FEMPOWER











BosworthI’m reading this months Harper’s Bazaar (sky miles!) and under the “Fabulous at Every Age” section, Kate Bosworth is pictured to represent the “20s” set. Clothes I can’t say I’d wear aside (the “30s” set is much more appealing–what gives, Glenda?)  I’m distracted by how thin Kate Bosworth looks. Still. I thought she gained? Anyway, I remembered the time I interviewed her at the Seventh on Sale event. She looked too thin there. I wanted to give her an opportunity to defend herself, so I asked in a very ‘hey girlfriend!’ sort of tone: “What is the DEAL with all this celebrity weight obsession crap? I think it’s ridiculous.” At that moment her publicist tried to shoo us away from each other. “Okay, okay,” she said. Kate said something like, “I think you just have to express yourself and be who you are.”

I wanted her to be all, “Omg I KNOW. Isn’t it ridiculous?! It’s like–there are wars in the world and people are dying and all the public cares about is how many carrot sticks I ate today!” She (and her publicist) are conditioned to hear the word “weight” and automatically jump on the defensive. But she’s not actually defending herself. She just sounds stock. I hate stock. She should, as Madonna taught us, Express Herself. I’m sure her eating disorder and her shitty stock answers  are products of not doing that.



Insert optimal plural noun here. Trannies is one option. Posers is another. Desperate fame-seekers works too. I saw their “I Don’t Need a Man” video at the gym the other day and felt confused. If they don’t need men why are they running around with their asses and bellies hanging out of bondage costumes? And why are they at the salon doing spread eagles in the hairdryer chairs? And then gyrating while pretending to masturbate?

Wait, I think I’m getting it: “I get off being free” must mean they get off being free to be lesbians. I don’t think the whole “we’re sexy because our dance moves suggest we go offstange and fool around together” thing is entirely an act. They don’t need men. They need box to munch. I say more fempower to ’em.



Britney performs at the VMAsExcuse me for blogging about Britney’s VMA performance, what?–20 hours afterwards, which would be 20 hours too late, but after digesting cruel reviews today, I must. It’s a great example of how unfairly superficially we critique women.

The NY Post was immature (“she danced like she had a pantload”), the NY Times was harsh (“lethargic movements that seemed choreographed by a dance instructor for a nursing home”) but, thank God, refreshingly complementary (” ‘Gimme More,’ is a pleasant surprise”).

Britney may have rubbed the public the wrong way, but this video on WaPo rubbed me the wrong way. Tia Brown from In Touch Weekly talks to an anchor lady on MSNBC about why the performance flopped. Here’s an abbreviated transcript of their convo:

Brown: Her outfit wasn’t the best and her hair wasn’t the best either. Brown says of Spears’ flop.

Anchor: It wans’t just her outfit it was her outfit on her current state of physique. If you’re going to wear a two-piece you better be tight.

Brown: This is the thing–Britney didn’t look ridiculous in the outfit. In comparison to how she USED to look–I think that’s the disappointment.

Need we be so harsh on a woman who’s had two kids, despite the fucked-upness of those circumstances? I’ve never given birth but I’d guess Britney looks much better than most American women who have. (The amount of fame she endures isn’t exactly the fountain of youth either.) I don’t think she looked that bad despite her tasteless outfit. Besides, she probably looked big because we’re so used to looking at images of starving women. Every female celebrity I’ve interviewed–and I’ve interviewed many–looks unnaturally thin in person. But that’s what it takes to reach today’s standards of “looking good” in pictures.

Why these two women are so hard on her appearance befuddles me. Women should stand up for normalcy. While Britney herself is a far cry, her body isn’t. She isn’t 18 anymore, and I don’t think we should expect her to look it.

If Britney had worn a conservative black body suit, I’d guess today’s reviews would merely say her lip-syncing was lackluster and leave out most of the commentary about her looking fat.



I’ve been seeing my therapist every week for over a year. She always has insights that no friends or family can offer. During my tearful recent session her words were especially effective.

I broke up with my First True Love two weeks ago. We broke up because he’s moving back to Europe, still very much in love.  I’ve been calling on all my family and friends for reassurance that my pain will heal and that I made the right decision.  My doubt arises from the fear I’ll never experience the same feelings for another person. Though all my friends tell me this won’t be the case and that my FTL just “isn’t the one,” I don’t believe them. My therapist had this to say:

Me: I think about things and I don’t understand why we aren’t trying out long-distance.

Therapist: What would that look like? You’d see each other a couple times a year. You wouldn’t be able to talk to each other much. You’re not sure when you’d be living in the same place. Is that what you want from a relationship?

Me:  [long pause] No.

Therapist:  I think what FTL is saying is that he needs to be with the person he’s in a relationship with. Relationships don’t grow when people aren’t together. That’s not how intimacy develops. And, Me, do you think—at 22 years old—your life would be as full and rich as it could possibly be if you were committed to somebody an ocean away?

Me: [long pause] No.

Therapist:  For long-distance relationships to work the two people have to have a plan for being together in the end. And it’s not like he’s going to Connecticut, which itself would be hard.  He’s going across an ocean.  If you were studying abroad in Europe in January, your situation could be different. But in relationships two people have to want the same things. They have to have the same priorities. FTL chose his home. And home is a very deeply rooted place.

Me: I’m afraid I’ll never feel that way about anyone again.

Therapist: I don’t know anyone who that’s happened to. And everyone who goes through a difficult breakup like this feels that way. And I think over time you’ll be proud of the decision you made. Because your relationship wasn’t perfect. He didn’t accept your personality for what it was. He could be controlling. Ask yourself, if you were in the same situation again would you have made the same decision?

Me: You mean if I gave him an ultimatum to commit to me when he leaves or it’s over?

Therapist: Mm hm.

Me: Yes.

Therapist: So that’s important to know.

Me: But I’m so attracted to him. I’ve never felt so attracted to anyone before.

Therapist: And you’ll feel that way again. Me, don’t make the mistake that so many women make of thinking that a man made you feel that way. You made you feel that way. Those feelings came from you. They didn’t come from FTL. He may have brought them out in you for the first time, but those are your feelings. And now you know you’re capable of feeling that way. That’s a good thing.



I live above a restaurant. Last night, fumbling for my keys outside my front door and talking to my sister on the phone, a table of guys seated outside tried to get my attention. I pretended I didn’t notice. Then one jumped out of his seat and ran over to me.

Ass Hole: Can we take a picture with you?

Me: No fucking way, man. Are you kidding me?

Ass Hole: What?

Me: Fuck off.

Ass Hole and Co.: What a bitch!

Now why should I want or allow my picture to be taken with a bunch of scum bags I don’t even know? I wondered if my reply was too rude. But I think asking a total stranger to take a picture with her is just as rude as saying “fuck off.” Yet in the end, I’m the bitch for defending myself.

This is the start of the Campaign Against Street Harrasment (C.A.S.H.). Every woman and man who can’t stand incidents like this one, defined by cat calling* and petting**, should do everything in their power to make it known that these behaviors are unacceptable.

I believe a forceful statement with the word “fuck” does the trick. Once I was walking down the street and a guy asked if he could touch me. In the past I’d always ignored such comments. But this time something in me snapped. I gave him the finger and a forceful “fuck off.” It felt incredible.

The worst thing about street harassment is it renders the victim completely helpless. It’s a form of sexual harassment we just have to take because once it happens we can’t erase the feeling of disgust or unease we have. And we can’t create that same feeling of unease in the instigator. It’s the emotional version of spilling coffee on your white pants first thing in the morning with no bleach pen available.

You might be thinking, “But some women enjoy the attention.” True. But these are the insecure types who gain confidence through hotness validation. The philosophy behind Fempower is to look elsewhere for confidence boosts.

So think fast the next time you feel offended by a street harasser–stand up for yourself. Because it feels great to have a say, too.

*Includes all derogative verbal come-ons by a stranger on the street, from whistling to the more blatant “nice t*tties.”

**Includes all unwelcome physical come-ons by a male cat caller a female victim doesn’t know, from a touch on the thigh in a bar to an intentional brush on the arm while walking down the street.



{August 9, 2007}   My Birthday Break-up

When it comes to birthdays, 22 is a forgettable number. But I’ll never forget mine. I broke up with my First True Love.

He was amazing. He was my fourth boyfriend after a messy break with my abusive third. He treated me far better than anyone ever had. Except he couldn’t commit to me.

My First True Love is European. I met him when he was a grad student in New York. I knew he had a contract for a job here. At the end of March—five months into our love affair—he revealed he planned to move back to Europe. It could be as soon as September or as late as January. He wasn’t sure, he said. It depended on the company. But he doubted he’d win his transfer as soon as September. In May, he did.

What ensued was a long back-and-forth about “us”. He had been in a long distance relationship before and it didn’t work. “It never works,” he told me repeatedly. I—the hopeless romantic—believed he and I could do it.

He graduated and went to Europe for the summer. I went to visit him. We spent both an amazing and trying ten days together. It felt like a test to see if I could live there. It was much harder than I expected.

He came back to New York in August for his job training after two months away. I knew our relationship had problems. But I knew the biggest problem was that he couldn’t commit to a relationship after this month. And I knew that meant he didn’t like me as much as I liked him.

I had been gearing up to break up with him for a couple weeks. I knew I couldn’t be with someone who didn’t reciprocate my feelings, and nothing changed when he landed in August. After going through an abusive relationship, I know what I deserve. I deserve someone who is sure about me. I deserve someone who won’t make me feel horrible for days at a time because they’re unsure about me. I deserve to be treated like a queen. And my FTL did—except for all his uncertainty. As my mother said, “That’s a big except.”

So on my 22nd birthday, when he still wasn’t sure, I showed him the door. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, though made easier by the fact that he gave me The Worst Gift Ever (more on that later). But I had to do it. Because I made a promise to myself after going through years of abuse that I wouldn’t put up with bad treatment. I will only be with someone who treats me like a queen—no excepts allowed.



{August 7, 2007}   FEMPOWER Launches

Fempower is a cocktail of insights, true stories, and criticisms. It’s therapeutic journalism meant to revive the long-lost feminist in all of us. In a time when we are too consumed with how we look and what others think, we must take a step back to think about what should define modern women and what we deserve. Fempower is the new girl power.



et cetera