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Woman (n.): the major beneficiary of the “contract” we call marriage

The following message was forwarded to me from a friend, a relative of the author. This author is an older male, writing to his younger male relative, on the occasion of the younger man’s announcement of pending engagement. As a manifestation of widely-held but seldom admitted attitudes on marriage, I thought it would be of interest to a general audience. My observation is that unfortunate prejudice is very effectively propagated when it is mingled with perfectly sensible and well-intended teaching. Try to see for yourself which of the following points are sagacious, and which outrageously misogynist.

I just found out that you are on the verge of getting engaged. I am writing because I want to share some thoughts with you.

Let me explain. First, I don’t know anything about your fiancé and that’s O.K. because this letter is just about you and what marriage means to most guys. Also, I want you to know that my comments are being made with the best of intent. Marriage can be a good thing but you have to get into it with open eyes.

Things your parents won’t tell you about marriage (and if they did, you probably won’t listen any way):

  1. Almost without exception, the woman is the major beneficiary of the “contract” we call marriage. Believe me, in a vast majority of the marriages, the mans life style is diminished. Are you ready for this? Have you had time for yourself and your career? A clear majority of women are career enders. Their drama gets in the way of the mans success.
  2. Does your chosen mate complement you? Would this person be with you if you were a pizza deliver man? They won’t tell you this, but most girls in the 22 – 26 age bracket are in a rush to the alter. All their friends are doing it, why not them? Would you be the target of their desire if you were delivering pizza’s? I see a soul mate each week here in Southern California. I’ve come to the conclusion that love is mainly a function of availability. Have you been available?
  3. Almost all women view men as a “meal ticket”. The man is their ticket to a better life and security. You, Mr. Just-graduated-from-Yale-Law-School, are one hell of a meal ticket. Money will never be your problem. And that’s a problem for you. Without proper planning, you could find yourself funding an ex-spouse quite handsomely. I see it every day. That won’t happen to me you say! Fact: 50% of all marriages end within the first 5 years….it’s 60% here in California. Have you protected your parents? Remember, marriage is a legal contract. It’s one thing when two people who are flat broke and whose parents are near broke get married (me), you are in a whole other world.
  4. Pre-nup. Even Derek know this. Get one. Use separate attorneys. The court won’t recognize the agreement if it is drawn up by one attorney. Also, do not set a date before the agreement is signed. If you set the date first then push the pre-nup, the court will rule that she signed under duress and rule it void. Then it’s pay day for the woman of your dreams who gave you the best 60 months of her life. What about your 60 months? Key pre-nup elements? She gets 0% claim on any inheritance. She gets $0 in alimony regardless of the situation. She leaves with only the money she earns or brought into the marriage less 50% joint expenses. What do you say when she won’t sign? You say, “I guess you are not mature enough to get married.” Your such a sweet ticket, she’ll sign and try to renegotiate. Is she bringing any assets to the table that you can put in the bank? If not, a pre-nup is beyond a must have item. Who’s her Daddy? You could be for longer that you can believe if you don’t plan.
  5. Still want to plow ahead? Only give a gold band. Why? Go back to Fact in item 3 above. Start with a gold band. When you hit the 5 year mark then get a solitaire with a diamond that can be remounted at the 10 year mark. At that point spend what you want.
  6. Where to live? Only live in an apartment. After 5 years, then consider a house. Enjoy the freedom of being able to do what you want. I was able to travel the way I did because I had freedom to move. Also homes are a distraction and you need to focus on your career.
  7. Children? Only after you hit the 5 year mark. Each child is worth 216 monthly support payments. In your case, these would be very large monthly support payments. Can you adopt me?
  8. Life insurance? Forget it until there are kids. If a car can be replaced regardless of how you treat it, then why take care of it? If you are worth more dead than alive, why should the wife look out for you? A meal ticket (you) that could end at any moment will be protected and maintained.
  9. The bedroom? Things always start off white hot and over time cool down. This is natural. The rate of decline is a direct function of “attitudes, conditions and issues.” The more “attitudes, conditions and issues” there are on day one, the faster things will certainly cool down. Again, going back to Fact in item 3 above, 50% of the marriages go from 100% to 0%+pay off within 60 months. Believe me, not one of those guys thought it would happen to them. It did. Ask my brother.

Johnny Carson said it best when he commented about marriage. He said, “Man does not know the meaning of the word lonely until he gets married.” Funny, in baseball, they say that pitchers don’t become great until they are injured. The message is the same. You have got to take care a yourself first. This isn’t being selfish.

Whatever path you chose, it will always be a gamble. Minimize risk and make informed choices. Don’t let choices make you.

Pinked-up pugilists pound paternalistic pr*cks

In the impoverished Indian district of Bundelkhand, notorious for a history of banditry and violence, a gang of women vigilantes are wearing pink and knocking heads together as they confront a misogynistic culture and bureaucratic corruption.

[Movement founder Sampat Devi Pal] is difficult company. Those not showing her the utmost respect get crude abuse. Yet in a place where expectation of female restraint is so faithfully observed, only someone as irascible as Pal could defy it. I meet her husband in the couple’s home, which is built in a ditch with plastic sheeting for a roof. He is mute and utterly obedient to her every order. Later, an astonishing role reversal takes place as half a dozen loyal and obedient male hangers-on are sent running at the snap of her fingers to fetch us tea and guavas.

My admiration for those who oppose institutional and cultural injustice is mingled with an anxious hope that the day will come soon when Pal and her companions can turn to more peaceable means of achieving their ends. You can read the rest of Raekha Prasad’s report at The Guardian.

Perhaps not unexpected, this.

The WordPress software conveniently compiles a list of the search terms which lead people to this blog. Here, for your interest and contemplation, is a selection of a dozen of the search terms which led visitors to Hoochie Woman this month:

-peeing women bushes
-girls peeing in bushes
-robot women
-pictures of female robots
-women robots
-extra arms
-androgynous hillary clinton
-futuristic robot
-sick fetish
-sexy calvin ads
-objectification blog
-men peeing in bushes pictures

The most popular search term: “fetish.”

At least no one can say we’re doing nothing more than preaching to the converted. So, welcome, erotically inquisitive web surfers! Come for the fetish, stay for the feminism.

Barbie is a suffragette! (compared to Disney’s Belle)

What does the pink-and-purple cabal of the Disney princesses offer young, consumerist girls? The promise that wussiness, passivity, and being pretty warrant all the rewards of happily ever after. Barbara Ehrenreich makes a case against the princesses at The Nation:

… what a sorry bunch of wusses they are. Typically, they spend much of their time in captivity or a coma, waking up only when a Prince comes along and kisses them. The most striking exception is Mulan, who dresses as a boy to fight in the army, but–like the other Princess of color, Pocahontas–she lacks full Princess status and does not warrant a line of tiaras and gowns. Otherwise the Princesses have no ambitions and no marketable skills, although both Snow White and Cinderella are good at housecleaning. … In Princessland, the only career ladder leads from baby-faced adolescence to a position as an evil enchantress, stepmother or witch. Snow White’s wicked stepmother is consumed with envy for her stepdaughter’s beauty; the sea witch Ursula covets Ariel’s lovely voice; Cinderella’s stepmother exploits the girl’s cheap, uncomplaining, labor. No need for complicated witch-hunting techniques–pin-prickings and dunkings–in Princessland. All you have to look for is wrinkles.

Ehrenriech’s essay is a stirring indictment. Her analysis helpfully zeroes in on just those reasons we should discard the tulle ‘n’ tiara squad, whose gentility and superficial benevolence serve to somewhat deflect our contempt.

Burka Power?

In Danielle Crittenden’s final post about a week long experiment called “Islamic Like Me: Taking on the Veil,” in which Crittenden wore a Burka (a loose garment which covers the entire body with just an opening for the eyes, usually worn by Muslim women) for a week, she responds to those who defend freedom of choice saying just how much better off women in the West are. Throughout the week, she received varying comments about her objections to the Burka saying, for example, that she couldn’t see well and that she couldn’t eat without spilling food on herself like a baby. Well, wow.

First, let’s rejoice in the comforts of that wonderous American culture in which – wowie! – nothing is wrong! Women have so much freedom here to wear what they like (preferably the most showy of outfits), eat what they like (preferably rice cakes, also air is ok) and spend the day how they like (preferably working out, letting other people make decisions about their bodies and pursuing careers in which they may not get paid as much as people with different body parts).

Crittenden touched on some of these “pressures,” not acknowledging the fact that they cause unhealthy obsession, lasting physical alteration and sometimes death. Three cheers for spending 3/4s of the day trying to figure out how best to lose 50 lbs in one week. Three cheers for not teaching women how to get to know their bodies and love them. Three cheers for being walking uteruses. I’m not saying it’s ok to oppress women elsewhere and I do agree that the consequences in some sects of Islamic culture are absolutely brutal, but our culture is nothing to brag about.

Second, lets not ignore the absolute close minded idiocy of this woman. Because how can women from other cultures ever possibly live with themselves when they are not surrounded by the loving embrace of our government and high ideals, right?

Take a step back from your tiny perspective, Crittenden, and recognize what is just as problematic and oppressive a country as others.

p.s. The “amighty” man contributes to this here blog – we love Zach!

“Knocked-up” examined more closely at Slate

Over at Slate, Meghan O’Rourke turns the spotlight of her “Highbrow” column to the sexist endorsement of male autonomy and female obligation in Judd Apatow’s “Knocked Up.”

Who’s surprised to see misogyny in a movie with this title? “Having a baby” is what happens when adult parents operate together to produce a child. When slovenly, unmotivated men underestimate their reproductive might, that’s when a chick gets “knocked up.” It’s a phrase that captures male potency and female receptivity as differences in power, rather than mechanically dissimiliar reproductive roles.

(I do remain unconvinced that we should shed a tear for the demise of the ‘female slacker’.)

News Flash: Hillary Clinton Has Breasts

Robin Givhan of the Washington Post expressed her shock at discovering Hillary Clinton is in fact a woman (and not some sort of androgynous mystery?) after witnessing her “undeniable” cleavage Wednesday afternoon on C-SPAN2.

She was talking on the Senate floor about the burdensome cost of higher education. She was wearing a rose-colored blazer over a black top. The neckline sat low on her chest and had a subtle V-shape. The cleavage registered after only a quick glance. No scrunch-faced scrutiny was necessary. There wasn’t an unseemly amount of cleavage showing, but there it was. Undeniable.

Because we all know how relevant her fashion decisions are to her political stance. Funny how she failed to mention the flattering cut of Rudy Guiliani’s black pant suit and his more free-flowing hair style that night. Oh wait, no one gives a shit how the guys look. Respect for them is not earned by the way they dress, style their hair, or show off their cleavage. Respect for them is earned by the way they vote, speak, and act. Hmm…that’s a concept.

Givhan proceeds to discuss the difference between when women weren’t even allowed to wear pants in the Congree to now…when cleavage is apparently allowed to run rampant. She points out Clinton’s always-conservative Oscar De La Renta and Donna Karan gowns as the first lady. It seems as if every one of Clinton’s fashion decisions while in the public eye are going under direct scrutiny just because she dared show a millimeter of cleavage.

With Clinton, there was the sense that you were catching a surreptitious glimpse at something private. You were intruding — being a voyeur. Showing cleavage is a request to be engaged in a particular way. It doesn’t necessarily mean that a woman is asking to be objectified, but it does suggest a certain confidence and physical ease. It means that a woman is content being perceived as a sexual person in addition to being seen as someone who is intelligent, authoritative, witty and whatever else might define her personality. It also means that she feels that all those other characteristics are so apparent and undeniable, that they will not be overshadowed.

To display cleavage in a setting that does not involve cocktails and hors d’oeuvres is a provocation. It requires that a woman be utterly at ease in her skin, coolly confident about her appearance, unflinching about her sense of style. Any hint of ambivalence makes everyone uncomfortable. And in matters of style, Clinton is as noncommittal as ever.

Brilliant. She brings up such good points! Of course, Clinton displayed cleavage because she wanted to suggest a more sexual image to her fellow members of Congress. Why else would she wear a V-neck? Hmmm…maybe because she’s a woman and V-necks are a part of women’s fashion? No…it has to be a cry for sexual attention. She’s just not stylish enough to be comfortable in her own body.

When will we stop analyzing what Clinton wears and how she styles her hair and actually give her the same respect we give the men? Or at least judge her under the same kind of scrutiny. You don’t see anyone blogging about Obama’s latest fashion choice. Analyzing Clinton’s fashion choices just keeps her at a lower respect level. It indicates that she is only deserving of our intellectual respect if she is dressed perfectly. The problem is, no matter what she wears, we will comment on it simply because she is a woman. As soon as a woman is in the public eye for political reasons, she is under scrutiny first as a woman and then as a politician. If this isn’t a sign of a lack of equality, I don’t know what is.

The F-Word

June 28, 2007

Yup, that’s right, feminism. We are Boston University’s first feminist magazine! (We are also Celie Hart, Gili Malinsky, Maria Thurrell, Meg Falls, and Emily Calvin) This is our blog/website. Keep checking back for more posts from all of us. Also, get excited for our first issue coming out in September/October!