girly-girl post-feminist problems

“I’m Picky” is the single most annoying reason you give for being single.

You’re single. You’ve been single for a long time. That’s fantastic. I think that singlehood is great, and I sincerely admire people who can stay single for lengthy periods of time. I think that it requires a lot of independence and introspection.

I’ve never been good at being single. In fact the longest I’ve ever been able to sustain singlehood is about 3 months. When I am single, ‘single’ annoyingly becomes my primary identity. I probably drive my friends nuts with relentless declarations of my single identity. Starting sentences like, “As a single person, I….”, or “Now that I’m single, I…”  In fact, I would often find myself pausing for effect after telling people that I was single. I do the same thing when I tell people that I’m 33, expecting surprise and shock from my co-converser. I also tend to drink too much and take great satisfaction in receiving attention from way too young men… that might actually be a constant for me, but it is absolutely exacerbated when I’m unattached.

I used to think that this fact was the result of all sorts of psychological and social pathologies that I couldn’t even begin to understand. Now that I think about it, I probably have to be in a relationship to be tolerable to my friends, because, as I am just now realizing, I am an annoying asshole when I am unattached. I also have an “annoying” tendency to make out with their brothers, which tends to express itself when I am single.  So, really, if I want to keep my friends, I need to be romantically committed because their thresholds for dealing with my shenanigans is likely pushing its limit at three months.

But, it wasn’t really my intention to talk about me (my mother’s right when she incessantly tells me, “not everything is about you”). I want to talk about you, the single person (I am actively hesitating from using the term ‘chronic’ as an adjective, because singlehood is not a disease).  I have a bone to pick with those of you who tell me that you’re single because you’re “picky”.

“Picky” is a gross word.

When you tell attached people that you’re single because you’re “picky”, you are basically saying “I’m above that lowered expectations shit that you’ve got going on.”  Seriously, it’s insulting. Stop it. Even if you believe that it is true, stop saying it out loud, because you sound like an asshole. I don’t blame you for feeling obliged to manage the stigmas around being single, especially if you are a woman. It isn’t your fault that our culture frames single women in their 20s-40s as pitiful maladjusted creatures. If you don’t believe that this stigma exists, just look at the covers of the tabloids at the grocery store; on any given week, you will see a rich, famous, successful and beautiful woman being depicted as “alone”. We are supposed to pity her. Jennifer Aniston had more than her fair share of this bullshit. So, yes, being a single woman demands stigma management; it is sexist and awful. But, please find more creative ways of dealing with that stigma without being a dick.

Thank you.

girly-girl post-feminist problems

“Love Yourself” & Other Meaningless Clichés

Recently, I’ve been getting into listening to “chick lit” while I drive. Sometimes I have to be in the car for long hauls, and listening to a fluffy book on a C.D. distracts me from worrying about all the weird sounds that my car makes, and there is something about a pleasant voice telling you a story that is so comforting… regardless of how shitty the content actually is. The chick lit genre contains the stories that ultimately get picked up in “chick flicks”/romantic comedies, and they have all of the same ridiculous tropes (which Mindy Kaling nails in this post) and clichés that we expect from a move starring Hugh Grant.

Anyways, one of these clichés, which is of course not confined to chick lit, is the idea that women, before they can love anyone else, have to “love themselves”. This popular psychology is everywhere. It is the type of vacuous statement that well-meaning people give away freely. And when they do, they somehow convince themselves that they’ve said something profound. Good for them, I suppose. By the way, I have eavesdropped on entire conversations that consist exclusively of exchanging similar clichés, and have noticed that both parties seem genuinely stimulated. Kind of like this:

Converser 1: “Well, everything happens for a reason.”

Converser 2: “What goes around comes around; karma’s a bitch.”

Converser 1: “Well, it is, what it is.”

All of these clichés drive me bonkers, especially the first one, but I’ll save that for another post.

Returning to “love yourself”, I started to think about what that actually means, and what it means for women in particular. I, like other sociologists tend to conduct an informal ethnography every time I see my facebook homepage. I am starting to see a horrifying trend among some of my friends and acquaintances, who I think are trying to do just that; love themselves. And, I don’t fault them for that.

My homepage is literally littered with fitspiration. Some of it is outwardly hostile, like this one.  But, what concerns me more are the messages around fat-shaming, and the encouragement that women (and men too) are given to exercise to the point of physical illness.  Further, one doesn’t have to have acute critical thinking skills to look at this fitspo tumblr account  and notice that it looks a lot like a pro anna (pro-anorexic) community website. Just google it. There is essentially no difference in terms of the message or the imagery used.

Fitspo sends a dangerous message about what it means to care about yourself. What these memes really encourage is putting one’s current body through pain and anguish, in the hopes of obtaining a body that is worth your own love.

At best, fitspo doesn’t work, and it keeps women’s attention focused on their appearance and away from larger public issues. It is a fact that women whose primary focus is on their appearance have very little political efficacy.  To have political efficacy is to possess the belief that you can make an impact the world around you; that you are a valuable and active citizen. Naomi Wolf was talking about this shit in the 90’s. She called it ‘The Beauty Myth’, and it is tragically more relevant today than it was then. At worst, fitspo/thinspo is absolutely triggering for anyone who has, or is on the verge of struggling with eating disorders. It has the power to normalize and idealize some very sick and unhealthy tendencies.

Ultimately, this isn’t about “loving one’s self”. In fact it encourages us to be unhappy, distracted, and limits our capacity to be politically engaged.

girly-girl post-feminist problems sociology

On Love

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:

There is no consensus when it comes to defining love. Poets, philosophers, scientists, and the writers of romantic comedies have put a great deal of effort into understanding why and how it happens. Despite their efforts, no one seems to be able to define, or explain it in a way that satisfies everyone.

My people (sociologists) would most likely talk about it as a social construction that carries with it great meaning in our culture. Then they would probably discuss how definitions and experiences of love vary according to time and space.  You would hear the words “context” and “problematic” a lot. Like a lot. One of us would suggest that it is a tool of the patriarchy, and another sociologist would agree with them, but also make a case that it is an invention of capitalism.

Sociologists aren’t very sentimental. In fact, they will with great pleasure de-romanticize love and any other human experiences that bring joy to people’s lives. They make wonderful friends during a breakup. Incidentally, they can also be pretty supportive when you’ve imbibed in any deviant behaviour, because by the end of the conversation, you will feel that the only things that you violated were a few arbitrary social norms.

But, I unlike my fellow sociologists, do believe in love in an organic and human way. While I don’t have a hard and fast definition, I can explain it…

Love is when you irrationally worry about your partner dying anytime you are apart from them. I know that I’m in love when he doesn’t text me back in a timely fashion, and I immediately assume that he is dead or near death. I know that I’m in love when I begin to work under the assumption that every time we part ways, it will be the last time I see him. For me, a key tell is when I opt to send texts like: “be safe” or “don’t forget to lock the door before you go to bed”, or “When was the last time you tested your smoke detectors?” instead of something sexy.

Naturally, I only feel that my love is reciprocated when I can detect a parallel brand of neurosis from him. I’ll often blatantly ask “Do you ever worry about me dying?” Until I’m satisfied that he is sufficiently irrational about my mortality, I feel my love to be unrequited.

I blame my family for this ridiculousness. Every time it rains or snows each and every one them sends a “drive safely, roads are slippery” text.


*I’ll never not think that feminist Ryan Gosling is wonderful. I worry about him.

girly-girl post-feminist problems

What’s in My Bag!

In every issue US magazine runs a feature called “What’s in my Bag?”, where we get an “inside peek” at what lady celebrities keep in their purses.  This ground breaking hardcore journalism features expensive, tidy handbags laid on their side with a variety of products (that no one actually uses including the celebrity who they claim owns the bag), which are arranged to look like they’ve naturally cascaded from a $500 purse.  Then ‘Niki Manaj’, or ‘Tyra Banks’ explains why they “can’t leave the house without [whatever item]”. It also gives these celebrities the opportunity to clear up any confusion about the weird stuff that they have in their bag. For example, former Spice Girl, Mel B. explains that the diaper cream in her bag “Isn’t for her”. Good thing she explained, because we were all wondering, and doing some heavy purse judging.

I find it interesting that a feature like this exists in the first place. Why do we care what someone has in her purse? That’s like a super personal space. But then again, these magazines are always speculating on the contents of these women’s uteruses, so privacy, at least ladies’, is not something that we seem to value. But that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about my purse.  I think it’s time that all 4 of my readers know “What’s in my Bag”.

First, I’d like to explain that my bag doesn’t just function as a practical fashion accessory in the traditional sense. I actually use it as a transportable garbage can, and even sometimes as a pillow.

As you can see, I also have some very useful items:

  1. An Old-Ass Wallet: I bought it 6 years ago. I have a hard time reconciling the purchase of a wallet. I think all us who are short on cash do… It’s like, I buy a shiny new wallet, and then I have even less money to put in that wallet. It’s like taking two steps back. Also my wallet is like an even smaller transportable waste paper basket, which is why it is Costanza full. *if you don’t understand this reference you might be too young to be reading this! Just kidding keep reading!
  2. A Small Plastic Bag: I don’t know why it’s there, but it will sure come in handy if I have to (pretend to) pick up after one of the many dogs in my life.
  3. Bandaids: I had a ‘new-shoes’ blister on my heal in June.
  4. A Roller: I think I put that there when I was tidying up my living room, but was too lazy to walk it up to the bathroom where it belongs.
  5. Stuff from Restaurants: I literally hoard wetnaps and sweetners because I feel like I’ll need them one day. And, I have no regrets. I am one spilly and sticky girl, so I avoid sugar and often need quick clean ups. I also use wetnaps to clean the interior of my car.
  6. A Glow in the Dark Condom with a Tickler:  A friend of mine found it in a late night dinner bathroom vending machine, and naturally thought of me. I can’t bring myself to throw it away due to its sentimental value.
  7. A Zip Lock Bag Full of Makeup: I also find it difficult to reconcile buying makeup bags when I’d rather spend my money on more makeup.  I’m also not classy enough to buy makeup in department stores where they give you cosmetic cases for free.
  8. Whiteboard Markers: Any teacher hates being stuck without one of these. Also, they’re great for destroying tasteless or offensive ads that I encounter in public washrooms.

So that’s my purse. I’d like to think that most women have purses that are more like mine, and less like the ones featured in tabloids.  But I have a feeling that most women find a ‘happy medium’.

If you would like me to report on the contents of your purse, or your uterus for that matter, feel free to drop me a line!

girly-girl post-feminist problems

Masculinity and Sex Toys… My first ever NSFW post!

Ok, since I write under a pseudonym, I feel reasonably safe talking about something that is a little taboo, and perhaps a little sexual in nature. I need to preface this post in two ways. First, my perspective is not necessarily produced by my own experiences. Rather, since I have a slew of open-minded, loud mouthed lady friends, consider this post to be based on my informal ethnographic research on these wonderful women. Second, this post is 100% heteronormative, and I am fully of aware of that.


So, I want to talk about vibrators. Specifically, I would like to ruminate about the relationship between vibrators and masculinity in heterosexual sex encounters.  As a feminist (which I am, btw), I have an interesting relationship with them. It is pretty much general knowledge (thanks in part to the 2011 film, “Hysteria”) that vibrators were used to treat ladies’ sexual “dysfunctions”, in a very problematic, patriarchal and medicalized manner. Nonetheless, many women today have grown fond of these little devices.  While many of them use them solo, they are also used in dyadic sexual encounters, in the role of what could be considered a ‘little helper’.   I would argue that the inclusion of these little guys has given way to a classification of straight dudes that goes something like this:

*stereotypes and generalizations to follow


  1. The guy who gets threatened

This guy genuinely feels usurped or slighted by the vibrator’s sexy cameo.  When he looks at this little piece of plastic (or rubber, or metal, or whatever), he genuinely feels that he isn’t enough for his female partner, and that she is undermining him when invites little ‘Justin Beaver’ out for an evening.


This ‘type’ of dude is also likely to be ripe for Freudian analysis, believing that the penis is sacred, and must be revered as such. A vibrator will be considered sacrilege, especially when used in the presence of perfectly good penis.


Needless to say, he also might be likely to exhibit irrational signs of jealousy in other contexts, like bars and such social settings, where the threat of other presumed penises (they’re usually not overtly visible in social settings, so they are presumed) is present.


  1. The guy who gets lazy


Very different than the guy who feels threatened, and maybe a little possessive over his partner when a toy emerges during a sex sesh, this guy gets excited. But, his excitement isn’t about the possibility creatively using a sex aid, and exploring new fun things in bed.  He’s excited because he feels that the vibrator absolves him from any responsibility for female pleasure during both foreplay, and the ‘main’ event.


He doesn’t perceive this object to be something that can aid him in having some creative fun with his lady, he sees it as his replacement, and he’s happy about it.  No longer does he have to develop his sexual repertoire, because now they have robots to do that sort of thing.


He might not exhibit jealousy in other social situations, but he probably won’t rub your back without being asked, or enjoy intellectually stimulating conversations with you either. He’d probably prefer to watch an entire season of something on Netflix next to you on the couch. And that can actually prove to be a pretty relaxing evening.

  1. The guy who just gets *it*


In this little typology of het guys and sex toys, I would encourage you to see him as your favourite.  The presence of a sex toy doesn’t make him jealous, and it doesn’t make him lazy.  Rather, he sees the vibrator as his junior partner in the bedroom. He wants to see how his gal uses it, and is anxious to come up with new strategies. He takes sex seriously, yet is also playful. While he might enjoy the addition of a new assistant, this doesn’t stop him from being dynamic and innovative in the bedroom.


You may also find that this guy multifaceted and is curious and open minded about the world. He’ll probably be open to trying any type of food, and adventurous when it comes to your social life.


I post this realizing that this typology is not perfect. But, the point I’m trying to make, if any at all, is that our politics follow us into the bedroom, and they follow us out of the bedroom. I think that the way that het men interact with sex toys has the potential to reveal thing about his personality in terms of how he views the world, and his partner. Think about it!

That was a little Cosmo-esque, admittedly.