Friday, May 21, 2010

The Cougar Question

Yes I will probably see Sex in the City 2, and I'll probably roll my eyes a lot and find many problems with it just like I did the first movie and about half of the episodes of the show. But whatever, I also watch awful shows like Tough Love Couples and enjoy eating ramen noodles, no one has "good" taste in everything.

That said, I clearly don't love everything about those four ladies and certainly not their characters. Kim Cattrell is really not a good actress and Samantha I could take or leave. But the recent hub-bub about a "significant magazine for women over 40" that pulled her as their cover model when she refused to pose with a cougar has made me like her a lot more as a person.

I've made mention of it before, but I am really irked by the prevalence of women over 40 being called "cougars" or "MILFs", but more so I’m annoyed by how much women not only accept it but embrace it—want to be called one of these horribly demeaning names or call themselves it.

I mean I get that getting old is scary and feeling like you are losing your sex appeal can be devastating for a lot of women. But instead of agreeing that you have to try to look like some 50-year old alien version of a 22-year-old, why can’t women get the hot older person labels that men get—“silver fox”, “distinguished”?

So kudos to Kim Cattrell (or her publicist) for not perpetuating the cougar label. As for the Women’s Mag the pulled the cover? I’d really like to believe there was more to the decision, magazines for women have so much potential and so many just need an editorial voice that isn’t condescending yet is still titillating and relevant (hee hee, titillating). It’s not rocket science and readers aren’t the crazy vapid creatures that many editors seem to think they are.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Graduation Advice I'll Never Get to Give

Since I didn't get into grad school, there's a strong chance that I might never take part in a graduation ceremony as anything more than a spectator. But ever since I auditioned (and didn't get selected) to be a commencement speaker for my high school graduation I've harbored the dream of one day being successful enough to be asked to speak at a graduation. I don't know if I'll ever get there, and there are certainly a large amount of celebrities and other notable persons who speak at college commencements and put graduates and families to sleep. (I don't remember a word of what my college commencement speaker said, let alone who he even was).

Some students are lucky though, (like my alma mater a few years before I graduated) get Presidents or other memorable persons to give a little value back to all that money they just dropped on a diploma.

If I ever become successful or notable enough to be asked to bestow wisdom and advice to 20-somethings in funny hats, I hope I can write a speech as perfect as the one that Rachel Maddow's to Smith College. It's a refreshing view, especially to graduates that "personal triumphs are overrated, and that some dreams are bad dreams." The idea being that instead of viewing life as short, and that you should try to live everyday, that hopefully life is long and you should endeavor to live a complete life that is worth bragging about instead of a selfish one that saw the most personal fame. To hear someone (given who is famous herself) denounce the value of fame and instead advise that people be "intellectually and morally rigorous in their decision making and surround themselves with people that do the same.

It's advice that's not really fashionable or popular, that you make wise decisions that may ensure you remain a small player that lives in obscurity rather than a big personality, decisions that may mean you are never rich, and never famous, and never get asked to speak at a college commencement, but that give you something to be proud to tell your grandkids you took part in. Maddow says to choose glory over fame, but in making the right and moral decisions, it's completely likely you'll never get either, but she's right in that you will be a better person to those around you and not bear the burden of having to justify your actions to anyone, most importantly yourself.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"Choosing" to be Homeless in Hawaii

Today's NPR story about whites from the Mainland coming to Hawaii to soak up the benefits of being homeless in paradise misses the point a little. The story points to how cushy the homeless in Hawaii have it because of statewide free healthcare and $3 stays at shelters with free meals. The argument is that these non-native residents are putting a strain on taxpaying Hawaiians as evidenced by the state's
$1.2 billion budget deficit.

It's a fair point, but I think there needs to be a little bigger picture thinking. Rather than blame the homeless for finding a state that offers the best resources (the two men they interview in the article were homeless in other states, and while "enjoying" the benefits in Hawaii work at either collecting cans or minimum wage jobs), why not turn the criticism to the other 49 states that don't offer any resources to the homeless.

In the story, the director of a homeless shelter in Honolulu suggests that there be different sets of laws for those that are homeless by choice vs. misfortune. While it's less painful and deadly to be homeless in a warm climate, this logic that people are choosing it seems a little off to me and the life of a beach bum may be romanticized a bit too much here.Besides, how can you really prove the circumstances of a person's homelessness, and aren't Hawaii's systems (like shelters and free health care) in place for this reason?

Rich white people from the mainland are a bigger problem to native Hawaiians than homeless white people; they buy huge expensive vacation homes drive up property values without contributing to the local economy and make homeownership for Hawaiians too costly. But yes, let's target the guy living on collecting and recycling cans for 5 cents a piece.