Welcome to the Chaos

You have stumbled upon the new blog (i.e. random babblings) of a quirky single mom. A shoot-from-the-hip, anti-pink (yet almost gaggingly perky), non-traditional, can cuss like a sailor but loves insanely and has the save the world syndrome gal who is bracing for a future as a Crazy Cat Lady though she secretly hopes like hell it doesn't come true. Enjoy your stay and feel free to say hi- I don't bite. Well, unless we're dating and you are into that type of thing or you contain peanut butter. >;-)

About Me

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Quirky single mom of two monkeys. I used to beat up the kids that picked on the "special students" during recess. Now I work with those with chronic mental illness. I speak quite a few languages, enjoy coed naked underwater basket weaving, have an addiction to Sushi and humor is my defense mechanism. Arrogant people make my right eye twitch. I'm ambidextrously brained, I will knit for tattoos, I am the friend that everyone comes to for advice and bail money. I pride myself on keeping my eyes, ears, heart and mind open. Making me laugh goes a long way with me, I think the brain is the sexiest organ and I'm the kinda gal you can take anywhere and I'll have a good time. Other than that, I'm just me.


Step Away From the Ginsus

Come sit a spell sisters, we need to have a lil chat. Actually what we really need is a shakabuku, otherwise known in Buddhist realms as a swift spiritual kick to the head that alters your reality forever. Let’s just start here first. You may wanna pop some corn or pour a glass of wine, this is going to take awhile and may hit ya as a surprise.

This post has been lurking within me for far too long now. A few recent events have had it building up and have now pulled it kicking and screaming out. Before I begin to run amuck with my babbling, let me hit you with my main point first.

As a gender my dear fellow proud females we, in many ways, have come so far. Yet, there is so much more that has to change. And you know what? It’s NOT the fault of men. It’s our own damn fault. Yup, you read that right. Welcome to the #truthbat. You will see it swung many a time in this post.

Seriously, we have got to stop treating each other and ourselves like shit. You can argue with me all day long that is men that “make us” act the way we do. But, that’s complete bullshit. Bottom line is we alone control our own actions and REACTIONS and it’s time we put our big girl panties on together as a gender and accept that. #truthbat

Woah! Where is all this coming from? It’s a culmination of many things really. A sweet and sour mixture of good, bad, ugly and beautiful. It comes from being proud to be a woman. It come from single-handedly trying to raise lil girls that hopefully will one day grow to be proud breast-toters in the future. It comes from realizing that stereotypes exist that shouldn’t. It comes from people screaming about unhealthy and unrealistic body images thrust forth on our younger gender, yet little has been actually done to truly change those images, those expectations. It comes from “feminists” screaming that bearing cleavage to raise awareness for breast cancer or to prove some whacked out scientist wrong that claims the world will end in a giant earthquake due to women’s breasts is appalling and takes our gender back to the stone ages. It comes from witnessing backstabbing galore and us tearing each other down instead of supporting and building each other up. Most importantly, it comes from having some beautiful, amazing women in my life that remind me on a daily basis what it SHOULD be like.

Not long ago I had a friend ask me for my opinion on Erykah Badu’s newest video for “Window Seat.” Rather than describe the video for you, as seen through my eyes, I am linking it here so you can see it through your own.

Erykah Badu- Window Seat, Unedited

So, I watched it and gave him my opinion. We discussed the feedback he had been given and sent me a link to comments on it. The comments surprised me so much, I then went searching the internet for more. In all honesty, this post began with those comments. That’s how long this has been brewing. Over all most of the responses were really quite positive. Of the negative ones (and I mean really negative not the random “damn she got a big ass”) 98% of the ones I read were from WOMEN. Of those, the majority were down right brutal. “Bitch” was used abundantly to refer to her and many women went so far as to talk shit about how many baby daddies she has. Seriously? You really had to take it to that level?

I will let you watch the video and come to your own conclusion. Your own idea of who “us” is. In the event you miss what she says at the end, I am placing it here for you to read:

“They who play it safe are quick to assassinate what they do not understand. They move in packs, ingesting more and more fear with every act of hate on one another. They feel most comfortable in groups… less guilt to swallow. They are us. This is what we have become… afraid to respect the individual.”

For me, “us” is we women.

We have all heard the old joke “Get more than two women together in the same room and there’s gonna be some drama.” You know what, on some levels, it’s right. And it’s our fault. #truthbat

Why is that? In nature it is the male of the species that puff up their chest and fights over territory. Yet, we puff up our hair, implant our chests, slap on war paint and sharpen our claws. Against EACH OTHER. We claim oppression, we scream for equality, we outwardly protest and scoff the media and entertainment industry’s portrayal of what we are “supposed” to look and even act like, yet what do we DO to actually CHANGE it? In fact, we actually INFLICT those very same things on EACH OTHER. #truthbat

One of the “we’ve come a long way, but we should be so much further along” moments of late brings me back to my arch enemy- Barbie. I never liked her growing up and as an adult she makes my right eye twitch. I remember the vote, I remember quite a few of my sexy sisters in geekdom that were shocked when I was not as excited as many were that Barbie’s new “career” that won out was Computer Engineer Barbie. The plan and simple answer to that was “they’re gonna screw her up and she’s gonna look ridiculous.” I tried to think positive, I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt. I ignored all the hype around it and then one day took a deep breath and looked at the finished product they had come up with. I cocked my head to the side and fought the “yup ridiculous.” I really did. Then I took a close look and blurted out a good ole fashioned “what the fuck?” Her breasts were clearly smaller than the rest of the Barbies on the market. I was pissed. (I know, I realize the irony in me being pissed that the unrealistic body Barbie struts around in is actually becoming more realistic. But, to my defense, it’s the fact that it was done so on the one Barbie I can relate too. That older generations have viewed women with larger breasts as stupid and now the computer engineer needs to have smaller boobs hit close to home for me.)

I also was ready to fight on it. One thing about me though, is I never fight without knowing the facts behind what I am fighting about. So, I researched. I found many articles citing the smaller breasts on the Computer Engineering Barbie. With side by sides to prove it. I also found a quote from Mattel that stated that it coincides with their attempt at “depicting a more realistic and healthy body type.” You know what else I found? That they actually worked with the Society of Women Engineers and the National Academy of Engineering to develop the wardrobe and accessories for her. They tried. Her sparkly spandex pants make me cringe, no laptop a true computer engineer would use at work comes in pink and the high heels are questionable. But, she’s Barbie. One can’t expect Mattel to completely buck their standards for her in order to represent one profession. And maybe she had a presentation to do that day. Yup, I am wielding the #truhbat on my own self. The “should be further along” applies just as much to me as it does to Barbie in this case.

I know despite the vast differences between how this doll looks and what she portrays and me, that there may be an opportunity for girls to get more interested in becoming geek girls. I know no matter these differences that it does not make me any less a geek girl, any less me. I know that Barbie has never and will never define ME. I also know that we need to make sure that all our lil girls out there know that no doll, no actress, no pop singer, no rocket scientist, no quirky single mom writing blogs, NO ONE ELSE PERIOD defines THEM. THEY define them. In their own ways. On and in their own terms.

Now while Barbie is busy turning her headlights down a notch, ABC and FOX are busy banning Lane Bryant’s most recent commercial. ABC’s stance is the commercial is “too sexy for primetime.” They specifically cited “too much cleavage” as well. Lane Bryant purchased a time slot during Dancing With the Stars for this mind you. The same time slot that Victoria’s Secret has aired their commercials during. Fox used the excuse the commercial “is too long.” It’s 25 seconds. FOX did end up caving and aired the commercial once at the end of American Idol after Lane Bryant threatened to pull ads with them entirely.

Again, I will let you decide. Here is the infamously banned Lane Bryant commercial: I want to note a further frustration. This morning while I was grabbing the link to this video, the one viewed by over 1 million people came with a disclaimer "This video or group may contain content that is inappropriate for some users, as flagged by YouTube's user community." and stated I must log in as proof I am over 18 to view. Seriously??? The same disclaimer better be on the Victoria's one I'm going to pull next.

Banned Lane Bryant Commercial (almost 300K viewed deemed not inappropriate)

Here is Victoria’s Secret’s “What is Sexy” commercial that has aired on both ABC and FOX during prime time. (Note the Vickie’s commercial length of 1 minute) New note: I clicked on 23 different Victoria's Secret commercials all viewed hundreds of thousands to millions of times, not a warning on a single one of them. And ya know what, Lane Bryant's model doesn't grind and roll around all lustful looking like the Vickie's ones do. Oh the eye twitch.

Personally I think it’s insane that Lane Bryant’s ad was even remotely questioned. And it has nothing to do with the fact that my body looks like hers and not a Victoria’s Secret model. It has to do with the mockery that is the double standard that is presented. If the tables were flipped I’d be saying the same thing.

But, that is just my opinion on the matter. I, again, went searching for other people’s opinions. Women specifically for the sake of this blog. You know what I found? A boatload of women that AGREED with the banning. One woman stated “It’s not the cleavage that’s the issue, it’s the size. There is like a gallon of boob poured into each cup. It’s too distracting.” And there were women that agreed with her. On another site, a woman said “Who cares if you can relate to her more because she’s fat (and she is.) Her face is pretty but her body is another thing. Models are models because they look good and take great photos…stop lowering the standards to make yourselves feel better.” And ya know what? Yup, there were women that agreed with her too.

So, a lil something to think about while you are making your decision on this- according to a vast array of resources, the average US woman wears a size 14. Ashley Graham, the Ford Model in the Lane Bryant commercial is a size 16. Alessandra Ambrosio, one of the models that Victoria’s Secret uses most, is a US size 4.

Women come in all shapes and sizes and we buy bras and underwear. As consumers we buy MANY things. Hell, we’re known as “shoppers.” The way we are targeted in advertising in general is a whole debatable topic in itself. But it is this one example that I am using. Not only is the banning of this commercial concerning to me, so are the reactions and, in some ways more so, the LACK of reactions. Double standards of any type are a slippery slope. A slope that we as women need to climb, TOGETHER.

Together is one of the main themes in this ever-growing post of mine. Because of the length that it has already achieved, it will be the main topic of my follow up post to this that I have already written. But I want to give you the opportunity to digest this chunk first.

No matter how different every human being is from the next one, the mere fact we are human beings gives us a commonality. There are always things that we can relate to with someone that is even our direct opposite. But to do that means to step out of our comfort zone for some. To do that means to take the time to have an open mind, open eyes, open ears, open heart. The fact that we are all women makes us that much more closer to those commonalities. To similar struggles. Struggles that would be far less if we stopped stabbing each other in the back and knocking each other down.

If we put the Ginsu knives down and stepped away.


Kylee Lane said...

I. Love. You.

I cussing love Badu and that was the first time I had ever seen that that video. The only thing that comes to mind is FUCK she has a beautiful body and she used that to make a very serious point to hit home. I found it quite amazing...

We don't watch TV in our house. Specifically for crap like the Victoria commercial... The Bryant one? VERY tasteful. VERY. (Thank you for all of the links you include by the way...)

Im rambling.

My point.

A lot of us dont know how to articulate the pain behind being *bigger* and when we stand up and say "FUCK YOU I am just going to be ME" we then get called slutty, arrogant, fat, selfish...all of that other crap...

I am one of those people who doesn't know how to make my words as powerful as you do (I envy and adored your verbiage) But I will without hesitation, take of my shirt in public to prove a point. Stretch marks, cellulite, extra pounds and all. It isn't about being overweight and wanting excuses, it is about BEING COMFORTABLE IN OUR SKIN.

I dont even know how to say it, but you are SO amazing and I am glad there is someone like you out there. ♥

UberDorkGirlie said...

Ok... 1. I'm totally crying right now and want to reach through this screen and hug the hell out of you, then lift shirts and bump bellies. :) b. YOU ARE ONE OF THE BEAUTIFUL, AMAZING WOMEN IN MY LIFE THAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT (yes that required caps) and you will be all over part two of this. #youvebeenwarned :) I truly love you doll!! :)

Nicole Wakelin said...

Amen! I am raising two little girls as well, and it is horribly frustrating to see how ready women are to take each other down. And how ready they are to jump on the "bandwagon of the moment" and decry the evils of sexuality in marketing and condemn any who don't agree with their exact point of view.

Honestly, if we could all just stop being so critical of each other, of our size, shape, likes, dislikes, clothes, cars, all that stuff that means so little to who we really are inside, imagine what that would be like? How much unnecessary stress and frustration could be removed from all of our lives if we could just refocus our energies in a positive, productive direction?

Bus said...

Yes. I agree that Women are their own Worst Enemy even though I kinda took the stereotypical position that it's "Man's Fault" in my last post. I guess I have the same position with Women that I have with Blacks, yes, outside forces are at play...but ultimately it's the responsibility of every group and individual to act in their own best interests. And when I asked around about Hillary Clinton during the election, the most sexist comments I heard came from WOMEN which shocked me. So I agree with you.


Being that I am that friend who introduced the Erykah Badu video to you ;-), I think the controversy proves my point that the video was ineffective. If Men watch the video and their initial impression is "She got a big DONK!"...and many women watch the video and their initial impression is "She is a self-exploiting herself!"...then she failed her intended objective. My argument is, "I agree with her message...but could she have used another means to communicate that message that wouldn't distract from it?" There are a lot of things I oppose. But I know it's counterproductive for me to shake my d*ck in public to raise attention to my position. Between writing a blog that few will read, and shaking my d*ck at the Circus Parade, I think there are other things I can do to raise public awareness to the issues and my position.

So ultimately, I think the video was a failure because the debate is still about the video and Erykah Badu's character and not an intellectual discussion about the message she raised. I think my plan to shake my d*ck at Summerfest to Bring the Troops home would be a failure too. ;-)

But yeah, you're right...I wish Women would hold THEMSELVES more accountable for their actions. I try to treat every woman better than they treat themselves and I often get criticized for it....by Women. But in the moments I get frustrated and stop valuing Women to serve whatever selfish needs I may have at that time...I get a ton of LOVE and APPRECIATION for it. I refuse to compromise my character and values and give it "Rough" to Women even though that's what many seem to value the most.

So please keep up the good fight and teach young women how to value and appreciate not only themselves, and each other, so hopefully the next generation of Boys can grow into Men who are held to a higher standard by Women than I am currently.

Now I'm returning to Twitter to shake my d*ck for laughs. ;-)


PS - Why don't my blog have a comment section? :-)

Philip said...

Bravo! I have a son and daughter. I am well aware of the world in which we live and what horrendous things Hollywood/Advertising/Marketing/TV/Etc. is trying to teach my kids. I'm appalled at what "they" think the world should be. They are so far off the mark!

My ex-wife watches shows like the biggest loser with my daughter and son. My daughter now points out people who "need to be skinny" and such. I find woman like in the Victoria Secret videos, unattractive and nearly anorexic. It's NOT real! I try to tell my daughter that people are who they are. That you cannot pass judgement on them because of "how they look". Her mother says, that yes they can do something about it, they're just too lazy. That's NOT the point and that is SO FAR OFF what is right! She shouldn't be even telling her that!

My Ex, for years, while we were married went on and on about how she was overweight or "fat" as she called it. I disagreed until I was blue in the face. I tried and tried to convince her otherwise - she said I was a liar! I loved her for who she "is" and never gave body image a second thought. What do you do when you have to fight an uphill battle that you can never win? I mean, hell fire and damnation! She had to have emergency surgery to remove her gall bladder because she went on diet pills in college, just to lose weight. She now announced she is going to get a "tummy tuck" because after all the dieting and gym time, she can't lose anymore. WHERE THE HELL DOES THIS STOP??? My daughter will most likely end up anorexic or bulemic because of this. Or even so messed up in the head she can't be "herself"! And what's worse, my son is now worried that because he has a little "belly" showing, he's going to be fat and unattractive...WTH?

It has to stop somewhere, right?

I'd love to stand up and say what you've said. I can't! Why? I'm a man - I'd be thrown off the podium before I even uttered a word because I'm a man. I've lived the "otherside" of what you've said - I hate and despise what is being done!

So what you have said here and pointed out is the truth - beyond words or feelings that I can't express - I've lived this nightmare!

Please never stop being you and pointing out the truth for the rest of us. We all need to know this. I only hope someday it will change. But it will only change when we all stand up and put an end to all of it!

Lord Bif said...

I am just glad there are women out there that see this. I have spent a large part of my life as the big brother, the guy that is always there for his female friends when they do something self destructive. I like that someone out there is calling the self destructive behavior out. And, I call it all self destructive behavior because if you bring other women down you are bringing all women down, yourself included.

There is also plenty us guys can learn from this post. Guys do plenty of our macho crap to tear each other apart.

We all need to just be us, and let the guy or gal next you be themselves. It's hard, but if we all do, it'll get easy.

Becky said...

Natali-I freaking LOVE YOU! Seriously...get out of my head. Minus the Computer Engineering Barbie, these are topics that I have been discussing often lately and that bother me as well. I couldn't have ever articulated this as well as you and I am soooo glad you did! I'm a total fan of #truthbat and we need more of it!

Anonymous said...

Hey Nat, I'm happy you DID decide to work on the blog ASAP. As I had indicated to you last week, I completely agree with you that we women must be more supportive of each other. I have been guilty of this in the past. I will say that I was so conflicted about my own self-worth and self-image that I didn't know how to love others without being critical or judgmental because at the end of the day I was transferring my own self-reflection onto others (i.e. I don't like the way my belly looks in that dress, so that person who looks similar to me must also not like the way they look). Bottom line: we need to improve our own self-image and self-worth in order to break this cycle. Until we are truly confident enough about who we are and what we have to offer, we will resort to attacking others because it provides us with temporary gratification that we are a little better in comparison to others. It's unfortunate, really. But, one woman at a time, we can change this if we simply lead by example.

puggimer said...

Excellent post as always. What I can't help being reminded of is Bill Cosby saying something very similar to the black community : http://www.californiaindianeducation.org/indian_humor/blame_whites.html

Of course my views are biased, because I happened to have the misfortune of being born to the worst group of oppressors known to humanity - a white male. I also make the mistake of supporting my own family instead of making the government do it, so of course my opinions can't be valid at all. :-)

And to top it off, I think Ashley Graham is the best looking of all those models, hands down. Women are supposed to have curves, and they should be celebrated.

Jamie said...

I think the Erykah Badu video is really interesting. Anyone who is completely themselves out in the world is naked and unprotected. They or their true impulses are eliminated immediately through censure, violence, being taken into custody or, worst of all, becoming invisible. At its basic, this is how culture is formed. Studies have shown that the one thing you can't take away from a healthy group of kids is the power to exclude. Sounds crazy, right? We want to think of ourselves as inclusive, open-minded, accepting. We want the world to get with the program and stop shitting on people. Never going to happen. Without social pressure, we aren't really social, really a culture. Flip that over, and you've got social pressure available to you when our right to exclude goes too far, like the current sizism. It's all self hatred and it's hard for me to get real angry about that. Women have been raised terrified of being fat. Skinny women feel it, fat women live it. If they embrace size they risk becoming something they fear. Same old story about fear=oppression, right? But this one will be the hardest one to overcome, ever. People who would never use a racial slur, make a sexist comment, or tell a homophobic joke will still define people by their size. My own father in law calls people big or fat, right in front of my size 20 self and my kids. I wonder, is he trying to make my kids hate me? The answer is no, what he is, really, is completely unconscious. Despite all this, I see things changing. The fact that the Lane Bryant commercial even got made, and eventually aired, shows a change in consciousness that has already affected a large portion of the population. The shrill screaming of its opposers sound like the death cries of an old world view to me. Feel the power sisters, its already in our hands.
If nothing else, read this terrific post again and think on how much the conversation about size has changed in the last 10 years. Fucking revolutionary, don't you think?
Edit: As I tried to write this I was distracted by my 14 yo son's friend describing the 5 degrees of Fat... and it was as offensive as you're probably imagining. Well. Consciousness raising starts when your friend's mother beats the crap out of you, right?

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