Friday, May 30, 2014

Why I Didn't Tan for Prom

I've got approximately five days of school left, plus two afternoon sessions where I'll be taking my end of the year exams. I'm not nearly as stressed as I thought I would be, which is all good because well, I worry. Deep breaths, deep breaths.

I was one of the many lucky (?) sophomores who attended prom this year thanks to a gracious upperclassman friend who made me his guest. The whole dress shopping thing made me slightly consider renting a tux and calling it a day, but that's a different story I'm not sure I'm ready to tell. For those unfamilar, I'll sum up every prom dress store as smelling like hairspray, desperation, and women who either want to be overly helpful or overly rude. It's not pleasant to say the least.

Nonetheless need I mention nail appointments and dress alterings and hair ideas and make up sessions and the tanning bed. By God you'd think I was preparing for my wedding or funeral, but sadly neither of those were happening. 

I've bought into the consumerism machine that is prom. And it's not fun nor cheap. 

Yet I'm here to preach to you about one little appointment that goes into the ultimate plan of looking your best at only the raddest night of your life (cue eye roll). 

The tanning bed. 

There's always the obvious disapproval of the UV lined bed because it increases your risk for skin cancer and female baldness and breast reduction. Okay maybe not. But I feel those last two warnings would scare away more than the first. And let's not forget the old women who shake their fingers at you as they tell you about all their suspected moles that could have been melanoma even though they never even stepped foot in a tanning bed. 

But alas no female listens. We're risk takers, especially if the outcome is beautifully bronzed skin to the point of what our media fed society deems as beautiful. It's cheap to the price of three sessions for $10, with a punch card predicting a free session when you buy 9.

Now I'm a self proclaimed feminist. I say self proclaimed because I'm sure there's part of me that doesn't fit the exact unstated guidelines on what makes you one, but I call myself one nonetheless.

I'm sure the fact that I'm doing all this nonsense of prom kicks me out of the feminist box, but I'm mostly going for the food so hear me out.

Despite the pressure of friends and girls who were way too tan for it to be only May, I said no to the skin cancer market. I like to tell girls it's a good deal. $10 for 3 sessions and an increased chance of needing your dermatologist appointment for more than your acne. Double win.

Granted, I tan easily and between the 24/7 outdoor soccer practices and games that lead up to prom, I showed up looking fairly dark. I may have had a farmer's tan, but I indeed had some color.

Yet I couldn't grasp my mind around the girls who looked as if they had just come back from a week long cruise around Mexico where they mistook the tanning oil as sun screen the whole trip. Their unnatural tans were, well, unnatural.

I'm a strong believer in the fact that girls only do things because other girls are doing the same. It's not a new concept. And when one girl gets a nice tan because of $5 and four minutes in a warm bed, all the other girls want in. If no one put themselves through the few minutes of UV sleep once a week, no other girls would feel pressured to do the same. If you want girls to stop tanning, you have to stop tanning.

Granted, some girls are already tan, some girls tan easily, and some girls look like they naturally belong with the Jersey Shore crew after being outside for a few hours, but it's a shame we've gone to such bigger measures.

Maybe I want to make a bigger point of why can't we just accept our natural skin colors. If we all just showed up with our normal skin tones, I feel there'd be a lot less of that judge-y stuff that goes on. This goes much farther than putting on make-up to make yourself look good. This goes to the point of drastically increasing your chances of getting cancer to look a few shades darker in a handful of photos we won't even like in five years.

Have a fabulous day.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

That One Time I Was Called a Feminist

Let me set the scene for you.

I'm sitting in my fourth period classroom where I'm cornered by three boys on every side of me except one. It's like the Iberian Peninsula except less ocean, more testosterone.

All three of the boys have conservative values that are typical of my area. Pro-life. Republican. Their moms stay at home. Their dads make the money. Their favorite part of the constitution is the 2nd amendment. You get the picture.

And not that there's anything wrong with their views, it's just not my cup of tea. I drink a pretty different cup of tea in fact, but I'm not going to tell them their life is wrong because it's not—at least for them.

But alas, there's a different story I'm telling today.

I'm not sure what brought up the comment. It might have been because the young boy who sits to my right had used the phrase "hey woman" to get my attention for the twenty second time that day. Or maybe it had been spurred by the boy behind me who made the comment that it wasn't the guys fault for having an affair with his co-worker it was "his boss' fault for hiring an attractive woman and her fault for dressing in a provocative way". (YES those words really did come out of his mouth. I may have to do a separate post on that later.)

But something very woman-y and great may have come out of my mouth about how I really don't appreciate my name being substituted with my gender. Or it might have been "your comment is one of the reasons why rape victims think it's their fault," but I take none of those words back.

In fact, I'll own them like Hilary Duff singing a song with herself in the classic movie of my childhood.

(Thanks for humoring me right there.)

But I digress.

One of the three boys turned my way with a face scrunched in anger and manly-ness and hurled the four words I've longed to hear.

"You're such a feminist."

(Which were all spat with the intentions of being an insult.)

*Rolls eyes. Sighs. Rolls eyes again.*

The boy behind me laughs. The boy to my left laughs. The boy to my right laughs. It's the joke of the year for them, yet an annoyance to me.

I try to regain myself from the "masculine" disrespect I just faced. They impatiently wait (as all boys do) for me to shrink back into my uncomfortable desk as if I had just had the most offensive insult of our time hurled at my face.

"Contrary to your beliefs, I don't find the term feminist to be offensive."

Their faces turn confused and I wonder if they've been told their whole life that the world feminist is a word that situates itself with damn and democrats. Aka, offensive and never to be used. Bless. So, finally they hush and go back to thinking about what's for dinner which will surely  be made by their mothers once they return home this evening from half assing their way through high school.

I think I'll need some extra patience to finish out the semester.

Have a fabulous day.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

News and Greatness

So I was recently approached by F (side note: do I still refer to you as F or nah? haha) at The Fence of Stars about using one of my recent posts on her other side blog Teenage Blogger Central. Which on another side note, you should all go register at. I've gotten a good bit of feed (okay let's be real, most of my feed) from that fancy place by just giving them my blog information.

Continuing on, my post was published here for all who want to check it out, although you've probably already read it, but I say you go for another whirl anyways. Also ignore my outdated bio I have on there. I'm a tad embarrassed by it so if anyone whose familar with the site knows how I could possibly change it, that'd be great.

a lil throw back to my post

Have a fabulous day.

*P.S. my post title may have been a little misleading*

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Why Aren't Men Criticized for not Staying Home with the Kids?

I'm prematurely writing this post. I feel as if I should actually have kids and actually have a career in order to have an opinion on this topic, but I'm taking that risk.

I follow a little instagram account called Humans of NY. I use the term little lightly. They also have a tumblr and facebook page, but I've somewhat dropped both those things so instagram is the way I primarily keep up with their posts.

This post ran not too long ago, and I particularly enjoyed it as I applaud any woman who doesn't let having kids stop her from having a career. It's not that I look down upon women who choose to be stay at home moms, but I do look down upon those who shame women who try to juggle the career/kid lifestyle.

I think that if stay at home moms really do enjoy staying home with their kids and cleaning/teaching/loving/cooking and all that jazz, then it's the same as women who continue to pursue their career whilst raising kids. It's when women quit their job that they love and try to make themselves love staying home with kids 24/7 when things get questionable in my eyes. I think that if you're doing what you love, it quantifies as being a career, whether you're a surgeon or a stay at home mom.

But back to the picture.

I did what no (wo)man ever should: read the comments.

Now, the Instagram account has hundreds of thousands of followers. 742 thousand to be exact. That's 742,000 people's ideas and beliefs and thoughts that could potentially be read through the comments of a simple picture.

"You're really going to miss out on a lot of your little girls life."
"You should be at home taking care of her."
"You'll regret that decision."
"She's going to wish you were at home with her."
"That seems like a selfish thing for you to do. Stay home with your girl, believe me you'll regret it."

Those are snippets of comments I read during a thirty second scan through.

And I wasn't sure if I was more angry at the fact that people disapproved of a woman following her dreams or that people still assume a woman's place is in the home. Or maybe that people think this little girl is going to regret her mom working, but not her (presumed) dad. No one ever says "you'll miss seeing your kids grow up because you work" to a dad with a normal 9-5 job trying to provide for his family, yet women have a different story. Granted, I've heard the phrase thrown around to men who work 24/7, but never to a man who works normal hours. The dad's contribution of being home between dinner and breakfast the next morning seems enough to society, yet if a woman doesn't spend every waking moment tending to her kids, some people see that as her being a bad mother?

I don't understand why some people continually push the wagon of "a woman's place is in the home" in this age. I don't understand why people assume that working moms are letting day cares and public schools "raise their kids" (that comment really makes me want to strangle someone).  I don't understand why when something goes wrong—in society, in the workplace, in this generation of kids, etc.—the blame is often placed on working moms. (Don't believe me? Look here or here or here for starters.) I don't understand why people say things like "I don't know why a woman wouldn't want to stay home and raise her babies" as if that is all we were made to do—carry and raise babies.

I'm a product of two working parents and I've never regretted my mom or dad working. I've never met a kid who told me they wished their working mom had stayed home with them. I'm not going to be a drug dealer or a serial killer because my mom didn't stay home with me all day and make me organic baby food and handmade clothes. Even if I do become a drug dealer, it'll probably be because college is as expensive as hell and it's either that or selling my left kidney.

But it's just another argument into the pot of the way our society sees women.


Have fabulous day.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

"I Will Sell Women"

Many of you have probably heard about the mass killing and kidnapping of villagers and young girls in Nigeria by a terrorist group against western education. You can read an article about it here.

Today in my third period class we began discussing the tragedy, linking it to our reading of foreign policy as the United States just sent help to the Nigerian government not too long ago. A young boy asked what they planned to do with the teenage girls they kidnapped and my teacher told him that they intended on selling them into slavery. The kid's face turned confused.

"They still have slavery?"

*rolls eyes*

Yes, there's still slavery. Sex slaves. Working slaves. Slaves of both men and women. Slaves of kids and adults.

It still exists.

The ignorance and disbelief of the public that we still have things like slavery happening in our society is one of the biggest contributing factors as to why it still exists. We don't try to get rid of things we don't know are happening. We think we live in a society that is far too advanced to go back to something we thought was abolished in the 1800s.

The biggest hurdle to ending social injustice is getting people to become aware of the injustice.

If you want to read more on modern day slavery you can take a blast from the past and revisit a blog post I did a few months ago here.

Let's all band together to bring back our girls.

Have a fabulous day.