Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cucumbers, bananas, and other inappropriate fruits

I’ve been pondering over the place of women in society. Deep stuff. I know. There have been a few things that have spawned my interest. The first I think is pretty silly. Did you see this?

I can’t seem to find the original article, but basically some religious leader wants women to be banned from handling particularly shaped produce. Ladies, stop eyeing those cucumbers, bananas, carrots in a sexual way. You know who you are. And if you really must have a carrot or banana, see if you can get your husband or other male family member to cut it into smaller pieces that wont give you such lustful thoughts. As a woman, this seemed ridiculous—maybe men think this way but I’d dare say most women are probably more worried about how ripe or colorful their fruit is than how much it looks like a specific body part. This is the part where I would go on a rant about how I have never had an inappropriate thought about a vegetable (or fruit)--but I did get the giggles after seeing this baby at the grocery store this week. Bad timing I guess!


So much so that I had to bring it home (after I purchased said fruit) for Abe to see. I feel like this is bordering on inappropriate, until I remember (and I hope you will, too), it’s a pear! There is nothing inherently inappropriate about pears (or cucumbers, carrots, bananas, etc) unless you assign it that role. Which I guess in this case, I did. Maybe I do need Abe to help me handle my produce, just in case. Either way, I feel lucky that I can handle and think of my fruit in whichever way I choose. And even if I choose to think of it that way, remember how I said it “made me want to giggle?” No lustful thoughts here.

On a serious note, I read an article about an Afghan women sentenced to prison for 12 years because she was raped. She clearly was having an affair with the man as she became pregnant and “everyone knows that you can’t become pregnant the first time you have intercourse.” Thus, she was obviously having an affair and brought shame upon herself and family. She was given the option to marry her rapist to legitimize her daughter and their affair or remain in prison for the full 12 year sentence. I am glad to see in this article that now she is being released without this condition. I was furious to read that this sort of thing (continues to) happen(s) to women. I find myself frustrated by my own sense if injustice that occurs to women in our own society, but it makes me sick to think of this poor women’s story which I am sure she shares with others. I don’t know what to do to help, but I wish I could.

And finally, a personal experience. Last weekend when I was on-call I was called to the ER to evaluate a woman about my age who had been assaulted by her boyfriend. I guess I am so used to seeing facial injuries that her black eyes and broken jaw, lacerations on her chin and scalp, large bruises on her cheeks didn’t really phase me. Then I looked at her arms which were severely bruised and gasped when I saw the whip marks on her back and arms that were clearly from a belt or some other blunt object. She had reportedly been beaten with brass knuckles and a belt. As if hitting a woman multiple times with your fist isn’t enough, really teach her a lesson with some of these:

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I was angry to see this. I am grateful that despite what I see as perceived injustices towards women—glass ceilings, job discrimination, objectification/sexualization, that I have so many freedoms and that I have men in my life, especially my husband, who only use their hands to give me a pat on the pack or a gentle hug.

I have always wanted to volunteer for a women’s shelter or rape hotline but these have large commitment times for training. If anyone has any ideas of how to help, I’d appreciate the feedback.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Sweating it

I have friends who hate when their moms buy them clothes. They think that their gifts are hideous and unwearable. My mom, on the other hand, has told me her strategy for buying clothes for me: “I find something I think is really ugly and then I know you’ll like it.” It must be a philosophy that works because I almost always love what she buys for me! (Does that mean every one else hates me clothes, too? I just thought of that.)

Anyway, my mom bought me this sweater years ago. For like 90% off (shocker, I know). I think it WAS an expensive sweater to begin with, but I always thought it was hideous. (I guess mom did, too, so she gave it to me.)


It’s been sitting in my closet all of this time. Maybe it was the shoulder pads or the awesome fringe. Or the in-your-face red on black with a bold pattern. Or maybe it was because I like to “ROCK” statement pieces (what is this one saying except for UG!) that I felt I had to hold on to it. It has come out on very cold unfashionable days or 80s parties, but I’ve never felt very good about its public appearances. But, for whatever reason, I felt inspired this Sunday and wanted to “make it work.”

I dug it out. I think the crew necked sweaters are in right now so at least it had that going for it. I put a button down underneath it and paired it with an a-line (pleated) skirt and some fuzzy boots. If you remember my last post, I’m not a great (or uber picky about how I look publicly) poser but I think it actually looked decent. Oh, and I used some bobby pins to cinch the back and give it a more fitted look.

photo (1)

I don’t really like the idea of the people who post pictures of their outfits as if they are the fashion expert (unless yes, they really are), but I thought this one had a funny background story. Abe even complimented me and said he thought I looked really nice.

I’m still not sure about the fringe.

(PS would love to hear your thoughts on this or other hideous items you wear)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Picture Perfect

So when did we all become posers?

I think it has something to do with facebook. Do you remember the good old days when the only people who saw your pictures were your family or close friends? Or maybe if you had a really good photo op you could choose to share it with the public by one of those posterboad collages you did for school on your birthday. Now it seems anyone from our teachers, grandmothers, or dog walkers can see pictures from daily aspects of our lives and the pressure to uphold a (photogenic) image is getting harder and harder.

As kids we would stand awkwardly for the pictures. No cutesy curtsey or hands on hips take-on-the-world posture. We were lucky if we could all smile and/or look the same way.

Then again, look at these great poses! Maybe I am wrong.

I feel like kids now are always giving the camera some attitude. (I wish I had some examples but I don't feel comfortable posting other people's children's photos online for sexual predators to find.) Is this a new thing? Or did I just not notice when I was a kid (or know that I was supposed to be posing?).

Another example, a school dance picture. Today we would certainly be looking much hipper instead of like stiff, nervous teenagers--and I'm not just talking about our outfits. I would at least have one hip forward, feet crossed, or a hand on my hip.

Maybe I'm just clueless and the posing phenomenon has been here forever. But, here I am as recently as the few months directly after college graduation (which is actually getting much farther away than it seems should be possible). I'm obviously not trying to impress anyone except with the awesomeness of my surroundings. I was SCUBA diving every day for months in Central America, but you don't really pick up on that from my body language--maybe from my dreds and sunburn.

A few years later maybe you get a taste of it starting to happen. We're getting the hang of it more here:

I'm still not great at it, but I'm getting better.

Anyway, I guess my point is, suddenly people seem so much more aware of how they look in pictures. Instead of taking pictures for memories it seems as if we are always trying to impress those around us. We have become our own PR manager, sorting through unflattering ways of presenting ourselves to put out our best face, even when we are just having fun and trying to remember. I think this is fine and I do it myself to a point. It is also interesting to be on vacation or at an event and see everyone around you suddenly making like madonna and "striking a pose." So I know it's not just me.

***I wonder if this is just me: I get annoyed when I see pictures of beautiful people having great times with a disclaimer is about how awful they look (not to say I've never done this before). "I'm sorry my hair isn't absolutely perfect today and that it is only as pretty as yours usually is, but please don't judge, just had to show off my pictures of me eating oatmeal this morning." Let's give ourselves (and each other a break). If it is something worth remembering, who cares how your hair looked (see above picture of me at the Bears game with less than ideal photographic evidence); and if it isn't such an interesting moment and you look so bad you have to apologize, don't post the picture. I don't need you to reassure me you only ate one of the tootsie rolls from the bag you are holding or that your flat iron broke or that you are prettier than I will ever be but you are having an insecure moment showing a picture of you looking like a catelog model instead of your usual Supermodel self. I probably didn't even notice. And funny, now I that you pointed it out, you may be right.

Anyway, I guess my point is, I think it would be nice if we could all just try leaving an unflattering picture of ourselves tagged on facebook. Without any apologies. Especially if it shows you being you and having a great time.

Erin and Rachel, hot and sweaty Malaysia 2006