Wednesday, October 31, 2007

When did Halloween become sexy?

OK, I just handed in a big research paper that has consumed my life, and I am back to normal. Which of course means I've been voraciously reading the news.

This article made me very, very sad. Who on earth decided that a 10 year old needs a sexy Halloween costume? Women fought for years to be appreciated for their intellect, and the next generation of women celebrates it by drawing attention to their bodies at every opportunity they get. And why do they think they need to dress that way? Like I tell my young women over and over, if a guy isn't interested in you because you don't dress sexy, he really isn't the kind of guy you want to attract.

And for that matter, when did Halloween become sexy? Nothing is less imaginative than dressing provocatively. Halloween is about creativity and fun - half the fun was making your costume, probably because it was so darn cold out, you had to wear a coat over it anyways. But I loved coming up with a nutty idea and transforming everyday objects into something fun. And I'm sorry, turning a normal concept into a sexy costume is not creative.

So I'm hoping for a cold evening so the army of 10-year-olds in fishnet stockings will have to cover up.

Friday, October 19, 2007


I had a beautiful 2 week period of my class where I had no homework. And how did I celebrate not having to read a dense non-fiction book a week? By reading 2 fiction books a week. And those are just the books I finished - I read parts of 4 others. I know, I need help. I think my body has been physically conditioned to require several hours of reading a day, and I was going through withdrawal. But it was glorious. I finally read To Kill a Mockingbird. Loved it. I'm a big sucker for books that acknowledge the ways that the world is screwed up, but still show the necessity of hope and of doing your part to improve it.

I've always said I love reading, but the obsession has gone to a new level. I squeeze reading into every little space in my life that I can manage. I listen to audiobooks while I do the dishes. I actually receive daily installments of classic literature in my inbox (currently working on Frankenstein in honor of Halloween). I started a book group at my church. I read on the bus. I frequent shelfari and LibraryThing for book recommendations. I even read when Rob and I pause the movie we're watching so he can refill his water glass. Am I going into the right profession or what?

Monday, October 8, 2007

Is it me?

Your personality is as friendly and appealing as strawberry ice cream (especially the kind with chunky bits of real fruit). You've got a slightly sarcastic sense of humor, and you rarely stress out or take things too seriously. You are cute and sweet, but with a mischievous side. You are a bit of a troublemaker, but only because you're determined to avoid a plain vanilla life.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

I devoured this book in a day and a half, and I've been thinking about it ever since I finished it.

There are hundreds of well-written books about the way men oppress women. What interested me most about this book was the way that women oppress and commit acts of violence against women. Were male expectations behind these female actions? Of course - particularly in the case of footbinding. The women did this gruesome and life-threatening act to their daughters because they knew that it was necessary to attract a husband for her (which could be the topic of its own blog post, but many have discussed this before, and I have nothing new to say about what is wrong with the situation). And yes, these women had it drilled into them repeatedly that the only worth of a woman was to produce sons. But it seemed like in many cases, the women's cruelty went far beyond what was necessary. I found myself wondering where the accountability should lie. Yes, they have been broken emotionally in so many ways by their treatment, but it broke my heart that these women repeatedly found themselves unwilling or unable to turn to other women for the love and support they need - they instead reinforced the harmful stereotypes with an added measure of brutality. And sadly, I see this acted out in different forms in today's world.

The other concept I've been rolling around my head is the right of a woman to own her own body. The only value this society gave women was their ability to produce sons. They were simply vessels to fulfill male aims. While we've come a long way in that regard, as a society, we tend to instantly worry about what is best for the baby (born or unborn) and think less of what is best for the mother. And again, much of the verbal abuse comes from women towards women. It is a tough line to draw, but I think we don't show the understanding we should towards women in this regard.