.

    But I’m totally sure that if she instead had cupboards where they couldn’t find anything THAT would have been “cute”, right? Not a “crazy” “slob” at all? Keep your cabinets neat ladies, but for the love of God don’t let us see you spending time on keeping them neat, or ask us to make sure the labels face forward when we help you put away groceries. That’s just CRAZY.

    We cannot fucking win.

  84. Obviously, there’s an epidemic of men generalizing their own experience. “I like boobs, so all men like boobs. I’t scientific!”

    It is scientific. See the Great Alexander Selkirk Goat-Fucking Debate. Selkirk was the ‘real life Robinson Crusoe, archeologists found his camp, found the remains of the 500 some goats he’d killed and eaten while there, and an academic argument commenced:

    “If I was alone on an island for two years, and I could catch a goat, I’d fuck it. Therefore, Selkirk was a goat-fucker.”
    “I wouldn’t, so he wasn’t.”
    “Yeah, riiiight, bro. You’d roger a rubber boot if we left you alone with it long enough.”

    I followed this intellectual debate with intense interest. It revived my faith in academia.

    Re: Nomenclature. “Vulva” is a beautiful word.

    One day I’m there in an academic library when a dazed member of the Engineering faculty wandered past my desk.
    “Never say ‘cunt,’” he told me, apropos of nothing.
    “All right,” I replied. “What should I say?”
    “O Moistened Petals of Thy Turgid Rose.”

  85. I have nothing to add that hasn’t already been said – and in far more eloquent terms than my own, since my terms usually involve 65% profanity, 39% of which is incoherently sputtered while my arms flail.

    It was very popular among my teenage cohorts to comfort ourselves with a, “Lots of guys like that sort of thing” type of sentiment, when bemoaning our lack of physical perfection and presence of “blemishes.” It wasn’t until I was about 20 or so that I realized how stupid that was, like only through the approval of some random man could I find acceptance, because owning a penis endowed someone with some amazingly discerning taste. Plus, you know, far superior intelligence. And greater earning power.

    (I didn’t really play the “let’s tear ourselves apart as bonding” game terribly well, actually, which makes me feel somewhat of a fraud. My mom was intensely vigilant about keeping negative magazines and ideas out of the house. It was a looong conversation (via letters, since that’s how I “spoke” to my mom about things I was nervous about bringing up) when I was 12 and wanted to get Teen Bop or whatever that non-glossy, photos of innocuous teen boy celebrities magazine was called. It was the height of the JTT craze and my Catholic school besties were insane for him, and I needed to fit in, dammit! Grandma paid for the subscription, probably thinking to herself, “Finally! That girl will be properly feminine at last! The buckets of nail polish and make-up kits I gifted to her when she was 8 have finally worked their magic!” Oh, that delusional narcissistic drunk!)

    Gah – my personal issues, let me show you them.

    Also – I’m loving “chonies.” Though I also love “scanties,” because I’m one of those annoying American anglophile types.

    @BrooklynShoeBabe – ha! That’s an absolutely perfect encapsulation of nearly every woman’s magazine ever! “Every issue is like a backhanded compliment.” Perfect!

  86. Next time I teach Gender Comm, can I just assign the students to read SP? *g*

    Y’all are awesome.

    Also “honked off” might be my new “grated my cheese”

    DRST

  87. This strikes me as one of the less toxic articles that would appear in any given issue of Glamour Magazine. I gave up reading Glamour and its ilk in college, when I realized I felt like I had a bad hangover after reading a bunch of magazines at the public library. But given that these magazines aren’t going away just yet, it seems to me that it’s not a bad thing for young women to get some reassurance that a man might find them sexy even if they don’t look exactly like the girls on the cover or in the ads.

    –Virginia, who recently stocked up on cheap, comfy Hanes briefs at Target.

  88. “Also, is it too late to wish for educated adults to stop referring to the entire region bordered by thighs the on the side and waist above as the “vagina”?”

    I was thinking, “Maude help me if my vagina ever needs a haircut.”

  89. pssst, hey, womankind! I, Miguel, representative of men EVERYWEHRE, am about to pass on a secret to you! Isn’t that something? Here it goes: men everywhere are accepting of all body types! Its true! (unless its an unattractive body type) And we certainly don’t care about how hairy you are either. (unless you’re too hairy! or not hairy enough). And we don’t care how much make up you wear (as long as its enough to cover up any unsightly marks) We don’t even care what kind of underwear you wear (unless its frilly lacy underwear, you narcacisst). We men are at a lost as to where you even got those ideas! In fact, we like you just the way you are (provided you make are peckers go “TWANG!” like a johnny cash song) So be yourself! you have our permission. Say, aren’t we men so progressive and foreward thinking? We’re so accepting, you should date us.

    PS: no ugly chicks

    All my boxers are maritime themed. They have fishies and islands in the sunset, and my favorite pair features a very upset looking octopus in the center.

  90. Something interesting that just clicked with me (and that I didn’t see explicitly in any of the comments): A lot of this effect in real men is not only blindness, but denial. “I like when women look like X, but don’t like realizing that it took time, effort and money to look like that, because it would require admitting that they’re held to an unnatural standard.”

    Same thing with “don’t be a fatty-fat but don’t be on a diet either”, for that matter.

  91. Miguel, I am really tickled at the fact that your underthings have a “theme” I think I should start that trend in my own unseen wardrobe… maybe a forest friends theme like deers and owls.

  92. @redlami: Given the way Snarkysmachine has talked about your cooking in the past, I think you can consider yourself permanently welcome in the community of women who aren’t full of toxic food-shame. (P.S. Got any recipes you want to share?)

    Miguel, you rock.

  93. @grafton: I completely agree that vulva is a beautiful word.

    I wonder if the author of the article is not familiar with any other beautiful parts of the beautiful vulva. Perhaps he’s been vaginocentric. Just another way to let us know that he knows us best and what’s best for us.

  94. :] I love Johnny Cash. I even have a guitar that goes twang when you play it right. although i’m sure there are better onomonpeia’s for erections.

  95. Say, aren’t we men so progressive and foreward thinking? We’re so accepting, you should date us.

    PS: no ugly chicks

    How about we just be friends and then you resent me for not sleeping with you? That would totally free all my dating time up for hotter men. Thanks, you’re a pal. *platonic hug!*

  96. Grafton: from now on, I am going to say/exclaim, “O Moistened Petals of Thy Turgid Rose!” when I drop something or get nervous instead of yelling, “Shit!” or “Fuck!”

  97. Hooray, Lucy. I don’t feel so alone now. My first attempt to obey that guy involved yelling “O Moistened Petals of Thy Turgid Rose!” at my car. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to say it with the proper force.

  98. Bagelsan: I love bagels, so I willingly accept your platonic hug. I know its a jersey thing, but taylor ham egg and cheese with ketchup, salt and pepper on a bagel? Incredible.

  99. For the most part I’m a descriptive grammarian, not a prescriptive one, meaning I believe in describing how people use words, not telling them how to use them. The English language has no equivalent of the Académie Française, telling us which words are and are not officially part of the language. Vagina for vulva is one I just can’t take though. It’s not a shift like nauseous coming to mean feeling nauseated as well as causing nausea. It’s part of systemic discomfort with women’s genitals. There was a theater that listed a show as “The Hoo-Ha Monologues” because it was that uncomfortable putting vagina on a sign, entirely missing the point of the show. There was a great story in The Onion making fun of all of the different names people use instead of the correct ones: down there, ladyparts, etc. While it’s better to say vagina than down there, people are uncomfortable using the correct language. How many people do you know, beyond the few who loudly and proudly proclaim their feminism, who will say vulva and clitoris and labia aloud?

  100. I wear no-frills cotton full-brief knickers which are objectively about as sexy as a brown paper bag. But this doesn’t have much to do with my sexuality and comfort levels with same. It has a great deal more to do with the apparent belief of Australian retailers that women over size sixteen shouldn’t be able to find anything else. Plus they’re comfortable.

    But then again, I have my culture explaining to me on so many different levels that I’m not a “real woman” anyway. I buy clothes based on practicality, whether it looks good on me, and comfort, not to mention “can I afford this?”. I buy shoes on a roughly annual basis, and wear them until they fall to pieces. I don’t talk diet talk. I can’t stand tiny handbags – if I’m carrying a bag, it’s going to be large enough to put a fairly solid paperback novel into. I can’t stand lolly pink, and will deliberately avoid objects which have been randomly turned this colour in order to “fund cancer research”. I haven’t bought a magazine from the supermarket checkout rack in years; I don’t watch television; I don’t listen to the radio. Oh, and I don’t give a hoot about the love lives of “celebrities” who have absolutely nothing in common with me.

    I’ve been doing most of this any time these past twenty years or so, and I’ll probably continue doing so for the rest of my life. My bloke doesn’t seem to mind too much, and we’ve been together about twelve years now.

  101. Oh, a handful. But they’re all part of my ‘Psychiatric Medication, Tea and Too Much Information’ club. I’m not sure I know anybody else who talks about genitals at all, much. That “Moistened Petals” guy didn’t usually say things of that sort.

    Women’s genitals are nice.

    Ham on bagels is a perversity, though.

  102. Given the way Snarkysmachine has talked about your cooking in the past, I think you can consider yourself permanently welcome in the community of women who aren’t full of toxic food-shame. (P.S. Got any recipes you want to share?)

    @Other Becky, thanks. I just made one of my favorite recipes, and posted it over at Snarky’s blog:

    Redlami’s Vegan Banana Bread

  103. Grafton: ham on bagels is most certainly not a perversity. or if it is, its a delicious one. personally, i always thought male genetalia was the goofier of the two.

  104. Grafton, you’re right. I just tried yelling, “O Moistened Petals of Thy Turgid Rose!”, and it comes out a little awkward when attempted forcefully. It sounds a lot better in a Shirley Temple shaking your curls kind of way, though, like, “Oooooohhhhhh Moistened Petals of Thy Turgid Rose!!!”

  105. I dunno, I have always kind of liked the non-abusive slang for the vulva. “Ladyparts” is a particular favorite of mine, and I’m all in favor of “hoo-ha”, although the “va-jay-jay” thing has never worked for me. It’s a nice change from words which interchangeably mean vulva and worthless, depending on context–”pussy” and “cunt” are the two which spring to mind. I have never heard “ladyparts” being used as a derogatory descriptor.

    To be fair, I don’t say “penis” either, usually. But at least I can! Back when I worked for 9-1-1, I had a coworker who simply could not say the word. And we were not a mealy-mouthed bunch. The police station was across the street from the busiest bars in town, and one night, a drunk guy came across the street and began to relieve himself right in front of the security camera with a direct feed to the dispatch center. My coworker immediately got on the radio to request an officer step outside to deal with a “lewdness in progress” (yes, a lewdness, not a word I’d ever used before I started that job). The officer asked precisely what happened, and she, a little flustered, said, “He pulled out his, his . . . ” (long pause) “his you-know-what right in front of the camera.”

    The cops thought it was hilarious. We got roasted for that for several weeks.

    Miguel–a good friend always refers to the liberty stick as “the last turkey in the shop”, which I believe is not original but always makes me laugh.

  106. That’s a good one. I think there are infinite possibilities for funny names to call penises. I think I usually use the word dick, though. I should add more color to my vocabulary, and call it that, or the hairy bird or something.

  107. It sounds a lot better in a Shirley Temple shaking your curls kind of way, though, like, “Oooooohhhhhh Moistened Petals of Thy Turgid Rose!!!”

    You’re right. That works. But now makes me consider “Oooohhhh, fiddlesticks!” in a whole new light.

    If I were a slightly nastier man, I’d look for a security camera to wave my fiddlestick at.

  108. I also use the non-gender-specific phrase “personal bits” rather than mucking about with the Latinate “genitalia”. And, as a romance novelist, I must say that the genre has a remarkable wealth of names for those personal bits that include everything from the sublime to the ridiculous. Well, the ludicrous to the ridiculous, anyway. May I be struck dead if I ever use the word “manhood” to describe the penis. Or “throbbing” anything.

  109. Vulva feels too euphemistic to me. It feels like the blow of female anatomy is being softened somehow. I like vagina, I can use it in places where pussy and cunt might not be welcome. I’m not a doctor, so I don’t see an issue.

    I’m also not an educated adult, so there. :P

  110. Also – I’m loving “chonies.” Though I also love “scanties,” because I’m one of those annoying American anglophile types.

    I’m quite fond of the term “unmentionables”. They probably think that word is about them, though.

  111. My pseudo-anatomy professor (it’s a vet tech class) could not, I believe, bring himself to say the word “penis” in front of my class. He just sort of vaguely waved his hand at the slide and told us to study that chapter for the quiz. He had no trouble making a stupid joke about birth control pills only being effective if women hold them between their knees, which got a nervous titter and a WTF??!! splodey in my head, however. I can’t wait until this class is over.

    (Also – I am totally going to Orchard Corset tomorrow and I am not leaving until I have heavy duty bras that don’t give me headaches. I don’t care if they’re all beige and boring as long as they don’t freaking hurt me anymore. I’m even all about crazy spandex polyester overheating corsetry at this point. I can’t wait.)

    Engorged tumescence?

  112. Snarkys, I don’t know any, except some doctors and nurses. And they might call themselves feminists also.

  113. Yeah, I saw that article in the magazine, and I rolled my eyes the whole time reading it. Seriously, I was balking at the whole thing. I seriously want to know where this guy got his material.

  114. How I hate hearing female genitals referred to as “the vagina”, as if only the penetrable part of them really existed. I say “genitals”, and, to my disappointment, it never fails to unnerve and offend.
    Any thoughts on why this is so?

  115. I do not understand the all-out use of vagina. Vulva is so much a sexier word. Say it slowly. Vulllvvva. It purrs. It’s breathy and caressing. But people say vagina, or worse, just vaj. Ugh.
    @Katrina – yeah, only the penetrable part is important, right? This way of thinking is possibly why some women don’t experience orgasms.

    I also enjoy using “ladybeard” as a term for what the Glamour writer called “grown-out 70s bush.”

  116. Ah yes, another man at a fashion magazine telling me how to live my life.
    Wait. Why, exactly, would I pay attention to him?

  117. Vulva is so much a sexier word. Say it slowly. Vulllvvva. It purrs. It’s breathy and caressing.

    Yes! Beautiful word. Soft and naturally slow off the tongue, velvety and honey-tasting. Say ‘vulva’ lots.

  118. Perhaps we should start referring to the entire male package as the “penis.”

    Not even that; how about the urethra, or the vas deferens? Some internal component, preferably.

  119. Hello.
    This has nothing to do with the post, sorry – I just wanted to get some ideas as to how to deal with a problem.

    I recently moved to England to attend university.
    While here, I’ve made a friend.
    She is beautiful, creative (she is an artist), a great person to hang out with. When we go out, she is one of the few girls who will actually dance wildly to the music. She has a great sense of style, loves music. And yeah, she is also fat. Initially, I didn’t even notice, but lately I have – because when she gets drunk she starts these self hating rants; on how noone will ever like her (because she is fat), how she is ugly (because she is fat), how she is worth nothing (because she is fat).
    What I really need is some sort of idea as to what to say!
    So far I’ve tried the: “Hey, you’ve got boobs and hips. That is beautiful, and I wish I had them!”- approach, but she doesn’t seem to take them to heart. Probably because I am quite slim, or that it just sounds like I’m trying to be nice.
    I don’t know how else to deal with it though, I want her to understand that she is a beautiful, amazing person – no matter her weight – but I can’t find the words to express myself.

    Any response would be appreciated.

    Love, Ida.

  120. How we got here, or how to change it, is not so easy. But this article, and parts of the ensuing discussion, underline the fact that men in American culture are frequently reasonably happy about themselves & their appearances while women frequently feel lacking and try to gain approval. I see this repeatedly.

    This reminds me of a conversation we had at our dinner table the other night.
    As my 3 sons were there comparing their muscles and generally seeing who could out brag the other about their prowess, I mentioned that although they were being obnoxious I must have done something right as a parent since they sure had plenty of positive self esteem unlike me at their ages. To which my 21-yr old son replied that this is only because I’m a female. He went on to point out that haven’t I ever noticed that some middle aged guy with great biceps and a gut will wear a tight shirt, and every times he goes by the mirror you can see him look at himself and almost hear him thinking about what great biceps he has whereas some downright gorgeous girl will have an infinitesimal pimple on her face and sincerely complain about being so ugly!

    My point being that men can write articles like this because we women read them. Men can dictate who we should be because we ask them if we’re all right as we are.

  121. Tracy, are you seriously making the case that we have no one to blame but ourselves for mansplaining?

    If I’m missing the irony, please let me know.

  122. I love the word “chonies” so thanks for that, but honestly, I don’t find the Glamor article at all surprising. Since time immemorial mainstream women’s magazines have been telling women how to live, as if our collective fondest wish is to become ‘good girls’ and as if our collective need is to be instructed minutely in this endeavor.

  123. I favour ‘ladyflower’. When my mother heard me use this, she wondered whether the male equivalent would be ‘gentleman pencil’.

    Oh, and I totally agree with Tracey. If only us women weren’t so insecure about our appearances, which totally happens in a cultural void and is not at all influenced by the dictates of a patriarchal capitalist culture that uses beauty as a boot to keep us from standing tall fostered and cultivated by men who hold the assets and encourage women to compete for a measly share of the goods, and if instead we just decided to ignore the cultural dictates of said men, who, if you missed this the first time, own the jobs and the money and the means of force, why, nothing at all bad would happen to us as a result and instead we would be free.

    Or, you know, not.

  124. The point, though (Jenniferal), is not that anyone’s surprised to read something like this. The point, at least as I see it, is to deconstruct and neutralize the message by challenging it as often as possible. Otherwise, you’re just letting it go as okay for some benighted class of women who don’t know better. That’s what raising awareness is about.

    Jenniferal is a pretty cool name, btw.

  125. I’m sorry, my wording about “vagina” was clearly a tad elitist and also pedantic (and if there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that the world could do with less pedants.) I don’t even care that much about the terminology. I was angry about the article and grabbed for whatever I could to hit the author with.

  126. the article – at least the segment you posted is – is from a magazine directed at straight (mostly white) women in mainstream pop culture. i am a very queer feminist. hella gay. hella feminist. without a doubt. raging feminist. i read this blog almost daily. i LOVE it. and yet, somehow, this article didn’t trigger me. which is crazy bc seemingly everything straight male triggers me!

    a/i havnt read this kind of magazine in years. it damages my soul. and for the population it is seemingly directed at – it seems like a step forward….no, it isn’t embracing intuitive goddess power, disability, fatness, and all tenets of feminists – but it gave it a go…it seemed pretty progressive for a straight white pop culture magazine. (when coupled w the rest of the magazine and every other misogynistic lose weight, lose your power, you are nothing, advertisement and article – i am sure it sucked! but on its own….i was moderately impressed.)

    b/no, my hairy vagina is not a fashion statement from the 70′s – its my body! without being pulled at, plucked at, shaved, and bruised. and its beautiful. i love my vagina, clitoris, vulva, the whole thang! AND isnt it kind of amazing that even one person said in a pop mainstream forum – dont shave your vagina! im a little impressed. i didn’t know pop culture even acknowledged that the vagina (or the armpit for that matter!) ever had hair…

    c/also it seemed like an attempt to validate human’ness….when everything else tells women ‘its not about you – it is actually all about your but, your hank account, your boobs…’ this article blatantly attempted to leave that paradigm. albeit not perfectly…but still somehow i was impressed!?

    love from the lion goddess to snarky and snarkys baking man. welcome. yay!

  127. As my 3 sons were there comparing their muscles and generally seeing who could out brag the other about their prowess, I mentioned that although they were being obnoxious I must have done something right as a parent since they sure had plenty of positive self esteem unlike me at their ages.

    Tracy, please accept this in the spirit of kindness, in which it is written. While you certainly get many kudos for instilling your kids with a well developed self esteem, the fact remains males are privileged in Western society. This privilege entitles males to create and define their sense of self. Females are not allowed this same right.

    To which my 21-yr old son replied that this is only because I’m a female. He went on to point out that haven’t I ever noticed that some middle aged guy with great biceps and a gut will wear a tight shirt, and every times he goes by the mirror you can see him look at himself and almost hear him thinking about what great biceps he has whereas some downright gorgeous girl will have an infinitesimal pimple on her face and sincerely complain about being so ugly!

    Again, this is about the system of patriarchy which privileges maleness over femaleness, and less about males having a greater capacity for self love. There are not quite as many assaults on the male psyche as it relates to appearance, where as women are sent constant messages about their bodies and products/services they can use to “correct” these flaws.

    My point being that men can write articles like this because we women read them. Men can dictate who we should be because we ask them if we’re all right as we are.

    Men can write these articles because we live in a society which privileges males over females. (Holy broken record!) Men will always be able to dictate what women should do about their bodies as long as there are both women and men who do not resist the cultural training and dismantle the sexist systems in our society.

  128. Sidenote on underwear:
    All my favorite panties? Have superhero insignias on them. I have a collection: Superman underwear (just the “S” in the diamond), Batman underwear (bat signal right on the front), Incredible Hulk underwear (actually an altered pair of men’s boxers).
    On my wishlist: Green Lantern underwear, and possibly undies with the Goliath sillhouette from Disney’s Gargoyles.

  129. @Lu – thanks! It seems to fit me. And yeah, I understand the point about deconstructing, but I guess I am more interested in deconstructing culture overall, not just one particular outlet, especially one that’s so obviously mainstream, because to me it’s pretty easy to ignore. But, then again, I’m old and I can remember being younger and being all bent out of shape by those magazines and their messages, so … carry on.

    @Jessikanesis – OMG, I want to know where you shop! I didn’t know such underwear styles were available in adult sizes. I want some.

  130. I love this site. It’s all intelligent people talking about their underwear choices! Involving superheroes!

    Chonies is great, but my favourite word for undies is still gotch.

  131. He had no trouble making a stupid joke about birth control pills only being effective if women hold them between their knees

    I keep hearing that old chestnut and wondering who has such an unimaginative sex life that they can’t fathom knees being together and yet the business still getting done. Isn’t there, like, a whole internet full of instructional pictures that should have put paid to this by now?

  132. Another thing that really irked me were the comments about how sex is just better missionary and the woman who was trying something from the Kama Sutra. Does it never occur to these men that perhaps their female partners are trying something for their own pleasure rather than to impress? Yeah, if it’s not working for them, they should say so and try to figure out something that works for both of them. But that is perhaps a conversation to have with your partner and not the entire readership of a magazine. And perhaps that conversation can start without trying to deny women their sexual agency or assume that everything they do is to please men.

  133. My problem with using “vagina” for the whole vulva is that it plays into the idea that sex is primarily about intercourse, and it contributes to the invisibility of the clitoris. I get so irritated when I see movies or TV shows that show the supposedly humorous scene of a couple in bed after the guy wasn’t able to get the twang going. Both look so unhappy and unsatisfied, and the assumption is that if they couldn’t have intercourse, then that’s it — they can’t do anything at all. I’m like, “Excuse me?!? I don’t care if you can’t get it up! *I* can still get some satisfaction here!” Frankly, I’ve never had an orgasm through intercourse, only through direct clitoral stimulation (the “immature” way, according to Freud), and I know I’m not alone. But *every* guy I’ve had sex with has expressed surprise and disappointment about that, and they’ve all assured me that every other woman they’ve had sex with had a 5-minute orgasm through intercourse with them. My guess is either that they’re just lying, or that I’m simply the first woman who actually insisted on being pleased in the way that works for me — the first to say, “Hey, that intercourse was nice, but it wasn’t enough. Now I’d like you to actually work on me for a while. And, yes, I’m sorry, but it is going to take 20 minutes of concerted effort. Don’t worry — with practice, you’ll get better at it.” I’m know there are lots of women who have orgasms via intercourse, but lots of women don’t, and I find it hard to believe that the guys I’ve dated have only run into the former type. At any rate, I want the clitoris to be more recognized as a wonderful little organ, though I rather wish it had a nicer name. Not that “penis” is that great a word, either.

  134. @Godless Heathen – that’s exactly what I thought! I was all, “Erm. But if you just like, fold up a bit, or bend over, or – oh, god, never mind!” in my head, because I do.not.want sexy-time thoughts of any sort related to that class or that person.

    Plus side – this school and program have pissed me off enough that I’m skipping vet tech completely and changing my goals to vet school. Stupid self-esteem issues are freaking done keeping me away from my total awesomeness! (Techs are totally amazing, necessary peeps, but I want to be in charge, dammit!)

  135. @amy: I suppose many folks don’t feel comfortable verbalizing their sexual needs and desires. I don’t know how many times people have to be told that many do not climax through vagina penetration alone. It’s still like some new shit coming to light. And technically it only contributes to the invisibility of the clitoris for those who have them.

  136. Were we expecting enlightenment from a fashion magazine?

    Since they make a living convincing us we’re not good enough,wouldn’t getting a clue about feminism cut into their corporate profits?

    This is kinda like reading the National Enquirer and being shocked when you find that not everything in it is actually true.

  137. Also, the clitoris is not small. The visible portion of it is, but there’s a lot more of it that’s not visible. Mind, it took until 1998 for someone to actually take a good, long look and discover all that … if by any chance anyone here needs yet more evidence of the systemic neglect of women in medicine.

  138. Just uh… being argumentative, I suppose? But cotton underwear actually promotes vaginal health, as it lets your vagina “breathe,” so to speak, and women who wear cotton underwear have a much lower chance of developing stuff like yeast infections. So, I don’t know. If you’re wearing that sexxy sexxy underwear, who does it really do something for? Probably not your vajay.

  139. It seems there are always some readers who feel compelled to ascribe to “surprise” the blogger’s motivation to write social commentary. The implication is that anyone who cares about things like this is insufficiently worldly and blasé. Seriously, that’s not what’s going on here.

  140. It seems there are always some readers who feel compelled to ascribe to “surprise” the blogger’s motivation to write social commentary.

    Yeah, I always want to respond with “and you’re surprised we’re writing social commentary here? A feminist blog doesn’t shrug off patriarchy just because it’s prevalent? Like, shocker.” See, I can be jaded too!

  141. This is kinda like reading the National Enquirer and being shocked when you find that not everything in it is actually true.

    Oddly enough there are some folks who find National Enquirer to contain occasional truthful journalism. It ain’t Carol Burnett lawsuits.

  142. A feminist blog doesn’t shrug off patriarchy just because it’s prevalent? Like, shocker.” See, I can be jaded too!

    Ha! Good one!

  143. Five minute orgasms are within the realm of possibility? Really?

    amy, my experience is very limited, but I was convinced that your physiological responses are the normal pattern.

    I used to have a girlfriend who made the “I am going to have an orgasm and you are going to help. Ask me how!” deal. This was perfectly delightful and led to a lot of fun times. I don’t think you ought to say you’re sorry. Heh. If she’d been as clear and playfully honest about everything else she needed there’d have been a happier ending.

  144. Yeah, it’s weird. I thought this stuff about the clitoris and female orgasms was all made public by Masters and Johnson a generation ago, but so many people still seem ignorant of it. Once I dated a guy who was positive that a woman’s urethra and vagina were the same thing, so he thought sex was kind of gross. This was before the internet, so I couldn’t just pull up a diagram and prove to him that he was anatomically incompetent. I just tried to explain that it wouldn’t make any sense for the bladder and the uterus to be connected to the same outlet.

  145. Five minute orgasms are within the realm of possibility? Really?

    Yes. For some of us. (Depending on when you start counting the five minutes.)

  146. “Once I dated a guy who was positive that a woman’s urethra and vagina were the same thing, so he thought sex was kind of gross. “

    I …

    The only thing I can say about this guy’s grasp of equal rights is he’s equally ignorant of the … ah … “directional placements” is the most delicate way I can think to put it … in his own anatomy?

    Seriously, who are these guys? And why do they seem to be everywhere all of a sudden?
    *shudders*

  147. @Grafton

    I almost forgot — since cooking seems to have come up again as an inside topic on the thread here, would you mind sharing the full recipe for that grilled-eggplant-strips-as-flat-noodle-substitutes lasagna?

    Please??

  148. littlem, it’s not just men that are that ignorant, sadly…I dated a girl who thought that when a man and woman have sex, the penis goes inside the cervix. She also insisted that having “too much sex” would cause one’s labia to grow longer.

  149. “Once I dated a guy who was positive that a woman’s urethra and vagina were the same thing, so he thought sex was kind of gross.”

    Yeah it is*, dude, but it’s because it’s the man’s sexual organ is also used as a conduit for urine.

    Dear god, how ignorant. Sorry, amy, I hope that doesn’t make you feel like I’m criticizing your involvement with him at all. Basically, I blame the patriarchy.

    *by his standards, I mean.

  150. Also, hey, Glamour, men have always had body hair, too! But somehow for them it’s not pathologized—at least, excluding the recent, brief “manscaping” fad, which seems to have been fleeting.

  151. @Jenniferal – It’s not so much where I shop, as WHEN. Basically, whenever a big superhero blockbuster movie comes out, there’s tons of merch associated with that movie everywhere, especially chains like Target or Wal-Mart. After Superman Returns, they started pimping out all that superman stuff, so I bought LOTS, in case some got worn out before another Superman movie came out. Same thing with Batman Begins and Batman: The Dark Knight.
    That’s why I’m looking forward to a Green Lantern movie! Surely the chonies will follow… it’s better than a ring!

  152. I almost forgot — since cooking seems to have come up again as an inside topic on the thread here, would you mind sharing the full recipe for that grilled-eggplant-strips-as-flat-noodle-substitutes lasagna?

    Please??

    Oh. I’m afraid I’ve never measured. Peel the eggplant, slice it with a vague effort to get uniformly quarter-inch thick slabs. Beat up two eggs and a (maybe a quarter-cup?) slosh of milk. Doesn’t have to be all that even or anything, I just slash at it with a fork for a bit. Dredge eggplant slices through egg mixture, then across a plate that’s got a half-and-half mix of fine-grated parmesean and pecan meal. You’ll have to make more egg mixture and more nut-cheese mixture as you work, I do little batches to avoid waste. Fry the breaded eggplant in olive oil and stack it, maybe with paper in between layers. Layer it with sauce, riccotta, mozzerella, provolone, more parm, like any lasagna. It’s fragile and some of the cheese-nut ‘breading’ will break off, but you can just put it back in place as you go.

    I make the sauce with a pound of ground beef and maybe 8-10 cloves of finely sliced garlic, probably 3 tablespoons each of dried oregano and dried basil, a middling-sized onion, one pound can of ‘Muir Glen’ organic tomato sauce and one of the smaller cans of their fire roasted tomatoes. If you’ve got a gas range you can singe your own tomatoes if you feel like it. I also add italian sausage, green bell pepper, celery, mushroom depends on who’s eating. It’s the same sauce I make for spaghetti, just with all the bits cut smaller so it’s not so chunky.

    One must be a little more careful about filling your lasagna tray — the eggplant slices being thicker, it’ll take up more room than a lasagna made with noodles. It’s also wetter, so the overflow is messier.

  153. “Once I dated a guy who was positive that a woman’s urethra and vagina were the same thing, so he thought sex was kind of gross.”

    My neighbor heard that the clitoris and penis were homologous structures, and for years thought that women urinated through their clitoris. In his defense, he has a degenerative eye condition.

    “Five minute orgasms are within the realm of possibility? Really?”

    Grafton: There are as many different responses as there are women. Men too, of course, but y’all seem more socialized to have sex in a generic, “proper” way.

  154. My eggplant pseudolasagne. Bear in mind this is would be an expensive recipe for most. I’m lucky – and privileged – to live in a northern California foodie paradise.

    Eggplant:
    take a medium to large eggplant, cut lengthwise into roughly 1/4″ slices
    arrange in a big colander in the sink, sprinkle with salt, let sit half-an-hour
    blot with a kitchen towel, drizzle with olive oil
    arrange flat on a nonstick cookie sheet (I use baking paper)
    pop into the oven at 375 to 400 F, until browned; about 40 to 45 min.
    (this all depends on how hot the oven runs)

    Sauce:
    4 or 5 big ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
    1 medium to small red onion, diced
    4 cloves garlic (or one or two of elephant garlic), smashed and chopped
    (or garlic powder to taste)*
    1 to 2 medium zucchini, or equivalent in other/mixed summer squashes
    several mushrooms
    2 or 3 leaves basil, tip of a sprig of rosemary
    leaves from small sprigs of marjoram and thyme
    a fat pinch of flat-leaf parsley
    (I don’t know what the dried is of these, as I grow them)
    optional: a small piece of salt-pickled lemon, chopped fine**
    olive oil, to skim surface of nonstick skillet

    heat skillet, med. flame, until oil is fragrant; add onion, garlic and mushrooms
    cook until onion is close to translucent
    add everything else, cook down until tomatoes are very soft
    (about 20 minutes to half-an-hour or so)
    add salt, pepper if wanted and adjust seasonings to taste
    cut heat and let sit

    Other Stuff:
    a pint of ricotta
    a chunk of parmesan
    optional: a glob of mozzarella

    Assembly:
    smallish square baking pan (mine’s 8″ square)
    smear a little olive oil and tomato sauce on the bottom
    lay down a layer of eggplant
    thereafter, layer tomato sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, eggplant
    end with eggplant
    top with some parmesan
    pop in the oven at 350 F for 40 minutes or so
    (until it’s hot through and the cheese has melted)

    *to smash a garlic clove, I lay it down – skin still on – and lay the flat of a chef’s knife on it; then press my palm down, backed up with my weight, until the clove snaps. It’s then very easy to peel and chop. It does require semi-functional elbows, however. When my elbows are bad, I use garlic powder.

    **Salt-pickled lemon is absolutely scrumptious. When I saw it start to pop up on foodie blogs I thought it was so much affectation, but then tried some, and was hooked. I use it almost every day now. There are lots of recipes available on-line; IMHO the best and most versatile just use salt and lemons.

  155. This article reminds me that it’s great to be a Fat, Vegan, Lesbian. Fuck permission.
    *toasts to not having to give a shit about what men think around 70% of the time*

  156. This article reminds me that it’s great to be a Fat, Vegan, Lesbian. Fuck permission. *toasts to not having to give a shit about what men think around 70% of the time*

    Ha.

    My neighbor heard that the clitoris and penis were homologous structures, and for years thought that women urinated through their clitoris.

    I learned this tidbit from Visionquest! Thank you, Matthew Modine!

  157. ::Brainstorming ways to use “frothing at the crotch” as much as possible in every day conversation::

  158. Meg, I’m an Aussie (duh) and I wear Bonds undies most of the time, which I mostly buy from Big W. I have 16s & 18s in bright blue, and black, and purple, and several other colours. All are cotton & lycra blends and hipster/bikini style. I like the boy leg bikini briefs best. I’m not sure how large they go, sorry. I’m sure I’ve seen 20, and I find that a size down from my trouser size works best, so that would get to a 22.

    Back on topic, this kind of article turns up regularly. I see it as a slightly poignant fail. He’s just so close to getting it, and then he fails. You are fine just as you are… oh, lovely … but only because I say so – damn, missed!

  159. This article is the perfect place for me to bring up the Jack Black mammogram ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8U_JsaCCxwk, which I’ve been trying to cope with for the last week or so. Its popped up all over hulu and on the one hand I think it falls into the “doing a good thing” category, on the other hand the end message is, “bros, book your lady, mom, or sister an appointment with the mammogram”, which to me is a whole creepy reminder that even in the progressive G8 countries women’s health was controlled by men for longer than our right to vote was. It makes me feel frustrated that while theoretically women are equals, we haven’t come close to leaving behind the legacy of a system that gave men the right to do things like declare their wives insane, or deny them medical treatment, or own their reproduction, as any woman who has had a doctor not take her symptoms seriously or had her health insurance not cover her lady exams and prescriptions can attest to.

    I mean, I want to bless this man for trying in his own imbecilic way to promote a non standard beauty ideal, given how many men are out there posting shit like, “I hate this celebrity because she’s so fake or trying to hard or gained 2 pounds and now her anorexia isn’t as pronouced as I like” or calling women sluts, so at least he’s trying to say the right things. But yet as someone said up comment, this is really about, “you can stop being such a fusspot about beauty if you are naturally beautiful, and so whorish in your seductions if you figure out how to be sexy and yet non predatory, and chill the fuck out with being mental, by meeting my paradoxical requirement that you be confident but not overpowering, self sufficient but not autonomous, because that stuff totally stresses me out.”

    Recently I had a great chat with one of my besties and her fiance, about the very different experiences and assumptions that men and women have about safety during travel. We were talking about traveling in couples and how women get much less easy much faster, and how even though he’s a generally very feminist guy, and men I travel with tend to be as well, he found himself being annoyed by how stressed she was in certain areas, and they had one or two minor fights about it. As we were sitting there talking about it, when it came up because I was telling a story about the exact same issue between myself and an ex in foreign lands you could see the lightbulb dawning for him, that this issue wasn’t just about her as a nervous personality restricting his travel, but rather about how all women have to engage in a complex juggling act between range of movement and comfort level as they travel.

    I bring it up because at least the author of this stupid article is the sort of guy I’d be hopeful about being able to engage in dialogue provided he had to sit with a group made up of my wildly varied and individually funny, beautiful, friendly clever female friends and really listen to us talk about oppression. I do have to believe that this article sort of reads like, “I’m trying to get how to be good to a woman, and make her feel safe and secure…and isn’t that done by reassuring her she has my permission to be herself ?” I don’t think he’s inherently hateful of women- it reads like he’s nearly located the enemy of false expectations and pressure, but hasn’t made it all the way there to, “Fake women exist because patriarchy has created them to please me, and keep me and my power and wealth unchallenged”, he’s only got as far as, “wow! Lots of things in the media are unreal! But you can STILL PLEASE ME, even if you aren’t laboring every minute to be perfect, because I like women.”

    This issue has been running through my head a lot lately, about how to gracefully challenge guys who are sweet or well intentioned but indoctrinated, how to say to someone, “look sometimes you say bad things which are hurtful to women, even as you mean well”, without that then shutting down the conversation in that dead-end white man guilt avenue. I struggle with that kind of issue on a daily basis.

  160. Ms.e:
    That was just so well put. It’s always a joy to find oneself dating (hanging out with, otherwise associating with) a guy who Gets It, but it doesn’t happen all that much, so I find myself engaged in consciousness-raising. Like, lots. And there are tons of decent, sweet, thoughtful men who like women but grew up in the same patriarchy that the crappy men did, and breathed the same air, and are still tripping over the same expectations and unexamined beliefs.

    I spent a solid two hours having this sort of discussion with my brother last night. (Holiday time is debate time! At least chez Starling.) It is exhausting. On the other hand, I gave the guy I’m dating the url for the Schrödinger’s Rapist essay a few weeks back, and he read it and said, “Yeah, of course.” I nearly wept on his shoulder in gratitude that I didn’t have to hold his hand and walk him through it.

  161. I just did a reread over this post, and I think the article is less about giving permission and more a “just for your information” type thing. I spent a really, really long time trying to do everything within my power to make myself more attractive to men, and it took a while for me to realize that there are plenty of men out there who don’t require that I mow down my pubes for them. Men have just as much right to date who they find attractive as women do, and if all women are conforming to this Brazillian wax, lacy underthings paradigm, men have to conform their tastes to it too, which isn’t really fair for either party.

  162. I’m sure that Greta Christina once wrote an excellent little essay about women shaving their genitals, but I can’t find it now. (Hers is the only feminist blog I read every post of. I pop by here and Shakesville, but I always read Greta.)

    TRiG.

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