I Don’t Do Drama…but Kim K Does

Just her and her sisters laying around with their giant tiger. Move along, nothing to see here.

I don’t do drama. I don’t like arguments and gossip, and I’ve never been one for the “he said, she said” sort of business. I’m not confrontational, and I shy away from any conflict at all.

Yet there is nothing I love more than sitting down and watching a good episode of “trash TV.” The more drama, the better. I get into Real Housewives of New Jersey, and I sit there and “oh no, she didn’t” at shows like Shahs of Sunset (like I am as I’m writing this. How could you, Reza?).

But he is outrageously fashionable. I’ll give him that.

I read a blog post recently about the game Cards Against Humanity. Many people are upset by the game’s advertised offensiveness, and worried that it’s a sign of moral devolution. The author, however, argues that playing Cards Against Humanity is akin to a moral “safety valve” of sorts. It creates a safe space for self-aware immoral behavior.

In the same way, I think this is why I and others like watching trash television and absurd reality shows. It allows me to escape my real life and vicariously be someone I’m not, someone who cares about who talked behind whose back and whose boyfriend is actually dating her best friend and who got in a bar fight over so-and-so’s cocktail dress. Watching silly television shows like Shahs of Sunset allows me to temporarily forget my practical reasoning and get wrapped up in the drama, if only just for a half an hour. I laugh, sass, and sympathize with these outrageous characters as they live their ridiculously overdramatic lives.

Like Cards Against Humanity allows people to exercise their impulses to be offensive and immoral in a self-aware way, watching silly trash TV lets me be dramatic and petty in a self-aware space. I know that in real life I wouldn’t side with any of the people in these shows. I’m not actually “like, so offended” that she said that to him or that they broke up. I know that the feelings and opinions I have when I’m watching these shows are not anything I’d carry past the end of the episode.

For those of you who have your a secret (or not-so-secret) place in your heart for trashy reality TV, I think it’s a good thing. I think that allowing ourselves to enjoy our weekly hour or two of trash television helps us to be more calm, cool, and collected the rest of the time. If you’re a Polar Vortex 2.0 victim out East, enjoy your snow day. And watch some trash TV. It just might be good for your brain.

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Sincerely, One of Many Guys Who Won’t Change Sexism

Recently a blog post called, “Sincerely, One of Many Girls Who Care” has been getting a lot of Facebook attention. I read it, and had mixed opinions. The author also posted a link to a young man who had written a reply, entitled “Sincerely, One of Many Guys Who Care.” And quite frankly, I was offended by some of what I read.

The format of both posts is the same. They start out by saying “I’m sorry, women(or men) for….” and then listing all of the ways in which women/men are disadvantaged in society romantically. After doing this for a couple paragraphs, they stop and say “ENOUGH with the pity party I’ve thrown you,” then go on to describe why these distractions or temptations shouldn’t keep you from pursuing a life of purity and integrity in romantic endeavors.

I’d like to start by saying that I see the point of both. They’re right that the pressures of the media shouldn’t be an excuse for acting in accordance with your beliefs if you’re a Christian and pursuing a pure and spiritually pleasing lifestyle.

But in presenting this, I found the author’s secondary point upsetting. Keep in mind as you read below that this is written by a man.

But enough with the pity party I have thrown for you.

ENOUGH to the lies that you are ugly or worthless.

ENOUGH to pretending like everything is okay and that you don’t struggle with anything, trying to keep up a facade so that men will be interested.

ENOUGH to being strung along by some jerk because you don’t have the confidence to end a relationship that you KNOW is not honoring to God.

Do any other women feel offended here? In a society which cannot, sadly, be described as devoid of sexism, a man ventures to tell me, a woman, that by complaining about how our culture objectifies women, I’m throwing a “pity party.” I have no words for this.

I agree that I shouldn’t limit my wardrobe to skin tight tops because the media favors scantily clad women. I agree that I shouldn’t become plastic to attract men, or date a man for the wrong reasons. I agree that the world is not responsible for the choices I make.

But what I don’t agree with is what I see as the author’s suggestion: these issues should be ignored. Our media constantly inundates women like me with messages that we’re not skinny enough, pretty enough, or don’t have the right body type. That is a clear problem. I would like the author to try going to a girl who has an eating disorder, or a girl who is made fun of because of her weight, and telling her to get over it, that that’s no excuse to not love yourself.

That will go over well, I’m sure.

These messages are so pervasive and constant that they aren’t something that are easy to ignore, even if you have the encouraging words of scripture on your side. And I shouldn’t have to. While I know life’s not fair and sometimes we have to accept that, ignoring the status quo completely is a cop-out. Men saying that the sexist media should just be ignored is like telling someone under a despotic government that if they’d keep quiet and stop trying to gain rights, they wouldn’t have a problem with the government.

Women shouldn’t have to ignore the barrage of messages. We shouldn’t have to feel objectified. We shouldn’t have to live in a world where we feel pressured to be perfect.

Looking over the comments on this young man’s blog post, it appears that my opinion lands me in the minority. While I agree with his ultimate point that godly women will be appreciated by godly men even if they are seemingly unappreciated by the media, I think that his delivery and implicit assumptions about the place of women in America are anything but inspiring.

Do you disagree? Agree? Comment with your opinions below! I’d love to hear them.

It’s a Love Issue

Most people would agree that the conditions of our society and the media are not conducive to having a healthy body or body image. On one hand, we have a problem in America with extreme obesity. Public figures like Michelle Obama have attempted to fight this by promoting healthy eating and regular exercise. On the other hand, we have a problem with warped body image, especially in women. Recent movements such as the Dove Real Beauty campaign have stepped in to promote the idea that women of all sizes and shapes are beautiful.

That all sounds great at a glance, but when you look closer it’s obvious we have a confusing and contradictory message being communicated to Americans: we want you to love yourself but just kidding, you’re actually overweight and need to get in shape.

So what are we to believe?

Obviously, both things are good. We want people to be healthy. We want people to love themselves as they are, also. So how do we encourage one without totally destroying the other?

I think we need to stop focusing so much on our bodies and focus more on our complete selves. In other words, self-love, not body love, is the answer.

If we could convince each American that she or he as a person is inherently and immeasurably valuable, imagine what we could do. We could not only decrease obesity and render the media’s warped messages about body image ineffective, we could decrease drug use and alcoholism, and do a slew of other things.

By convincing people that their self-worth is of the utmost importance, we could supercede this “beautiful vs obese” divide by helping people to see that yes, they are beautiful the way they are, but also giving them the empowerment to say, “I love myself enough to get healthy for (my kids, myself, my family…).” We could empower those that are actually at medical risk because of their obesity to change for the better while simultaneously loving themselves as is because frankly, while our bodies are part of who we are, they aren’t all of it.

Not to say that the Dove campaign and others are bad, but when we focus so much on body love, we ignore the fact that we are still focusing on our bodies.

I really like Oprah Winfrey’s comment on her own battle with her weight and self-image:

Here’s another thing this past year has been trying to teach me: I don’t have a weight problem—I have a self-care problem that manifests through weight. As my friend Marianne Williamson shared with me, “Your overweight self doesn’t stand before you craving food. She’s craving love.” Falling off the wagon isn’t a weight issue; it’s a love issue.

I think she’s completely right. It’s a love issue. Teaching Americans about the food pyramid until you’re blue in the face isn’t going to fix that.

Implementing such a campaign of self-love would be challenging at best. It would involve a complete overhaul of the media and of how we see ourselves. But when everything else seems to be failing, I think it’s something to consider. Isn’t it about time we started loving ourselves a little more?