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  • I Know Why Skinny Is Beautiful

    The most popular new fashion line for teenage girls is a brand called Brandy Mellville, where the clothes only come in sizes 0-2. What? That is like doll clothes?! Needless to say, wearing these ultra skinny jeans to show off your thigh chasm, has a certain cache. To be cool in today’s high schools you not only need to shop in the right places, but also have the right body to fit into the right clothes – that body being a size fucking ZERO. So basically, if you are not Casper the Ghost, you might as well lock your self in your closet and starve until you are.

    UMMMMMM I AM SO GLAD I GREW UP IN THE 90’s!! You know what was cool when I was in high school? I will tell you – clothes that were wayyyyy too big and hid our bodies. It started with the “grunge” chapter where we wore corduroy pants, plaids tied around our waists, and T-shirts with band names on them. Then it was the “Hip Hop” look that consisted of baggy jeans, hoodies, and Adidas kicks. After that was the “rave” phase where the pants were so ridiculously huge that your entire body could fit in one leg. Maybe you would pair those with a “baby doll” T-shirt. That was as sexy as we got… a T-shirt that was sort of tight and didn’t hang down to our knees. Even though my mom HATED my clothes and would beg me to wear something that was actually my size, I am sure she would have preferred that to my only eating cucumber seeds in order to fit into Brandy Mellville.

    In a way this stupid store is a blessing. The messaging is so in your face it is almost comical. It is the physical manifestation of what is happening in society, and the generation we are breeding to fit into it. The definition of stylish for today’s teens is revealing, tight, and skinny. Yet we can’t blame these girls for revering a body type that is so thin you don’t have to open doors to walk through them. They are a product of today’s culture where the standard of beauty is digital. We don’t even look at models any more, but photo-shopped shadows that were once women.

    BUT GUESS FUCKING WHAT WORLD! I think I know what is happening with the incredible shrinking women of today’s world. It has to do with feminism, power, and influence.

    Much like the tides of the ocean and our monthly moon flow, feminism came in waves. The 1st wave was conceived so women could get the right to vote, and own property. In the sixties and seventies, the 2nd wave born to organize the women’s liberation movement which primarily focused on social equality. We are currently experiencing the post partum 3rd wave of feminism (or the 4th moderately heavy flow in some circles), which is being met by much emotional angst and psychic clotting. Ladies are relentlessly demanding equality and the reimagining of gender roles, but many are still resisting this plight, as they believe it is cramping their style.

    Let me tell you a secret. Do you know what coincided with these waves of feminism?? Women in advertising getting skinnier!!!! Who was the top model during the height of the women’s liberation movement? TWIGGY! A girl who was so thin, her limbs were like the twigs of trees. Not the branches mind you… but the teeny tiny twig parts. During this present-day 3rd wave of feminism advertising is using women so slender that actual humans can’t live up to the ideal – so we just draw stick figures with the computer, and that is considered the standard. There is a direct correlation with women gaining power within society, and the media promoting a body type that is physically weak. The more women become stronger mentally within the systems that control the world, the more we want them to look like they are so feeble that their toothpick extremities couldn’t pick up a toothpick.

    Now I know that everyone has a different body type. Some women are naturally thin. I am one of those women. I am 5’10” – so I am stretched out more. I have the “body type” of a model. In fact, I was approached over 4 different times in my teenage and early adult years to be one. When I was 16, I tried to take it seriously but here was the main problem. I also played sports, so was told my arms were too muscly. My agent asked me to stop doing so many things that involved my arms moving, so I could maintain a more willowy frame. With muscles I could be a “fitness” model (where there was less work and you got paid less) but not a “fashion” model (where the real money was).

    In order for my naturally slim body to marketable, I was asked to be more sedentary and eat less. Even though I was svelte, I was also told I could be a little more so if I really wanted to work. Nothing major – just lose 10 to 15 pounds. PS… I weighed 128. If I could be a little less strong, and a little less attached to consuming meals, I could make way more money. But I was 16! Dieting was hard because I was attached to feeling full, which I guess is so pathetically human of me. I tried to shed the excess pounds, but I didn’t like how frail I felt. I tried to brainstorm what could keep me obscenely skinny but still give me energy and finally came up with the perfect solution – but my mom didn’t let me do cocaine. WHAT A SQAURE!

    My point is, if my genetically slight frame wasn’t good enough to be a commodity, the only way to make it so was to deprive it. It is not natural to be obscenely skinny, you have to make a  conscious effort to achieve that goal.  The intensity of how stressed you are about consumption may vary from person to person, but models are trying to stay that thin.  It isn’t just about eating healthy,or avoiding desserts – the mentality is to keep up with the expectations society has placed on you.  I think it is pretty obvious that the pressure to stay thin is more prevalent then those with the ultimate ectomorph physique.  It is not like these girls are brimming with vitality.  Even when they are jumping through the air, with their hair blowing in the wind, it looks like someone through chicken bones out a window.  The greater the will power to starve, the less threatening you are to society. BECAUSE YOU ARE DISTRACTED, TIRED AND HUNGRY… rather than, focused, healthy, and determined.

    Yet here is the thing about modern food. It is filled with chemicals, partially hydrogenated oils, salt, sugar, and preservatives. The reason why Americans are so fat is not because they are lazy, it is because they are eating food that the body cannot process correctly and provides little nourishment. People who eat processed foods will lack the energy to exercise because their body is essentially starving for nutrients even as it grows in girth.

    So here lies this perfect trifecta of oppression. The more women empower themselves socially, the more they are expected to vanish physically. In order to achieve this preposterous paradigm, women have to obsess about counting calories of mass-produced poison pretending to be food. It is really hard to have the perfect body when you are dealing with contamination in the food sources. If we all had access to regular organic whole foods like they did in the turn of the century, and led more naturally active lives, we wouldn’t be struggling with weight gain in the same capacity. Yet instead we live deskbound existences attached to technology while scarfing down manufactured munchies as we ironically stare at artificial images of flawless physiques.

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    October 22, 2014 • Current Events, Musings, Women's Business • Views: 19993

  • The iPhone, iWatch, and iBrain

    So I watched the promo video for the new Apple iWatch and now I want to abandon all my modern belongings, strip myself of every technological dependency, and crawl into a cave to live like a Doomsday “Prepper” eating cans of meat and dried bat feces.  We officially live in a trans-humanist nightmare: the future will not only be ruled by androids, but we are becoming them. The line where machines end and humans begin will be so blurred that even Robin Thicke will weep metal tears.

    How many separate devices do we need for people to get a hold of us? There is already the computer, the smart phone, the iPad, and now you can get call from your spouse nagging you to bring home that magazine you keep leaving at work on your fucking watch?! Do we really want people to have more access to us!!?? If I put my phone down for two hours, when I come back there are 19 text messages – 12 of which are wondering why I didn’t answer the previous text sooner. The last thing I want is for people to increase their expectations of my ability to be in constant contact.

    Having an additional interface to connect over is not only superficial, but also oppressive. Phones are cool when you want to use them, but the relentless sense of obligation or compulsion to check them cannot be healthy. We need mental space to be in the moment and actually live life away from the distraction of message alerts. This lifestyle where we are “on call” to one another 24-7 takes us away from fully being present with each other or ourselves. I like my phone so I can reach out when I feel like it, not so I can be reached constantly. With Apple’s latest device if you leave your phone in your pocket for a minute of peace, then the iWatch will be like “Nope… don’t you even think of ignoring me because I am on your wrist motherfucker. Oh, and btw, Becky wants to know if you are bringing guacamole to the party.”

    Humanity really doesn’t need another device to take us away from our own thoughts. Too many of us already have an addiction to our phones- do we need the seduction of a new device? It’s like suggesting to a cokehead they try heroin to take the edge off and fall asleep easier. Many of us know the impulse to check our phone the moment we are alone with our thoughts… which means we rarely give ourselves any real time to think. Unconsciously surfing the web to avoid boredom is not making us smarter – it’s actually making us dumber. How do I know we are getting stupider? I don’t know -ask Google!!!

    The Apple commercial touts the many ways the iWatch will actually heighten intimacy rather than interfere with it. For example, their cutting edge consumers can now send their lover little pictures they draw with their finger, or the actual pulse of their beating heart. Call me old fashioned, but if some guy I was screwing texted his heart beat, my lady boner would be so flaccid I wouldn’t be able to stir coffee. Who are these people who want more ways to flirt via their appliances? Unless you are giving me a washing machine to sit on, can’t we do this face to face? Why not send your lady flowers or give oral sex like a normal person? What kind of world do we live in where getting an emoji on my watch is supposed to turn me on??

    How many iProducts do we need? Will all our home appliances soon be created with embedded apps so as to better “connect” with our friends? Will I be Instgramming through my dishwasher and checking Facebook on my electric toothbrush? Where does it end? Are we soon going to implant microchips in our heads so we can have an iBrain?

    Perhaps I’m being dramatic. Yeah, the iWatch has a bunch of cool features, but is projecting your pictures on the wall worth the psychological impact? Watch the commercial yourself and decide. Listen to his pseudo British accent and the way he pronounces aluminum. Fine I will too. I will watch it again and again and again, and again… because fuck that watch looks cool. I really want one.

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    September 10, 2014 • Current Events, Musings • Views: 2252

  • Hey, That’s MY Message!

    Information is social currency.  When I send someone a link, or post something illuminating, it contributes to my public value. The Internet allows us not only to spread information but also to become associated with it. It’s almost as if we can brand ourselves alongside the messages we are spreading.

    So last week when everyone was talking about the Monsanto Protection Act I was really involved in the discussion. This is an issue that I am very passionate about and have been researching for over a decade. I wanted to be an active part of the discussion – to help spread the message of why I think Monsanto should be a major part of the public dialogue and we should all have a clear understanding of not only its power but its product.  Our food system.

    I had first learned about Monsanto and genetically engineered food over 10 years ago when I was in college. Before understanding the science behind food, the only thing that concerned me was calories and fat grams. Then one fateful night, while smoking joints with my friend Marisa she told me,

    “You know, the reason why Americans are so overweight and unhealthy is because of partially hydrogenated oil.”

    “Wait, what is that?”

    “They, like, add hydrogen to the oil, so it is fluffier and takes up more space. They can then use less of it and save money, but the human body can’t digest it. That is what makes you fat.”

    “Why do they do that? How do they do that? And who is they?”

    “You know… they!  I don’t know Toni, I am not a scientist… look it up. But I am telling you. That is why Europeans are all skinny, because they don’t put crap in their food.”

    This really blew my mind into a thousand pieces. Before that moment, I had never considered that highly processed food wasn’t actually food. And I did not want to get fat because I was unconsciously consuming a science experiment. Forget that we were scarfing down ice cream at that moment…. We were high – remember? I am perfectly okay getting pudgy eating delicious treats, but there is no way hydrogenated oils were going to give me a muffin top.

    After that fateful conversation I started looking at ingredients rather than the silly numbers on a side of a box of processed food. Initially my rejection of GMO food may have been for my own vanity or health, but the more I learned, the more committed I became.

    I then read The Age of Access by Jeremy Rifkin, and started to comprehend the environmental consequences of genetic engineering. The massive destruction of natural resources, the farmers that it oppressed, the annihilation of biodiversity, the subsidies that forced an economic stranglehold on the entire food industry, and – perhaps most demented – gene patenting. Rifkin hypothesized that the future held forth a new economy based on owning and patenting genes. The thought of corporations and life-science companies owning the building blocks of life and leasing out the rights to it seemed like an apocalyptic nightmare.

    After understanding the full scope, I became outraged. I was so committed to this cause that I spent three years of my life trying to open an organic fast food restaurant so more people could have access to clean food, but in a format they were accustomed to. I wanted to bring organic food to as many people as I could. Even though my vision did not work out the way I wanted it to – I didn’t get to open my restaurant – I could still do my best to continue promoting the idea.

    So when everyone was talking about Monsanto last week, I made a little cartoon with The Munch and me and posted it on Facebook. It started making the rounds and people started sharing it. But I didn’t put my logo on the picture. So then I started seeing other friends post the pic, and other groups, but it wasn’t associated to me any more. I mean it was my picture, but it didn’t link back to me in any way.

    At first I was so mad at myself.  I felt like a missed a major opportunity to drive traffic back to me! So more people would see me… like me… care about me! I wanted to be the giver of the information!  Me! Me! Me! The more I saw it floating around, and not attached to me, the more I freaked out.  Of course the original picture I shared had 1,700 shares thanks to my friend reposting it on her popular page… but that had a spelling mistake in it because that is my fucking karma! (Hey! I know I am using the concept of Karma wrong here, but I am being emphatic so forgive me).

    Okay… pause….

    I found this to be a really interesting example of how the ego gets tied into things that are essentially ego-less. In reality, I should have been happy that people thought the image had value and wanted to share it. That it took a small part in spreading awareness about an issue that I cared about. But as much as my rational mind knew this, my emotional-self wanted to be credited with that message. WHICH IS ABSURD!!  It was beyond ironic that I had the audacity to feel used by people sharing my picture without crediting me, when the message could easily say I was using it to promote myself.

    That is the thing about activism. It has to come from a pure place, and not from wanting to somehow have ownership over the message. Because to feel personal attachment to the information you are trying to spread, is the very same paradigm that we are trying to change with activism.

    “Mamma you are being silly!

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  • The Cost of Free Art

    I remember paying for art.  If I wanted to own music, I would go to the store and buy a tape. If I was interested in a movie I could either rent it, or pay more and own it.  If I wanted information in the form of print, I would buy a newspaper, magazine, book, or go to the library.  I never felt cheated. I never resented this process.  It all seemed fair to me.

    But now the idea spending money on media seems absurd.  Don’t’ get me wrong, I fully believe the creators of content should get paid… just not by me.

    The Internet has made me an entitled little shit.  I am ashamed of this truth.  The access to free art has corrupted me completely.  It is too tempting, too hard to resist, and too easy to obtain.

    I don’t really feel sorry for the poor rockers and movie stars who are making less millions.  But they are not the only ones affected.  The desperate artist is also at the mercy of the free art paradigm.  The Internet has provided a medium where anyone and everyone can expose their art to the public, and potentially gain an audience.  This democratic platform is like a wet dream for creative people, but also a really easy way to exploit your self.  You can put your heart into the process of entertaining and engaging people, but that doesn’t mean you are ever going to make money doing it.  Although in the past the middleman had control over the industry, he also made sure you got paid.

    People are relying heavily on advertising and corporate backing, but getting into bed with big business does not guarantee satisfaction.  In fact, you are majorly compromising your self, and I don’t mean in a fun S&M kind of way.  Especially when dealing in the realm of journalism and writing.  Considering 6 companies control 90% of the media in this country – that means the vast majority of the mainstream media is corrupted.  But relying solely on blogs for information, and people with little resources or financial compensations, doesn’t guarantee reliability either.  I mean I love my some conspiracy theory sites, but I am not sure that it is scientific fact that the Royal Family are lizard people.

    The idea that everyone one, regardless of income, can have exposure to information and art is magnificent and should never change.  But the idea that art is free does not honor the time and effort put into it.

    I guess it sounds like I want to have my cake and eat it too.  But I don’t get who just sits around watching a cake.

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    March 20, 2013 • 2 years old, Current Events, Education, Musings, Political Banter • Views: 944