Us Against Them Is Not-So Dead and Gone

I haven’t been posting lately, for which I apologize. I’ve been a tired little girl, falling asleep at nine or ten o’clock every day, meaning I have traded in my blogging me time for listening-to-the-radio-in-the-car-on-my-way-home-from-work me time. And I have to say I’ve enjoyed being in-the-know about what’s out there in the land of pop music. Because let’s be honest, I love the same music as most 14 year old girls. Continue reading

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Rain or Shine

It’s almost Super Bowl time, and I’m in a prime location. This year, for a limited time only, Maggie G is broadcasting live from Pennsylvania. I’m living just outside of Allentown, which puts me in prime Eagles territory. And I have to tell you, I’m excited at the prospect of an all-Pennsylvania showdown. Continue reading

Poison!

I’ve made my 1980’s yearbook picture, turned myself into a Simpson’s character, and even an M&M. But today I think I finally discovered the most poisonous online time-waster yet. Did you know I Can Has Cheezburger has a page for you to create your own LOLz??

Neither did I. But I do now. Witness, Kennedy pleading to Boyf: Please Boyf, don’t make me into a sandwich.

I might never be productive again.

I might need to go on the LOL Patch . . .

I might need to go on the LOL Patch . . .

Saddle Up: I’m Back In

She's Back!

She's back!

I’m the girl with the tattoo of a number-two pencil – the girl who would slip a work-in-progress novel beneath her math notebook in the eighth grade so she could write without the teacher noticing.

I’m the girl who sent letter after letter to her favorite author in the first grade, until she finally responded with a pink post card.

I’m the girl who got in trouble for starting a sentence with “And” in the first grade, only to tell her teacher, “It’s not that I don’t know the rules. Dr. Seuss said in an interview once, that once you know the rules, you need to start breaking them.”

I’m that girl.

When I was in college (I hate this phrase. Not only does it make me feel old to say it, though I only graduated four months ago, it also makes me feel as though I’m one of those washed-up, gas-pumping former quarterbacks yearning for the glory days), I got to write all the time.

There was news class for my news writing, The Student Voice, for the occasional column or features article, and women’s studies for 7-page academic papers about the feelings inspired by menarche. Not a week went by without at least 10 pages of writing.

Sigh. Ok. I’m a washed-up, gas-pumping former quarterback.

I went from being the girl who would spend her spare hours in the library, reading and writing, tabbing her text books, and pleasure reads with colored sticky-notes, marking a passage, paragraph or phrase that inspired me to a couch potato.

I think I lost that loving feeling.

Exhibit One: I didn’t even remember my password to log into my blog. It’s been that long.

Exhibit Two: I haven’t read a whole book since I graduated in May. I want to, believe me, but for some reason I just cant motivate myself to actually do it. Maybe it’s because my light switch is so far away from my bed, or because I’m so tired at night – either way, I have gotten halfway through three separate books without taking the plunge with any of them.

Exhibit Three: While I used to have a devout allegiance to only one show on television (R.I.P. Gilmore Girls, I will love you forever), my roomies and I now spend a considerable amount of our evening hours wrapped up in prime-time entertainment.

I have a favorite tiny tot on John and Kate Plus 8it’s Aaden in case you were wondering, he’s just so cute with his big head and tiny glasses – and grew visibly upset when my favorite Top Model contestant was given the stiletto boot last night. I defend Kenley‘s designs on Project Runway, devour the vapid and trashy weekly action on 90210, and admittedly cant get enough Privileged. I even recently signed up for a Netflix account so I could watch the previous season’s Gossip Girl, and get on the ball with what’s going on now. And don’t forget the season premiere of The Office tonight.

I know this is a lot of dirty laundry to air in a blog, but I just feel as though healthy relationships cannot sustain themselves without a high regard for honesty. So I’m going to take the leap. I’m committing myself to getting back to my non-washed up, touch-down-pass throwing self.

The Impatient Kayaker

lifesaver.pngI have a little problem with patience. I blame one of the kids I went to elementary school with. He and I were always battling to see which one of us was a little bit smarter than the other. After a couple years, we realized we got the same scores on just about every test we ever took, so we began competing to see who could finish the test first.

Of course I wish this had never happened, because to this day, I have to be the first in the lecture hall to turn in my Scantron sheet. 100 multiple choice questions — that should take no more than 15 minutes, right? And three essay questions — that’s 40 minutes tops.

I have only recently begun to allow myself to re-check my test after I’m done filling in the bubbles, applying hints the professor might have accidentally left in the end of the test to correct mistakes I may have made on the first couple pages. And I don’t turn in first drafts as papers any more. They may be A material in high school, but it only took one semester at SU to learn that they’re B+ at best. If nothing else, there’s always going to be a careless typo on the third page. Despite this realization, I still like to bang out a 10 page paper in no more than four hours.

I suffer from severe and chronic impatience. Being last, for me, was just never an option. So you can imagine how distressing it can be to feel like one of the only seniors at Syracuse University with absolutely no clue what I’m going to do after graduation. All four of my roommates have their plans all made up in their heads. They know the want to do Teach For America, or graduate school, or which area they are going to move to after graduation so they can dive into their chosen field.

I don’t even have a time zone figured out. Alaska sounds nice. So does Alabama. Not to mention my overwhelming love for Washington, D.C. — what I wouldn’t give to go back there, or another top market like Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, or New York. But what are the chances of that for someone fresh out of journalism school, battling against the hundreds (more like thousands) of recently unemployed journalists who have lost their jobs due to buyouts and budget cuts.

I look at my friends who have already applied to fellowship programs, law schools, and top-notch jobs and wonder how they decided their choices were for them. Don’t get me wrong; I know I want to be in the journalism field. I’ve known for… well, forever. I want to work as an editor and move my way up the ranks, but the question is, where do I want to start? Does it matter?

vacationclub.gifPart of me wants to do something exciting, like pack up two suitcases and drive my station wagon out to Montana for a three-year stint at a newspaper in the middle of nowhere. Another part wants to move to the city on a wing and a prayer. Still another part wants to stay within a two-hour radius of at least one of my best friends, so I don’t have to go on this new adventure all by myself.

But while it’s exciting and invigorating to think that six months from now I could be anywhere in North America, it’s also scary to think that for the first time in my life I have no idea what the next step is. And it’s even scarier to think that I might be in last place for once — the undecided boat is quickly emptying out, and before I know it I’m going to be paddling alone to God knows where.

In the mean time, I guess I’ll just learn to swim in case of emergency.

Stock Clipart

Disney is Still Killing Feminism

“I can’t even watch television any more!” Kayleigh complained a couple weeks ago as we hung around on the couch during a rare bit of down time. “Everything I see just frustrates me!”

Women’s studies, we decided, was ruining our lives. Everything from tampon commercials to made-for-TV movies and Disney Channel reruns made our inner feminists cringe. Female actresses were complaining about petty and stereotypical situations, while fitting into the miniscule clothing laid out for women on the small screen and giving into the needs of boyfriends and male bosses.

We discussed the ways our women’s studies classes were polluting our minds, making it impossible to accept things at face value, turning us into what others may perceive as argumentative and bitter feminists, a stereotype we try hard to disprove. For Kayleigh, she was often made to feel guilty for her long-term relationship with her boyfriend, Jeff, who does not openly embrace feminist ideology. For me, I was made to feel guilt about putting on makeup and styling my hair in the morning.

There was only one solution: we ordered pizza and “bitched” — a term that clearly oppresses women, by the way — about the ways society portrays women while watching television and scrunching our faces in disgust as we saw pharmaceutical and dating ads that proceeded to push women into a socially constructed box.

It was not a good night.

Then tonight while I was getting my things together to come home for Thanksgiving, I sat down on the couch where Kayleigh was watching “Sister, Sister,” one of my favorite TV shows from my youth. “Of course they have to have the long-term boyfriends,” Kayleigh said.

And all of a sudden it was back in my mind. I began to pick apart the rest of the episode. The girls were called frivolous, and accused of only loving to shop and talk on the phone. There were two “cat fights” in the episode, and one of the twins ended the episode by skipping out on work to be with her boyfriend for the evening. It mattered more, she said.
I expressed my frustration to Kayleigh, who was watching silently on the next couch over. “Well, what’s the big deal about that one? It doesn’t always have to be career first, Maggie,” she said.

And she’s right. It doesn’t always have to be career first, but is this teaching young girls about the ways to responsibly juggle being in a relationship and being successful in the business field? No.

But when I relayed this thought to Kayleigh, she replied, “Tia and Tamera are actually really empowered women.”
This is true, too. I always thought of them as pretty independent young women, and I looked up to them as role models when I was younger. But this might be why it’s so problematic. If the “empowered” television characters are exhibiting these kinds of weaknesses to be seen by young adolescent girls, then what are these viewers going to think?

My guess is that they’re going to think you have to choose your battles. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, right? Well, I disagree with this. Granted this television show is more than a decade old now, and some advancements have been made in the genre, but I would love, love, love to see a likeable — hell, lovable — young feminist character that young women can look up to and admire.

The Price is Wrong

At the ripe old age of 162, I couldn’t help but think that Bob Barker still had that spark.  Sure, he had been a member of the geriatric population for my entire life, but there was something about him that just made sense.  A man like Bob Barker could be sexist, calling his spokeswomen “Barker’s Beauties,” and for some reason I wouldn’t even care.

He had that soothing voice, that made me feel like all my troubles would just melt away once I decided whether the stainless steel refrigerator was more than $700.  And for some reason my grandmother — my grandmother who spent most of her life bickering — was so infatuated with him that she taught her bird two words, and two words only: Bob Barker.  Bob Barker was and will always be a panty-dropper.  It’s science.

Drew Carey, on the other hand, is no panty-dropper.  When I think of Drew Carey, I think of my childhood introduction to prime time television.  I would sit on the couch with my sister while Mom and Dad sat in their chairs, and week after week I would watch Drew NOT get laid.

Is this the best we can do?  Sure, I’ll admit it: Drew Carey makes me laugh.  I love Whose Line is it Anyway, and there’s something about that skinny tie and thick-rimmed glasses that makes me chuckle.  But when women watch The Price is Right, do they want to chuckle?  No.  They want to fall in love with a mildly creepy old man.  Drew Carey is a mildly creepy middle-aged man, and I for one will not stand for it.

Think about it.  Drew Carey was basically chosen to play the role of a young Bob Barker.  He’s like the new James Bond.  Did they follow Sean Connery (another distinguished, lady-pleasing gentleman of a certain generation) with a 1970’s nerd?  No.  They replaced him with Roger Moore, and then Pierce Brosnan down the line!  Eat your heart out, Drew Carey.

And think about all the other times these distinguished men are replaced or portrayed by a younger man.  In the upcoming film about Hugh Hefner’s life, Leonardo DiCaprio is starring in the title role.  Leonardo DiCaprio!  He’s so hot he turned the sinking of the Titanic into a steamy love story that my 11-year-old self could not get enough of.  He is actually making people care about global warming with his documentary The 11th Hour.  To be quite honest, he makes me want to drive a Prius.

So, a public service announcement to the great people of America.  I am all for looking for the good in people beneath the surface.  Just because someone is not an incredibly good looking person does not mean they don’t have other endearing qualities.  Believe me, I hate the patriarchal cycle in this country that forces men and women to look a certain way, or feel inadequate if they don’t.

But when it comes to The Price is Right, embrace the cycle.  Embrace it like it were Plinko.  Save The Price is Right.  Hire Pierce Brosnan.