Michelle / Melbourne, Australia. Writer, medical student, cruciverbalist and cat aficionado. Creative subeditor at Lot's Wife and fiction editor at Voiceworks Magazine.
I am pro-choice, anti-bullshit and proudly feminist.
This blog features politics, gender equality, racial issues, pop culture and some daily shenanigans. All opinions my own. Join the conversation and drop me an ask. x
I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.
“In 1981,” explains Giordano, “LEGOs were ‘Universal Building Sets’ and that’s exactly what they were…for boys and girls. Toys are supposed to foster creativity. But nowadays, it seems that a lot more toys already have messages built into them before a child even opens the pink or blue package. In 1981, LEGOs were simple and gender-neutral, and the creativity of the child produced the message. In 2014, it’s the reverse: the toy delivers a message to the child, and this message is weirdly about gender.”
If you really want a headache (the good kind), take a long look at this “photo”. No, this is not a photo of the cosmic microwave background radiation (which you can actually see for yourself if you change your television channel to one of the “fuzzy” stations) nor is it a collection of graphs of a cell structure. So, instead of telling you what it isn’t, how about I tell you what it is? This is, well… everything. Everything we can see and observe anyway. What you’re looking at is the “observable” universe. This particular map has a cellular appearance due to how the galaxies tend to collect into vast sheets and super clusters of stars that are surrounded by stunningly large voids in between them. You and I and everything we’ve ever known are smack in the middle there, along with our Local group, which is a part of the larger Virgo Supercluster. All of those other dots are also superclusters, each containing perhaps trillions of stars.
Since the speed of light is a constant in the vacuum of space, there is an outer edge to what is observable from Earth. That outer edge is defined by the objects within 14 billion years away (how old the universe is estimated to be), which is the time it would take for the light from these distant objects to reach us here on Earth. In this sense, the objects that are the farthest away from us are literally some of the earliest stars and galaxies in the young universe. it’s quite likely that the stars we’re observing are no longer burning and the ones that have formed from the gases expelled during the supernova of the previous stars are in another place entirely.
Since the universe has been expanding indefinitely since the big bang, the number of objects seen in the observable universe will shorten with time and it will appear as if the universe is much smaller than it does now - due to the light not having the proper amount of time to travel to the distant reaches of the universe. This expansion that’s going on in all directions is also the reason why our solar system appears to lie in the middle of the universe. In fact, every inhabited planet circling a distant star will look out into the universe and they will see that the universe is expanding away from them, giving the impression that they are located smack in the center of it all.
The “observable” universe consists of:
10 million superclusters
25 billion galaxy groups
350 billion large galaxies
7 trillion dwarf galaxies
30 billion trillion (3X10^22) stars (of which almost 30 stars go supernova per second)
According to some math that I have no desire to go into, if you imagine the size of the observable universe (13.7 billion light-years) to be that of one nucleus of an atom and compare that with the size of the unobservable universe, then the total universe is 10 billion times larger than the size of the unobservable universe compared to a nucleus of an atom AND IT WILL CONTINUE TO GET BIGGER.
I know some people have been posting this project today and expressing admiration, but honestly? I just find it incredibly boring. Not only are almost all of the models conventionally attractive outside of their supposedly unusual underarm hair, but I’m just tired of this ‘challenge traditional beauty standards’ malarkey. Surely women have to have higher aims than being ‘allowed’ to be considered beautiful?
Admittedly, I am exposed to numerous women who freely grow their body hair and seeing it is neither here nor there for me.
But for goodness sake - can we stop training the camera lens on women and pretending that all it takes to challenge beauty’s ritual of objectification is to create a larger sample of those considered ‘good enough’ to be objectified? Especially in cases like this when such supposedly transgressive artistry is being claimed by a guy whose entire catalogue of subjects conforms to a pretty typical standard of attractiveness.
Jesus, if you want to see amazing, subversive photographs of women with hairy pits who are also in control of how those images are presented, all you have to do is run a cursory search on Tumblr. This stuff isn’t new, and celebrating it as if it is doesn’t just reinforce some pretty damaging ideas about the commodification of women’s bodies, it also once again praises the work of a man as original when he’s actually doing nothing more than stealing from women who have been saying this stuff (and creating art about it) for years, and in far more interesting and confronting ways.
Hopper argues that women shouldn’t be told what defines beauty (even while the narrow catalogue of his work seems to do exactly that), and that’s true - but nor should we be fooled into thinking that being considered beautiful is one of the greatest gifts the world has to offer us. We have to want more than the reassurance that our bodies and the way we look when we walk through the world are acceptable and pleasing to an outsider’s gaze.
TW: This post will be dealing with whorephobia. Specifically the kind leveled at full service sex workers. I got really worked up the more I wrote and I’m hoping my language isn’t offensive. I welcome feedback and other people’s opinions on…
Remember that intimate conversation you had with your son? The one where you said, “I love you and I need you to know that no matter how a woman dresses or acts, it is not an invitation to cat call, taunt, harass or assault her”?
Or when you told your son, “A woman’s virginity isn’t a prize and sleeping with a woman doesn’t earn you a point”?
How about the heart-to-heart where you lovingly conferred the legal knowledge that “a woman doesn’t have to be fighting you and you don’t have to be pinning her down for it to be RAPE. Intoxication means she can’t legally consent, NOT that she’s an easy score.”
Or maybe you recall sharing my personal favorite, “Your sexual experiences don’t dictate your worth just like a woman’s sexual experiences don’t dictate hers.”
Last but not least, do you remember calling your son out when you discovered he was using the word “slut” liberally? Or when you overheard him talking about some girl from school as if she were more of a conquest than a person?
I want you to consider these conversations and then ask yourself why you don’t remember them. The likely reason is because you didn’t have them. In fact, most parents haven’t had them.
I HEARD RUMORS THAT SOMETHING WAS GOING ON IN THE THINSPO TAG, SO I DECIDED TO CHECK IT OUT AND
LOOK AT THIS. NO MORE TINY-ASS STRIP AT THE TOP OF THE RESULTS. NO SIR, THERE’S NO WAY YOU CAN MISS THIS. AN ENTIRE FUCKING PAGE DEDICATED TO TRYING TO GET PEOPLE HELP.
STAFF IS DONE WITH THIS PRO-ANA BULLSHIT.
WAY TO GO STAFF. WAY TO FUCKING GO!
Same comes up when you search for “suicide”. 4 for you, tumblr!
I’m so proud of tumblr. A large part of this community’s demographic is one that is at most risk of developing an eating disorder, and it’s so fucking great to see them taking a stand and stepping in. They may not be able to actively help sufferers, but they aren’t letting themselves become passive enablers and they’re showing that they care. And that’s enough.