24 11 / 2012
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04 10 / 2012
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11 7 / 2012
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10 4 / 2012
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22 3 / 2012
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19 3 / 2012
08 3 / 2012
Did you hear? Cupcakes aren’t feminist.
Happy International Women’s Day! This holiday - or day of awareness, if you will - started more than a century ago, as a day dedicated to women’s rights, and issues affecting women around the world. It’s celebrated with protests, demonstrations, art, you name it - all different ways, all over the world.
A girlfriend sent this article to a group - the Washington Post Style Blog’s how-to list for celebrating International Women’s Day: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/arts-post/post/international-womens-day-10-ways-to-celebrate/2012/03/08/gIQACZ16yR_blog.html?tid=pm_lifestyle_pop The list includes this suggestion:
8. Eat a cupcake.
Free cupcakes for women at select bars and restaurants in the U.S. and England may seem great, but not all women are too happy about this one. Claire Melamed wrote about cupcake feminism for International Women’s Day: “Cupcakes are just so twee-ly, coyly, ‘ooh no I really shouldn’t’-ly, pink and fluffily, everything that I think feminism is not. It’s feminism-lite, feminism as consumption and ‘me time’ (grr), rather than feminism as power and politics and equal pay.”
Cupcakes aren’t feminist, apparently, notwithstanding the fact that novelty cupcake shops are now a billion-dollar nationwide industry - shops which are conceived by, run by, and made successful almost entirely by women entrepreneurs. I suppose, according to that argument, girdles aren’t feminist either, despite Spanx creator Sarah Blakely’s listing as the youngest female to ever make Forbes’ Billionaires’ list.
There’s this notion, somewhere out there, that feminism can’t be feminine. That girlie isn’t strong, pink isn’t powerful. That a night given over to a bubble bath, a glass of sauvingon blanc and a Danielle Steele novel subtracts one point from the equality tally for Women Everywhere.
What’s missing, or has been missing, from the manuals on “traditional” feminism, is the idea that “equal” doesn’t necessarily mean “the same.” For women to achieve social and political and economic equality with men, we don’t actually have to become men. We can run a company, and love to have fresh flowers on our desks. We can wield a gun and fight a war, and still give a friend a hug when she’s down. We can argue for justice and still cry when something breaks our hearts. We can support a family on cupcakes, or build a billion-dollar business on underwear.
Girlie, of course, isn’t the hallmark of femininity - the fact is that we, as women, don’t all fit into the same mold, be it Stepford Wife or Gloria Steinem. We can rock a pantsuit or a pinafore, sensible shoes or peep-toes, burn our bras or pose topless in Playboy, have a child or don’t, cook like Martha or burn our toast, make less than or as much or more than a man for the same work - but our choices, whatever they are, don’t make us any less women. And when we believe that we are capable of, and should be, and will be as heard, respected, and successful as we are humanly capable of, irrespective of our gender - then the way we choose to express that, be it through red lipstick or a protest banner, doesn’t make us any less feminist.
Pass the cupcakes.
27 2 / 2012
14 2 / 2012
14 2 / 2012
So really…are we done being bummed out about Valentine’s Day?
This morning I dropped a bag of chocolate hearts off at my assistant’s desk, and while she thanked me, she made sure to roll her eyes with a conspiratorial kvetch about this “Hallmark Holiday.” My mom anxiously called last night to ask if I had “any big plans” for the evening. A girlfriend has, for weeks, been planning her own personal Valentine’s Day celebration, involving the aquisition of an insanely expensive pair of shoes.
What is it about a day that was a formerly Catholic “holy day of obligation” celebrating the martyrdom of an individual about whom next to nothing is known…which ironically shares it’s initials with Venereal Disease…and which has come to be symbolized by pink and red, hearts, flowers, and chocolate…that has seemed to turn women into some version of sorry sad sap or ungrateful shrew? When did we decide that a holiday dedicated, in theory, to love (which is a good thing), symbolized by sponaneous displays of affection (also good), statements of adoration (good), sugar (good), and sex (great!) was prime grounds for expectations and ultimatums on one hand, or mopey self-pity on the other?
Funnily enough, no one I know went to Jared. No one’s heading out tonight for overpriced prix fixe menus, or Facebooking fancy flower arrangements, or shimmying themselves into Victoria’s Secret’s finest. The couples I know and respect and admire are ordering a pizza and opening a bottle of wine and watching a movie tonight. And actually, the single girls I know and respect and admire are ordering a pizza and pouring a glass of wine and watching a movie tonight. Newsflash to folks on either end of the divide…you’re not missing anything on the other side.
And what’s there to miss? Love is universal. It’s eternal. It’s the stuff that dreams and Grammy awards and blockbuster rom-coms are made of. It’s inspired epic works of literature and angsty teenage diary entries and the whole Twilight saga. It’s mobilized mythical armies, is the force most religions think brings about transformative salvation, and is (in addition to the evolutionary instinct to propogate the species) how we even exist. It’s all you need. And it doesn’t cost a damn thing.
So today…I’m listening to the eclectic mix of Bryan Adams, The Righteous Brothers, and Lil Wayne that Pandora calls it’s “Valentine’s Day Radio.” I’m snacking on the pink-foil-wrapped raspberry Hershey’s kisses my assistant left on my desk. I’m rocking a sparkly heart pin. I’ll probably order the pizza to the office tonight, because I’m getting on a plane to LA tomorrow… A certain fella and I are in the midst of a week and a half of combined business and family trips, so we exchanged “Happy Valentine’s Day” text messages this morning.
Between the sugar and the sweet sentiment, the sacchrine love songs and the promise of pizza…I can’t really think of what’s not to like about Valentine’s Day…certainly not the love.
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