it’s kinda funny how hard it is for people to accept that Brienne is really like super butt-ugly. I mean even I find myself thinking while I’m reading, “She’s just ugly by the narrow-minded ultra-feminine standards of that time, she’s probably actually really hot!” But the thing is, it’s okay that she’s ugly, it’s an important part of her character, but like, man, why do we have such a hard time accepting not-hot fiction ladies?
Because people think the solution to women (and men) feeling like shit about themselves is to stretch the standards for physical beauty.
(It’s not that American readers can’t accept ugly women—that’s a bit of a misleading way to phrase it. It’s that they can’t bear to place that label on the woman in their head, because of how terribly cruel they think it is. It’s easier for them to place it on a man because it doesn’t feel like you’re taking everything away from him and reducing his worth to zero.)
The most crippling thing in America is for a person to feel their body isn’t nice to look at. Welp, that’s not all, or even most, of what your body’s for. But everyone’s telling you it is. How do we fix that?
You can change beauty standards to an extent, but you can’t eliminate them. That’s a lazy solution, anyway. “Everybody deserves to feel beautiful” is a mentality that suggests that it’s of paramount importance to be considered physically attractive, so that problem won’t change.
The solution isn’t to broaden your definition of “physically beautiful” to encompass every possible person, it’s to broaden your definition of beauty to encompass more than the physical. That’s become such a cliche that nobody seems to absorb it.
Eventually, the solution is to broaden your definition of “worthwhile” and “valuable” to encompass more than just “beautiful.”
People who are really affronted when they see someone asserting any sort of framework for physical beauty are really exposing that they hold physical beauty in much higher regard than they ought to—that they are the narcissistic children of a narcissistic culture.
Kristen Schaal has that quote about being called too ugly to be on TV, and it boils my balls when people respond “whaaat, nooo, she’s so cuute, she’s so pretty, your standards of beauty are just too narrow” and think they’re being progressive. Maybe she is kind of cute; that’s not the point. That shouldn’t be the quality we need to defend. It shouldn’t be what gives her permission to be on television.
It’s like if someone were to say “Obama’s not white enough to be president” and you were to respond “awww, nooo, he’s white enough! your standards for whiteness are just too narrow.”
Anonymous asked: dont you think "modern family" propagates set gender roles? in the sense that phil is all about "being a man," he does the fun stuff only with luke, etc etc. how do you view this from a gender egalitarian's point of view?
I don’t think so at all. I think Modern Family is, for the first time in decades, an accurate and faithful portrayal of modern family dynamics.
Take Phil and Claire. Claire is the more severe, wrathful, and aggressive parent. Phil is the more compassionate, gentle, and passive parent. The traditionally masculine/feminine roles are swapped. Of course, Phil can at times be severe and Claire at times compassionate, because they’re human beings. The episode where Phil makes the girls stay in and clean while Claire takes Luke out for the day addresses this.
Phil likes to play with his son because 1. he’s a good father and 2. because there’s an idea of what a father’s supposed to be like and he wants to live up to that notion of masculinity. Which reveals a vulnerability and a humanness in him that isn’t often present in father characters, but is nearly always present in actual fathers, especially in this sort of post-masculine society. See also his constant desire to prove his manly mettle to his father-in-law. That’s a thing. It’s real, it’s a dynamic that people can relate to.
Remember, good media doesn’t deny how things actually are or constantly subvert roles to the point of alienation. You don’t want to hide the image of a dad playing catch with his son. That’s a good thing. The family doesn’t have to subvert traditional roles in *every single way.* It’s supposed to reflect the reality of three dimensional human beings, who some of the time act within the roles they’ve been given but are capable of and given to acting outside of them too.
We don’t want to *switch* the limitations, we want to broaden them.
(Also, Phil just has more in common with Luke. He can’t quite relate to Haley, whose interests and role are vastly different. Claire relates to Hailey because she used to be very similar. He can’t relate as much to Alex because she’s precocious and intelligent and he’s sort of goofy and dumb. But they do bond over geekiness at times. Luke is a simple, playful, easily distracted dude—just like Phil. It makes sense that they have a buddy-buddy relationship. That’s another one of the things I love about the show—it shows realistically how friendship is possible between a parent and a kid. [Gilmore Girls does it with mother and daughter, but their similarity in age and the fact that they live alone together are major factors.])
Where the term “Slut-Shaming” doesn’t apply:
This is a part of my counter argument to someone who disagreed with my assessment of slutty/sexy costumes as a harmful combination of demeaning and indulgent.
“Suggesting that [sexy/slutty] costumes play into defining looks as a woman’s most important characteristics [sic] still affects women who do want to be sexy.”
Everyone WANTS to be sexy. Everyone wants to be desired. But only the arrogant and the insecure (males and females alike) incorporate that desire into their everyday behavior. It’s nice to be wanted, sure, just like it’s nice to be complimented. But fishing for compliments is indulgent and annoying, and fishing for desire is equally so.
People, regardless of gender, who parade their sex around (slutty) are as annoying as intelligent people who parade their intelligence around (pretentious/pompous) or rich people who parade their wealth around (snobbish). Peacocking is fine in a situation where you’re actively trying to attract a single person that you like, but as a lifestyle, it’s vulgar. It’s called being showy.
That’s not a gendered accusation, it’s a human psychology/sociology issue.
The reason women are said to look slutty more often than men are is because physical attractiveness is valued more in women. In men, the analog social trait is wealth. The male equivalent of a slutty looking girl is a douchebag who flashes his cash and his car and anything else that serves as an indicator of wealth. Some people find it attractive, but most people consider it tasteless.
“Women should dress how they want.”
Of course people have the freedom to dress however they want to. But NOT the freedom not to be judged for how they present. Nobody has (or deserves) that sort of exemption. That is such a silly thing to feel entitled to.
We have freedom of speech, but we can’t get angry when people judge us for what we choose to say.
Dress is communication. Since people don’t spin a wheel to choose their garments, we can assume they’re chosen deliberately. Dress is a huge part of the presentation of the self. And that, just like any choice and any presentation/performance, reveals things about the person doing it. Which is a transmission. It’s communication.
And if that message is “look at me!” then it’s bloody annoying and you’ll be judged accordingly.
(It is, however, inexcusable to interpret the message of any form of dress as “rape me!”. THAT argument is called victim-blaming and it’s unacceptable.)