I don't think I can win

I think I need to call the Planned Parenthood doc again and change my brand of birth control. I haven't been on this particular kind before, and I think the dose is way too heavy. I try to stay on the stuff, active pills only, even if I don't need it for its original intended purpose -- knowing how to get bloodstains out of all kinds of fabric is useful, I just don't want regular practice -- but I'm getting damned tired of feeling like I'm PMSing all the time.

I can't help wondering which option makes me a worse person in the eyes of the zealots. (I'm well aware that the conservatives think I'm a slutty-slut-slut and going to Hell for having the stuff in the first place; that's a given.) Am I betraying womyn-kind for thinking my Naturally Nature-Given Cycle of Natural Nature is a huge pain in the ya-yas and banishing it with chemicals? Or is it total capitulation to the Male Gaze that I'm changing brands because I object to breaking out and eating myself right out of the new clothes I just bought?

It's not exactly progress if I'm just getting herded out of the rigid gender roles defined by the old patriarchy and into rigid gender roles defined by the new feminists, you know. I can't say I've run into much outright misogyny in my life; if nothing else, shit like that no longer flies in polite society, and people who would otherwise act on it are keeping it to themselves. Nobody's ever told me I can't be a scientist, or executive, or athlete, or anything else I cared to set my mind to. In that respect, our society has gotten light years better than it was fifty years ago.

But I have run across a much more insidious form of gender discrimination, and this one mostly from people who call themselves feminists. People who hear me be smart first are usually very startled to find that I clean up real nice, you might say -- in other words, my body shape and bone structure fit reasonably well into the range my society considers desirable, and I both own the clothes and have the costuming skills to make myself appear 'conventionally attractive'. And people who see me all dolled up for a photoshoot are dumbfounded to hear me talk about books and cosmology.

This bugs the hell out of me. It takes about as much time and effort to stay looking like a model as it would to stay reasonably well-read about the academic field of your choice -- seriously, a metric fuckton of time and effort, and usually a lot of ingenuity -- so as a practical matter you wouldn't expect to find too many women who have simultaneously made a proper career out of both. It would be like holding down full-time employment as both a lawyer and a concert pianist at the same time. But there's really no reason to make them mutually exclusive, any more than the lawyer can't play piano on the weekends, or a pianist can't study law as a hobby.

It outright pisses me off when people try to tell me that I have to choose between being a brain and being a body -- I have been outright told that in order to make it as an intellectual I should deliberately downplay the way I look. Aside from being insulting and discriminatory, it's goddamn difficult to do. Newsflash: Ninety percent of the things that are suggested as appropriate office-wear for women make me look like Titzilla. I dressed as Jessica Rabbit one Halloween, and it was not a joke. I can't not look like this anymore than you can not look like you.

There's a difference between having T&A inappropriately hanging out all over the place, and bitching just because you're afraid someone might be pretty. This is no better, and no less stupid, than insisting that secretaries are useless unless they're eye-candy.


  1. Blah. That stinks about the birth control making you feel bad all the time. I'm going to the doctor to get on the pill for the first time soon, and while I've heard a lot of good things about losing weight and not breaking out as much from other girls, I'm afraid that I'll be a statistical anomaly again* and have a really bad experience.

    For me and other people I've talked/listened to on the 'net, feminism is about choice. You do what you want with/to/about your body and life because they're ~yours~ and nobody can tell you what to do with them. Want to have 10 kids and a lab in the basement where you can cure cancer while they're at school? Great! Want to be CEO of a Fortune 500 company before age 30? Go for it! Want to be a model/actress/singer/other kind of entertainer and still be respected as a person? Do it up! Just as long as it's your decision.

    *Apparently, I am one of very very few women whose yeast infections got ~worse~ using the NuvaRing. And by "worse", I mean they turned into mutant zombie yeast infections from hell. >_<;;

  2. I've been on three or four different brands and this one is the only one I've ever had issues with -- I asked for the cheapest option and was given OrthoCyclen to take continuously. I had no issues with OrthoTriCyclen Lo or with generic Seasonale. OrthoCyclen is one of the older ones and has a higher dose of both the relevant hormones than the others do.

    Feminism is supposed to be about choice, yes, but in practice they do a lot of yelling at women who like things like makeup and high heels, on the grounds that if they continue to wear the stuff they 're supporting the status quo and forcing other women into doing the same, to stay competitive. I think this is rubbish, but sane people don't do the yelling.


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