Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I Think I Have a Jezebel Heart but a Deadspin Lady-Area

Yep, just like how John Mayer proclaimed himself to have “a Benneton heart and a white supremacist dick”
, I have realized that my blog loyalty is completely torn. As a side note, I have always wondered who would be the next musician to “pull an Elvis Costello”. Congrats to John Mayer for giving the interview that will haunt you for the rest of your soft-rockin’ career. You’re like Costello minus the part where you make music that I enjoy. Alright, back to my allegiance being torn.

I was raised to be a pretty ardent feminist. Not in some kind of child indoctrination way but just as natural byproduct of being raised almost exclusively around women. And those women were no shrinking violets either. So to say that I have some very up-with-women views is putting it lightly. Mix in the liberalism that I wear pretty proudly on my sleeve and you would think that my back is covered in a lovingly-inked portrait of Gloria Steinem. All this is what probably lead me to Jezebel’s front door.

I’ve written about it before but my small form of rebellion against my hippie, long-haired mom (whom I love dearly and who reads this so HI MOM!!) was to get my hands on any and every fashion or women’s magazine I could. And to spend hours doing my make-up or my hair or memorizing highlights of designers collections. I have vivid memories of ogling the first Tom Ford collection for Gucci. I begged and begged until my less-than-wealthy family caved and let me go to the Chanel counter to buy a bottle of Vamp nail polish. I have a lot of girlie in me and that, mixed with my love of irreverence in most forms, made me the target Jezebel demographic.

Or almost. I remember getting an email to audition for commenter status on Jezebel the day before it launched. It was going to be the foul-mouthed, no holds barred, Joan Jett-ish sister of Cosmo and Vogue and Marie Claire and Glamour. It was going to out-Jane the sadly-departed Jane Magazine. I couldn’t fucking wait. And let me preface what I am about to write with the disclaimer that I still love Jezebel and read it daily. But now, years have passed since I was allowed into the gold gilded, lily-filled world of being a Jezebel commenter. And just like the day in junior high where you realize that your elementary school best friend is just not your best friend anymore, I have realized that Jezebel and I don’t agree on a lot of things. I find myself more amused and entertained by the boys over at Deadspin.

What made me realize this and, more importantly perhaps, why on God’s green earth does it matter? These are blogs, right? Not religious texts which have made you question your faith in a holy deity and re-evaluate your purpose on this planet, right? No. But if given thirty minutes to kill, I’m far more likely to check Deadspin or Jezebel than cracking open a King James or unfurling my Pocket Torah. And yesterday, Jezebel finally posted something so ridiculous that I had to break my silence. It was this seemingly innocuous and sparsely-commented-upon post.

I have an Enjoi hoodie that is the hoodie that all girls have. The one that is way too big and nice and thick and what they throw on if they need to run to the store. Mine has a panda bear on the front and I inherited it from a friend who happens to be stocky, male and gay as the day is long. Eventually, I exercised my garmet squatter’s rights and the hoodie was mine. While tossing into the laundry basket one day, I noticed the tag. One side said that the hoodie was made “100% in the USA in a sweatshop”. The reverse side of the tag gives me the standard washing instructions then adds that “Dirty Laundry Keeps Women Busy”. And here’s where I prepare for the inundation of sensible ballet flats to be hurled in my direction. I read the label, giggled and tossed it into the hamper. I have loaned the hoodie to people from time to time and always point out the label. It gets a little chuckle and then we all somehow manage to trudge on through our lives.

Apparently this label should have enraged me! I should be cutting the offensive tags out of every Enjoi sweatshirts I can get my delicate ladyhands on! I should be sending angry emails to the oppressive misogynists who run this 19th-ammendment-hating embarrassment of a company! I should be burning my bra at the steps of their modest company headquarters! I should be doing all of that! I should be enraged! This should offend me! I should NOT be laughing at what I see as an obvious attempt at a little buried, shock value humor. Eh oh. I’m sorry but I still laugh.

Do I believe that the folks over at Enjoi believe that I should be shoeless and pregnant in my kitchen right now? Nope. Let’s say that they do, which I think is a pretty big and ridiculous leap. So what? The tag in a sweatshirt does not have the power to oppress me because, well, how do I say this succinctly? It’s a fucking care instruction label on a sweatshirt. It in no way affects my life, the way the males in my life treat me (or to a deeper extent, how I allow them to treat me) and all it has ever done to me is explicitly warn me to not bleach my Enjoi hoodie. Trust me, I get where Jezebel is coming from. That allowing sexism to exist under the protective umbrella of satire is the primrose path to actual sexism. I’m just not buying it. Let’s see the first male (non-lobotimized) that has bought one of these garments and tries to convince any woman in his life that laundry does indeed keep women busy in a sincere tone of voice.

You have to pick your battles and I just don’t see how it helps your mission statement by looking for smoke where there is none and having very little sense of humor while you do it. I remember when the Tim Tebow Focus on the Family ad came on during this year’s Super Bowl. My first response: that was what everyone was in a tizzy over? My second thought: huh? That made no f’ing sense. Third thought: so why exactly did Tim Tebow just tackle his mom while she was talking? Fourth thought: why is a quarterback tackling anyone? Then came my fifth thought: I wonder how quickly someone on Jezebel will claim that the ad subversively (or even overtly) encourages violence against women?

It took about five minutes. I guess I don’t get the desperation to always find some sort of discrimination. Women have made great strides. One extremely strong piece of evidence of this is the fact that there so many of them who read, comment and support Jezebel. And I still do, daily. But I get beaten down by the party lines that they seem to take. Anything tainted with even the smallest hint of sexism, even if it is only in jest, must be torn down, destroyed and burned like an effigy of Evil Bert and Bin Laden. There can be no discussion of the current state of the Roman Polanski case that does not include a desire to hang the man by his toenails from the highest spire.

So, if an inanimate blog can read another inanimate blog, I want to say this to you, Jezebel. I agree with you about 90-95% of the topics you address and the opinions you eloquently state. The one about Sarah Palin being a ridiculous joke of a, well, almost anything she’s tried her hand at. The one about how Christina Hendricks is girl-crush worthy. The one about how the fashion industry inundates little girls with images of thinness in an attempt to shame them into becoming oppressed (but hot and skinny!) little submissive creatures.

Really, we are still friends. Just loosen the fuck up a little.


leecifer said...

i love you amanda cobra.

Anonymous said...

"Fourth thought: why is a quarterback tackling anyone?"

Tebow is special breed of qbs.

Watch him play? He is as known for his running as he is throwing. Which is not that special part since many qbs are like that.

The special part is he runs over his defenders on a regular basis. IN other words, the qb Tebow actually does more of the tackling while running with the football then those trying to tackle him.