Monday, February 25, 2013

Sex(ism) and the Oscars

I watched the Oscars with Grey last night.  First time I've seen them all the way through.  I remember when I was in high school and I watched a portion of it. People dressed in dark tuxedos and glamorous, skin baring dresses with hair up to here and yards of fluffy gowns.  It was fun and a dress-up event.

Grey watches every year.  He used to do so with his friend Jeff, but last year Jeff got married and this year Grey married me and now we two couples live half of a country apart.  I've seen the majority of the films that were nominated and am a huge supporter of Beasts of the Southern Wild.  It was my favorite film last year, followed by Amour, Moonrise Kingdom and Looper.  The little girl who played "Hushpuppy", Quavanzhene Wallis, is 9 years old and she was at the awards show.  She and 86-year-old Emmanuelle Rivas (Amour) were both nominated for best actress.  They were terrific in their performances and I almost couldn't tell you which one I preferred.  Grey has a running list ranking his favorite films of the year. He published his predictions.  We ordered pizza and ate chips and dip for dinner.  We even opened a bottle of wine, a chardonnay from Snoqualmie Vineyards.  God bless Washington state for its cheap and terrific wines. And we settled in to watch.  Grey wore his best evening sweatpants and a soft cotton teeshirt.  I wore my favorite pajama bottoms.  They are baby blue and have white snowmen all over them, in different configurations.  I paired my trousers with a crimson pullover with an OU emblem over the left breast. My hair was simple- a ponytail holding in a day of unwashed hair.  No shoes. Daring.

You get the picture.  I was S E X Y.

Anyway, Seth McFarlane was the host. There were songs like "I Saw Your Boobs" and a plethora of jokes aimed at women's bodies.  Very specific jokes about Sandra Bullock, Kirsten Stewart, Anne Hathaway and others.  It wasn't just McFarlane.  The Onion, a satirical "news" site, took to twitter to call Quavanzhene Wallis a cunt.  They later issued an apology. Michelle Obama was attacked for her satellite appearance, even though Ronald Reagan and Laura Bush have also made appearances.  MSN, like many others, ruthlessly subjected women, and only women, to judgements on their outfits, their make up, their jewels and their hair.  McFarlane even made jokes about Jodie Foster, saying that since so many people were watching, she would come up to ask for her privacy.  Nobody wanted to point out that Claudio Miranda looks like Fabio's son. Nobody bashed Ben Affleck's shoes or made fun of that haircut that made Daniel Day Lewis look like Joaquin Phoenix.

Ok, so whaaaaaat?

It just seems that there is a lack of respect and even common decency present from the dominate male perspective.  The men were often picked on, but mostly for their penchant for dating younger women and... uh, yeah. 
Let me demonstrate.  One news source tore the women to shreds, but of the men said this:

Worst-dressed manYou want me to point out the kilt, right? But that kilt was awesome. I don't mean to be unfair to the women, but all the men looked great tonight.

Nice job.  And you're jerks.

There were a few standout moments though.  I loved, loved, loved Barbara Streisand's In Memorium tribute.  I read that she hasn't been involved with the Oscars since 1976.  I can see why.  Adele, whose performance lacked her signature power, won a well-deserved award for Skyfall.  George Clooney did a wonderful job of introducing the In Memorium portion.  Michelle Obama's part of the program was wonderful and Jennifer Lawrence, who won for Best Actress, was gracious, recovered from her trip up to the mic and wished Emmanuelle Rivas a happy birthday.  That's pretty classy.  When she tripped, Hugh Jackman leaped up to assist her.  Charlize Theron, despite being picked on for her short hair, helped a security guard after he had a seizure.  Nazzie looked appropriately like a little girl with a pretty dress and her puppy dog handbag.  I hope she doesn't grow up too fast.

Maybe next year they can get someone good to be the host, like Neil Patrick Harris or Amy Poehler and Tina Fey.  I'm going to start planning my wardrobe now.  And our meal.  Maybe next year they'll emphasize the films.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Take That, Claire Danes!

When I was in junior high, Moonlighting was popular on television.  My hair hadn't darkened yet and my peers often called me Cybil Shepard, the lead actress.  Several years ago, I was likened to Claire Danes from her role in "Shopgirl", with Steve Martin.  I can live with that.

I was invited to give a keynote address for a conference in March at Central Washington University. The theme is "Innovation".  I hadn't met anyone on the committee. They asked if I would attend one of the meetings, so this morning, I showed up on time and was the first person there.  As people filtered into the room, I spoke to a few of them.  Nice people; we talked about the campus, life in Ellensburg and assorted other stuff.

Then one of them asked, "So what is your name, then?"
"My name is Mindie."  I use my first name for professional stuff.
A few eyebrows went up.
"Is something wrong?
"No!" said the blonde lady who was apparently the chair of the committee. "We were just, expecting someone....."
I'm thinking rapidly at this point- someone smarter? Someone more academic looking? Someone who doesn't look like a hobo walking in off of the street?
"... much older." 


"Don't get me wrong," said the thin woman to her right, "I'm so pleased to have you as our speaker. It's just that you've done a lot of stuff." She seemed really flustered. There was a murmur from the other people in the room. 
"I'm 40." I'm actually 39, but I'll be 40 in a few months. There was a moment where two of the committee members seemed on the verge of spitting out a denial, a refutation, but at the last moment looked at each other and closed their mouths.
"You look so young!"
"Thank you."

This went on for half a minute. I was beginning to get uncomfortable with the attention.  After all, it's sort of an American thing to equate looks with success. We moved on to other topics- defining innovation, discussing approaches for the workshops and the roundtable I will facilitate- and I told them a few stories.

It's flattering that people sometimes think I am younger than I am.  In this case, it was really awkward.  Ok, flattering *and* awkward.  If I am going to be known for anything in this world, I want to be known for the stories I tell about my family, my students, my friends. I want to be known as a good teacher or friend.  Those are the things that will last. 

Where was I going with this? Oh yeah.

I get to give a keynote address!  At a conference addressing innovative ideas. How hard does that rock?!

And hello! There are worse things than being mistaken for a twenty-something. Take that, Claire Danes!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Bee Poop

Yum-O (source:
At the beginning of the year, Grey and I decided to eat vegan twice a week. Ok, I decided to go vegan twice weekly and he got on board with it.  It's not that big of an imposition, really, because we don't eat that much dairy anyways.  Except sometimes when we pig out on cheese and/or eggs.

But there's a difference of opinion between us about honey and beeswax. 

I love Jelly Bellys. Man, oh man, do I love them.  Four calories each. I especially love the buttered popcorn ones and the sour ones.  I love them so much that a friend of mine in Chicago sent me a few pounds as a housewarming gift when we moved to Ellensburg (thanks, Tammy!).

I totally get the vegan idea of not harming any animal to get food. Enforced milk production in cows and eating little pre-chicken avian ovum can seem pretty yucky.  "Here, let's just squirt a little cow udder excreta on your cereal" doesn't have the same ring to it as "dairy products".  Pasteurization and good marketing have done their trick in the U.S.  And there are few things I like more than yogurt, cheese and ice cream (though sorbet is on equal footing). 

Here's the gray area: bee products. 

I don't eat bees or bee babies or bee boogers. 

I eat honey, which is also known as bee poop. And I think beeswax is the uh, bees-knees.

Grey does not.  And he refuses to eat honey or bee products.  Adamantly.

So you know what I eat on our vegan days as a treat for being a cool part-time vegan? Jelly Bellys.