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July 28, 2005

Stalking The Republican Feminist

I feel a rant coming on, and some of what I have to say may be disturbing. Having had one Major Sense of Humor Failure this weekend and another over at poor KJ's place recently (I suspect the two phenomena were related), the topic of conservative feminism has been roiling around in the back of that untidy dustbin I call my mind all week. So it's time to 'get my cats out' as my Dad likes to say, though not in the context he usually means it.

You may be surprised to hear me broach the topic at all. On any given day I am more likely to mock the transparent asshatteries of Rad-Fem activism than to praise them. But despite my cynical take on modern feminism - on any movement that is collective in nature, in fact - I have far more sympathy for true feminist aims than one might suspect. In fact, in my heart of hearts, I consider myself something of a feminist. My own kind of feminist.

Charlotte Allen notes what I have long deplored: the Rad-Fems have hijacked the feminist movement, transforming what ought to be a message of self-empowerment into a derivative and demeaning ripoff of the civil rights movement. I reject their passive-aggressive demands for preferences and perks based on a dubious protected class status I find insulting and ultimately counterproductive. Women can do better. We need to do better.

Years ago I had an argument with my liberal law professor, an ardent feminist whom I greatly liked and respected, on this topic. "Don't you see the need?", she said to me as I dashed across a crowded Baltimore crosswalk in front of the art museum, stepping out in front of an oncoming taxi that wasn't slowing down quickly enough to suit me and staring down the driver until he stomped on the brakes. I stood astride the painted stripes like Wonder Woman, sans golden lasso, as she shook her head in helpless laughter.

Of course I see the need. Do I make fun of some of the loonier excesses of the Rad-Fems? Some of the man-hating rhetoric? Sure I do.

But that doesn't mean I don't see some of the problems they are attacking. And it doesn't mean that, as a woman, I'm not every bit as angry at times as they are. I just disagree, as most conservatives do, about the solution.

Confession time here. I get angry as hell sometimes at modern culture.

I think it's sick. I think it has become twisted and warped. Sometimes I am glad I don't have a daughter: honestly, I don't know what I'd tell a young girl growing up in today's world. It pisses me off (yes, that's a very strong word, but you should hear what is in my mind) when I'm sitting in the doctor's office reading Cosmo Grrrrl, for God's sake, and I spy an article saying that women should all go in and get about 1/3 of their intimate tresses removed because most men are so used to watching porn that they have become "accustomed" to seeing a nicely-trimmed mons Venus. Oh, and honey: most men surveyed said don't have it all removed because that just totally creeps them out.

Well excuse the hell out of me. Because I would sure hate to confound your "expectations" by showing up in the boudoir in a state of Natural Grace.

Now don't get me wrong - I have nothing against ALASE. In fact, I'm a satisfied customer. But a woman ought to be doing that sort of thing for her own satisfaction/convenience and not so she'll be 'good enough' to appear in your mental burlesque show after taking your kids to soccer, bringing home a paycheck and cooking your supper. When was the last time the man of the house checked in for a little intimate depilitation? Eyebrow tweezing? Surgery? Bikini wax? Maybe a Wonder Jock?

Yeah. I thought so. That's because although we don't mind looking at you, we love you for your other qualities. What a concept.

I get madder than hell when I read about a very young and lovely girl going in to have her breasts surgically enhanced so she will "look better" for her boyfriend. This girl is already model-pretty. Her breasts are already larger than mine (reference, nicely shaped and perky but hardly eye-popping 36Bs, not that this matters). WHY THE HELL DOES SHE NEED SURGERY AT HER AGE? I got angry when Halle Berry had her breasts made larger. The woman is heartbreakingly lovely and can act up a storm.

Her career took off when she had her boobs made bigger. What are we telling our daughters about our values when we vote with our pocketbooks?

Again, I don't think I'm a prude. I like men. Very much in fact. And I like sex even more. But the original purpose of sex was procreation, and any society that doesn't "get" priorities will not long survive. Families and procreation are necessary for survival of the species. As enlightened as our culture is, I truly believe it can be very demeaning to women.

Any time large numbers of women (and now young girls) cut themselves into pieces and insert foreign objects into their bodies to satisfy an unreal (and not always attainable) ideal of beauty, there is something tragically, dangerously wrong with our picture of what one-half of humanity should aim for in life. With what we want them to aspire to. With what we value. We make fun of the Muslim world for its treatment of women, and there is much to deride there. But I often think we miss the beam in our own eye.

The Left gets mad at "unfairness" and wants to get government involved. They want to redress pay and hiring inequities by forcing remedies on employers through intrusive legislation. They want to ban porn (or at least some feminists do) where I just want to keep it out of the hands of children and known sex offenders. And God help me, I have the temerity to think the federal government should be allowed to regulate porn enough so that child porn, sexual slavery, snuff films, and the like will be a thing of the past. I realize that makes me some kind of snake-handling whacko bent on harshing your mellow.

So what's the solution? I believe it is, and can only be something that seems to have gone out of style: moral suasion. This used to be the province of women, and with the advent of the two-career couple and the working Mom, it is a role many women are abdicating, to society's detriment.

As a conservative feminist, I think the only way the plight of women will ever improve is exactly the way it has improved in my lifetime. We must represent ourselves out in the world, in the workplace firmly, with grace, competently, in such a manner that eventually it becomes the accepted wisdom that we can do the job. We must argue, not compel, for a more principled look at pornography. One that takes into account the effect on our daughters. And on our sons.

Do I like to look at porn? Sure - I get the same squishy feelings everyone else does. But feelings are not what was meant to control us in life. And there are degrees of porn like everything else. All activities in the modern world are subject to some regulation. I think there is a principled argument to be made by women of character: to protect our children, to protect marriages. I think the conservative message here is the right one: with freedom comes responsibility - to monitor and hold the innocent safe from harm. Not necessarily to ban, but not to be so goddamned open-minded that we allow the innocent to be victimized either. Intelligent, honest, rational scrutiny, and persuasion rather than force.

And women must take responsiblity for our own actions.

If we mean to be treated equally, we cannot run and hide under the skirts of authority every time we are challenged or treated unfairly.

If we consent to mutilate ourselves so we look like a Victoria's Secret ad, we should not be surprised when, like that library assistant at the Ivy league school, we are not taken seriously and passed over for promotion at work. We cannot send mixed messages.

If we choose not to work 80-hour weeks so we can have families, we should be adult enough to realize we have substituted freedom for salary and quit whining. Unless of course one of our male co-workers is taking a similar amount of time off for other leisure activities without a similar penalty. And I've seen that happen. But that's a fight that, like our male counterparts, we need to be willing to make on our own. We have equal access to the courts.

Charlotte notes that, just as the Left loves to claim there are no black or female conservatives (or none with Immortal Souls), there is no such thing as a Republican Feminist. We know this because the Epitome of Female Blogdom, Wonkette, hath pronounced it:

You know how all the moonbats are all het up about how Roberts' wife was a leader of "Feminists for Life"? Well, we understand how a staunch pro-choice lefty might recoil w/r/t the "for life" part. But, uhm, let's think about the other part. She calls herself a feminist.

Quick, name three other high profile Republican women who call themselves feminists....

We're waiting.

No, really.

Go ahead.

This, mind you, from a woman famous for blogging about the size of John Kerry's schlong and the many-splendored joys of anal sex.

I normally forgo being catty about Wonkette. It has *so* been done.

I must say that as a female blogger and one who writes, quite prolifically and I hope substantively about the WOT, SCOTUS and legal issues, the economy, politics, the election, it annoys the living hell out of me to see Wonkette touted on print and TV 24/7 as the Eponymous Female Blogger, as though there were no other women writers of substance out there. Pick someone else - anyone - not me; I blog pseudonomously, but for God's sake there are plenty of intelligent female writers out there. Visit The Cotillion for God's sake. Go to IWF.

Charlotte does a pretty good job of debunking Wonkette, but then Charlotte's more than a match for just about anyone even on her worst day. But I could have told you the same thing. There are plenty of conservative feminists, but we don't organize, we don't march, we don't wear our feminism on our sleeves.

We're just out there every day, walking the walk. Let others talk.

Actions speak louder than words - that's one lesson I've learned from men, and it's a keeper.

Posted by Cassandra at July 28, 2005 07:38 AM

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That ball is going...going...going...GONE!!!!
She hits it right out of the park!

Posted by: spd rdr at July 28, 2005 11:04 AM

You are so sweet (yes, I know this is what every man just *dreams* of being called).

Sometime you floor me, counselor. You really do. I'll be walking on air for the rest of the day :)

Posted by: Cassandra at July 28, 2005 11:14 AM

I do not beg to differ.

Posted by: Pile On at July 28, 2005 11:16 AM

I would beg to cower in your shadow.

But I'm sure you would lift me up, as the point is equality.

You Cotillion chicks are pretty smart.

Posted by: KJ at July 28, 2005 11:26 AM

Despite my NYC zip code, I'm "walking the walk" with you, Cass. Kudos to you for your spot on analysis of an oh so thorny topic.
I'm a newcomer at VC but I think it's one of your best.

Posted by: portia at July 28, 2005 11:59 AM

Give me fur, or give me celibacy!

Heh. Like "landing strips" *aren't* creepy?

Posted by: John of Argghhh! at July 28, 2005 12:05 PM

Actually I had rather hoped you would like it Portia.

Although you're different in some ways, you remind me a bit at times of my oldest and best friend, also from the other side of the political aisle, but no less dear to me for all that - or possibly because of it :)

Posted by: Bush Ate My Soul... at July 28, 2005 12:06 PM

I had a former classmate and co-worker who was tall, athletic and always dressed well who was all into the city night life "Fast living". She always wondered why all of the guys she met turned out to be jerks (KJ's "dating tips" idiot). She just didn't (want to?) understand that "nice guys" don't typically run in her current lifestyle.

She then decided to get "augmentation". Like that was going to make things better?

My FIL always told the LG growing up "Don't advertise what you don't want to sell".

Posted by: Masked Menace© at July 28, 2005 12:15 PM

Regarding personal grooming issues, I'm all in favor of novelty, variety, and fun.

What set me off was the notion that women aren't 'good enough' as-is and that this should be a permanent state of affairs.

And it still does. I'll be candid here. I've worn makeup since I was old enough to sneak out of the house in it. I don't lay it on with a trowel, but I am a woman and I like to look my best. I see nothing wrong with giving mother nature a little helping hand.

But as I've gotten older, I have to say it has started to bother me, the degree to which we now seem to think we need to "assist" mother nature. A bit of lip gloss, mascara, and blush, artfully applied, is one thing. I will admit to preferring a pretty high heeled shoe to flats when I go out, because it makes my legs look shapelier and I'm a bit vain, although now that I'm in my 40's sometimes (like last night) I'll opt for a pretty pair of strappy flats with my capris if the proportion's aesthetically pleasing and I'm going to be walking any great distance.

Tottering along in high heels on city streets is NOT sexy!

Now with a skirt I'm afraid I'm still a purist.

But surgery? I don't know. That could be life-threatening.

Posted by: Bush Ate My Soul... at July 28, 2005 12:17 PM

Umm... maybe I should have switched monikers for that last comment :)

Posted by: Cass at July 28, 2005 12:19 PM

Smile. I prefer to think its because of it, Cass.
Don't forget you promised to come up to New York one of these days to help me paint the town red and blue:)

Posted by: portia at July 28, 2005 12:22 PM

I once heard a female say the following regarding the subject:
"If you want the kids to play on the lawn, then you should keep it trimmed."

Nice euphemism, huh?
(Quite euphonious)

True story, though...

Posted by: camojack at July 28, 2005 12:23 PM

Blame Bush! for everything wrong.

I would be fascinated by an account written by his Spd Rdr-ness of raising daughters in these perilous times (and he should know!).
I'm sure Pile On and KJ would appreciate the advice.

Posted by: David at July 28, 2005 12:31 PM

Portia, I will have to do that. Every now and then I take a class up in NYC - haven't done that in a while tho. If I could pry the RX8 away from the spousal unit, it would be fun :)

Camo, what I have to say to you cannot be said in a pub(l)ic forum, sir... in fact I find I can't say it at all without blushing.

Heh. Which reminds me of some of those bad Chinese words I once told Pile I wasn't going to teach him. Double heh. This conversation is going downhill fast...

*running away*

Posted by: Cass at July 28, 2005 12:34 PM

True, and I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with doing something strictly for the enjoyment of someone you already love.

I absolutely abhor dancing. I look silly and uncoordinated, which is really embarassing for an ex-athlete. The LG however loves dancing. Every once in a while (after consuming mass quantities of liquid courage) I will aquiesse because it's something I know she will enjoy.

But if I had to dance in order to attract you to me? Tough luck, get over it 'cause it'll be a cold day in Hell.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at July 28, 2005 12:34 PM

yep and more.

Posted by: Cricket at July 28, 2005 01:28 PM

Holy Moley!
Cass and Portia together? In the same city?
I am sooooooo dead.

Posted by: spd rdr at July 28, 2005 02:02 PM

I thought this had peaked with the Wonkette observation, but that's because I'm dumb. This was the real kicker:

Actions speak louder than words - that's one lesson I've learned from men, and it's a keeper.

How many ways are there to say "Amen?"

If there's one thing every woman knows--or should know and would know, if she paid attention--it's that men are positively gifted at tuning out screeching (not that one can blame them).

It doesn't matter whether it's fair that men respect action over talk, anymore than it matters whether it's fair that the acceleration of gravity is 9.8 m/s/s. It just IS.

And for all I may like to talk, I agree with it--actions speak louder than words. (They're also more reliable predictors of future behavior; they don't lie as often as speech does.) Less talk, more action.

Or, we could all just shriek outside the White House about our collective uteri. And they ARE collective, right? I mean, everything's part of the collective really. It's for the greater common good and all.

Posted by: ilyka at July 28, 2005 02:46 PM

Feh. Personal grooming cuts both ways. There are days I would prefer not to shave, or wear a comfortable t-shirt rather than a suit (especially in summertime Arizona), but then everyone would think I'm just a slob. Its one of those things you just gotta do.

Ditto the dancing, MM. While I could certainly bust a move as a young man of 20, those days are long gone. Most guys I know go dancing just to keep their wimmenfolk happy. Since I have given up on women for the time being, my feets is staying firmly planted on the ground as God intended. The Bible says we should STAND on the Rock, not prance and caper to a groovy bass line:)

Posted by: a former european at July 28, 2005 03:00 PM

afe, be fair.

There is a *huge* difference between shaving your face (which I agree is a pain for men) and wearing clean and pressed clothes... and putting on makeup, plucking your eyebrows, curling and blow-drying your hair, polishing your finger- and toe-nails, shaving your underarms, BOTH your legs... Need I go on? I hope not. This is the daily deal for most women.

Whew! and then there is the only thing I *actually complained about* other than surgery. That ain't "cutting both ways" - that's cutting mostly one way. It takes my husband about 15 minutes to get ready to go anywhere. It takes me 45 and I don't do as much as lots of women. In fact, I'm not wearing make up now - ugh!

Posted by: Cass at July 28, 2005 03:22 PM

And if you doubt me, saunter down the women's HBA section of the local drugstore. It goes on for MILES.

Go down the men's section. Not even one full aisle. Be honest: men are not preoccupied with making themselves physically attractive to women. They just aren't. They COULD be. They WOULD be, if we demanded it - if we didn't give them sex unless they "measured up".

But they aren't.

Posted by: Cass at July 28, 2005 03:25 PM

...of course, she wryly quipped, this could be because we don't want sex badly enough...

On the otter heiny, if we just rejected y'all and only slept with pretty boy metrosexuals, you'd all be spritzing yourselves with Hugo Boss and flossing with whitening dental floss in a heartbeat :)

Posted by: Cass at July 28, 2005 03:27 PM

This son, husband, father and now grandfather of women salutes you and wishes to associate himself with every word of this post.

Posted by: Peter at July 28, 2005 03:29 PM

In fact, I'm not wearing make up now - ugh!

Sadly, I will run into the powder room and powder my cute little nose and throw a little lip gloss on before my Marine comes home though, even though he knows darn well what I look like with no makeup.

Posted by: Cass at July 28, 2005 03:29 PM

Thank you Peter.

I told someone earlier that I almost deleted this post several times this morning before publishing it, but I felt strongly about it.

Posted by: Cass at July 28, 2005 03:31 PM

Cass, your observation sparked a memory from the greatest novel ever written, despite your Ayn Rand worshiping tendencies.

Mammy is upset that Scarlett is going to use rouge, or 'face paint:'

Mammy: "Honey, no one but bad womens use dat stuff."

Scarlett: "Well, they get results, don't they?"

Being clean, reasonably made up or not and clothing clean and pressed should be enough for government work.

Women should resent being tod by Floozie Command (aka Cosmo)that they need to shave to look like a cyber slut. What kind of a standard is that?
Why should I model my appearance and grooming after porn queens? It would follow that the behavior is next. Helen Gurley Brown had no qualms about relationships during work hours...
It is another sick form of empowerment. Ms is one, and Cosmo is another.

Being feminine, modest and pretty never goes out of style. It is a classic demeanor and style.
Weren't you just bemoaning last month the lack of
true feminity in apparel, and that some truly kewl vintage clothing was what your heart longed for?

I think Justice Roberts' wife and daughter looked just like that: Pretty, feminine and modestly dressed. Would that they could set that standard again.

Posted by: Cricket at July 28, 2005 03:49 PM

Oh no Cricket darlin, they weren't being told they needed to SHAVE. You, like me at one time, are a babe in the woods. And I'm sorry but that would be bad enough because there are issues there, too that I won't go into.

They were being told they needed to have it removed PERMANENTLY.


These are unmarried women, mind you.

*THAT'S* what set me off.

Posted by: Cass at July 28, 2005 03:57 PM

Absolutely, there is a huge difference between what you do for the man (woman) you already love and what you do for men (women) in general.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at July 28, 2005 04:43 PM

Women definitely get the short end of the stick on the grooming issue. Good, bad or indifferent guys tend to be the more visual creature so women get the highly disproportionate amount of butt-floss.

The flip side is as Cass said (w.r.t. grooming but really with regard to just about anything) "[Men] just aren't. They COULD be. They WOULD be, if we demanded it...". You ladies wield a lot of power. There's a lot of truth that behind every great man there is a great woman. We will be just about whatever you want us to be.

Good, bad, or indifferent guys and gals tend to ask for different things as turn ons. Gals, don't expect us to bring you flowers and get on the dance floor if you don't want to wear the slinky dress. Guys, don't expect her to wear the slinky dress if you won't bring her flowers and get out on the dance floor. It's a two way street.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at July 28, 2005 04:47 PM

Why should I model my appearance and grooming after porn queens? It would follow that the behavior is next.

Thank you, ladybug.

Scarlett: "Well, they get results, don't they?"

Somewhere... I have a funny photo of a college freshman from the state of Virginia giving the camera her best smoldering doe-eyed look. As I recall her nickname around campus was Katie Scarlett. Heh...

Posted by: Cass at July 28, 2005 04:47 PM

And so "getting results" by dressing and primping like a street walker could be inspired by.......SATAN???

Just asking, ya know?

Posted by: Church Lady at July 28, 2005 04:59 PM

Cass: Didn't you see my smiley face? I was just foolin with ya. I know women go through way more grooming products/rituals than men.

As to the "bikini area" topic, I sidestepped that because this is a family friendly site. I think young girls might be doing that more and more simply because of the unbelievable skimpiness of some of the bikinis these days. My handkerchief has more coverage.

MM: I thought I said what you said? If I was unclear, I say again: I agree with you.

Cass: I've seen the "knickers girl" you've been using as your logo recently. If that's you, then trust me, you don't need any makeup:)

Posted by: a former european at July 28, 2005 06:13 PM

Menace, your comment leads to a few interesting thoughts.

Women aren't blameless in this process - not by a long shot - and I didn't mean to suggest that. Like the woman you mentioned, "don't advertise what you don't mean to sell".

On the other hand, as you pointed out guys are SO visual, and oftentimes you won't get the guys to notice your other fine qualities at all if he's not roped in by your other... err... attributes. It's a crappy game - guys say women "let themselves go" after marriage.

Well gosh. Guys have NO idea how much upkeep it sometimes took to attract them in the FIRST place.

I had a very attractive young lady (a Marine, by the way) who was getting out and was engaged to another Marine in Cali. She was awfully cute.

Well she ought to be. She spent $160 a month ALONE in getting her hair spiral permed and colored. (I'm so naive I thought it was natural). She had her nails (hands and feet) done once a week. She had facials. She worked out like a demon. Her makeup was always impeccible. Her clothes were too - leather coat, tight jeans, to die for shoes. Well crap, spend that much time and money and even at 46 I could look pretty darned good. And she was 21. I doubt I spend $160 on hair makeup AND clothes in 3 months. I'm serious.

But do you know, her boyfriend criticized her all the time? Nothing was good enough. I finally got exasperated and told her to ditch him. He probably wrote that "why she rejected you" article.

But why do we do that? Because we want so badly to be attractive, and because men like it. And we've all known good, smart women who don't play the game and they end up alone, and it ain't their personality that held them back. But in a tight market, they couldn't compete with the ones who would do anything.

Posted by: Cass at July 28, 2005 06:16 PM


[hook in mouth] :)

I'm too easy.

Posted by: Cass at July 28, 2005 06:17 PM

No afe, she's not me. There is a very slight resemblance. I'm way too smart to put my picture out there where you guys can aim the snark cannon at it :)

Posted by: Cass at July 28, 2005 06:20 PM

Yes, my alternate moniker was indeed the "howitzer of reasoned discourse", but I would never aim it at someone personally. Its much more fun to pick on an entire group (i.e. the French, libs, still-rabid fans of the Little River Band, people who still wear Hammer-pants, etc.).

Posted by: a former european at July 28, 2005 06:47 PM

I know that afe. You are a sweetheart :)

And trust me. I need makeup.

I look OK without it, I guess. Now that I work at home, I don't put it on until the end of the day or if I'm going out, or if I just want to feel special (because I'm feeling a bit down).

When I went into the office I wouldn't have been caught dead without it. It's kind of a social convention, like shaving, to wear at least a touch of lip color or a bit of blush. And I have pretty eyes (my only good feature), so that's what I like to play up.

Besides, most men love to watch a woman put lip gloss or lipstick on. I tease the Unit all the time in restaurants - it's my favorite after-dinner thing, as long as you're reasonably subtle. I like to flick a little glance at him just to make him look away because I know what he's thinking.

Women are devils.

Posted by: Cass at July 28, 2005 06:58 PM

afe: that comment wasn't really directed at you. In fact, it was somewhat of a defense.

I had a feeling you were just pulling Cass's leg...and it came right off in your hand, didn't it. :-)

Everything you've said is absolutely true. Some (a lot) of men do take it too far. The guy you mention was being an unappreciative jerk.

At the same time gals can take things too far when they complain that guys stop being romantic after marriage. It's crappy that there are good guys out there that end up alone simply because they are deemed boring.

But both of these case are really outside the extremes of my comment. Both cases make for partners you really don't want in the first place. Neither one can be satisfied.

My comment was really about those who can appreciate the effort.

That the lipstick (or the low cut dress, or...) isn't what he loves instead of you, it's just the trigger.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at July 28, 2005 07:38 PM

Similarly, it's not the gifts you bring her that she loves.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at July 28, 2005 07:39 PM

Menace, truer words.

A woman just wants to know you were thinking of her. That is what warms her heart. Sometimes an email or a single rose or even a phone call is all it takes. It's thoughtfulness.

Posted by: Cass at July 28, 2005 08:17 PM

Camo, what I have to say to you cannot be said in a pub(l)ic forum, sir... in fact I find I can't say it at all without blushing.
Heh. Which reminds me of some of those bad Chinese words I once told Pile I wasn't going to teach him. Double heh. This conversation is going downhill fast...
*running away*
Posted by: Cass at July 28, 2005 12:34 PM

Well..."e" me, then. :-)

Speakin' of Chinese, I know how to say precisely TWO things in that:
"Thank you", & "F*** you".
When you think about it, they about cover it...
(Ducking and running)

Posted by: camojack at July 28, 2005 09:36 PM

Great post! You've said what I've been thinking but not known how to say.
The conversation in here has made me dizzy. :)

Posted by: Lisa at July 29, 2005 10:42 AM

Cass, I'm just now catching up on the comments, and I'm just now realizing that you were talking about PERMANENT removal of "intimate tresses." Good Lord. What are they thinking? And how will they stay warm in the winter?:) Don't answer. Yeah, for kicks, I'll entertain a Brazilian now and again, but permanent? No thanks. I'll stick with the ever delightful yet non-permanent hot wax, and save the laser stuff for that day down the road when the hair on my chin needs a trim:)

Besides the expense, laser removal takes months to complete...I bet that's an interesting look in the interim. Do you think the technicians work left to right? Start in the middle?

Posted by: portia at July 29, 2005 03:06 PM

[whistling past that graveyard] :)

Posted by: Cass at July 29, 2005 03:25 PM

re: Well..."e" me, then. :-)

I would camo, but I have always said that if you have to think twice about saying something in public, you probably shouldn't commit it to an email. Although I often think things that make me laugh (and I doubt you'd be offended), something tells me discretion is the better part of valor here :)

Posted by: Cass at July 29, 2005 07:15 PM

I have a bumpedr sticker (several years old) that sums it up: Br**st implants are the stupidest idea ever. If I want to fondle $5000 worth of silicon I'll buy a new computer!

Posted by: SDN [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 30, 2005 12:30 AM

I would camo, but I have always said that if you have to think twice about saying something in public, you probably shouldn't commit it to an email. Although I often think things that make me laugh (and I doubt you'd be offended), something tells me discretion is the better part of valor here :)
Posted by: Cass at July 29, 2005 07:15 PM

I also doubt I'd be offended, and I could use a good laugh right about now...but at your discretion, of course.

Posted by: camojack at July 30, 2005 01:59 PM

Cass, I'm over here from Castle Argghhh.

It strikes me that there is enough diverse culture and style in our society that people can dress how they want. I suspect that there's enough impetus to comply and to simultaneously rebel that your kids could turn out just about any way they might choose. Freakchlyde has embraced funny colored hair, piercing, tattoos, heels (that she never wears damnit), and odd materials for clothes as well as the occasional corset. She wears them for her own reasons as well as for attracting the kind of person she's interested in.

By the same token, us men do some of our own styling and work to attract what we're looking for. Some men out there have gone fare enough into the style world and retained their women loving attitudes that a new term was applied to their mode of dress, they became metro-sexuals. Those blokes work hard for their looks as well. Personally, I tend to lurk in the goth subculture and find some of those modes of dress more attractive than not, but I'm not willing to go whole hog on the style because its just not me. Thus, I wear no makeup, have no piercings, nor do I sport any ink. I'll dress the part of a victorian dandy when the mood strikes however, though it is hardly part of my main mode of dress. I generally present as neat and

Though Cosmo may be pumping the neatly trimmed and shaved bush, it's by no means a new thing. It's been slowly coming as it was fringy years ago to have such a change. Arm Pits, Legs and arms in some cases are also part of the style. No-one is forcing those women to do so and many very well chose to go the opposite direction or off on some other vector entirely for their style. Be it hairy hippie (legs, arms, and pits), more butch than the Fonze, or even androgynous.

Ultimately as one grows up (if it happens) you settle into a mode you find comfortable and seek out that which you idealized. If you make zero effort to find your idealized mate, you're going to get nowhere unless by some fluke of nature. One is going to have a hard time finding a svelte gothy woman if you look like Tim Taylor. Looking the part of Poindexter with bad breath and plaid suspendors will also make it hard to find the most general of women whom are at least somewhat into appearance. Habits, behavior and attitudes also figure in to the whole equation of a mate. Some points could be considered shallow, I suppose, but most are just many facets one looks for.

One could say that Cosmo is pimping a certain style, but it does so because young women especially like to look grown up. They want to grow up fast because that's how they tend to drift. Not all do. Some get into cars and other things. Boys, tend to (but not always) go the sports route, though some drift off on their own. Tis a complex issue that's deeper than cosmo. They just pimp the style because it's cutting edge. If long skirts w/hoops were cutting edge, they'd pimp those too.

Posted by: Ryan Gill at August 1, 2005 05:54 PM

If you read the comments (I didn't make this clear in my post) I am not alarmed about non-permanent things like shaving or waxing or any of that other stuff. But it does alarm me a bit when young girls make permanent changes to their bodies before they settle down with someone, especially if it's not based on their own preference, but on the fact that some guy is used to seeing that on porn. I'm sorry, but that still does not seem terribly healthy to me.

I'm not saying they can't do it. I'm simply saying that if they want to do it, it should be *their* decision, based on *their* aesthetics, not someone else's.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 1, 2005 06:03 PM

I think in some respects I see what you're saying and I see what Grim is saying, but my inner geek and otherwise respectful nature just doesn't see the big deal with the shaving/piercings/tattoos. There are instances of women that (and Men) that are pressured to look a certain way by society or their family, but the thing to look at is that culture.

Personally I think the porn reference by Cosmo is specious, but I may be wrong. That's my inner geek speaking, I'm just not into porn. Of course I could be utterly disconnected from mainstream culture on that.

However, most women I know that have bits of metal through parts of their bodies (and I suspect are oddly shorn) do so not because Cosmo told them to, or because their parents told them too, but rather because they like the process, or the look or some such.

I personally think that kids are more in danger based on pressures from parents to conform (which pushes them away from said conformity) or from their peers. In the latter case, parents don't support their kids enough such that they're able to steer around the peer pressure and they relent. There are greater hazards from peer pressure than a stud through the nose.

I can say from watching 2 girls in particular grow up in the Net Goth subculture, that the forces for their self image is entirely up to them, with a whole host of surrogate net uncles and aunts urging them to wait for piercings and such, yet, because of the desire to emulate the older ones they respect, they leaned towards that stylistic mode that includes holes, tattoos and funny hair. Even though we urged them to wait. Strange that. Kids do what you tell them not to, set a good role and they want to do what you do, even if you tell them not too.

From watching those two in particular grow up over the years, it strikes me that what's most critical in a teenager's development is instilling good judgment and decision making abilities so that they're able to steer clear of some of those hazards which could endanger them. Even so, piercings and tattoos are largely semi permanent now. Piercings tend to close up if left empty for a long time and tattoos can be removed with lasers. Of course part of that good development is parents in particular that don't urge blind conformity what ever the mode of dress or the behavior unless it's self destructive.

Of course I could be wrong by basing my conclusions on my experience in the goth/punk/industrial subcultures where they have their own modes and lack of experience with the more mainstream style. They could be pushing the piercings more heavily as part of the edgy nature of what's going on in the other styles. I guess, it's just up to being sure you aren't herding for the sake of herding.

Posted by: Ryan Gill at August 1, 2005 06:25 PM

Just read through all the comments. I'm the nut that Ryan, above, refers to....

Anyway, my problem is the fact that the things I should have been doing in h.s., I'm doing now. I'm 27 years old, I love tattoos and I love putting holes in my body, and I have funky coloured hair. Main reason is this is who I was in h.s., but because of the pressures of my parents, I couldn't act like a kid and do stupid things to my body, like change my hair colour. Instead, I had to wait till college and went off the deep-end, but finally my parents are used to me showing up with a different shade of hair every time they see me and a new tattoo or hole in my head. I didn't get the holes because of guys, but two of them were put there thanks to the hints various guys in my life have put in my head. Ultimately, it was up to me. It wasn't done to please someone, even though they suggested it. My others are in my body because Ryan is cool with supporting my body mod habits.

As for shaving....well, another reason that my changes had to be held off, is because I was a competative gymnast. As one, well, you have to shave, legs and bikini because of the uniforms, armpits because of hygiene. Sorry, hair traps sweat and bacteria, which morphed into shaving and trimming further into my bikini line. Makes things easier to clean, and during menses it's really important for me (can't use the "hide away" method).

I wear corsets because I like the look of it, I also like the restriction they give. Forces me to stoop down to pick things up properly, instead of shoving my butt in the air as I bend over. I also like the fact that I can get guys staring at me and that gives me the upper-hand. I'm the "novelty" that they don't normally see and it gives me an aire of mystery. Too bad I'm boring as all get-out.

Seriously, I would have loved to have grown up in a culture where I could have been a Geisha or a Courtesan. I have the personality that meshes with that lifestyle. But they have teachings that women fail to utilize in the name of "feminism". Wearing make-up and dressing to make one's self look good, for the purpose of pleasing a guy isn't always a bad thing. Gives us an advantage, using one of our many strengths and a guy's main weakness. Granted, I don't think Cosmo really pushes that stuff as much as they just make sheep out of girls who haven't been given the mind-schooling to use their brains, by their parents. Or those with low self-esteem thinking they'll be able to raise their self-esteem by giving themselves value on the basis of how many people want them.

Posted by: freakchylde at August 1, 2005 08:38 PM


You are talking to a woman who was a tomboy as a girl, but who also matured very early and could easily pass for 16 when she was 12 or 13. By the time I was twelve I was already experimenting with makeup. Of course my Mom and Dad didn't let me wear it out of the house, but I loved to sit in front of my mirror and put on eyeliner and eyeshadow and curl my hair. Girls just like that stuff for its own sake.

Even though I ran around most of the time in bare feet and shorts, I loved to sew long skirts and dress up like gyspy (it was the 70's after all). I see nothing wrong with using attractiveness - to a point - as part of your personal arsenal, as long as that's not what you derive your self-worth from. Men do that too.

And I was a gymnast in high school too, and personal grooming issues, especially for convenience as you mentioned, should never be an issue.

What you are talking about, in my view, is adorning yourself because for whatever reason that pleases you. That is a personal decision, like my son's choosing to get a tatoo or my choosing to get an extra hole in my left ear when I turned 40 (which upset some people in my family a bit, but I have never regretted) that is none of anyone's business and I entirely approve of - not that you should care!

Posted by: Cassandra at August 2, 2005 09:06 AM

They got uppity from an extra hole in your ear? strange. :) Keep it up!!!! :D

Posted by: freakchylde at August 2, 2005 09:22 AM

Hey, I'm 46 and for most of my life have been a fairly conservative, reserved sort of person. People in my age/social group generally don't do that sort of thing.

I think it was more of a "what the heck???" type of thing. Of course when I told them it was either that or a small tattoo, I think everyone was vastly relieved I had gone for the earring thing, even if no one can figure out why I only had one done... :)

Anyway, I like it and it's 'me'. A bit asymmetrical and off-kilter, and this way I always have a tiny pearl or opal in one ear even when I'm not wearing any other jewelry, which I sort of like.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 2, 2005 09:32 AM

Just b/c society doesn't like freaks looking like freaks doesn't make society bad or repressive. I for one am glad that freaks tatoo and pierce and "hair do" themselves out of mainstream society. I can easily determine who not to let drive me and let my little H3 Hummers not hang out with.

I wish pedophiles did that stuff, too.

Posted by: Hummer at August 2, 2005 09:55 AM

I've just come across your site via a Google search and, although this post is way, way back in your archives and I doubt you may ever see this comment, I commend you for a very well-written, evocative article.

Thank you for writing this. It's been quite an insightful read.

Posted by: Kerri. at September 30, 2006 07:51 PM

Thanks, Kerri.

I did see it, and I appreciate your taking the time to comment. I found this extremely difficult to write for a number of reasons, so it means a lot to me.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 1, 2006 01:09 AM

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