From Portland, Oregon.
By laurel on Pretty Women on Bikes
@Judith Slutler It's just such a dude thing to be creepin' and pedantic at the same time. Mansplainery to the 10th power.
@Tragically Ludicrous OUR BIKES ARE FAST AND NIMBLE
PS: I used to have a budgie named Phil, short for Filibuster, because he'd never shut up.
LW3, one thing that sort of helped me along when I had a "but how can I be *sure*" phase, was watching this youtube lecture by Lisa Diamond. She's a Psychology/Women's Studies professor who studies queer female sexuality. It's an hour long video, but in case you want to take a look, it's here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4JA-9CRdzI
She talks about how she interviewed a bunch of women about their sexuality in the late 80s/early 90s, and has been following up with them ever since. Two main takeaways:
1. the standard "I always knew I was gay, even when I was a tiny child," narrative is wrong. Or at least, it's not the most common narrative for women. (some women do totally know, but many do not!) Unsurprisingly, the largely white, male psychological establishment has historically just researched other white males. It turns out the "I always knew" narrative fits the experience of a lot of gay white dudes pretty well, but doesn't really carry over to women. Lots of people, especially women, figure this shit out later in life, and it doesn't mean they're any less queer than the ones who figure it out earlier.
2. People's labels change. She interviewed the same cohort of women over a period of 20 years, and one of the basic questions she asked them each time was whether they called themselves Lesbian, Bi, or Straight. People who in 1990 identified as Lesbians would sometimes fall in love with a man, and then, by 1995, start identifying as Bi. People who identified as Bi, would figure out, "no, really, I'm not interested in dating dudes at all. I'm a Lesbian." Or they'd figure out, "I really am just interested in dating men. I'm straight." Straight women would fall in love with another woman and be like, "huh, I guess I'm Bi."
Also, it wasn't this small subgroup of women who were changing their labels all the time. It was a pretty big proportion of all the women in the survey, each of whom would change her labels just once or twice over the 20 years.
Two reassuring ways to interpret that:
1. Lots of women "get it wrong" when they are first figuring out their sexuality! It's not so uncommon or weird to not "get it right" at first or to not be sure.
2. (my preferred way) There is no "right" when it comes to labels. People change, circumstances change, and feelings change. This happens to everyone, and a label that used to fit you might not anymore at a later point in your life. That's okay and normal. If it happens to you, it makes you just like everybody else.
@TheLetterL Surely we can all put our differences aside to agree on MORE BABIES IN HOT DOG COSTUMES
@queenofbithynia @katiemcgillicuddy @stonefruit Sorry, I wasn't able to reply directly to your comments (clearly the HAL-style being that runs The Hairpin's comment section disagrees with my point too).
There's a difference between criticizing institutions that police bodies and behaviors, and criticizing individuals. The article's valence would have been different if Mara had said "I make a point of eating locally sourced, cruelty free meat"/"I glanced at my reflection to see whether the vengeful ghost of a factory-farmed pig now hovered over my shoulder," but because it was a personal essay, I'm opting to assume that she's depicting her craving/consumption as she experienced it.
I can appreciate the impulse to say "these reactions and this narrative are destructive, and shouldn't be shared" or "there are lots of places where this attitude toward food and weight are already presented and glorified, and I don't want this to be one of them." I wouldn't want every article on The Hairpin to sound like this one, but I don't want it to be a hot dog eating echo chamber (wait, that sounds delicious. Maybe I do want The Hairpin to be a hot dog eating echo chamber), either.
The backlash against cultural pressure to have an "acceptable" (ie thin) body seems to have been a lot more successful in casting women who diet in a negative light than it has in changing attitudes about the value of non-slender bodies (interviews with impossibly slender actors who claim to eat "everything, guess I'm just naturally lean!"; novels that show us their protagonists are relatable underdogs by describing them as TOO thin). I'd like to have women make individual choices about how they want to exercise, eat, look, and how they view the three as interacting. I think saying "I eat salads and go to spin class because being slender is a priority for me" and "I eat what I want because that's best for my emotional AND physical health" and "Fuck you for asking the question, you fascist pig" are all equally valid.
Ostracizing may not have been the most precise word, but I used it because of comments framing this essay as being specifically "Not-Hairpin," and because of the repeated suggestion that the author might be an invention designed to provoke, and not, you know, a person who normally eats salads.
@Graydon Gordian Is your yoga instructor Colleen from 30 Rock?
@LolaLooksFrench But for real, there are a lot of tiny little muscle engagements and rotations in yoga poses to be doing them in an alignment that isn't going to ruin your knees or whatever. That is why we say some of the bat shit stuff that we do.
By jule_b_sorry on Leaving the Girl
@Janestreet I kinda feel bad about this, but my brain started adding "yeah, I guess" at the end of each sentence after reading the first few. So. Many. Declaratory statements that are actually subjective opinion.
By Cawendaw on Leaving the Girl
@Danzig! Actually, as I was recalling my various Best Worst people, I did find myself wondering how your fabulist piece was coming. So, I'm looking forward to it, at least.
Also from the quality of your comment writing I think you probably would know better than to write something like "I went to that black lit land where pale breasts bloom under strobe lights, multiplied and multiplied in a maze of mirror walls and slick reflective poles."
I'm sorry, I guess mean-spirited Wednesday came on a Thursday for me this week, and was entirely concerned with this piece.