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:

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[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.


  1. Your blog makes me so Happy Ally. However that sign at Contours gym? Really?! I am always suspicious of any place that uses copious amounts of pink to clarify with everyone that this is a 'girls' place, no boys aloud coz we need a special place to de-fat and get smooooth legs for summer (I just check out there website and I was greeted with a large ad with a tanned pair of legs).

    I would be interested in hearing your opinion about good ol' hairiness on women. It's something that I find women don't want to think about, its 'gross' and 'yukky', but never stop to think why their mind immediately moves to those nasty words. Within your blog you talk about sizism, sexism, women being seen as sexual objects, cheese (!) and so forth. I sometimes feel the last barrier in the crusade to break down gender stereotyping is body hair. We question why it the ideal size is skinny and why there are barely any models who are not white ... We rage furiously at these sexist notions of what a woman can and cannot be, beauty is not one size and one skin colour.

    But can I still be feminine with hairy pits?

  2. Hi Tessa! Thank you for your comment. I have totally been having some ideas brewing about my own performance of femininity, and how this relates to fat acceptance stuff as well as gender roles. I really like this post here by Definatalie, a Fat Acceptance blogger who I hella admire, and she is talking about her feral leg hair:

    I would be so into having a chin wag with you about your body hair. I did some armpit hair growing recently but then I shaved it off for a photo shoot where I was trying to be 'sexy' and 'fat' at the same time. I felt like trying to be 'sexy' and 'fat' and also 'hairy' at the same time was going to be too much, so you are totally right about these kinds of femininity indicators because one of the last crusades.

    I totally agree with you and your comments on Contours. I feel like that sign is a big part of the sense of community that comes with bitching about your bodies and the bodies of others. And it is super crap that a women's gym has to actually be about improving women for da mens.

    You are great.

  3. I would love to get together and talk about this, I'm really REALLY angry about it and I would love to organize a hairy armpit gathering at the beach this summer ... :D However leaving my house is not going to happen until late October. Bums.

  4. Would i be able to take this wee idea alittle further by suggesting a bit of a get together kind of chat IN PERSON bout femininity and body hair? (in late october/early nov of course so we can have all in attendance)Not only because id find it really good and confronting and cleansing to talk to people face to face about my ideas and hang ups, but because the convos/comments ive participated in online about this (namely the definatalie one)are really limited and protected because its too easy for people to simply chuck their wee notions out into the big wide web without challenge or discussion or any real debate. Your thoughts ally dearest?Steph.xx

  5. Heck yes! I am all for the face to face chats. Maybe I could make some kind of baking with chocolate hail on it to symbolize pubes.

  6. When I joined Les Mills I went for a 'free fitness test'. He took my height and weight, told me my BMI (I told him what a crock of shit it was for individuals and got a blank look), then told me how much weight I was going to 'want' to lose - there was no discussion of my goals or reason for joining the gym. It wasn't until I was actually standing on the treadmill, which he'd just set to a very low speed, that he asked me how much exercise I currently do. I gave him a Look and told him I'm a professional dancer who walks most places. The assumptions that a) I was joining a gym to lose weight and b) because I am a size 12-14 I am obviously unfit made me very angry.

    This doesn't add to your post much. I just wanted to join in the gym-anger.

  7. Oh, and to echo requests from previous commenters I'd be really interested in a group discussion on performing femininity, especially in the context of non-heterosexuality.

  8. ally,

    if you really want outrage on this subject you should consider this little piece of information i recently read while researching for my essay on woman and crime. it's from a wonderful book entitled 'eve was framed' by helena kennedy, which you should read: "a recent planning appeal was mounted in Australia on the grounds that the preciding member of the appeals tribunal was pregnant and, according to the appellant's affidavit, 'suffering from the well known medical condition (placidity) which detracts significantly from the intellectual competence of all mothers-to-be."

    love carly

  9. Ally, your blog is the best procrastination. I would also be super keen to participate in the group conversation described above if it happens.

  10. I really hope you're okay with me posting that pic on the almighty Facebook, because it is AWESOME and I feel compelled to share.

  11. Go for it! Make sure you link to where people can buy her stuff though :)