Thursday, February 5, 2015

Zoe vs.: General Outrage Report

I'm aware some of my posts have been thinly veiled diatribes against what I myself oppose while using Zoe as a three-foot-tall human shield---cough, Gwyneth Paltrow, cough---but this may be my thinly-est yet.
What follows is my general outrage report.
Those who know me well know that my resting state is low-grade inarticulate aggravation. Sometimes, about once a year (or maybe it's week), I've had my fill of the absurdity of the human race, and when I reach that point, and become aware of my own complicity in the pageant show of horrors, I explode.
Recent "clickbait" was the catalyst. I'm sure you're aware of the phenomenon: Internet headlines that clog your newsfeed (I'm looking at you, Yahoo News) just daring you to click them:
"The Sun Rose. You'll Never Believe What Happened Next"
"This Ancient Aztec Herb Will Help You Lose Weight, Find Love, Get a New Job, Win the Lottery So You Can Quit Your New Job, and Remove Difficult Stains from Your Carpet"
"8 Signs You're Paranoid That Everyone's Talking About You, Pam"
(The last one might only be clickbait for people named Pam.)
Anyway, I resist and resist and then: Click.
I'm usually disappointed.
On occasion I'm outraged, as I knew I would be from the headline, and then I have to  take personal responsibility (yuck) because isn't it true, Me, that part of you, Me, wanted to be outraged?
Yes, it's true.
I love to be outraged. And I can't be the only one.
Some recent examples that got my feminist blood boiling . . .
The first was about a girl who went to a high school dance in a sleeveless dress and was told she needed to put a sweater on to cover up. So basically she was shamed for having shoulders, shoulders that might be too enticing, and it was her responsibility to cover them lest some boy get overexcited. Her ankles were probably exposed too. Hussy.

The other girls knew it was really Madge who
gave away the milk for free.

At least she wasn't wearing yoga pants. I'm not even going to wade into the Veronica-Partridge-Christian-blogger-who-swore-off-yoga-pants-(aka-temptation-knickers) controversy. It touched a nerve with a lot of women. The implication that women yet again need to be responsible for men's thoughts bothers me, but on the other hand, I must admit I don't want to see some of the butts that daily regale me while riding the subway. Lust, revulsion, it's a knife-like pendulum swinging over our heads, edging closer and closer every day.
Too much?
The third was Colleen McCullough's sexist obituary. Famous novelist of The Thorn Birds and, oh yeah, a neuroscientist, but The Australian decided to go another way, practically leading with this gem: "Plain of feature, and certainly overweight, she was nevertheless a woman of wit and warmth." Enough with the compliments. Sheesh. It's a wonder she could write at all with those chubby, unmanicured (I assume) fingers. And you wouldn't have thought people would like her since she was such an uggo, but wowzers, they did.

The Greater Thornbird.
He knew he wasn't the greatest.

So, the tenuous Zoe connection. Since before she was born, to my shame, I've harbored concerns about Zoe's "prettiness." I don't want her feelings about her looks and/or her looks themselves to be an issue in her life. But how to avoid this in a world that prizes beauty, thigh gap, and pays inordinate attention to what female politicians wear? 
What if Zoe isn't pretty? But, on the other hand, what if she is? And what if her prettiness brings the "wrong kind of attention." The kind of attention yoga pants--donning, sleeveless shirt--wearing, non-neuroscientists are subject to. What pressures might she face then? 
And also: What's the nexus between looks and perceived intelligence? And this one: Can pretty woman be funny? My subconscious chews on these issues. I can hear it pacing back and forth in my mind because it wears corduroys and its thighs rub together.
But then my subconscious had a new target: The Holderness family.
This is the family that does the parody videos about parenting. I'm not going to link to them here because they don't need my help with promotion. Basically they do parodies of rap/hip-hop songs that get the it's-funny-because-I'm-white treatment (which I've been guilty of too; I get it).
First there was "Xmas Jammies." Then their back-to-school sendup "Baby Got Class." And most recently they did a Super Bowl one lamenting how lame they are now and how it's hard to enjoy a Super Bowl party once you have kids. Isn't it though?
Maybe what bugs me about them is that part of me feels parodies are the province of the underdog. And that they're trying to be oh-so-relatable and self-deprecating even though they're very good looking, have lots of money, and are obviously connected (both parents were news anchors and the mom had a small role in Iron Man 3). Doesn't mean they can't have a sense of humor, of course, but I just don't buy it. Nor do I buy the Hidden Ranch dressing they're peddling.
Now watch the ad in the top right corner morph into a Hidden Valley ad. It's all connected! The SheKnows network, which recently partnered with BlogHer (source of those ads) has promoted the last few videos created by the Holdernesses' production company. What if they read my criticism!? (Not that there's much danger of that.) They may take away the 34 cents I've earned, which, granted, isn't enough to even buy off-brand ranch dressing, but let's be real here, Zoe's coin-operated horsey rides don't pay for themselves!

In any case, is my annoyance at this family's singing-and-dancing expression of their first world problems in itself a first world problem?
Maybe, but then the Holderness family's problems are firster world. That's one mobius strip of banality.
All I can be sure of is, if Zoe was in their videos, she would give them all wedgies. Wouldn't that make a pretty picture?
Zoe: 78 (for hypothetical wedgies); Universe: 0

For more of Zoe's hijinks, follow me on Facebook and on Twitter at @zoevsuniverse
I need a win here, people.

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  1. Yes, omg. I have all of these thoughts. About click bait, about being a woman in this world (more on that in a future post, perhaps), about the ridiculous horrors in all the world contrasted with stupid Holderness family videos (which I never even heard of, thank god).

    Anyway, not to leave a heavy comment to your very funny post, but this is one of the reasons that, after around two years of blogging, I took a GIGANTIC step back. Because, as we know, blogging is not about writing (or not mostly about it), but about social media. And I was so inundated with click bait and articles that just made my life worse for having read them. Even things that are important in the news... do I really need to know them right when they are happening via ignorami (that's the plural of ignoramus) on Twitter? Even the smart people on Twitter... well, I don't know if I need to be up at 2am following a twitter hashtag about yet another shooting (for example). It's like constantly being on red alert. I don't want to live that way.

    Sigh. Sorry for the rant, but I for sure feel ya on this one. xo

  2. This was awesome. I love a good rant. Rants are always welcome here. Unless they're against me. ;) Because I'm way too emotionally fragile for that.

  3. Kristen Miller HewittFebruary 8, 2015 at 9:19 AM

    I have so much to say I don't know where to start! Yes clickbait is annoying and I won't click anymore. Yes your daughter will be pretty no matter her looks, because her spirit is beautiful - and you are teaching her that pretty is more important inside than out.

    And can I just say, Penn Holderness is as normal as they come. He used to work in the same city as I did, and he's down to earth and truly funny. But feel free to rant!!

  4. Kristen Miller HewittFebruary 8, 2015 at 9:19 AM

    amen to the social media thing! I still write/blog, but do it for fun. And twitter is a blast when you are watching sports or TV!

  5. Dammit, it's worse when they're nice! Haha. And thanks for all your other kind words.

  6. The Zoe connection isn't that tenous - I get it. It's hard to be a girl and a woman, and it's hard to be the mother of one. I enjoy your outrage posts - let it all out, Liz.

  7. Haha. Not sure you should encourage me. Thanks.

  8. I, too, love to be outraged. At least I used to. I've calmed down in my old age. Who has time or energy for that anymore? Love your click bait titles, though - The sun rose, you'll never believe what happened next. I kinda am dying to see. But, again, no time. And now you can tell which are click bait so I generally skip them.

  9. I think I love it even more as I get older because I'm less conflicted about it. As for time, you just make time for the things you don't care about. Wait, that's not the way it goes. Haha.

  10. I don't know the Holdernesses but I got annoyed just reading about them. I'll Google them next time I'm in a blue collar rage mood.
    I have sons but I can completely relate to your thoughts about Zoe growing up and being subjected to a distorted value system. That Colleen McCullough obituary thing? I mean, REALLY?? I love you when you rage just as much as when you're funny.

  11. Thanks! I will continue to do so. And that Colleen McCullough thing just amazes me.

  12. What the hell, seriously with the sweater thing? Which turn of the century is this? smh I am so with you on all of this. And you heard about the douche canoe who wants to actually BAN yoga pants, now, right? Oy vey Maria.