Category Archives: Low Brow

The RedEye’s advice to beer-bellied men: girdles and lipo

The title of today’s RedEye cover story is “get waisted;” a clever little pun on men cutting down on belly fat (get it… waisted/wasted). Their advice, in addition to the common sense diet knowledge of eat less and exercise more, was buy a girdle and consider liposuction. (read the story here)

I have to admit that for a minute while I was reading it, I thought, sweet, put that in your beer bong and suck it you beer-bellied men of Chicago. Time to end the Double Standard! Down with Machismo! Long Live Betty Friedan!

But then I realized this was really the opposite way we want the double standard to go. It is not that we want everyone held to the ripped, sweat drenched stereotype of bod man cologne commercials.   We want those ridiculous stereotypes removed for everyone, men and women alike. We want to start focusing on healthy bodies and not the anatomically incorrect, Ken and Barbie stereotypes were have been fed our whole lives.

And besides, skinny jeans already add a hurdle to the dressing and undressing of the fine young men ofChicago, I can’t imagine dealing with the extra burden of girdles.


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Filed under Low Brow, Newspapers, WTF RedEye?

Rahm’s new Chief of Staff a woman without children who hosts dinner parties

Accodording to the Sun Times, Rahm’s new chief of staff is the “smart and thick skinned” Theresa Mintle. In addition to the flattering descriptions as  a “well-organized workaholic” Sun Times felt the need to further delve into Mintle’s personal life by voicing an opinion on her personal decision to not have children.

“She is married to architect Mike Toolis, chairman and CEO of VOA Associates. The couple have no children, which is probably a good thing, given the 24/7 job that Mintle is inheriting.”

The article also commented on her ability to host dinner parties and give her girlfriends the “tough love” advice they need.

In addition to being patronizing, the Sun Times article is completely irrelevant to Mintle’s new position. The article is just another piece of evidence showing how the media needs to catch up and realize women in leadership positions have more of a story than their children and dinner parties.

Read the full article here.

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Filed under Low Brow, Newspapers, The Politics

Superfluous Sexy: RedEye’s quasi porn cover

The RedEye is like a worn ad lib, insert unnecessary sexy photo here

The article was about the now infamous Northwestern professor whose human sexuality class has been canceled after the “fuck saw scandal.” Apparently the RedEye will use any excuse to put some quasi porn on their cover and barely scrape the surface of an issue.


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Filed under Low Brow, Newspapers, Sex, WTF RedEye?

90%, fact vs. political jargon

see stephen colbert video here:

Sentator Jon Kyl will hopefully always be remembered for his claim that 90% of  Planned Parenthood services are abortion as well as his staff’s follow up comment that this claim was not meant to be “factual.”

I sincerely hope that this political misstep will be remembered for its sheer insanity as well as the fact it illustrates, the GOPs reliance on people not checking facts but accepting political jargon.

The fact is abortions are 3% of Planned Parenthoods services and none of those abortions are paid for with federal money. That is the fact.

As Gail Collin’s points our in her Sunday column, this fight over Planned Parenthood is not about facts or even abortion, it is about rallying the base against reproductive rights.

Collin’s writes “For eons now, people have been wondering why the two sides can’t just join hands and agree to work together to reduce the number of abortions by expanding the availability of family-planning services and contraception.The answer is that a large part of the anti-abortion community is also anti-contraception.”

Read Collin’s full article here.


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Men embracing the “f” word

The Root published a fantastic article recently about a young man’s struggle to understand the term feminist and why he should claim the title for himself.

“Like most guys, I had bought into the stereotype that all feminists were white, lesbian, unattractive male bashers who hated all men. But after reading the work of these black feminists, I realized that this was far from the truth. After digging into their work, I came to really respect the intelligence, courage and honesty of these women.

Feminists did not hate men. In fact, they loved men. But just as my father had silenced my mother during their arguments to avoid hearing her gripes, men silenced feminists by belittling them in order to dodge hearing the truth about who we are.

I learned that feminists offered an important critique about a male-dominated society that routinely, and globally, treated women like second-class citizens. They spoke the truth, and even though I was a man, their truth spoke to me. Through feminism, I developed a language that helped me better articulate things that I had experienced growing up as a male.

Feminist writings about patriarchy, racism, capitalism and structural sexism resonated with me because I had witnessed firsthand the kind of male dominance they challenged. I saw it as a child in my home and perpetuated it as an adult. Their analysis of male culture and male behavior helped me put my father’s patriarchy into a much larger social context, and also helped me understand myself better.

I decided that I loved feminists and embraced feminism. Not only does feminism give woman a voice, but it also clears the way for men to free themselves from the stranglehold of traditional masculinity. When we hurt the women in our lives, we hurt ourselves, and we hurt our community, too.”

Read the full article here.


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Filed under Feminist Rant, Low Brow, Magazine, Sex

Reminders from the Second Wave

Salon recently interviewed author Anne Roiphe about her journey as an artist. As a housewife in the 50’s Roiph channelled all her artistic energy into being a muse instead of being the artist.

Reading this article in combination with Friedan’s classic Feminine Mystique, has reminded me of the incredible privilege I have as a post-second wave feminist to realize my own dreams instead of merely supporting the artistic dreams of my husband. I think many young woman when thinking of the term feminist, forget why the term was created, they forget that a mere 50 years ago, women were restricted to the private world of the home.

This article is a great reminder to be thankful for all the struggle of second-wave feminists. Read the full article here.


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Filed under Femtastic Women, Her Story, Low Brow, Magazine

Sex Ed from Broadcast Television

Legislators can argue about it all they want but sexual education is happening everyday inAmerica; not in our schools but on broadcast television.

What ours schools lack in formal sexual education, broadcast television fills in with the nitty gritty visual details even if lacking some of the less sexy reality facts (such as theUnited Stateshas the second highest teen pregnancy rate). After watching a particularly racy episode of Gossip Girl, I remember thinking, man I wish I was 16 again so I could have that amazingly effortless, safe and consequent free sex.

After years of disappointingly surface content surrounding teen sex, it was surprising, refreshing and a little humbling to see teen sex tackled with such ease and common sense as Glee’s “Sexy” episode did this week. It didn’t talk down to teens, it didn’t over simplify something as complicated as sex and most importantly it didn’t pretend sex doesn’t exist.

In probably the best teen sex speech I’ve ever heard, Kurt’s dad tried to express the complexities of sex to his son. The speech, in the episode directed toward a gay teenage boy, is universally applicable to all teens (and some adults for that matter).

“For most guys sex is just this thing we always want to do. It’s fun. It feels great. But we aren’t really thinking about how it makes us feel on the inside or how the other person feels about it. Women get that it is about something more than the physical. When you are intimate with someone in that way you are exposing yourself. You are never going to be more vulnerable. That scares the hell out of all of us guys. You got to know it means something. It is doing something to you, to your heart, to your self esteem. Even though it feels like just having fun…When you are ready, I want you to do everything. But when you are ready I want you to use it as a way to connect with another person. Don’t throw yourself around like you don’t matter. Because you matter.”

If only everyday parents could start saying this to their teens maybe we wouldn’t need broadcast TV to do it for us.


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Filed under Low Brow, Sex, T.V.

A feminist response to the not-married blame game

My roommate forwarded this Huff Post article to me recently and there is really nothing more to say other than “right on sister.”


“I know it’s my fault I’m not married. I know that in the future, if I don’t get married, it will be my fault as well. And thanks to the advancements made by the women in the generation above me, it’s my decision to make. Because staying in a bad relationship just because it is heading towards marriage is like putting a plastic bag over your head, and just letting in enough air that you can stay alive….

“But I grew up in a generation of women that literally never stopped hearing that marriage isn’t a fairy tale. We were fed statistics about divorce in the same way that the Baby Boomer generation was bombarded with ICBM figures. Daily, we were told that men were not Prince Charming, that they would not vanquish a dragon to save us, rescue us from a tower or even just fight their way through a double transfer on the subway to come kiss us goodnight. And so we learned how to expect literally nothing from a man. And do you know what happened because of that? We learned to let men treat us like crap. We came to believe that men were doing us a favor by settling down — because otherwise they would be out spraying the world of willing women with their abundant seed. We were taught to be grateful if a man showed interest in us, and we became fearful at all times that he would leave us once he did. Women of my generation are still the second-class citizens of fairy tales: only now, we don’t even have the chivalry or the ever-blooming roses to comfort us in our eternal boredom…

“All of the qualities we cultivate in ourselves from our first overachieving moments in elementary school to our graduation from the best universities in the nation — confidence in our physical appearance, the ability to support ourselves, our cultured and well-read minds, the sterling pedigree of our schooling, our taste for healthy debate with our peers (both men and women) — actually won’t help us to find an equal partner. What it will do is make an “equal” man feel insecure, and what he will do with that insecurity is label us as “crazy.” And crazy people aren’t to be taken seriously — they’re to be medicated, dosed, tamed like “Kate,” the eponymous shrew — and made into the perfect wife. In essence, in order to participate in the ritual custom of marriage, we have to become shadows of our best selves. So when you say to me, Tracy McMillan, that I have to work around a “man’s fear and insecurity in order to get married,” I say to you, why aren’t you telling me that I should be going out to look for the men who wants a woman like me? (They do exist; some of them are my friends.) Instead of being told I need to medicate my “craziness” to pander to a man’s itty-bitty oh-so-witty ego, I want a man who is every bit my match, and is not scared off by that. I want a man who appreciates that I enjoy sex. I want a man who loves that I can fire back a sassy comment like Katharine Hepburn on one of her lazy days…

“All that I’m trying to say, ladies, is stop trying to frighten me; make me feel empowered. Speak to me like I can make my own decisions, and don’t demean the difficulties I may be having finding a guy who I think is worth my time and energy. Marriage is a rapidly-changing institution. Let’s discuss how it can be molded to fit our rising status, rather than trying to jam ourselves into some outdated ideal.

Read the full article here


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Filed under Feminist Rant, Femtastic Women, Low Brow, Magazine

New “factual” argument against promiscuity

Ross Douthat’s had a lovely little tidbit in the New York Times last week about the cost of promiscuity…on women. As Dothart says less sexual partners “increases the odds that [women’s] adult sexual lives will be a source of joy rather than sorrow.” His argument is notably reserved for women.

The facts come from a study showing women with increased sexual partners are decreasingly unhappy. However this fact doesn’t say if the connection is causation or correlation aka do women sleep with more people because they are unhappy or does sleeping with more people make one unhappy. Or ignoring both of these suggestions is there something about behind the sex such as finding a stable partner that increases happiness.

According to a professor intereviewed by Salon’s Tracy Clark Flory “There is no compelling reason to think that larger numbers of sexual partners are truly ‘causing’ less happiness…It’s more likely that the reverse is true. I find Ms. Right; she makes me happy; I then don’t need to look for any other sexual partners.” In other words, actually having sex with more people isn’t making women unhappy but rather the frustrating fact that they haven’t found Mr. Right.

Arguments like Douthat’s which twist stats to prove a personal moral issue, do nothing but reinforce negative societal stereotypes. The truth is finding Mr/Ms. Right is a frustrating and difficult process; the unluckier you are in your pursuit often the unhappier you can appear to be in the time being. However in the end, when Mr/Ms Right is found Mr/Ms Wrong, whether that number is 2 or 200, really doesn’t matter.


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The devaluation of sex: a bad thing for women?

I have reread a recent Slate article a few times, and each time I am left hoping the majority of women don’t believe this crap. It claims the recent devaluation of sex has given women a disadvantage. Sex is now easier to get and therefore women can gain much less from it. For example, since a recent college grad can easily get sex, he is less willing to commit to his girlfriend.

The proof comes from statistics showing couples choose to have sex earlier in the relationship as well as a “survey” showing that men are more likely to have sex with a stranger and not feel bad about it. This is paired with some narratives of young women frustrated because their boyfriends won’t commit.

This article and its proof does seem to show that sex is becoming less of a bargaining chip in relationships, but I can’t seem to see why this is a bad thing. If sex is taken out of the equation as a bargaining chip perhaps men and women can both start enjoying sex for sex and stop thinking about all the potential implications. Maybe if sex the power of sex is taken away, then couples can start focusing on what really matters, a mutually supportive relationship.

Read the Salon interview for more insight into the facts here.


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Filed under Feminist Rant, Low Brow, Magazine, Sex