Wisdom Born Of Pain

Welp guys, women are doing great. These days, I feel like I can’t turn on the news without some sort of empowering little snippet meeting my ears. Are we just our breasts or are we also good for cooking and cleaning? Are we solely vessels for football players to fill or are we also overly ambitious bitches who expect to be rewarded for working hard and who also have emotions but only when we’re being manipulative, probably? I’m here to distill all the awesome while drinking wine and crying mascara tears of rage.

Yesterday, Esquire Magazine’s editor, Alex Bilmes elucidated, “The women that we feature in the magazine are ornamental…I could lie to you and say we’re interested in their brains as well, but on the whole, we’re not…They’re there to be beautiful objects. They’re there to be objectified.” This quote is a great example of the differences between “there”, “they’re”, and “their”. It’s also an example of something that makes me taste bile. I respect that this guy is honest. In Esquire, women are sex objects. But fuck, it’s depressing. Especially when he goes on to compare women to cars and cite Cameron Diaz as an “older woman”. I don’t mind that the women photographed are sexy and chosen for that sexiness. But are there any female writers at Esquire? Are there any women ever who are interviewed for the magazine or who write op-eds? If so, I bet they feel really valued after Mr. Bilmes unburdened his soul with all his honesty. If not, I think we can see why.

Today, my friend, the Delightful Dalmatian, gave me an awesome present, Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. According to an interview on Jezebel, Sandberg gives advice on not falling in the trap of being too nice, not internalizing gender limitations, and finding a mentor. (Incidentally, the Koala is my mentor, though she won’t take the credit.) According to female writers at The Washington Post, USA Today, and the g-d New York Times Sandberg is too rich, trying too hard to get rich off of feminism (feminist books: the brass ring at the top of working your way up corporate America in a male-dominated field like a tech company), declaring war on moms, and patronizing. These women’s books giving tips on how to join them at the top of their respective fields have yet to be announced.

Lastly, we have the Steubenville, Ohio convictions of two rapists who posted their rape on Facebook and then had multiple adults cover up their crime. There is a lot to say. Most of it has already been said. But I’ll say I initially sympathized with the criminals a little bit. They are young, they did have promising futures, that is all gone to shit. But then I realized violating a person’s body over several hours without her consent, documenting it, and bragging about it isn’t shoplifting from Wal-Mart. These guys are didn’t make a little mistake; they are horrible. Everyone who covered for them is horrible. I am horrible for not immediately reacting that way. Maybe that’s a byproduct of the rape culture we live in, where the loss in the criminals’ lives carries more weight than anything they took from their victims. Maybe that’s a byproduct of my not thinking critically and just listening to news commentary. Either way, my feelings are irrelevant. Those guys deserved what they got and more. Rapists deserve to have their lives ruined. So does anyone who aids their crimes.

Y’all, let’s do better. Let’s not tear each other down. Let’s not say it’s ok that magazines exist to objectify us. And Candy Crowley, Poppy Harlow, and me, let’s not take the side of people who would treat us like living tube socks. Let’s say it’s not ok to treat women as a special interest group. Let’s agree feminism just means we all deserve the same good stuff. And let’s insist that we all deserve better. And then let’s be better, to ourselves and each other.

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