Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Why Parents Need to Dress Their Boys in More Pink Dresses

I’ve always been fascinated with gender.

I think it’s so interesting to look at how our society is obsessed with it.  What prompted me to write this post was the baby shower I attended a couple of weeks ago. The mother-to-be knows what sex the baby is, but won’t tell anyone. You will not believe how frantic people are about this whole situation, but not because they are merely curious as to what sex the baby is. It’s more like, “How in the world are we going to shop for the right baby clothing if we don’t know what colours to buy?!?” Oh my.

Children are forced early on to perform a certain gender role. Our society demands it.  And children aren’t born knowing how to “be” a girl or boy. Nope, these things are learned through socialization. Although many would say that gender roles have changed a lot in the past 50 years, the fact remains that girls are socialized to adopt these roles:

And boys are meant to adopt these:



Now, I’m not saying that ALL kids play with these very gender distinct toys. I’m not saying that video games are violent or that girls shouldn’t want to play being a mother. What I’m saying is that society expects children to perform their prescribed gender in these kinds of examples. People tend to question what is “wrong” with a child or parent when this happens:

What are kids called when they transgress their prescribed gender roles? Hmmm, let’s see. What about “tomboy” or “sissy”? Most people believe that “tomboys” and “sissies” will outgrow these “phases.” At least they hope that they will. Heaven forbid they defy these gender laws into adulthood, for risk of being labeled “dyke,” “fag,” “pansy,” etc. Don’t we as humans have more pressing issues to worry about, rather than being concerned with those who appear too “effeminate” or too “butch”? Keep in mind that very recently Barnes & Noble decided to censor a magazine cover of a topless, androgynous male model before putting it on their shelves.

Perhaps this is why I love you so much, oh gender ambiguous Lord Bowie.
Thus, the question that I ponder almost everyday is: Why is gender such a big deal?

Yes, heaven forbid we buy the “wrong” colour of baby clothes. Who came up with  gendered colours anyways? I’ll never forget the story that one of my professors told about taking her baby to the supermarket. She dressed her little girl in green that day, and was waiting in line to pay for her groceries. The woman next to her loudly voiced her disapproval and unbelief of the fact that my professor’s baby was so gender ambiguous in the colour green. This lady was offended that my professor could possibly dress her daughter in a “non-girly” colour.

Urgh. I could blog about this topic for days. Or weeks. Or years. Perhaps I will.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I Did it Y'all!

So, I officially graduated this past weekend! Maybe it's not a big deal for you, but it is for me. I was thisclose to dropping out of the program.

Me walking across the stage. Taken from the grainy monitor. Chosen so I don't acquire a crazy Internet stalker. 
Now...I am working as a sales associate at a home decor store. Urgh. It sucks going from the huge high that is teachers college, to the bottom of the food chain that is retail. A lot of people who shop at home decor stores are middle-aged women, who have money to buy expensive glass shit, and are extremely condescending. Not that I want to boast about finishing school to anyone, but sometimes I just want to yell, "Don't worry lady, I know how to wrap your picture frames properly. I'm sure that if I wanted to be a teacher, I could be making double what you make right now!" 35 grand down the drain, and I'm no better off than I was before I went to university. AND I have to pay these loans back somehow.

Enough of that, though.
Let me show you what I get to look forward to, now that school's done.

Being poor. 
HP 7 Part 2!! I've been waiting my whole life for this!

My meal of choice in these stressful times.
Bowie + Vinyl. Love.
Beer + Beach. If it's a nice summer, that is (swimming in ice-cold lakes is no fun).
 Yay. What are you excited for (sarcastically or not) this summer?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Public Transportation + Why I Will be Having Conversations With my Pocketwatch in 20 Years

Here’s the deal: I take the bus. Everywhere. I live in a small city where everyone has a car, but I don’t drive. I also can’t afford a car even if I could. So I walk a long way, in cold Canadian weather, to get to the bus stop and wait. Because I’m cool like that.

Most people probably don’t think taking the bus is a big deal. I’m pretty sure in big cities, everybody takes public transit, and nobody blinks an eye. Here, in my small city where everybody knows everybody, only the poor folk, teenage mothers, and people who talk to their pocketwatches take public transit. And I’m one of them (poor, that is. Although talking to my pocketwatch, if I had one, might fend off some of the crazies).

I hate it. I hate waiting on busy streets and having people stare at me as they pass. I hate people I know recognizing me and pitying me, thinking, “Oh yeah, the poor girl, she doesn’t drive!” I hate sitting next to smelly fat men who discuss the intricacies of their pez collections. I hate drunk people, covered in blood, stagger on the bus and proclaim to each other, “Hey buddy, don’t touch anything on this bus, you might infect someone!” It wasn’t too long ago, in THIS COUNTRY, that somebody hacked off somebody else’s head with a knife whilst on a Greyhound bus. True story.

Here are my useful bus accessories that I must carry with me everyday in order to protect myself whilst on the bus:
  • Oversized sunglasses. They are useful for disguising myself and looking cool at the same time.
  • Cell phone. As soon as a crazy walks on and starts to talk to me, I pretend to be writing a novel comprised completely of text messages.
  • Ipod and headphones. These are so I can ignore the crazies that try to hit on me.
  • A large, oversized purse. This is to occupy the seat next to me so that nobody’s ass touches mine. Plus, it can be used as a weapon (the straps can be used to strangle someone, the body of the purse can be used to smack someone in the face, etc.) in case a crazy with a knife tries to decapitate me.
  • Big floppy hat. This is to hide my hair and cover most of my head, so people don’t recognize me.
  • Mitts/Gloves. It’s always cold where I live, so these definitely come in handy. Also, they protect me from “getting infected” as the drunk dudes say.

I shouldn’t really complain though. It’s a way to get around. And there aren’t as many crazies as there are in big cities, I’m sure. Like this guy.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Baby Showers: They Suck, Unless You Play Justin Bieber

I am not a fan of baby showers. Or really any kind of showers (bridal, golden, etc.). Or babies. So it’s just not a fun time for me.

A very close friend of mine – who I consider to be family – is preggers. I’m super excited for her, especially because she is going to be the BEST mom. She’s 16 years older than me, and kind of treated me like a mom when I was younger. And she did the COOLEST things with me. We would go camping, kayaking, hiking, skating, etc. I would sleepover at her house for fun movie nights and we would stay up super late. She would feed me sugared cereal in the morning. She’s also my Harry Potter partner in crime. By that I mean, we have been known to dress up as Harry Potter characters, make Harry Potter food, and have Harry Potter movie marathons. I was a bridesmaid in her wedding. On top of that, she is just the most loving, kind, and caring person in the universe. And she looooves kids.

She’s been trying to have a kid for awhile, and I’m so happy she finally got preggers. And to top it off, she’s not an annoying pregnant person.

Annoying pregnant people can be defined by the following:
  • They wear shirts that are way too small for their bellies, which makes you want to stare at their deformed, pokey-outer belly buttons and be revolted
  • All they talk about is being pregnant
  • They are gassy, psychotic because of “the hormones” and demanding
  • They talk about uteruses (uteri?), cervixes (cervixi?) and other bodily things that we don’t need to hear about
  • They rub their bellies incessantly to remind you that they’re pregnant

So, although I love this person to death, and she’s totally not an annoying pregnant person….I still couldn’t stand her baby shower.

First, there’s the annoying finger foods. I can understand if the shower is at like 2 or 3 pm, but when it’s scheduled around suppertime, I expect me some decent grub. Right? No mini sandwiches, carrot sticks, and teeny tiny meatballs. So, although I feel guilty about standing next to the food table and inhaling the spinach dip all day, it’s not really my fault.

Secondly, there’s the stupid dice game. I’m not sure if this is a universal shower game, or just something that my family/family’s friends do. Pretty much, you pass around a die, whilst sitting in a circle, and if you roll a 1 or a 6, you can grab a wrapped gift from the pile in the middle of the circle. After all the presents are officially taken, you can take presents from each other. It may sound like fun, but it’s really not. Not only does it take a very long time for the die to actually reach you in a big circle (and if you don’t roll a 1 or a 6, it’s very boring) but the presents are not even desirable. They are almost always from the dollar store or somebody’s “re-gift” box. I have received more cheap candles, dish cloths, and mugs than I’ll ever need. I used to re-gift these things but accidentally gave one back to the person who gave it to me. Whooops.

I’m sure you’ve experienced some other ridiculous baby shower games, like the “guess the baby picture” game. Urrgh. Most of the time, I can’t tell who anyone’s baby picture belongs to because the photos were shot in 1923 and are too grainy to make out. Other time-wasting games include the “guess the width of the baby bump” game and “let’s share graphic stories about births” game.

Finally, and most importantly, is the present opening. I, of course, think that moms-to-be need gifts, and should definitely open them in front of the gift givers. However, I don’t think this needs to take 2 hrs. At every baby shower I’ve been to, the mom passes each opened item around the circle for everyone to look at and go “oooh” and “ahhhh” over way too may times. I really don’t need to see 20 different bibs, or a breast pump, or diapers. I know what they look like. I’m sure they’re cute. I’m sure they will be covered in puke, breast milk, and poop, and be disposed of eventually, so I really don’t care.

As if you can’t tell, I’m not a big fan of babies. I don’t really have a desire to have any. But, if I do, my baby shower is going to be AWESOME. We are going to do the following:
  • Eat a feast. I’ll be eating for two, and most of the middle-aged women in attendance will probably have food babies anyways.
  • Have a dance party. We will play Justin Bieber’s “Baby” several times. That’s right. Because after the baby comes, I’ll be a boring old mother with no time to have fun. And hopefully, the strain of dancing might put me into premature labour, which means that the guests can go home early and be put our of their misery.
  • Play a game of “who has the ugliest baby picture.” I’m sure everyone has a snotty, drooly, food covered picture of themselves as a baby.
  • Buy the pregnant person (ME) naughty gifts. Because let’s face it, I’m sure my sex life will suck after I give birth (i.e. being sleep-deprived, having baby fat, etc.) and passing around a vibrator is probably much more exciting than passing around diaper rash cream.
  • Ban children and babies from attending the baby shower. They are annoying.

So, there you have it. I’m not a baby hater – I enjoy looking at peoples’ babies every once and awhile – but I just don’t like baby showers. That isn’t a crime.