Millennial Myths

As a millennial, I get a lot of assumptions that annoy me.  But I do fall into a lot of generalizations about my generation.  So I understand the value of group judgments, but I find it really annoying that people assume things about me based solely on my age.

A recent post at Manage by Walking Around wrote about myths and realities about the millennial generation.

As a millennial, thanks for the positve belief in my generation.  But what is a millennial anyway?  Who makes up these generational groupings?

If you have a good definition of the word “millennial” or any stereotypes you’d like to share, let us know in the comments.

 

Advertisements

Why We Blog

Blogging actually matters.  It was blogger Melissa McEwan of Shakesville who got me into blogging, got me thinking about the issues of feminsim, sizeism, fat acceptance, got me to stop using ablist language, and taught me about the concept of privilege.

Rosie says it best, though.

Related articles

Awful Assumptions-Feminists

Cureafeminist

 

Did I mention that there are awful stereotypes about feminists?  Just in case you forgot, Maxim published this gem in 2003, and it has spread all over the internet.

Apparently, a feminist equals an “unshaven, militant protesting vegan” who needs to be turned into an actual girl.

I’m not sure how they define girl, or why a Maxim reader would want to have sex with a girl rather than a woman.  Isn’t it illegal to have sex with a girl?  Isn’t that statutory rape?   And why does the third girl from the left look like a child?  Semantics aside, there are other highly offensive feminist stereotypes portrayed here.

Feminism is a broad label applied to anyone who believes that men and women are equal as human beings and supports the movement toward equality.  Within that movement, there are a wide variety of individuals.  Some shave, some don’t, some are vegetarian, some are vegan, some eat bacon, some are angry, some hate men.  But most feminists love men, as lovers, as friends, as allies.  Most feminists are angry about injustice, rightfully so.

I’m absolutely horrified that I’m supposed to be turned into the girl on the right hand panel.  I want to wear clothes, have opinions, and actually make a difference, not “speak into your microphone.”  Classy, Maxim.  Classy.

You would think that Maxim would like Feminism.  After all, who said that women should pay for more of their own dates?  Feminists.  Who said that women should feel free to have sex without commitment?  Feminists.  Who invented birth control?  Feminists.  Who says that women should be confident and self-reliant?  Feminists.

Feminism taught women that it’s okay to be sex positive, to love life, to pay for your own dates, to use birth control, and to not rely on a man.  Isn’t that what Maxim wants for its readers?  Why on earth would they want to cure that?

Words to Ignore

Have I mentioned how much I love Rosie of Make Me a Sammich?  Last week, I reblogged one of Rosie’s posts about   how to change behavior in a social setting.

This post is also fabulous; it reminds you that you can be an ally, an activist.  These words are silencing mechanisms, not actual criticisms of what you’re saying.  This post was intended for women and feminists especially, but there are many other brands of activism that are silenced by shaming words.

Words that other readers suggested include

  • Sexist
  • Intolerant
  • Misandrist
  • You’re taking this too personally!
  • Slut/Whore
  • Whiny
  • Any diminutive word for women, (Princess, pet, love)
  • Typical
  • White Knighting

Non-gendered silencing words include

  • Bleeding heart liberal
  • White guilt
  • Stereotypical
  • Reverse Racism
  • Virgin
  • Neckbeard
  • Naiive
  • Loser
  • Do-gooder

Are there any other words that are used as silencing mechanisms rather than attempts to discuss problems?

List the ones you’ve heard in the comments.

Awful Assumptions-Feminists have it Too Good to Complain?

Muslim Women

Muslim Women (Photo credit: Jarek Jarosz)

Don’t assume that abuse to women only happens in “less enlightened” countries.

First of all, that’s really offensive, and second of all, it’s not true.

Sara writes about her experiences with abuse in the United States.  It’s just as real as female genial mutilation, and no less wrong.  Feminists are excellent multi-taskers who work on ending abuse everywhere.  Saying that because others have it worse, we shouldn’t be working on issues that affect us close to home is a derailing technique.

Awful Assumptions-Being a Feminist is the Worst thing to Be

I received a comment saying that I should write for Jezebel, because they believe this garbage (ie. feminism).

Was that supposed to be an insult?

I don’t think that telling someone with a Feminist blog that they  should write for Jezebel is quite the insult that you think it is.

In fact, it’s rather flattering.  I’d love to write for Jezebel.  In fact if any staffers are reading this, I’m looking for a job.

I’d love to know when feminist became an insult.  Because I am a feminist.  Calling me a feminist is the same as calling me a coffee drinker.  It’s a fact.  I even have a section labeled “Feminism” at the top of my page.  I’ve written before on the Myth of the Angry Feminist.  But thanks for the vote of confidence in my writing.

What about you, readers?  Have you ever been given what was intended as a terrible insult?  Share your experiences in the comments.

Awful Assumptions about Teenage Girls

UPDATE: If you want to contact Seventeen, email editor Bernadette Anat at mail@seventeen.com.

Seventeen

Confession time: I love magazine quizzes.  So when I found a Seventeen quiz that  which TV character I am, I took it.

The very first question asks me what my favorite class is.  My options are lunch, English, Film Production, Art or Drama.  Science, Math, Shop, or anything that doesn’t involve creativity or emotions is not an option.

The next question asks me about my dream date. Do I envision it at a coffee shop, a gallery opening, a comedy show, a concert, or a candlelit dinner?  Assuming that I actually think about this, none of these options are realistic for the pimply-faced sixteen year old boys that the readers are pursuing.  Seventeen, setting young women up for perpetual disappointment.

The next question asks me which yearbook superlative I’m most likely to earn.  My options include most likely to appear on idol, best dressed, most artistic, biggest flirt, or most likely to succeed.  I get excited to see that we’ve finally acknowledged academics.

Still thrilled to have possibility of a career, I click on the next question.  Do my friends depend on me for relationship advice, gossip, “fun, spontaneous plans,” jokes, or listening skills?  I’m mildly annoyed that this is the second question about what other people think of me rather than my own perceptions of myself.

The quiz continues: What is my favorite website?  Is it Tumblr, Pinterest, Youtube, Perez Hilton’s blog, or Pandora?  I’m surprised that Facebook or Twitter aren’t options and extremely annoyed that there is no option for a news site.

Seventeen’s final question inquires after my other magazine subscriptions.  Do I read Vogue, Glamour, Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone or Marie Claire?
At sixteen, I read Time and Newsweek, and I currently subscribe to Ms.  Sensing that none of the above contain quite the same content, I settle for Rolling Stone, the magazine with the highest words to picture content.

While asking which TV character I was most like, the quiz assumed that I was into emotions, fashion, music, and dating boys, traditionally girly interests.  It didn’t ask me about my dreams, career aspirations, and values.  Either way, the quiz would have been wrong; I’m sure that even if Seventeen had asked about careers, Feminist blogger would not be a career option.

I end up as Mercedes Jones, the sassy, black soul singer on Glee.  (Because that’s not stereotypical at all.)  Mercedes, although a problematic character, captured my emotions best in her self-written number, “Hell to the No.”

This quiz makes it sound like teenage girls are all about their friends, their relationships and fashion.  It reduces the wonderful, complex young women they are into melodramatic, entitled mall rats with daddy’s credit card.  No, Seventeen, your readers are more than this.  They read smart magazines, have goals, dreams and want more than the latest printed reincarnation of skinny jeans.  They like all subjects, not just the creative ones.  They want to travel, to dance, to start their own businesses, to change the world.  Believe it or not, they care about more than their crush on the cutie in English lit (stop being so heteronormative while you’re at it.  Your readers aren’t all attracted to boys).

Seventeen is one of a few magazines that caters to teenage girls, and they have a unique opportunity to address the issues that teenage girls face, not to just write a one page insert about them and then show new shoes.  It’s a shame that their quizzes and content perpetuate stereotypes about girls instead of helping them.  But that doesn’t bring in ad revenue, does it?

Is this Blog Offensive?

I’ve been realizing that although I love blogging, I’m not reaching as many men as I would like.  Some male readers have commented that my posts for the men are off-putting and demand that men listen to me without offering anything that they would enjoy.

To all my female readers, I love you and you’re wonderful, but I want to develop a broader reader base.  Because I blog about feminsit issues, that may deter male readers.

So, dear readers, I pose a question to you. What can I do to make my blog more appealing to a wider audience?  I would like to recruit more allies and write about a wide variety of social justice issues.

If you have any advice, let me know in the comments.

All For a Strawberry Milkshake-Selfishness and Activism

Last weekend, I was running around, looking like a fool.  I was running around, picking up food for several of my friends, during a lunch break at a conference.  Carrying three bags of stuff, I was approached by an older woman.  She looked homeless, with a slightly vacant look in her eyes.

Homeless Lady - Hollywood Blvd

Homeless Lady – Hollywood Blvd (Photo credit: Chris Yarzab)

She asked me for a dollar, and I told her that I didn’t have cash.  “I’m sorry,” I apologized, and I offered to buy her a sandwich.  She nodded and said that she wanted a chicken sandwich, a side of fries and a strawberry milkshake.  Feeling broke, I nodded and went into McDonalds.  I ordered my lunch, a water bottle for another friend, and a daily meal for the lady.  She followed me in and interjected, “Where’s my strawberry milkshake?”

Glaring at the cashier, she snapped, “I ordered a strawberry milkshake!  I didn’t want any water!”

I looked back at the cashier, and just signaled to continue processing the order.  While I was waiting for the order, the woman went outside.  I picked up the order, juggling the bags, a drink tray, and went out to find her.  She took the food and sat down and ate it, without saying thank you.

I was so annoyed that she hadn’t said thank you.  That she had followed me into the store, and complained about food that was for someone else.

Then I remembered my own philosophies of being decent for decency’s sake.  Why should I expect her to thank me?  I had just given her food, and I hadn’t bought her the strawberry milkshake she wanted.  I hadn’t listened to what she wanted and had just given her what I thought she should have (aka the cheapest full meal on the menu).  Was I expecting cookies for buying food for someone who needed a meal?  I’m a big proponent of no cookies-the notion that basic human decency doesn’t deserve praise.  It’s the bare minimum of decent behavior.  So why did I feel annoyed at Strawberry Milkshake lady?

Why can’t I practice what I preach?

Readers, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

The Things We Google

Slut Walk

Slut Walk (Photo credit: wdroops)

Author’s Note: All stereotypes of liberals, feminists, etc. are not mine and do not resemble my political beliefs in any way.  Apologies in advance.

For those of you who don’t use WordPress, the software keeps track of how people find your blog, how many are reading it, and other useful statistics that allow us bloggers to find out what people like, so they can write more of the same.

So I check how people found my blog, and one of the google searches that lead to my blog was “slutty liberal.”  It linked to my posts on slutty halloween costumes.  (Links here, here and here, for those of you who are interested.)  My first reaction was horror- I’m not a slut!  Just because I blog about my life, and that means I share my experiences with sexual assault, and write about rape culture, I’m not a slut!

And then, I stopped myself.  I’m becoming defensive about my love life, and I have started questioning the wisdom of blogging.

As much as I say I won’t judge you for your sex life, I still twinge at the label of slut when it’s applied to me.  I’ll defend you to anyone who calls you a slut, but when the insult comes at me, I’m flustered beyond recognition.  I have to remind myself that to others, sex life that I disapprove of=woman who shouldn’t be taken seriously.  I have to remind myself that the word “slut” is a silencing technique, not a censure of their beliefs about my behavior.

I have to ignore that people associate young liberals with sluttiness, forgetting that your morals are not my morals.  I have to ignore that this is the steroetype that many critics refuse to see past.  So I continually have to prove that despite what you think of my sexuality, based on your assumptions, that I am still worth listening to.  That’s why I’m angry about being googled as a “slutty liberal.”  Just because I vote liberal doesn’t mean that I have a raging sex life.  And even if I did meet your nebulous definition of slut, it is none of your business and it has no impact on the validity of my opinions.

But I know that this won’t convince you.  So ahead and google “liberal slut.”  Or my new personal favorite, “confessions f******* my landlord sex stories.”  You’ll find political comments and women proudly claiming the title.  So to let those searching for lurid stories of threesomes and ecstasy-fueled hookups: you’re looking in the wrong place.  Also, these pre-conceived notions of slutty liberals and feminists, having abortions willy-nilly, turning innocent women into lesbians* and witchcraft, or whatever else goes on in your darkest nightmares, these notions are absolutely ridiculous!

So if it takes you calling me “slutty” to land here and you learn something, then I guess I’ve done my job.  Read on and educate yourself, my friend.

Related articles