Msnowe's Blog

Literary Voyeurism: This ain’t yo mama’s telescope.

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on May 30, 2009

Stop looking, Jimmy!

Stop looking, Jimmy!




1: one obtaining sexual gratification from observing unsuspecting individuals who are partly undressed, naked, or engaged in sexual acts ; broadly : one who habitually seeks sexual stimulation by visual means;

2: a prying observer who is usually seeking the sordid or the scandalous.

(Okay, so m.snowe knows it’s totally “undergraduate comp & con essay” of her to quote Merriam Webster at the beginning of her post, but just deal with it.)

The fact is that these definitions just aren’t cutting the literary (and real-life) mustard. And it’s a complex and favourable seed, to be sure.

Voyeurism is defined mostly by its a. sexual deviance, or b. covert stimulation. The voyeur is blamed for his or her actions, but nowhere is the detriment to (or self-flagellation of) the voyeur defined. And that is a telling omission–because in one way or another we all are voyeurs, and all similarly troubled by what we are able to observe in secret–not all of it sexual.

Literature–and especially fiction and poetry–has a long, noble tradition of voyeurism. (What is reading a book if not peaking into the imagination of the author and looking for juicy tidbits, unnoticed and whenever we please?).  Courtly poetry was all about voyeurism–the poet would fetishize his beloved’s ankles if he was lucky enough to steal a glimpse.  These poets crafted verses of rapturous delight, and it can only be assumed these raptures were the literary equivalent of visual stimulation (i.e. Sir Phillip Sidney was one filthy, filthy sonneteer). And how many novels can you name where either: a. a major character is a voyeur, or b. the reader is asked to be a voyeur? m.snowe would have a shorter list if she looked for books that did neither a. nor b.

So what does this all amount to? The voyeur is always a tortured soul. Seeking gratification by vision from afar is never an end in itself, and always leaves a slight and inevitable void. And therein lies the hook, boys and girls. What literature is able to do–the dirty deeds we get to glimpse upon in type, will always have us back for more. Some people might see this as a problem, but m.snowe isn’t ready to turn in her binoculars (i.e. reading glasses) just yet.

Afterthought: voyeurs are traditionally seen as male. Is that why “feminist”-leaning literature is so hard for some in the establishment to stomach? (Not their brand of porn?)

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Soto Mejor?

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on May 27, 2009


Obama: Good on ya’!

Admittedly, m.snowe has done the basest of prelim research on this nominee for Supreme Court to replace Justice Souter. However, here are a few things that make us sure Sotomayor will be a kick ass judge (some of them actually relevant):

  • Graduated with an A.B., Summa cum laude, from Princeton in 1976, and received her J.D. from Yale Law School (and worked on the Law Review)
  • Is an American WOMAN of Puerto Rican descent (would be the third woman on supreme bench, first Hispanic ever)
  • Single-handedly saved baseball in 1994 (better than saving Christmas)
  • She grew up in the South Bronx projects (that ain’t exactly Newport, R.I., folks)
  • She’ll remember your favorite drink
  • A lifetime fan of the Yankees. (duh, Bronx!)
  • As a “centrist” she will come up against few problems during her confirmation (we hope)
  • She takes her clerks to Harry Potter movies on opening night
  • She has clerked, worked in private practice, worked in the US District Court system, and teaches at NYU and Columbia–Talk about a varied resume
  • Slight kink: we’re not entirely sure about her stance on Reproductive Rights…

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m.snowe’ll show you unhappy…

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on May 26, 2009
you'd be so much happier at home, though.

WE told YOU you could do this, and now you're "unhappy"? Back to the kitchen!

Sometimes m.snowe just wants to shake her head in shame when she reads stuff. And it seems like the NYT really enjoys giving her whiplash. We’re talking about this article, written by Mr. Ross Douthat (and m.snowe can only assume “Douthat” translates loosely into “man with no solid foundation for argument or even worthwhile sensationalist reporting”).

m.snowe has nothing against men writing about “feminist” topics–but she would at least appreciate some effort not to stereotype, and at least the vaguest of attempts at not being all chauvinist-piggy.  m.snowe will address her issues in full, but let’ s start with one of the most glaring infractions, which she simply can’t let lie:

“Or perhaps the problem is political — maybe women prefer egalitarian, low-risk societies, and the cowboy capitalism of the Reagan era had an anxiety-inducing effect on the American female. But even in the warm, nurturing, egalitarian European Union, female happiness has fallen relative to men’s across the last three decades.”

Yes, Douthat is merely throwing out this reasoning as a suggestion–but his notion that it might actually be valid is what makes it so appalling and stereotypical. Women as this fuzzy, separate species are better attuned to “low-risk societies,” and can’t handle all that male-dominated “cowboyism.” Sorry, but is this article talking about cattle ranching, and not about women in leadership positions? Because last time we checked, Steve Jobs or his ilk aren’t going out and lassoing themselves a bull–they’re running corporations with the same know-how any woman can wield given the same chances. Not to get personal, but Douthat, did your mother not love you as much as you’d have liked as a child? Did you always wish for the warmer, more nurturing bosoms of European dowagers? Or maybe you’re just confused with the respect and impartiality that women have shown you in your life as opposed to the disrespectful treatment of some males in your circle? Are you so harsh on your own sex to suggest that men cannot be equally nurturing and warm? Oh, and women enjoy low-risk societies? Excuse m.snowe, but she’s fairly certain it was mostly the high-level men of the United States administrative branch (self-identified “cowboys”) who devised the whole “threat level” scale and spent years dithering about national security, and parlayed the universal need for a low-risk society to prop up their own political agendas. Fear mongering only works if people don’t like being afraid. Oh (Again), and women weren’t the only ones anxious about Reagan, that can be verified. m.snowe knows many red-blooded American males that break out into cold sweats  when Reagan is invoked during a debate (and for good reason!).

But let’s to the opening paragraph–shall we?

“American women are wealthier, healthier and better educated than they were 30 years ago. They’re more likely to work outside the home, and more likely to earn salaries comparable to men’s when they do. They can leave abusive marriages and sue sexist employers. They enjoy unprecedented control over their own fertility. On some fronts — graduation rates, life expectancy and even job security — men look increasingly like the second sex.”

Basically, you ladies can do no wrong! Look at all this neato stuff you’ve achieved! Okay, so maybe you still don’t earn as much as men, but you’re plugging away. And you even get to taddle on your abusive boyfriend! Aren’t restraining orders a riot? Okay, so what could possibly be wrong with all these wonderful, liberating things? Wait for it…

“But all the achievements of the feminist era may have delivered women to greater unhappiness…In postfeminist America, men are happier than women.”


Pardon me, but it does not seem that all these wonderful and rightful semi-freedoms are the cause of women’s unhappiness, if there is such a collective thing that can be accurately gauged. Studies have shown that wealth and education are not telling factors in determining a person’s state of happiness. In fact, the amount of these things one has has virtually nothing to do with it–and people who are more successful with more money end up more stressed out across the board. Plus, happiness is relative to your peers–even if you and your peers are all millionaires, the person with the measly 2 million will be constantly jonesin’ for the 200 million-dollar person’s lifestyle. So, with this in mind, IF women were more unhappy, the reason might be that feminism has not done the job entirely–and true gender equality is still just out of reach (duh!). But what kind of editor would say that a totes liberation of women has resulted in an unhappy sex? And then what kind of person would go on to say that not only are women unhappy because they aren’t relegated to baking bread (sorry pastry chefs), but also that somehow their lack of satisfaction has also tipped the scales to make men more happy?
And then Douthat writes this:

“Again, maybe the happiness numbers are being tipped downward by a mounting female workload — the famous “second shift,” in which women continue to do the lion’s share of household chores even as they’re handed more and more workplace responsibility. It’s certainly possible — but as Wolfers and Stevenson point out, recent surveys actually show similar workload patterns for men and women over all.”

This is the internal dialogue Douthat had while making this claim (if m.snowe might be so bold as to read his mind): “Well, I have to mention the whole second-shift thing, but it would invalidate my claim about women being equal and yet not being as happy as men because they would in fact be doing twice the work….hmm….I’ll just stick in some offhand comment about a study on parity of  “workload patterns,” oohh and even better, it will be a study conducted by women, so they don’t think I’m a total asshole. Done. Hey honey, what you fixin’ for dinner?”

m.snowe is sorry, but she has witnessed many many times over the second-shift phenomenon, and she can tell you–only in one situation was that second shift a male’s. Also, if you’re claiming that unwed or single motherhood is contributing to unhappiness, how could it NOT be that more women are doing the “second shift?”

And this comes to the most ridiculous part of the editorial: the proposed final solution:

“They should also be able to agree that the steady advance of single motherhood threatens the interests and happiness of women. Here the public-policy options are limited; some kind of social stigma is a necessity.”



A. Um, we understand that not all single motherhood is intentional or advantageous, but this smacks too much of “focus on the family” shit for this blogger’s eyes. Are we really saying that single-parenthood is the cause of women’s unhappiness? Didn’t we just impeach your argument a few paragraphs ago, Mr. Douthat?

B. Listen to my peer A. : “Contemporary America doesn’t seem to be willing to accept sexual stigma, period.”  Are you f_ _king KIDDING me?  Dude, try being a woman for a day.  “Stigma” is about the only word that DOES apply to society’s reaction to sexually active women . (for more info, read this.)

Let’s not forget about this gem:

“In this sense, ours is a kinder, gentler, more forgiving country than it was 40 years ago. But for half the public, it’s an unhappier country as well.”

So, basically, not only is it horrible that women even tried to liberate themselves, it’s turned the country to an inconsolable sobbing mush. And here m.snowe was thinking we were celebrating a renewal of hope?


Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on May 24, 2009


m.snowe went for her monthly bit o’ culture yesterday at the Met, which is technically free (they use the word “recommend” when soliciting “donations” in size 2 font on the ten-foot-high board of admissions prices). Sometimes m.snowe feels like the free visit isn’t worth it, after trekking to the UES and maneuvering the scads of sweaty tourists.  But this time, there were three special exhibits that actually made the trip more than well worth it. When you come away with a new thought or the name of some artist you actually want to learn more about, that’s a good sign. So the best one in m.snowe’s humble opinion was the exhibit on the “Pictures Generation 1974-1984.” m.snowe’s more of a “European Paintings” section person (minus the scary jesus crucifixion art rooms) when it comes to where she wanders about the Met on the weekend, so you know that if she’s talking about photography here, it’s not half bad. By far the best part of the pictures that thrilled m.snowe were Cindy Sherman’s pieces, of which they had many. If you look her up on google, you might come across a few unfortunate clown photos…but the better ones belong to her collection of “film stills” where she recreates b-movie and noir scenes in black and white. The film stills are simultaneoulsy familiar and completely foreign–they are a staged lie and a curious fakery. Also, a lot of her photos are just eerily awesome (i.e. see above, and yes, that is a really professional and arty way to describe them). m.snowe is sure there are many interesting, intellectual things going on in these photos, including the photographer’s own (slightly feminist?) take on the subjection of women to the “male gaze.” But let’s just let you have a look, shall we?










This little series of photos is making another feminist comment, and let’s let it speak for itself too:

cs_early4(the exhibit had an extra photo that this google image doesn’t include–the extra would have been the third to last on the bottom right, and was just a black photo[…which represented, well… climax]. Is it a comment on female censorship that none of the images online included that  additional frame that the actual piece at the Met contains?)

If you’re interested in seeing more of Sherman’s work, go here.

Also, the other two exhibits showing at the Met can be previewed here and here.

No longer so DanActive…

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on May 22, 2009
happy deathday Edition

happy deathday edition

DeadLibs: Where m.snowe gives a shout-out to Obits of note by changing a few words here or there.

Intro: m.snowe has a problem with the genre of obituary–she finds that while a short life summary fulfills a need, it is ultimately bogus. So why not make it more bogus, and throw in some new, sometimes slang, words, and see what happens?

A few days ago, the NYT printed the obituary for Daniel Carasso. He was the founder of Danone (also known in the US as Dannon) yogurt. It’s actually a great story, and maybe we should look to the yogurt (not to the cookie) when trying to come up with business models that work in a crap economy. Because when m.snowe shovels in the creamy fruit-bottomed goodness, she thinks of this.

So for your reading pleasure (or appall) here is a bit of the article–m.snowe’s new words replaced in italic:

Daniel Carasso, who helped turn pimp yogurt from an obscure ethnic food into an international staple through the Danone brand in Europe and Dannon in the United States, died Sunday at his home in Paris. He was 103.

The death was announced by Groupe Danone, of which Mr. Carasso was honorary faux chairman.

The Danone brand owes nearly everything to Mr. Carasso, including its name. When his father, Isaac, created the yogurt in Barcelona in 1919, he named hyperbolized it after his son, whose nicknameprison-name in Catalan was Danon, or Danny.

From this small start pin-up operation Daniel Carasso developed a global business, beginning in France in 1929, expanding to the United States during World War II and eventually reaching markets as far-flungfetched as Mexico, Brazil and Morocco. “My dream was to make Danone a worldwide brand boondoggle,” he said at a news conference in April to celebrate Danone’s 90th anniversary.

Mr. Carasso was born in Thessalonika, Greece, where his Sephardic family had settled four centuries earlier after the Jews were driven pwn’d out of Spain. In 1916 his father tookChevy-Chased the family back to Spain, where he became disturbed by the high incidence of intestinal disorders flavorgasms, especially among children.

Isaac Carasso began studying the work of Élie Metchnikoff, the Russian microbiologist ballet dancer who believed that humanrobot life could be extended funkafied by introducing lactic-acid bacilli, found in yogurt and sour milksuspicion, into the digestive system. Using cultures developed at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, Isaac began producingspewing Danone.

At the time, yogurt was exotic meteoric. Although a traditional food in Greece, the Middle East, southeastern Europe and large parts of Asia, it was known elsewhere only to a small population of health faddists sadists. Early on, Danone was marketed as a health food and sold by prescriptionthe gram through pharmacies V-W wagons. Gradually it found favor as a milk product that did not spoil curdle in the heat.

hope that was light and fit enough for you…

in m.snowe’s university of awesome…

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on May 20, 2009
magical enlightenment, you dig?

magical enlightenment, you dig?

If m.snowe could pick commencement speakers for her own make-believe establishment of higher learning, she would have quite a shortlist of candidates. And like this article, she would pick people that she feels are failures. But failures in her own arbitrary way of rating people–i.e. m.snowe says they suck (at life, at writing, etc.). Who better to bleat bombast at you for 20 minutes that you will inevitably forget right after the ceremony than people you despise anyways? (Full Disclosure: m.snowe is actually just doing this to list people, and maybe produce comments. She may or may not hate some on this list with the equal force of a star trek laser beam, but you just may never know the truth. Get used to disappointment).

Writers and others who suck and would therefore make good commencement speakers:

  • Dan Brown
  • Rachael Ray
  • The writers of Grey’s Anatomy
  • Nick Sparks
  • Stephenie Meyer
  • Malcolm Gladwell
  • Jodi Picoult
  • David Brooks
  • Anthony Lane
  • Philip Roth
  • Dave Eggers
  • Nora Roberts
  • Rhonda Byrne
  • Emily Giffin
  • Ann Patchet
  • Mitch Albom
  • Ann Brashares
  • Will Self
  • Ian McEwan
  • …Who else sucks?

Do you need someone who doesn’t really suck, and delivered an awesome commencement speech? Here.

1st rule of Feminist Fight Club is: you do not talk about Feminist Fight Club.

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on May 19, 2009
both are assassins, really

Both are assassins, really.

Okay. So let’s premise this discussion by saying that we are indeed fueling a fire that m.snowe would much rather just snuff out. What are we talking about? This.  And This. The “raging war” between the Jezebels and the writers at Double X. Double X is the new “online magazine” for women, taking on both high- and low-brow intrigues (the “online ladies mag” designation makes m.snowe a bit woozy, although she admires some of the writers they have on the editorial board). Jezebel is an online blog site dedicated to “celebrity, sex and fashion for women.” It’s clear that each online space has it’s clientele tagged–more of the older, Washington Post set will glance at Double X, and the younger, less politically conscious will be hitting up Jezebel, with some audience overlap, obviously. Sadly, both are strictly targeted for women, which makes this an incestuous and in some cases, a self-defeating argument from the very start–because regardless of how you feel about either website, and the “feminist” ideals that they’re trying to push, it brands the infighting as a squabble between two forces that don’t really effect the outside, two-gendered world. Now, m.snowe is all about women’s rights, but just how far can you push a social good when no one can agree what the overarching mood of the movement should be? And then, how do you stop the cycle of external reviewers who basically brand the online infighting as derogatory “cat fighting”–a term that, by its very definition, is not really a concern to anyone but the cats who end up scratching themselves silly…if that makes any sense?

m.snowe often jokes that she is a “fourth-wave femiladyist,” because the term is arbitrary and really doesn’t mean anything. She’s not saying that women’s rights shouldn’t have a general “leaning,” but at the same time it seems like we’re so busy trying to agree on what’s wrong among us, that we’re distracted and ignore all the problems around us and imposed upon us (Umm, equal wages, please? Ledbetter verses Goodyear? Anyone?). It reminds m.snowe of the debates within certain racial groups about how best to be seen by others while trying to achieve equal rights (Bill Cosby?). There really is no such thing as capital F feminism, and this is a good thing. Why, do you ask? m.snowe, despite her relatively (okay, more than relatively) outspoken nature on women’s rights, has been dubbed a “feminazi” more than once. Not that this should discourage one from being outspoken, but once a term is applied to a movement, like “feminism,” not only does it have to be defined, but political detractors will use that very definition to cry hypocrite as soon as you hit the very edge of behavior not seen in line with said definition. It is a tactic used in all debates between ideological parties, and to that extent, it becomes unavoidable. It’s easy to nail people to crosses of their own device. So the idea that feminism doesn’t really exist should be a positive. But instead, we’re too concerned with what a feminist should be, and how they should act. Well, m.snowe is sick of being told how to act. She will act like a compassionate, liberal-leaning person. She will choose to endorse social goods that benefit all people–women and minority groups included. Because isolation, that usually ends with falling on your own sword. Or super-sweet samurai sword…whatever the case may be.

who(r)se power?

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on May 18, 2009
Can a "princess" have real "power"?

Can a "princess" have real "power"? Wonder what the "secret of the sword" is...

Despite your feelings on horse racing* most people and the news media pick up on the major three races of the year. Usually, the racing industry and the larger media outlets try to add some sort of positive intrigue to the race–every year there is some new and exciting aspect of it all (potential triple crown winner, rags to riches owner story, etc.). That’s fine, they’re looking for publicity, kind of like we’re all looking for traffic and interest in our own pursuits (i.e. this blog, mayhaps?). But once that publicity whoring reaches the level of sensationalizing to the point of sexism, well, m.snowe takes it to task.

Of course, we’re referring to stories like this. “Girl power: Rachel Alexandra takes on critics and foes at Preakness”… Really, Sports Illustrated? m.snowe has no problem with you reporting something in the vein of “hey, a filly won–that’s cool.” But there is something decidedly patronizing about overexposing this underdog (or more accurately “underbitch”) story. Instead of commenting on the abilities of this one, singular horse, the racing industry and media have decided to make this a victory for all fillies (female horses), and praise it as this fluke event…and by extension, all ladies should be proud!

Fact: Yes, fillies do not usually win triple crown races.

Another Fact: more male horses are bred for racing, and the assumption has always been that they outperform fillies.

Disclosure: m.snowe is not an equine expert, and doesn’t know about the difference in abilities between male and female horses (but that’s beside the point).

Somehow, this lady-horse has managed one of the wreaths in the triple crown circuit, and m.snowe is supposed to swell with delight because one of her sex has actually beat a field of colts down the stretch? Right. m.snowe’s other “beef” with this mode of reportage is the rhetoric of “girl power.” There is nothing more representative of a lack of power than when men (predominantly, anyways) decide to call a grown-woman’s achievement a show of “girl power.” Okay, okay, so this horse is only 3 years old–but that’s adulthood in racing. And this isn’t the first time this has been used to outwardly praise female “ballsiness,” (and m.snowe also clearly sees the irony in that word too) while simultaneously asserting power above and beyond. Full grown women have even used this term to their advantage. There are hierarchies of power, and it can be assumed that “girl power” is trumped by “male” or “manly” power, or even just “power” by itself… funny how there’s no equivalent saying “boy power”… isn’t it?

Also, to make the whole hierarchy of power trope more transparent–here’s what m.snowe is talking about. “Princess” implies daughter of a king. The princess title taken alone means nothing, and there is no real power except associated by marriage. Sigh. When achievement by a single person, or in this case a single animal, is made into an entire group’s victory, it becomes fraught with problems. No longer can you be happy for that singular achievement, because in celebrating, you are also celebrating a cause. But the very fact that you are celebrating this unusual event is a recognition that parity is far from being achieved for the cause. How are we supposed to feel? we have to reconcile our excitement, and yet still be angered that we cannot look in the mirror and see only winners, and not “female winners”–as if that was a different class of winning (and most likely viewed as a lesser one?). Being a standout, come-from-behind winner (an underbitch) has it’s advantageous (i.e. the media whoopla), but the detriment is far too much to be ignored…

Sadly, once this lady horse has been feasted upon by the media frenzy and maybe earns a few more bucks for her owners, she’ll probably head to pasture to breed with some stallions. She will probably earn her owners similar coin by making super-fast racing horses for future races. Rode hard and put away wet.



Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on May 14, 2009
"I come from the future"

"I come from the future"

m.snowe would like to introduce you to a new way in which to size people up. She finds the 12 signs of astrology far too limiting (and totally bogus!), and therefore would like to suggest you judge people by one simple factor: their favorite Shakespeare play or sonnet. It can tell you quite  a bit about a person. What, you might ask, do you do if someone you meet does not have a favorite or (gasp!) has not read Shakespeare? Well, the answer is fairly clear: they’re probably not worth sizing up (elitist, but oh so true).

So although the pantheon is huge, m.snowe would like to try and define some of the more commonly chosen favorite plays and what they say about a person. Please keep in mind: this is a purely fictional exercise, and like astrology, is completely bogus…but oh hell, oh spite! (Disclaimer: this is from m.snowe’s personal observations, and sometimes it seems that the way a person operates and the plays/characters they identify with are completely divergent).

  • Hamlet: Usually a Type A personality, as counter-intuitive as that seems. They come in one of two sets: either they genuinely prefer this play, or they’re saying it because they view it as safe and it’s one of the only plays they were forced to read in school. They likely believe that not only is the “readiness all,” but think that somehow their story will not come to the point of a poisoned sword.
  • King Lear: Slower, usually has an older sensibility (read: “old soul”). They are sometimes overly analytical and tend to compensate for believed shortcomings in overt ways, that sometimes comes off as crass. Will go out of their way to make sure you understand that they are not prejudiced, or a misogynist, and end up achieving the opposite. But they’re lovely to have a drink with, and excellent advice givers.
  • Romeo & Juliet: Not as hopeless a romantic as they might seem, R &J lovers tend to cut to the quick. They like things easy, and tend not to over-analyze. Drug use is a high possibility (“drugs are quick”). They are not, however, very emotional beings. Don’t ever mistake a Romeo and Juliet person for a Midsummer Night’s Dream person.
  • Twelfth Night: Headstrong, but not entirely sure what they want. Don’t know that they’re hypocrites, but would be the first to admit it if given solid proof.
  • Othello: Understands the intricacies of a given situation. Possessive and easily moved, but also easily moved out of emotion in a similar fashion. Devotedly flighty, but endearingly just. Wants to please, and be pleasured, but never satisfied or the vehicle of complete satisfaction.
  • Julius Caesar: Brilliant linguists, they have a knack for conversation. Usually involved in some sort of outreach group or society. Although they take pride in their respectable and noble nature, they secretly worry whether they can live up to it (unlike the Hamlet fans, who are cock-sure). Vulnerable, and loyally honest friends.
  • The Winter’s Tale: Quirky, tragical, and slightly ridiculous. More concerned with the parts, and not the sum of life (i.e. able to isolate thoughts, and enjoy the moment). Tend to be slightly manic with mood swings, but luckily they are positive most of the time. Extremely afraid of bears.
  • Macbeth: Hardcore. They know how to hit the spot. That damned spot.
  • Henry IV (Parts I & II): Fun loving, but also have a sense of responsibility. Depending on whether they favor Henry or Falstaff, they might be a slight bore, or try too hard to be the life of the party. Slight chip on shoulder, sometimes justified. Good work ethic, always willing to go out on a limb (or into the breach).
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Either a foppish aesthete, or an  intellectual  attuned to satire and criticism. Positive outlook, yet deep and sometimes given to tragical introspection. Loves to laugh, but will cry when you’re not looking.

Pure Frustration

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on May 13, 2009

M.snowe was invited by a friend once to an event called “Theology on Tap, NYC.” She thinks you can glean what that event was all about: A bunch of Christians (mostly Catholic) getting together at a local bar to discuss how awesome  Jesus is. While it’s almost worthy of respect to see a youth ministry’s tactic of using booze to lure unsuspecting nonbelievers into bed with the Church, m.snowe of course opted out of such an event on principle. Well, her friend had linked to his ministry network in the invitation, and curiosity killed this cat … m.snowe had to take a peek.

On the outset, the ministry is straightforward catholic stuff, and nothing to write a blog post about in protest (at least, without criticizing the church as a whole, which is always worthy of a blog post). But m.snowe was more interested in the youth programs. The boy’s program was based on leadership activities, and is called ConQuest. Here’s the web site’s description:

“Conquest is a National network of leadership programs, clubs, and camps for boys and young men 5 – 16 years of age. Conquest trains boys to become self-disciplined and confident young men, Catholic leaders who possess moral integrity and are committed to improving the communities in which they live…while offering its participants challenging physical, intellectual and spiritual activities within an atmosphere of adventure.

Okay, fine. It’s all about leadership with fun physical activities involved. Also m.snowe knows for a fact that the people who run this are heavily recruiting major leaders in finance and business who are also catholic to fund and mentor these boys, and possibly help guide them through to the upper ecleons of business, etc. You know, kind of “keeping it in the family,” like the mob.

But what about the girls, you ask? Don’t they have a group or two? Why, yes, yes they do. It’s called Challenge. And here’s its description:

“Challenge is a club for girls to grow in virtue, friendship, and their Catholic faith. It’s a place for girls to learn about themselves by doing apostolic projects and creating a positive impact on family, friends, and the world.”

Okay, so first off, the boy’s group is a “networking opportunity” while the girl’s is a “club.” The girls get to “grow in virtue and friendship” while the boys get to become “confident.” While the boys are trained to be leaders, the girls are disciplined in how to calmly accept their subserviance and make everyone else happy.

What, you think m.snowe is being too harsh? Maybe. But you’ll agree once you visit this other group that they have for girls, called Pure Fashion. Its a group that instructs young Catholic GIRLS how to dress appropriately, and puts on fashion shows and “trains” them in all aspects of dress. From the overview on their website:

“Through an eight month Model Training Program that covers public speaking, manners and social graces, hair and make up artistry, personal presentation, and much more, Pure Fashion models learn the importance of living a life in accordance with God’s will and fostering a life of grace through purity of heart, mind, and body.”

“Social graces”? Is there still such a thing? The 1800’s called–they want their phrase back.

m.snowe finds this so laughable, she would like to highlight and comment on some of the best, most ridiculous (but also sad that some people are taking this to heart) “guidelines” for girl’s fashion:

“When buying clothes and dressing to express your personal dignity as a young lady: Remember that first impressions are important. People who never have the opportunity to speak to you can still see you. How do you want them to remember you?”

–A “Lady,” kind of like children, should be seen and not heard. Her clothes always tell you how smart she is. Sometimes, m.snowe wears a lab coat and glasses so people will assume she’s smarter than her regular Target dress would make her appear.

“Remember that individuals live in many different positions. People sit, stand, lean over, climb up stairs with others behind them, and sit at tables facing speakers, bosses, or teachers. How do your clothes or lack of clothes appear to someone seated alongside, above, and below you in all of your daily positions?”

–m.snowe knows that when she puts on clothes, she stands in a fun house room she constructed in her apartment made entirely of mirrors–so she is able to assess exactly how every angle of herself would appear to the observers from above, to the side, and from beneath (on the off chance a man with a hand mirror sneaks into the women’s restroom. I mean, you have to be prepared!).

“When going upstairs at work or school, a short skirt will show the upper thigh to those below you. This is not a body part for a dignified woman to openly expose in public.”

–There are no words. m.snowe wonders who in this world is possibly diginified. We’ve all shown some leg.

“Let the clothing be an advertisement of your dignity as a young lady. Be careful about dressing “grungy” even if it is modest. Typically, how you dress and how you behave will correspond. If dressed sloppily, one’s actions are more likely to be sloppy. If dressed like a young lady, you are more likely to behave like a young lady.”

–m.snowe dressed as a serial axe murderer one year for Halloween. It was bloody exhilarating!

All these freakish guidelines aside, the “pure” fact that women are asked to constantly think about how they are viewed by others, and not how they view themselves is really the black, bleeding heart of this issue.

In case you’re interested, here’s the link to Theology on Tap.   m.snowe is sorely disappointed she missed the session on “How Pornography Harms Relationships.”