Tag Archives: gender

I’m a Feminist. Now What?

feminismWhat does it mean to be a modern day feminist? Do you have to stop shaving your legs? Do you have to hold picket signs? Does it mean you can’t wear skirts and dresses anymore?

Ever wondered where the new wave of feminists are? You’re in luck, cuz they’re out there!

AND because I’m blogging about it at one of the coolest new e-zines for badasses out there, The Indie Chicks.

Today I’m guest posting on the conundrum: I’m a Feminist. Now What?

Learn what it really means to be a feminist – Guys, that includes you too – and find out five ways you can make a difference starting now.

Every view, comment, like, and share helps me out because The Indie Chicks are currently looking for contributing writers. And I’ll tell you a secret, so scooch in…

I WOULD REALLY REALLY, LIKE OHMYGOD FANGIRL, LOOOOOOOVE TO WRITE FOR THE INDIE CHICKS REGULARLY!!!

So please tell me I’ll see you there!

xox,

Jess

 

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I’m Enough: Learning Lessons From a Mirror That Talks Back

When you look in the mirror, how do you feel about yourself?

And we’re being  honest here.

Do you believe the only value it shows is what’s on the outside? Does the mirror, to you, amplify your flaws or acknowledge the human being that you are with phenomenal virtues inside and out?

Does the mirror reflect your worth?

This is the question that a group of women from Austen, TX came together to answer. But first, they started a band.

Their group is called The Mrs.

Unable to connect with the songs they were hearing on the radio, well past the years of the teenage heartbreak and club beats, they sought to create music inspired by their own lives as passionate – and busy – wives, mothers, and girlfriends.

The all-female rock band is comprised of drummer Andra Liemandt, lead vocalists/guitarists Mandy Prater and Jennifer Zavaleta, vocals/keyboardist Larissa Ness, and bassist Jenny Mason.

They wrote a song called ‘I’m Enough.’ And from that song, they gave birth to a movement.

They plastered stickers around every mirror and window they came across with messages like “You’re awesome,” “I’m Enough,” and “You’ve never looked better!” Then they took it a step further and concocted what some might dub ‘a magic mirror’, a talking mirror that surprised women all over the county.

At first glance, the mirror on the wall appears ordinary. When you walk up to it, all you see is your reflection.

And then a voice comes on.

That voice greets you, perhaps by name. That voice tells you you’re beautiful. That voice tells you you are loved. That voice tells you you’re enough.

*****

The Mrs. performed at BlogHer live on Saturday, and their talking mirror was in the vendor hall all weekend. My pal, August McLaughlin, and I got to experience the talking mirror firsthand before we even knew what it was!

I went up to it first. I put the headphones on and immediately this friendly voice greeted me, “Hi Jess! Look at that gorgeous red hair!”

MirrorAugust listening to the Talking Mirror

The person behind the mirror told me I was beautiful. She told me I had beautiful, clear skin.

I started crying.

I wasn’t making-a-scene-hysterical, I just genuinely teared up. I don’t tell myself my skin is beautiful.

As my 30th birthday gets closer, I’ve been battling some body dysmorphia. I wrote about it in To Conceal and Carry…My Muffin Top. Besides recent weight gain, I have trouble with adult acne. It began as “teenage” acne, then “college” acne, and morphed into adulthood “I’ve paid thousands of dollars on skincare and make-up” acne. I know my skin has changed and that it has improved. But when I look in the mirror, I see only the bumps, the redness, the scarring.

I knew my attacks on myself were really bad when I nonchalantly made the comment to my sister, “You know how people sometimes ask you ‘If you could have any superpower in the world, what would it be?’ Well, mine would be clear skin. That’s all I want. CLEAR skin!”

I immediately felt hurt when I said it. Hurt by my OWN words. I had always been the girl who wanted to fly. How had I let myself get so stuck?

Even on my wedding day, my biggest fear was my face. Not the hundreds of dollars we paid in legal paperwork for an international wedding, or traveling to a foreign country with my wedding dress, or that Joe had not written his vows until the day of (he actually had, but was messing with me for fun). No, I was freaking out over my face. I wanted perfect skin for my wedding day, and that was the one thing beyond my grasp.

I started a mantra, “This day is not about my face. This day is not about my face.” And I said it every morning as I put my make up on for that whole week before our wedding.

So yah. I started crying when the woman behind the mirror told me I had clear skin. And then she told me my writing mattered. That my words brought joy and laughter and insight to others. And I felt – this may sound silly – but I felt like I sprouted wings. Little baby wings that flapped and triggered my brain to say “Go after your dreams.”

She's Enough

And remember I’m enough.

Do you need to be reminded?

Follow more of the movement on Twitter using the hashtag #ImEnough.

 

 

 

The Hooch That Stole Christmas

I came across this article on Jezebel.com and it really struck home with me. As you’re Christmas shopping this year, consider what you’re buying for kids.

It bothers me that so many dolls today look hoochie. Barbie’s face has permanent makeup on it, every car/house/piece of furniture is bubblegum pink and probably smells like estrogen infused cotton candy. And Polly Pocket has had some serious work done.

This is Polly when I played with her, circa 1990.

Polly Pocket – the Original

She’s a cute little plastic doll no bigger than a thimble. SHE ACTUALLY FIT IN YOUR POCKET!

She basically folds in half to sit, or stands in one of three possible pegs in her clamshell case home.

I loved her.

This is the Polly my niece plays with.

Polly Pocket – Disco Hooch Millenial Edition

Do her ginormous eyes freak anyone else out?

The better to SEE you with, my dear!

I just don’t want my 4 year old niece to think that crop tops and booty shorts are the solution to feeling beautiful, or valued, or loved.

I have no beef with grown, adult women who choose to wear those things. It’s their choice. But like the Jezebel article pointed out, why are we selling them to toys marketed for ages 4-7?

Don’t even get me started on the Bratz dolls!

I’m afraid if I stare at them too long, one of them will chant some voodoo hex and I’ll be forced to reapply my lipgloss every 15 minutes.

If you want a real laugh, you should totally check out Celia Rivenbark’s book, Belle Weather: Mostly Sunny With a Chance of Scattered Hissy Fits, in which she has a chapter made up entirely of an imaginary conversation between her daughter’s Bratz dolls and her American Girl Doll.

My favorite part is when the Bratz give Kirsten, the pioneer prairie girl, advice on how to make her bonnet more fashionable.

Literary gold.

Last January I went home for my niece’s birthday and she pulled out all her Barbies for us to play with. I picked one of the dolls up and made some snarky comment when my sister informed me, “Oh yah, and that’s TEACHER Barbie.”

I couldn’t help myself.

Teacher Barbie

The left side is the dress my Teacher Barbie wore, again circa early 90’s, and the right is what she’s wearing now. My Teacher Barbie dress could eat that Teacher Barbie dress like it was a double fudge chocolate cake on the first night of her period. And she’d have seconds, baby!

Why is it sooo…tiny?…short?…suction-cupped to her already ridiculous body type standards?

I’ve heard you should dress to impress. Perhaps that’s what Smokey the Bear is doing.

What do I do when I’m not preventing forest fires? I work out. A lot.

I mean, c’mon! Smokey can’t just be a bear anymore? He’s got to be a bear with biceps and pectorals? I am of the opinion that bears, in general, are considered quite authoritative and strong already. I do not need to see the curvature of a bear’s bicep to know I am in the wrong place at the wrong time in the wilderness.

Furthermore, if I dressed like Polly Pocket, the pure weight of my oversize head would no doubt cause me to lose balance and trip over my disco glitter heels. I am now bicep bear’s lunch.

Where do we draw the line? Because I would like to step back for a minute. Are toy merchants going to start advertising Anorexic Abby into the Bratz collection? Maybe Kirsten, that American Girl doll with the bonnet and shawl, can teach Abby what inner beauty looks like…and for that matter, mayonnaise – it’s great on a turkey sub! Get a footlong! Go wild!

When did the beauty of animals become not enough? When did we decide that animals needed to also look like us? Or at least some absurd social standard of us? What’s next? Maybe the bird on all the Dove brand bars of soap can grow breasts! Oooh, or those California cow commercials can start talking about their period all the time! I would like that!

Happy cows wear Kotex.

What do you think? Has the Hooch stolen Christmas?

*****

On a brighter note, Congratulations to Nina Badzin! She’s the lucky winner of Amber’s book, The Ruth Valley Missing, and a cd playlist to go along!

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