Thursday, May 7, 2009

You know what I hate about the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty?

No, it's not the irony of a beauty product company making these commercials. It's that they're preaching, "Let's show girls that they're not fat and ugly!" rather than, "Your beauty doesn't define you!" This kind of thing just reaffirms that as a young female, how you look is really important. Maybe the reason girls feel unusually bad about being ugly isn't because of "unrealistic media standards" (men aren't saying Megan Fox or no deal, people) but because our culture greatly exaggerates how important your looks are. The Dove campaign says that girls thinking they're fat/ugly is a serious problem. How about some commercials/surveys about girls thinking they're stupid, or incompetent, or unlikable or like they're bad people? No no, thinking you're any of those things just doesn't rack up to the horrible thought that you're fat.

"We found girls is Britain have some of the lowest self-esteem in the world, with 92% of sixteen-year-olds saying they'd like to change something about their appearance."

"A shocking survey has found that nearly three quarters of eight-to-twelve-year-olds want to change something about their appearance. Why do they have such low esteem?" Then [referring to the first mentioned study], "Dove did these surveys and found that UK girls have the lowest self-esteem in the world."

What a vain picture of girls, to think that how they feel about their looks is the sole determinant of their self-esteem.

Besides that, kids aren't stupid enough to think that all girls are physically beautiful, or full of "inner-beauty" either, so in saying that, Dove is just destroying their credibility with girls. I remember being a kid and reading an article in Girl's Life magazine about how some group of girls thought they were ugly, but experts were able to point out something pretty about every one of them. Yeah, nice try Girl's Life, saying that isn't going to convince me that ugly girls simply don't exist. I've fuckin' seen them. I only remember it because it was when I realized you can never trust anyone who tells you that you're pretty.

A really stupid contradiction I noticed when I was fourteen or so, watching plastic surgery shows, was that pseudo-moralistic surgeons would go, "I won't perform plastic surgery on people doing it for the wrong reasons. If you want it because you want other people to like how you look, that's a bad reason. But if want it because it'll make you feel better about yourself, there is a good reason to have something done."

That's the same damn thing. No one living on an island of population: 1 would feel better about themselves if they had some plastic surgery.

Trying to attach your physical appearance to your self-esteem while separating it from what other people think of you is just stupid. "I encourage self-confidence, feel good about the way you look but ignore what others think of you." Yeah, that makes sense.... are you attracted to yourself or something? People will try countering my claim that how you feel about your looks is dependent on how you think you're perceived by pointing out fat chicks who wear skimpy clothes and claim to love how they look. I'm pretty sure those fat girls are really focusing on the chubby chasers who like that sort of thing. Case in point:

"I don't care what they say about my weight."
But then...
"Some guys may say, 'It's her curves that I dig'. They like the tight pants that I wear."

What was that about you not caring about what people said, Miss Platinum?

I'm pretty sure that other women who like this campaign do so because they feel like it sympathizes with them, not because it actually made them more confident. When will we get past, "Noooo, you're not really fat," and move onto, "Who you are is not based on your physical appearance?"

That being said, as long as the Dove campaign is pulling the ol' "The beauty industry uses women who are unrealistic/your natural shape is beautiful etc" bullshit, I think Baby Got Back should be the next campaign song.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Movies kinda suck when you grow up.

I've seen a lot of movies lately and I can't help but notice that no matter how good reviews they've gotten, they're considerably less awesome now than they were back when I was under fourteen or so. I'm pretty sure this is a universal phenomenon, because a lot of people I've talked to like to reminisce on how every movie was amazing when they were a kid.

It's not the same when you get to an age where you're able to view films critically and "develop taste." Somehow, people seem to think that getting less joy out of movies is an improvement.

Throughout my childhood my parents tried convincing me to see "good" movies and that most of the movies I loved actually sucked. I remember I was always confused about how movie reviews worked because to me, almost every movie was good.

It's pretty peculiar that people who hate movies so often decide to become film critics.
Oh, because it's a sign that they have selective tastes. Kind of like how picky eaters are here to demonstrate that spaghetti with butter and salt is the superior food.

I understand it though. I've read too many reviews on rottentomatoes and gotten into too many fights on IMDb. I watch movies partly for the sport. People argue over how the director did and go through point-by-point problems with the film's structure. It's a pageant.

I think that if we still had the power to really enjoy movies like a kid does, we'd realize that "it made me laugh/cry/get excited" isn't a poor argument in favor of a film at all. A more accurate movie critique would be based on polling of audiences, not the deconstruction of the few.

If I'm going to be honest with myself though, I'm going to go back to judging movies like a 1337 right after I see something that's out. Judging feels good too. It's a completley different type of feel-good from the one that watching a movie can give, but if I get robbed of $10 by seeing a movie I hate, I can enjoy passionatly hating on it on the Internet.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Hypothesis: The better your parents are with computers, the worse you'll be.

I spend almost all my free time online, but I'm still pretty clueless as far as the basic workings of computers go.

I think it's because every time I fuck something major up (which is often), my dad goes immediately into fixing it and I'm usually good to go again within six hours. He adds protection to my computer and tells me what not to do, but I've never been forced to contemplate why I'm not supposed to do things or what exactly went wrong. All I know how to do is follow instructions.

A lot of my friend's parents will call on my dad to fix their computers when something goes wrong, and I've found that most of their kids are more skilled than me. I have two friends who are also the children of software engineers/analysts, and they're even more technologically retarded than I am. When something goes wrong they just go, "Daaaad." One of them is really stupid because her dad tells her lies to prevent her from wreaking havoc on the Internet, but that's for a whole different post.

The only thing that's helped me at all is that now I have some, er, private content on my comp and have become less willing to let my dad come to the rescue when I can help it. If I'd ever been forced to figure things out on my own though, or to find a way to prevent an error from being made in the past, I'd have been motivated to find out what went wrong and why.

I know how bratty it sounds to basically be complaining about being coddled, but it's extremely difficult to find intrinsic motivation to learn. I've read that people don't learn as well from a school environment because it's hard to remember information you take it unless you're fully conscience of how it's applicable to help you. I wonder if I'll become better with computers when I move out and will be in situations where figuring them out for myself with have a direct reward, a quicker one than asking for help.

Unfortunately though, I've also read that it's more difficult to acquire new skills as you get older. Your adolescents are, supposedly, your golden years of learning by applying. I've read that type of intelligence peaks are fourteen or something like that, but I don't remember where. I'm eighteen now and I can already tell that I'm never going to be particularly impressive with software/Internet/programming skills, even though I'd like to be. Would I have become a techy nerd had my parents called on me for help instead of the other way around? Would I know how to prevent future problems if I had to live with the fear of a stranger needing to fix my computer if I messed it up? I wonder this a lot, because it seems funny that there would be a subject that having skilled parents could hinder you instead of help.

This is just speculation from an outsider's point of view though. I hope no second generation 1337 person reads this and tells me I'm completely misunderstanding the technological learning process.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Quotes I Found

Will be updated indefinitely.

Suicide is another thing that's so frowned upon in this society, but honestly, life isn't for everybody. It really isn't. It's sad when kids kill themselves 'cause they didn't really give it a chance, but life is like a movie: if you've sat through more than half of it and it sucked every second so far, it probably isn't gonna get great right at the very end for you and make it all worthwhile. No one should blame you for walking out early.
-Doug Stanhope

“More Than One Soul Dies In A Suicide”

"When schoolchildren start paying union dues, that's when I'll start representing the interests of schoolchildren."
- Albert Shanker, president of the American Federation of Teachers, 1985