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Entries in happiness (10)

Friday
Sep202013

Transcending The Target-Market Female Narrative Into An Identity Far More Relevant


The Birth Of Barbie by VenusOak

A Day In The Life Of A Target-Market Female is a powerful postmodern short story by Katie Brinksworth at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. The events are surreal, yet the tale is strangely familiar to every woman who has ever read a magazine or watched a commercial. It’s both comic and tragic as we recognize the ploys of advertising, and our own susceptibility to the lies of marketing:

At 6 a.m. on the dot, the 25-to 45-year-old target-market female wakes up and stretches with delight, excited to greet the day.

For breakfast, the target-market female debates whether to eat the yogurt brand that encourages her to be herself, or the one that helps her poop. Today, like most days, the target-market female chooses regularity over self-worth.

After drinking a cup of the orange juice brand that makes her look the thinnest, the target-market female lotions up every inch of her body and gets dressed for the day. She then takes a short, breezy walk to a local café, where she patiently awaits signs of male appreciation for her noticeably soft skin.

While she waits, the target-market female daydreams about fiber, smaller pores, and easy-but-creative recipes she can make with precooked sausage. When she realizes the time, the target-market female rushes home to begin the most rewarding part of her day—doing the laundry.

Moments that seem ideal and cheerful are tinged with a dark undercurrent that pulses through the story. Beneath such picturesque actions as “waking up with delight” and “taking a short, breezy walk”, our protagonist chafes under self-denying, self-limiting choices such as “choosing regularity over self-worth” and “awaiting signs of male appreciation”. She is well-behaved, product-dependent, and image-obsessed. I don’t blame her, because I occasionally find myself being that way, too. Don’t we all go through that sometimes? I know that the images are Photoshopped— invisible pores, superbly glossy hair, perfectly white teeth. I know that many of these celebrities who seem to be able to “do it all” have personal assistants, house chefs, fitness trainers, nannies, and millions of dollars at their disposal. Why do I still find myself, sometimes, mercilessly comparing myself to them? When I first read the story I thought the protagonist was laughably ridiculous, until I realized I share her weaknesses. Perhaps that’s why I love the story so much. It helps remind me of how laughably ridiculous I can be, when I allow myself to believe in my insecurities and in the lie of consumerism— the false promise that I will be happy and complete, if only I buy this or that product.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to buy products, and certainly nothing bad about enjoying other people’s appreciation of our inner and outer beauty. The problem is when these things— material possessions and external approval— become the reason for living, the raison d’être. One of my favourite authors, cosmologist and mathematician Brian Swimme explained this well when he discussed the importance of holistic awareness in his book, The Universe Is A Green Dragon:

Humans are easily addicted to beauty, even a clouded vision of it… Anyone who grabs a sliver of beauty and insists that it is the whole becomes a fanatic, workaholic, cynic, fundamentalist, or drug addict.

Having a fractured vision of beauty— mistaking just a part for the whole— leads to extremism in religion and in all other ideologies including consumerism. Objects are not everything, but in this image-obsessed world, it’s easy to believe they are. The target-market female actually lives her life as if she, herself, is an object. Marc Barnes, a Catholic writer whose work I don’t always agree with, made an insightful and particularly incisive observation when he remarked that we allow our very selves to be defined by objective qualities:

Our will to be an object is immense. How much easier it is to be stereotype of religion or ideology, how much simpler to be the sum of our achievements or attractive features, and how much nicer the world would be if we could all be content with our careers, styles, sexualities, and living-room decors being ‘who-we-are’. By placing our very selves in our objective qualities, we live as objects, and this is immodesty, a disintegration between who-we-are— subjects— and how we present ourselves in word and deed— as objects. It is an essential dishonesty.

What a powerful thing media is, when I must remind myself constantly that I am more than just a target-market female, more than just an object. However, it can only have as much power as I allow. It is like the Devil card of the tarot deck— in which people are depicted as being chained, but not against their will. Their bindings are loose enough to simply step out of, if they wish. It’s easier said than done, but it’s still certainly achievable with enough awareness, conscious intent, and self-empowerment.

The target-market female is a cautionary tale, an example of what shouldn’t be. In contrast are the life stories of countless brave women, embodiments of creative feminine power, such as Isabel Allende, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Risa Hontiveros, and Malala Yousafzai. It is all the more important to share their stories, invoke their narratives, and draw inspiration from their lives. We must nurture the voices of feminine power, and empower ourselves to be among them, too.

Who are the women you admire? Who are the women in your own life, among your own family and friends, whom you find inspiring? What were the moments in your own life when you felt like you were one of them? Let’s write about them and engage them. Let’s craft our own narrative, and not allow advertisers or anyone else to foist a deceptive image of womanhood upon us. Let’s transcend the target-market female narrative— instead of falling for it, we will learn from it and use it as a guide that will point us in the right direction. Let’s take the story into our own hands.

It is said that history is written by the victors, and indeed, for ages, the feminine perspective was simply pushed down and hidden away. History has been “his story” for a very long time. “Her story” has only been given voice recently, and it is up to all of us to shape. ~ Feanne

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Thank you for reading! My name is Feanne and I’m happy to be writing for Anne again after five years of being away. Anne is a wonderful woman whom I’m truly honored to connect with, across oceans and continents. I look forward to hearing from you all as we continue exploring feminine-relevant issues with everyone here at Anne Of Carversville and GlamTribale. You can reach me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Feanne is a visual artist, singer-songwriter, social entrepreneur, and sustainable lifestyle advocate from Metro Manila, Philippines. As an artist, she specializes in intricately detailed symbolic illustration. She sings jazz-inspired music and composes sweet tunes. She is especially interested in promoting healthy eating, sustainable farming, Filipino products, and eco-friendly technology. Her creative work revolves around the themes of earth and cosmos, magick and mystery, beauty and shadow. To her, Science, Art, and Spirituality/Religion are all chords of the same Universal song. She believes that renewed interest in wise traditions— combined with the advances of modern philosophy, science, and technology— promises to to help create an ecologically and spiritually sustainable human civilization.

Thursday
Jan032013

Saudi Cleric OKs Rapes of Syrian Women; Israel Bans Models With BMI's Below 18.5; Obama Joins Ike & FDR 51% Club

In 2013 Anne’s jewelry collection GlamTribale will sponsor ‘Informed’, a series of quick info bits for Anne of Carversville readers. View our goddess Diana Collection (above) online.

1. XO Jane writes: FSD (female sexual dysfunction) is a serious disorder — part of a family of disorders. Let’s start talking about it.

 

Alex Nabaum illustration6. Both ancient philosophy and modern psychology suggest that darker thoughts can make us happier. Consider it the power of negative thinking — and it’s positively unAmerican. via WSJ

2. Israel bans models with BMIs below 18.5 in ads. Also ads must reveal use of Photoshop. via WSJ

7. Print book sales tumbled in America last year, declining from 72% who said they had read printed books in the previous 12 months to 67%. via Pew Research

8. Indian police have filed rape and murder charges against five men accused of a brutal gang rape of a New Delhi woman. The sixth suspect is a juvenile who will handled separately. Police say they will seek the death penalty. Read on at AOC

3. Saudi religious leader Muhammed al-Arifi, calls for gang rape of Syrian women over 14, specifying that “intercourse marriages” last only a few hours “in order to give each fighter a turn”. via Salon

The hard-line Wahhabi cleric said that the marriages between the foreign-backed militants and Syrian women will satisfy the militants’ sexual desires and boost their determination in killing Syrians.

BREAKING NEWS!!! Time Warner drops Current after Al Jazeera deal via Salon

4. President Barack Obama is the first president in more than 50 years to win at least 51% of the vote twice. The last president to do it was Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956. The last Democrat to win such solid support was Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944. via Bloomberg

9.Fragonard’s ‘The Swing’ is a model of French Beauty & Decadence, writes Anne.

The existing — or soon to be — mistress flies through the air in frivolous abandon, losing her shoe in an action powered by her husband.

5. Among tablet users, men are 11% more likely to say they get news on the devices than women. via Pew Research. Age, on the other hand, seems to be less of an indicator of mobile news consumption. This is particularly true on the tablet, where daily rates are similar across all four age groups studied (50- to 64-year-olds are a bit more likely than the youngest and oldest groups to get news). On the smartphone, owners under 50 get news at higher rates than those over 50. Read more at Pew Research

10. Energy drinks are the fastest-growing part of the beverage industry in America, reaching more than $10 billion in sales in 2012. Energy drinks promise edge, writes the NYT, but experts say there’s little proof to the claim. 

Wednesday
May302012

US Child Poverty Rate | French President Hollande's Gender Parity Cabinet | Women's Strike Force in VA Hits Home

French Roast News

Anne is reading …

View chart larger.

Global spending cuts are certain to impact child poverty rates, putting children’s future health, education and employment prospects at risk, the UN’s children’s charity UNICEF warns.

Poverty rates are determined by whether a child lacks two or more of a list of 14 basic items such as three meals a day, a quiet place to do homework, educational books at home, or an Internet connection. The highest rates of deprivation are found in countries that include Romania, Bulgaria and Portugal (with more than 70%, 50% and 27% respectively), though even some richer countries, such as France and Italy, have deprivation rates above 10%. The Nordic countries have the least deprivation among children, all with rates below 3%.

The second measure scrutinized in Report Card 1/0 looks at relative poverty, examining the percentage of children living below their national “poverty line” – defined as 50 per cent of median disposable household income.

The combined analysis results in a lineup of countries in which the United States ranks second from last among developed countries with a child poverty rate of 23.1%.

The top five positions in the league table are occupied by Iceland, Finland, Cyprus, the Netherlands and Norway (with Slovenia and Denmark close behind). All of these countries have relative child poverty rates below 7%. Read on at UNICEF

More reading from AOC

Status vs Money | A Third Look At Happiness, Gender Equality & Taxes

More French Roast News

Women’s Strike Force Soars

“Our organization is not even three months old, yet activists across Virginia are clamoring to get involved and help raise money,” the group’s director, Rebecca Gellar, boasted recently. “In our first two weeks, we raised a breathtaking $100,000.” According to public documents, that includes $20,000 from a single donor in Charlottesville — as well as four-figure contributions from as far afield as Massachusetts and California.

Anne’s ‘Operation Spittin’ Out the Pitts’ is watching the new VA-based Women’s Strike Force, a political PAC formed after VA infamous vaginal ultrasound bill probed the private parts and public conscience of a few too many American women.

WSF is gaining such momentum that the Richmond Daily saw a need to write a critical op ed piece, deriding a PAC that would form around the single issue of women’s reproductive health.

Related Reading:

Ronald Regan, The Silent Scream and the Slow Rise of Fetal Pain The Daily Beast

Anti-Sex Ed Curriculum Makes the List: Don’t Blame Obama, Blame the System RH Reality Check

Republican Rep. tries to save Planned Parenthood Politico

Conservative bishops court the disdain of Catholic Women LATimes

Gender Parity in Hollande Ministers

VOA News writes that France’s newly-elected president Francois Hollande has ushered in the country’s first gender-balanced cabinet. Olivia Cattan, journalist and founder of the feminist organization ‘Paroles de Femmes’ or ‘Words of Women’ advises Hollande on women’s issues. A new ministry of women’s rights is headed by 34-year-old Najat Vallaud Belkacem.

“It’s a fantastic gesture for Mr. Hollande. It’s like a page has been turned. It’s the first parity government in France. He’s really turned a page in terms of French feminism,” Cattan said.