Monday, February 29, 2016

Androgyny

As I dressed for my friends cocktail party I shook my head thinking "If young Tyne could only see me now. How ashamed she'd be. “ To young Tyne coolness was in casting off as much femininity and feminization as possible. 


A lifelong feminist I have to admit I sought stability, power and to be taken seriously which meant outdoing boys in every possible arena: climbing trees, running, baseball, you name it and I could beat all the boys at it. This is a trait I've learned I inherited from my mother. I saw no value in femininity. 

As far as I was concerned all that was a ploy by men to make women fold into the paper dolls they want us all to be. What men want and how exactly they want a woman's hair, clothes, nails, perfume...I was sure it was all controlled by this supreme yet semi-elusive “the men". 

This all leaves me in a predicament today...with a husband who desires me to dress more feminine and friends who seem to share his views I am left confused and outside most ways of life. I am simply not comfortable in feminine clothing. I feel restricted at best and a fool at worst as if everyone can tell I'm putting on an act. For gender is a performance and I do not perform my gender well. 

So where does this leave me? To continue on and be mocked by not only strangers but by those closest to me? Or do I conform and fake loving the "girly" dresses and shoes and skirts and colors. Do I submit to societies views on what a woman should be? Or do I continue on?

Friday, February 26, 2016

​ What is beauty?

Beauty, like most American’s my views on exactly what this word means varies, likewise, so does how I recognize it over time. You guys know the story of how media and hundreds of years programming our views on beauty emerges with this single version of a curvy or stick thin white woman. We look to Marilyn Monroe, Halle Berry and Jennifer Lopez and are told they are perfect, we are ugly and we need to look as close to them as possible. 

How sad is that? Well, as a black woman in America, it is pretty damn sad. I cannot look like Sienna Miller. Genetically I just cannot. I also cannot find peace within my own ethnic community because we do not all have the perfect blend of white and black features such as Halle Berry, Beyonce and Tyra Banks. Some of us (and all women in-general) have their own unique look and I don’t think that is a bad thing per se. 

I bring up questioning exactly what beauty is because growing up for years and years I became rather obsessed with Alek (the African model) for various reasons. See, here in America, when I was young, most female images I saw were darker then me, yet degrees lighter then Alec. She was one of the darkest faces I had see in the media, and she was everywhere! I would look at her and ask myself “Is she pretty? I don’t think so.” 

That attitude changed with the years of seeing her face. I began to fall in love with her smooth skin, the illumination of her smile and her head shape accentuated by her closely chopped hair. I began to reevaluate what I thought beauty was. I began to question the entire system and media culture. Alek does not have a “black girl body” per se. Not as American culture tells us to identify one (example on how to spot a black woman: long weave and a big ass). Alek, for me in my formidable years, was a game changer. Just by being famous she taught me so much.

Now I am not saying I do not find Jessica White beautiful. Actually, I find her very lovely, however, I no longer look at women for what American culture and the world tells me to focus on. I look at the type of women they are instead of the price tag on their flesh and false promises of beauty.
 
False promise of beauty? Like what? Well, I don’t care how long your hair is. I care if it is healthy. I do not care how white your teeth are. Are your teeth healthy? Your body, is it naturally thin like that or do you obsess over your eating and workouts or are you just plain anorexic?  There are very clear messages being sent there. That who you really are do not matter. Only the external. Only the easiest means for us to judge each other without having to scarify our own obsession with ourselves. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

​ Am I a Millennial?

I am the girl who was raised in a long line of strong women to be a free thinker. My name, Tyne, is an Anglo word for River. I read This Is Water by David Foster Wallace to remember to be compassionate to others. I am generally a really sarcastic gal who you will either find hilarious or very mean (hey, it’s not my fault you did not understand the joke). I don’t feel like I fit in the Generation-Y, Millennial, or as Tom Brokaw calls us: the Wary Generation, but I am! 

I am a very left leaning Instagram-a-holic with phantom pocket syndrome. I hate reality television, and most music on the radio. I am the girl who wishes I had been my age in the 1990s. I grew up watching ThunderCats, and Beast Wars, and Doug. Remember Hey Dude? I do! Remember The Babysitters Club movie? It was my obsession! 

I recently read the Time Magazine article “The New Great Generation: Why Millennials Will Save Us All!” [1]. I felt he got a lot right, but mostly I feel Joel generalized to a painful degree. I feel that he simply does not understand that Instagram or Twitter is a great way to meet people from all over the world without spending a dime! I feel what he reads as selfishness and narcissistic behavior is actually just a new way of thinking that Joel was just not understanding. Through most of the article I felt as if he was not speaking about me, and yet there I was, minus reality television naturally. 

The is article had a few brilliant pieces such as: 

“They are the most threatening and exciting generation since the baby boomers brought about social revolution, not because they’re trying to take over the Establishment but because they’re growing up without one.”
“The information revolution has further empowered individuals by handing them the technology to compete against huge organizations: hackers vs. Corporations, bloggers vs. Newspapers, YouTube directors vs. Studios, app-makers vs. Entire industries.”
“Millennials don’t need us. That’s why we’re scared of them
“...Millennials are the children of baby boomers, who are known as the Me Generations, who then produced the Me Me Me Generation,...”
“Peer pressure is anti-intellectual. It is anti-historical. It is anti-eloquence,...”
“What they do understand is how to turn themselves into brands,...”
“Because millennials don’t respect authority, they also don’t resent it.”
Here’s something even all the psychologists who fret over their narcissism studies agree about: millennials are nice.”
I think in many ways you’re blaming millennials for the technology that happens to exist right now.”

If I took anything away from this article is that my generation, which spans 1980s-2000s, a wide grouping like this is insane to me...I mean as a historian a lot happened culturally then, but whatever I guess. I mean Time Magazine tossed that to the wind so I guess I can to...for now. But, anyway, my generation is selfish, yet nice, narcissistic, yet caring, we challenge convention and find new and better ways of doing things, but we live at home with parents. We sounded like drugged idiots right? I mean how are we walking contradictions and oxymorons? We are either one or the other, right? This is the danger of Joel Stein’s overzealous generalization, because we then fall into almost every category, which near the end of the article he says how most of our behaviors are not new and have been around for ages. How we expect a great deal, but we know about America (and the worlds) great abundance. 

So are we foolish, lazy, over educated losers or are we something new? Not even Joel Stein could answer that question. I still remain firm that he was not talking about me. I was raised the same as my Generation-X siblings. I had their toys and watched television with them. I shopped and learned from people 11, 9, and 7 years older then me. Not to mention my grandmother practically raised me. My grandmother born in 1923! I grew up very aware of grunge and Lilith fair. I bought my home with my man at 22 years of age and I hate reality television (I can not stress that enough. What ever happened to shows like Friends and Family Matters?). I feel so much of myself was not represented in this article, which saddens me, but one can only ask so much out of six page article that was mostly photos, and diagrams, but somehow landed the cover. 



[1] Written by Joel Stein published in the May 20th, 2013 (volume 181, number 19 for anyone who cares)

Monday, February 22, 2016

​ Our sexist feminist husbands

Okay so my husband's a feminist. Your husband is a feminist. But guess what? Deep down if you really pay attention...their still sexist bastards. Oh they say their all for equality in the work place and would never dream of cat-calling but you better believe they will 100% treat their daughters differently than they treat their sons. 

And, hey look, our husbands aren’t bad guys, but they have been conditioned just like we have by a misogynistic patriarchal society as we have. 

For instance my husband was baffled by Aziz Ansari standup at Madison Square Garden. Aziz told a story about having to pretend to be a stranger's boyfriend so a guy would leave her alone. He told another story where a woman was being followed by a man. She couldn't lose him so she buzzed and was allowed entrance into a pet store. She begged the clerk not to allow the man behind inside and explained he had been following her. She remained in the store for 45 minutes upon which the man finally gave up and left. My husband and Aziz were both outraged. That's 45 minutes of someone's life. That's scary behavior and when my husband turned to me and asked if it is really like that I look at him eyes wide and literally had to shake my hand and answer yes. I realized two things in that moment: 

My husband doesn’t know what it is like in the world for a woman no matter the articles I tell him about and stories I mention. 

Nothing means anything if it is not said by a man to a man. For all my talk this "problem" did not sink in until another man told the story. A story about a woman doesn't matter unless it is told by a man. Let that sink in. 

It is very much like the fake boyfriend reference above. A man does not care if a woman is uninterested in him. How dare she? She deserves to be talked about crudely. She deserves to have her sexuality challenged and harassed because she doesn't want you. She deserves to be disrespected. But a man lay claim on a woman...then it is all good. The men hold an unspoken understanding and due to her "ownership" being clearly defined the man cease to engage and moves on. Literally WHAT THE FUCK? 

This all seems so normal that men do not see the problem. It is part of their privilege as men. And if they are white like my husband then you've got white male privilege and seriously it becomes even more of an uphill battle. Unless you watch an Aziz Ansari standup and he lays it out.
It is literally like a white person having to describe to another white person the horrors of slavery. That is a black story and yet many do not hear if the teller does not have something in common with the listener. 

And that is fucked up.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...