Your Periodic Reminder of How Arbitrary Beauty Standards Can Be


We all know, theoretically, that standards and conventions for beauty are a load of crap, but that point was driven home from me today. I was idly searching for ideas for how to wear two different colors of lipstick at once. A Buzzfeed post called “17 Easy Ways To Make Your Lips Look Perfect” popped up. Column 1, Row 2 of “Borrowed” Image #13 (originally via Vintage Make-Up Guides) gave me pause.

It reads

A Cupid’s bow can be toned down with foundation. Trace prettier lipline with stick.

If you watch or read make-up tutorials or know something about beauty, you will immediately recognize how bizarre that statement is.

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International Blasphemy Rights Day: Aisha Was a Teenage Dirtbag

Mallory Ortberg at The Toast has a whole series about the dirtbags (especially the teenage ones) of history, fiction, and mythology: Zeus, Teddy Roosevelt, Lord Alfred Douglas (as in Oscar Wilde’s Bosie), Anne of Green Gables, John Milton, and Hamlet, to name a few.

I humbly posit that Aisha, a woman mostly known as Muhammad’s child bride, had something of the teenage dirtbag to her.

This isn’t to say that she was a bad person. Far from it. This is more to say that she had quite a spark to her.

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Everything That My Tits Have Gotten Me in Life

Content Notice for Sexual Harassment and Body Image

This past weekend, a friend of a friend insinuated that the reason I had been able to get two beers at this particular brewery instead of the single one he had managed to procure was my breasts.

Never mind that the bartender who had given it to me was the female one, not one of the two male ones, and that one of the beers was a half-pour. Never mind that I was wearing a high-necked dress, had another person in my company, had been a regular at the brewery’s former location, was in line far ahead of him, and was behaving rather sedately, especially compared to how loudly and boisterously as he was acting.

Nope, it must have been my breasts.

Had it been a passing remark, I would have rolled my eyes and let it go. Instead, he went on to hurr-hurr about it with another male friend-of-a-friend, so I was compelled to point out the most dramatic and most recent example of what my breasts have actually gotten me: rape threats.

There are plenty of other things my breasts have gotten me.

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Writings From Elsewhere: How to Make Animals Adore You

The awesome Marianne of xoJane put out a call for women of color to write for their weekend edition, and I answered. One of Ingrid and Greta‘s three cats, Houdini, makes a special appearance.

I can personally attest to the success of respecting animals. Last spring, I stayed with some friends of mine. As soon as I entered their house, two of their three cats were all over me begging for playtime and attention, but I hardly caught even a glimpse of the third.

When she peeked in at us with curiosity, I resisted the temptation to chase or pester her by reminding myself that I was in her territory and probably smelled weird to her. The second evening I was there, I got out of the bathroom only to find her standing in front of me. I lowered myself to the ground, maintaining distance, and slowly stretched my hand out to her in greeting.

What happened with Houdini and me? You can check out more of my thoughts on animal consent to find out.

Bisexuality Pride Week: How to Mess with Straight Male Fetishists

Last week, I said that a certain conversation I had “took a turn for the very queer: methods by which to freak out straight people.” It finally happened, folks: I got accused of being homophobic for saying something that, to me, was a queer in-joke.

Because I do enjoy freaking out straight male fetishists or what?
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Ajar Thread: A Question That Stumped Google

I’ve been Googling since about the year 2000, when I heard about this newfangled, clean search engine from a lady talking about it on some AM radio station. Very rarely has my Google ability failed me, and yet, it is failing me right now. I’ve searched far and wide (and even tried Bing), but alas, no one seems to have written anything about it.

Body hair softening. Body hair softening broke Google.

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BMI Is Bullshit, Even for the Decidedly Non-Athletic

[Content Notice for Eating Disorders]

I am a “good fatty” in the sense that I haven’t engaged in long-term unrestricted eating in many years and I make an attempt at an exercise regiment. I am a “bad fatty” in that I occasionally take breaks from my restricted eating plans, don’t engage in physical activity on a consistent basis, and am unapologetic about the fact that health can be attained even by those dubbed overweight or obese based on the BMI.

Recently, I discovered something about changes in my body composition that could be used to argue that I’m a “good fatty” — but I’m far more interested in its implications about BMI.
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A More Reasonable Rage: Why I Don’t Seem Angry at Islam

Follow-up to A More Reasonable Rage: What Made Me Angry at Islam

After I first left Islam, I was subjected to some rather poor treatment. As a result, I let my self-imposed standards for my own behavior slip. It was only after I had extricated myself from the worst of it that I was able to look in the mirror and realize that I was peering at the image before me without recognition. I decided to reevaluate my approach.

It took me time to leave Islam, more time to get to a place where those around me accepted that I’d left Islam, and even more time to figure out my place in the world as an ex-Muslim. How and why I decided on my particular approach is ultimately a matter of practicality and the specificity that practicality requires.

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