Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:45 am
Sometimes it seems that all we want from a relationship is for our partners to be — or learn to be — as cute and nice as we are. To react in a consistent manner to our stimuli. To learn to speak our language. To help us out by getting snippy if we’re not paying enough attention, yet to say “me love you” from time to time, no matter what.
Okay, that’s not a relationship, that’s a Furby.
For those of you who don’t have children whose lives you saved by buying them one (i.e. they held their breath until you did), Furby — who looks like the three-way love child of an Ewok, a Gremlin, and Gleek — is the latest world domination strategy from Tiger Electronics. Last year, Tiger brought us the Giga Pet (like the Tamagotchi), the world’s most stressful toy. Now think Giga with fur … and a brain. As you interact with Furby, Furby will respond, learn tricks, wiggle its ears, open its eyes and raise its ears when excited, react to other Furbies (collect ‘em all!), speak back and on its own, learn English as a Second Language (first: Furbish). For real. Unlike Giga, Furby does not die if ignored; instead, it whines for attention. So I’m not saying you won’t want to kill it.
But matter how you may feel about Furby, we are talking serious wizardry. (And to think Breakup Girl held her breath until she got Simon.) And yes, consumer-wise, Furby is the next Tickle Me Elmo — which, by contrast, now has all the appeal of the rotary phone (unless, of course, Furby turns out to be the next Felicity).
As for those of you who grew up rolling hoops and playing catch with hog bladders, don’t forget that there is also: Adult Furby. Last week, BG got an suspicious mass email hawking the artificial intelligence programs “Virtual Girlfriend” and “Virtual Boyfriend.” Not only will these cyberBetties and Baldwins remember your name, your birthday, and your likes and dislikes, they also “take off different clothes.” (Think Giga … without fur.) Even more realistic: (1) “each time you start the program…they have a different personality,” and (2) “you can say things that will upset them.” Keen!
So what does Furby have to do with love, Breakup Girl style? First of all, okay, okay, I want one. AS A TEACHING TOOL. The point: for worse and for better, we all Furbicize in our relationships. Meaning what? That to some degree, we grow and change and wiggle our ears in reponse to our partners’ stimuli. We develop learned behaviors, we acquire new languages (with words like “pooky.”).
But here’s the key difference: we don’t necessarily have a “different personality” each time. Often, the things and theories and habits that our little chips pick up from our first partner (such as “I suck at relationships”) carry over to the next, and the next — thus getting reinforced, if not all but hard-wired. We develop patterns that become so ingrained we don’t even see them as patterns, and even if we do, the idea of dismantling them seems tantamount to dismantling our very selves.
Filed under: News, issues — posted by Breakup Girl @ 11:08 am
Cheerleaders don’t necessarily deserve that bad a rap. Contrary to popular belief (and recent judicial opinion), they are athletes doing a team sport. (You try doing a back loop spiral with a pike alone in your living room.) Some of them are willing to discover their inner gleeks. One squad has actually petitioned their school board for less revealing uniforms — and not just because it’s chilly in Connecticut. Here’s how the Connecticut Post (via Jezebel) describes the Bridgeport Central High School squad’s appeal:
“We ask with the utmost respect you do anything in your power to help us,” said Heidi Medina, a former team captain, removing oversized sweats to reveal a quarter-length top and exposed middle. “I don’t feel comfortable wearing this.”
“It really hurts our self esteem,” said Ariana Mesaros, another senior on the team, in a voice hoarse from cheering the night before. “I am embarrassed to stand up here dressed like this. Is this really how you want Bridgeport to be represented?”
It is now! You go, girlies. B-E A-G-G-R-E-S-S-I-V-E!, and etc. Especially because recent research does confirm that cheerleaders — yes, especially those who wear midriff-baring uniforms — are at high risk for eating disorders. And, related: there’s an argument to be made that not considering cheerleading a sport might actually make it more physically dangerous. So let’s continue moving past the stereotypes — in schools and on screens — and, while we’re at it, cheer those Bridgeport girls on.
Do reality shows like Teen Mom and 16 And Pregnant “glamorize” teen pregnancy? That standard hand-wringer has always struck me as weird. Because um, those shows don’t exactly make teen pregnancy/motherhood look awesome. They (unlike, SORRY, Glee) actually make it look pretty crappy — a lot more so than, say, carrying around a sack of flour for a week. Even when cute teen moms glam it up for celeb magazines (which are guilty of overglamorizing post-teen motherhood), teens — who, turns out, are also better at condoms than grownups — still know what’s up.
· Among those young people who have watched MTV’s 16 and Pregnant, 82% think the show helps teens better understand the challenges of teen pregnancy and parenthood and how to avoid it.
· 76% of young people say that what they see in the media about sex, love, and relationships can be a good way to start conversations with adults.
· About half (48%) say they have discussed these topics with their parents because of something they have seen in the media.
· 16 and Pregnant got young people talking and thinking about teen pregnancy─40% of those in the treatment group said they talked about the show with a parent, 63% discussed with a friend, and 37% discussed with a sibling.
· 93% of those who watched [a particular] episode agreed (53% strongly agreed) with the statement: “I learned that teen parenthood is harder than I imagined from these episodes.”
This is all information we’re not so sure they’re getting in, say, abstinence-only sex ed — which, while we’re on the subject, glamorizes lies, shame, and fear. (And whose funding just got resuscitated, even as the Obama administration also awarded $155 million in federal grants to support evidence-based, medically accurate sex ed.)
Enough with the mixed messages, as Jessica Wakeman wrote at The Frisky, continuing: “If pregnant teen girls get their moment in the media’s graces, the least we can do is use it wisely. The alternative could be much, much worse.” Of course the media plays a role in the whole teen pregnancy ecosystem, but there are a whole lot of other reasons teens get pregnant, most of which are much, much more complicated and challenging than the simple notion of MTV cause-and-effect (which is exactly why we are reluctant to acknowledge and deal with them). Teens are smarter than we give them credit for. Sometimes, in fact — see phrases bolded above — they just want to talk.
Text messages are the new lipstick on the collar, the mislaid credit card bill. Instantaneous and seemingly casual, they can be confirmation of a clandestine affair, a record of the not-so-discreet who sometimes forget that everything digital leaves a footprint.
This became painfully obvious a week ago when a woman who claims to have had an affair with Tiger Woods told a celebrity publication that he had sent her flirty text messages, some of which were published. It follows on the heels of politicians who ran afoul of text I.Q., including a former Detroit mayor who went to prison after his steamy text messages to an aide were revealed, and Senator John Ensign of Nevada, whose affair with a former employee was confirmed by an incriminating text message.
Unlike earlier eras when a dalliance might be suspected but not confirmed, nowadays text messages provide proof. Divorce lawyers say they have seen an increase in cases in the past year where a wronged spouse has offered text messages to show that a partner has strayed. The American Bar Association began offering seminars this fall for marital attorneys on how to use electronic evidence — text messages, browsing history and social networks — in proving a case.
Read the rest here. Of course, this also totally happened on Glee.
Filed under: Advice — posted by Breakup Girl @ 10:16 am
There are some situations in which Breakup Girl sticks firmly to her double standards. Examples:
Good music. I conveniently forget that the Godfather of Soul is the Mother of all Wife-Beaters.
Yum! I turn up my nose at milk-fed veal, but my bare hands have gleefully brought death and dismemberment to countless Maine lobsters.
Statements, fashion and otherwise. War is bad, but my 82nd Airborne-surplus Corcoran paratrooper boots are good.
Basically, double standards occur when someone adheres both to a principle and also to a big fat self-serving exception to that principle. And usually, the big fat self-serving exception means that someone (wives, lobsters, civilians) gets dealt a lousy hand. That’s how BG describes it, but just to make this official, let’s have a look at the definition of double standard in Breakup Girl’s American Heritage Dictionary (a high school graduation gift from an ex-boyfriend, who like all of her high school boyfriends, is now married with child. See also “harsh.”):
“double standard,n. A set of principles permitting greater opportunity or liberty to one than to another, esp. the granting of greater sexual freedom to men than to women.”
Aha. So Breakup Girl has backup when she says: Guys. Cut it out. All of you.
Boys/men: No fair expecting girls/women not to do or have done anything you would do or have done. (Also see “madonna/whore complex”.)
Girls/women: No fair letting boys/men treat you like milk-fed veal.
Breakup Girl is about to go After-School Special on you, but listen up: respect each other’s — and your own — actions, choices, and dumb mistakes. If you feel like someone is doing something mean and lousy to you, get up offa that thing and call them on it. If you feel like someone is getting away with some bad behavior by flashing some fake “that’s how men/women are supposed to be” license, call them on it. Realize that in relationships, these boy/girl double standards are, deep down, all about (more After-School Special words) insecurity and self-esteem. As in, “If she looks at another guy, she might not like me!” As in “If I call him on his double standards, he might not like me!” (Or, worse, “Wow, he won’t let me look at another guy — he must really like me!)
So, basically, Breakup Girl is allowed to have double standards, and you’re not.
Every day this week we will showcase an advice letter on this theme. Call it the “Daily Double Standard!”