Friday, July 03, 2015

Magic Mike XXL Male Strippers Celebrated

Magic Mike XXL hit theaters and now there’s a plethora of male stripper parodies and remakes hitting the Internet.
One Chicago talk show, You &Me This Morning, had their male co-hosts trained by a male stripper and they put together a remake of the Magic Mike XXL trailer.

Conan crashed a Ladies’ Night Out viewing of Magic Mike XXL and hilarity ensued.

What I find most interesting is how lightly a movie about male strippers is received. Men with “dad bodies” are quick to make parodies and everyone is able to laugh about it.

Imagine if there was a stripper movie along the lines of Magic Mike that was all about female strippers.

Would we be seeing parodies made by “average” women? Would we all be able to laugh about it?

Would we see large groups of men renting limos to go hang out together at the theatre?

The two just don’t really compare.

There is no equivalent to male stripper shows in the female stripper world. Yes, there is burlesque, but even that is treated differently.

Is it all about the power mechanics at work?

Male strippers are more often celebrated and applauded. We are not seeing a lot of talk about how male strippers are whores or anything of the kind.

It is more just about a choice they make and they are seen as powerful.

Unless a female stripper is doing burlesque or just playing the role of “stripper” in a movie, she is often looked down upon. She is seen as used and most likely a prostitute.

When and how will this ever change?

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Eat Right and Exercise for a Bounce Back Body--Or Maybe Not

The uptick in celebrities sharing after-birth photos of their bodies looks like it’s here to stay.

At first, we were mostly treated to photos of the women who snapped back into shape in what seemed like overnight.

People magazine had a photo segment called Body After Baby: Star Moms Who Bounced Right Back. The piece is introduced like this:
Check out Blake Lively, Zoë Saldana, Mila Kunis and more stars flaunting their post-pregnancy figures. There's even one famous mama who hit a red carpet 11 (!) days after giving birth.
Credit: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP; Stephen Lovekin/Getty

I felt buoyed up by Hilaria Baldwin’s after photo, which shows what many mothers probably recognize—the after-baby-but-still-there-bump.


Revolutionary! Show your still-there-bump loud and proud!

Yes, there are some women who definitely do return right back to their original figure, but a larger percentage of women never look the same after birth.

After three children, my body has definitely changed.

I photographed my belly after my last birth; I knew it would get better eventually and I’d be able to look back and say, thank goodness.

Hmm, why would I want to save photos of my poor, wrinkly flesh after having been stretched to the limit for nine months and then suddenly deflated? Perhaps as evidence of the  sacrifice I made for my children.

Then today I saw a quote from Baldwin, which made me feel a bit uncomfortable.

The yoga teacher told the DailyMail: “Giving birth to Carmen made me realize the body does go back to what it was before…If you eat healthy and treat your body well, it will go back to its original state.”

Sorry to burst any bubbles, but—Yes, your body may go back to its original state, but…it probably won’t.

Eating healthy and exercising will obviously give you the best shot at having your body look the way it did before baby, but trust me when I say, that is not necessarily true.

I have still not come to terms with how my belly looks.

I have tried to love it and celebrate it and be proud of it.

I could lie and say I love my belly wrinkles, but I do not.

I don’t know whether to hide it so as to not scare small children or display it as a feminist badge.

All I do know is that I want to love my body just as it is. And I am trying my hardest to get there.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Claim Your Super Power

This morning in the minivan, my four-year-old said, “Do you know who my favorite super hero is?”

“No. Who?”

“Hulk Smash!”

“Why? Because he's so big or because he’s so strong?”


“Do you want to be strong someday?”

A pause from him. I catch my mistake in the silence. Why am I delaying his being strong to the future as opposed to right now?

“I mean, are you so strong?”

“Yes!” He shouts back without delay. “I am so strong!”

Why can't I be as confident as he can in being what I want to be? He tries on abilities with no problem, claiming them for himself as desired. I know deep down he is aware that he isn’t literally as strong as Hulk, but that does not stop him from embodying it for himself.

When does our ability to declare positive attributes for ourselves grind to a stop? When do we begin to focus more on our weaknesses, on what we are not, on what we cannot do or be?

Is there any way to recapture that brilliant childlike belief that we can all be superheroes?

We are superheroes. With super powers.

We just need to claim it for ourselves.

Who do you want to be today?

What super power do you create for yourself today?

WARNING: For this to work, you are actually going to have to live into the strength you choose. You are going to have to “act as if” you already have the power, which you do, you just might not realize it.

You will need to be brave and feel your power and live it.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Women’s Stories Matter

How quick we are to judge other women and their stories.

An essay by Sarah Scott on Elle Décor, "I Made a Huge Sacrifice to Buy My Dream Home," has caused a stir with many commentators tearing apart the writer for what they see as her selfishness and privilege.

Scott’s personal essay details how she and her husband are able to afford their dream home by sacrificing having a third child. The writer concludes that the sacrifice of not having the third child hurts, but that it is a decision she and her husband made consciously.

With that said, the sacrifice has been made. Because we live in this dream home, we can only afford to have two children. It's our quiet sacrifice but it's also our beautiful life, well-earned and fully-lived.

The comments overall take issue with what is described as her self-pitying tone and her “poor little me” story.

“Not sure there is a point, it's a 'poor little me' story that smacks of utter selfishness. Spare a thought for the women who can't have children instead of bleating on about your uterus aching for a third child. Difficult choice huh....your dream house versus a third child. Unbelievable!!!”

It is understandable that when we see someone complaining about something that we don’t have the luxury to even consider, that we will feel upset. When I see photos from some of those “Rich Kids of Instagram” photos I admit I get riled up by the utter obliviousness and decadence, but these photos seem to be all about rubbing in what the photographers have on purpose.

Cat taking a pic of all the people that can’t sit with us #Balmainarmy @catmcneil @Iblamejordan @harry_brant by petermbrant
Scott’s essay though seems to be a genuine story that she is sharing about her life and her choices. It does not feel like she is looking for pity, but rather that she is explaining her experience of what is sacrifice for her and what that looks like in her life.

There will always be someone who has more than us, but when we try to rip down a woman for expressing her experience, we are really only displaying our own jealousies, pent-up anger and our own self-pitying ways.

Shouldn’t every voice be heard? Shouldn’t every woman’s story matter and be respected?

Monday, June 29, 2015

I’m a Stripper, Not a Pole Fitness Instructor

OK, all you pole fitness instructors out there, we get it. You’re not strippers.

“Not that I have anything against exotic dancers, but what they do is completely different to pole fitness and what the sport has developed into,” says Eleanor Mills in I'm a pole fitness instructor, not a stripper.

I suppose the media may be partially to blame, they see a way to tie Strippers to an article and they think it’ll get more views.

Why else do all the articles about pole dancing studios have titles like: I’m not a stripper’: Maine pole dancing class aimed at fitness.

And you have to have your “I’m not a stripper” quote nestled in there.

“The energy here, the vibe, is integrity, art, dance, fitness passion — there’s no type of stripper vibe,” said 207 Pole Fitness student Buffie McLaskey. “As you can see, I’m not a stripper. I’m just a regular person.”

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

I feel like I’m stuck inside the Seinfeld episode “The Outing” every time I read an article about pole fitness.

Of course, in the episode, the saying, "… not that there's anything wrong with that,” was referring to homosexuality, not strippers.

Throughout the episode, Jerry and George, and most of the other characters, fear being seen as homosexual, yet also feel guilty and afraid they will be perceived as homophobic…Seinfeld has stated that he is particularly proud of the episode, saying that it simultaneously satirizes both homophobia and excessive political correctness.

Listen, if what you’re saying in real life needs to be followed up quickly by “…not that there’s anything wrong with that,” then obviously, you think there is something wrong with it, or you wouldn’t mind having that “that” associated with you.

So, I’m asking all the pole fitness dancers out there to just get off their high horses and admit that, yes, they don’t like being associated with strippers for a reason—because being a stripper is looked down upon. Because being a stripper is seen as trashy and disgusting.

But, twirling around on a pole in skimpy clothes with your pelvis the center of attraction is high and mighty. And athletic. And strong. And feminist.

But strippers? That’s completely different.

And you want the world to know that there’s a difference between you and them.

But, you want to be politically correct, too.

You want to be friends with everybody. I get it.

It’s a lot like the way when I say I was a stripper, I expect the next words out of the listener’s mouth to be, “Oh, you were a prostitute, huh?”

“What? No! I was an exotic dancer! There’s a big difference between what I did and what a hooker does,” I would often say. “But, I mean, not that I don’t think prostituting should be legal, I do. But it’s different. That’s not what I did.”

So perhaps it’s all a natural reaction for us to elevate ourselves above the “negatives” associated with our professions.

And perhaps it’s not all about political correctness, but really about honoring the choices that other women make, even if we would not ourselves make those same decisions.