151 Time Out New York
The Bust Guide to the New Girl Orderby Marcelle Karp, Debbie Stoller
Both a literary magazine and a chronicle of girl culture, Bust was born in 1993. With contributors who are funny, fierce, and too smart to be anything but feminist, Bust is the original grrrl zine, with a base of loyal female fans--all those women who know that Glamour is garbage, Vogue is vapid, and Cosmo is clueless. The Bust/b>/b>/b>/b>/b>
Both a literary magazine and a chronicle of girl culture, Bust was born in 1993. With contributors who are funny, fierce, and too smart to be anything but feminist, Bust is the original grrrl zine, with a base of loyal female fans--all those women who know that Glamour is garbage, Vogue is vapid, and Cosmo is clueless. The Bust Guide to the New Girl Order contains brand new, funny, sharp, trenchant essays along with some of the best writings from the magazine: Courtney Love's (unsolicited) piece on Bad Girls; the already immortal "Dont's For Boys"; an interview with girl-hero Judy Blume; and lots of other shocking, titillating, truthful articles. A kind of Our Bodies, Ourselves for Generation XX, The Bust Guide to the New Girl Order is destined to become required reading for today's hip urban girl and her admirers.
151 Time Out New York
- Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 7.42(w) x 9.12(h) x 0.86(d)
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
Read an Excerpt
Our Womanly Ways
I'VE GOT TWO WORDS FOR YOU: TITS AND TWAT. WE GIRLS ARE obsessed with them, and boys, well, (straight) boys just gotta have `em. These two terrific T's are the most sexified parts of our bodies, the most fetishized, the very hot spots of our pleasure zones, and we pamper, powder, and play with them to our heart's content. However, our bodies are more than these twin peaks; it's not just stacked and snatch, it's also our hips and our dimples and our toes and, well, our weight. We poke and prod our bodies with a psychological microscopic lens that ranges from the schizophrenic to the esoteric. But as we try to grow into and learn to accept our own bodies in a world that is full of mixed messages, it's possible for an unabashedly feminist sense of fun, pride, and pleasure to emerge. Ah, the joys of our womanly ways.
Boys seem to have it so easy: Simone de Beauvoir argues in The Second Sex that "at the moment of puberty, boys also feel their bodies as an embarrassment, but being proud of their manhood from an early age, they proudly project toward manhood the moment of their development; with pride they show one another the hair growing on their legs, a manly attribute." There is little mystery to the body by boy, a sporty number that is often competitive and occasionally crude: grow a few inches, pop boners, maybe suffer through an embarrassing voice change, and voilà, what a man, what a man, what a man. Proud. Posturing. Pumped.
But where boys are driven by their need to achieve, girls arepropelled through puberty by something else, something less celebratory, more painful. As Peggy Orenstein tells us in Schoolgirls: Young Women, Self-Esteem and the Confidence Gap, "For a girl, the passage into adolescence is not just marked by menarche or a few new curves. It is marked by a scathingly critical attitude toward her body and a blossoming sense of personal inadequacy." The pretty poison formula begins coursing through our veins while we are still little girlsbe good, eat right, look pretty, and then you'll marry Prince Charming! We're thrust into a pool of other girls who are cuter, skinnier, more of something we are suddenly aware of not being ourselves. "A girl's identity and her sense of worth is suddenly wrapped up in her bra size, something she has no control over," Judy Mann says in The Difference. This is an argument that did little to help the ever hopefuls: those girls taunted by the Itty Bitty Titty Committee, who mimicked Judy Blume's Margaret by desperately chanting, "I must, I must, I must increase my bust," and who sometimes ended up falling just a little flat.
It really doesn't seem fair that so much of a girl's self-worth depends on the boob patrol. A boy isn't judged and scrutinized on a daily basis by his penis sizehis package is tucked in his pants. Instead of compare-and-contrast cock contests, boys brag; a girl's breasts, however, are always on display, front and center, and are therefore vulnerable to evaluation. As soon as boobs bud, they become an unconcealable barometer of worthiness. Self-conscious, a girl looks inward, more embarrassed by her new body than excited and proud, not fully realizing yet that her coming-of-age should be a point of celebration, exultation, discovery. The bigger, the better, the tighter the sweater.
But then, we grow up and realize: "TITS!!! I got them! They may be an A or a triple Z, but I got `em." Suddenly, boobs once hidden by baggy shirts now get put on display by baby T's. And we BUST girls, we love our breasts. We love the strength we derive from them, the sense of femininity they endow us with, their ability to seduce and attract. Sure, there is the occasional insecurity of not passing the pencil test, or not being a desired cup size, or of falling a little too low, but for the most part, our breasts do wonders for uswe can share them if we like, show them off, or remain selfish. Breasts empower us.
Let's face it, our culture is obsessed with breasts. And nowadays, if a girl wants 'em bigger (or smaller), she can make it happen easily. In Marilyn Yalom's History of the Breast, an unnamed female psychologist calls implants a "status symbol" and maintains that a "woman can buy the perfect body the same way she can buy anything else." If she can afford the operation, that is. (If she can't, there's always the Wonderbra.) Or the legal fees. Implant manufacturers such as Dow Chemical, Bristol Meyers, Baxter, and 3M were taken to court for failing to warn recipients of the risks involved with implants. But while awareness grows as to the dangers of breast augmentations, boob jobs are still popping up everywhere.
Have men driven women to prettify, boobify, skinnify themselves? Some feminists think so. In Backlash Susan Faludi states that the medical profession, as well as the male-dominated media and fashion industry, are guilty of conspiracy against women. And Susan Brownmiller, in her book Femininity, opines that "enlarging one's breast to suit male fantasies" furthers the exploitation of women. Plastic surgery offers some women the opportunity to indulge men, to appease men, to continue to give men more of what they want: big-breasted bombshells that they cannot, do not, will not need to take seriously. In objectifying women and compartmentalizing them ("she's got big ta-tas"), the patriarchy can keep on keeping on. But only if the girls let them.
Of course, there are feminists who are pro-enhancement. Feminist scholar Jan Breslauer wrote an article about her implants for Playboy, "Stacked Like Me," in which she proclaimed, "This boob job is empowering." She goes on to argue that although "I know the party line on breast augmentation that women who have surgery are the oppressed victims of a patriarchal culture ... feminism is about having control over life and one's body." Many famous women, including Courtney Love, Jane Fonda, Cher, and Nina Hartley, agree that a woman's choice to mold her body does not make her a victim. If bigger boobs are what she wants, it's her right to choose both as a feminist and as an individual. Is it a demolition job or home improvement?
It's strange that in our sexual lives, we are so breast obsessed, when sex really happens "down there." "The worst thing about being female is the hiddenness of your own body. You spend your whole adolescence arched over backward in the bathroom mirror trying to look up your own cunt. And what do you see? The frizzy halo of pubic hair, the purple labia, the pink alarm button of the clitorisbut never enough! The most important part is invisible. An unexplored canyon, an underground cave and all sorts of hidden dangers lurking within," says Erica Jong in Fear of Flying. In the '70s, Our Bodies, Ourselves encouraged women to take a mirror and get in there and see what makes us so sugary and spicy, to not feel scared or embarrassed or even shameful. You would think we'd be curious from childhood games of "doctor," but in fact, while we're fascinated with what's "down there," the actual sexual discovery doesn't occur until we start to actually rub and press and get off. We don't learn about our power from the Human Sexuality 101 classes, we learn by doing, on our own or with another. Touching our vaginas isn't oh-so- '70s, it's oh-so-now.
Plenty of women in the `90s are all for checking out their doll parts. Sex for One's Betty Dodson and performer/goddess Annie Sprinkle have done vagina tours, if you will, for audiences in order to educate, enlighten, and entertain. Betty holds masturbation workshops for women, and Annie has been known to sit spread-eagled with a clamp between her legs and her cervix on display. Annie feels very strongly about pussy because, she says, "It's fun.... The cervix is so beautiful that I really want to share that with people.... I think it's important to demystify women's bodies. It wasn't until recently that anyone was allowed to look at pussy.... a lot of women have never even seen their own, and ... in a way I wanna say `fuck you guys, you wanna see pussy? I'll show you pussy.'" The power of pussy is a force to be tapped into, especially if you get really good at your Kegels. As Julie Covello points out, boys touch themselves several times a day, at the very leastevery time they go to the bathroom. What a gift! So why shouldn't we be having the same fun with our Sacred Yonis!
During an interview in a Lifetime special, Roseanne Barr-Pentland-Arnold-Thomas (nowadays known simply as Roseanne) half-jokingly said that one time she had considered running for President: her slogan would have been "Put New Blood in the White House Every 28 Days." Thank the Goddess above that our bodies constantly remind us how special femaleness isleaks, spills, cycles, and all. Having your period is a fact of life. From the moment we see those first little spots of blood on our cotton undies, we join ranks with our moms and girlfriends. This is OUR time of the month, a natural state of our girlie experience and nothing to be ashamed about. Women in the '90s are lucky (ha!) enough to have access to tons of information about sanitary napkins, tampons, and other women's hygiene products thanks to a multibillion-dollar health and beauty industry, mainstream women's magazines, and savvy media. And yet, we still have lingering doubts aand conflicting feelings abou our smells, our vaginas, and our periods. Is it because we have been conditioned by a society to feel embarrassed about our supposed "sewers"?
Historically, many patriarchal societies treated a menstruating creature differently. For example, Jews sent their married women to the mikvah for a monthly ritual cleansing (a practice that is still very much a part of today's traditional Orthodox and Conservative Judaism). According to Dr. Helen Fisher in The Anatomy of Love, primitive cultures secluded their women in "menstrual huts." In For Her Own Good, Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English point out that in the 1800s "medicine had `discovered' that female functions were inherently pathological." Public health officials, in their war against germs, subjected menstruating women to "new hygienic standards" because they were considered dirty, unclean, and unsanitary by the mostly male public health officials. Please. The patriarchy of yore would definitely have incarcerated Donita Sparks of the band L7 had they seen her at the Reading Festival in England in the early '90s. There Sparks, in response to the mud- throwing audience, reached between her legs, pulled out her tampon, and threw it at the crowd! You go, girl!
Susie Orbach declared that "fat is a feminist issue." And for our gal Roseanne, "fat" is an F-word not to be feared, but flaunted. What we see with Roseanne is what we geta body that is not an object of shame. "Well I'm fat. I thought I'd point that out." Finally, a voice that defies the you-must-look- like-this messages of the not-so-subtle pop media. Oh, let us count the ways we love Roseanne. In her sitcom, her stand-up routines, and her personal life, she is loquacious, loud, and lewd. Roseanne is not another Weight Watchers spokesperson, another large-girl-gone-slim "success sorry." In fact, for most of her sitcom years, Roseanne's show opened with a camera panning around the dinner table, while Roseanne and her family/cast members laughed and ate, reaching over each other as families do during a meal. Chowing down on television, how normal! In Roseanne's world, food is never an enemy; it's an integral part of it. Whereas fitness guru Susan Powter and her ilk espouse the virtues of slimdom under the guise of good health, Roseanne glorifies the reality of the Real Live Girl. The way these fitness freaks confront their bodies as their nemesis, always needing to be tamed, taut, and thinner, makes girls feels worse; we need more Roseannes and Camryn Manheims, women who accept their size with poppy fresh pleasure rather than fall victim to it with self-imposed torture.
Somehow, the body whole can turn into a psychological battleground. We spend a lot of time figuring out ways to lose weight, strategically planning our exercise schedules and checking out the competitionthe other girls' merchandise. Call it catty, call it unsisterly, but we're guilty of it. Measuring ourselves against the girl next door is already destructive, but nothing does a more damaging mind-fuck than our fascination with models and the reed-thin bodies that make them (models) millions of dollars. If we dare go over a desired weight, we'll starve, or worse, purge until our faces are riddled with burst capillaries. We diet, we gobble laxatives, we wear girdles. In coveting the "ideals" of model figures, we condemn our bodies ourselves to eating disorders, continually punishing ourselves for not being "thin enough."
The Body Shop took little baby steps toward embracing the real body by girl in one of their advertising campaigns: "There are three billion women who don't look like supermodels and only eight who do." This copy accompanied a photo of a paint-by-numbers, Barbie-like head tacked onto a naked Rubenesque doll figure. This kind of Body Shop model doesn't leave the bitter aftertaste of inadequacy that this year's version of Kate Moss does. It's clear that the Body Shop ideology is on our side, condemning lookism (the disease of judging the body) and encouraging being yourself. Finally, it's okay for us to look like us! Will this pioneer campaign influence others and encourage women to covet real bodies? Only time will tell. But the Body Shop is starting something the BUST girl is hungry for: Reality.
We BUST girls are not immune to feeling insecure about our bodies, but we're smart enough to know that we don't need to be victimized by it. Instead of admiring superfreaks, it's important to remember that there are plenty of famous women with bodies that don't quit being real, who don't make you feel alienated and weird, that are crazy, sexy, cool. Rock chicks Kim Gordon, Cibo Matto, Bjork, Queen Latifah, Missy Misdemeanor Elliot, Salt-N-Pepa are divinethey prance and pose and wink and growl without looking like they've been liposuctioned and airbrushed into toothpickville. Models, to me, are the real freaks of nature: too tall, too thin, too pretty to be perfect in any sense of the word. It's the real girl I aspire to be, the one who is sexy and having fun, the one whose snarliness doesn't feel objectifying or demeaning, but does feel like positively raw girl power and that feels right. I'm just a girl and more.
Don't forget, as Marcia Ann Gillespie reminds us, "Women's bodies have long been considered little more than malleable clay to be reshaped to meet whatever the standard of the day, no matter the risk, discomfort, or pain." The fact is, reinforced ideals which result in our internalized negative body images have always been wreaking havoc on us chicks. It's time to say FUCK YOU to that shit. It's time to say "Mirror, Mirror on the wall, I don't care that I'm not six feet tall!" Whether you are a truly toned athlete (or even someone like Sporty Spice, wwho is by no means an athlet but is finally giving girls everywhere a cue that being a tomboy and/or a jock is cool!) or whether, like me, you are a 100 percent soft couch potato, you don't need to torture yourself about your body. Your scale doesn't need to be your enemy, you don't need to throw out the tape measure, you don't have to give yourself Special K tests. All these parts of oursour tits and hips and lipsare power tools. And it's time that we, the grande dames of the New Girl Order, defy the backlash with a proverbial middle finger and bust through the Reviving-data of Ophelia's low self-esteem, stop shoving our fingers down our throats, turn our back on skeletal standards, enjoy being the girl with the most cake and ask: Can I have some more?
Meet the Author
Marcelle Karp, a.k.a Betty Boob, is an award-winning television producer (Lifetime, Fox, HBO) and a contributor to Spin, Details, and Jane, as well as one of the co-founders of Bust.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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There were many wonderful pieces in this book. One example was the open letter to a guys about what women really expect (and don't) from them. Another was in regards to society's views on a women with big derrieres, particularly in the media. Howeverrrrrrr...... I have to warn you that there is piece by an author under the pseudonym 'Lust', who wrote about her sexual experience with, well- a dog. I believe in free speech, and while it didn't shock me all that much as I have heard stories similar to the one she tells- (though I would have rather believed this sort of thing was just an urban legend!)- I REALLY did not need to read about this! While we cannot shelter ourselves for that fact that bestiality exists on this planet, I do not believe that this was appropriate, much less relevant to a book on feminism. And I certainly would not want any younger or sensitive readers to be traumatized if they were to stumble on this story if they were thumbing through the book in a bookstore and having no prior knowledge as to that bestiality is. I still like this book, and I love Bust magazine. But just beware of this piece, and think twice before reading it if you have a weak stomach.
When I interviewed the authors of this book for a Hudson County weekly newspaper, they had come to do a book signing. As a middle aged male I thought I was hopeless out of touch with their generation, and discovered in their books touchstones to their world. In someways, the book's humor hides the fact that it also provides the details and philosophy of a generation as aptly as people like Norman Mailer or Ken Kessey did for mine. The book not only made the interview go well, it has since allowed me to understand the concerns of many other young people with whom I come into contact frequently.
As with their magazine, this book is honest straight talk for all your strong girls out there that aren't afraid of sex or your own sexuality. It's not for you ladies who buy into the whole beauty thing. It's reality for those that want to recognize it. This is a must have!