Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rage On, My Babies: The Birth of "Your Rage, My Blog"

My dear readers, it has come to my attention that many of you are suffering from acute cases of rage. I don't hardly blame you, because we live in a time where our political representatives are either dead baby fraudsters or they see merit in banning the most vulnerable of sex workers from public vision. (Surprisingly, the Prostitutes Collective thinks that the Manakau City Bill might put prostitutes at risk. In other news, the world might remain spherical.) We live in a rage inducing time where everybody loves Christopher Nolan, which also happens to be a time where my UTI just will not fucking go away. So it is okay. I feel your rage. That is why I sit here, tip tapping at my keyboard. I needed a rage outlet or else my girlfriend was going to keep encouraging me to join a gym to deal with my aggression. So I made a blog instead, and now I just share my rage with the internet.

Basically, I've gotten an inkling about your rage recently because you've told me about it. You've sent me a whole lot of emails and Facebook messages and texts, and sometimes we have even talked face to face about how furious you are with all of the sizeist and racist and classist and ableist and transphobic and whorephobic and homophobic and misogynist and slut-shaming and xenophobic assholes that you know. So I was thinking, you guys should keep telling me about this stuff and then maybe I could actually blog about it. To do this, you should email me at and possibly screencap your examples of internet assholery. Examples which I can instantly and magically make anonymous through the use of Perez Hilton inspired MS Paint, and by the by, I really hope this is the first and last thing I do that is inspired by Perez Hilton. Then you guys will get to share your rage and you totally won't have to join a gym, unless you want to. And if you are going to join a gym, then you probably shouldn't join Contours, because my friend Erin told me this about it:

"Two of my workmates went to sign-up at a gym at lunch. During the fitness tests and sign-up thingy they had a weight check according to a chart on the wall. I shit you not this was the scale NORMAL > FATTER THAN NORMAL > FAT > OVER FAT"

As you probably know, I am all about using the word fat more often to try and take away some of the shame and stigma. But Contours, I'm not really sure if differentiating between 'fat' and 'normal' in such a specific and obnoxious does this. Maybe somebody could be both fat AND normal, Contours? Also, maybe not everybody wants to actually lose weight? Maybe they want to come to your gym to do this:

<span class=

[Created by Susan Surface, who is selling merchandise at CafePress, and who almost makes me want to join a gym.]

So, in the first instance of Your Rage, My Blog I am going to post something here that was sent in by my friend M, a stone cold fox who makes amazing lasagna. M felt offended when this popped up on her Facebook:

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Which yeah, that's offensive. Sure, I've never met C but this is probably just him making a little joke, because he's young and liberal and he can get away with it because obviously he's being ironic. He makes jokes like this but he's not actually sexist or anything. But actually, the things we joke about are the things we think about. And in the words of Bidisha from the Guardian, casual sexism is nothing but misogyny.

Is this supposed to be funny because equality has apparently been achieved? Because it isn't and because it hasn't. Women are still paid less than men. Abortion law in New Zealand is classified under the Crimes Act, not the Health Act, and I can't tell anyone that I'm making a play about womanhood in New Zealand without them asking if it is about periods. Which is another kind of intentionally-humorous-but-actually-derogatory statement, or in this case a question, because women are obviously so hysterical that we all couldn't hang out together without talking about menstruation. Which is actually just offensive in itself, because if we wanted to make a show about periods, or any-fucking-thing about the female body we should be able to do so without derision or even the subtlest of sneers. Because if we did, it might be fucking brilliant. Possibly somebody might even want to see it, what with the prevalence of menstrual bleeding among half the planet. But then again, every single review of the Vagina Monologues at the Basement prefaced itself with some kind of OH MY GOD HOW EMBARRASSING AND 90'S, A PLAY ABOUT VAGINAS, OH MY GOD HOW UNCOMFORTABLE commentary. But hey, I'm probably overreacting. What's the point in living, if you don't have a dick? LULZ!

Just quietly, C, was it nice when you were being kept alive inside the body of a woman for nine months? Was it good having a dick then? How about when your little minuscule baby dick was pushed through your mother's vagina and into the world, or when you emerged from the gaping hole in her stomach? A hole in the body of the woman who gave you life. I'm kind of loathe to place too much emphasis on motherhood here. Ladies shouldn't be defined by their ability to breed and there are a whole lot of women who can't have babies and who don't want to. Also because it is this kind of naturalisation of maternity and of women's work that means that stay at home parents don't get paid, and teachers and carers and nurses don't get paid very much, because it is natural and it is what women do and they are supposed to enjoy it, not get paid for it. And also, because there are people who neither have dicks nor are women, and people who have dicks but also consider themselves as female, and I don't want to get too gender binary up in here. So, C, I am aware that my argument is a little problematic, but maybe the next time you go to assert your masculinity through some casually misogynist joke, you should just remember that your mother actually gave you your dick. Maybe you should shake what your mama gave you and learn to treat women with some respect.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

An Open Letter To The Woman Sitting At The Table Next To Me At Olive Cafe Last Weekend:

Dear Mystery Woman,

I don't mind that your table companions turned around to stare, breathing over my shoulder, when my breakfast arrived. I know that they were just trying to decide what to order and it seemed like you were out on a family outing, and you can choose your friends but you can't choose your eggs-florentine-oogling family. I even quite liked it when your brother/cousin/alternate male family member asked the waitress for a Coke, because it gave me the smug satisfaction of knowing that they don't serve that kind of beverage (because this is Cuba Street) and that he would have to settle for an organic Phoenix Cola. But what I did mind is your comment that you couldn't order the halloumi that morning because it is "dangerous stuff".

Just quietly, cheese is generally thought to be less dangerous than a lot of other things. Knives, for example. Or bombs or sulfuric acid or baboons or pedophiles. I can think of a few situations where perhaps halloumi could be considered to be dangerous, perhaps if you are deathly lactose intolerant, in which case this blog post is largely irrelevant but I have always been an over thinker and I am okay with that. Other situations could include if a tonne of halloumi was about to fall out of the sky and you were about to be pelted with many little cheese sized bricks. I'm trying not to think about the dangerous implications for all of the little animals who have miserable lives because of the dairy industry, because I already can't eat porky things or chicken and giving up cheese would be as hard for me as giving up lipstick. Anyway, I'm pretty sure that that's not what you meant because you ended up ordering something with chorizo in it.

Cheese is not dangerous. Cheese is delicious. Sure, it might be dangerous if you ate cheese and only cheese for every meal for a whole year. But it would be dangerous to only eat carrots or chocolate or watermelon for a year. Alone, a food can not be dangerous. Food is just food. It does not have ill intentions or moral attributes. Food can not be 'good' or 'bad'. Foods have different nutritional components, yes, and eating everything in moderation is really great but labelling a food as 'bad' only contributes to a weird, fucked up belief system around eating. A belief system where business women can't buy chocolate off my friend Izzy without commenting on how 'naughty' they are being. Where a human being can't go to the gym without being told they are 'being good' or that they are being 'virtuous' if they eat some grapes, even though they might just like going to the gym to punch things and eating grapes because they taste delicious. A belief system where this kind of stupid Facebook status update is normal and 'liked' by four people:


These words, the "good" and the "bad" and the "virtuous" and the "naughty" are so insidious. They are body shame and blame, tied up in little adjective parcels. They are body surveillance culture, hidden as offside remarks. They are the words that say it is okay to be fat, as long as you are dieting and running up a hill every five minutes, because God forbid you love your body the way it is. Those words are about as stupid as this annoying commercial, because this is how chocolate biscuits have to be advertised:

I'm not sure what I am most bothered by here. Am I offended that Tim Tams are supposed to be a naughty illicit secret or that talking about openly about sex like this is such a NAUGHTY GIGGLE?

Mystery woman, you are a grown up. You control what you eat. You are in charge of eating what will nourish your body and what will make you feel amazing and what will taste delicious. If you think cheese is dangerous because it might make you fat, then you should learn to love yourself. Your body is going to be with you for your whole life. It might change. It might get fatter or thinner or hairier or sicker or stronger, but it's yours and you are stuck with it, so you better love it and nourish it and make it feel wonderful. Your body is not your enemy. Cheese is not your enemy. Neither are Tim Tams or Leeks or Muffins. If you want, you could read some of this stuff by the Fat Nutritionist or learn about intuitive eating. But most importantly maybe you should trust your body, stop worrying and eat whatever the fuck you want. And even more importantly if you want halloumi you should go to Aro Cafe instead of Olive, because their portion size is actually worth sixteen dollars.


Ally Garrett, cheese defender extraordinaire.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Would A Rose By Any Other Name Smell As Misogynist?

Okay, so. Rosie. We need to talk. On Facebook, you liked a group called Curvy girls do it better... only a dog wants a bone! By "needing to talk" I mean that I need write a blog post about this page that you clicked, probably mindlessly while you were at work or something. A blog post that you will most likely never read because we haven't talked since high school and because you have probably moved on to much loftier things in life than trawling your Facebook news feed like a pedant. But anyway.

Firstly, everybody 'wants a bone'. Or like, they want 206 bones because that is how many bones adult human beings have. If you want less bones than that, you might be a pedophile. If you don't want a bone at all, then you probably want to fuck an octopus. Yes, I realise that this group is actually just using the term 'bone' as an attack on thin women. We'll get to that. I just wanted to get my little quip about the octopus out of the way.


Secondly, curvy girls do WHAT better exactly? Write poetry? Swim triathlons? Make spinach and ricotta cannelloni? Oh. Right. I get it. They FUCK better. Because at the end of the day women are sexual objects. And the key word here is objects and not sexual, because this Facebook group is not about the innate power of female sexuality or even about masturbation. I wish it was, but it is about validating your body shape by your ability to fuck. Which is what counts, right, because women everywhere get paid less than men do and it doesn't even matter because a lady is always going to be defined by who and how and when and why and how often she fucks, and whether she gets paid for it and whether she is married and by what she does with the baby if she gets pregnant. And because the patriarchy hurts everyone, not just women, and if you are a straight man you best be putting on a show that you care most about the fucking and not about her poems or her cannelloni. This might be a generalisation, sure, but we have got to learn how to make positive statements about bodies without talking about how they are going to be shared by somebody else.

Thirdly, saying nasty things about thin women's bodies only justifies every single cruel thing that has ever been said about fat women. Loving your body does not have to be, and nor should it be, a competition. Because then nobody wins, apart from psychotherapists. And possibly Jenny Craig. Comparing thin women to 'bones' and the people who fuck them to 'dogs' just validates sizeism. It validates my being called a 'fat bitch' in the street that one time and it validates the pithy existence of the term 'chubby chaser'. Attacking men who like thin women just gives them the power to attack the sexual preferences of others, rather than something interesting like their political beliefs or whether or not they think Tony Soprano actually died at the end of the series. I know this is like the letter to James again, but there have got to be ways of being body positive without tearing other women down.This is not about whether or not it is okay to express your sexual preferences in a public forum, it is about body-fucking-solidarity. Fat acceptance is body acceptance. It is about accepting each and every body in its own right, no matter what it looks like or what gender it is or what colour or whether it fits into some kind of narrow societal mold of appropriate ability. Glorifying fat bodies through the vilification of thin ones only celebrates and cements a culture of body shame.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Sweet Bitch of the Week Who Is Less Than Five Feet Tall: Tavi Gevinson

I really like Tavi Gevinson. Tavi is a fourteen year old girl who writes the crippling-feelings-of-inadequacy-inducing fashion blog, Style Rookie. I know that this post is really late to the Tavi hype and that there are probably lots of things that could be said about Tavi's privelege because her parents own heaps of tripods and her dad seems to have a lot of time to take her to Fashion Week events, but I just really like her.

I like her because she is smart and her posts are funny. I like it when she writes about feminism and Hole and when she takes on Seventeen Magazine. I really like it when she blogs for a week at Jezebel and talks about Daria and labels for different models. I really, really like it when she fiercely talks about how photographer Terry Richardson is a creepy and manipulative pervert. (If you need clarification on either Terry's creepy manipulation or on his perversion, perhaps because you don't spend a large amount of your free time trawling through feminism on the internet, then you should read the bits and pieces of the Jezebel exposé.) Tavi writes about Terry:

"I think we’re supposed to find significance in how ironic and funny it is, because, Ha-ha! There’s that Crazy Dude Terry with his signature glasses and flannel and perviness again! Ha-ha! That Terry, what a Crazy Dude, with his signature glasses and flannel and perviness! Again! He’s become this weird cultural icon whose “thing” it is is to be a perv. In these kinds of photos where he’s included, he’s the real model, and the girl who was hired is merely his prop, his trophy, a nameless, faceless girl that accentuates Crazy Dude Terry’s image but doesn’t get an image of her own."

So it was when I read that, that I knew that I really, seriously liked Tavi.

And then I saw a photo of her wearing this huge, ridiculously giant Stephen Jones hair bow and I knew that I fucking loved Tavi.

tavi hair bow
[Photos from this post on Tavi's blog.]

It is the best and the biggest and the brightest hair bow that I have ever seen. And I fucking love hair bows. And just as I was marvelling about the the bow some more, I found out that heaps of people hated it! Mainly, The bow pissed off Paula Reed, the Editor of Grazia Magazine, because Tavi wore it while she was sitting in front of her at the Christian Dior haute couture show in Paris. Paula Reed then complained about it a bit on Twitter. Then Jezebel wrote about how it was pretty rude for Reed to tweet a picture of the bow to her followers, especially when:

hair bow perspective
[Taken from Jezebel.]

Oh Tavi, you sweet bitch of the week.

So I basically love Tavi for wearing being so brave and smart and for wearing her bow and then joking about it on her blog. Especially because some people are always gong to be calling for some kind of backlash, because it's not like you can ever publicly succeed without seeing your inevitable fall from grace approaching in the rear view mirror. Just ask Britney. When the bloggers and the marketing managers for Selfridges and the journalists from Elle (and lest we forget one crazy internet lady who thinks she has the medical expertise to diagnose Tavi with Aspergers on the internet) seem so hell bent on instigating a backlash against a clever and sassy and courageous young lady who is only just starting high school, I am so fucking glad that Tavi exists and that she wore the bow, and that now she is wearing these ridiculous pants.