Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Case of Sexualized Attention

"Why do you hate (certain person)?" nobody asked me ever, but I'm going to answer anyway.

"Because she sexualizes her attention," I say to the person who doesn't exist.

"What does that mean?"

Hi, I'm Scarlet. You may remember me from The Case of "Empowerment," Your Music is Too Loud, and Get Off My Lawn.

I've made up the term; I'm not sure if there's a better term I haven't found yet. I shy away from "attention whore" because of the unnecessary usage of whore, and because that's not quite what I'm talking about.

Sexualized attention takes many forms. It could be flirting (not all flirting is equal), it could be suggestive body language, or it could be provocative clothing. Mostly, it's all three put together, for the sake of getting something out of someone (other than sex / sexual relations).

(What it's not: the person in suggestive clothing that is giving you the cold shoulder / not engaging you. Nope. The friendly banter between you and another person that leaves you feeling a little warm. Nuh uh. Your date that got a little heated but didn't go anywhere. Maybe, but probably not.)

The point of sexualized attention is to use sex or  suggestion of sex to keep the other person's attention. Asking for help replacing a flat tire is normal. Telling someone they are a big strong man with sultry eyes and a come hither stare is using sex for attention.

Why does it matter? Because as a woman (I don't know of this happens among guys) providing sexualized attention is "worth" more to a man than regular conversation.

For example, I was having a great nerd conversation with a guy once. I wasn't look to bang or get into a relationship or anything---just making small nerd talk. A woman comes up, dressed up as a slutty cop (it was Halloween) and flat out says, "I loooove sucking cock."

And BOOM! I ceased to exist. Our conversation was over, I was rendered invisible, and the drool on his face was evident.  She went on to explain how she was going to suck cock right here at this party and he was entranced. I walked away, completely forgotten, not visible next to a woman with a huge rack talking about sucking cock.

There's no way to "win" as a woman, when another woman uses her sexuality. Men love it. Men will eat up any sexualized attention they receive, and some women use it as a weapon.

I thought it was only high school that guys were hypnotized by boobs, but it never went away. Guys would complain about wanting a girl friend to play video games with.....only to be at the beck and call of the girl who developed early. She was the dumbest person I'd ever met--she thought she invented 'oy vey' and was skeptical re: Jewish phrases.

Some women know this at a conscious level; some women don't understand why the guy thinks she likes him, even when she cuddles and giggles and strokes his hair.

Advertising uses it to the extreme form (does anything not use sexy women to sell their product?) But women do it themselves too. A woman who sexualized herself is prized by the media and marketing. A woman with experience and education is nothing compared to a woman who knows how to make a man feel good.

Of course, I'm not allowed to say any of this. It is some sort of shaming now---probably slut shaming, though I have no issue with who / how manu they've slept with. At least I'd you sleep with them, it's not for an ulterior motive.

I guess that makes me a fake shamer.

The Case of "Empowerment"

The word "empowered" sends shivers down my spine. It's a good bet that it's used when talking about a woman who is wearing revealing clothing, and not anything else, like "empowering girls to pursue science!" or "empowering girls to follow your dreams!"

Hi, I'm Scarlet, and I will be your Hater for the evening.

Every time I turn around, there's another article about how empowered a woman is because she's wearing something that just happens to a) shows off her cleavage, or b) show us her ass cheeks, or the weird new c) option, which is holes cut randomly around the hips because how would we know she was a woman if half her clothes weren't missing.

And to some women that's empowering. Don't mistake it for objectification-- they're doing it for themselves! Other people's opinions don't matter! As if we are not products of our culture and we weren't feed these images since we were kids.

Though it's marked as progressive, it's really the same spiel that's been going around for a long time. Women who are sexualized ( I'm sorry, sexualize themselves) are the most womanly women. They are the epitome of what it means to be woman. High heels. Make up. Designer clothes. Tits up and ass out.

In a society supposedly demolishing the idea of gender norms, it really seems to be doubling down on it. We applaud women who "dare" to take center stage in short shorts and killer high heels, or who decide to post nudies of themselves out of "self love"---nevermind that society always love a woman in leather and heels, or how "self love" requires the attention, gratification and feedback of millions of followers.

Now, a woman (or anyone) who shared a nude selfie after a mastectomy? Brave. Someone shows their less-than-perfect body to show that perfection is a myth? Honest. But a celebrity who shares nudies / almost nudes / sex tapes frequently? BORING. Boring fucking shit.

There's not room in our society for women that don't find sexualization empowering. Someone went so far as to call it rape culture---as in, if you don't stand up and applaud every time someone posts a selfie, you're a soulless harpy that somehow hates women.

Lips are curled and noses are looked down at any women who don't want to wear heels or makeup. "You're one of them"  they snarl, as if every woman is either sex diva that loves her ass to hang out, or a closet case just waiting for someone to liberate them---by wearing lingerie and fetish wear out in public. Not for other people, of course. For yourself.

And not buying into it makes you a something-ist. Sexist, misogynist, sex phobic, whorephobic (I thought you weren't supposed to judge people based on their clothing but I guess not???)

I have no idea how we went from "you should do this or you're not a woman" to "you should do it or you're not an empowered woman." They very people that were supposed to be accepting of different choices are now doubling down the same sexist standards.

Call it a great rebranding effort:

"It's not objectification; it's empowerment."

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Mental Illness Isn't Cute

It's a strange thing to say.

"What do you mean, 'cute'? No one thinks mental illness is cute!"

And I don't think anyone puts those words together. But people sometimes act like it.

Mental illness is not a quirk. It is not a spice of personality, its not a "thing you do" and it sure as shit isn't as cute a manic pixie girl would lead you to believe. It is not "breaking from the mold" and it is not "being a free spirit."

The term "mental illness" itself is so broad as to be nearly meaningless.  The severity ranges from  tolerable to completely life wrecking. Some can be managed with pills, some with therapy, and some can be handled personally, all of which varied greatly based on the kind of illness, the person, their support group, their life, what causes it (such as PTSD), and just about everything in existence. What works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another.

We tend to think of depression and anxiety when we talk about mental disorders. I hear much less about the more severe forms, like psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar, manic depressive, and OCD--not the "I like things in order" OCD, but the serious, "I have to turn the lock 20 times and click my tongue" sort of OCD.

Not to say depression and anxiety aren't terrible enough, but the less talked about forms of mental illness can seriously wreck someone's life. Imagine hearing multiple voices that tell you people are out to get out. That the pizza guy poisoned the pizza. That the phone ringing is the government out to get you. Imagine literally losing your mind and coming back into normal consciousness after you've been arrested and put on meds again.

Don't think that your love can cure them. Step away from that Hollywood bullshit. Your friendship will be appreciated. Your love will be helpful. You're love can be a light in their darkness.

But you will not cure them with your love.

They will need more love and patience. They will need more room for understanding and acceptance. Your companionship can help them grow and can help them cope.

They may do things you don't understand. They may experience emotions in a way that is counterintuitive. You may not understand why they push you away but think nobody loves them.


I'm not saying to put up with their bullshit if you don't want to, or if they are abusive or manipulative. I fully support when someone understands that they can't handle the person or the situation and needs to walk away.

What I'm saying is don't walk into it thinking their illness is cute. Don't think you're one snuggle fest away from curing them. Don't tell yourself that you know better and with a little elbow grease you'll fix them right up. Don't think that you're Mary fucking Poppins and a spoonful of sugar will do the trick.

Mental illness isn't cute. You can't cure it with your love.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Appeal of Losing Your Shit

I am a pretty composed person. I take care of my shit. Take it to shit store, or put it in a museum, as Morty would say, and I've done a pretty good job.   Through sickness and in health, through rich and through poor, I've kept my shit together and put my life back in track.

I fucking hate it.

"You'll figure it out" I've been told. "Sorry, so and so needs our help more."

It means I am always alone. I am always in charge. I am always my own calvary. 

I watch as other people are taken care of. Another bill paid. Another ride given. A present bigger and better than anything I've ever been given. And when I do take care of my shit, because there is no other option except the deep, dark, infinitely final alternatives, people tell themselves, "she didn't need my help! She's fine without it!"

I want to lose my fucking shit.

Fuck up my job. Blow up my relationships. Crash my car. Do drugs. Do lots of drugs.

Then people will pay attention to me. Then they will hear me. Then they will love me.

Is it because we love drama? Do we love people who need us more? Is the world so filled with pain, unless we are the loudest,  biggest, neediest motherfucker, that no one cares? Are my mewling cries of help so pathetic that no one can hear me, because I never learned how to ask for help?

It's the worst as I get out of my car. That moment where you choose what to do next. Beat the shit out of someone. Scream obscenities. Fuck my life. Careen dangerously out of control.

I can see the appeal of losing your shit.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

It's Okay If I Don't Like You

I found myself in a strange conversation one day. Insomuch that I was backpedaling on an opinion I had stated because I hurt someone's feelings. I wasn't taking back my opinion, mind you-- I was simply trying to explain to this woman that my opinion didn't matter.

It started on a completely different subject. I remarked that I don't like DC comics (I'm more of an Image/Boom/Marvel girl*) and that was almost exactly what I said. "I don't really like DC comics." Nothing ridiculous like they have the worst comics EVAH, nor was I shitting on someone for liking them.

What I said next is what got me in trouble. "I particularly hated the selfie covers. I think it's immature and they are targeting an audience younger than me."

This offended a woman, whom we'll call SelfieGirl. "Selfies are a form of self expression!" she said. "Selfies are a form of self love!"

The conversation went down the rabbit hole, where I was arguing for her to get over the fact that I think selfies are immature. It's MY opinion, and she can't take that away from. I am not hurting anyone, and short of an eyeroll, I didn't really care.

Nothing appeased this woman. Unless I acknowledged that people feel good about themselves when they take selfies, I was a "bad feminist." (Oooooh don't get me started on calling me a bad feminist. That's bad feminism right there!)

"Fine!" I'd told her. "Do what you want! You don't need my permission!" This didn't appease her either. My one comment, on a board about something else completely, was enough to destroy all of feminism in one fell swoop.

Look. I think selfies are for kids these days. I'm old. Get off my lawn. Damn rock and roll. Etc.
Have I taken selfies before? Uh YEAH, I'm old, not dead. Have I felt good when I get a bunch of likes or retweets? You beat your sweet social media I do. I even have selfies with duckface wih people that I really admire, and they make me happy when I look at them.

I could split hairs with you all day about how and when I think selfies are acceptable or a nuisance but that's not my point here.

What is my point, then?

You don't need my fucking permission.

You don't need my approval. You don't need to be my friend. We do not need to see eye to eye on everything. Life is not about one big checkbox that everyone has to fit into.

I don't care for most things. The list of things I DO like is much, much shorter than the list of things I hate, so don't feel like you're on some exclusive list if I don't like you.

And you may think, "that's a terrible way to live" and I don't give a shit what you think. That's your opinion and if you choose to live your life a different way, it doesn't bother me in the slightest. I am not you, and you are not me, and we are not meant to live life the same way. I cherish people both like me and unlike me, so that I may find comfort in the former and find inspiration on the latter.

So the next time you see an opinion you don't agree with, ask yourself, does it really matter? Are lives at stake? Is this promoting violence or hate? And please take a moment to decipher between "hate" and "don't like." Saying "I hate red" is very different from "red is terrible and must be obliterated!"

You don't have to agree with me. My opinion is not that important, unless you make it that important. You don't need permission or acceptance from me to live your life.

I don't have to be your friend. I promise you'll live without it.

*I made a funny!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Why Chibi-Robo Makes Me Sad

I love Chibi-Robo. I played the flower DS game first, and mildly played the original on the Gamecube.

I loved the unique gameplay. I loved the stories, and how it centered around making friends or helping out instead of violence and carnage.

(I also love violence and carnage, don't get me wrong. It's simply easier to find a shooter than it is a nonshooter with a story.)

When Zipline was announced, I immediately preordered it. Well, when the article crying that if "nobody bought this game then there would never be another Chibi-Robo" then I ran to Amazon for the amiibo bundle.

I got the game yesterday. Within minutes of being home, I loaded it up and started on Chibi-Robo's new adventure. In another few minutes, I hated it.

I hadn't even finished the first level.

It's a platformer, just like every other Nintendo game anymore. It felt like Kirby. It felt like Yoshi's World. It felt as much a  "Chibi-Robo" game as the "banana cream" pie you buy at the store that contains banana flavor, not bananas.

I wanted a Chibi-Robo game. I wanted to explore and pick up trash and make little kids smile and heal some broken hearts. Instead, I have an ugly ( what the shit why do DS games still look like crap???) run of the mill platformer that is exactly the same as every other Nintendo platformer they come out with.

It's this crap that makes me hate the video game industry. Because they cheated Chibi-Robo. They tried to play it safe by making a carbon copy of other successful games instead of actually making a new Chibi-Robo game.

And so the fate of Chibi-Robo lies in the fate of a half assed, unimaginative clone. And most likely, it will go one of two ways: they will decide it is  successful, and continue to spit out Chibi-Robo flavored platformers instead of a traditional Chibi-Robo style game, or it will tank, for the reasons I listed, and Nintendo will decide that "nobody likes Chibi-Robo" and it will be put on the shelf indefinitely. They have decided on middle of the road blandness over creative originality.

And this is why Chibi-Robo makes me sad.