Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: sexism

You don’t get to choose my hill to die on


I like boobs.

Who doesn’t like boobs?

Most people like boobs. I have a fake-hubby who is gay who likes boobs. In the words of the inimitable Tim Minchin:

Fuck, I love boobs, though!
I just really love them.
Fuck, I love boobs, though.
I just want to rub them!

He just really loves boobs! I’ve included the video below because it’s hilarious–but true.

The reason I’m thinking about boobs is because there was a letter to Alison (Ask A Manager) from a busty woman who does not wear a bra to work. She has been chastised by her manager for not wearing one and told she has to put one on. She asked her male coworkers if they were ever told to wear one, and they said no. So, she brought that up with her supervisor.

That did not go over well, as you might have imagined. I knew how the comments were going to go because even in the year of our ruler supreme, 2023, so many American women think that not wearing a bra is unprofessional. I knew it from previous posts on the site, but I had hoped that after three years of a global pandemic in which many women set the girls free whilst working from home, there would be a little more balance about wearing a bra at work. But, no. It’s still, I CAN’T DEAL WITH NIPPLES AHHHH SEX AHHHHHHH YOUR BOOBS JIGGLED. And this is from other women.

So many busty women commented on how they couldn’t imagine not wearing a bra and how horrifying it was. I will just say it here. It’s sad to me that this is the mentality. Women used to say the same thing about corsets and other things that restrained and reshaped the body. Oh, and the ‘the boobs are lower without’ canard? Nope. There was a 15-year study back in 2013 that showed that women who did not wear bras actually had perkier boobs. The theory is that constantly wearing a bra weakens the musscles in the pecs, which makes sense. Here’s the study, and it’s more nuanced than that, of course.

Bottom line, though, is that there is absolutely no health benefit to wearing a bra, so it’s strictly psychological. And in the study, he does say that if you’ve worn a bra for decades, you probably shouldn’t just toss it now.

Since I work from home, I did not wear a bra on the regular for many years. Around five years ago, I just stopped wearing them completely. And I have never felt better. My reasons for stopping were sensory–I hate wearing clothing so the less, the better. When I wear a bra, no matter how comfortable it is, I cannot stop thinking about the fact that I am wearing one.

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A weight off my mind

In yesterday’s post, I wrote about two letters at Ask A Manager that were about internalized misogyny (more or less). I was midway through dissecting the second, so let’s continue with that.

The LW was saying that she didn’t regret the decision she made not to be close to her coworkers/reports, but then whining about how they shut her out (such as bringing back souvenirs for everyone but her). Which, normally, would be a big no-no, but in this case, it’s probably partly because she was the boss.

She literally used the trope of “I’m not here to make friends”, which is normally a big red flag. Not that people need to be friends at work, but the need to say it speaks negatively about the person. It’s like when people say, “I’m just being honest” before being unbelievably mean. No one says, “I’m going to be brutally honest. You are the fucking best singer I’ve ever heard.” In this case, ‘I’m not here to make friends’ means, “I do not care about you as a person.” Which, fine. I’m an introvert and I rather not do small talk with people. If I had to work in an office, I would find it agony to talk about the weather and kids and whatnot. Mostly because I love cold and not hot, and I don’t have nor want children. But, if I were in an office, I could do the small talk with competency and would not be willing to expend capital to get away with not doing it.

In addition, as Alison pointed out, there is a difference between being friendly and being friends. The letter writer (LW) seems to be confused on that matter. You can be warm with your colleagues without being friends. You don’t have to do happy hour with them or go to their weddings. I found that strange as well. She talked about not being invited to those, but she earlier said she didn’t want to be friends!

Someone in the comments asked how her social circle was outside of work, which I thought was an astute question. The LW said she was lonely despite her strictures not to make friends at work. Did she mean that in general? Or at work? Either way, she could beef up her social circle outside work to help her feel less lonely.

Here’s the thing, though. The part about her saying that she did not get along with the other women (some people questioned why she specifically mentioned women. My guess is that she worked mostly with women) because of different life stages was what really caught my attention.

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Try, try, try again

I stumbled over a channel called Jolly the other day by watching Try Guy videos–after first watching their explanation video (as to why they fired Ned). It’s a channel with two Brit guys who are named Josh and Ollie (J-Ollie. Or Jo-llie. Get it?) and they do a variety of things. Lots of them are food-related, but not all of them. They also have a channel called Korean Englishmen because they both love all things Korean and want to make their friends eat Korean foods and videotape it.

They have 2.7 million subs on their Jolly channel and 5.4 million on their Korean Englishmen channel. They are cheerful blokes, and they are decent-looking guys. I would say they are conventionally cute, albeit in a nerdish way. They are in their mid-thirties, married, and one has a child. At least. That’s what I’ve gleaned from their videos.

They are upbeat and carefully calibrated to not offend. They are so gosh-dang wholesome, but with just a touch of sauciness on occasion. They are definitely the kind of boy you can take home to you mother.

I have watched several of their videos and they are very morish. They eat a lot of food. Their videos in LA were funny, familiar, and easily digestible. When I say that they make their videos deliberately non-offensive, that’s exactly what I mean. They are crafted in such a way that you can watch it, chuckle lightly, then move on to the next one. I’m not being dismissive, by the way. It’s an art, and  they have it down to a T. They are affable, goofy, and kooky, but in a very acceptable way. There is nothing jarring or off-putting about them.

Josh is the nerdy guy who wears button-downs and glasses. Ollie is the class clown who is adorably clueless. They are both just so eager to make sure everyone is having a good time, and they are very diffident. I know the latter is part of being British, but I can’t help but be charmed by them.

Right now, I’m watching different videos about people eating Howlin’ Rays–Nashville chicken–mostly the hot version in LA. The vast majority of the channels are dudes. Sigh. I really don’t like the ones that are WHAT’S UP FAM IT’S ABOUT TO GET LIT–especially by non-black people. And airhorns. And fast cuts. I just hate all that shit. Just be chill and show me the food, damn it.

Anyway, most of these channels are men. The ‘try all these things’ channels. I have a theory and it’s completely out of my ass (ass theory). Men are more acceptable acting up than women and other genders are. That’s it. That’s my theory. I can go more into it, but it basically comes down to that.

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Genderfucking is fun

I’m currently bingeing on Harry Styles. I liked What Makes You Beautiful when One Direction sang it, but I was embarrassed to admit it. It’s a perfectly fine catchy pop song, but they were a boy band, and I was way too old for that shit. Plus, I don’t like boy bands in general, though my mania for New Kids on the Block belies that statement. I liked some songs by Backstreet Boys and NSYNC, but I would not call myself a fan.

But there’s something about Harry Styles. It’s not that he’s cute, though he is. If he were ten or fifteen years older, he would be my type. Dark hair, androgynous with a low, growly voice. He’s comfortable in his sexuality and with dressing however the fuck he wants to dress. In fact, he and Lizzo are my perfect pairing at the moment. Both are so resolutely themselves and happy about it, it makes me smile.

I’ve included the video of them at Coachella singing Harry’s smash hit (that I mentioned above) while both are dressed in hot pink. I am currently in a Lizzo phase as well, and, yes, I know I’m late to the party. But I love that she’s unabashedly herself and does not give a fuck who knows it. There’s a video of the two of them singing Juice together, and Lizzo is wearing something revealing and hot. Harry is dresses as bookish nerd is his button-down and striped sweater-vest.

Right now, I’m sitting on my couch in a black tank top and black microfiber boy shorts. I have my hair pulled up in a sloppy bun, secured with a black satin scrunchy. And I have never felt sexier or hotter in my life. Not when I was dressed to the nines. Not when I was skinny as fuck. No. Me being fat and wearing the minimal amount of clothing I can and not get arrested if I were outside my house with my hair haphazardly bunched on the top of my head, not having done a lick of grooming, and I feel fine as hell.

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A dawning realization

Yesterday, I went to my brother’s for Thanksgiving (along with my parents). I wasn’t planning on going ,but my brother really wanted me to go because he had made too much food. That’s what he told me, but I knew that meant he wanted to see me. I was able to rebuff my mom asking me to go, but this was my brother. He didn’t ask for much and he’s done so much for me in the past few months. I didn’t want to go, but I felt I had to for his sake. Plus, he was making brisket so I knew I would eat well.

I went. It was great. The brisket was fantastic as always. Chatted with his family (including wife, two kids, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law) for a few hours and then came home. My parents really enjoyed themselves as well, so it was all good. Until dinner.

We were having a light dinner later than we normally would. My father had had a paranoia episode before we went to my brother’s and I was wary of a return. There wasn’t one, but the threat of one made me tense. I knew it wouldn’t happen during the Thanksgiving lunch because my father can control it that much so he doesn’t go full-blown paranoid in front of outsiders (which begs the question of if they’re part of the dementia if he can control it).

At one point, my father set down his fork and got that look on his face–the one that meant he was about to say something problematic. Whether in an ‘ism’ realm or some paranoid shit, I couldn’t say. But I was sure it was going to annoy the fuck out of me.

My father: Lunch was so good.

Me: Yep. (Waiting for the other shoe to drop.)

Him: It’s even more impressive because a man cooked it.

Me: …. (quietly adding money to my PP donation as I had decided I’d do when one of my parents annoyed me. PP being Planned Parenthood)

Me: (in a carefully bland voice) Why doe you say that?

My father: Because they don’t have the opportunity to learn. (Pauses, gears in brain churning) Many famous chefs are men, though. (Which he had said earlier at lunch as well.)

Me: Yes, they are. (Thinking, patriarchy!) And it’s not any harder for a man to learn to cook than a  woman.

My father: (Rambling lots of bullshit while I grit my teeth and add money to the donation)

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WWDTAOL: Women upholding the patriarchy

Welcome back to WWDTAOL, my new series on What We Don’t Talk About Out Loud. This is my series in which I can explore all the things that don’t get said in polite society and how we would be lost without the unwritten standards our society holds up. In this post, I’ll be springing off the last post and my example of it being vastly women who asked me about my reproductive choices. When we talk about the patriarchy and how the man keeps us down, well, there’s an unspoken addendum that there will always be women who are desperate to hold up the patriarchy as well.

Before I get too deep into the weeds, I want to mention that I won’t be talking about nonbinary and/or genderfluid folks because the recognition that they exist is fairly new and I don’t know how they fit into the patriarchy. My instinct would be to say they don’t, but I know people. I am sure there are some NB/genderfluid people who also hold up the patriarchy in some way or other. Anyway, I’m limiting myself to men and women for the purpose of this post on gender determinism and sexism.

In reading my advice columns, I run across certain responses from women towards other women that are sexist in nature and depressingly common. One. The whole children thing I mentioned above. Almost everyone who questioned me when I was in my twenties was a woman, which surprised me at the time. Another big area is looks. Women are mean to other women about how they dress, how much makeup they do/don’t wear, how much they weigh, etc.

Again, I’d like to stress that I know guys do this as well. The point of this post is to note how many women buy into those same toxic beliefs. With the kids thing, I had hoped it was a relic of an older time (nineties/aughts). Sadly, women who are currently in their twenties report that they still get the same pressure. Doing a quick Google, I see that there 15.4% of women age 45 to 50 (my age) do not have children. Honestly, that’s higher than I thought because of how constant the child beat is smashed into my face in popular culture.

One of the reason I find this issue interesting is because I’ve felt very much not like a women all my life. I’ve never been interested in traditionally girly things. Here’s a long list of things that I eschew. Cooking, sewing, makeup, fashion, shopping, weddings, and children. I don’t like rom-coms, romantic movies, or basically romance in general. I did play with dolls, but mostly to make them have sex with each other. I much preferred stuffed animals. I hate pink and other pastels, and black is my favorite color.

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Close to throwing in the towel

Life is not great at the moment. Still. I’ve been unable to try new games because when I get like this, I revert to comfort. DemonCrawl even though it’s…not great, for example. I recently reinstalled Binding of Isaac: Rebrith. It is very soothing for me to play now (except when I get no upgrades in my skill and a ton of health so I can’t die), and I don’t really have to put much effort into it. There are a few games that I’m interested in that are coming out either in the near future or the undetermined future, but I’m pretty underwhelmed by the big games that other people are hyped about.

Let me come out and say it. I hate what I’ve seen from Cyberpunk 2077. It’s probably the most anticipated game to come out in some time, and everyone else seems to get more hyped about it over time whereas I am not even lukewarm about it.

Let’s roll it back a bit. Cyberpunk 2077 is the newest game of CD Projekt Red who made the huge hit, The Witcher 3. My boo, Geralt of Rivia, was the protagonist of that game. It was an incredible game, and I put probably a hundred hours into it. I did have a bit of a qualm about how white the game was (yes, set in Poland) and the fact that all the women were sexy and fuckable whereas the men were allowed to be of all sizes, shapes, cleanliness, etc. I also grew weary in the last few hours of the game. I blamed that on myself, however, because I tend to binge on games until I’m absolutely glutted. In this case, it was because I was in some cave with a witch, and I had to find my way out of it instead of her simply transporting me out when the quest was over. The map didn’t help, and I became increasingly lost. I almost quit, but I knew I was really close to the end. I don’t remember how I got out, but I finally did. I’m pretty sure this was a mandatory quest, and I was pretty pissed that I had to do it.

The ending I got was worth it, though. Spoiler warning, I guess if you don’t want to know one of the several endings for The Witcher 3. I chose Triss over Yennefer, and I retired at the end of the game in a small house in the woods somewhere. Ciri takes up the mantle of witcher, and there’s a very touching scene between us before I got my epilogue. I was extremely satisfied with my experience in the game, if somewhat burnt out by the end. Then the first DLC dropped. I eagerly snapped it up, and…I fucking hated it. The main antagonist is a violent, arrogant, narcissistic prick, and I have a really difficult time dealing with them given my personal history.

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The Politics of Art

So, I love to write. A lot. Prolifically. Garrulous. It’s the equivalent to a chatterbox who cannot keep her mouth shut. I can’t keep my fingers from banging away at my keyboard, and I have many broken keyboards to prove it. In fact, this one (on my laptop) is on its last legs, and I should replace it pretty soon. The problem is, people are reading less and less. Rather, they’re reading less of actual longform pieces and novels. I’m old woman shaking my fist at the clouds, but I also acknowledge that it’s probably not going backwards any time soon.

What’s the new big thing? Videos. Streaming. It’s all the rage with the kids these days, an it’s something I’ve thought about doing myself. The problem is, first of all, I hate the way I look on camera. Now, of course, I could stream a game without face-cam, but from what I’ve seen, you get more views with the face-cam on, especially as a woman. Which, therein, is my second issue. The world of video games is still a man’s world with a very bro-y culture. I don’t watch streams on Twitch (except Ian’s! twitch.tv/eenbou) because the chats are fucking toxic. I don’t use that word lightly, but it’s sadly true. Anything over ten viewers, and it’s ‘fuckbois’, ‘faggot’, and ‘i’d fuck that ass’ all the damn time. There’s a streamer I did watch occasionally when he wasn’t too big yet, and I already felt not included by dint of being a woman in my forties. I watched a vod of a recent stream, and he’d changed from being low-key and lovable to low-key and ‘fuckbois’, and it really disappointed me. I’m not naming  him because it’s not him–it’s the ethos of chat. I’m stil working on my Theory of Dudes in which the more dudes you have in one place, the grosser the culture becomes.

Anyway, I watched a podcast with four female streamers, and they were emphatic about not being just boob jigglers, but one of them is known for that, and another is known for being bro-y in her chat. They were all young and conventionally pretty, which is another double standard for women who stream. Dudes can be any age, shape, size, or look, but the women have to be young, not fat, and hot. In addition, most of the female streamers are even bro-y-er than their male counterparts as a way to overcompensate. It’s the same with streamers girlfriends/wives. They put down women, make sexual innuendos, and are pretty jerky. They also feed into the stereotypes of the nagging wife, which is annoying as hell as well.

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