Decorative Flower
Her Realm, Personal website and blog of Cole
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.

Jan 24

Dear Men, Dear Media, Dear You

Many moons ago, I wrote a post entitled “7 Truths About Women.” I don’t think many people read the piece because the very first item on the list is something that people don’t understand. But let me back up for a bit.

I am signed up for the ChickAdvisor newsletter. I once won some makeup from the site, actually. It’s a Canadian-based site with a community, reviews and giveaways every week. This week’s newsletter features a giveaway that you can enter by commenting on a post entitled: I Hide This Beauty Routine from the BF – What Do You Keep Secret?

I didn’t even realize this was a giveaway post until now — see how much I pay attention? However, I was curious about the things that other women answered. Indeed, the author herself shared the same “secret” as most commenters.


Hair on toes. Hair above the upper lip. Peach fuzz on the body and face. Hair that’s thicker or more coarse than we’re comfortable with. As a whole, the comments talked about all sorts of hair removal and camouflage

  • Bleaching

    Hair removal

    I’d rather be having fun than removing hair.

  • Shaving
  • Depilatory creams
  • Plucking
  • Trimming
  • Wax
  • and more

If you’re a man — or even a woman — and you didn’t realize there were this many ways to deal with hair, consider yourself lucky. No, really.

In reality, women are not fair-free creatures dropped from heaven with skin as soft as a baby’s bottom. We’re not. But we’re expected to achieve this so we invest all sorts of moneys into cosmetics and makeup to try to achieve to these standards, which might just be impossible.

Who’s feeding us these ideas, which so often make us insecure? It’s not men. Men, as it turns out, are not that damned picky. Really.

It’s the media. The media that’s fueled by pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies. The reason they tell us we aren’t enough. We aren’t good enough, thin enough, tall enough or what-have-you enough is because if we believe that, we’ll buy whatever those companies are selling. Magazines exist for the ads. Everything in between those is filler.

It’s not just about hair removal. Lips should be full and red, eyebrows arched, hair perfectly coiffed, skin tanned, nails filed and painted, breasts full and bouncing, skin clear and without imperfections, and we should always look fresh and dewy no matter what real life demands of us. In some ways, men face some of the same expectations. I don’t deny this. This post is not about you, men.

This post is about women who see images on the TV, on billboards, in magazines and online that suggest there are ways to be.  These ways do not typically come naturally. Sure, not every woman deals with toe hair, but if you ask among your friends, you’ll find that many do. Yet, everywhere we look, we’re told these things are not womanly or feminine.

The way we naturally are is not feminine, we are told.

And if we care about that, we spend countless hours trying to obtain the unobtainable. Some people care more than others, and some women care not at all. I envy them. I cannot go a day without shaving, moisturizing and donning expensive underwear. I often wear CC cream because I am so opposed to the natural appearance of my skin. The list of beauty items I’ve reviewed is far smaller than the list of things I’ve tried.

I once wrote this on a forum:

Shaved, waxed, plucked, lotioned, oiled, moisturized, pumiced and scrubbed.. and I still feel kinda icky. Being feminine is so fucking hard.

So when a woman spends more time in front of the mirror or in the shower than her partner likes, it’s because she cares enough about what the media has told her is wrong with herself. Things that are natural but that which she has come to belief are unnatural, perhaps even ugly or making her undesirable. She pays an inordinate amount of time concentrating on herself, sometimes to the point of not being able to enjoy herself, because she’s been taught that everything about her is wrong.

And if you ever made an offhand comment abut how her feet were too rough, the hair on her toes gross or point out the peach fuzz above her lip, you’re contributing to this way. She may spend half of her life in the bathroom with her secret routines because she’s afraid to show you the real, natural her because you buy into this bullshit.

No, you’re not the only one. Actresses, models and singers, pretty much everyone in the public eye goes through these routines. The only difference between those women and myself is they have personal stylists, makeup artists and other helpers to get the work done. I don’t have those people or any of the education and experience they have. So I’m sorry if I don’t measure up.

Wait, no I’m not.

I think it’s ridiculous that a woman’s worth is connected so much to achieving an appearance that is so time consuming. And when she puts in the time? She’s judged for that to.

I think I shall wrap up this rant.

Dear men: understand what’s going on and give women a break.

Dear media: go die in a fire, you fuck faces.

Dear you: you’re beautiful naturally. Nothing is wrong with you, but if you like a little powder and rouge or enjoy the way your legs feel after shaving, go ahead and do it!

Skip to toolbar