03.05.12

More masochism and renditions of Gretchen Wilson’s song

Posted in Beauty, Gender, culture at 5:46 pm by kyrias

*puts on Redneck Woman at full blast*

So, in further news of just what I have issues with Ms Pundarik-Dossin:

Cook for him.

I spoke to many gentlemen and found that the reason they appreciate a girl knowing how to cook is because when she does, it creates a sense of intimacy, comfort, care, and nurture. People fall in love and gain closeness over a good meal. Also, when a man comes to the dining room to see his favorite meal on the table, the house he lives in suddenly feels like a home. I remember speaking to a male friend of mine who was talking about to me about family dinners. He described the wonderful feeling he had of sitting down and waiting for the meal to be brought to the table and how he felt so loved and nourished, and he felt like his mother was loving and taking care of him.

It seems to me that gentlemen like women who cook not because of the food itself (although that’s an obvious benefit) but because of the emotional and sensory factors surrounding the woman taking the time to prepare a nice meal for her loved ones.

Really? And what is to preclude the man doing such things to make a home feel like a home? Why is it up to the female to create the feeling of being nurtured and cared for? Why can’t a man be *ahem* man enough to step up to the plate and create a warm home before he goes wife-hunting?

Hi, sexism.

Contrary to public opinion, bringing warmth, joy, real food, and culture to a man’s life is not exactly high on my list of “how I want to shape the world”.

Also? I do not want my partner to associate the feeling of his mother taking care of him with me at any point. In fact, there is so much I do not want I don’t even. Reminding a man of his mother is hardly one of my highest aspirations.

The art of being the perfect guest:

When Nina’s fiancé casually asked him during dinner how the apricot-dijon pork was, he was unresponsive (and the pork was quite good yet his actions and lack of response still made the hostess nervous that there was something wrong with her cooking and the host feeling tense with his fiancée, leading to some awkward questions directed at her after the party). His actions hurt the experience for the rest of the people there. I was secretly upset to be sitting across from him, Nina was worried that her food was bad and was wondering during the entire party if all guests disliked it, her fiancé felt irritated and was wondering what she did wrong, the woman on the man’s right was upset that she didn’t have an attractive dinner companion sitting next to her, and the entire environment became tense.

*blinks*

Where to start?

Let’s just say that if C were to become tense with me and directed awkward questions my way when I had gone to the effort of organizing a dinner party because of one guest’s bad behaviour — there would have been words. Why is it taken for granted that Andrew, instead of comforting Nina, would have “directed awkward questions” her way after the dinner? Why is it said, so casually, that A was wondering what N did wrong?

Japanese Etiquette Rules:

Unlike in China and other parts of East Asia, it is considered to be bad manners to burp.

Oh really? I wasn’t aware that it was considered proper manners to burp in China. My parents must have been mistaken all these years.

Then there’s the feminine appearance page.

Ye gods, the judgey.

Yes, that’s a word.

I don’t think I can even go into it without wanting to claw my eyes out and start muppet flailing.

Then there’s The Elegant and Proper Ladies of Jane Austen:

In Jane Austen novels, something else that is portrayed as being delightfully attractive is an appeasing nature, one that cares about pleasing others above all else. In Mansfield Park, the character of Mary Crawford’s obligingness, among other traits, are what Edmund Bertram finds to attractive in her:

“Miss Crawford’s attractions did not lessen. The harp arrived, and rather added to her beauty, wit, and good-humour; for she played with the greatest obligingness, with an expression and taste which were particularly becoming, and there was something clever to be said at the close of every air.”

-Mansfield Park, page 57.

“[W]hen being earnestly invited by the Miss Bertrams to join in a glee, she tripped off to the instrument, leaving Edmund looking after her in an ecstasy of admiration of all her many virtues, from her obliging manners down to her light and graceful tread.

‘There goes good-humor, I am sure,’ said he presently. ‘There goes a temper which would never give pain! How well she walks! and how readily she falls in with the inclination of others! joining them the moment she is asked.’”

-Mansfield Park, p. 99.

It is viewed as an attractive quality because it hints to a woman being free of selfishness. It hints to her more traditionally feminine qualities: selflessness and obligingness to both the needs and the wants of others, qualities which hint at her being built for both a good wife and a good mother. Men wanted women who were soft, gentle, and sweet.

I swear, I might break something if I flail any harder.

Yes, because women are essentially decorations and entertainment. This is, quite simply, rank objectification and sexism.

One must be obliging, beautiful, graceful, and accomplished. To what purpose? To be pleasing to others, of course.

Note that at this point, women who read and thought for their own edification only were called bluestockings, and they were not held in the highest regard.

Then there’s Even Ladies Make Mistakes.

The judgey. It pains me. I swear it does.

I might not necessarily approve of being a party girl, but is Michelle Obama’s stance, Cindy McCain’s cleavage, and Audrey Hepburn’s nipples that offensive?

Languages that Refine you:

(I really should stop. I’m starting to come across as a creepy obsessed stalker and I really don’t want that.)

Japanese for being the language of possibly the most elegant nation in Asia and also a good language for business and travel.

Chinese is good for business.

*sigh* Alright, I admit it. Nationalism and cultural pride is rearing its head.  Asides from the harm of even positive stereotypes, what’s it about Asian languages being good for business and not much else? After all, China only has a couple thousand years of poetry and prose to indulge in. Japan is only the country that came up with the first full length novel.

I’m not even going to mention about how Vietnam, Thailand, and Korea don’t even merit mentions.

I think I’m going to call it a day.

Nothing is going to be served for me to continue in this vein and it’s just making me depressed.

The thing is?

I don’t feel inspired.

I feel judged. I feel pained sympathy for those who are also being judged. Although it’s nice to be in the ranks of Michelle Obama. :/

I am horrified at the amount of casual sexism, gender tropes, and stereotyping that goes on and I don’t even know how to begin to address that.

03.04.12

Cuz I’m a redneck woman, I ain’t no high class broad…

Posted in Beauty, Conventions, Gender, culture at 3:29 pm by kyrias

Usually I try to be classier than to single out other blogs that espouse opinions that I don’t agree with and flambé them, but I’ve hit the point where I can’t resist because I finally hit a post that made me so angry.

My conscience and manners tell me that I really could just click that useful little x in the top right corner of this woman’s blog, but it’s not that easy.

You see, I do try to be classy and elegant whenever possible or necessary. I feel that it is important to be courteous, to always keep the higher moral ground, behave with all possible decorum etc etc etc etc. I also feel that it is very important that we hold onto these ideals of civilized behaviour in this day and age where it seems like courtesy and common manners has gone the way of the dodo.

No, in fact, I will not be joining C in sitting on our lawn and screaming at the neighborhood kids to GTFO our lawn, thank you very much. I’m not quite that curmudgeonly, I swear.

As an aside, I’m also not going to take the higher moral ground in this case because I do want to give credit where credit is due in terms of quotations. Besides, I know from reading other blogs and my own reactions to blog owners not giving out incriminating identifying information that people who are really interested will just go ahead and search for the offender anyway. Traffic and imprints be damned and all that.

However, my beef with Ms Pundarik-Dossin is that she’s somehow managed to make me want to cringe and rake my nails over my face every single time she mentions the word “elegant”.

Originally, I was going to settle for making catty comments to my friends and my suitably cryptic Tweet about how I find judgmental people to be infinitely more classless than most things they’re passing judgement on, but one post in particular just lit a fire under me.

I was already wondering, what sort of background does this woman come from?

I had the impression that she must have a decent sort of background because of the people she mentions hobnobbing with, the sort of friends she mentions her parents associating with, and other various tidbits that just hint of at least a bit of disposable income somewhere in her life.

I was becoming frustrated because of the royalty-chasing, the borderline offensive cultural stereotypes, the sexism,  the constant low-key reminders of the differences in privilege and financial ability…

Then there was:

I was inspired to write this post because when I first started dating my fiancé, our dating style was very reminiscent of The Easy Life and that led to a greater intimacy and care for one another. It allowed us to devote an entire few hours to one another. It allowed us to bond and to get to know one another. It allowed us to converse about romantic ideas and it allowed us to have conversations about literature, art, culture, history, science, etc. while dating instead of having the typical “what do you do?” conversations.

and

Most simply: The Easy Life is characterized by a life where one is never flustered or in a rush. A life where one is rarely too busy for their loved ones. A life where one can put aside hours for their family and friends – where they can speak over a cup of tea for long periods of time and where dinner is extended, either with courses or by not leaving the table right after the meal until all conversational has naturally ceased or until one has made good use of the cheese tray.

Does this sound like something that you might be interested in? Make a few small changes in your life so that your life can start to resemble that of the Easy Life culture:

  • Extend dining periods: make the meals longer so that you can eat slowly and enjoy your company while dining – extend dining periods so that you can make it a time for family and friends
  • Set Aside Personal Culture Time: set aside time each day to read, to cook ambitious recipes, to watch a videotaping of an opera performance, to listen to a ballet recording from start to finish, to discuss culture with valued companions, etc.
  • Make Regular Theater Trips in an Attempt to Socialize

Pundarik-Dossin, N. The Easy Life. Retrieved 3/5/2012 at 3:15pm from http://theproperlady.blogspot.com/2011/04/easy-life.html.

The Easy Life?

Indeed.

I would love to have a life where I don’t have to be in a rush. Where I have the time and wherewithal to have long, leisurely tea parties and dinner parties without worrying about either the cost, the time, or the energy that would require.

My partner works full-time, has overtime frequently, and goes to school part-time. I have work with odd hours, weird days off, and not nearly enough time in a day to clean all the things, go to the bank, and do what needs to be done.

Small changes?

Why do I hear the screams of class warfare right there?

Regular theatre trips? With what money, what time, and what energy?

Personal culture time? When the drama is screaming, when the chores are an albatross around your neck, and when you get home from work at 10:30 to find that there’s been yet more work created for you in your absence?

Then there’s:

When trying to achieve grace, there are some things that we do that really cannot help in any other way. However, there are a few ways to help us be graceful that also help us to become refined and/or elegant. One of these is an instrument that requires good posture and skilled and steady movements (harp, piano, viola, violin, cello, etc.) Fine ladies of the time period placed much more importance on things like music when it came to catching a husband, after all, things like music and art were the societal values of the higher society.

Playing an instrument that requires steadiness, good posture, and preciseness of form really can develop grace and composure in a person. You’ll learn coordination and movements that are not only pleasing to the eye, but create pleasing sounds on the instrument itself.

Dance, especially classical ballet, can also be very helpful in both the creation of grace and the quest to achieve refinement. Ballet requires talent and dedication and it also helps the body to “stretch,” improving posture.

…perhaps we should see classical dance plus classical musical training as a perfect combination for achieving pose.

Pundarik-Dossin, N. Grace and Composure. Retrieved 3/5/2012 at 3:15pm from http://theproperlady.blogspot.com/2011/03/grace-and-composure.html

Tea parties, ballet, and learning a classical instrument? When so many of us all but need a second job to get by, when half of us are trying to find jobs and can’t, when children are starving in Africa?

(Alright. That last was a low blow on top of being a strawman argument that made no sense. I admit it. :D )

This almost makes me want to join the 53% in their poor logic with a rant of my own. I shall refrain, however.

What I’m getting here is elegance is what you do when you have money, time, and energy — something that almost all of Americans are running perilously low on. What I’m hearing is the plummy tones of the aristocracy, asking with all innocent confusion as to why the commoners don’t eat cake or meat gruel.

And that, that makes me want to muppet flail like nothing else.

I just might address my other concerns regarding sexism and stereotypes at some other time.

Right now though? I just want to sit sprawl legged with my hair unkempt, and howl “I’m a redneck woman, I ain’t no high class broad” at my laptop screen.

06.17.09

Debunking long hair myths: A FAQ

Posted in Beauty tagged at 12:08 am by kyrias

About long hair and all the questions I get…

Keeping in mind, of course, that I have 1bCii hair. Your mileage may vary.

  1. No, it actually does not take more effort to keep tidy than short hair. In fact, it usually takes less effort because when my hair is long, it doesn’t look that messy uncombed — hence meaning I can get away without a comb touching my head for a full week without anyone noticing. The weight also seems to keep it from drifting around and getting into everything.  Also, if I keep it braided at night, which I should because it both protects the hair from rubbing all over each other and getting tangled — it’s simply a matter of unbraiding it in the morning and then I’m good to go.
  2. No, I don’t use more shampoo. All that should be getting washed is the scalp — the oils that the scalp produces don’t really travel more than 4 inches past the roots. If I have three feet of hair — which I did — then I’m only soaping up the first foot or so, if that. Excess shampooing of the length itself can lead to it being stripped of its natural protection of oils, leading to split ends.
  3. No, it’s not really that heavy. I don’t notice the weight of it and I didn’t notice the “loss of weight” immediately after cutting it either.
  4. No, it’s not a pain to deal with. In fact I find it more irritating to have a short ponytail brushing the back of my neck constantly than to have a bun.
  5. No, I don’t spend ages on my hair. I wash it, put it in a braid to dry, and that’s it. I can finish showering in 5 minutes with 3 foot long hair and have it be clean. I might decide to put it up in a complicated updo, taking all of an hour — or I can twist it up and have it all up within 60 seconds.
  6. No, I don’t spend oodles of money on it. Properly taken care of, there’s no reason to have to spend oodles of money on having long hair.
  7. No, I didn’t spend all my life growing my hair. It took about 5 years for it to grow from slightly below the shoulders to past my ass — with regular trims taking off about an inch every half year.
  8. No, this isn’t an Azn thing. Nor is this an Mainland Chinese thing. Nor is this a Taiwanese aborigine thing. And no, this is not to fuel those Azn doll fetishist’s wet dreams.
  9. No, I really don’t need commentary on how I should cut my hair and how much easier my life would be. I’ve cut it to shoulder length from butt-length and I have not found my life significantly simplified.
  10. No, I really don’t care if you think it’s ugly/old-fashioned/hippie-esque or whatever. I do slightly care if it loses me a job but then I don’t think I care to work somewhere that cares if I have waist length hair when it’s kept in a bun.
  11. No, I don’t prefer shorter hair. If this wasn’t already abundantly clear.
  12. Yes, I cut my own hair.
  13. Yes, I trim it myself and I also lopped off two feet of it when I decided to cut it.