Oxygen: Television for Morons

I was in the midst of a romantic rendezvous with Across the Universe’s leading man, Jim Sturgess, when uninvited noise and clatter began entering my dream. Suddenly my delusions became dark and ridden with anxiety as I struggled to open my eyes. My make up from the night before had become a sticky glue. As I pealed my eyes open I directed them towards the television screen that lay before me. Sick with hangover and trapped helplessly between the cushions of an old leather sofa I began to comprehend what I was watching. What I saw disturbed and confused me. “What is this?” I muttered into the leg which lay next to my head. “It’s the Bad Girl’s Club. It’s awful but I can’t stop watching.” My friend sat staring off in a morbid trance. Rather than protesting I slid up on the couch and joined her.

If you have never seen Oxygen’s hit show The Bad Girl’s Club I would like you to first take a moment to congratulate yourself on not falling victim to mindless reality television. The series encompasses girl on girl victimization, violence, alcoholism, and overt sexuality. So basically, it’s old fashioned fun for the whole family. For whatever reason nine or so girls are placed in a lavish mansion in Beverly Hills, CA where they are pumped with alcohol and rewarded for their “bad” behavior with cheap fame. There is no lesson to be learned or encouragement to change their ways, only camera crews willing to instigate drunken fist fights and orgies. The Bad Girl’s Club is essentially Girl’s Gone Wild, gone mainstream.

Unfortunately this is most likely why it is Oxygen’s most popular, (possibly only popular) series. In today’s shock hungry society sex and violence sells and women are paying the price. So why then, would a television network who claims to be for women, exploit women? It’s simple really, the Oxygen network is playing into the market allotted for them by popular culture. Creating dramatic reality shows which display “independent” women as shameless, violent, lushes feeds the anti-feministic stereotype which our society has grown to love.

“See dude, bitches are crazy.” I cocked my head to the left to see where the voice was coming from. An unidentified male sat on the couch opposite from me and slurped up the pink milk from his fruity pebbles as he spoke, “Like this is why girls shouldn’t live together, you guys are catty and just plain nuts.” I turned back to the T.V. in time to witness drinks being thrown and hair being pulled. A one hour show had managed to push women’s efforts back to the stone age for my age group. Thank you Oxygen, for making my life as a twenty something feminist that much harder.

One must understand that I’m not basing my entire opinion on the effects of this show on someone who already refers to women as “bitches”, but at the same time isn’t this the reaction it evokes from it’s viewers? This series avidly promotes girl on girl violence as well as competitiveness which is a debilitating issue for women as is. These producers are banking on young women dividing and conquering each other like gamblers who throw down money at a cock fight.

I rolled from the couch and stumbled awkwardly into the nearby kitchen. As I sat down at the table I could still hear muffled screams from the television. I gained the strength to leave when seven girls attacked one girl in an argument on of all things, who was the “baddest bitch” in the house. Our stomachs turn when we see homemade videos of girls mercilessly attacking other girls on CNN, and think what has the world come to? Where did they learn this?  Well, this is where they learned it. Women learn to hate and to hurt at different levels through out their lives and competitiveness is intrinsically integrated into all parts of our culture, but it is here, on a television network targeted toward women where this kind of disgusting behavior is so obviously played out. It’s as if The Bad Girl’s Club is a step by step guide on how to exactly fit the stereotype of the new American woman.


Can’t Buy Me Love

Many single women, including myself, use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to binge drink, cry, and eat an entire pint of Cookie Dough ice cream. The important thing to realize here is that being alone on this “magically romantic” day does not mean that you’re unlovable or somehow less than perfect. All that it actually means is that you’re single. What boggles my mind is how advertisement and perpetuated pressure can make a woman feel sorry for herself for not being in love, when she ordinarily wouldn’t. The Kay Diamond commercials on the radio, the pink heart decorations that surround the office, and the heart shaped boxes of chocolates seem to scream in the faces of single women everywhere that there is something wrong with them. February 14th is just a day, but what it symbolizes has become a cultural expectation.

It should come as no surprise that Valentine’s Day is a holiday created by corporations to buy and sell products. Yes, it’s true that Cupid is a capitalist. I’m not sure what St. Valentine did but I’m fairly certain he didn’t run around giving roses to lovers and handing out heart shaped boxes of chocolates. Love is real and love should be celebrated but it should be celebrated everyday. Why should we as Americans pick one day out of the year to show our partners what they mean to us? Furthermore, why should we choose material gifts to express our feelings, isn’t love more sacred than that?

My mother has always told me that, “You don’t need to give each other junk. If you love each other then that’s enough of a gift. Well, and if you have a joint checking account then buying some stupid gift with half of the other persons money is just retarded.” After excusing her bluntness one must agree that she has a point. The only thing that Valentine’s Day actually accomplishes is cheapening the sanctity of marriage, love, and relationships. No material object should ever be used to prove your love for someone else, only loyalty, trust, and communication can do that.  One day doesn’t become more important than another simply because it’s stamped on a calendar or advertised on T.V..

I could go on hating Valentine’s Day because the one year I actually was in love on this day, I walked in on him having sex with another girl, jerk. However, in doing that I must also take responsibility for the fact that he didn’t love me back. The truth is, he was a terrible person and I walked in on him having sex with other girls more than once.  If I had understood that Valentine’s Day wasn’t a real holiday, then I probably wouldn’t have been as bitter.

Couples should stop buying into the idea of Valentine’s Day, just as single men and women should stop using it as an excuse to throw themselves a  pity party. So to the lovers who read my blog, instead of buying your loved one overpriced jewelry or a cheap teddy bear just keep appreciating them. However, I don’t see anything wrong in drinking a bottle of wine and treating yourself to a high calorie chocolate dessert, because let’s be honest ladies we all need an excuse to indulge ourselves sometimes.

College Mating Rituals: Grinding

I want to first begin by informing you that I got this picture off of secretsofclubdance.com and no, that is not a joke. It’s a step by step guide on how to look like a total jackass in the club while at the same time impressing that hot chick who’s throwing up in the nearest trashcan. Cool, bro you won’t even need roofies!

As a senior in college I am no stranger to the club scene or the choice of dance for this generation, I’m speaking of course about grinding. Sure, the roaring 20’s gave birth to Swing, the 50’s had the Sock Hop, The 70’s brought with it the disco era, but what does generation Y have to show for itself? Grinding, the act of assuming an ass up position so that some gelled up frat boy can rub is crotch all over it, awesome!

Now, ladies I know very well that grinding isn’t always a consensual act. Most of us don’t slip on our highest heels and swallow down our cranberry vodkas hoping all the while that some strange man will sneak up behind us and begin dry humping. So why then do we let it continue? Instead of being straightforward with the unwanted hopefuls who approach us on the dance floor, we devise exit strategies. My personal favorite strategy is when a girl feels a man slide up behind her and instead of telling him, “NO.” She latches onto her friend and explains that, that’s her girlfriend, “and she gets really jealous, sorry!” I mean, exactly whom is that supposed to help? Another good one is when the female senses she’s been spotted by an eager male, becomes frightened and sandwiches herself in between her two nearest girl friends, forming some kind of awkward wiggling conga line. Smooth, really smooth, until of course he comes back.

The sobberish girls have all kinds of strategies and defense mechanisms up their sleeves and are also aware that there is safety in numbers. Sadly, the drunker girls are slower and they often find themselves cut off from the pack, unfortunately this is a great opportunity for a herd of testosterone ridden males to descend upon her, leaving her absolutely defenseless from their sloppy gyrations. If you think I’m making this sound like a national geographic narration, it’s because I am. Everytime that I’m dancing with my friends and I see random men making moves towards us I genuinely feel like cattle at a watering hole. I mean let’s get real ladies, there is something seriously wrong with thinking that it’s okay for a total stranger, who reeks of menthols and Natty Ice, to grab you by the hips and rub his penis all over you. I don’t care if he has jeans, athletic shorts, and boxers over top of it, it’s nasty.

Grinding is such a clear way of objectifying women. “Oh, look dude there’s one! I have absolutely 0 impressive dance moves, but let me just walk up behind her. She will totally go home with me after that!” I don’t know who’s filling the heads of these neanderthals but they must be insane. I would love to believe that college boys are completely delusional and this doesn’t actually work, but I know that it does. In reality, college clubs are simply meat markets. Girls suck down cheap liquor, get dry humped, and then are most likely taken advantage of. It’s quite downing when you realize that instead of getting filled with information in college, young women are mostly being pumped with liquor, roofies, and social ideals that work to degrade us. If you’re not comfortable with allowing a man you don’t know to violate your space, let them know. So ladies, the next time you’re out with your friends and some Joe Shmoe tries to get on it, instead of sparing his feelings just give him a reality check.

Hi, I’m Liz Holsinger and I’m a Man Hater.

It’s been said that when I was 10 months old my father was putting me to bed in my crib and in one swift motion I lurched my chubby little arm into the air and grabbed on to his adam’s apple with a death grip. To this day an uneasy look still creeps across his face when ever my mother retells that story. “She looked right into my eyes and there was nothing there. I swear I couldn’t even breathe.” I mean, I let go so I don’t know what he’s still so shaken up about. Then again I guess I also demonstrated some rather unsettling behavior toward my Ken Dolls as well. Instead of my brother ripping the heads off my Barbies, I was ripping the legs and arms off of Ken. After realizing that Barbie no longer had a boyfriend I would shave the head of another and make them date. So really, the fact that I’ve been single my entire life really isn’t such a mystery. But where exactly did this anger come from?

I suppose we could blame it on my mother for letting me watch the movie Bastard Out of Carolina at such an early age but I’m not here to play the blame game. After my last hopeful relationship didn’t work out I’ve been thinking a lot differently than I had been previously. Usually I get my heart broken because he’s selfish, or afraid to commit, or probably gay but as of late I’ve been wondering about what I’m doing wrong. I suppose that first off I’m not really sure how to be in a relationship with men. I’m not even just talking about a romantic relationship either. Not even my male friendships have proven beneficial. If they’re not gay, then they’ve probably tried to sleep with me which really cannot result in a secure platonic relationship. There are of course the few who simply act like women, but in the worst way.

Perhaps learning how to be and feel comfortable around men was something that all the other little girls learned to do along with french braiding each other’s hair. Was this what I missed at all of those sleepovers I wasn’t invited to in middle school? By the end of high school I had finally shed my training bra and began to move up in the world. I learned how to be sexual with men, that was easy. All you had to do was add alcohol. It wasn’t enjoyable in the least, but it was easy. I assumed that like in the movies, sex led to love and relationships. I learned that it doesn’t work that way, which was a rather awkward lesson. Somewhere along the line I developed a severe distrust and disdain for the opposite sex. I wore my hatred as proudly as I wore my chunky gold earrings, which were also not a good look. If pain and anger are left alone to stew inside of you, they will undoubtedly grow into a bigger problem than you may be ready to deal with. Let me be your example. Living with hatred is like not being able to figure out why your fire alarm is going off, it’ll drive you crazy.

Earlier this week I found myself in this weary position yet again and in the midst of my chain smoking and man bashing my cousin stopped me, “There really isn’t anything wrong with you, you’re great. You just keep attracting guys who don’t want to be serious with you. You have these wonderful relationships with women but you can’t apply them to men, do you know why? Because your man-hating mantra is playing loud and clear even when you don’t know it!” Wow, this may have been the wisest thing she had ever said to me, besides perhaps the time she said, “Sometimes I get so angry I could just bite a brick wall!” But she had a point, a good one. There’s a certain deepness in me that will not remove itself. It’s holding me back and keeping me at a distance from what I truly desire.

It’s not easy letting go of the past in order to create a better future. Sometimes I’ll wake up on a really great day and I’ll feel full of love. However, just as I allow myself enough kindness to smile at the stranger sitting across from me on the bus, he has already taken my gesture too far and begun to fondle his balls in my direction. Hatred for man kind, one. Faith in strange men, zero. Now, I know neither this man nor the other creepy men I’ve encountered at my various retail jobs are the same men with whom I’d form relationships with, but nonetheless it’s unsettling. Either way, I’ve realized that it’s not my love for Ani Difranco and Jewel, my passion for feminism, or even my shamelessness that prevents me from being in a healthy relationship. It’s the negative energy that I’m constantly releasing which keeps the boys at bay. As hard as it may be, I’m committed to changing my ways. I’ll even refrain from bashing the men I’ve slept with. Well, maybe I shouldn’t make too many promises.

How 90’s Teen Dramas and Walt Disney Ruined My Life.

So here I am again. Sitting alone in my room with a box of kleenex listening to Mazzy Star and wondering where I went wrong. With puffy eyes I retrace my steps exactly in order to find out when and why I fell so hard. Yes, it’s true my heart has been trampled by yet another dreamy eyed indie neerdowell. Perhaps it wasn’t an ideal situation, nor was it very logical to think one can maintain a relationship over skype. Serious conversations made scrambled and robotic from poor internet connections wasn’t exactly romantic. Still, It would’ve worked in the movies God damnit! And this is the exact point where I pause and think oh God. To my horror I make the realization that I have based my entire romantic existence on movies. Fuck.

The first man I ever loved was almost thirty years older than me. I was three and he was married. I loved him because he was tall with dark hair and his name was Eric. So naturally, I believed that he was Prince Eric and that’s why he was married to a red head who I was insanely jealous of. Eric didn’t love me back, which looking back was probably for the best. We couldn’t have had a lot in common considering I was only recently potty trained. In time my mother learned how to keep a better eye on me and I left Eric and his red headed wife alone, but unfortunately I never stopped looking for my prince. The kind of man who would risk anything to be with me and who would show me new worlds. These kind of men don’t exist and neither do magic carpets.

As I grew the media’s effect on me only thickened and became more powerful. I never let anything be organic, I had incredibly high expectations from the very beginning. These expectations only intensified after seeing The Notebook for the first time. It was after this, that I assumed that all boys would find snorting after laughing endearing and adorable. For the record, they don’t and they shouldn’t. Snorting is actually kind of disgusting and more awkward than anything. This “quirky” little habit only furthered me from the dating pool.

As anyone who reads my blog would know losing my virginity was less than perfect thanks to tequila and an hour of begging on his part. Movies like She’s All That andTitanic made this important step into adult hood look wonderful. When in reality it was five minutes of pain followed by my undeniable urge to become a lesbian. The Media made me believe that having sex with someone meant that we were dating and we were going to live happily ever after. As you can see I was set up for disaster from the start. Sometimes when I’m feeling masochistic I think back to the hormonal greasy boys I slept with in high school and shutter. MTV made it look so good while James Cameron led us to believe that sex and romance were the same thing. Wow, who were they fooling? Well apparently, they had me pretty fooled.

“You had me at hello.” is a line that I would most definitely have fallen for. Unfortunately I’ve fallen for worse, “I like the way your hand feels in my hand” was probably the one I’m most ashamed of. That’s the truth of the matter, though. I will continuously fall for cheesy lines because I seem to be the only one unaware that they’re lines. This leads me to wonder if romance actually exists at all. Or if perhaps it was simply created by the writers of Freddie Prince Junior movies and Coldplay. How am I supposed to settle for simple conversation when ideas of deep devotional speech have been crammed into my brain?

While society force feeds young girls unrealistic expectations of love it’s only telling young boys that sex is meaningless and fun. Women develop whole hearts filled with romantic hope whereas men are discouraged from expressing any kind of feeling above their waist. Romance and sex sells. We thirst for it, crave it, and stuff ourselves with it uncontrollably. When we find that reality doesn’t pay off, it tells us to get in our sweat pants and cry into a brownie sundae and continuously play our man-hating mantra. My advice to any ladies who identify themselves as hopeless romantics is to let the flower petals fall and focus on yourself. When the handsome guy across the bar gazes longingly into your eyes, know that it’s probably not love at first sight. He’s most likely drunk and using you as a stable point to collect his balance.

The Cramps, The Bloating, The Horror?

In any given day one will see numerous TV commercials pointing out the sheer terror of getting your period. There are tampon ads that suggest that mother nature is a shrewd little woman set out to ruin your entire day. Heat pad ads offer relief from excruciating cramps because, well God forbid you go running on period! Or what about the birth control commercials that portray women celebrating their new found freedom from menstruating every month because in their words, “Who says you need four periods a year?” Well one, nature says. Your body and your entire reproductive system relies on your monthly flow, if it didn’t then we wouldn’t have one.

It seems to me that society and the media are in agreement that one cannot possibly be at her best when Flow’s in town. This is probably why women believe it’s the end of the world when they get their period. Aside from the few who let out sighs of relief upon seeing the rosy indication that they are saved from an unplanned pregnancy, menstruation is viewed pretty negatively. Why? It is really that bad? Or are we as women just getting labeled as being abnormal yet again?

The medical community is always trying to mess with women’s bodies. It’s as if there are doctors in a far away lab somewhere gazing with disgust at a used tampon and saying to each other, “That shit just isn’t right.” So they create medicines like Midol and Pamprine to “fix” the problem. The problem that ensures life on this earth and may very well be the most natural thing in humanity.

I’m a woman, I understand that continuously changing your tampon and constantly worrying if you will end up ruining yet another pair of underwear is a hassle, but come on. Ads that incessantly shove the idea that women cannot function properly with out medicine or “scented” tampons down our throats is just too much! Most of the medications meant to alleviate PMS are probably closer to sugar pills. The birth control we take to help “regulate” or cycle often does more harm to our bodies than good. Finally the products that are the most convenient for us to use are packed with harmful chemicals including bleach. That’s right ladies, big tampon/pad companies believe that we will be less willing to use a tampon if it’s not at it’s whitest. This seems hilarious to me considering it’s unlikely that it will stay white for very long.

The thought that we might celebrate menstruating seems vulgar and ridiculous, but aren’t our bodies worth celebrating? I’m not saying that we should run around swinging our tampons and pads in the air singing at the tops of our lungs, but we should at least not act like it’s the end of the world. Remember that long ago, some old coot probably said to a woman, “Ew you’re bleeding, that’s foul. Go sit on that hay stack over there and don’t come out for 5-7 days.” This could actually be my hormones talking, but tell that old coot to go fuck himself because there’s nothing wrong with our bodies or the way that they function.

U R A QT: Booty Call Failures.

If you know anything about me then you know that my cousin is my wild, red-headed other half. If you know this, than you also know that I am no stranger to waking up to senseless drunken text messages. For example this morning I woke up to this one, “Wannahumpyounmaleyoufeelbetter:)” Thanks Ellen I feel the same way about you, I think. Either way the message was received, but let’s talk about the messages that miss the boat. The one’s that upon reading them make you say, “What the fuck..”

Unfortunately I, along with most women, have a serious problem. I attract total tools. There’s one guy in particular that I have a mild history with. We’ve known each other since high school and when I was 17 I thought he was such a babe, and he really is but he also acts like a complete asshole. Since we’ve graduated he’s joined a “pop-punk” band and spends months at a time touring the country and introducing 15 year old girls to the wonders of skinny jeans. When he is in town (and not with his girlfriend) he’s attempting to booty call me, and FAILING at it. We will go months with out talking and then out of the blue i’ll receive a series of poorly planned disturbances.

A couple of weeks ago I was sitting in a Catholic church paying witness to the marriage of my older cousin and his long time girlfriend. My eyes were just beginning to water when I felt my phone vibrate. I peaked into my purse to see who was texting me and low and behold it was him. Wanna make out?  You’re fucking kidding me, I’m in the house of God for Christ’s sake. After I left the ceremony the conversation continued.

ME: I’m at a wedding?

HIM: I don’t care come fuck

ME: No.

HIM: Cmon you want it

ME: No, that sounds awful

HIM: Youll like it

ME: No I promise you I won’t.

HIM: Send me a pic

ME: I’m at family wedding?

HIM: I wanna see that ass

Does anyone else see a problem here? I’m literally saying no and still he continues. Not only is he blatantly objectifying me but this has to be the laziest attempt to get into my pants to date. It is absolutely unbelievable to me that someone can simply ignore my no’s. This is a perfect example of that ridiculous, “No means yes” cliche. Maybe I’m the crazy one here, but being treated like a cheap whore isn’t one of my turn-ons. For a long time I would laugh off his text messages and still remain “friendly” with him. After a couple years of these ridiculous and annoying texts/calls I don’t think it’s very funny anymore.

He’s not the only one who acts like this, his actions are not unique to his age group or our culture in general. Last night my friend got a drunken text message from another boy she hasn’t spoken to since the summer. “What the fuck, Liz this dude just texted me and asked me if I wanted to make out with him. He has a girlfriend..” What is wrong with these little boys? When they fight with their girlfriends, they go get drunk. When they go get drunk they end up texting us for “easy” sex. In reality, the only thing they’re accomplishing is making complete asses out of themselves. Instead of trying to charm our pants off they’re being sickeningly honest. They’re skipping the schmoozing and going right for the smushing.

Are we really allowing men to talk to us like this? Instead of laughing it off and playing along we need to stand up and let them know that we on’t be spoken to like this. They’re skipping A,B,C, and D and starting at F. However, they’re not playing any games, they’re being completely honest with their intentions and yet we are more repulsed than if they were lying to us. If sending nude pictures and one sentence agreements for sex are the present, then what’s in store for dating’s future? Has sex become so tasteless and casual that men actually think it’s acceptable to ask us to come fuck? Or that we as women would rather be lied to than listen to their brutally honest intentions? Instead of sleeping with men under the guise that they’re interested in us, why can’t men just simply sleep with the girls they are actually interested in? As far as maintaining a friendship with the ones who choose to believe that you really are that easy, don’t. Don’t feel like you can’t get angry when someone’s degrading you. You don’t have to forgive creepy jerk-offs for being creepy jerk-offs on the basis that they were just drunk. You’re No’s mean NO, let them know that their message was received and make sure that yours is as well.