Thursday, December 9, 2010

F*** you, from Art

Dennis Prager has his panties in a wad because rap artists swear too much, but are still intellectually capable of making good music. I'm reasonably certain that my comment on the article won't make it passed the screeners at the National Review, so here are my thoughts, with notes.

Why is it such a big deal that a music video by a black artist has an all-black cast? No one's panties ever get in a twist about a music video by white artists having all-white casts. [Notice how he never actually illuminates why this is a problem.]

Further, I will speak to the only song on the list I have heard. Eminem's song "Love the Way You Lie" is an amazing portrayal of the emotional tumult one goes through when involved in an abusive relationship. As such, it is not only appropriate, but necessary for the F-word to be used in the lyrics. The thing about art is that sometimes it deals with things that are icky, because art is a necessary expression of the world the way it is seen by the artists' eyes. Pieces that deal with volatile subject matter necessitate swearing in order to get the point across that sometimes life is awful.

When an artist is telling their own story about how their lives have been challenging, it isn't simply moral degradation that causes said artist to swear, but the fact that they are reflecting a culture that is degrading. Art is not something that is subject to the delicate sensibilities of Dr. Prager, because the minds of artists don't get run passed society's self-appointed content-screeners before being published; just as what actually occurs in their lives that inspires these depictions is not passed by anyone, save g-d, perhaps.

In truth, it is not swearing which belies the moral degradation of our society, it is the poverty in which too many Americans grow up that demonstrates that we are a broken nation. It is the unwillingness of certain groups of people to accept the basic humanness of other groups of people, simply because their skin is a different color, or their religion is different or because they love a person of the same gender. You want to talk about moral degradation? Spend a night on the street with a homeless vet whose mind was annihilated during war. Take a look into the lives of teenage girls who are forced into prostitution either by coercive violence or because an adult got her hooked on meth. Then tell me it's inappropriate for an artist to repeatedly use the F-word in a song.

Rap music isn't the cause of moral degradation and it's not even the result of it. It's the artistic depiction of the horrors that escape persons of privilege, like Dr. Prager who cannot see four feet in front of their own faces.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"They who begin by burning books will end by burning man."

So sayeth a 19th century German philosopher whose name I can't recall.
All week there's been chatter about the legalities, the rights, and wrongs of the asshat in Florida who declared 9-11 "International Burn a Koran Day". Everything has been said about this, including that said asshat will instead be having a powwow with the "Iman" (guess he's going to David Bowie's house) in charge of Park 51, the not-mosque that's not at Ground Zero. Also included in the discussions has been "hey, it's just a book", which leads me to the only thing that hasn't been said in this whole debate:
It's not just a book. It's a book. Books are important.

Leaving aside the content of this particular book (to which I am ignorant, since I don't own and have never read a Koran; something I intend to rectify this coming Buy a Koran Day), this idea in people's heads that something can be "just" a book is laughable. The only reason we've progressed as far as we have as a society is because of books. Our personal histories, our cultural histories, our philosophies, the entire concept of objective analytical thinking is not possible without books.
Books are important. You read them. You share them. You pass them on to be read by others. You discuss the content (unless it's Dan Brown, then you have to make a movie starring Tom Hanks first). You get up early on Saturday and go to temple to sit in a room with other people who have different ideas on that week's Torah portion, and you disagree with each other, broadening horizons and making new friends.
Now, in Judaism, books are revered. Most of all, the Torah, whose study is the most pious and holy of pursuits (aside from saving lives). The Torah is NOT just a book, and I don't know any religious person who would say that it is. No Jew, no Christian, no Muslim, no Hindu (well, some branches of Hinduism...). For Christians and Muslims, as well as we Jews, the Torah is the basis for their faiths. Hindus understand the importance of books because they've been around about 5,000 years longer than any other culture (that's a conservative estimate). Meanwhile, the Buddhists would say "if it gives you comfort, then it is of significance". (Or was that Tia Dalma in Pirates of the Caribbean?...)
I would imagine, then, that the Koran is emphatically not "just a book". So quit saying that it is. It's a cultural history. It's a piece of art. It's something that gives comfort to a billion people.
If history is important because it allows us to learn from our mistakes, then books are important because they contain history. If ideas are important because they allow us to progress, then books are important because they contain ideas. Books are not a luxury. Books are not symbolism. Books are not simple trifles whose existence is to be taken lightly.
Perhaps, I am in a unique position, as a member of a group often called "the people of the book", I can say that I believe that a book is no less precious than a life. Some books are simple and shallow. Some books are of immeasurable significance. Some books are good, some books are terrible; but in the end every book is the child of someone's mind. As we say in the art world, the medium is the message; and "they who begin by burning books will end by burning man." (It was Heinrich Heine.)

Friday, August 27, 2010

What's your fuel?

Right: homemade organic
cheddar-jalapeƱo challah
In my house, we're kind of obsessed with food. Part of that is because we're naturally health nuts, part of it is because of dietary restrictions and food allergies. A third, more important part, is that we're both nuts about eating, and if it doesn't taste good, why bother?
I discovered earlier this year, for instance, that the reason I never liked bell peppers before was that I was eating conventionally grown peppers that taste like dirt. Organic bell peppers are sweet and crunchy, and delicious in just about everything.
Today on The Karel Show, the passionate host, Karel, spent an hour talking about how the CorporatizationTM of our food chain is poisoning us, making us fat, and increasing the prevalence of metabolic diseases to the extent that there is now a classification of illness called "metabolic diseases". To quote another favorite liberal talker:
As crazy as it sounds, it's 100% true. Most of the available sustenance is half-artificial. Most of even our freshest fruits and vegetables are genetically modified, or at the very least grown in such a way that they are nutrient deficient and taste non-existent. Don't believe me? Do an experiment with me: purchase two of your favorite fruits or veggies, like a honeycrisp apple; one with a produce code that starts with a 3 or 4 (conventional), and one with a produce code that starts with a 9 (organic). If you're really feeling adventurous, grab one starting with an 8 (that's your GMO, bleh!). Take your fruit home and try each of them. What you're going to find is that the conventionally grown apple is soft and meally and has that waxy flavor that is only supposed to come from apples at the food bank. Meanwhile, the organic apple will be crisp and sweet and will taste like, huh, an apple.
Truthfully, most people actually don't know the difference between organic and non-organic foods -- and a part of that is because they avoid vegetables because they don't taste good. Or they were raised with canned veggies, and those are good enough. Except that their not. Things that come in cans, pretty universally don't have any nutrients.
The thing is, if you don't have time to pay attention to what you're eating, you need to reassess your priorities. The less time you devote to feeding your body what it needs -- not just something to put into your stomach, but nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and NOT preservatives, additives, or things that metabolize into formaldehyde in your liver -- the less time you're going to have to be alive.
The chemicals that Big Food is pumping us full of is causing more harm than the chemicals we get from Big Tobacco! Think about it. Do you know what monoglycerides are? I can't even figure out if "monoglycerides" is the plural or singular expression of that word! Is there a reason something with common ingredients to nitroglycerin is in food*? Is there a reason an ingredient has ingredients?!
We all know that these things are cheaper than actual food. And for some reason we've been socialized to think that the amount of food is more important than the quality of that food. And truthfully, an entirely organic diet is just as satisfying and not that much more expensive than a conventional diet. (And trust me, organic chocolate is so much better!) For some reason, the idea that money trumps value has been transferred from the people who make the garbage and sell it to us, through the "food", and into our subconscious minds.
Well, we're paying for it now. The money that we saved eating eggs made in factory farms, shrimp grown in pools with chicken coops suspended above them, and high fructose corn syrup, will eventually be spent on our healthcare bills. And then some. Having diabetes costs way more than you ever would have spent on bread made with sprouted whole grain instead of flour. It takes a lot more effort to deal with the impact these poisons have on our health than to avoid them in the first place. Just ask my friend Kelley.
Americans aren't fat because we eat too much and exercise too little. We're fat because our bodies are filled with garbage. And it's incredibly difficult to get that stuff out once its in. Start by drinking more water.
*If you can call it food.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Oh for-- really?

I have to admit that follow ForbesWoman on the Facebook. After their post this morning, however, I'm not entirely sure why. I'll save you the FB typos and just say that the post went to this article on "Smart girls marry money". Sure, girls. Right.
Now, I personally don't believe in marriage (that's why I'm not married), and I honestly could give a crap about what other people do with their personal lives. My issue here is the sheer intellectual laziness and incongruence that is this entire 500 word article.
"It's time to start treating your life like reality," says the headline. "We live in a world that runs on dollars and good sense." And then goes on to advocate that women wake up to the fact that they're going to miserable 4evr unless they marry a man with a fat wallet. It's called the "Gold Digging Imperative". Marry a rich guy so that you can take vacations and get hot-stone massages instead of being a "lady lawyer, doctor, or MBA still slaving away after 40" like a man. EW!
The biggest problem with this article (and the viewpoint it promotes) is this:
"The average guy believes most gals are only looking for money, but the truth is too few of us are interested in their income at all. The modern gal is earning her own cash and is looking for emotional security.

Too bad it doesn't exist.

What's worse, national statistics show women suffer far more economically than men when marriages fail. With this in mind, we have some advice: Instead of looking for love, let's look out for our own security, the kind you can count in dollars and cents."
In essence, instead of preventing economic disparity after a failed marriage, marry someone who has way more money than you so that when he dumps your ass you get a huge alimony check. If you live in an alimony state, that is. Not to mention the fact that if a woman takes care of her own assets, marries, and then divorces, but still has those assets the economic disparity isn't going to to be as great. The other thing that it's important to remember here is that the perpetuation of the idea that men should be in control of the finances is what usually gets women into trouble at the end of their marriages. Sure, she pays the bills, buys the groceries, whatever; but he's in control of the debt. The house. The three water-logged boats sitting useless in the backyard.
Women fare worse in divorce because our society is set up to shit on them economically. We're taught, and teach each other, that we shouldn't worry about money, just find a man. We're discouraged from going into "masculine" fields of work, like engineering, law, medicine, when those fields pay more. And as a woman business owner, I have lost count of the number of people who have paid me less respect for my business prowess because I have a uterus. (Of course, my business is makeup, so I get a little more credit than the woman who owns a construction company. At least I'm in a field that I know something about.)
There are other issues with this segment too. For instance, assuming that the "average guy" thinks that women are only after money in relationships. That really should say "the average misogynist", which by my own research is about 15% of the male population (and an opposing 15% of the female population, including the authors of this book and the publishers of Forbes). The truth is, most guys I know are more interested in having a spouse to whom they feel themselves equal in all arenas, including finances. In relationships where there is a good deal of economic disparity, neither partner is happy.
The message is clear, ladies: marry a man who has lots of money so that you don't have to work. (And we wonder why certain conservative groups paint all poor people as being lazy...) And gentlemen: no matter how awesome she is, you're going to have to pay for it somehow or another. Let's just demean everybody, shall we?
However, in reality the bottom line is this: smart women make their own money, and most people marry within their own socioeconomic class. It's not a secret. Cinderella, the fairy tale upon which the "Gold Digger Imperative" is based, doesn't follow what happens to the girl after she marries Prince Charming. Do you really think they lived happily ever after?
For g-d's sake! Even the women who do become successful solely through the glory of their squacks have to work for it! Real life is going out and making it for yourself, not just depending on someone else (a man or otherwise) for your own fulfillment, happiness, and hot stone massages. It's the American dream!
Why does ForbesWoman hate America?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A few things we learned while flipping through the bios for WA state senate candidates

1. Don't write about earth really being a spaceship.

2. Proof-reading should be done by someone who speaks English.

3. Hot air balloons don't have brakes.

4. There's no "u" in John Galt. That's the whole point of the question "Who is John Galt?".

5. Your bio should not feature a scene from a movie starring James Gandolfini. No less than a movie starring John Travolta should be quoted in any bid for national office. Have some goddamn respect.

6. The children of potato farmers can go on to win 3 Super Bowls in no other country than the United States. Amirka. Fuck yeah.

7. If you're a physicist, you should stick to physics. Any idiot can run for congress. Seriously, this is beneath you "Skip".

8. Once again, the person who proof-reads your bio needs to SPEAK ENGLISH.

9. Don't write your bio in iambic pentameter. Its next performance will be by George Takei on the Stephanie Miller show.

That is all. Please take these lessons with you in in the coming years, as they might come in handy should you ever choose to run for office.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Couldn't have said it better myself

So I won't. Via Ren.

I also believe in "truth in advertising" as it so much that if a woman is dressed sexy, well, she might be interested in sex. HOWEVER, that does not mean she is interested in sex *with you* or any and every other man who might approach her. And sure enough, men who do NOT take no as an answer are fucking asshats. End of story. A woman could be half naked, drinking, doing your best friend on the bar and if she says "no" to you, well gee, men should take that as a no and move on. End of story. Not taking that no is one of those things that leads to rape, and well, gee, if the horrible hussy did not really mean it...well, she can look elsewhere and the dude who walked away has maybe just saved himself some future drama (and people say I am not a humanitarian?) And further is not the job of women to police the behavior of men. End of story. Once y'all are past the stage when momma is bringing you up- you are on your own and responsible for your own behavior, and no woman owes you shit or is obligated to make sure you behave yourself. That there is what we call being "grown up."

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Condoms, pulling out, abstinence, outercourse...

What the hell am I talking about? Well, there seems to be a little bit of a squabble going on (perpetually) about men's right to choose.

Summary: single, stay-at-home dad has girlfriend. Single, stay-at-home dad doesn't want more kids, but knocks up girlfriend. She has an abortion. He knocks her up again, and even though they had previously agreed that if it happened again, she would terminate without discussion or hesitation, she changed her mind (as is her prerogative). However, she saves herself from becoming a hero in this story by not only having the baby, but suing single, stay-at-home dad for child support. Dick move. Seriously.

Anyway, Single Stay-at-home Dad has become a poster child for some men's organization who want to give men a say in whether a woman terminates or keeps a pregnancy. There are two problems with this idea, and it's not hypocritical for me, as a feminist, to tell men that they don't get abortion rights. Men don't get abortion rights because men don't get abortions. If we were all intersexed and could procreate that way, sure, if one partner wanted to keep a pregnancy and the other partner didn't, you could just go "okay, here, you have it", and then everyone would be grown-ups about it and not try to sue somebody for child support. But we don't live in that world so...

Listen guys, you already have reproductive rights. It's called pulling out. Women get birth control and abortion rights because we can't control where your semen goes. You can. Ergo, figure it the fuck out. If a man doesn't want children, and either can't be bothered or is too stupid/lazy to figure out at least one of the many ways to avoid impregnating a woman, then he's already made his choice. It's not an issue of not having sex, it's not an issue of "keep your laws off my body" either (because, let's face it, abortion laws don't affect men's bodies, they affect their checkbooks and emotional well-being).

The fact of the matter is that, for the span of human existence, men have had the say in whether a baby gets born. You can read about these things in the bible for gods' sakes -- how to cause a woman to have a miscarriage, how it's okay to punch a pregnant woman in the stomach if she's your wife and it's not your kid. Blah blah fucking blah. Welcome to the 21st century, guys. You don't get a say in what goes on in a woman's uterus anymore unless the owner of the uterus says that it's okay for you to have an opinion on the matter and she loves you enough to give a fuck about what that opinion is. Because we're an enlightened (ha) society, and once sperm meets egg, it's no longer your property or a part of your body. Period.

Speaking about the specific instance that's mentioned in the Broadsheet article, she had the right to change her mind and he had the right to walk away. It was a dick move to sue for child support, but just because someone is an asshole about something like this, doesn't mean that men suddenly have a say (again) in what happens inside a woman's body.

Now, I'm gonna say this again because it's very important:

If you're a man, and you don't want kids, figure out at least one way to avoid impregnating the woman you're having sex with. Use a condom. Pull out. Don't fuck her, or don't fuck her vagina. And if you've already gotten her pregnant once, don't make her go through another abortion. Wise up and figure it out. We can't control where your semen goes. You can. Don't act like a powerless victim when an unplanned pregnancy doesn't go the way you want it.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Can't get a rib in edgewise

I like to read Broadsheet on the bus. I'm not terribly fond of most blogs while I'm traveling because the crackberry doesn't do so well with rich text and images, so Broadsheet. Well, last week Margaret Eby wrote a piece righteously chastising Tony Bourdain for something he said in an episode of No Reservation entitled "Food Porn 2".

But then Bourdain dropped a wisecrack that irked more than amused. "Barbecue: It's like chocolate for men," he quipped, introducing a segment about some succulent, slow-
roasted meats.

Now, let's bear in mind that the title of the chastising blog was "Ladies, back away from the BBQ" and decided that it was time to "disabuse" Tony of the "notion that women like sweet things and men like meat things". Let's stop for second and ignore the weak premise, and set aside even calling Margaret out for attacking the wrong person -- Bourdain didn't invent the stereotype that men like meat things and women like sweet things. Let's focus on all this talk about dissertations regarding barbecue sauce.

Because, when you think about it, when you get into the nitty gritty of the foods themselves, barbecue sauce is simply the masculine version of chocolate. As a chef, I imagine (and it may be pure imagining) that Tony knows this, and that's where his comments came from not from some misogynistic idea that one kind of food is for chicks and another for dudes. I fancy myself a bit of a chef, and I'm well aware that there are as many different types of barbecue sauces as there are chocolates. Different regions have their specialties, spices, means of preparing them -- and we can't forget that chocolate and barbecue sauce converge in the delectable South America Mole' sauce.

Consider barbecue separately, and take in the idea that it is "chocolate for men". This doesn't mean that the ladies should "back away" from the BBQ, not indulge our pretty little hands in some beef spare ribs, or delight at licking the sauce off our fingers after a pulled pork sandwich falls apart. It doesn't even mean that more men than women enjoy a cook-out (although, they do seem to monopolize the grill with their grunts of "fire good"). What this means is that barbecue has the same elements, taste-wise, as chocolate does, and plays the masculine notes. It's the same flavors, the same areas of the tongue and brain are activated, but on the masculine side.

Now we consider chocolate. It has just as much ability to be sweet, tangy, hard, wise, bitter, salty as does barbecue sauce. It has multiple uses, multiple forms, and while chocolate makes for a better milkshake, at its gourmet roots it is the same as barbecue sauce -- except playing the feminine side of the taste buds and corresponding brain cells.

This is not a feminist issue -- unless it's an issue of telling a feminist to get her head out of her ass and remember that chocolate makes for a good barbecue sauce.

While you do that, I'll be enjoying my chocolate barbecue sauce on this.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Reminder: Godwin's Law is in effect

I've written about this before, as have a number of other bloggers. And while I don't really have a lot of commentary on the current healthcare debate, I do want to remind both sides that comparing your opponent's positions to that of Hitler or the Nazis automatically invalidates your argument, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

But some people just don't understand why people get so uppity about using the Holocaust as a frame of reference for current geopolitics, despite the fact that it's completely inappropriate and inaccurate. Because while Barack Obama may have very good speaking skills (so did Mary Kay Ash, Martin Luther King Jr, and President Bill Clinton), he does not have plans to wipe off the planet all but those who possess a very specific group of genetic characteristics. No one in America is being arrested for political dissidence or forced to wear clothing that indicates their ethnicity, religion, or sexual identification (people may do this on their own, but as far as I know there's no law mandating it).

Still, there persists this horrific meme on the right (which just as surely existed on the left during the Bush administration, and if I wasn't clear enough that it wasn't okay then either, that is my fault), that Barack Obama = Hitler, Democrats = Nazis, and healthcare reform = ha shoa (the Holocaust). This simply isn't so. It's insulting to the memory of those who suffered and died during the Nazi regime, minimizing their pain to tug on the emotions of people who don't know any better. Continued violations of Godwin's Law make a person look like an uneducated jackass (I'm talking to you, Glenn Beck). And when someone calls you out on it, don't act all surprised that you're having your ass handed to you over the issue (especially if you're trying to make the Obama = Hitler argument in a discussion with a Jew), making it a personal argument rather than a political discussion.

We can have political discussions in this country. We should. But there are rules. You can't just throw the Obama = Hitler argument into the mix and see what happens. That's why Godwin's Law exists, so that arguments don't get side-tracked by something that has nothing to do with the current conversation and does nothing but raise the hackles of all involved. The entire point of Godwin's Law transcends political ideology because, at its heart, it's about protecting the intellectual debate and not allowing emotions to distract people from the issues.

Meanwhile, violations of Godwin's Law are intentionally distracting. It is disgraceful to think that anyone would attempt to score cheap points by comparing a political adversary to the person responsible for enslaving, raping, starving, torturing, and eventually murdering and desecrating the remains of 6 million Jews, and another 6 million people he decided weren't racially or politically "pure". It isn't about charismatic leaders or disagreements about the direction of the country. Violations of Godwin's Law accomplish only the further desecrating the memories of those victims and their survivors, and that's why people (especially Jews) get touchy about the whole thing. It was irresponsible for people like Mike Malloy to call George W. Bush "Hitler", and it's irresponsible for Glenn Beck to do the same to Barack Obama. The only person whose evil was ever comparable to Hitler's was Hitler. End of story, and ignorance of history is no excuse.

So, if someone calls you on the carpet for making this comparison, take a moment and think about their perspective. How would you feel if half of your family was wiped off the face of the planet by a man whose evil only surpassed itself, and not even 100 years later the president is compared to the man responsible for the death of your family? You'd be pretty angry. Then think about how you would react when someone tried to minimize your experience of that anger by accusing you of trying to shut them up on the issues.

A person should not engage in debate if they don't know what their doing. Confusing opinion with fact, fact with emotion, and valid arguments with specious analogies demonstrate just that. So, when in doubt, remember the old saying "better to remain silent and have others think you a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt".

Edited to add an example of the above-mentioned meme:

Saturday, March 6, 2010

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Being depressed makes you stupid

Our nation's daughters are continuing a trend that has prevailed throughout history: they make poor decisions based on what makes them feel good. Now, of course this trend, this habit, is not unique to young women, just about everybody does it, but it is my opinion that young women are especially vulnerable to the destructiveness of this habit.

Recently, I was sitting in a coffee shop and overheard a brother and two moms discussing a young girl and the bad boy who has chosen her as his next victim*. I relate this as an allegory, an instance of a girl making a poor decision because a boy is telling her whatever he has to to make her feel worthy and reward him with exactly what he wants.

I don't know about you, but I do know one thing about myself and my relationship history: it was when I felt the worst about myself that I made my worst relationship decisions. Torn down by depression, eating disorders, disappointment in life, shitty parents with drinking problems; I've made my fair share of mistakes and like 1 in 6 American women have been raped. I'm not saying that my judgment is what cause the rape (in fact, had it not been me, that douche certainly would have raped another woman and probably has -- it seemed to be his modus operandi), but my desire for approval, my need to feel good, feel pretty, and be validated helped me to fall for this bullshit he toted; put up a smoke screen so I couldn't see what was really going on. Every time, my need for validation has lead me into disastrous relationships, taken me on fateful dates, and only lead me deeper into the original problem.

My point here is not that the poor judgment of girls or women is to blame for our misery or the continuation of it. In fact, I mean to point out the opposite. Feeling bad about yourself, your life, your purpose, your body will inevitably lead to poor judgment and bad decisions.

More directly: depression makes you stupid.

Media that is aimed to make women feel badly about themselves makes us stupid. People who belittle women and girls so often that those women and girls believe that bullshit are directly to blame for the poor decisions made by those women and girls especially if belitter is charged with the well-being of that woman or girl -- parents, teachers, spiritual leaders, youth leaders, etc. Negative consequences that are addressed in a negative manner (for instance "you got yourself [pregnant, raped, etc], because you're [stupid, a slut, drink too much, etc]") make it harder for anyone, let alone a teenage girl, to go back to a similar situation and make the right decision.

We need to begin by empowering our young women. Stop belittling them. Enough with the slut-shaming. Enough with promoting beauty over intellect; being pretty over being interesting, or making the two mutually exclusive. Build them up so they not only don't believe the negative bullshit pushed by peers, media, etc, but also so they can dismiss the bullshit of a guy who will (and does) say anything he has to in order to fuck her.

Teach women that they are valuable and that they can make good decisions and exercise good judgment. That way parents and siblings don't have to stage an intervention in order to keep a young girl from being raped by some bad boy who has become her only source of feeling valued.

*I say victim because one of the things I overheard was the brother saying that this bad boy had bragged to the girl about having forced other girls to have sex with him.

Monday, January 25, 2010

My fat-shaming scale

Last night at dinner the Schmoogie started telling me about how awesome our scale is because it "uses some electrical measurment to determine your body fat [percentage]", so this morning, I decided to take that little feature for a spin.
I set it to adult, female, 5'7", and weighed myself (192.5, if you're curious). Then came the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 while it calculated my body fat.
That would make me morbidly obese. For those of you who have met me, I am not morbidly obese (not even in a bride's maid dress). My doctor isn't concerned at all about my weight (which if I was morbidly obese, he would be), and I have none of the signs or symptoms of diseases brought on by obesity. (For the record, my cholesterol is too low, my blood pressure is perfect, and I can hold Downward Facing Dog for upwards of 5 mintes.)
According to the internet, bones take up about 15% of ones body weight. My giant breasts take up another 5-10%. And the last time I had my body fat measured, it was somewhere around 30% (this was about 4 years ago, and for the record, I haven't changed pant size). But according to my scale, I am 42% fat. Putting me at somewhere around 10% muscle by my just as accurate calculations.
So, later, the Schmoogie is curious, and tests himself. He inputs male, 6'2.5", and weighs himself. The all knowing electrical current tells him he is 16% fat. Furthering our little experiment, I change my gender in the scale, input the same height, weigh myself and it comes back with -- are you ready for this because it's shocking -- 30%. Now I'm thinking, if it was actually measuring the same body with the same measurments, the gender wouldn't matter. So, I want to know more. We switch the Schmoogie's gender in the scale and measure the same body, and even more shocking, the scale tells a woman who is 6'2.5" and weighs 181 lbs, that she is 34% fat. DOUBLE the Schmoogie's original measurment. That's a pretty freaking huge margin.
Then I get thinking: this machine was programmed not to determine weight and body fat percentage, but to make women feel ashamed of their bodies. A woman with the exact same measurments -- the same body! -- as a man who is pretty much at the "ideal" weight/fat measurments is, according to this machine's calculations obese.
But a woman who was 6'2.5", 181 lbs, with good muscle tone, isn't even obese according to the standard (bullshit) BMI scale.
It's obscene. I'm thinking about getting a different scale that isn't a sexist fucker.