Friday, July 27, 2007

"What I Know About Men"

Thanks to my brilliant friend Allison, who is also so very culturally hip, I came across this article from the Guardian. Read it. Seriously, read it. It's called "What I Know About Men," and it's taken from an interview with superstar 19 year-old Hilary Duff.

I didn't know whether to cry or punch a wall as I read this article, though on the second reading I mostly just laughed. I knew Ms. Duff was on my "Naughty List" as soon as I read her statement: "I'm not, like, a crazy feminist." Pardon me?

The misuse of the word feminist is something that bothers me to distraction. I consider myself a feminist. I'm sure there are many of peers who wouldn't identify themselves as such. I think they wouldn't because the label has taken on a life of its own, a stereotype that is unfair and rarely true. Hilary, feminism does not mean man-hating. Feminists aren't all wiccans who neglect to shave their armpits and ride bicycles made of hemp. Being a feminist simply means that you believe that women and men are equal. No sex is better; no sex is worse.

A second moment (directly after the first doozy) came where I took issue with Hilary's uneducated politics: "I think women definitely need men. Like, I couldn't imagine having a girlfriend!" She then goes on to list all the things that "guys" make her feel, which assumably couldn't be attained in a female-female relationship: security, comfort, affection, fun, drama. (These are directly quoted, I'm not making the "drama" one up, I promise.) It's funny, because many of the lesbians I know have relationships where ALL of these essential elements are present. The one thing Hilary doesn't mention (a penis) must be too R-rated for a teen scene queen.

All of this tripe is in with other, terrible stereotypes about women that Hilary admits to perpetuating. Women are definitely home-makers, girls purposely act dumb in front of guys they like, etc etc. The part that makes me want to cry is that Hilary Duff's primary audience is preteen girls. A 12 year-old will read this, admiring Hilary Duff for her super-clever "Lizzie Macguire"-esque abilities, and for years she'll want to avoid being "a crazy feminist." Why do we allow that as the stuff of role models? It's gross. It shocks me that, in 2007, a 19 year-old can be quoted as saying "women are definitely homemakers," and no one bats an eye.

I'm not saying Hilary Duff is this huge water-mark for culture, but she's still fairly well-known. People will still see this article; albeit mostly British people. I hope that most girls are raised in homes that know better than to look up to stuff like this.

So what do I, Helen E, know about men? They listen to you much better when they're attracted to you. Some of them like books. Most of them like music. That's about all I've got.

Friday, July 20, 2007

A sad state of neglect

My life right now has been reduced to bullet points. I'm no longer afforded the luxurious time of paragraphs, of sentences that link to one another - only harsh, ugly bullets.

I am moving in one month and 10 days.

I am starting school, and borrowing a lot of money to do so.

I haven't been to school in 2 full years. In fact, I am unsure whether I've engaged my brain in 2 full years.

I am leaving this job in 6 days. I fear my desk will never be clean.

I have to pack all my things. I have to part with clothes that I don't wear, but that my brain still thinks I need. I have to weed out my books, my most comforting possessions.

And finally, I am going to be poor forever. Chicago looms, with open arms of fun, and I will have to pass up on All Fun because I have no money. Literally, all fun. I'm sure I won't have one bit of fun.

Now, a story: last night, I went to the 3&2 Baseball Park to watch my youngest brother (12) play in the championship game for his league. The weather, despite the humidity, turned out to be beautiful as I sat with my dad and my aunt and ate peanuts. We watched my brother play only one inning - the first - as his team struggled to keep up with a far better one. The rest of the time, he sat on the bench. Dad and I would look over and see him, in the corner of the dugout closest to the fans, talking to a group of the girls in his class who came to cheer the team. Did he miss the baseball? We couldn't tell.

I learned a few things last night:
1. Never pass up an opportunity for free baseball on a beautiful night with family to accompany you.
2. There is nothing I miss less than being a junior high girl.
3. Sometimes, warming the bench is enough for someone, if they get to be part of the team.
4. Maybe, if you know you're going to be sitting on a bench for 2-3 hours, you should bring a cushion. Who cares if it's an old lady thing - benches hurt butts.

Monday, July 2, 2007

I think she said "feck"

Saturday night, I came home about an hour before bar close to relieve my stomach of the Kelly's/Joe's pizza that I'd just eaten. I crawled into bed feeling vaguely unsettled, with a beer/pizza/taco/thai curry combo that was rather unpleasant.

I turned on the TV (my nighttime boyfriend) only to hear... Alvin and the Chipmunks! "Christmas Time is Here" is one of my favorite carols, and I knew that it could only mean one thing: Almost Famous was on TV.

Being tired, I tuned in for about the first twenty minutes. I realized how fantastic that set-up was, despite any flaws in the rest of the film (and by flaws, I mean Kate Hudson. Kate Hudson is not good on an unsettled stomach). Crowe took Frances McDormand (always amazing) and paired her with Zooey Deschanel (spelling?) - what a duo. Then, he pairs Philip Seymour Hoffman (maybe my favorite working actor) with the fictional Lester Bangs character. Delicious. And he manages to play nearly all of Simon and Garfunkel's "America," as well as "Sparks" by the Who, some Iggy Pop, and, of course, Alvin and the Chipmunks.

"The only true currency we have in this bankrupt world are the things we say to each other when we're being uncool." Not bad for 3am on a Saturday.