In defense of the sanctimonious women's studies set || First feminist blog on the internet

What’s Thinner Than a Supermodel But Easier to Talk To?

This phone, according to their ad campaign (yes, the post title is a direct quote). Because “thinner than a supermodel” means that the phone is hot, because skinny things are always pretty. But we all know that hot-girl supermodels are dumb, and this phone is not dumb, so it’s easier to talk to than those model-types.

Pitch point: Skinny, hot. Skinny women, stupid. Skinny phone, buy it.

I’d like to say that I just found the dumbest advertisement of the day, but I think Amanda beat me to it.

Hello, Sunshine!

Or not, as the feds are attempting to regulate tanning beds. Now, I think Saletan’s rhetoric is slightly over-blown (case in point: “But if you shut [tanning salons] down or lock out teenagers, be prepared to enforce a dawn-to-dusk curfew or face an epidemic of skin cancer. If you liked back-alley abortions, you’ll love backyard tanning”), but I generally agree with him that this is a silly campaign. Yes, tanning is a health issue, but I think at some point you have to just allow people to do things that bring them pleasure, even if those things are bad for them. Most people know that tanning is bad for them, and they choose to do it anyway. I know it’s bad for me, and I’ll still be sitting out in the sun all summer, and chances are I will not reapply my sunscreen as often as directed. You can argue that perhaps people don’t fully understand just how bad tanning is for you, and I’d agree. But the solution isn’t to outlaw it, as some groups have advocated.

Are stricter warnings on tanning beds in order? Maybe, but doesn’t Congress have better things to do than this? Are stricter warnings really going to deter the 17-year-old who wants to look good for prom, or the 30-year-old who wants to establish a base tan before going on vacation? Probably not. The American Medical Association wants to impose an age requirement on tanning beds, disallowing anyone under 18 from using them. Eighteen, to me, seems a little old. Sixteen might be more reasonable — if we’re trusting kids to get behind the wheel of a car, it seems to me that we should be able to let them decide whether or not to bake themselves in a tanning bed.

Mostly, though, I just think that this is a waste of time. There are only so many stupid choices that you can regulate, and I’m not sure that tanning is really in need of federal supervision. And regulatory attempts like this one differ from things like smoking bans because they’re only affecting the individuals who choose to partake in unhealthy behavior. That is, smoking bans protect the general public from secondhand smoke that they are forced to inhale simply by virtue of being out at a bar or restaurant. Bans on tanning don’t protect people from the actions of others; they seek to protect people from themselves. And it all strikes me as far too over-reaching. Thoughts?

Anorexia Before Spring Break

On a Xanga blog ring called the Bikini Coming Soon Challenge, one 19-year-old related the anxieties she was experiencing only days after returning from a week on the beach with friends: “Tonight I was looking on Facebook at people’s albums from spring break. I saw the guy’s album that I kind of was starting to like before spring break. In his album were pictures of all these pretty girls — tan, skinny, looked perfect in their bikinis — and all these guys were commenting on the pics: ‘She is so hot!’ or ‘wooowww!!’ Stuff like that. Seriously, that’s what I want.

“This just makes me want to lose so much weight and then have those guys see me.”

She concluded: “I hate boys, I hate my body. Goodnight.”

This is the problem with valuing women’s looks above all else.

Dita von Teese, No Less

Dita von Teese, fetish model and wife of Marilyn Manson, has something to say about Hollywood standards of beauty:

Rocker MARILYN MANSON’s wife DITA VON TEESE has hit out at Hollywood standards of beauty, branding them unrealistic and unoriginal.

The curvy burlesque dancer, who has dark hair and pale skin, is frustrated with the pressure on women to be stick-thin, with blonde hair and tanned skin.

Von Teese tells UK’s Cosmopolitan magazine she wishes women would value their health over their looks and be individuals.

The showgirl says, “My advice would be to experiment, ignore trends and work out ‘this is how I look best.’

“We don’t all have to blend in or look like SIENNA MILLER.”

Good for her! Mind you, I wouldn’t call wearing a corset “valuing your health,” necessarily (have you seen an X-ray of a woman wearing a corset?), but she’s on the right track.

I especially like that she mentioned pale skin. Skinniness as a Hollywood value is oft-criticized, but it’s very, very rare to see even thin women with pale skin in movies, Nicole Kidman notwithstanding (and she’s gone blonder as she’s gotten more famous). And rarer to see anyone complain about it.

I remember reading a post on Big Fat Blog about the infamous Dove ads, and amidst all the discussion about the weight of the models (there were those who felt they were too thin to be representative, and those who were happy to see any flesh on a model), someone posted about how disgusted she was that one of the models was very pale; of course “pasty” was used. She did get her consciousness raised by some of the other commenters, but cripes.

Why is it okay to hate on pale people? (And yes, I’m looking at some of you who snarked about pasty redheads).

Fat-phobes go after Redbook

Apparently “women’s lifestyle” magazines are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t. Women like me complain that their covers are constantly adorned with stick-thin sexbots. When they respond by putting pictures of normal-sized women in their pages, and with their editor saying that she’s a pretty average American woman at a size 12, so-called “anti-obesity advocates” go ballistic.

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NYC Museum Recommendation: Munch at the MoMA

If you haven’t gone yet, go. I went two weekends ago, and it’s amazing. I love the MoMA anyway because I have a modern art obsession (I would marry Mark Rothko possibly before Anderson Cooper), but the Munch exhibit is worth a visit in itself. My favorite piece of his, which is part of the exhibit, is below the fold. It includes boobies, so if you’re working for John Ashcroft, don’t click. But they’re tasteful, artistic boobies.

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Beauty Call

I need some help here. If you’ve ever spent a winter in New York, you know that many older buildings like mine have eyeball-shriveling levels of heat. Then there’s the general dryness in the air, and the cold.

As a result, my face is a flaking, crusty mess, but even worse, my scalp is itching and flaking all over the place. Does anyone know what to do for a snowstorm from one’s scalp, preferably without turning one’s hair into a greasepit?

Be Ashamed.

There’s so much going on here that I don’t even know where to start:


From a website called “Modesty Zone,” which is targeted entirely at women (their other products include a t-shirt which reads “Girls Gone Mild” on the front, and “Be Daring. Keep Your Shirt On” on the back).

Because remember, kids, the female body is shameful. Hide it. Especially if you’re a cow.