Week Four, December 2013 ~ A Numbered List for Everything…Except Substance

Huffington Post’s section for women boasts the following: “A women’s take on news, relationships, sex, work, culture, friends, family, body image and other things that matter.” However, it’s ever apparent that the things that HPW sees as “things that matter” to women aren’t always what women themselves think matter. Be prepared to see me rant about some of them here.

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My rant this week will be somewhat brief, mainly because I think my point will be understood fairly quickly. What is with the barrage of numbered lists? Seriously, you are making lists for everything. Is it something requested from someone in charge of the blog site? I was under the impression (especially with the way that the various parts of HuffPo seem to have no idea what the rest of the site is doing) that there isn’t any sort of website meeting that happens on a regular basis, like you see in the movies. You know, even Clark Kent had to sit in on a staff meeting where writers and photographers got assigned stories to cover and then they were quickly shuffled out the door to pursue the lead. That seldom happens any more, at least not with the blog sites. However, there is an epidemic of posts lately titled with something along the lines of “23 Things You Could be Eating for Dinner” or “17 Lives that are More Explosive than Your Diarrhea”. Okay, perhaps that last one is a bit much, but you get my point. HuffPo Women is jumping on this bandwagon with all the enthusiasm of a group of cheerleaders. Here is a sampling of their latest groupings of things that women are supposed find interesting:

~ 19 Stages of New Year’s Eve Planning Anxiety – What the fuck is the point of this one? Oh, right. Lets add another to the ever-growing list of anxieties women already have about the holidays. This time we are going to offer it in the form of flashy animated .gifs (because women only pay attention to things with movement or that sparkle). What isn’t going to be shown is suggestions about how men and women can be safe during the holidays. No reminders about designated drivers or taxis, nothing about not leaving your drinks unattended while in crowded clubs, not a peep about traveling in groups and using the buddy system during what the blogger refers to as “most overhyped ‘party night’ of the year.” No instead, within the only small paragraph of text used in this selection is this: “just staying in is, apparently, not an option.” Really? I beg to differ.
Having been a bar owner I have experienced the “scene” from various angles. I got to rake in thousands of dollars in a single night from the mass-consumption of alcohol. I have been the customer, both the intoxicated and the sober “designated driver” keeping people safe. I have also seen the tragedies and the arrests from too many people not using precautions. It is absolutely an option to stay home, and you shouldn’t feel bad or embarrassed for choosing that route. More and more places are offering events on New Year’s Day. I used to remain open all night (it’s the one day of the year that some states allow it), having a band and then a DJ for the Eve celebration and then the next day offering more live music and served free food for both days. Check your options. If you want to stay home during the craziness of the last day of the year and spend the first day of the new year out celebrating instead, by all means do it. The odds are in your favour that it will be safer, at the very least.

~ 10 Things you Feel When You’re Single for the Holidays – Admittedly, this blogger is single. She mentions it in the first sentence. Even if she hadn’t, however you would have figured it out pretty quickly. Reading this post, you also figure out that her life seems to come to a depressing end and has no meaning without a partner to help her feel complete. I got news for you, if you are unhappy alone, you are only going to be miserable (and, as a result make your partner miserable) if you end up finding someone who is willing to buy that “life-sized bear made out of chocolate” that you feel is necessary to get you through Valentine’s Day. Not only that, but if life “bothers” you so much that you need the distraction of being with someone else, you probably have some serious soul-searching to do so it’s probably a good thing you aren’t involved right now. Also, I was married for over a decade and still alone for most of it. “Single” does not mean “alone” anymore than being with someone guarantees that you will no longer feel alone. Finally, how uncreative are you that three of the ten is a different variation of the word “alone”? You are a published writer. Open a thesaurus, for fuck’s sake.

~ 10 Ways to Hide the Fact that You are a Secret Slob – Okay, despite the fact that I have a form of OCD it most definitely is NOT of the cleaning variety. I have the joy of obsessing over numbers instead (is the volume on the TV set at an even number or one that’s divisible nicely like 5; why did I have to buy 3 of some things and 2 of others). However, if I knew that there was even the remotest possibility of someone showing up at my house for an event that happens every year at the same fucking time I would perhaps plan ahead a little bit. Okay, most years I am still shopping for someone on xmas eve, so obviously procrastination really is my bag. What I do not do however is put off things that people will see.
First, why the fuck can you not find time to switch on a dishwasher? Isn’t the point in having one so that (in addition to cutting back on having to physically wash some of your dishes) you never have to have a load of dirty dishes hanging about? How lazy are you than you can’t squirt some liquid in the cup, close the door and set the cycle? No one is that busy. It’s seriously like 10 seconds. Even if you are somehow too busy to put them away at least the load is clean.
Second, do not use garbage bags for storage. Ever. Nothing says “I’m a hoarder” more than big black garbage bags stashed around the house. The same goes for bins. Seriously. seeing a bunch of random shit tossed into bins isn’t gonna make me think you are organised. It’s gonna look like you are trying to cover up that you are a slob. Also, if you have a dishwasher, the odds are good you have a washer and a dryer. Use them. It takes a few moments to load the washer or switch from washer to dryer. Me hearing the dryer running when I come by for dinner is going to impress me more than the stash of garbage bags or over-sized Tupperware filled with random shit. Also, you won’t have to worry about stashing it all on the back deck or in the trunk of your car. Honestly, if you are such a slob that you need to read about how to fake it, you likely don’t have empty closets either. Oh, and for the record, burning candles only masks odors briefly. If your place smells like a locker room or a laboratory, masking that isn’t going to work for long.
Finally, why is this on the section for women? Once again placing housekeeping on the shoulders of women. Obviously the person who wrote it never had teenage boys, never went to a single guy’s house and assumes that only women should have to bear the responsibility for keeping a house clean, or would actually have a guest over for the holidays. Seriously, couldn’t this have been in the main section of HuffPost just as easily, if it had to be posted at all?

Granted, they did post a list of “24 Pieces that Should be Required Reading for Women for 2013” but there wasn’t much there that wasn’t about emotional strength. I’m not saying that isn’t important, but where is the positive articles about women breaking glass ceilings? Why was there no mention of Wendy Davis, or anyone who took a political risk on behalf of women? There are plenty of organisations geared toward helping women get ahead that have nothing to do with adding to the stereotype that we are only emotional beings, but none of them were mentioned either.

The lists are endless and they are non-stop. It’s like they assume that unless the information is numbered and [often] accompanied with flashy or glittery .gifs or photos that women won’t want to read about it. While there is bound to be some that fit that category what about giving us substance? What is happening there is only feeding into the assumption that women only care about “pretty” and “feels”. Fuck that. Women want to know that we are making a difference and leaving our mark on the world, and it’s not always pretty when it happens.

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