It Deserves a Brown Wrapper

So, in what could be considered a monumental move, Walmart has decided to pull the women’s magazine, Cosmopolitan off the front shelves in support of the #MeToo movement. I’m not the biggest fan of the #MeToo movement personally due to the repercussions that I knew would come, but I do support this move.

I don’t fancy myself a prude by any stretch, but I have been in opposition to virtually all the fashion magazines on the market in recent years, and I have been staunchly opposed to Cosmo in particular for even longer than that. Actually, I think it has been about 12 years since I decided that enough was enough with that magazine and vowed to stop reading it. So strong is this resolve that if I was in a doctor’s office waiting room, I would read Popular Mechanics before I would pick up the issue of Cosmo. Now, I know that Cosmo has virtually been the bible for the sexually independent young woman, but I found it’s content to be progressively more and more devoid of substance and actually rather counterintuitive.

The famed chronicle, propelled into modern pop culture by author and editor-in-chief, Helen Gurley Brown, which made popular the Bedside Astrologer and hot and half-dressed single guys who are coincidentally looking for love, has become even more notorious for its monthly articles on the myriad of ways to please your man sexually. Cosmo is the magazine that, I think ironically, coined the phrase “Fun, Fearless, Female”. However, it didn’t take me very long to realize just how conflicting the messages were.

To my best recollection, my first encounter with Cosmo was about 27 years ago or so when I came across an article of about a diet that was described as “Spartan”, very simple, essentially a starvation diet that guaranteed to transform you into a “sylph”. Over the years,  I would read its Bedside Astrologer; take in its beauty tips, which were not even suited to my ethnicity; check out its stereotypically good looking guys with washboard abs who just wanted that someone special; and finally, get on to the spread detailing 50 ways to fellate your man. It was exciting at first, but year after year, as I matured, I realized that all of these “tips” weren’t really necessary. By age 24, I realized that it really all was quite absurd.

I became troubled by the conflicting messages I would see within its pages. On one page, how to take care of your skin/body, on the other, how to party all night like you did in college but still wake up looking fresh for work. One page, an article calling women to action to help impoverished women in third-world countries develop economic opportunities, on the other, a $12,000 designer coat. One one page, love the body you have, on the other, how to lose 15 pounds in one week. On one page, how to stand up for what you want in your life and your job, on the other, women who are shamed into silence. And my “favorite”, 101 positions to keep your man coming back for more, on the other, “I had drunken sex with him, but half-way through, I decided I didn’t like it, so I’m saying he raped me.” There is so much confusion jam packed in those few pages that it’s enough to do anyone’s head in, and I am convinced that that is precisely how they like it.

Confusion is what keeps the reader coming back for more. The sex tips are regurgitated and passed off as new for consumption and utilization by groups of women who have developed progressively contentious interactions with the opposite sex. The articles vacillate between petty Hollywood gossip and fear mongering. Its superficiality is nauseating.

But back to the #MeToo backlash. I knew that a media source that pushed such hyper-sexuality and caprice would be eventually called on the carpet for the part it had to play, despite its attempts to fleece the public with its so-called support of the movement. It’s like the murderer who grooms, kills, then buries their prey then has the audacity to join in on the search party. They have a major part to play in this, they are guilty. While this article in Fortune magazine argues that the #MeToo movement is about men in positions of power abusing their advantage, and that may have been true in the beginning, but, like virtually everything these days, it has crossed over into other avenues and has become bigger than it was intended. Now, so much as a sideways glance is condemned as sexual harassment. What Cosmo does is basically tell women they have license to rub their goodies in a man’s face in the name of sexual liberation but lock him up when he reaches out for a touch. This is unhealthy.

While I’m picking on Cosmo in particular, sadly it seems that pretty much all the fashion magazines have descended into this pathetic spiral, short of the brazen sex peddling that Cosmo does. I had gotten to the point where I felt reduced to only subscribing to People Stylewatch so I could get nothing but fashion and makeup tips, but sadly, it has recently ceased publication, so now I feel I’m left with nothing.

I don’t know how long this move by Walmart will last and whether it will catch on, but I am hoping that Cosmo will view this as a wakeup call and realize that with great power comes great responsibility. And Cosmo has been acting irresponsibly for years. Moreover, it has encouraged countless generations of women to act irresponsibly with no thought of consequence. Oh, and by the way, Joanna Coles, the best orgasms are not to be achieved through positions 2, 29, and 57, they’re achieved through meaningful sexual intercourse within the confines of a substantial and committed relationship, and I didn’t need your magazine to teach me that.

I’m Glad Somebody Said It!

I got this lovely little New York Times article from another wonderful mommy blog, Northshore Parent and I felt I had to say this- “It’s about damn time!” I speaks about the “Wine Mommy” culture that seems to have permeated our ranks. I thought I was the only one who cringed at the “Mommy Needs Wine” memes and this entire culture centered around drinking wine as the only way to unwind and cope with motherhood. I am SO not that mom. I have never been that mom.

I am the type of mom that will let a bottle of Stella Artois sit in her refrigerator for eight months because I just never have the compulsion to drink it. I wince when people try to ply me with a bottle of wine or cranberry and vodka in order to get me to join in on a bitch session. I’d much rather just have the cranberry juice. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I can’t drink to feel numb or to forget. Drinking just serves to amplify whatever misery I’m feeling, and who needs the hassle of waking up with a hangover, although I have a pretty effective way of combatting a hangover, it’s the managing to fall asleep without having to roll off the bed and crawl on hands and knees to pray to the porcelain god that’s the bitch.

The question is, where DO moms like me go to cope and unwind where there isn’t alcohol involved? Everywhere you look, there’s an event for women where wine is stressed. Paint, sip. Make a wicker basket, sip. Walk your dog, sip. Read, sip. Jog, sip. Smile, sip. Ugh!  Oh, and let’s not get started on all the creative little novelty items they’ve come up with to enable this habit. The bendable silicone wine glasses, the lawn wine glasses, the wine reservoir bra? Really? Is it THAT serious? I look at those and wonder of the people that buy them, “What must your life be like?”

I think all this begs the question, what is it that has brought us, women especially, to this?  Is it boredom? Is it a sort of peer pressure? Is it this deep-seated depression that many of us are suffering that we’re not addressing? We’re supposed to be amongst friends in these settings, why can’t we talk it out? We’re not in high school. We’re not in college, at least not those early binge drinking, sorority pledge years of college anyway, then why are we acting like this? We shouldn’t be corking our emotions like this. We’re supposed to be “liberated”. We need to free ourselves from this debilitating habit as well.

Dipping My Feet in the Water.

This is the first blog I’ve had in a long time. I’m hoping it will be received well. I hope this will a blog of catharsis, a place where people can go and relate, commiserate, and celebrate. This blog will be primarily about my travails of motherhood, but it will more than just that. I’m more than just a mother, so are you moms out there. I want us to be able to talk about just about anything, and given this society today, I even acknowledge the fact that we will tend to be judgmental. I get it. I’ve made my career on passing judgments. I do however ask that the judgment is tempered. This is a “Bad Mom” blog, not a “Mean Girl” blog. We can challenge each other without clawing each other’s eyes out. Despite what guys think, it’s not as sexy as they think it is. LOL.

Now, on to the reason for the name of this blog. I have named it “The Yemoja Journals” in commemoration of the goddess, Yemoja. Yemoja is the Yoruba water deity who is the protector of women. She governs childbirth, conception, parenting, child safety, love, and healing. She is associated with the moon, water, and feminine mysteries. She is the equivalent of the Virgin Mary. I think it’s fitting, don’t you?

Now, back to the “Bad Mom” blog reference. I say I’m a “Bad Mom” because if any of you have ever seen that movie (it has surprisingly become one of my favorites), you will know that it is about some mothers who decided to say enough is enough when it comes to this fruitless effort to be the perfect mother and the perfect wife. They were brave enough to stand up and finally say, “No. This is driving me crazy. I’m not perfect. I want to just BE.” So, this blog is for anyone who sometimes doesn’t want to be known as “X,Y,Z’s Mom” and be known by their first name. The woman they were BEFORE they got married/had kids. Oh, and this blog is for anyone else who is interested, or mildly curious. So let’s do this, shall we?