Thursday, July 7, 2011

Top 5 Reasons why you shouldn’t judge me (and sometimes why you should):

(Spoiler alert: Beware of Guacamole loogies and leather-clad push-overs)

  1.  I like America’s Next Top Model, but mostly because the industry fascinates me. I know that many models have eating problems—once I heard a common trick they use is swallowing an orange juice soaked cotton ball, which, if you could get past the idea of eating a cotton ball soaked in citrus, it allegedly curbs the appetite for days. Seeing these on the big screen is sickly captivating. And even though it’s been preached to me in a million ways that the models “don’t really look like that”, seeing models with dark circles under their eyes and snaggle teeth still has shock value to me. I’m like “Whoa. They really don’t look ‘beautiful’ all the time.” Maybe you should judge me based on how naïve I am.
  2. I hate Harry Potter. The predictability makes me crazy. I read the first few books back in my early 20’s and I remember being on the last page of book four and thinking, I just read the same book 4 times, such is the cookie cutterness of HP. Everyone assures me that book 5 will change my perspective, that the story really kicks off there, but I’m am too jaded at this point. So my HP prose-spective remains unimpressed. However, I fully support my students’ obsession with YA literature. I say “Go for it. I don’t really care what you read, as long as you’re reading.” 
  3.  I wear ridiculously tall heels. I do. I wear heels so tall that when I walk down the stairs, I have to grip the handrail with white knuckles and take the staircase one step at a time.  Heels aren’t always comfortable, but I have new legs. I used to be 60 lbs heavier and now I have new athletic, limber legs which deserve to be put celebrated. I’m proud of them. You don’t put your wedding photos in a shoe box or a trophy in a closet, do you? No, you put your pics up on the wall in a fancy frame and your trophies in a display case or the mantel. Legs = trophy. Shoes = mantel. 
  4.  The lyrics may be catchy, clothes retro, and sideburns of one John Travolta dreamy, but Grease is a feminist nightmare. Sandy is glorified for changing her core beliefs for a man and mistakes sexual dominance for independence. In the beginning, the audience traipses through the film witnessing Sandy stand her ground about her beliefs and refusing to change for her summer love, Danny. Perhaps this doesn’t serve the sexual revolution, but as a feminist, I was proud of Sandy’s resolve all the way until the final scene; the scene in which Sandy transforms herself…for a man. It’s not as if she swapped out bad habits for good, which might be an acceptable transformation even if it was for a man, but no. Sandy demoralizes herself into a sex kitten with a smoking habit to appease Danny’s burning loins. You can tell by the way he devours her with his eyes while crooning:
I got chills.
They're multiplyin'.
And I'm losin' control.
'Cause the power
you're supplyin',
it's electrifyin'!

What power is Danny referring to? The tangible sexual vibe Sandy now emanates with sewn-on leather pants and an off the shoulder top? Even if Danny and Sandy’s relationship did result in a marriage, an institution that should foster equality, Sandy submissively caved at the pleading, manipulation, and peer pressure of her “friends” and boyfriend. The foundation of that hypothetical marriage would be built on Danny’s ideal of “if I push you the right way, I’ll get what I want. And what I want is you to be sexually appealing at all times”. Sex shouldn’t be the compass with which women use to navigate through life. It can be harbor on the journey (that’s up to you), but not the very compass. I suppose if I could change one thing about Sandy’s character, it would be that I wanted to see her voice become more powerful. I wanted her to be dynamic by breaking up with Danny, rattling off a Martin Luther King Jr. type speech on the acceptance of differences to Rizzo (maybe throw in some startling statistics about STD’s and a visual presentation of genital warts), and then removing herself from the toxic situation. Sandy could’ve been the epitome of an independent woman. Instead, she morphed into a sexual icon who will not be remembered for her hard work, intellect, aspirations, and sincerity. Sandy is remembered for her sexual prowess.   

5. I hate guacamole. It’s deceptive. It starts out a pleasant green, the kind of green that if it were craft paint it might be called, “baby cartoon frog”, but if you leave it out for a Mexican minute (this is a new term I invented that means for a short period of time. I don’t mean this derogatorily. It only refers to the way the Spanish language is quick and fluid to the ear…eh? Eh?) it turns into swamp monster green. And the texture! Guacamole slides across the tongue like a chunky loogie, invoking an involuntary retch. So next time you buy me Mexican food, order extra sour cream and no guac.


  1. 1. No judgement. In my own weight loss journey, there were days that cotton balls didn't sound like such a bad idea.
    2. Judged. On top of that judgement I'd like to add Goonies. What are you, a communist?
    3. No judgement. If you've got it, you've got it and don't apologize. You don't wear them to look more attractive to men or get attention in that way. You wear them as a sense of pride in your own self discipline in losing the weight and your new, hotter body.
    4. Only a tiny bit judged. I understand your point and agree to some degree, but I also love those lyrics and I guess I'm too absorbed in the catchy tunes to notice. I think we had a conversation once about this. Maybe it was just a couple of days ago at the movies. Maybe. I also take into account the time period in which it takes place. The 50s or 60s or whenever it was was a real bitch for women. I'm just glad she didn't show up in an apron and high heels to wait on him hand and foot. I have a sneaking suspicion that were they married, her newly found sassy pants-ness might tell him to get his own damn slippers after work. Possibly. I also plead not accountable for not catching on to that kind of stuff on account of getting my brain scrambled :)
    5. Soooooo not judged. That stuff is disgusting!

  2. I too am guilty of still loving the movie.

    It's kinda like how I still love U2 even though Bono put out two music videos for "Stuck in a Moment"; one international and one for the US, and the American version kinda made us look...stupid.

    I also feel the same way about Forest Gump. If ever a movie celebrates complacency, FG does. Yet, I can see other points of view including (but not limited to) the fact that it's a charming love story.

    Did I just open Pandora's Box?

  3. On the topic of Forrest Gump, I need more info on why you think it celebrates complacency. I just thought it was super-cool that someone with his obvious IQ challenges had the chance to do and experience some amazing things. Even if he had no idea of the significance. Again, however, I do tend to get sucked into story plots and ignore all other things. It's good for me to go back and reflect on the themes and undertones of the things I watch. I'm much better at it with books. Occupational hazard.

    As far as Pandora's box, maybe not so much. We can both respectfully agree and disagree and only break up over it occassionally. It's part of our charm :)

  4. As for 1, I love that show. I always feel worse about myself after I watch it, but I can't stop.

    And as for 4, while I mostly agree with you, remember that Danny changed for her, too. He took up track and stopped hanging around the greaser friends as much as he used to, and earned a letterman jacket for her. But the rest of what you said...sad but true.

  5. @ Shan, I'll have to find the article I read about it. I was pretty incensed at the time, but now I can't find the blasted thing. The theme was something like Gump's supporting characters all had ambitions and went out and tried to do something with their lives, only to meet crippling challenges. Gump coasted and life sort of cosmically handed him everything he needed. I'm not contesting that he didn't deserve it. He was a decent guy, but why when the other characters made plans and had goals, why were their end results so wrong. Can't there be more than one "right answer"?

    @Brandi. I know. Danny did make some attempts. Positive ones too. I think the strong female character (not un-flawed by any means) was Rizzo. She was a powerhouse, willing to take on challenges and unwilling to back down to a fight.

  6. Being mentally retarded is struggle enough in my book. He should get a break. We all have different crosses to bear. I may have strong feelings about this b/c I teach Flowers for Algernon to my 8th graders and I love Charlie and my heart aches for his struggles. I pretty much cry at the end of that book every time, and I'm just glad that Forrest doesn't know how deficient he is and the way people treat him because of it. Poor Charlie was really devastated when he realized that for himself.

    Look at me and my text to text connections :)

  7. Most of it's true. But some of us can't show off our shoes because we can't afford to.

  8. I'm not trying to devalue FG nor his metal state. I'm just saying that the juxtaposition b/n he and the other characters is very strong! I wanted there to be a non-complacent successful, happy character.
    I gotta find that article to clarify this. I feel like I'm jumbling everything.

  9. Ok, I want to start by saying I WANT YOUR SHOES! Also, I am with you on the guac... I want to like it, I try to like it, but it is gross. I love sour cream though! Good thing the fat free stuff tastes good or I would gain a pound a week on just sour cream.

  10. What goals are you talking about? As far as I remember, the supporting characters on Forrest Gump never really had goals. Unless you count Lt. Dan's plan on dying in the war, and Jenny's desire to get out of her abusive father's house. I suppose Bubba had a goal -to own a shrimp boat.
    And I don't think FG coasted. He ran back to save his squad, he ran his shrimp boat day in and day out despite not catching anything, he played ping pong obsessively. Sure he had plenty of lucky breaks, but he was ultimately successful because he worked hard and made good choices. I think that's one of the main points of the movie, the whole "stupid is as stupid does" line. Jenny was the 'smart' one, but she made really terrible choices and screwed up her life. Forrest was the 'dumb' one, but he didn't.

  11. Oh, and I totally agree on the whole Harry Potter thing. They're like reading a Mad Libs thing -the basic story is the same, only the details change.

  12. Apparently FG deserves its own blog post. Stay tuned.

  13. Rena, I love seeing you in high heels. You have great legs and sexy ankles. The end.



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