Ah, the vagina. It's a miraculous tube! Your wonderful ladyparts can do everything from hold a teeny-weeny tampon in place, to act as the host to a fun little party, to open wide their gates and allow another entire human being to be introduced to this wacky place!
When faced with stupefying events, people and objects, human beings are generally at a loss for words ... and propriety. Which explains the gaggle of totally heinous nicknames for your grand canal.
Below, a round-up of at-times cutesy, but always marvelous, pet names that are completely acceptable, nay! worthy of, your special passage from uterus to vulva, that is destined to be the source of much of your life's past, current and future drama.
10. Beef Curtains
At first glance, this term may seem offensive -- even misogynistic. But seriously, beef curtains? Not only is it wildly hilarious in an irresistible, fourth-grade snarf your soda kind of way, it's actually descriptively quite apropos: they are fleshy, tough but tender (the beef!) and they do flank a rather dramatic stage (the curtains!) Perhaps Filet Mignon Curtains would lend the phrase an increased aura of dignity?
9. Hot Pocket
Not only do I want to sing it repeatedly (Hot Pock-et! Hooooot Po-CKET!) to the tune of the notorious jingle, it generally makes me feel sassy and strangely jazzed. This in spite of the fact that I detest the dreadful Nestle concoctions involving microwavable pastry, cheese product and mystery meat - just dreadful. Hoooot Pock-ET!
I often ask myself, which situation is worse: a work environment that's openly hostile to women or one that is covertly so? In the end, generation X and Y have been blessed with the fruits of many generations' efforts who fought, polished tooth and nail, to get to a place where it's against the law - not to mention polite society - to openly discriminate against women.
But we all know it still exists: bosses who question our long-term commitment and ask subtle, but leading questions about our plans to "start a family", male coworkers who talk about female bosses who are "total ball busters", etc. etc.
And our miniature cohorts are facing the same thorny issues as they dig through the sandboxes and playing with Barbies and Tonka Trucks across our fair land in their brown cords and their pink princess dresses. Toy companies--while generally passing the initial feminist sniff test--still stink when it comes to marketing to girls. Below, a round-up of their current worst offenses.
The question is: what are we going to do for the generations coming up behind us?
This one has gender-casting writ in its very name: it's pink, it's delicate, it's diminutive, it's huswifery wrapped up in a neatly tied (and probably starched) ivory taffeta bow that has been soaked in lilac water and tinkled on by fairies. Playskool churned out this charming playhouse of horrors and it comes with it's very own super creepy song: "I love when my laundry gets so clean / Taking care of my home is a dream, dream, dream!"
AKA Baby Glutton (translated from Spanish where the ghoulish little number was produced), this dolly possesses the ability to breastfeed. That's right, folks! In addition to peeing dolls, crying dolls, wiggling dolls, crawling dolls, walking dolls, we now have a breastfeeding doll to add to the roster of direful semi-animated bots. The breastfeeding doll takes it to a new level though - the doll comes with a halter top with flowers in the place of nips, a sensor in the doll and the flower that helps the doll "feed" and make suckling noises. I'm all about breastfeeding, but then again, I'm all about sex and all kinds of other completely healthy, natural activities that 5 year olds should probably not be exposed to. I'm on the fence about this one. I'd love to hear your thoughts in comments below.
Do you sometimes feel like a wrinkly oil-spill who's also a gaseous, period-bloated, frizzy mess who happens to be suffering from that not so fresh feeling while simultaneously having to go ... gotta go gotta go gotta go right now? It's no wonder, but don't worry: Just dial 877-393-4448, Optimum Voice, call your mom, call your date! (And your shrink while you're at it).
We are exposed to more than 5,000 marketing messages a day, up from 3,000 in 1990, according to the most recent numbers from the International Television and Video Almanac. And while their insidious jingles enter our dreams, cloud our already info-overloaded brains and generally pollute our quality of life, sometimes the underlying message the ads are broadcasting about womanity are more deleterious to our sanity and way of life than their irritating ($5 foot loooong; Activi-aaaaah!) slogans.
The good people in the advertising industry are essentially being paid to make us feel insecure and buy the products they're selling to "fix" whatever problem they made us "realize" we have - an important thing to keep in mind the next time we find ourselves dashing out the door to purchase that wrinkle cream being pushed by a 15-year-old without pores. Below, the 10 worst ads recently making their rotations somewhere way too close to you.
10. Burger King
The message: Even innocuous cartoon characters want a piece of your booty - give it up girls!
It's rare when an aesthetic creation manages to degrade women, a cheesy rap song, a beloved cartoon character and a creepy mascot without being even passably funny (just think of all of those South Park, Seinfeld and Simpsons skits that are universally offensive to animals, vegetables and minerals but have you helplessly tittering despite your inner protest fist-pumpin' Gloria Steinem). But Burger King succeeds. Its latest commercial is more music video than ad; it's an insipid depiction of your grandma's idea of what Lady of the Night-like hoochie mamas would look like shaking their "square booties" around to a reworking of Sir-Mix-a-Lot's Baby Got Back. Meanwhile, a newly lascivious Sponge Bob gives em the middle-aged fat drunk man hairy-eyeball treatment and the "King" runs amok doing the splits, "rapping" and measuring their thrusting, grinding square sponge "booties" with a measuring tape. What this has to do with, um, burgers, is anyone's guess.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Padma Lakshmi, international supermodel, former wife of Brilliant Man Salman Rushdie, author and TV host extraordinaire. It's one thing if Paris wants to flit about like a floozy with Carl - we expect that of her. But when you sensually collapse onto the front steps of a New York City brownstone (a la Carrie from SATC -- all busty bra, casually splayed legs and uber high heels) and lick up links of dripping bacon, chunks of wet beef and stray spurts of ketchup from your wrist as you purr, "It reminds me of being in high school. Sneaking out before dinner to savor that sweet, spicy sauce. Leaving no evidence behind," I kind of die inside. But then a male voice over dorkily intones: "100% Black Angus Beef. More than just a piece of meat." And then I just croak. Literally, like a hoarse, crazy frog. And scare my dog. Thanks, Padma.
Is it possible for a woman to get married, raise a family, hold down a job, dress herself or breathe without acting like an infantile, desperate and cognitively challenged ninny? Despite the overwhelming empirical evidence that points toward "Yes!" that I've gathered in my three decades on Planet Earth, apparently that's not the case at all.
As members of the "weaker sex," hissy fits, maniacal demands, verbal and physical abuse and crazy peepered/goggly-eyed confrontations are de rigeur when executing the simplest of tasks - if you consult reality television, anyway.
Ever since the hideous dawn of The Real World, it's clear that "reality" TV isn't going to make anyone look good - but women seem to fall prey to (and to be fair, to enroll themselves in) the degradation of the genre with more frequency than their male counterparts. Below, a round-up of the 10 worst offenders currently flopping on (or about to bitch-slap) the airwaves.
10. The Bad Girls Club
Mimicking The Real World formula (except with an all-female cast), The Bad Girls Club documents what happens when a bunch of psychologically damaged people live under one roof together with carte blanche access to booze, Jacuzzis and general fanciness. Unsurprisingly, a bleep-heavy "oh no she did-nnn-t" fest ensues. Watch the magic happen. This Emmy shoo-in is totally not cashing in on stereotypes about fat girls, skinny girls, black girls, white girls and strippers.
9. The Girls of Hedsor Hall
The series (produced by the kingpin of discretion himself, Donald Trump) features 12 wild n' crazy American party girls who are recruited to be whipped into shape at finishing school in England under the watchful eyes of headmistress Gill Harbord and "disciplinarian" Rosemary Schrager. Is it just me or does this sound like a porno to you? (The girls have to wear Catholic-style girl-school uniforms, so it looks like a porno too.) The lass who shows the most improvement will win $100,000 - an all-American motivation for refinement if I ever saw one. Stay classy, MTV.
Members of the "delicate" sex have been given the kind of rough and tumble treatment by the medical profession one would expect at the seediest and most vile S&M clubs - and only if they'd been very, very naughty indeed.
Until (very) recently, women were regarded as categorically inferior to men - intellectually, spiritually, morally, physically and emotionally. And many less-evolved members of the male gender still seem to subscribe to the antiquated notion that women need to be taken care of and told what to do "for their own good." But doctors and psychiatrists are supposed to represent the arc of human progress - from the barbaric to the, well, humane - so why are women still being treated like second-class, emotionally stunted, mentally challenged citizens upon whom a variety of psycho-sexual experiments can and should carried out (for their own good of course)?
Probably because women have proven to be greedy Big Pharma's little piggy bank. Through brilliant marketing ploys that play to our insecurities and fears, they've hit pay dirt, and our only weapon is awareness. So next time you see an ad featuring pretty, happy women touting the latest "solution" to your "ills" in the form of a shiny new pill, think twice before asking your MD about it (chances are they'll be more than happy to whip out the prescription pad - more on that below).
Below, a round-up of the most distressing (OMG, I'm totally freaking out, quick doc, I need a Valium 'scrip!) examples of the medical industry's most heinous crimes against women.
10. It's ... Electric!
This treatment's a blast from the past and definitely more of a boon than a bane in the end, but letting it go unmentioned would be a total buzz-kill (ba doom boom ch!) In Ye Olde Victorian Days, in the best case scenarios, doctors used to treat a variety of "hysterical," "neurotic" or "neurasthenic" disorders in women by, er, manually aiding them to orgasmic release. (Worst case scenarios: a clitoridectomy, which as the theory went - and still goes in some parts of the world - literally cutting a woman off from her sexuality is the best way to help her manage her oh-so-wildly-fraught emotions and uncontrollable sexuality). Then along came the vibrator in 1880, making the "treatment" faster, easier and cleaner and doctors found patients "came" to them much more frequently for treatment. Until mags like Needlecraft and Woman's Home Companion started posting ads for them and women took matters into their own hands, making the process of relieving the crazies yet even faster, easier ... and infinitely more enjoyable.
9. Feeling Blue, Little Girl?
About twice as many women as men experience depression, according to dozens of respected studies. Our hormones, society, biology and culture are all blamed. The panacea? Why, drugs, silly! The problem? Every five to 10 years, the industry comes out with a new neurotransmitter-linked "solution" for depression. Right now, it's SSRIs, which boost serotonin levels - Prozac, Paxil, etc. - but fairly recently, Tforanil and Elevil were all the rage, when scientists believed that fiddling with norepinephrine levels fixed depression. The fact is, researchers have yet to definitely prove which neurotransmitter directly affects depression. While countless women have been helped by these drugs (I know many of them), countless others have suffered from side effects ranging from serious weight gain to the total annihilation of their sex drive to homicidal/suicidal thoughts, even actions. And while talk therapy is considered to be totally 1950s, instead of mindlessly hopping from one trendy pill to the next, perhaps doctors should examine the roots of the depression first, then decide whether it's time for a chemical intervention.
Women's magazines: I love them. No! I hate them! They're evil! But sooo glossy and purtty. Let's face it: most women's magazines sans a feminist or political bent are like your worst ex; you're glad you had the experience with them and all, but in the end, they just made you feel kind of empty, lonely and sad.
And that's what they count on: it's a vicious cycle in which magazines (or evil exes) make you feel like you're some sort of sexually clueless, disgustingly obese, fashion-challenged, in danger of dying from a horrific and totally obscure disease, hirsute megabeast who without its (or his) advice, attention and love will die - gasp - a reviled and detested old spinster cat lady!
So whenever you're feelin' vulnerable in that grocery aisle and you mechanically reach for a shiny 900-page spread of beautifully laid-out "women's service" lies (they do, like the ex, give you a delicious, dizzy buzz in the short term) just try to remember the crimes they've committed against womanity and resist their disservice! Same goes for the ex: Dolls don't have time for repeat offenders.
10. Demented Digital Manipulation
Airbrushing is so 1989. What we're dealing with now is more than the harmless zit-zap; we're talking FrankenBarbie. Models these days weigh 23% less than the average American woman (two decades ago, they weighed just 8% less), but their already unattainably tall and thin bodies become even more so with a few thigh-lengthening, waist-whittling, eye-enlarging, nose-thinning and bust-building swirls of photo retouchers' evil wands. Remember what it was like when you were 12, paging through YM and gawking greedily at the spreads of impossibly chipper, cute girls? It's so much worse now. The most notorious (though not necessarily insidious) cases of airbrushing involve celebs - Redbook redid Faith Hill; Elle edited Nicole Kidman; Shape reshaped Jenny McCarthy and Vogue revamped Adele. Ugh.
9. Shameless Shilling for Advertisers
Nine out of 10 rocket scientists agree: magazines and advertisers - despite their most outspoken claims to the contrary - have been shacking up together for years. But you'd think they'd have tact and the common decency to be a smidge less blatant about it. That's right, ladies - that article on the hottest new wrinkle-annihilating serum positioned right next to an ad for said serum isn't just a coinkydink! And what's up with all of the glossy-page hogging content designed to look like editorial page with tiny black writing at the top that you can read with a magnifying glass informing you that it's "sponsored content?"
Way back in 1989 the Guerrilla Girls, a plucky band of anonymous activist female artists, caused an art world brouhaha after they did a boob/signature survey at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and produced a poster that (accurately) read: "Do women have to be naked to get into the Met Museum? Less than 5% of the artists in the Modern Art section are women, but 85% of the nudes are female."
So how much has changed? The last time the ladies did a count (2004), they found that there were actually fewer women artists than there were in 1989.
The hard numbers still come as a shock, even though they shouldn't - a recent report revealed that the pay gap between men and women globally is crazy high - 22%! And guess who's buying the art? Macho men with mucho spending power like publisher S.I. Newhouse, hedge funders Steven A. Cohen and David Ganek, insurance magnate Eli Broad and buyout brainiac Henry Kravis.
In addition to getting less space on walls in museums (not to mention galleries, homes and comic book shelves), women artists fail to get the P.R. and art prize props their male counterparts rake in. Below, our round-up of the most bloated, overrated contemporary male artists and the women who (should be) kicking their asses.
5. The Sculptor: Jeff Koons
Appropriately enough, the 1980's made Koons. His relentless creation and meticulous cultivation of his image as an art star, his references to himself in the third person in interviews, his 1988 gold-plated statue Michael Jackson and Bubbles, his marriage to a porn star and the series of sculptures portraying their, er, lovemaking that resulted from the ill-fated match and his sprawling downtown studio staffed by dozens of assistants who churned out his creative "vision" a la Andy Warhol's Factory are like a bad fun-house mirror representing the grotesqueries and emptiness, and none of the giggly fun, of that bedazzled decade. It would be easy to write it off as (multiple) youthful indescretion(s), but Koons' latest work lacks maturity to an almost aggressive degree. It's still as pompous, unscholarly, bloated -- and dazzlingly pretty as ever. His balloon dog, chocolate heart wrapped in shiny red and a silhouette of Piglet on the roof of the Met - between about eight and 18 feet tall, high-shine, high-octane chromium stainless steel sculptures looked gorgeous, reflected sunsets and the gawking beautiful people beautifully, but that's about it. Prettiness alone does not merit $23.6 million (his Hanging Heart raked in a new record for a living artist at auction in 2007).
4. Defies categorization: Damien Hirst
$23.6 mil is mere peanuts compared to what Damien "Dead Sharks" Hirst pulls in. Last year, when stock markets had already started their skulk toward Hades and the art world was starting to schvitz, Hirst's most recent collection still managed to rake in $200 million at Sotheby's in London, a record-breaker. The collection of work included - his trademark - a menagerie of dead animals soaking in formaldehyde. Hedge funders and Wall Street playboys, unsurprisingly, seem to have a hard-on for Hirst, who is also responsible for creating a life-size skull cast in platinum and encrusted with 8,500 diamonds, including one 50-carat shiner that got plopped onto the skull's forehead. His work's "message" is painfully obvious, but I do see why the sophomoric meditation on mortality and unfettered consumerism appeals to his buyers, who seem to spend most of their days warding off mortality with unfettered consumerism.
In general, unless I'm confident that I will be infotained, I avoid celebrity interviews like I do vomit on city sidewalks.
However, some interviews I'm drawn to again and again. On the one hand I relish the fact that a star's barefaced childishness has been successfully unmasked by a crafty interviewer, but on the other, I feel (momentarily) saddened by the pathos and psychic terror of their trainwreckery ... until, that is, I inevitably hit play again.
10. Jessica Alba
Sometimes it is better to be seen and not heard -- or at least have a script on hand. Jessica "reported" on President Obama's victory and while interviewing an actual reporter, she not only chided him for not revealing his own political leanings, she attempted to initiate him into her own special world of international diplomacy. Her retrospective advice to the departing president on the whole war thing: "Be neutral ... Be Sweden about it." I think you meant Switzerland, honey.
9. Holly Hunter
One of the most eye-curdling interviews out there was not the fault of a ditzy, distracted or in-need-of-psychiatric attention star. This time, it was the interviewer who was out to lunch. Granted, it got off to a bad start when surly Holly barely snarled out a greeting to NBC's hapless Merry Miller, but it went downhill as Merry struggled to come up with any questions whatsoever. Instead, she repeatedly informed the Academy Award-winner that she loves her and thinks she's fantastic. Finally, kindly, Miller stutters to a hectic halt while struggling to read the teleprompter and tripping over her words like a shy, knock-kneed seventh-grader who wants to get her big speech in front of the class over with so she can run to the bathroom and cry. Bye Merry! Nice knowing you.