We Need To Talk About Kristen Bell’s Menstrual Cup

Um.

So.

I logged onto Facebook this morning, and AGAIN Parent’s magazine threw me for a loop. That makes two days in a row that I felt wronged by them. (Yesterday, which I posted about this morning, was about the re-share of that whole daycare pick up shaming thing.)

Today’s article was so startling, and yet at the same time so mundane, that I couldn’t help but double take.

“Kristen Bell Fainted While Trying To Take Out Her Menstrual Cup.”

Uh… sorry to hear?

How do you respond to something like that? Or, rather, react? Do you read it? Do you keep going? Why does anyone care? Is there some deeper meaning, or is this just another attempt at humanizing celebrities so that we identify them more when their movies come out?

Beyond the fact that I feel like every other day I’m learning about the goings on in Kristen Bell’s personal life, whether I want to or not, there’s something so remarkably mundane about a celebrity’s menstrual period woes, or anybody’s for that matter.

I mean, I get it.

There’s nothing to be embarrassed by when it comes to a woman’s period. So bold for Bell to highlight this by telling her own personal anecdotes. I, myself, could regale you all with a myriad of stories when it comes to my own monthly cycle, although I’m not sure Parent’s magazine (or any magazine) would pick the stories up.

And anyway, celebrities are people too! Right? These humanizing articles serve to remind us that the Kristen Bells of the world are real people, not just the characters they portray. They, like us, do quirky things, weird things, fun things. Bell, in particular, seems to have become the poster girl for just how normal celebrities really are. I feel like I’m constantly seeing articles shared over and over again about her (and her husband’s) humanness and – like I said, I get it.

But, is it news?

I guess I’m starting to question what the whole point is of a lot of media outlets, including legitimate magazines that you can still get in the mail, when they are sharing somewhat banal stories, like this one.

I even commented on the Parent’s Facebook post this morning, asking just that. Can Kristen Bell do anything without it turning into a news article? I would suggest, after this whole menstrual cup fainting fiasco, not.

Forget About Family

Here is what I hate the most about the holidays.  It isn’t the blatant lack of cultural knowledge of what the holidays actually represent.  It isn’t the materialism that bleeds out of every nook and cranny.  It isn’t the consumerism, the over-indulgence, or even the misguided judgments that what ‘I’ do for the holidays is what everyone should do.

It’s family.

The day after Thanksgiving, I saw some articles from the Baltimore Sun featured on Google News.  They were opinion pieces about how earlier shopping options for Black Friday deals were breaking away at family values – that people deciding to go to stores late Thanksgiving day was the wrong thing to do because it cut into family time.  It also stated that Thanksgiving’s meaning is to embrace family – a statement so unambiguously false I shot out of my chair and began pacing around the room as I deciphered just what I would respond with.  The article accepted comments that were clean, relevant, and within a certain word count – all guidelines I abided by to the strictest sense.

And yet, my comment was never approved by the opinion editor of the Baltimore Sun.  So much for freedom of speech.

If you look at the great thinkers in the history of the world, you see that centuries of guidance on avoiding family have been put forth as obscurely as in the old Ben Franklin quote about in-laws “keep your eyes wide open before marriage, and half shut afterwards;” and as blatantly as when George Burns said “happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.”  Jesus even said that people are to “leave behind your families, your mothers and your fathers” to go out and do what is right in the world.  How, then, has family – and dysfunctional family at that – completely taken over our entire lives, then – and to such a degree that we will let it cloud our judgment on things (like free speech) that are entirely unrelated to family at all?

I have a few thoughts on how.

To begin, I do not believe that the people who obsess and focus their lives solely on family are very intelligent.  This explains why no one has taken heed of the century’s worth of advice from the great thinkers.  Take a look at the people that argue in favor of the family values campaigns; or even of the average conversation at your typically banal family gathering.  Some of them cannot even communicate using the English language very well any more; in fact, in one of the opinion letters, the person did not even take the time to check their typos and misspellings.  I don’t know if I have ever had an intelligent conversation at a family event.  At both my and my husband’s family events, everyone is either talking about gossip or Dancing With the Stars.  There is no discussion of literature, great film, the aesthetic arts, politics, or society.

If the mundane conversation about what everyone’s been up to at work, and the consistency of each other’s bowel movements and hemorrhoid troubles  (a popular topic at our family dinners) is what truly makes these people happy – by all means, continue on.  But it is evidence to the decreased awareness so many people have about the greater picture of life and the world.  It might also explain why less than 25% of Americans know the actual history and meanings behind the holidays they hold so dear.

Further, I strongly feel that a variety of societal factors have played a part in creating the problem of enmeshed families, which is on the verge of being a psychological epidemic.  I’ve talked about enmeshed family theory before.  It’s the socio-psychological theory that a family becomes so over involved in each other’s lives that massive levels of stress and dysfunction arise, as well as the younger members of the family growing to be socially awkward and ill-equipped to handle the responsibilities an adult must be able to deal with.  I’ve been in a few relationships where the significant other’s family is one of these enmeshed ones – everyone is so up in each other’s business at all times it’s a wonder any of them know the concept of “personal life.”  What arises from such a situation, though, is just more dysfunction.  Gossip, hurt feelings, miscommunication, and – most importantly – expectations on each other that are beyond what any reasonable person can expect.  I think this is where someone would think it is hurting the value of family to have stores open a few hours into Thanksgiving day, such as in the case of the Baltimore Sun articles I mentioned above. And this is also why so many people now see the holidays as exclusively family time.

I say forget about family.

That doesn’t mean to completely isolate yourself from family altogether; but it means to be yourself, do what you want, and don’t allow yourself to feel obligated, manipulated, or bullied into complying with a set of family values you may not agree with completely.  And to those that feel like family is the only thing important in the world, open your mind just a smidgeon and remember that in a post-modern society, everyone gets to determine for themselves what is right and wrong.  That means that your family values are not absolute truth for everyone.

Oh…and boycott the Baltimore Sun.  Censoring a clean and legitimate opinion is not what I’d call “journalism.”  How often in history do we see that the things being silenced end up being the truest?

Stop Being Such a P*s*y

I’m not a fan of the p-word, but I feel it is in order at this point.  Stop being such a p*s*y!

Who am I referring to, you might ask?  Men.  Not all men, just some.  Let me elaborate:

I recently read an opinion piece by a CNN contributor, called Why Men Are in Trouble.  The crux of the article was that, beyond just reaching equality, women have surpassed men in education, career, and salary in the United States, today.  What is disturbing about this trend is not that women are doing more than men (which is troubling on a number of other levels beyond the extent of this particular blog); but really that it is correlative to some other things going on in American culture.  Most noted, as the author of the article points out, is the fact that as the numbers of unemployment and lack of education for men go down, the numbers for video game use among 18 – 34 year olds surpass those of young boys.  Further, role modeling in the mainstream media, particularly in movies, no longer espouse the typical qualities of a mature, responsible, adult male.

Now, I have no problem with adult men playing video games, but there are conditions which must apply.  If you have no job and no car and are over the age of 18, well then there is a big problem if you are spending all of your time in your parent’s basement playing video games.  If you are in college but prioritize your World of Warcraft marathons over going to class, there is a big problem with you as well.  What has happened with American culture that 20% of the male population is unemployed and sitting around their parent’s homes playing video games all the time, not taking the responsibilities that an adult male should be taking?

I think the other relevant point in the antiheroic qualities of men in movies, and male role models in general, is a strong one.  Men in movies now are portrayed not as heroes, leaders, or responsible and upstanding members of society.  They’re pot smoking babies that don’t want to grow up.  They show up on the screen as whiney children that refuse to take responsibility for their actions.  It’s no wonder there are so many single mothers out there, and children abandoned by their fathers, when the classic role models in our film and media do the same, exact thing.  It was like when Manny Ramirez was first busted by the Dodgers a few years ago for doing performance-enhancing drugs.  Everyone said “well, everyone in sports does it.”  As a role model for young men growing and looking to people like Ramirez to model themselves after, is that an acceptable response?  The same can be said for every movie or television show where the male characters act like adult babies in the face of situations where they should be acting otherwise.  But just because everyone does it now, does not make it okay.

I cannot count on both hands how many men I have run across in my own life that act like complete babies when it comes to a myriad of things.  Some of them, I wonder if they are even really men.  I started to notice this a few years after mother’s day when I saw a family member (who shall remain nameless because I know his mom and brother read this blog…) post on his Facebook page “just got back from a nice brunch with my mommy.”  I almost vomited when I saw this because, while in normal circumstances it might be sweet or a nice, mother’s day gesture, I knew that it was indicative of the fact that on most days of the year he (like a lot of men) still cowered under his mother’s skirt.  And how many of us don’t know at least one man who acts irresponsible when it comes to his family, or (more often) his job?  Who spits in the face of his family or the people around him, and refuses to take responsibility for the decisions he makes?  Who will walk out on a job whether he has a way to pay his own bills or not?  Or, how about more simply put:  how many of us can say we don’t know a guy that’s skating out on his child support, or on properly caring for his wife?  I can name a lot of those, which is a sad state of affairs if you ask me, faithful blog followers.

But I think this goes much deeper than just video games and bad role modeling.  Somehow our generation – our entire culture even – has gotten the idea that we don’t have to actually take responsibility for anything.  This is a great problem, which will only become greater, if something doesn’t change.  My solution is about twenty-fold, from education to government to parenting, etc.  But for the sake of being brief (for now), I’ll stick to just saying to all those men out there (and you know who you are):  stop being such a p*s*y!

Reasons #Carmaggedon Could Be A.K.A. Yuppy-fest 2011

It’s my worst nightmare come true:  a festival of yuppies, hipsters, and yupsters banding together in a festival of – dare I say – epic proportions.  That’s right, it’s Carmaggedon.  It’s the weekend we’ve all been dreading, when the section of the 405 freeway between the 101 and the 10 interchanges is closed.  How is Carmaggedon – the event KCET is calling the “freeway apocalypse” – the same thing as Yuppy-fest 2011 you ask?  Well before I get into why, let’s look at some facts first:

Fact #1:  The major Los Angeles 405 freeway will be closed for roughly 12 miles, for about 53 hours, over the weekend.

Fact #2:  This weekend marks the end of the most-traveled time this summer, meaning that most people will have been (and will continue until the end of the weekend) be out of town anyway.

Fact #3:  For those that are in town, alternative routes (including the Pacific Coast Highway) are already common place on weekends, due to plans, scenery, beach-related activities, and other similar recreational factors.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let’s make the connection.

The Midnight Ridazz

That’s right, the hipsters have named their attempt to do a massive 300+ person walk/ride on the 405 freeway Saturday night the Midnight Ridazz.  The plan is to have this cadre of cyclists (no doubt in their mod outfits, their heads headbanded, all wearing their neon-rimmed glasses) make their way up the 405 North on one of the only times you will see the freeway completely desolate.

Except for a couple of things.  First, the freeway isn’t going to be desolate because it’s been closed for construction work, which not only means a crew of workers and trucks, but a major danger to the unprotected pedestrians.  The second is that the California Highway Patrol has already stated it will have a force just as massive as the hipsters out there, ready to ticket and arrest anyone on the freeway, and out of line.

The Bikers Versus Jet Blue Race

And in come the yuppies.  After Jet Blue announced it would be offering flights from the Long Beach airport to the Burbank airport for a measly $4 a flight, something that deserves a section of its own, some jokesters on Twitter suggested that the bicyclists could beat Jet Blue in a cross-town race during Carmaggedon.  And now, it’s apparently on.  Beyond the sheer stupidity of taking an airplane across town, this really begs the question:  don’t these people have anything better to do with their time?

The Buy Local Yupster Explosion

Now, I’m all for buying local, and supporting local businesses; but the yupsters take it way too far on a normal day.  From their organic farms, to their locally manufactured clothing, support of the local market has been a hallmark of the yupster mentality.  But since NBC LA came out with its 405 Things To Do During Carmaggedon list, emails, Facebook notifications, and Twitter announcements have been made by the hundreds for special “buy local” deals going on over the weekend.  Pictured here is the email I received just today – a huge sale at New Balance LA in honor of the weekend.

Photo credit ME!

With the yuppies, the hipsters, and the yupsters in full force this weekend, Yuppy-fest 2011 makes me crave a good old fashioned L.A. riot – at least then the “countdown to carmaggedon” media coverage of this “historic event” would be justified.

The real deal is this:  sure, the 405 freeway is going to be closed for the weekend and that sucks.  Yeah, the commute time anywhere in or around town will be longer, so you need to make sure you have enough gas in your tank, and snacks on hand to avert crankiness.  Other than that, it seems that the media and the yuppies have again created a hype that is going to end up embarrassing for no one but them.  This evening on the news, the broadcaster said “… well, if you are on the 405 northbound right now, you have reached the point … of no return.”  Sure, traffic is going to be bad, but it’s L.A … what else is new?