Decorative Flower
Her Realm, Personal website and blog of Cole
Dec 30

Come to the Feminist Side, Kaley Cuoco

If you’re sick of my feminist rants, this post isn’t for you. But, then again, I am not the friend for you. So go away.

Today, the Internet is atwitter with an Interview with Kaley Cuoco, the actress who plays Penny in The Big Bang Theory. In this interview, Cuoco explains why she’s not a feminist, and it essentially boils down to “but sexism doesn’t hurt me!”

Sexism looks like a fairy tale to Kaley Cuoco.. because she's attratctive

Sexism looks like a fairy tale to Kaley Cuoco.. because she’s attratctive

It’s not difficult to understand how Kaley Cuoco might not feel discriminated against. After all, she is young, talented and attractive. On the surface, misogyny keeps her afloat rather than pulling her under. But if she weren’t so thin? If she wasn’t a bubbly blond? Chances are that the effects of sexism would be more noticeable for her.

And in the year 2014, the issues that women face are different than they were 50 or 100 years ago. We can vote and own property. We can keep our last names when we marry, and we can work outside the house if we want. There’s a lot of progress, but this just means that we have to focus on those little subversive ways that sexism and misogyny still exist in our everyday lives, even if we as women don’t notice them. If we don’t always pick up on them as women, who are being antagonized, how would a man who is unaffected? Many times, they don’t.

When you look more closely at Kaley, you can see how she’s been a victim of misogyny. The thing we have to remember is that people revere her not because they respect her but because they want to own her. Men want to possess her. Indeed, that’s the entirety of a multiple-season plot arc between Cuoco’s character Penny, a “slutty, dumb blond”, on The Big Bang Theory and the nerdy guy to whom the character is now her fiancee. Penny might not be the brightest bulb, but at least she’s cute.

And as long as sexism exist, we’re going to keep hearing “at least she’s cute,” as if a woman cannot possibly be attractive and intelligent or talented. As if a woman’s talents mean less than her naturally or hard-earned beauty. As if a woman who isn’t attractive will never, could never, be enough. Even though she has benefited from sexism in this way, I am sure that Cuoco has been on the other side, especially in Hollywood. Sleazy producers and directors? Being judged more harshly for her looks than male actors? Making less money than her peers? Kaley has had to deal with all of those, even if sexism provides her some minuscule perks in comparison.

Kaley seems to understand that maybe she’s “because I’ve never really faced inequality,” but I’d love to her show more depth when she thinks about these things, and perhaps an interview with People mag isn’t the place to be deep, but wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if it were?

I hope that Kaley Cuoco surrounds herself with women who aren’t afraid to tell her just how they have been discriminated against, and how sexism still occurs, albeit sometimes in a more subtle way than can be difficult for people like Kaley to understand when they’re not constantly barraged by the waves of misogyny. Perhaps with people close to her pointing out their experiences, she will listen, and she will want to take up the feminist mantle because, at the very least, she wants to help other women.


Oct 18

On Consuming Media with Problematic Messages

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about things that I enjoy and how they’re problematic in some way. Typically, this means the music I listen to and messages that may be racist or sexist, but those certainly aren’t the only mediums or messages that are problematic. I probably just notice it in music more because IO am almost always listening to music.’

For example, I love the beat of the new Nick Jonas song “Jealous,” but the lyrics are fucking terrible as he sings about his right to be jealous of his beautiful girlfriend and to act “hellish” because of it. While Nick plays it like it’s normal, Meg Myers has no qualm about talking about her obsessive desires are pretty far out there. I just discover Meg and both “Monster” and “Desire” are like this. They’re fantastic songs, though!

Another song that I can’t help but dance along to is “All About the Bass.” Megan Trainor has landed on the scene in a big way, and her leading anthem about how the boys love her(and dislike thin women for their lack there of) for her curves just rubs me wrong. It’s not body positive to call a slender people “skinny bitches” no matter how she might follow it up with a quip about how they’re beautiful. It just doesn’t come off as genuine.

I checked out a few more Megan Trainor songs, and I have to say her writing skills — or at least her choice in lyrics as a whole — tend to be problematic. She focuses so single-mindedly on “finding and keeping a man who will treat her like a lady and pay for her lavish lifestyle. She’s fallen prey to a society who says she is only worth something as long as she is useful (read: owned by) a man, and it just makes me.. sad. Because she seems like she’s HGH pretty fuckin’ awesome. She doesn’t necessarily have to be a feminist fighter, but there’s so much more to life and music than what she’s chosen thus far. In fact, I think that Mary Lambert does a great job of this!

Before I wrap up this post, I’ll talk about everyone’s favorite love-to-hate singer and songwriter: Taylor Swift. Taylor recently release a fun pop anthem titled “Shake It Off.” I cannot help but get up and dance when I hear it. The beat is amazing, and it might be causing me to lose weight — kidding, though! I can’t believe it only has 1 million views.

But “Shake It Off” has been on the receiving end of a lot of flack. Perhaps most notable is the idea that the video combines one part definite cultural appropriation and perhaps another part racism, depending on how you view it, thanks to concepts that are reminiscent of ye olde minstrel shows.

I also have a bone to pick with the lyrics, which suddenly show Taylor demanding her right to have fun (and potentially sex) with whoever she wants. This in and of itself isn’t problematic. You get it, girl! But she has spent much of her career slut shaming the other girls for being to promiscuous. The sudden change could perhaps be in relation to her growing up. Taylor has even recently has explained how she has come to realize what feminism is and wishes she had understood early so she could have sooner called herself a feminist.

I think there’s two overreaching thoughts here. I still enjoy these things despite their problems. Critical thinking about music and other things we so passively enjoy is an important part of growth. Secondly, even people and creators who have been problematic are starting to see the fact and coming around to the other side, which is kind of inspiring.


Jun 18

Feminism Isn’t About Hating Men

And when people claim that, my knee jerk reaction is to say “Jesus Christ! How dense are you?”

But I don’t want to alienate people who mistakenly think that and want to understand why it’s not true.

Because  it’s not about hating anyone. It may be about hating the system, and perhaps some men who harass, demean, abuse or worse to women deserve loathing, but some people are simply problematic.

However, when it comes to the system, it’s pretty vile. And it’s about more than just an unequal pay scale. It’s about a society that is so entrenched in patriarchy that

  • women are harassed
  • men rape women
  • men abuse woman
  • women compare themselves to others
  • women still make less money for the same work in some fields
  • women are expected to do 100% of the housekeeping and child rearing even when they work outside the home
  • women are made fun of for being or dressing like a prude
  • women are chastised for “Dressing” like a slut
  • women learn to judge themselves and other women on appearance alone
  • women and men fail to see the value of an intelligent, opinionated woman
  • harassment in the street and workplace is accepted
  • wedding/marriage is viewed as the pinnacle of a woman’s life
  • society looks down on women without children (and couples)
  • the worst insult a man could receive is that he is woman-like
  • women are afraid to say “No”
  • the only thing that can stop a come on in many situations is saying “I have a boyfriend”

And the list goes on and on and on and on. For every overt act of sexism — no, hatred against women — there are a million more subtle ways that women have learned to live with. And, yes, I hate it. I hate the way it makes us  feel about ourselves. I hate the way we view other women as competition. I hate that a woman cannot make a suggestion without men ignoring it outright. I hate that a woman’s “emotions” are a valid excuse to stop her from doing anyway.

I hate the system that breeds this, just like many people hate the system that keeps making the rich richer and the poor poorer. Many people hate that system — except for the people it benefits. They like the power, the money and the perks so they keep it going.

Except in terms of politics, the party lines aren’t drawn clearly based on whether or not you have a vagina; although, certain parties are definitely better for women than others. So why is it that people can be angry at the political system but they can’t be angry at the patriarchy?

Why can people not recognize or at least take time to consider that there is a system in place that benefits men. And when something benefits one group of people, it almost always puts down another group of people. In this case, it’s women who are getting the short end of the stick because we don’t have a stick.

And, yes, I hate that. But I don’t hate men. I personally love many men. I also want to live with and feel comfortable with men who I know and not have to worry about my safety with men who I don’t (strangers). I want to live and work with men as family members, teachers, coworkers. I do not want to hate them. But I also don’t want them to benefit unfairly while I struggle because I am a woman.

That’s not unreasonable hatred. That’s fairness. Equality. Logic.


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