Monday, January 30, 2012

Alien vs Ramen

I present to you...Alien chopsticks.

Alien Big Chap Chopsticks
Alien Big Chap Chopsticks

Alien Face Hugger Chopsticks
Alien Face Hugger Chopsticks

Alien Chest Burster Chopsticks
Alien Chest Burster Chopsticks

Yeah, I pretty much flipped out when I saw these. They combine two of my all-time favorite things: the Alien franchise, and devices that carry food into my mouth. These finely detailed chopsticks by Kotobukiya are available for only $9.99 each at Entertainment Earth. The bad news is, they are only available for preorder and will not be released until July. The good news is, my birthday is in July! Obviously I want all three of them.

As a side note, it tickles me that these are in the "Dining and Entertaining" category. Because yeah, these are totally appropriate for a swanky dinner party. Just gonna lay these out next to the cloth napkins and fine china.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

X is Hotter Than Y: Your Attitude is Wrong and You Should Shut Up

Let's talk for a minute about body autonomy, and the attitude that some of you seem to hold that other people, specifically women*, do not have it. The idea that a woman's body, when posted online (with or without her permission) or simply existing in a public space, is up for critique and scrutiny, is perpetuated in several memes that have been floating around the internet lately, specifically those of the "when did this become hotter than this" variety.

Despite the fact that I think most of us can agree that these memes are trite, hackneyed, and violently stupid (and yet I saw plenty of people posting them unironically), they are indicative of a greater problem for which there is less outcry: the obscenely pervasive mindset of "I see a woman. Her body exists for my critique and/or pleasure. If her appearance is not to my taste, she should be ridiculed."

Why is this a problem, you might ask? After all, it is in most humans' interest to select someone they find physically attractive to mate with, therefore they should be able to express whether or not they find someone attractive. Sure, fair enough. But here's the thing you need to understand: none of these people are even remotely interested in mating with you anyway. You're talking to a picture in a magazine, or a person on TV, or, at best, a stranger's photo you reblogged. I can assure you that they don't give a shit about your opinion of their hairstyle.

Try this: the next time you are about to post someone else's photo to your Facebook profile or Tumblr (with or without "witty" commentary), ask yourself the following question: did this person alter (or not alter) their body, put on this outfit, do their hair and/or make-up in this fashion, and pose in this way with you specifically in mind, and then email the photo to your personal email address with a note requesting you to publicly express your opinion on their attractiveness? If the answer is no, take your hand off the share button and keep your mouth shut.

"But Ariel," you might say, "I'm not one of those people telling women that they need to lose weight or wear make-up or have plastic surgery in order to be pretty! I prefer girls who are natural!" That's nice, and by all means feel free to date people who suit your tastes (whatever the fuck "natural" even means in so far as referring to humans.) But you need to understand that telling someone they are unnatural or unattractive because they in some way fit the standards of American beauty you seek to subvert (whether they are doing so intentionally or not) is still an attempt to exercise control over someone else's body.

While I understand that the concept behind posting photos of very thin women, with captions implying that they are unattractive and likely suffering from the mental illness known as anorexia nervosa, is to point out that America has a diseased standard of beauty that can lead to self harm, and that no woman should feel pressure to starve herself or get surgery for the sake of thinness if she doesn't want to, the real message these memes are providing is actually every bit as sinister as the one it claims to go against. There is little (if any) difference between a magazine saying a woman should be thin in order to be healthy and attractive, and you saying a woman should be "curvy" in order to be healthy and attractive. (Nevermind that both "ideals" ignore and demonize fat people.)

People's bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and body shape or size is not necessarily indicative of health, nor should someone's health (especially a stranger's) be any of your fucking business. (Also, the trope of "healthy = attractive" is some serious bullshit, and abhorrently offensive to people who are disabled and/or have a chronic illness.) True, no one should ever feel bad for being who they are, nor feel pressure to conform to other's beauty standards, but this is not the way to deal with those issues. All you're basically saying is, "Don't conform to those beauty standards! Conform to these beauty standards!"

To put it succinctly, insulting or deriding as ugly/fake/desperate someone who is thin, or someone who has had surgery, body modifications, is wearing a lot of make-up, or does not otherwise conform to what you find attractive is shit. When I put on an outfit, make-up, or alter my body, even if it is something very extreme, I am not doing so to win your approval, nor am I doing so because I think that is what you or anyone else should be doing with your body. I'm doing it because I own this meatsack, and I will do what I please with it. Some random asshole not finding me sexually attractive is of absolutely zero consequence to me. Mine and other people's bodies don't exist for the sake of pleasing the eyes of others at all hours of every day. They exist for the same reason your body exists: to house and protect their organs, convert food into energy, and provide various other functions necessary for survival.

Oh, and just to preemptively strike down one of the "arguments" commonly used in defense of these repulsive actions: "well if she didn't want my opinion, why did she put the photo online?" Again, the likelihood that the photo in question was posted for you is so small as to be immeasurable by any modern science. This mindset is disturbingly similar to, "if she didn't want to be harassed and judged for her appearance, why did she go outside?" Photos are a large part of how we communicate online; it is fairly likely there is a photo or two online of every single person reading this. Most people do not post photos online with the intention of receiving harassment and ridicule.

*I refer to women and use female pronouns in this entry because the overwhelming majority of examples of this issue I have seen are directed towards cis-women. I do not intend to offend or erase anyone who does not fit this profile. I also refer to America because that's where I live and have the most experience from. This problem certainly extends farther than the US.

Monday, January 23, 2012

5 Things You Should Never Say to Someone with Psoriasis

I'm coming into my 7th year of finding ways to deal with having severe psoriasis in social situations, and while most people I come into contact with are pretty cool about it, some find themselves unable to stop the flow of horrible, horrible word vomit coming out of their face-holes. Here are a few "conversation points" to avoid.

"Is it contagious?"
Yes, that's why I'm out in public, sitting on your couch, eating your cereal directly from the box with my hands, without any kind of protection instead of, I don't know, in quarantine? I am that big of an asshole.

"Can't you just put lotion on?"
Holy shit, stop the presses. In the thousands of years people have been dealing with psoriasis, not a single person ever thought to apply any kind of cream or unguent. YOU DESERVE AN AWARD.

"Have you tried changing laundry detergents?"
Unless laundry detergent is capable of altering one's genetic makeup, I...wait a minute, this canister doesn't say "TIDE" says "TCRI"!!

Nooooooooooo...but my whites are brighter than ever!

"My auntie/cousin/guy I always see at the bus stop uses some batshit home remedy, you should try that!"
Your auntie is a doctor, is she? Look, the only reason I'm going to slather my body with Vicks VapoRub is if I want to attract koala bears (and, let's be honest, I do. Be my friend, koala bears.)

"Isn't that caused by stressed? You should stop being stressed!"
Unless you are offering to pay all my expenses, chauffeur me around in a private jet, cook and clean my house for me, end poverty, racism, misogyny, and hatred towards the LGBTQIA community, hire me a personal masseuse, and provide me with a lifetime supply of lavender-scented candles, shut your damn mouth.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

My Top 5 Film Crushes

Like most people who spend the majority of their life on the internet, I spend a lot of time fantasizing about making out with various fictional characters. While I suppose dreaming about kissing film characters is slightly more realistic than say, comic or anime characters, the sad fact is it is highly unlikely my desires will ever be fulfilled. Still, I can dream, so here are my top 5 movie crushes of my life thus far.

David Bowie as Jareth the Goblin King, Labyrinth (1986)

Oh, I know, everyone has a crush on Jareth, and with good reason. He's hot, he's sassy, he's David-Fucking-Bowie. He's a delicious, other-worldly faerie. Need I say more? No. Next.

John Hurt as Kane, Alien (1979)

Not gonna lie, I still think John Hurt is sexy, but 1979 was a really hot year for him. He's lithe, scruffy, and boyish while still having the sexy, older man thing going on. Unf. I just wish it was a bit easier to find images of him pre-chest burst.

Katherine E. Scharhon as Wendy Hale/Chance Hale, Brand Upon the Brain! (2006)

Oh jeez, this movie. If you haven't seen any of Canadian independent filmmaker Guy Maddin's work, I highly recommend it (provided you enjoy sad, disturbing, esoteric cinema). In the semi-autobiographical Brand Upon the Brain!, the exquisite creature Katherine E. Scharhon plays teenage detective Wendy Hale who disguises herself as her brother, Chance Hale. Wendy and Chance both become the object of young Guy's (and my) affection.

Guy and his older sister Sis are unaware that Chance is really Wendy, and Sis of course falls for Chance. In order to prevent Sis from realising that she is really female, Chance puts on a pair of gloves and tells her they are "kissing gloves", and only the wearer may touch the other person. Excuse me while I swoon a bit.

Clea DuVall as Graham, But I'm a Cheerleader (1999)

But I'm a Cheerleader was one of the first "gay" movies I watched when I was a teenager trying to figure out my sexuality. As soon as Graham introduces herself with, "I like girls...a lot. Oh, and I'm a homosexual." I was smitten. Graham is a great contrast to innocent, naive Meghan: she's smart, confident, self-assured, and did I mention wicked hot?

Cary Elwes as Robin of Loxley, Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)

I know most people would cite Westley as the ultimate in Cary Elwes sexiness, but I have a really soft spot for him in this movie. I must have seen it at least 300 times. When I was a kid, I think I rented it from the video store at least once a week until I eventually got my own VHS copy for Christmas. Being pretty young when I became so obsessed with it, a lot of the more adult jokes were a bit lost on me, but that didn't stop me from endlessly daydreaming about "marrying" Sir Robin.

Be sure to join me next time when I discuss more fictional characters I want to share saliva with. Who are your favorite movie crushes??