Life updates, Taking back the streets, & Cosmo critiques

So, after my last shadowing visit at the local high school, I am actually a bit more excited about shadowing.  I mean, it did have perks before, but it figures it’d only get really interesting once I got to my last few hours.  I only have two required visits left, but I may do a few bonus hours.

The reason I am excited is that my mentor-teacher told me about a program she is doing for high school age girls after school.  It involves discussions about a spectrum of issues from body image to relationships.  Of course, you’ll agree, these are all intertwined if you remember high school.  I asked to stop by for their first meeting and she accepted quickly, so I’m hoping to get involved.

I’m considering asking to observe a few foreign language classes just so I can get a feel for those as well in case I pursue my secondary certification. (Which I think is basically going to be a requirement for my marketability back up North.)

Another bit of information: I’ve been browsing through Hollaback NYC which lets men and women report street harassment. I’ve seen programs like this before and have to say I’m a fan of it.  I don’t think I’m overreacting when I explain that having people yell and catcall at me from cars or streetcorners makes my blood boil.  It’s not acceptable behavior, period.

And now… a few looks at COSMOPOLITAN based on my browsing of this all-knowing mag’s website.  I’ve found three highlights for today:

1. 5 Signs Your Boss is Secretly Hitting on You (Ashley Womble): This article outlines signs your boss is into you or moves that indicate “there’s a good chance your boss wants to get it on.”  These include things like asking too many questions about your personal life or sharing too much of his.

Womble is correct when she suggests,

But when your boss starts to pry about who you’re sleeping with or mentions that he’s tired of going home to an empty bed (or the one with his wife in it), he’s crossed the line.

But she misses the mark with her advice…

Here’s how to deal: You don’t have to answer any questions that give you the “uh-oh” feeling. Instead, wince and say, “Oh, it’s really complicated.” When he’s the one giving you way TMI, try to end the conversation as quickly as possible by acting bored

While these might work to end a conversation, Womble doesn’t suggest telling him that the topic is too personal. Instead you have to point out how “complicated” your life is? Or hint at some sort of problem that isn’t his?

This brings me back to the subtitle I almost missed:

Cosmo tells you how to ward off his advances without losing your job.

What? Since when is that the natural result of “warding” off unwanted advances or rejecting a man who may be interested in you. While a normal date invitation doesn’t warrant much more than a polite “No” or an “I’m unavailable”, it also shouldn’t yield a repeat event.

Not until tip number 5 does Womble suggest going to HR (or your division of the EEO or another forum for a discrimination/harassment complaint)- and a boss who asks who you are sleeping with, buys you secret gifts, or frequently makes personal calls to you is engaging in inappropriate behavior.

Why is it that even a woman’s magazine tells us how to just “deal” with these things without losing our jobs?

Here’s how to deal: You can try piling papers and coffee cups on your desk so there’s nowhere to sit, but if he’s touching you and making you feel uncomfortable, you should really head straight to HR. When it comes time to face him after filing a complaint, say, “I have respect for you as my boss, but this job is very important to me and I take my work seriously. To be honest, I’m afraid that your attentions will end up hurting my chances of success.” He may be pissed, but, trust us, that’ll be the end of it.

There should be no need to defend a desk.  You shouldn’t have to make up the popular fake boyfriend. It might seem nicer, but it’s no necessity. No one should question your decision not to date a coworker or boss based on the fact that you are single. (Also, having worked in the field of discrimination and harassment claims for a time, I know that the complaint is not necessarily “the end of it” and that the process can be very trying.)

Other nitpicks:

*Secretly? Really? Because these examples don’t seem like such a big secret, and maybe shutting down the tiny problems with something other than fake excuses that aren’t supposed to hurt his feelings would prevent the eventual big problem… Why let them step so far over the line before actually stating “This is unwanted attention.”

*That the article is also advertised with the phrase “Office Romance: Bad Boss Behavior” as if the boss is a naughty child who must be thwarted and out-smarted.  And Romance? Sexual harassment is not romance. Unwanted, non-consensual attention is not a romance.

—————————-

2. 10 Ways to Get Revenge on an Ex: This one speaks for itself…

You know his best friend — the guy he can’t live without? Show up at his apartment wearing only a trench coat.

Ah, yes, sexual warfare. Always healthy. Nevermind all the Cosmo articles about how awful men are who sleep with their girl’s BFF pre or post breakup…

Number 3 is a reminder that women too can practice sexual harassment:

Decorate his car with a bumper sticker that declares “Small penis onboard.”

Because believe me, few people would stand for a guy spray painting
“small breasts” on his ex’s car- even if she did “break his heart.”

Number 5 is a reminder that women can only win men with their bodies, and that their bodies are the perfect tools for just about everything. (No problem in a society where you can use a woman’s body to sell anything from a hamburger to a car.)

Become really, really, really hot.

Same goes for

Casually mention to him that you finally got around to all those kinky sexual fantasies he was dying to try with you and, well, they’re fantastic.

Let’s not pretend there is anything healthy about this, or the pregnancy scare idea proposed in number 9.

The other suggestions are meant to elicit a few chuckles with great ideas like pyrotechnic vandalism or remote control burglary, none of which are really funny.

—————————-

3. Guy Confessions: Let’s start with Cosmo’s own description

Tell us all about your most outrageous behavior and disgraceful deeds. Whether it’s a romantic ploy, workplace scam, or revenge on an ex, send in the details and your story might appear in a future issue of Cosmo. Don’t worry about ruining your rep; names are changed to protect the guilty.

Now, apparently you can’t read these juicy tidbits online, at least not that I can find so far, but I’ve flipped through them a few times in the store.  It’s a nice little glory spot for guys who lie to and trick women, often in the most disgusting ways, and while participating in or maintaining what we’ll call “intimate” relations.  (I will add that there a bound to be a few funny date flubs or the caught-my-ex-cheating scenarios, but I’ll focus my anger on the nastier ones full of ill-intent) Feel free to send a few my way if you find them, so we can wonder why anyone would read them and still be able to laugh. The letters that have stuck with me from past perusals only bring degradation to mind, and tend to outnumber the tamer confessions. (Cheating on a woman is not funny. Neither is cheating on a man. Apart from the severe moral dilemma of being unfaithful, you are also opening your partner up to sexual risks they did not sign on for, and in your care-free affairs you might be passing on a few things no one wants.)

Oh and don’t worry, women have their own confessions section which can prove equally as disturbing though the section does tend to have a broader base (meaning more letters about questionably humorous sexcapades and some wardrobe mishaps make it in too).

“”My friend Liz had just been dumped by her boyfriend of two years, and she was obsessed with the idea of finding a hot guy to hook up with…A bunch of us were going to Las Vegas for the weekend, and she had been sending e-mail all week about how it was our job to find her a man while we were there. I was sick and tired of hearing about it, and it was the last thing I wanted to think about while I was trying to have fun. When we arrived, Liz was being really annoying, and she kept pointing out guys and telling us to go talk to them for her. That night, I saw her flirting with a gorgeous guy at the bar. He got up to go to the bathroom, and I walked right up to him and said in my most serious voice that I thought he should know she had a long history of mental problems. He ended up going home with me.” –Sarah, 27

“Back in college, I had been hooking up with my friend Jack, but we weren’t exclusive. At his frat house one night, Jack told me that we were going to have to put our relationship on hold for a while because he had started dating a girl named Sarah. I was so jealous, I went upstairs and took a pair of Jack’s dirty tightie-whities from his hamper, mounted them under the glass of a huge frame, and sent it to Sarah’s dorm with a note that read ‘Jack’s a great guy. Welcome to our circle of friends.'” –Leann, 24

There is really too much to go into in all this mess and it really makes me wonder about people in general and why we have such a tough time being nice to each other and not mutually objectifying each other.

As a friend of mine wrote recently:

I thought it was common knowlege that Cosmo encourages mutually exclusive goals of snagging as many men as possible yet keeping a steady relationship going, as well as enforcing absurd body images for women.

So here’s my last jab at cosmo, and my suggestion to readers… Take a look at the article headlines on each page and see how many don’t fit in to one of these:

The ____ you must try! (to make yourself attractive)

The solution to make (body part) (fuller/longer/straighter/skinnier/toned/sexier)

The sexy new _____

X Ways to Wow your Man

X new moves you have to try

X tips to maintain a relationship

X tips to snag men (and to date many of them)

The Secret to _________

Guys’ Secrets, Girls’ Secrets

Why he cheats

And some examples

Ten Things Men Don’t Want to Hear in Bed (Including “I’m a Virgin” because,  “A virgin in the sack means she will probably be both terrible at sex and emotional before, during, and after.” ‘Cause heaven forbid he have to consider her emotions…)

Alright, I feel like this analysis is getting out of hand because there is just too much out there that is wrong, wrong, wrong.

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