Monday, September 22, 2008

Warning! Adult Content Ahead

Something happened yesterday that I never thought would happen to me. No, for those of you wondering, I did not kiss a boy. (Hahaha, I'm so... pathetic.)

No, what shockingly happened is this: I read an '80s romance novel that was too '80s for me. I know! How could that be? I love the cheesy, not-quite-subtle sexism of those books! Not to mention the styles! (P.S., I must confess that my overwhelming love for these books is based almost exclusively on Sandra Brown's writings from the era.)

Tasteful graphics advertising concerts, ballets, and art shows had been sealed in this brass frames and mounted on the walls.—Sandra Brown, Not Even For Love (1982).

Posters in brass frames? You know you've seen that at in some waiting room somewhere.

The sight of his near-naked body was awesome. His trunks were navy blue with, red piping around the legs. The fabric was stretched taut across his flat abdomen. There was no line marking the border of his deep tan, and Katherine's cheeks were suffused with color over her speculation on how such a thing were possible.—Sandra Brown, Love Beyond Reason (1981).

Awesome, ya'll. The sight of his bod was awesome. As were those Magnum P.I. swimming trunks, I'm sure.

But nothing beats the sex scenes, they are that disturbingly entertaining. I give you exhibit one:

But his hands had slipped under her sweater and were learning the lush curves of her breasts. "Reeves, please . . . no," she pleaded. "No . . . I can't. I don't . . ."
"I do, Jordan. I do. But not like this. Never before like this."
—Sandra Brown, Not Even For Love (1982).

That is a theme of these books. The women say no, and the men assure them that they don't mean it. And gosh darn it, they really don't mean it! (Now you see where the disturbing part of "disturbingly entertaining" comes in.)

"I want to. So do you."
"No," she denied, then gasped as his hands slid up her sides. "No, please, Grant, don't touch me there." But it was too late. His hands closed around her breasts. His lips were at her cheek, emitting hot, unsteady gusts of air. His chest was a bellows expanding and collapsing against her back.
Belying every protest she had made, she flung her head back against his chest and covered his hands with her own.
—Sandra Brown, A Kiss Remembered (1983).

That's right, honey. You keep on sending those mixed messages. You tell him no again and again only to instantly succumb to his second-base skills. That's the way to teach a man that "no means no."

"Shelley, I need you. I want you. And I know you want me just as much."
His other hand shot across the interior of the car and caught the back of her neck, hauling her against him. "No—" she managed to force out before he clamped his mouth over hers. The kiss was brutal, his passion adding to his frustration.
—Sandra Brown, A Kiss Remembered (1983).

Hmm... maybe it's the lawyer in me, but where I come from we call that assault and battery.

See, normally I eat this shit up like candy. You just can't write these kinds of masterpieces anymore, mainly because if anyone tried it would obviously be satire, and most of the entertainment value of these books comes from the fact that they were written in utmost seriousness. But maybe it's my reawakened feminism from this crazy election season or something, but I just didn't find the examples of this misogyny so entertaining in A Kiss Remembered. Of course, part of that might be because the hero was formerly the heroines high school teacher and while he was a teacher he frenched her. !!! Not okay!!! And I'm pretty sure that's creepy to me not just because my own eighth-grade teacher is a registered sex offender now. (No lie.)

"I've got one more exam to grade," she said tremulously.
"It can wait. I can't. I've already waited ten years."


Greaaaatttttt. Not only are you an asshole who decides when and where you want some ass, regardless of the woman's views on the topic, but you also just admitted to wanting to bang a sixteen year old ten years earlier. Nice.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Girls Who Sing

Right now for some reason I am really into the music of certain female singer-songwriters. I have always liked women singers best, probably because I can relate to their music better. There are a lot of amazing women singer-songwriters out there who don't get much media attention, so I thought I'd share some of my faves.

Kathleen Edwards
She's Canadian, which is cool to me now that I think this country is going down the crapper. But I bought Kathleen's debut album my junior year in college and I've been a fan ever since. Her new album, Asking For Flowers, is amazing. Love it!


A Fine Frenzy
I had the hardest time choosing a video to post! Her album One Cell in the Sea has a lot of lovely songs on it. She's the type of artist you would expect to hear played in an Anthropologie store—so that explains why I did hear one of her songs there this weekend! :)


Daisy May
My aunt and uncle in Michigan turned me on to this Michigan native. I love her folksy sound!


Kelly Willis
My love for Kelly knows no bounds. She is everything Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, and all those other ridiculous female mainstream country singers will never be.


Tift Merritt
I love Tift! Her album Tambourine was amazing! (It was also nominated for Best Country Album.) This video is of Stray Paper, my favorite of her songs, but there is a polished video of another great single, Good Hearted Man that you can watch at the link.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sarah Palin and Feminism

You know, the best thing about this whole Sarah Palin thing for me has been that it's really forced me to stop and think about how I feel on certain issues—mainly the role of women and how we view women.

Monday night a friend (of another generation—not that it necessarily matters) asked me how I felt about Palin and prefaced her question with, "You're not a feminist, are you?"

My answer was this: "It depends on how you define feminism." Maybe that was lame, but I wasn't entirely sure what to say. I don't know and have never studied feminist theory, so if that's your definition, no. But I have read and enjoyed The Feminine Mystique, and I do read and enjoy the Feministing blog as it challenges me to go beyond the surface. I also support equal rights for women, am pro-choice, and honestly, I think women are the stronger sex. So if that's your definition, yes.

What I was most taken aback by was the way that my friend automatically seemed to assume that I'm not a feminist; either that or she was hoping I'd say no. Why else wouldn't she have phrased the question as "Are you a feminist?"

I have the highest level of education among my friends, am outspokenly single, and am a registered Democrat. If we're going on stereotypes I'd think I'd be the most likely feminist of the bunch.

But "feminist" seems to be a dirty word to a lot of people. That's funny to me, because I think a large part of being a feminist is just questioning and dissecting what is put in front of us. And this Palin pick has given us a lot of stuff to dissect. There's the "VPILF" and "Beauty Queen" comments, the working-mother-of-a-special-needs-baby issue, the teen pregnancy issue, the claims of sexism from the right-wingers when the media attempts to do the vetting that McCain apparently didn't do, etc. Heck, throw in Palin's views on abortion and it's enough to keep a thinking woman busy for days! (Oh yeah, and that little first-woman-vice-president issue, too.)

Now I feel like this blog went slightly off-topic and got away from me, but the point is that Palin's nomination is good for feminism in the sense that it will get us talking about issues that a lot of us never really questioned before—gut reactions are often illuminating when you turn the spotlight on them.

P.S., check out the intriguing reader comments at Feministing.com on Palin's convention speech here. My favorite thus far has been this one:

It's funny that both Palin and Giuliani will insult and dismiss and laugh at the concept of community organizing, and then the Republicans turn around and call Obama the elitist.

If people who think that are feminists, then count me in. The insufferable criticism of Obama's time as a community organizer was sickening to me.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Question

Can someone please explain to me why, if you had ordered a used book from someone on Amazon.com, you'd wait two and a half months to alert the seller that the book didn't arrive? And after the seller suggests filing a claim to see if Amazon.com can offer her any protection (because two and a half months is a suspicious amount of time to wait for a book that was supposed to arrive within two weeks at the latest) why would you review her as "terrible"?

I'm sorry, lady, but you were going to get your money back regardless. Filing a claim only determines whether it will be the seller (me) or Amazon.com who refunds the money. The only difference to you is waiting a couple of days to see what the result of the guarantee policy is. You've already sat on your hands for two and a half months! What difference does five more days make? Did you really have to call me "terrible"?

To anyone that sells on Amazon.com: ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS GET DELIVERY CONFIRMATION! THESE PEOPLE WILL SCREW YOU OVER!