FFFF: Aziz Ansari on the Weirdness of Marriage

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In his new Netflix special, which is available as of today (November 1), comedian Aziz Ansari takes a moment to look at how weird the institution of marriage is:

Transcript (after the jump): Read more

Posted on by Jarrah Hodge in FFFF Leave a comment

My Reality: Interviewing for the Position of Wife

1950s housewife picture from adby Lisa Lo Paro

“I love your confidence,” he said, “One of the features I like best about you.” Thus I began a text relationship with a guy my friends and I met at a bar. He didn’t seem like the pushy type when he introduced himself with a boyish grin and confident charm. In fact, he seemed like the opposite of the guys my friends and I were used to encountering at the dive: he was playful, respectful, humble.

We made a fivesome, myself and my two friends and his friend. There were no “Hey, how you doin’s?” or “Can I buy you a drink, girl?” or pickup lines of any variety. We talked and laughed and even pulled a light prank on someone we knew from high school. The guy, let’s call him Simon, suggested we hang out again when he got back from Boston on vacation,  in three months. He seemed like a pal, so I gave him my number and the number of my friend so that he could call either of us. It seemed totally casual, completely platonic.

At four-thirty in the morning, when I was tucked into bed awaiting sleep, he texted me with the statement above. He loved my confidence, and he had added me on Facebook. He openly “stalked” my profile pictures and told me which three he liked best. “Delete the others,” he quipped. It was past 4:45 a.m. when he told me he was leaving for Boston in two days and asked me what I was doing “later today.” I told him I was working, that I didn’t think I was available afterward. I was surprised that he was so insistent so fast, but he seemed like a nice guy so I gave him a “maybe” and said goodnight.

The next day, the bluster began. While I was at work (I am a part-time waitress), he pestered me via text about what time I would finish. He asked me to tell him how much “better he is” than other guys. He described himself as “very persistent” but only with “those worthy.” He told me to be prepared “for me to keep trying to hang out until you wear out and say yes.” By this time I was turned off and planned to cancel our tentative plans, regardless of closing time. He just seemed so arrogant.

He wrote me, “Although I do think I’d be the best waiter in town. You’d probably get laid off if I applied at your restaurant”. Arrogant, and strangely attached to me.

“We would make such a cute couple,” he wrote. And I knew he had to be joking. It’s just…it seemed like he meant it. It was like he was using humor to mask his sincerity. I felt like I was being interviewed for something, and it got more personal as the days progressed. Personal perhaps isn’t the right word. Prying would be more appropriate.

Unexpectedly, during one particularly inane text exchange, he sent me this message: “I knew you’d be dating material the night we met.” Interested in what his definition of “dating material” was, I inquired how he knew such a thing. He replied, “There are certain qualities to be watchful of, such as kindness, attractiveness, intelligence, humor.” For example, he told me, “Sluts cannot be kind. Kindness implies they don’t sleep around. And they’re not smart. If they were smart they wouldn’t be sleeping around.” My enraged reply did nothing to stem his flow of antagonism against perceived “sluts.” I changed the subject but he quickly informed me he was able to guess how many men I had slept with. Simon was convinced my number was less than five and was satisfied that I was not, as he put it, “a whore.”

Simon then proudly told me his number of sexual partners. “Keep in mind,” he wrote, “that I am a 23-year old gorgeous male.” I told him he would think his number were high if it were a woman’s and he agreed. “That’s because there’s a double standard,” he wrote and I wanted to yell, “You’re guilty of it!” But I didn’t.

I gathered from his messages that he was comfortable sleeping around but not comfortable with women doing the same, since it apparently rendered them incapable of kindness, intelligence, even humor. He wanted a girlfriend but, and I quote verbatim, “no one is worthy.” Since he wanted a girlfriend, his solution was to connect with a girl he’s met once at a bar, form an opinion of her even though he doesn’t know her and she also happens to live four hours away. Read more

Posted on by Lisa Lo Paro in Feminism, My Reality 7 Comments

The Need to Marry

Women's wedding gown  with veil on mannequin, U.S. circa 1800-1833by Hannah Hillson

It’s 2013. It’s obvious things have changed since our mothers’ and grandmothers’ time. More women are going to college. More women are becoming executives. More women are making advancements to technology and changes to the way we think.

Why shouldn’t more have changed in the way we think about marriage?

The topic for this post was spurred by a fairly recent article. At just 22 years old, Jordan Linn Graham murdered her husband of one week by pushing him off a cliff.

Her motives are not known, but it wasn’t an accident. After a mix of various stories, Graham stated that she and her husband, Cody Lee Johnson, had gotten in an argument while hiking in Glacier National Park. Johnson grabbed her arm, and she retaliated by pushing him, consequently, to his death.

While some commentators may reply saying, “Push her off a cliff” or, the opposite: “He probably deserved it”, neither of those get to the bottom of the issue.

The average age of first-marriage for a woman in the U.S. is 26 years old. This is the highest it’s ever been, but Graham was four years younger. Four years of experiencing life, independence and freedom younger. Four years of soul-searching, discovery and love younger. Why at such a young, naïve age did she choose to get married?

A friend of Graham’s told officials that Graham confessed she was unsure of her marriage to Johnson only days after saying “I do.” Marriages unravel every day. And although I’ve never been married, I’m aware of the assumption that an intensively-planned wedding should not dissolve in a week after marriage, especially considering the couple had been together for two years. Regardless of how old women are when they finally tie the knot, there is still an enormous amount of societal pressure to get married, and stay married. Perhaps this was the case for Graham. Read more

Posted on by Hannah Hillson in Feminism 1 Comment

My Reality: Being the “Other Woman”

ringsby Phoebe Vaccaro

I had sex with a married man and I don’t feel at all badly about it. Now before you get all judge-y, as I’m sure you’ll be wont to do, let me explain myself a little.

There was a time when sleeping with someone who was attached – married, in a relationship, whatever it was – was entirely outside of my realm of comfort. It was an absolute no-go for me, especially after what I went through with my last relationship (quick recap: my ex had been cheating on me, in my house, in my bed with his boss for months, before finally telling me – and only finally doing that, via frigging Facebook, nonetheless, because he’d knocked her up). So I was hypersensitive to such circumstances for a while.

But then, somewhere along the way, I somehow became less dogmatic about my reticence to sleep with attached men…and then suddenly, I found myself in bed with a married man and not feeling at all badly about it. How’d I get to this point?

Firstly, the marital troubles of two people aren’t on me. Sure, I’m probably not helping by getting involved, even if only peripherally, but to be honest I don’t really feel like I ought to have to check every man for a marriage license before jumping into bed with him.

This man was incredibly sexy. I met him at a bar, we got to talking, and we left the bar together. It wasn’t until we were on our way to his friend’s house that it came out that he was married. I was  looking forward to the casual rendezvous, but when I discovered he was married I started to have second thoughts. After a short conflict within myself, I decided I was going to do it anyway. I didn’t know how often this man sleeps around on his wife. I didn’t know anything about their relationship. What I did know is that I am not the cause for whatever had him out seeking sexual relations with other women. Read more

Posted on by Phoebe Vaccaro in My Reality 54 Comments

The Mythical Dearth of Marriageable Men

by Jasmine Peterson

You know what I’m tired of? I’m tired of being told that, because I’m a feminist, I am the reason that men are oppressed, women are lonely, men won’t marry women, or vice versa, and that the end of men is nigh.

No! Feminism and feminists have not caused some catastrophic imbalance in the dating universe. We are not the reason that people marry later in life, or not at all (or, if we are, it’s only in that people have been afforded greater choice in whether or not they DO marry, when they do it, and why they do it). In fact, what feminism has done is provide both men and women with options – you can marry, if you so choose, not out of economic necessity, not out of some patriarchal ownership of your lady love, but because you genuinely want to.

There is nothing about Suzanne Venker’s piece “The War on Men” that is not highly offensive – to women, to men, to feminists, to anybody or anything that is a living, breathing organism.

Maya over at Feministing does a great job of highlighting ten of the major ways in which Venker’s article is entirely ridiculous. For example, it’s discriminatory (e.g., ignoring the existence of anyone who is not cisgender and heterosexual), ignores more recent and accurate data on trends in marriage, and makes sweeping generalizations about men and women.

Let’s just address some of the major flaws in Venker’s argument:

 “Believe it or not, modern women want to get married. Trouble is, men don’t.”

Except that that’s not true. That’s a dated, played out stereotype that taps into discourses of a woman needing to bag a man before she’s old and unmarriageable and the myth of the emotionally distal male. It plays upon women’s fears of ending up alone, and reinforces that perhaps there’s something fundamentally wrong with those women who aren’t or don’t want to get married. Read more

Posted on by Jasmine Peterson in Feminism 5 Comments

FFFF: Mr. Deity Creates Marriage

Mr. Deity explains his thinking in coming up with the definition of marriage.


Posted on by Jarrah Hodge in FFFF Leave a comment

Man Showers: Redefining or Reinforcing Masculinity?

"En brudgum i Sorunda"Heather Klem is a reading addict, yoga enthusiast and feminist and body image blogger located in South Florida. She rails against our culture’s narrow definitions of beauty, the destructive idealization of thinness and the mass marketing of packaged perfectionism that leave women and men feeling inadequate and shameful about their bodies and themselves. Heather believe in empowering and educating our youth on harmful media messages and limiting social systems that call them to equate their self-worth with appearance and body size; instead equipping them with tools that support healthy self esteem, positive body image and individuality.

There are few customs more gender ritualized in Western society than those associated with the wedding planning process. The wedding industry, a money making monolith boasts 40 billion a year in revenue. It is a seemingly untouchable empire wrought with timeless tradition, cultural significance and deeply embedded gender stereotypes. The contemporary wedding has become a veritable commodity and multiple pre-nuptial parties are par for the course.

The usually hyper-feminized bridal shower in particular is one of the tried and true traditions that centers on the bride and typically precludes the groom. In recent years, men, ever the gender-busting pioneers, have expressed their desire to cash in on the fun. And thus was born the “man shower” or – in some crowds – “bro baths” or “man gatherings”. Read more

Posted on by Jarrah Hodge in Feminism Leave a comment