Department Of Guilty Pleasures
Strikethrough that! What a lame expression. If it gives me joy, then it ain’t (and moiself isn’t) guilty.
Look what I’ve rented for three months.
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Department Of The Book I’m Not Recommending
…well, sorta, if not wholeheartedly: Women Don’t Owe You Pretty,  by Florence Given. However, I’m still thinking about the book, almost two weeks after finishing it. So, for moiself , that counts as a recommendation.
WDOYP was this month’s choice for the book group  moiself hosts. As described in this post, Book Club has themes for each month. Seeing as how March is Women’s’ History Month, Feminist/pro-woman titles is this month’s theme.
One BC member said she had a problem getting into WDOYP, at first (me, too). As in, it took us several chapters to get used to the Ms. Given’s prose patterns, and we (mistakenly, ultimately) felt that with regard to both content and style the book was aimed more towards young(er) women, and not cranky, been-around-the-block-and-back feminists like ourselves. The afore-mentioned BC member, who grew to like and appreciate the book, nailed it in her description of the author’s tendency toward curt prose and didactic, bullet-point ideas: “I felt like I was being shouted at.”
Upon reflection, I’m thinking that many of the contradictions I found in the book are not so much contradictions as they are the author’s attempts to deal with the conundrums inherent in being a feminist in this or any society. Given decries the culture and political, social, and economic systems wherein women are raised to put their appearance at the forefront and to dress and behave for the male gaze– systems she wants to dismantle or at least overhaul. Yet she stresses how we must not criticize women who do organize their appearance for the male gaze, because they have been socialized to do so.
As I was pondering this sticky wicket, for some reason I turned to the book’s back cover. Checking out the authors’ photo is something I almost never do,  but this time I did, and I didn’t know whether to guffaw or smirk. Was the picture that Given (and her editor/publisher?) chose – Given clad in a no-bra midriff top, her wide-eyed gaze smoldering beneath her Charlie’s Angels hairstyle – meant to be ironic? As in, was it an intentional a juxtaposition of the author’s premise and exposition – that women do not and should not present themselves for the male gaze – with an image of the author which references the most male-gazieest pop culture female characters ever?
Or perhaps, moiself thought, she’s just young and vain? In the book, Ms. Given mentions – always in context to whatever she’s shouting writing about yet more often than I found necessary – being aware of her privilege as a “slim, pretty, white woman.” Sure, she’s committed to feminist principles…but she’s also an occupant of those here-I-am-look-at-me, Instagram Tik-Tok, self-promotion, social media worlds  which so many people her age  inhabit. A quick search revealed to moiself that Given is quite active on those sites – sites which, as many therapists and [other/older] feminists point out, promote unhealthy body images and are detrimental to the mental health of girls and women.
Given makes you go, girl type noises re women and girls who “choose” to dress in what might be seen as a provocative manner, as long as those females are doing it for “themselves” or because it’s what *they* like, and thus they are expressing their authentic, feminine selves… Yet how can they reliably know that those styles and modes – that *any* styles and modes – of dress and presentation are what they truly like? How can you know what your “authentic” likes are/self is, when you’ve been propagandized (read: poisoned) all your life about what is appropriate female attire and physical presentation?
Case in point: high heels are poor podiatric shoe choices bad for you – that’s a medical fact, not a style opinion. My encounters with women who describe themselves as progressive and feminist yet still think stiletto heels are appropriate dress-up attire have always chapped my ass (and heels) – I want to grab those women by their shoulders (but caefully, because they might topple over) and sputter,
“ *Who* told you these contraptions are appropriate and/or attractive?!?”
Your only excuse for such a “choice” of footwear would be if you were a native of the planet Cripfemme, where the females have only three toes: two short ones on the side and a very long pointy one in the middle. Otherwise, do you expect moiself – and yourself – to believe that you came to this conclusion on your own, without any outside influences, and that this kind of shoe is practical and comfortable?
All in all, WDOYP was a good book for discussion and reflection (obviously, as I am still doing so). Despite her overuse (IMO) of relationship buzzword descriptors (e.g., “toxic”), the author has some insightful phrasings and framings of various issues, including the chapter wherein she delineates the “misogyny tax” women pay, and another chapter dealing with the prejudice against single women:
“ ‘Single’ doesn’t mean ‘waiting for someone.’
Choosing to be single is an autonomous choice, and a lot of men fear autonomous women and gender-nonconforming-people. It reminds them that we have other purposes on this planet than to serve them….
When people make autonomous decisions about their bodies and their lifestyles, they are met with a whole spectrum of resistance, and this is particularly true for marginalized people. Anything that deviates from the narrative society has written for and about you is shamed and unaccepted.”
Overall, I’m glad I read it. Note: WDOYP does contain trigger warnings on a couple of chapters dealing with sexual assault and harassment. 
* * *
Department Of Yet Another Adjective That Moiself Does Not
Want To Hear Y’all Use As Noun
But it’s too late, as its informal usage has already entered certain dictionaries. 
I’m talking about creative, when used for a person or an occupation. We got your firefighters, we got your x-ray technicians, your IT specialists, your butchers and bakers and candlestick makers…and now we have Creatives ®. It’s no longer a mere modifier (“What a creative floral arrangement” or “Those kids are full of creative energy.”) It is being used as a noun, and thus preceded by an indefinite article.
The hubris of those who would so refer to themselves, moiself can scarcely imagine. Except that I don’t need to imagine it, as twice this week I heard more than one person  do this (which is what sparked this rant post):
“As a creative, I…”
“I am a creative, and so I….”
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Department Of Because We Are Sheep, That’s Why
I’m noticing a new thing at one of the grocery stores where I shop. Just inside the store’s entrance there will be a couple of young-ish men and women, standing alert and dressed more formally than most people do for picking up some produce. These folks try to make eye contact with shoppers who enter and exit the store, and when they do, they approach the shopper and ask, “One quick question?“ Whether you say yes or no, they proceed with the question:
“What is your current mobile service?”
I’m surprised and disappointed to have observed so many shoppers answer this question despite the uncomfortable, oh-please-leave-me-alone-I-just-want-to-get-some-salad-veggies looks on their faces.
Why do people do that – answer questions from strangers, when they know what’s coming and don’t want to be subjected to a sales pitch? They seemingly feel obliged to respond to that intrusive query…which, okay, is not as intrusive as, “What is your current underwear size?” but which is nonetheless personal. Your utility services and bills – that’s personal finance info, and none of anyone else’s business. What is it about human nature that so many of us respond? Oh yeah, because we are….
From what moiself has observed, the Mobile Service Shillers® work as partners: one stands near the entrance/exit doors, another about 20 feet inside the store. I’ve seen them signal to each other, with eye and/or hand gestures and head nods, indicating (I deduced) a shopper they did not engage. Thus, if the first one doesn’t “get “ you (or is talking to someone else) the other has a shot, either when you’re entering or leaving the store.
Up until recently I have observed the MSS-ers closely but never answered them, until the past two weeks when I grew tired of ignoring them and decided to engage. Since then I’ve been approached four times while pushing my cart on my way out of the store, and I’ve answered four times.
“Hello! Excuse me; what is your current mobile service?”
Time #1: Moiself smiled perkily and said, “None of your business.”
Time #2: I donned my best non sequitur expression and replied, “Spatula.”
Time #3: “As an all-natural family we communicate via strings tied to paper cups.”
Time #4: This time, the MS Shiller® got specific, and asked if my mobile service was____ or ____ (the two most common carriers in this area ). “Neither,” I replied, opening my hand and mimicking the flip phone gesture Captain Kirk made when he was going to request Scotty to beam him up. “I use my Star Trek communicator.”
“A communicator!” Mobile Service Shiller® overly enthusiastically gasped. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him signal to his partner with a shake of his head, as if to say, “Nope – leave this one alone.”
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Freethinkers’ Thought Of The Week:
“Men often ask me, ‘Why are your female characters so paranoid?’
It’s not paranoia. It’s recognition of their situation.” 
( Margaret Atwood )
* * *
May you never confuse recognition with paranoia;
May you give yourself permission not to anawer shilllers of any kind ;
May you have a happy day celebrating being Irish in America; 
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
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 Great title, BTW.
 (the oh-so-cleverly named, Book Club)
 Writers should be read and not seen ( Moiself included). I generally doesn’t care or want to know about an author’s physical appearance and/or personal life.
 Worlds which seem, IMO, to mainly consist of constantly posting images of yourself, over and over and over….
 She is 24.
 Although, thinking of a friend who appreciates those warnings, there was also material earlier in the book and outside of those chapters which I thought could be difficult for someone who’s been raped and/or abused.
 Misapply any word long enough and it’ll get an entry.
 Radio news shows and podcast interviews.
 Why is there no footnote here? Paranoid, who, me?
 St. Patrick’s Day…that’s what it essentially is, in the USA.
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