Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Looking For A Big Girl Job

So with the completion of my college studies rapidly approaching (TWO WEEKS, TWO WEEKS, TWO WEEKS!), I've jumped head first into the job hunting scene. With some less than stellar results.

The jobs that will actually pay me want someone with more experience, and the jobs that will take me don't want to pay me. Of course, I have to try and get the unpaid jobs so that I can get the experience to get the paying jobs, but it's really a very disheartening cycle. I've paid my dues in the retail world for five years, and now I've sunk back to the bottom of the ladder again.

Breaking into anything that can actually support me is difficult, because of the endless job-requires-experience experience-requires-job loop. It's even harder because the industry I'm trying to break into is so much more based on who you know. So I need to know people.

Somehow, I was hoping it would be easier than this. I thought I'd at least have more options of where to send my resume. But as summer jobs have filled up, the demand has waned, and since I'm already stuck in a dead end retail job, I refuse to apply for another. It's a real, Big Girl Job, doing what I want to do, or bust. I don't need any more time as a retail slave - I need experience that is going to help me build my career.

I'm hopeful though. I'm shooting off resumes and arranging meetings, and doing everything in my power to acquire my Big Girl Job. I'll be damned if I'm not trying my hardest.

So if you have a moment, send me some good vibes for the next week or so, I need some cosmic goodness to help me out here.

What was your first Big Kid job?


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Crush Me

I have a younger cousin that I used to babysit for a lot before I went off to college. We played all the requisite games, like tag, and hide and go seek. We'd color, and watch movies. Almost every time I'd babysit her, if we were sitting on the couch, she'd try to slip under my legs, and say "Crush me!".

The first time she did this, I was confused. I mean, come on - we all know the first rule of babysitting is that you do not, in fact, sit on the baby. But I obligingly let her lay down under my legs, and get "crushed".

Time and again, when I would come to babysit, the same thing would happen. She'd ask to be crushed, and settle in under the weight of my legs, apparently completely comfortable. Sometimes she'd be frustrated that my legs weren't heavy enough, and put a pillow on top as well.

It wasn't until much later that I understood how that could not only be comfortable, but comforting as well.

It wasn't until I was drifting off to sleep, crushed under the weight of someone else's body, yearning, even then, to pull them closer to me.

It wasn't until That Man laid his head on my chest, with his arms around me, that I thought "Hold me here, pressed tight against you, crushed against you." Just feeling the weight of another person's body over mine was so comforting. It made me feel less alone. It made me feel connected.

I don't know if that's quite what my cousin had in mind, but I know she's not as weird as I thought.

So, crush me. Stay close to me. Remind me that you're there. Let me cling to you for a few hours, because when the morning sun rises, you'll be gone.

Crush me.


Friday, June 18, 2010

The Virgin/Whore Dichotomy

Or, People Think It's Intimidating When A Girl Is Cool With Her Sexuality.

Have you ever noticed that, when you're a young woman, society likes to place you into one of two sexual stereotypes? You're either a virgin, or a whore. Now, granted, not everyone thinks like this, but on the most general level, you get placed in one camp or the other. And really, it's a lose-lose situation for the girl in question. As the Breakfast Club would tell us, you're damned if you do, damned if you don't - if you have had sex, you're a slut, and if you haven't, you're a prude.

I read an interesting book on the matter, called "The Purity Myth", which describes this very phenomenon. It also pointed out a number of interesting things to me. For example, everyone thinks they know what virginity is, but did you know that there's no real medical definition of virginity, it's a pretty abstract concept. So if you don't 
really know what virginity is, how do you know when you've lost it? Is it when your hymen breaks? Well, no, that can't be it, because that can happen for any number of reasons that have nothing to do with sex. Or, conversely, you may be having sex and your hymen can be completely intact. Is it the first time someone sticks their penis in you, or you stick yours in someone else? Well maybe, but then what about lesbians? Are they virgins forever? What about oral sex? Maybe it has something to do with orgasm? (Though sadly, with that logic, there are probably a bunch of women who would still be virgins) What about every ridiculous invention of "almost-but-not-quite-sex" that teenagers have come up with to preserve the abstract concept of their virginity? Where is the line? Easy - there isn't one. It's something humans made up, and it's something humans change to suit their needs. I'm not blaming anyone of this, I'm just wondering why in the hell we place so much stock in something so abstract and volatile, especially when it is harmful to women.

Why is it we feel the need to be derogatory or demeaning about a woman's sex life no matter what sex life she chooses for herself? Why are women teased for being "virgins", or taunted for being "whores"? Is there no such thing as just having a healthy sex life? Furthermore, why is it that society places such a taboo on sexual activity when it is one of the most natural pleasures that exists? I am not about to say that we should all run around having sex with everyone, but if we find ourselves in a situation where we have the opportunity to safely enjoy it, WHY NOT? Why should we be ashamed?

Regardless of what the church, or the government, or your parents, or your health teacher has told you, sex is not dirty, or wrong, or bad, and there is nothing to be 
ashamed of. And that's what it really comes down to. People - especially women - are made to feel ashamed of their bodies, and what they do with them.

The obvious double standard here is that our society praises men for their sexual conquests. Newsflash, ladies and gentlemen. Most men cannot 
have sexual conquests unless a woman is also present. So how can it possibly be fair to praise him and deride her? Haven't they both performed the same act? So if she should be ashamed, shouldn't he? And more importantly, if he shouldn't be ashamed, why should she?

What's your stance on sex, and the virgin/whore dichotomy?


Friday, June 11, 2010

Keeping It In Your Pants Is YOUR Job

I know I've been absent for a while, but a recent argument (that is simply the most recent of many on the subject) has inspired me to get my butt back in gear and write something. In a conversation with a male friend of mine, I was essentially blamed for the fact that men who are taken are attracted to me. He informed me that it was my fault that they were willing to cheat because of how I was dressed or the way in which I spoke to them. I argued that I never would intentionally seduce someone who was in a committed relationship. My friend said that I didn't have to intentionally seduce them, but that by dressing in a certain way, I was extending the invitation for something more. This isn't the first time I've heard someone argue this point, and I'm sure many of you have heard it before too.

I have a question for my female readers - how many of you have ever been blamed for a man's attraction or sexual advances (regardless of how appropriate, or inappropriate they may be)? Was it because of the way you dressed or behaved? Do you think it was fair of them to blame you?

And for the male readers - how many of you have every blamed a woman for being attractive, or behaving in a way that makes her seem so when she receives attention from men? What makes you think it's okay to say it's her fault?

The point I'm trying to get at is that women are often held responsible for keeping the sex drives of every man in the general vicinity at bay. I would like to come right out and call 
bullshit. Women are not responsible for making sure that a man does not desire her. It is not our job to monitor our clothing and behavior to make sure that if we are not seeking male attention, we do not garner it, and that we only receive the type of attention we are looking for. It is the man's job to keep it in his fucking pants. We are all responsible for our own behavior. You do not get to cheat on your wife and then blame the other woman for being attractive. It is not a woman's responsibility to dress like a nun to ensure that she doesn't catch the eye of someone she shouldn't, it is a man's responsibility to not act on whatever impulses he might have if it would be inappropriate to do so. (For whatever reason, whether it be because he is in a relationship, or because the woman in question turned him down, etc.)

I understand that not every woman is totally innocent here, and I'm certainly not trying to paint us all as victims. Some women DO try to seduce other people's men, and when you wear a skirt that barely covers your butt cheeks you're going to attract male attention, and you should recognize that when you put it on. The way you dress DOES play into how you are perceived by others, and both men and women have to be conscious of that on many differently levels, not just sexual. But there are many situations, like wearing a sports bra while jogging on a hot summer day, or wearing short shorts while you're out at the park with your friends where somewhat revealing clothing is simply par for the course, not an open invitation for every man in a mile radius to come and fuck you. And I feel like by arguing that, for example, me changing from a tee shirt to a sports jersey in front of a man is enough to count as attempting to seduce him, we're hovering one or two dangerous steps away from saying "Well she was wearing such a revealing dress, she was just asking to be raped."

Wearing a certain outfit does not mean you are asking to be raped any more than it means you are trying to seduce someone's husband, and it pisses me off that it has become fairly socially acceptable to blame a woman for a man's advances on her based on how conservatively she was dressed, or how she was behaving. How many times do sexual harassment cases come up where the question becomes whether or not the woman was dressed too suggestively and was really just asking for the attention? We should not have to choose our outfits based on what will defer male attention. I will not deny you do have to consider the image you are portraying when you choose your outfits, and there ARE things that are or are not appropriate, (you can't walk out your door naked without being prepared for the potential consequences), but I also do not think you are responsible for maintaining anyone ELSE'S morality. We should not have to live our lives making sure that everyone else is following the rules.

Do you think that women are to blame for the way men treat them? Do you think women should be free to dress in a way that makes them feel comfortable without worrying about how they will be treated by men? Do you think it's inappropriate for a man to approach a woman in a sexual manner just because her outfit looks like "she's asking for it"? What are your thoughts on how responsible we are for how people react to the way we present ourselves?