Call for hair stories!

Hello all women, womyn and girls with hair stories!

I am soliciting stories for a collection of women’s accounts of their own hair that I’m compiling. My aim within this project is to represent a wide range of women and hair: age, ethnicity, hair length, texture, etc. If you identify as female, have ever had hair and thought about it, I’d love to hear from you.

If you’d like a prompt, here are a few:

1. Can you detail the decision process that went into your hair length? If you have long hair, why? If short, why?
2. What are people’s memorable reactions to your hair?
3. a. If you’ve ever drastically changed your hair in length/color/texture, how did you feel? Do you feel that it changed how you were perceived, or even how you perceived yourself?
    b. if you’ve had a consistent hair style for a long time, do you ever think about a radical change but don’t go through with it? Why do you think you haven’t?
4. Do you ever experience hair envy? Of whom/ which hair type(s)?
5. If you’d like to add any other musings on your hair or a specific hair philosophy that you hold, please do.

Please respond in the comments or to emilyshortshorts@gmail.com.

 

Thank you!

 

On Burlesque

graduate

I used to think the internet existed for women to shout “I’m pretty!” into the void. Wishful thinking:  clearly the internet exists for women to ask: “Am I pretty?”

The same could be said for the material world itself, as anyone who has ever consumed social media or witnessed the act of an adult human who is not a sex worker wearing a dress that doesn’t quite cover her vagina will attest. Last night, I was cajoled into attending a burlesque event, which proved to be an extended, IRL selfie.

By definition, the history of  of burlesque includes an element of irony or parody. Unless these twenty-something women (all white) writhing around on a bar stage in suede boots and acrylic minis intended a knowing wink at and challenge of the commodification that women so eagerly assign to themselves, I missed any ounce of ironic intent.

As a generation of women raised post-riot grrrl and instead deep in the throes of the TRL era’s boring stock version of “sex”, we all just want our moment of Britney. That is, the blankest, most sexually accessible version of ourselves to be flattened on to the weak imaginations of as many men as our bustlines will allow.  Even as women born in the 1980s in one of the most culturally liberal democracies on the planet, we still seek validation as successful beings primarily through the physical, specifically the body.
Perhaps most curiously, once  the Catholic school collar/ fuzzy bra/”sexy” signifier was removed from the adult sentient human by herself in front of a crowd of half-drunks in a bar on a Monday night, all nipples were x-ed with black electrical tape (perhaps in current vogue thanks to the current grande dame of boring sexualism, Gaga). Does a bar need a license for nipples, like it needs one to serve alcohol on its patio? The actual sexuality of the female, then, becomes not something she owns but something that’s regulated by someone who is not her, thus able to be bought and sold. The nipples concealed somehow seem the least subversive thing of all– a rule followed, the final vestige of female nakedness just another secret kept to better tantalize the male. Radical, indeed. Anyone who didn’t yawn their way through has watched far less MTV than I, and are perhaps that much better off.

punk and other demons.

My dearest subscriber[s] to Emily Magazine and other stalkers,

I know you’re like OH GOD WHERE R THOSE POSTS THAT SHED NEW LITE ON THE HUMAN CONDITION WAT HAPPEND 2 HER etc etc. There’s no good answer other than the fact that I can’t ever finish what I start whether it’s  a sandwich or Anna Karenina, plus I’ve been RLLY busy feeling weird about Franco on “Freaks and Geeks” and making these:

awesome

Last night I went to a “punk show” in a sweaty donation-run venue; cigarettes were smoked two at a time by the trombonist (tru punx, that) (inside, I might add, like it was 2001 in Tulsa) and some cartoon porn played behind them. Usual Tuesday shit.  There were three bands, including the newest project of Das Racist’s Kool AD, Party Animal. Somewhere between the first and last bands, that gnawing little voice that sometimes strikes when I go to shows crawled into my cranium: where are the girls with something to say? [And before you’re like, OH GOD HERE SHE GOES AGAIN, let me just say that if that thought exists in your mind, you are already extinct, the world doesn’t need you anymore and is waiting for you to end. (Tuff love.) ]Anecdotally, over the past ten years, I’ve been to hundreds of shows: let’s estimate I’ve seen about 200 bands that average 4 people each. That’s 800 people, and I’d guess about 20 to 30 of those people have been female. And not because of any vendetta of my own against female performers, but based mostly on a wide survey of both fringe and popular acts of multiple genres over the past decade.

In Lester Bangs‘ 1979 piece “White Noise Supremacists,” he calls bullshit on what he perceived as overt racism in his own circle, the New York underground. He does, however, manage to call Nico a “cunt,” while maintaining that sexism in the scene was “even more pervasive.”

Thanks to the iron fist of prep school set in a cultural vacuum,  my own introduction to a scene of any sort came woefully late: I was a sophomore in college and new to Burlington, Vermont (but of course, the reason prep school exists at all is to keep its minions’ eye on the prize of Adam Smith). My new best friend Meredith was a product of New England punk the way I was of Mid-Atlantic radio, and she knew a band who described their sound as falling in the middle of Bad Brains and Cat Stevens. After our first meeting at the state fair riding the ferris wheel, putting our lives in the hands of the drunk carnies blaring Master of Puppets, we began spending Friday nights with them. Our evenings became marathons of Scattergories, Genesee Cream Ale and Emilio Estevez’s greatest hits. We went to their shows at 242 Main, an all-ages venue in Burlington (initiated in the 80s by then-mayor Bernie Sanders, the last governmental paragon of the Radical Left, currently one of the only senators who finds time in his schedule to acknowledge wealth disparity and corporate oligarchy in this country). On Halloween, Meredith and I paid tribute to Marc Bolan and David Bowie by dressing as our imagined cover band, Peppers & Milk (named for Bowie’s alleged diet during “Young Americans”-era coke fiending). At 242, Meredith had a literal pissing contest in the co-ed bathroom with a guy in a Captain’s hat (who suffered from performance anxiety).

The guys, raised in a small punk microcosm were like no one I’d met before, and became my own standard of males my age. Everyone else at school lived for snowboarding, Phish and weed. Around the Scattergories board, a T was rolled, and one of the prompts was some variation of a come-on. “Ten, like perfect ten,” said one of the guys. “But that’s stupid and sexist,” he continued. The next guy, who we didn’t know as well, was up. “I put tits comma bitch,” he said without missing a beat. We all erupted in laughter. Over another game and another case of Gennessee, a guy who was visiting from out of town mused, “Well girls can’t be punks because girls are just girls.” Meredith WHOA-WHOA-WHOA-ed her indignation. Later our friend told us he was just quoting a song. But the question remained: what were we? Friends, fans, audience members? Just girls?

Discussing this over $10 manhattans with a friend last night between sets (punk as fuk), she posited that it’s not “part of the female ego” to get up in front of a room full of people/ the world and express oneself. It’s a theory impossible to truly assess, but there’s  something inherently imbalanced about the cultural constant of woman as spectator. In our (ahem) post-punk world, why is it still radical for a woman to demand an audience? If that’s the general cultural consensus, punk failed. so. fucking. hard., and we’re as provincial as Joanie and Chachi. The baddest female I’ve ever seen in person was at a basement metal show in Portland, 2009: all denim, leopard undercut, shredded like a fucking boss. Pimply audience bros didn’t stand a chance.

I’m tending to side with Kate Carraway on this one, who listed “Trying” under her list of “What Girls Hate”:

“…I was listing on a scrap of paper the bands that my guy friends have started (which number infinity) and the number of bands that my girl friends have started (two). I think I am just going to radicalize myself and my choices and stop assessing and advising on how a lot of women are too uncomfortable and too threatened by doing anything/having an opinion/saying anything to be creative or have a good time or whatever because there is too much to it and I feel like being a bitch about it makes me a ‘Smile!’ guy but with reverse intentions. I do have this idea that instead of telling each other to “S a D” we should say ‘D some S.'”

Obviously I’m another useless idealist who dreams of a world built from punk shows where humans of all sorts share their voices and jump around and everyone high fives everyone else. Party Animal’s battle cry is a song called “Inappropriate Boner”: maybe it’s that fear that keeps the keys to the stage in the boy’s pockets.

Pop Music and Power and Women and America// Quaaludes + Cages + 2001

Let’s drink some Brooklyn Lager and watch some videos.

First:

QUESTION 1:  Did the framers of the Constitution imagine a republic in which adolescent girls were  free to fantasize about abusive boyfriends and getting fucked on Quaaludes? My non-existent retirement fund says that “hopeless place” is more often than not sixth-period geometry.

Also strange: that Irving Welsh’s little known 1996 debut novel that was adapted into a little known film called Trainspotting (that certainly wasn’t misguidedly adopted by young white American hedonists at all as justification of blowing their trust funds on E and std tests)  is referenced by the biggest popstar in the known universe as a desperate bid for “edgy”/”relevant.”

Meditate on that for a moment and gchat me. EMILYSHORTSHORTS

Next:

Watch the segment of Nicki in the cage again (try to forget everything that’s beneath contempt about the song, which includes everything about it, actually, and is a topic for another time). Conventional wisdom: women + cage [divided by] progressive feminist/ sentient human alive in 2012= this table’s getting flipped. However. Nicki is not your Romney-voting great-uncle’s cage dancer.

Minaj takes our collective cultural lexicon revolving around  “woman as object” and rewrites the thesaurus. Intentionally assuming the role of caged female + therefore valuable commodity, she takes that table we almost flipped earlier and somehow turns it:  she’s in charge. She knows how to make you want her, this is how you want her, and now she has your attention and will tell you exactly what she wants to. She has the power. And that rug you were just standing on. In her teeth.

Finally:

Dug this one up from before the internet was invented and we used to listen to the literal radio, the top forty radio, when we were fifteen fifty years ago and quoted Jennifer Lopez in our AIM profiles (my life I live it to the limit and I love it, now I can breathe again, baby now I can breathe again). City High’s “What Would You Do” stuck out as an awkward, dull antidote to songs about crushes, love, and being real (all amounting to uh, LET’S GET WEIRD AFTER SIXTH PERIOD GEOMETRY, but only if you bring me ice cream, obs), a to0-hooky explanation of something that we like to call (or ignore as) “American Life [comma] A VERY ACTUAL PORTION OF.”  But, since we were fifteen, we were like, AM I FAT>?!>!>!

HOWEVER.  Not sure if it’s the decade+ that’s elapsed and the fact that I’m always sad about the bulldozer of the human experience that is hypercapitalism and the commodification of said experience due to said bulldozer, or the fact that I happen to be PMSing my head off (yes we’re over it & nice/hot/literate dude please bring me some fucking ice cream and a back massage and a bedtime story thank you) but I SOBBED (not like the normal ONE tear that happens during a movie preview about endangered whales saving a blind kid or  some shit, but the kind that actually infringes your ability to verbally communicate without collapsing into that Claire Danes circa 1994 crumple-face) at the imagery/thought of A CHILD CRYING BECAUSE HE’S HUNGRY AND HIS MOTHER IS STRIPPING TO PROVIDE FOR HIM BECAUSE HIS DAD IS [& i quote] SMOKING ROCK. Also HAHJAHAHA@ those dudes blaming the mother for stripping/prostituting (and the only way to feed him/ Is to sleep with a man/ For a little bit of money and his daddy’s gone/ Somewhere smokin’ rock now) rather than THE DAD WHO’S SMOKING ROCK WHILE HIS CHILD IS GOING HUNGRY AND THE MOTHER IS FUCKING STRANGERS FOR US DOLLARS. Where’s that song, City High? UGH get me that table again because now I need something to flip.

JESSICA CHRIST* I wish I knew in 2001 what I knew now because I would have just lit everything on fire.  Too bad I was straightening my hair and trying to garner the attention of White American Date Rapists (and failing, because I had braces and standards, thank you goddess). #prepschool

EXTRA CREDIT: Compare and contrast City High’s stripping single mother to Nicki Minaj’s intentionally caged cheetah/self. How has the image of the American female as sex object evolved in the context of Bush’s America to Obama’s? In Romney’s conception as 47% of the American public as self-styled victim, where does Nicki fall? Is Nicki’s win a success or loss? Where is City High now? Should we all dye our hair pink? Or just get wigs?

Peace, Love and Decoding Media. ❤ <3<3

*HAHAHA why do we not say that? HILARIOUS

everyone knows it’s a cryin’ shame

Today my student loaners called and I was like, actually I’m going to spend one hundred (100) US dollars on getting my hair as white and close to the edge of my cranium as Our Lady of Perpetual Platinum, Gwen. The woman who’s been cutting my hair for almost two years has been married for four, is a possible Mitt Romney voter, pregs with number three and … my age. As I get older, my inability to commit to a full 16 ounce slurpee of all one flavor reveals itself as weird or something (red and blue at the same time, delicious & makes purple, searching in vain for a metaphor here, prolls waste of time) (unless of course the flavor in question is my super-mega-ultra- love-bro, in whichever universe he is currently inhabiting, probably not this one). Meanwhile, people (strangers!) with whom I regrettably come into contact ask me if I “have kids.” This question is just RIDDLED with assumptions about gender and socioeconomics and rife for the parsing. Without being overly douchey (while of course being extremely douchey) I like to answer “no, I have student loans” or “no, I have a haircut.” Or perhaps I should just say that I was lucky enough to be cripplingly self-conscious in my prime years for making such life-altering mistakes? Maybe I’ll just stick to “like I would give up this butt to a fetus just so some jagoff in 501s can stop returning my calls.”
Well into my 20s, I took a moment to breathe a belated sigh of relief re: having made it out of the teen woods unscathed by a lil me (except mini jean vests: GUHUHUH!) . The victory was slightly and hilariously marred when I realized that since I make about a thousand bucks a month, don’t own a car, can’t pay for food, rent, beer and platform sandals at the same time,  and when I say “let’s get cray/weird” I actually kind of mean it,  getting knocked up today would basically be as disastrous as it would have been ten years ago.
For the record, I don’t dislike babies or kids or parents or families. Full disclosure: I have all my kids’ names picked out. They will all be roller blading by age 4 and they will all go to experimental colleges and will never know what the internet or white sugar or Top 40 radio are, and they will probably hate me and become Republicans. But here’s a question: do men my age get interrogated about the current state of their genetic material in a similar fashion? I am willing to bet the 9 dollars in my checking account that they don’t. Is it because my time is “running out” while a man my age still has about three decades to populate the planet and legitimize his existence? Is it because men tend to “have kids” to a lesser extent than women, in the sense that they can always opt out of parenthood? Or is it because that some humans in the year 2012 still believe a woman’s greatest and only fulfillment comes in the form of motherhood, whereas men are expected/allowed to embody whichever role in society they choose to take on, their role as parent second?
I don’t doubt the transformative experience of becoming a parent (or whatever it is that people like to tell you) and I would never judge a young- or once-young parent. It’s difficult to discuss this topic without sounding like a condescending jerk, (plus pro-lifers will put a skewer through your neck). I look at young moms and don’t doubt that they love their kids and their lives, but the reality is that teen motherhood doesn’t exist as an option to girls of specific (i.e. monied) backgrounds while it is basically an inevitability or even a rite of passage for others. It doesn’t help that women-hating representatives and political groups have a surprisingly firm grip on our nation’s collective psyche and actively bully young women into keeping their fetuses under some imaginary code of “morals”, when we really know that these are just sad, small white men who fear female sexuality with such soul-shaking abandon that they try to end this sex nonsense altogether by making sure women don’t have access to safe abortions. I wonder how many young women’s lives are “transformed” by that.

“the corruption of Girl Nation by internal and external forces”

Just discovered Kate Carraway on Vice:

“It’s been a horrific week in actual Girl News, where the yellow wallpaper keeps shifting (use your Google fingers). Rihanna has been declared too sexy and anti-honesty, or something, to appear in skin cream ads; some professional jagoff from Esquire wrote a thing about how rape is so rare that it “cannot be charted” even though rape is wildly, hysterical-nitrous-oxide-laughter, overwhelmingly common but under-reported because girls are afraid of public and private retribution for their slutty ways, like sluttily existing, sluttily possessing genitals, sluttily not wanting to do sex with someone they sluttily appeared in front of; the half of America that genuinely, enthusiastically hates you and your body and what you might do with your body. No, like hates you. These are all annoying examples, though, details of this weird, hot moment where the antipathy of everyone toward girl-lives has not only tipped but like fucking linebackered into us. Every time I tweet about rape I almost instantly delete it, because there is @-silence from girls (who that is for) and this bizarre condescension from dudes as to if I am OK, and, yes, of course, I’m way over it (#feministboredom), but no, of course not. Of course there is an enduring dissonance between the tropical bounty of a girl life, which I maintain is just shivery-sexy and inclusive of magic and totally satisfying, but then there is The Remembering. It’s like finding out the worst fact of your life, the sickest secret, except, brand-new every day, every time the fact of your breasts makes your four minutes at the gas station an experience of hellish WTFyness.”

–Everything Is The Worst [emphasis added]

Just experienced my first rape joke since sad undergrad party a million years ago the other night. Like really, bro? I know you’re from Las Vegas but what the fuck.  It was so awkward and useless I rolled my eyes and laughed at how extinct he should be but then thought about it later: what if the friend that I was with or I or our other friend or sister or mom had been raped? Then would we have had license to get outwardly, aggressively, upset? We should have anyway, but would have been just some angry bitches and trusted less as human beings than the girls who just laugh along, feeling empty and debased and not knowing why.