Thursday, October 23, 2008

Minor Problem

So I need to go see the psychologist on Hallowe'en. (I could have this Monday, but I wasn't willing to skip enough class to make it). Does this mean that I can't wear a costume? Or maybe I can wear it, and just take the beard off then... Decisions, decisions.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Favourite Course Again...

I'm seriously thinking that some of the readings for my women's studies course should have "not suitable for women" warnings on them, because there is no WAY that they should be expecting me to get through these without sufficient academic training. The article I'm currently reading is talking about how new technology and pregnancy loss interact. What makes it a real kicker is that the author of the article lost 7 children this way herself. And trust me, it comes out in her writing.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Clothes Make the Woman

So I think I may have figured out why it's such a big deal to me that I actually have a jacket, and will be dressed all fancily, rather than just throwing a shawl over my shoulders and saying "good enough". Logically, it would induce less guilt to dress well enough with a new dress than to buy a new jacket AND a new dress to be dressed well.

Now that I have the basics that everyone agrees on, here's where I will start being confusing. I had been really distressed by the idea that I wasn't going to be dressed well. And yes, the fact that I care that much about my clothing is quite sad. I was distressed to the point where I had, for a while before ordering a bolero, been looking for a jacket to wear. And the lace shawl really is ok... I wear stuff like that all the time.

I think that the key idea here is that if you're going to do something questionable, then make it worth while. Yes, normally buying a new jacket when it's not actually necessary is bad. And yes, obviously buying a dress that I might not wear more than once or twice (with that knowledge when I buy it) is obviously horrible. However, while logic might say that doing both is going to be worse than doing either, it doesn't quite work that way in this case. It's as if I was going to buy some fruit from South America. If I buy apples, which are easy to grow and nothing fancy, then that's worse than if I buy a mango, which I can't get any other way, right? (I sure hope so). I'm aware that it doesn't really change the fact that I bought foreign fruit, but at least I got something worthwhile out of it. Same idea with the jacket. Buying it doesn't change the fact that I bought a new outfit (from overseas at that), but it at least means that the new outfit is more worth it than it would be otherwise.

Now, even if this does make me stress less about caring about that, I still have to accept the fact that I am far too concerned over my clothes...

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Hey, I get it!

Ok, so I finally understood some of what we were discussing in Women's Studies! That's not to say that I'm not getting anything from the class. It's more that I tend to think it's utter BS. The idea that started to make sense to me was the idea of "the gaze". As far as I can tell, the idea behind it is that women always feel they're being watched (more that they are always being watched) by men, because women are "other".

Now, I still think that is somewhat BS. Yes, I have been aware of a sensation like that, but it's not as a woman, it's more as a woman in engineering. Occasionally in soccer too, but frankly, a guy who was one of 3 in 20 or so would feel just as out of place. However, it occurs to me that the fact that a lot of guys have odd reactions to whistles or yells might qualify under this. The odd reactions to which I'm referring is that a lot of guys don't seem to see anything wrong with accidently giving some sign that they heard the yell, etc. Actually a lot of them don't see anything wrong with reacting at all.

Now, I'm not going to say that the only reason someone would whistle out the window to get my attention , or make patronizing remarks when the light changes, is because I'm a woman. However, the fact that society makes it quite clear that yes, it's because I'm a woman, that people behave like jerks , I tend to assume that I'm the target of that sort of immaturity. (Note the difference between me being the target, and me assuming I'm the target because I've been told that I am). And that, I think, is the idea of the gaze.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


So I'm currently supposed to be reading an article for my Women's Studies course. (As Allan points out though, "feminist" thought doesn't really seem to be connected to women per se). This one is about how make up came to be acceptable. Ever hear the term "painted lady"? That used to be a really horrible thing to be.

I've reached the point where makeup became acceptable - where the "commercial beauty culture popularized the democratic and anxiety-inducing idea that beauty could be achieved by all women - if only they used the correct products and treatments."*I would definitely argue that this is the perspective that is around today - and most people (and here I break with my complaints against "women's studies" to say that at least women are, I'm not sure about men) are aware of the fact that looking good is mostly what you do.

My complaint is that it's the only way to look good. The Dove "Campaign for Real Beauty" ads do not, in my mind, in the least act against societal impressions of beauty. They argue that anyone can look good. We should all be using cosmetics, because they can make us all look like the models actually do. Can someone tell me how this is any different from what they're supposed to be opposing? Oh, and if you can tell me how that fits with the advice given in the self-esteem workshop booklets for girls that they don't need to wear makeup if they don't want to, that would also be great. (I'd like to point out that telling the girls they don't need to wear makeup isn't actually a great idea, because it really is necessary, in the same way that brushing hair and dressing up are).

Ok, I think that's out of my system.

*Peiss, Kathy. "Making Up, Making Over". p 323. The Sex of Things: Gender and Consumption in Historical Perspective, ed Victoria de Grazia (UCP, Berkeley, 1996)