Tag Archives: strong

The 3 Best Pieces of Advice I’ve Received in 3 Years of Marriage

I started writing for the blog a little before I got married. Around the time of my anniversary each year, I’ve written a post about my married experience. For my first anniversary I shared “4 Things I Didn’t Expect” (about marriage) and last year I gave you “4 Reasons Why Marriage is Worth the Risk (Even in the Age of Ashley Madison)“. This year I was thinking about what sort of married life wisdom I could share with you, and the only thing that came to mind was advice that older and wiser people had told me. So, as my third wedding anniversary approaches (next month) I’ve decided to share the three best pieces of advice I’ve received during my marriage.

1. Go to Bed Angry (Sometimes)

I’ve always been a fighter when it comes to my relationships. I think that discussing an issue can allow you to unearth the deeper problem and talking things out can keep you from feeling resentment. By the time I got married I had also heard and/or read one piece of marriage advice over and over again: don’t go to bed angry.

I’m glad someone told me to cast that advice aside.

Instead, they suggested that sometimes we really should go to bed angry. Because sometimes, even the best of us want to strangle our partner for a reason that will seem pretty silly the next day. Often, by postponing that impulse to vent your irritation, you can avoid making an argument out of something that doesn’t really matter.

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Body Positivity and “Healthy” Double Standards, or Why I Need Fat Acceptance Even Though I’m (Relatively) Thin

The moment you mention “fat” and anything positive in the same sentence you get a response that’s meant to put you in your place. It will usually go something like, “I don’t believe in encouraging unhealthy behaviour” or “I’m all for self-acceptance, but…”.

I certainly do understand this sentiment. I think social stigma can be a powerful way to discourage bad behaviour. Just look at MADD’s entire campaign against drunk driving, for example.

However, I do think there is an unnecessarily strong reaction against Fat Positivity. Below I’ve outlined 3 reasons why I think that reaction is unfair.

1) We overlook healthy individuals with large bodies because they don’t fit our cultural beauty standards 

The number one criticism of fat acceptance is that it encourages unhealthy behaviour. However, there are more and more examples that prove body size doesn’t always dictate health. Olympic hammer-thrower Amanda Bingson encountered this type of assumption when she was kicked off her high school volleyball team for not losing weight. Years later and she has been able to prove that a large body is just as capable of amazing things as a small body. It’s been encouraging to see her featured in this year’s ESPN Body Issue, the magazine’s “annual celebration of athletes’ amazing bodies”.

Another large and healthy individual who has come to my attention is yogi Jessamyn Stanley. I try (emphasis on try) to practice yoga every week, and yoga is, for me, one of the few physical activities I’m actually kind of okay at. That’s why I was stunned to see Stanley doing moves I am still far away from accomplishing. It’s clear to me that Stanley has the kind of core strength that most of the slender yogis in my classes still haven’t managed to build.

I cannot do this pose without assistance. I can maybe do a headstand on a good day, but just on my arms like this? No way.

Examples like Bingson and Stanley aren’t meant to prove that all large people are healthy. Instead, they offer a great reminder that size doesn’t necessarily dictate health. While large individuals are sometimes much more healthy than they look, some slim individuals can be much less healthy than they appear. Continue reading

In Defence of Feminine Strength (Re: In Defense of the Warrior-Princess)

When I initially read Gordon’s response to the post I wrote last week, I asked myself, should I be offended?

You see, my original post was one of my more personal pieces, where I touched on my struggle with self-acceptance (as a rather sensitive person) in a culture highly influenced by what I described as the warrior-princess/damsel binary.

As a child, I believed that I needed to become emotionless in order to be strong, and masculine in order to be taken seriously. That’s why I find characters who are feminine and strong, like those often played by Zooey Deschanel, an encouraging presence in films and TV shows.

So, you can probably see why, being the sensitive person that I am, Gordon’s closing statement came off as a wee bit hurtful:

Deschanel states that “we can be powerful in our own way, our own feminine way” [emphasis added].

No you ****ing can’t.

From what I know of Gordon, he seems like a pretty good guy, so I’m going to act under the assumption that he was not writing an attack on my personal character, but rather a critique of the concept of feminine strength as represented by Deschanel. That critique is what I will be responding to in the points below. If you don’t watch New Girl, then be aware, there are spoilers below.

1. The Critique Begins with Flawed Logic

I have to thank one of our most faithful commenters, Rosie, for pointing out the “strawman argument” made in Gordon’s critique. In “In Defense of the Warrior-Princess” Gordon describes traditionally feminine characteristics using words like “submissive” and “weak”, words that neither I, nor Deschanel used to describe femininity. Using these sort of terms creates a false dichotomy between my argument and his.

He also claims that Deschanel plays “ditzy, emotional, pathologically neurotic” characters “who don’t need no man to help them”. He includes a crying gif of Jessica Day, the character Deschanel plays in New Girl as evidence.

This isolated gif ignores the wider context of the show, where every single character deals with their day-to-day life in a “ditzy, emotional, pathologically neurotic” sort of way.

It also ignores how New Girl is not at all about being the kind of person “who don’t need no man”. Instead, this show demonstrates how relationships lead to personal growth. It also shows how every person sits somewhere on a spectrum between sensitive and stoic, and how both of these traits are essential to becoming a healthy individual. Continue reading

Why I Decided to Stop Being a “Tough Girl” and Just Be Me

I used to cry a lot as a kid. A lot. I had all the feels and I didn’t know what to do with them. 

I was also a pretty uncoordinated kid. I mean, nothing spectacular (I only broke a couple bones), but enough to make me suck at the only thing that mattered in elementary school: winning stuff. Being stuck as “it” for hours at a time in grounders or tag really gets the spirit low, so, as you might expect, I spent a lot of recesses crying.

My mom loves to tell this one story from back when she worked at my school. She had been helping a friend of mine with her homework one day and when this friend became frustrated she had reminded her that “Some people are good at spelling, some people are good at sports, etc. Everyone has something that they are good at, and everybody has something we need to work on.”

Later that day, I came dead last in a race (my mom likes to emphasize this part when she tells the story, often repeating herself with “and I mean dead last“). Anyways, after coming dead last in this race I retreated to a distance to cry my eyes out. This same friend of mine came over and put her arm around me. Then she started to tell me “You know Katherine, some people are good at spelling, some people are good at sports…”

You get the gist of it. I used to cry a lot. Then, one day on the playground, a kid called me a “cry-baby”. I don’t remember who it was, but I remember clenching my fists and swearing to myself “I will never cry again!” Continue reading

Shame Day: David Finch, Wonder Woman, and Feminism

This isn’t the first time the topic of feminism has cropped up on this blog, and it certainly isn’t going to be the last. While much of what we’ve written about it in the past concerns female characters and how they’re portrayed in the media or the various ways actual real-life women are viewed in today’s culture, the truth is that the biggest hindrance feminists everywhere [myself included] face is a painfully simple one. Far too many people have no idea what feminism is.

If you wanted to explore this further without leaving the blog, Gordon’s post “Why I Do Need Feminism” straight-up nails it. It’s essentially a response to images similar to the one on the right, which feature teenage girls holding up signs which underscore the fundamental misunderstanding they have of what feminism really is. If only there was some sort of go-to website that could provide a fairly clear-cut explanation . . . maybe even one that had the express purpose of defining words . . .

Dictionary.com’s first two definitions are as follows:

  1. the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.
  2. sometimes initial capital letter an organized movement for the attainment of such rights for women.

finchww That all sounds like something the average non-bigoted person could be down with. The above research literally took me less than ten seconds, which is why I find it unforgivable when people like comic book artist David Finch is quoted as saying, regarding Wonder Woman:

 “We want her to be a strong — I don’t want to say feminist, but a strong character. Beautiful, but strong.”

To provide a little context, David Finch and his wife Meredith Finch are going to be taking over the character’s self-titled book in November, with the latter covering writing duties. I want to focus as much as possible on his words here, and not his actual depictions of the character, an example of which you can see right above. Continue reading

Fame Day: Leslie Jones

Saturday Night Live is a very White show.

This isn’t news for almost anyone who has been watched the late night sketch comedy mainstay at any point in the last four decades. Still, this fact was made all the more apparent when they announced the six new cast members that would be coming aboard last September. In case you didn’t know, they amounted to five men and one woman, all Caucasian.

Given the fairly sizable [and reasonable] amount of outcry over this, Lorne Michaels and the powers that be ushered in Black comedian Sasheer Zamata. Given the speedy response to their complaints the internet quieted, content with SNL and how it was dealing with race for the time being. That ended, of course, this past Saturday.

While Zamata’s casting was lauded by many, something else occurred concurrently which was less publicized, though arguably just as important: LeKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones, both Black women, joined the show’s writing staff. Ideally such a move would help the show to broaden its comedic range given life experiences that differ vastly from that of a White person, male or female, living in the USA. That particular perspective was showcased front and centre when Leslie Jones made her on-camera debut during the most recent episode’s Weekend Update-

goodjobleslie

Watch the video here or here.

Continue reading