I wasn’t raised with having newspapers around regularly. My parents were NPR listeners. My friends and my grandparents, however, did get newspapers everyday and I would look forward to visiting with them because I would get to look at the comics section.
Looking back, I don’t know how many of the comics I actually thought were funny. I must have been amused to some extent, but I can’t honestly say that I really looked forward to Hagar the Horrible or anything. As a kid I probably just liked the pretty colors on Sundays (thanks God! I’ll be reading that instead of going to church!) and was happy when I got the joke. Needless to say, I generally skipped Doonesbury, because that shit never made sense to my kid brain.
But for all the comics that I enjoyed (even if just a little bit), there were a few that I despised. Don’t get me started about how idiotic “Family Circus” or “Ziggy” is. Still, the cute drawings/bright colors could keep me from becoming completely irate. One comic, however, could not be tolerated. That comic was “Cathy”.
I just couldn’t understand how anyone would ever even talk to this woman if they could help it. Cathy was that coworker that end up talking to while waiting in line for food at the company picnic. The conversation goes something like this:
Coworker: Oooooh…are those RIBS?!?
CW: Oooooh, I just love RIBS.
You: Yes, ribs are good.
CW: Oh, but I can’t have any. They’re just so fatty!
You: I guess.
CW: Oh, but they just look SO GOOD! I really want some ribs.
You: Then I suppose you should have some ribs.
CW: BUT THEY’RE SO FATTY…
CW: Well, I guess I can have one…and just work out really hard at the GYM! I’M SO FAT!
You’ve had that conversation, right? No? That’s just my coworkers? I think you’re lying because television, and the existence of Cathy indicates that this is what women are like. I mean, we’ve just got so many issues! According to Cathy, a woman’s daily existence consists of waking up and almost dying without coffee, going to work where you and your female coworkers are all the same (OMG RIBS!) and all the men ignore you. Then in your free time, you go and feed a hopeless addiction to shoe buying and crying about how swimsuits JUST DON’T FIT. Then you have dinner wherein you overeat and then feel bad about it and then hide in the bathroom eating chocolate (CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE! ACK!). Somehow you land a boyfriend and you then spend your days hiding everything about who you are in a desperate attempt to keep him (hence eating chocolate in the bathroom).
And then you die.
Thank goodness for that. Am I right? I was quite happy to hear that Cathy kicked the bucket. What a gift to the next generation!
Side note: Yes, I’m ranting about these things, but I do acknowledge that things like body image, forever seeking a way to be thinner and younger, feeling insecure are all very real issues that people have (myself included)…I just find cheap humor based on the Stereotypical Female to be aggravating.
So, why am I talking about this? Well, today I, along with Jessie, was involved in a photo shoot for a project called Girls and Ice Cream. Basically, it was a calendar’s worth of ladies, each one representing a different ice cream flavor. For instance, I was lemon and Jessie was cookies and cream! The group of women was made up of people of all shapes and sizes. The point? To illustrate the beauty and fun of women when they are allowed to simply be who they are.
Leading up to the shoot, we gave our preferences for which flavor we would like to be. I picked lemon, not because I am such a huge fan of lemon sorbet, but because I felt that the flavor fit my sarcastic personality. Also, I like bright colors and it seemed like the most “classic pin up” flavor for me. After we got our flavors, we were basically told what time to show up. We were encouraged to bring our own costume and makeup ideas. We had a huge amount of creative input with our shoots. In fact, most people brought their outfits, said, “I was thinking this” and the photographer said, “Oh wow! Awesome. We’re going to do that.” There is something completely empowering and exciting about being able to be sexy on your terms and be rewarded for it.
What do sexy woman-of-any-size positive photo shoots and Cathy have in common? Nothing. That’s something that made me so happy about the shoot. Instead of an event lamenting how we are close to powerless to stop ourselves from eating evil, fattening ice cream, we were instead representing ice cream. We were claiming it! I have rarely met a person who doesn’t like ice cream. It makes people happy, and I would much rather be associated with literally being it, rather than have it be some sort of horrible tempter sent to make us less acceptable for human consumption.