Friday, April 11, 2014

Why the Butt Double?

Ladies, I love you, but I’m done seeing your boobs everywhere. In movies, on magazine stands, and on late night TV, I search to see naked dudes, but it’s like a corn maze where every wrong turn just leads to naked girls. Now, I’m not here to make a case against female nudity, but just to openly petition for more naked men in the media.  

I’ve never gotten why men are so down to boast about their dicks, but suddenly turn Victorian when it comes to showing em off.

J Lo just shot a music video where she objectified men by making them do what video vixens have done for centuries: wash cars, sip drinks, shake their asses- all while barely naked. She said the director, who’s male, was clearly feeling uncomfortable shooting the men doing such unnatural acts, which meant she was doing something right. But, why was he so uncomfortable?

One obvious reason is that we as a society are uncomfortable with consuming the male body, consuming it in the superficial fashion we’re conditioned to do with female bodies. But I refuse to believe that’s the only issue.

I just don’t understand why in 2014 men are so unwilling to pose or act nude. Is it because they don’t have to or they’re afraid to? Is it our obsession with the mythical big dick? We want every man built like a stallion, and yet most show up a little short? Or is it that naked men just aren’t as profitable as naked women?

I wish I knew the answers. All I know is that if I’m living in a world where the producers of Game of Thrones are using a butt double for John Snow, and not for any of the female actresses, we have a problem.

Friday, April 4, 2014

On Labels, Preference, and Choice

Tom Daley recently came out as gay, confirming he’s not bi-sexual and apparently confusing the hell out of everyone.

Daley announced that he began dating a man and that he “still fancied girls,” but never labeled himself. Similarly, two years ago Frank Ocean wrote about an unrequited love affair with a man at 19, but, again, strayed from using a label-maker.

And yet, the media gave them labels anyway. Ocean was initially reported as coming out as bi-sexual. Wrong. Same with Daley: also incorrect. Both men simply said they’d had feelings for other men, no labels, end of story.

I don’t know why we’re so obsessed with labels, making sure we can classify someone to feel better about ourselves. Maybe we don’t like the ambiguity, or maybe it forces us to question ourselves  which scares the shit out of us.

The media is obsessed with classifying people, despite sexual orientation moving towards a label-less, sometimes description-less phenomenon. Daley said he fell in love with JUSTICE Black upon first sight, and that’s what prompted him to record a video saying so. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Loving someone and being able to express it just because you fucking want to? I have no doubt he had a difficult time coming out publically, but he seems happier because of it. Most people do.

Daley’s confirmed he’s a gay man, and everyone’s applauding. But the media really needs to watch it and start fact checking. Sexual preference is a personal choice, not always a public matter. And when it is a public matter, it’s still rooted in personal choice. We need to stop blaming celebrities for confusing us about what they want sexually. When someone says they love someone of the same sex, that’s all we really need to understand.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Should I Call What I Do Manblogging?

Last week I ventured into new #gaybonding territory with my boyfriend, by shaving each other’s asses. Ignoring the feat that I’ve somehow reached a terrifyingly high level of comfort with someone in order to even attempt to do this, the entire thing was hilarious. My boyfriend and I sh- whoops, I’m sorry, we “manscaped.”

I’ve never really been one for obsessive upkeep downstairs (LOL). Maybe because I was #blessed with the hair growth rate of a 12 year old boy, but it’s never been a big worry of mine. If I remember, cool, if I forget, fuck it. By the time I’m getting laid it’s the last thing on my mind.

What I don’t and will probably never get is why is the act celebrated by many, and mocked by others. Is it masculine to emulate our cave men ancestors or is it masculine to keep just enough there to impress and excite our sexual partners? Check which box is more masculine, because no one seems to know the right answer!  

Manscaping, ew- what a moronic term. When did the wave of adding a masculine prefix to *~fEmInInE~* things begin? Mandals, manpurse, manbun (a personal fave). What’s our need to "man" up these things in order to justify them as socially acceptable? (This question and more on your Women & Genders Studies 1000 exam).

Shaving every last damn body hair off of a woman’s body is so assumed that there isn’t a term for it. Yet, instead of just calling it shaving, we had to invent our own male-centric terminology for it. MANscaping: So no one forgets that it’s MALE and TOTALLY NOT GAY OR GIRLY DUDE IT'S MANLY.

It’s hilarious that we instinctually evolve our language to justify stereotypically feminine practices as OK for men. Otherwise, god forbid, dudes be violating some sort of archaic bro code against their own masculinity.

Whyyyy do we keep creating shit like this and participating in a patriarchal4ever culture. If you want to shave your balls, shave your damn balls, and stop worrying about what you’re supposed to be doing, because that’s your own decision. Most importantly, say “manscaping,” out loud, recognize how stupid it sounds, and never utter it again.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Makeup for Men (You Heard That Right)

A few weeks ago, I pitched a story on men’s makeup. Almost immediately my idea got shot down, because others claimed that “Guys don’t wear makeup” and “No one would want to read about that.”

It’s shit like this that makes me realize how devoted we are as a society to keep men “manly,” making sure they never take a bite of female forbidden fruit, to never do anything that’s condemned as feminine for fear they’ll turn into wimps instead of the burly dudes they’re supposed to be. Admittedly, I had the same views as the naysayers not too long ago.

I recently had my makeup cherry popped. Until about a year ago, I thought dudes who wore any kind of makeup were Gaaaaaay with a capital G and attention seeking (sorry!). Then queer karma came around, made my face break out, and sent me into the fetal position every time I looked into the mirror. So, like a straight guy buying tampons for his girlfriend, I ventured into the unknown: I braved the arduous journey through the makeup section at CVS and bought some concealer.

Through experimentation and the guidance from my girlfriends, I learned to use makeup to enhance my day-to-day look, without turning into an unintentional Ru Paul’s Drag race contestant (which would be AWESOME, but not how I want my face took look when I go to Chemistry). I've found that some of the most essential items include:

1. Tinted Moisturizer – God bless the father, son, and the holy Lord Disick for introducing this into my life. What’s great about it is how there’s no technique needed, it basically does the work for you (lazy bastard). Just find your shade and rub it in. It’s perfect for that “no I swear, I’m not hungover” Friday morning look you’re trying to pull off. It adds a little life to pale, winter skin, and works as a SPF depending on what kind you get.

2. Concealer – Calling shenanigans right now on any dude who says he’s never used concealer to hide a really bad pimple. It’s perfect for hiding zits, scars, and, depending on how little you slept last night, under-eye circles. Beware how much you cake on, because too much will make you look like a raccoon and you will be sorry.

3. Eye Brow Pencil – Perfect for defining and filling in your brows, which we’re all aware is what makes someone powerful in today’s world. Like concealer, use gently- but with the perfect amount, you and your brows will be contenders for masters of the universe.

4. Lip Polish – Basically a fancier version of lip balm. Use it in to rid your lips of dead skin and chapped sickness, and maybe you'll score a drunken make out.

5. Eye Liner – For the more daring. Using a green or brown can help subtly define your eyes without making you look like 2009 Pete Wentz. You might want help from a professional (your mom, sister, YouTube) for the inaugural application.

Bottom line: makeup isn't girly, it’s not feminine, and it’s not female. It doesn't have a fucking gender. Just like beauty doesn't have a gender. Looking and feeling good, however anyone chooses to do it, shouldn't be marginalized or ridiculed. So use makeup to look good, or don’t, but do us all a favor and stop acting like men’s makeup, a $3.9 billion industry, is wrong.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Macklemore: Appropriation and What It All Means

Earlier this year, Miley Cyrus was put on blast for trying to infuse “urban-ness” into her style and sound. From her music to her background dancers, she just *couldn’tstopwouldn’tstop* disrespecting black culture all over the damn place. She discussed infusing a “black” sound into her new CD, which, rightfully so, created a shit storm. Although she single-handedly made “appropriating” a household term for all the wrong reasons, her mistakes prompted me to start questioning why so many stars were making a fortune emulating “hood” style.

            Last year, Macklemore came into the spotlight with “Thrift Shop.” A “hip-hop” play on words advocating himself as the spokes-dude for secondhand clothes. He went on to win essentially best everything at the Grammys despite being, let’s be real babes, significantly less talented than his competition. In “Thrift Shop” he makes fun of expensive, brand name clothing lines, many made popular by black rappers. Lorde received racial criticism for critiquing the same types of extravagance - gold teeth, grey goose, ball gowns, extravagance made famous by prominent black artists.

            Macklemore wears gold chains. He wears sports jerseys, fur coats, and high top sneaks. He’s a walking, talking doppelgänger to Miley in the “23” video. So why do we accuse Miley so quickly for appropriating black culture for wearing 23’s in a video called “23” (among other acts), yet give Macklemore a free pass for making a career out of it?  

            Macklemore’s been quoted as saying “Thirft Shop” was “family friendly hip-hop,” safe for every set of ears riding home from soccer practice in the four door mini-van. His appropriation is accepted, because it’s contained and relatable, not crazy like Miley’s. He’s relatable, with raps referencing everything from shark week to Bill Cosby. When a young woman decides to take the same racial route to express her sexuality publicly, she’s criminalized. I’m not sticking up for either of them, because they’ve both made some clearly ignorant choices in their entertainment styles. My question is: Why are the female artists like Lorde and Miley attacked and Macklemore handed four Grammys?

            Maybe it’s because I’m a college student taking a Women and Gender’s Studies class right now, but the answer is simple misogyny. When a rich, white female decides to dress “hood” or criticize extravagance made famous by black artists, she’s criminalized. In Miley’s case it’s because she’s expressing her newfound freedom of promiscuity by dressing in a stereotypical style of a culture she’s never truly been a part of. When a white male, like Macklemore, appropriates, we as a culture accept it with open arms. He makes hip hop feel safe, comfortable, and relatable, and so we develop amnesia on why it’s maybe wrong that some cold-ass honkey is wearing something Kanye West made famous three years ago and then making a parody out of it.

            There’s a serious issue in our society where we’ve gotten comfortable exploiting a minority’s stereotype and capitalizing on it for big profits. But, where is the line drawn in terms of pop culture and fashion? I guess we draw it at point of intent. Miley’s been open about saying most of what she does is for shock factor. If that’s the case, she’s doing it better than anyone right now. Macklemore’s been open about staying safe, being the Mr. Clean of hip-hop, and yet it’s not just black culture he’s offending- it’s gay culture too.

            If “Thrift Shop” is white-washed hip-hop, then “Same Love” is a straight privileged pop ballad jerkoff about tolerance. It’s the most meaningful song a shallow person could belt out in the car last month. Yes, it brought awareness to an important cause. Yes, it was used to marry gay couples on national television. It also exploited the actual struggles of a group of people who have less rights than the majority of Americans for $$$. It was a straight guy patting himself on the back for spreading awareness of a cause that’s never affected his daily life and making serious bank from it.

Is Macklemore homophobic for singing about the hardships of gay people? No. Just like dressing like black rappers doesn’t make him racist. He’s just a plain and simple lucky guy, because by playing it safe he’s avoided persecution. He's set a new standard: By playing your cards right and pushing no boundaries, you can exploit any minority group you want and still make millions.