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Today I Learned: Rocket scientists don’t know what menstruation is.

No man at NASA has ever met a woman.

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Over on Twitter I stumbled onto this white lady comedian (I think she’s a comedian — she might just be funny for free) because her scary Halloween story about an airplane is making the rounds (it’s only 2 minutes, and you have nothing better to do anyway).

So I was scrolling down her feed and she had retweeted a lady singing a song about Sally Ride. I was unsure if the details were true, so I had to look them up for myself before telling anyone, but it all checked out.

Here we go.

Sally Ride was an astronaut and physicist who joined NASA in 1978. In 1983, NASA sent Sally Ride into space at the age of 32 (still the youngest astronaut to go to space). She did two space trips and then left NASA in 1987.

The USSR had previously sent two women into space, but I guess NASA hadn’t thought to ask them “hey…what are women?” before sending Sally Ride up in a shuttle because they wanted to give that lady ONE HUNDRED TAMPONS FOR ONE WEEK IN SPACE. These are some of the smartest people in the country. Actual rocket scientists. 100 tampons for one woman for one week.

I have many questions.

1) On average, how many tampons do male scientists think women go through on their period?

2) How big do they think a vagina is?

3) Do they think the inside of a woman is just an empty vessel full of blood that has to be soaked up?

4) Whose idea was it to tie all the tampons together by the strings like a length of sausages?

5) What happened to the tampons?

So. Today I learned that no man at NASA has ever met a woman.

Here’s a song about the tampons.

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Feminism

Today I Learned: Jacinda Ardern isn’t married.

She had a baby with her boyfriend and just kept it pushing. How about that.

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My childhood political memories are defined by Republicans spending two years extremely concerned about Bill Clinton’s blowjob after spending the previous ten years extremely concerned about every other woman he slept with. Hillary, who they’d hated going back to the 70s when she didn’t want to take her husband’s last name, couldn’t run for President because her husband getting a blowjob from an intern was somehow her fault. He cheated, so something must be wrong with her. Newt Gingrich was in the process of having an affair with an intern while his wife was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, but his party didn’t care about that.

My first adult political memories of being really active and paying attention to the news are defined by Republicans trying to convince everyone that Barack Obama was a Muslim from Kenya. That didn’t stick, he was elected President, and then they became incensed that his wife showed her arms in her official photo. They said Michelle emasculated him because she talked about his annoying habits on late night television. They said she was arrogant because she had an education and gave her opinion. They said Michelle was a man because she was tall and Black. They went on to throw their full support behind a man who pays off porn stars, brags about assaulting women, and is married to someone who posed nude for years.

So here’s how I grew up in the United States:

Liberal women have to be beyond reproach. Liberal men can get away with impropriety, especially if there’s a woman nearby to take the blame, but liberal women have to be spotless. Republicans can ignore the dumpster on their front yard, but if there’s litter on your porch, they will call the police. If you are not June Cleaver born again, Republicans will rip you to shreds. And because the United States is obviously the center of the universe, I assumed Conservative parties across the globe were just as viciously hypocritical.

Jacinda Ardern has become an iconic leader for modern times because she’s a woman, she’s young, she’s shepherded her people through the coronavirus pandemic better than any other leader, and she helped her party win the biggest proportion of parliament seats in the history of New Zealand. And she’s not married!

When Jacinda Ardern was elected in 2017, I just assumed she had a husband, because I could not picture a 37 year old unmarried woman being elected President of the United States. The GOP would have called her a lesbian or a slut, and they would’ve manufactured enough “evidence” to make it stick in the minds of most Republicans and a large enough chunk of Christian Democrats to make her unviable.

Then she had a baby.

So of course she must be married, because that’s how you get a baby! Through marriage! Single women don’t have sex because that would be immoral. When she became the second head of state to give birth in office (after Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto in the 90s), I assumed she had a husband. When she got reelected last year, I just knew she had a husband because, reminder in case you forgot, I grew up in the United States where it would be inconceivable for her not to.

But she’s not. Jacinda wasn’t even engaged at the time. She had a baby with her boyfriend and just kept it pushing. How about that.

American Friends, please picture a young, unmarried, liberal woman running for reelection with a baby out of wedlock on her hip. Take what they wrote about Hillary, add some Michelle, multiply it by AOC, run it through the Fox News Hyperbole Generator and we have a media storm of unprecedented scale!

Props to New Zealand for being a country of grown ups. I don’t really know much about y’all aside from a terrible season of Real Housewives and now my own sickening jealousy that y’all can go to the mall, but sounds like y’all are really doing something right over there.

Also: Jacinda grew up Mormon but now identifies as agnostic. Imagine the Christian Right in this country if the President didn’t quote Bible verses at least once a month!!!!!!!!!!! 

 

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Feminism

Dennis Quaid and the Never-Aging Fantasy Woman

It feels like a snapshot of 24 has become The Woman we see in media all the time now. When we talk about beautiful women over 35, so often the commentary is around how young she looks, not simply what a beautiful woman she is, because men want to marry 20somethings.

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When Dennis Quaid was 24, he married PJ Soles. She was 28 at the time.

When Dennis Quaid was 37, he married Meg Ryan. She was 30 at the time.

When Dennis Quaid was 50, he married Kimberly Buffington. She was 33 at the time.

Dennis Quaid, now 65, is about to get married again, and this time his fiance is 26 years old. She wasn’t even born yet the first two times he got married.

Dennis Quaid is engaged to Laura Savoie.

The actor proposed to his girlfriend while they were in Hawaii to promote his forthcoming movie Midway, which also stars Woody Harrelson and Patrick Wilson.

“It happened on the very northernmost point of Oahu, at Turtle Bay. It was kind of spontaneous. It was very much a surprise,” he told Extra on Monday, just hours after proposing.

“I had the ring in my pocket …. It has been kind of a month-and-a-half plan … I wanted it to be private,” said Quaid. The actor also shared that the proposal took place at sunset.

Quaid added that the proposal caught Savoie off guard. “She was actually taking a selfie of us, and I put the ring in front and said, ‘Will you marry me?’ — and then she fell down,” he revealed.

The actor, 65, began dating the University of Texas PhD student, 26, in June.

(cont. THR)

They look super happy together and life is too short to lose sleep over consenting grown adults’ relationships, so that’s not what this is. *EYE* am just on the Internet way too much, so when I saw that Dennis Quaid was marrying someone a third of his age, I thought back to this old Jezebel article about an informal OK Cupid survey that tracked the age preferences of its users.

In this first visual of the data points, the woman’s age is in black, and in red you see the age of men who look most attractive to her. The dashes are a parity line — when she’s the same age as men who look attractive to her, the red number will be on the line. When the man is younger, it’s below the line, and when the man is older, it’s above the line.

For the most part, women are attracted to men who around the same age as they are until 40ish when they start to favor younger men. Still, the age gap never widens to more than ten years.

Now look at the data points for men:

I don’t really need to expound upon that — the numbers are right there — but lots of people throw out “explanations” about why that is.

It’s evolutionary because men like women at their most fertile so they can pass on their genes.

It’s patriarchal because men like to control women and younger women are easier to “mold” and “reign” over.

It’s sexual because men are just gross.

Use whatever explanation you like, but whatever the reason, the effect is causing women to de-age right before our eyes. In my lifetime, 50 has transitioned from Grandmotherly Figure to Stripper, because women simply stopped aging.

Kim Cattrall in the first Sex & The City Movie was the same age as Rue McClanahan in the first season of the Golden Girls.

Jennifer Lopez could star in a Golden Girls reboot today.

In the 80s, the Golden Girls was pitched as a show about older women. Nobody considers Jennifer Lopez an older woman. And it’s not just about taking care of yourself or taking advantage of modern advances in the beauty industry, because even the package and presentation is different.

Anita Baker was a stunning 36-year-old woman. This was mid-thirties to me when I was growing up — Very Grown. No teenaged girl wanted to be Anita Baker.

This was Beyonce at 35. Teenaged girls want to be Beyonce.

Of course, Beyonce is the best to have ever done it so maybe it’s not a fair comparison, but this is Cheryl Cole at 36.

This was Nicole Scherzinger at 36.

It feels like a snapshot of 24 has become The Woman we see in media all the time now. When we talk about beautiful women over 35, so often the commentary is around how young she looks, not simply what a beautiful woman she is. Men want to marry 20somethings, so Tom Cruise is still kissing 20somethings in his movies at 57. Leonardo DiCaprio’s ideal girlfriend has never seen a VHS tape. Dennis Quaid is gushing about his engagement to someone who wasn’t even born yet when he became old enough to run for President. And as an extended result of that:

Ain’t it funny indeed.

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Feminism

I was walking behind a woman for five minutes and she got catcalled three times.

Just be quiet, and let her go where she’s going.

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I usually walk everywhere with my headphones on, but I had them in my bag and I was reading a book on my phone instead (I do that when the foot traffic is light).  A young Latina was coming down the street as I was coming up the avenue, and when she got to the corner a few paces ahead of me, she turned to walk in the direction I was going.  We were traveling at the same speed, but since she was like ten paces ahead and it’s bright outside in the middle of the day, I didn’t feel the need to fall back or slow down to give her more space. At night, I try not to walk too close behind women just so they don’t feel like I’m any sort of threat.

We got to a corner and this dude standing outside of the bodega was like, “Slow down mama where you goin? You don’t have to work today, you can stop and speak.”

She didn’t break her stride. “I’m going to the gym.”  The Walk sign was on, so I didn’t break mine either.

A block later, a young guy was coming toward us on the sidewalk riding his bike.

“What’s good shorty?”

She didn’t respond.

“Well you was lookin, you can say something, stuck up bitch.”

We kept walking.

In the middle of the next block, an older man was walking toward us and he put on a friendly smile and said, “Smile young lady, it’s a beautiful day.”

I don’t know if she smiled, but we kept walking. She went into the gym and I kept on toward where I was going thinking about how that was just five minutes of her day.  How many other blocks of five minutes are just like that?

Only one of them was truly aggressive. The other two guys seemed nice enough and it felt more like a pleasant compliment. It felt like the kind of thing a guy says who argues with women online about catcalling. “We’re not all bad guys. We can’t even compliment women? We can’t even say something nice?”

No.  You really can’t.  I was annoyed in that five minutes and I just happened to be walking behind her with no headphones on.  Can you imagine those five minutes over and over every day of your life?  Nobody wants to be spoken to by strangers day in and day out forever regardless of what they’re saying.

So no.  You can’t say anything. The quality of your life has not decreased because you aren’t allowed to say nice things to strange women on the sidewalk, but your silence greatly increases the quality of hers.  So just be quiet, and let her go where she’s going.

 

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