Hello Kitty, Goodbye Logical World Order

September 15, 2014

A few weeks ago, the LA Times caused global outrage with information from Hello Kitty’s parent company Sanrino that Hello Kitty is not a kitty at all. 

“How silly you all have been to believe the tiny, white creature with pointed ears and whiskers was a cat,” said a representative from Sanrino at the start of an hour-long press conference. “You must all be stupid idiots.” The representative then spent the remaining 59 minutes flipping the bird to the journalists in attendance (“This isn’t really a bird, you morons.”)

Even though Sanrino and the Hello Kitty website were pretty clear that Hello Kitty is in fact, a little girl and not a cat, I found it necessary to examine the evidence myself.

Is Hello Kitty a Human?

YES: She walks upright on two legs.


NO: She’s as tall as five apples.  Let’s assume that apples are about four inches. That would make Hello Kitty less than two feet tall. That’s way too small for a human. Even if she’s not a cat, evidence suggests she’d be more of a pixie or something.

YES: She plays the piano, and dreams of becoming a pianist one day.

NO: Have you ever seen “The Aristocats”? Those lovable scamps play piano all damn day.


Even in real life, cats play piano so often on the Internet that it’s not even impressive anymore.


YES: She has her own pet cat, named Charmmy Kitty.

NO: First, dumbest cat name ever. Only another cat would name her cat something as dumb as “Charmmy Kitty.” Second, have you seen Charmmy Kitty? Here’s a picture:


Notice anything? Oh, right. She and Hello Kitty have the exact same face. For reference, here’s what happens when you face-swap a human and a cat:


I’ll wait here while you clean the shit out of your pants.

Also, just having a pet cat doesn’t make you a human. Just because Pluto has to wear a collar and pee outside doesn’t mean Goofy’s not a dog too.

YES: She’s from London. A town where people live.

NO: I can think of some cats from London.


Just like Hello Kitty, they stand on their hind legs. Do you know what else they do? Call themselves cats.

YES: She likes to bake cookies. Cats don’t have opposable thumbs and lack the small-motor control to crack eggs.

NO:  If you weigh as much as three apples, something tells me you’re not eating cookies all that often. Do you know how much three apples weigh? Not a lot. Even at her most waifish, Kate Moss bottomed out at seven and a half apples.

So if Hello Kitty is human after all, thank you Sanrino for making it even more difficult for young women to achieve body acceptance. Because you might be skinny, but you’ll never be three apple skinny.

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At Least My Quarter-Life Crisis is Pumpkin Spice-Flavored

September 14, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 12.38.09 PMI never thought it would be this hard. This transition from innocent youth to hardened adults, the growing distance from those I once called my closest friends, this constant barrage of knowledge I am forced to accept. Though I know more about this bleak world than my heart and mind can bear, I can’t say with confidence that I know myself anymore. Okay, since you asked, I guess if I could be any flavor, I would totally be pumpkin spice. It’s just so, like, seasonal and appropriate.

Each and every morning, it gets harder to rise from my bed. The only thing rising in times like these is the pumpkin bread I have in the oven. Actually, I think it’s almost done. Can you hold on a second while I grab that? Oh, and remind me to shut off the oven. The last thing I need is my apartment burning up in a cinnamon-infused blaze (that’s what I got the “Autumn Strolls” candle for, remember?).

But the shifting seasons bring more than changes in temperature these days. The sun no longer lingers in the summer sky, instead descending below the horizon and plunging us into the uncertain night. When it rains, it pours, and when it pours, drops of molten hot pumpkin spice latte plummet onto my fragile body. Acquaintances come and go like leaves on trees, and lovers leave with no remorse. And I think they’re only selling pumpkin spice stuff until like, Thanksgiving. Should we stock up or something? I thought fall lasted until December. I’m just not ready for all that Christmas peppermint stuff, you know?

Yet still, there remains a nagging thought I can’t drive from my mind: have I disappointed those who raised me, my gracious mother and determined father? Wisps of memory take me back to childhood, my parents sacrificing every last dream and desire to ensure my safety, my comfort, my happiness. Actually, to be fair, that barista the other day sacrificed, like, two minutes of his break to make this cute little pumpkin in my latte foam. With a cute little jack-o-lantern face and everything! Yes, as a matter of fact, I did Instagram it and it has 46 likes right now.

Soon it will be time for me to overcome these awful fears and perform what is expected of me. Or will I defy that fate which is written in the stars? Will I assume a role beyond a cog in this grand machine? Do Keurig machines have cogs? Since I just got one last week. By the way, I picked up those pumpkin spice latte cups. You just throw one in and boom, nutmeg.

Perhaps it is the finiteness of my cruel youth tossing me into the relentless beyond. Perhaps my parents planned for this all along! My humble self was taught never to doubt the authority those who raise you, but it may be time to end this unquestioning life of mine. I don’t care if blood is thicker than water. Although, now that you mention it, this pumpkin spice latte is pretty thick and frothy.

Wait, you don’t follow me on Instagram?

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Life & Other Drugs, Love & Romance

Virginity in College

May 7, 2014

Trying to communicate your wants and needs with a short-term partner in college is awkward to say the least. Trying to communicate your virginity to a short-term partner in college – ten times more awkward.

I used the word “we” to describe virgins in solidarity, but I cannot group us all in one clump. For some, virginity means not making out with anyone at school, or waiting until they have found their life partner to make serious moves in the bedroom. For others, virginity is a technical and increasingly arbitrary term to describe what is essentially their sex life. Of course, there is also everyone in between.

A lot of people don’t feel comfortable disclosing their V-card status. I basically scream it out from the rooftop. I have no moral interest in being a virgin and I don’t have any plans to enroll in the Jewish version of a nunnery. A virgin is something that I am, and I am trying not to be pressured out of it by society before I’m ready.

Being so vocal about my virginity doesn’t necessarily translate to being confident about it. For me, telling a guy I’m a virgin usually sparks an intense fear of commitment that then leaves me off the hook for sex. It’s an easy out. Once, someone asked me why I don’t just keep it to myself and say, “I don’t want to have sex tonight.” Honestly, I’m not cool enough for that.

Sometimes, my virginity invokes curiosity instead of fear and speculation. I’m not surprised as to why someone would inquire about this life choice. After all, I don’t have the most innocent exterior. However, these questions put me in an uncomfortable place, where I actually have to articulate why I choose to opt out of vaginal penetration. The answer is complicated:

1)   I think it would hurt my body.

2)   There is a lot of pressure to be unaffected by sex acts in college after they are performed. Because I have never had intercourse before, I would never be able to assure someone that I would not cry or need to be taken care of.

3)   I do not trust any potential suitors enough at the moment with whom to share that new, uncharted experience.

4)   Most importantly, what I do now makes me feel empowered. It may not be the “sex” I see on HBO shows, but I enjoy it. Right now, I am not ready to venture into territory where I couldn’t go to sleep at night humming Chaka Kahn’s “I’m Every Woman.”

Virginity is actually a stupid term. It is heteronormative, because plenty of humans don’t end up using the route of vaginally penetrative sex. The word virgin is confining, because it implies some sort of checklist to qualify your existence, instead of doing what you want to, when you want. The loss of virginity also has an implication in American culture that you are ready to have uncommitted with sex with everyone you meet, which is not the case for most people.

I think that a person’s relationship with sex is fluid, and capable of redefining itself at any moment. No one embodies this better than Cate Blanchett in her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I. She has some explicit sex scenes with a very handsome Sir Robert Dudley, but at the end of the film when she assumes her full royal duties (and finds out that he is married), she cuts all of her hair off and proclaims that she is the Virgin Queen. As I once said when I was drunk: “If she can do that, I guess we’re all virgin queens now.”

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Breaking Down Your Brocabulary

May 3, 2014
So apparently men need their own yoghurt brand. At least, according to the recently released product “Powerful Yogurt.” Hitting the shelves late last year, Powerful Yogurt claims to cater to the “active male lifestyle.” Packaged in black containers 33% larger than your average yogurt and shaped like tubs of protein powder, it’s advertisements feature white men with washboard abs and bulging biceps. It’s slogan? “Uncover your inner abs”—god forbid there be anything else hiding in there instead, like, say, emotion. The product’s handy infographic features no less than five flexed biceps, numerous sporting references, and a series of recipes using the yogurt—don’t worry men, they can all be made in a blender. Ounce for ounce, Powerful Yogurt has the same protein content as regular Greek yogurt, but its bulky packaging presumably excludes delicate, dieting, inactive females from consuming it. Within days, media outlets had nicknamed the product “brogurt.”

That’s right: brogurt. Use of the word “bro” might’ve peaked in 2011 with the rise of the Bro Bible and Bro Code, but it seems to be experiencing a revival. The number of men practicing “Broga” has grown immensely this past year as the yoga company of that name expanded from a single studio to 27 different studios across 13 states. “Bro” has infiltrated bookstores, with Barnes & Noble selling copies of On The Bro’d, Jack Kerouac’s iconic travel narrative On The Road, retold in bro-speak by humor writer Mike Lacher. And, of course, brogurt has entered our grocery stores.

With the addition of brogurt to the list, the brocabulary has pole-vaulted across the line of acceptability. Although said with an ironic wink, the word “bro” has powerful implications for how we conceive of masculinity. Hiding behind this veil of humor allows the word “bro” to continue to narrow societal notions of masculinity without being challenged, as critics are immediately dismissed as being too serious and men think they’re in on the joke. (For proof, see almost any Australian beer ad). But, since the gendering of milk products is more than society should accept, I’m willing to risk being called humourless. It’s time we broke down the brocabulary.

What is bro?
Used as a prefix, “bro” qualifies certain behaviors, words, and even foods as sufficiently manly and, in doing so, defines the scope of masculinity. It’s not gay when you hug your mate, it’s bromance. You’re not crying over the NBA score, you’re just getting bromotional. And you’re not actually studying for that exam, you’re being effortlessly broductive. Basically, “bro” is the urine that marks the territory of mandome.

As a qualifier of the non-masculine, “bro” gets to the heart of masculinity. That is, masculinity is defined more by what it’s not than by what it actually is. And what it’s not  is anything feminine or homosexual—as the sociologist Robert Brannon put it, masculinity means “no sissy stuff.”

Consequently, “bro” is attached to any stereotypically feminine trait like emotionality (e.g. “bro-hug”) concern over appearance (e.g. “bro-tie”), the non-physical realm of intellect (e.g.“bro-science”), and domesticity (e.g. “brocery shopping”). Affection between males must also be bro’d (“bromosexuality” or “bromance”) to clarify that it’s “no homo.” As long as men throw in a “bro,” they can justify almost anything as masculine.

By claiming men need their own milk products, brand of yoga, and dialect, the brocabulary tries to assert the unassailable, superior nature of masculinity. The irony of this is that the very need for such a language actually proves its fragility. Masculinity must be continually performed and reasserted. Select a diet yogurt once without adding the word “bro” and your man-card will be swiftly revoked. That companies can successfully market products using bro-lingo proves the depth of societal anxiety over masculinity.

So what now?
One recent victim of this linguist blight is the word “broga,” popularized in 2009 when two men began a yoga studio of that name. The company’s aim was market yoga to men, as women comprise over 80% of yoga practitioners in the United States, according to a 2012 study by Yoga Journal. But the “bro’s” don’t end there—Broga offers a range of “Brograms” and “Broga retreats” to budding brogis.

Instead of preaching mindfulness and inner calm, Broga is presented as a “workout” designed to give men “that pumped-up feeling”—a phrase that conjures images of weightlifting and competitive sports. To enhance the “fitness” aspect of the practice, instructors add push-ups into yoga sequences. The Sanskrit names for poses are avoided, chanting is replaced with rock music, and poetic instructions are substituted with instruction that is “more like a buddy giving you pointers.”

Broga’s ability to gain a male following by rejecting the mental, meditative and emotional side of yoga in favor of the physical suggests that these internal elements aren’t sufficiently masculine. Just like the Charles Barkley “Lose Like A Man” campaign for Weight Watchers and Dr Pepper Ten with its “10 manly calories,” Broga’s marketing implies that actively caring about one’s health is for women and not men. As with dieting, calmer or more cognitive approaches to health and fitness need to be cloaked in sporting metaphors or the word “bro” in order to retain their man-points.

Broga’s need to add push-ups to make yoga man-appropriate demeans the physicality of traditional yoga and, by extension, the abilities of the women who typically practice it. The deep irony of all this is the fact that yoga was invented by men and practiced exclusively by men for centuries. In ancient India, women weren’t allowed to do yoga, as it was believed they would distract the men from their goal of spiritual enlightenment.

So, to bro or not to bro?
As broga and brogurt perfectly demonstrate, the word “bro” perpetuates a gender binary that prizes men over women. It defines masculinity against stereotypical notions of femininity and homosexuality, resulting in a narrow definition that few—if any—men can actually attain. This brand of macho masculinity is unemotional, anti-domestic, athletic, heterosexual, and young (20-30 years old). It expects men to be paradoxically unconcerned about their appearance while maintaining the physique of Zyzz. Also, it’s typically white. The jump to whiteness is particularly perplexing given the word “bro” was originally used by black men, and it wasn’t until the 1970’s when it entered into more general usage. Now, the vast majority of ads marketed using bro-lingo feature white models and are targeted towards white men. The need to exclude other races and skin colors only further proves the extent of society’s anxiety over masculinity.

Although the word “bro” dramatically narrows the definition of masculinity, it simultaneously broadens the scope of permissible masculine behaviors. This is the paradox of bro. With the disclaimer “bro,” men can eat low fat foods, hug each other, cook, go grocery shopping, and do yoga. Perhaps the brocabulary is a stepping-stone to a broader version of masculinity that permits these behaviors without qualification. Perhaps there’s hope.

Until that day, I’m not your brother. I only have one, and I call him by his name. It’s not bromance, it’s friendship. It’s not broga, it’s yoga. And it’s certainly not brogurt

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A Feminist Review of “Star Wars”

April 26, 2014


I like Star Wars. I’ve marathoned all six movies and considered dressing up as Leia for Halloween before I realized I couldn’t figure out how to do those buns with my hair. The Mos Eisley Cantina Band song was my ringtone through middle school (I was very popular).

If you haven’t seen it (and dear god, why haven’t you seen it?), Star Wars is an epic hero tale in its purest form, a young boy coming into his own and learning to fight the evils of fear, hate and CGI. There are a ton of ass-kicking dudes who kick ass and fight with lasers and save the day. Here’s the problem: when I said “dudes” in the sentence above, I was not using it in a gender-neutral, Full-House catchphrase way. I meant dudes. With penises. Or alien/robot penises (sometimes they’re not clear about that).

Let’s go through the characters of the holy trinity, shall we? The men, in ascending order of badassery: Ackbar, C3PO, R2-D2, Luke, Chewbacca, Boba Fett, Darth Vader, Yoda, Obi Wan, Han Solo. Bam. 10 right off the top of my head.  And now for the women: Leia. And, um…. Leia. A princess, born into a position of power who gets kidnapped (twice) and needs to be rescued.

sexy, gold-bikini feminism

Above: A convention of all of the women in the galaxy. 100% attendance.

The only other double-x chromosomes in the Lucas universe? The space hookers, and the sex slaves chained to Jabba the Hutt. There’s also the woman who gives the rebels their instructions in Return of the Jedi (Mon Mothma if you’re trying to impress me, and if you knew that, we should probably get dinner), but I don’t think she’s even named in the movies, so Leia is pretty much it. One named woman in the entire galaxy and for the vast majority of the series she’s a hostage.

What type of twisted fantasy world does George Lucas live in where dudes just spend all day whacking their long, cylindrical swords together without any women nearby? Wait. Don’t answer that.

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The 7 People You’ll Meet at Zumba

April 25, 2014


All Zumba classes are equal parts spandex and Pitbull; by design, it is meant to be ridiculous. Even the best dancers look foolish dancing Zumba, and that is why everyone should consider trying it out, because deliberately humiliating yourself while wearing lycra shorts builds character in a way no other activity in cotton pants can. In case you are still afraid (although for the life of me I cannot understand why a roomful of camel-toed, awkward girls like myself should intimidate you), here is your guide to a Zumba class, Cady.

1)     The Asstastic: The first thing you should do is to look out for the girl with the best ass in the class, standing right next to the instructor. While the rest of us are working hard to avoid looking at ourselves during the ridiculous warm-up dance, this girl is making love to her own reflection. Don’t be pressured by the fact that there is a girl possessed/blessed by the spirit of Shakira; nobody, not even the instructor, can dance like her. If you enjoy having high self-esteem, I would advise you to never stand next to this one.

2)     The White Fool: On the opposite side of the spectrum, there is the White Fool. Now, despite the name, the White Fool is not always white. It’s just that 95% of the time it’s a white girl, so I rounded it up. By the second Macklemore song, your instructor will order you to do body rolls – and that’s when the White Fool emerges. She is usually the tall girl at the back with the graceful, long neck of a gazelle and legs that go on forever; you instinctively know that this girl runs around 3 miles a day and probably looks like an expensive pony as she does so. However, in an enclosed dance studio, you do not want to be built like a gazelle-pony hybrid because neither animal is capable of doing a body wave. She is incapable of moving more than two limbs at any one time, has inexplicable urges to dance with her head, and is the most stressed out person in the class. But you can’t laugh at the White Fool; you are very aware that outside of this class, she resumes her life as a Bar Rafaeli body double.

3)     The Giggles: Whenever anyone comes with one or more friends to a Zumba class, they become a collective set of giggles. If you want to get a better workout, don’t bring your friends. But if you do bring your friends, your friendship will reach new levels of closeness, as friends who thrust together come to trust each other.

4)     The Clark Kent: She is the girl who looks like her lungs just collapsed after the warm-up dance. She has zero muscle definition, as she has never before explored the realm of cardiovascular activities. While the chance of her surviving the class is around 35-60%, she somehow always beats the odds and continues to fight against her body. Everyone in the class, including you, root for her and her heart’s newfound ability to pump faster.

5)     The Athlete: She has a similar body to that of the White Fool, but the Athlete triumphs against her bodily design by critically analyzing the instructor’s moves. For the first few seconds of a new routine she will falter, sure, but within minutes she will have willed her body to emulate the routine. She’s a touch mechanical, but nonetheless perfect in technique. Brava.

6)     The Face-Dancer: If you only look at her face, you would think she was Beyoncé incarnate – except the rest of her body is not moving. For whatever personal/bodily/medical reasons, she only dances with her face as her body does very little, but her staunch presence allows you to rest once in a while and join her in face-dancing while only tapping your feet.

7)      Limb Optional: These are the girls whose bodies have decided to only choose two limbs that will work fluidly. The tragedy of this situation does not require an explanation -refer to Britney at THAT VMAs.

You might be one of these, a couple of these combined, or none of these dancers, as you are a unicorn snowflake unique in your own brand of dysfunctional limb coordination. At the end of the hour, it really doesn’t matter what you are because the class will end the same ridiculous way it started: Pitbull exclaiming ‘Dale’. Honestly, if you can stomach more than five Pitbull songs in one hour, you have all the qualifications for trying out Zumba, so come along for a class. I look forward to labeling you.

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Life & Other Drugs

Thinking About Sex on the Treadmill

April 24, 2014


I do almost all of my thinking while running.  Sometimes I brood, and sometimes I think deep thoughts. But if we’re being honest, I spend 95% of the time daydreaming about sex.

This habit is fine on my outdoor runs. No one can read my mind–either no one’s around or I pass people too quickly.  Unfortunately, the last two godforsaken months have been too cold to even breathe, forcing me to retreat to the treadmill. In the gym, there is never “no one around,” and I certainly do not pass anyone quickly. I don’t pass anyone at all, because, of course, on a treadmill you never go anywhere. There is no way to escape my fellow gym goers, and I may actually know some of them. Therefore, they are at least five times as likely to be able to read my mind while I think about sex.

Even more horrifying than the prospect of having my mind read is the very real possibility of running into the subject of my sex musings.  Whenever I remember that this could possibly occur, I develop an irresistible urge to look behind me. Have you ever tried to turn and look behind you while running on a treadmill? I don’t advise it.

When working out at night, I can look at the reflection in the windows and see who might be lurking among the ellipticals.  Other times, it’s light out and I can’t turn around, which makes me utterly convinced that the subject of my fantasies is right behind me, reading my mind and looking at my back sweat. In high school, I once had a spontaneous orgasm in class. The possibility of this happening again is not even as terrifying as the prospect of my subject walking in while I’m on the treadmill.

Why is my sex/treadmill encounter fear so strong? We’ve all had innumerable conversations during which we wondered what it would be like to sleep with the person we’re talking to.  During many dull lectures, I’ve wondered what my professors look like naked.  This kind of exchange doesn’t bother me; in fact, it fills me with a feeling akin to the glee I feel saying hi to a cop while carrying a pocketful of weed. The difference between those encounters and the possible treadmill encounter is the element of surprise.  I see someone, and I think about sex related to and/or involving that person. But it should never happen the other way around. And it should never happen while I’m trapped on an exercise machine.

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My Favorite Flirting

April 21, 2014


I don’t miss much about being single. I love my partner – we’ve been going strong for a while now. But let me tell you, when a single friend showed me this text exchange, I melted. There really isn’t anything better than text flirting. And then, it hit me: if there’s one (and only one) thing I miss, it’s text flirting.

Here’s four reasons why text flirting is the best thing ever (and you should miss it, too): 

1. (Most) everyone is bolder in text than they are in person. There’s something about typing your thoughts onto a little screen that brings out a bit more sass and spice. I’m fairly confident I wouldn’t say to my flirtee’s face, “I want to kiss you,” when we’ve been hooking up for less than a week. But in three one-liner texts with the number “2″ and a “u”? Maybe, just maybe.

2. It’s kinda like sexting, but without the “that’s-kind-of-slutty-but-kind-of-cool-I’m-not-sure-how-I-feel-about-it” stigma.

3. It’s just so damn cute! Everyone is giddy when they get a flirty text. You know I’m right. Your eyes light up, you get that goofy ear-to-ear smile, and oops! Maybe even let out a chuckle. Sounds like your day can’t go wrong after that.

4. Emojis.

Single ladies, enjoy text flirting while you can. Eventually it’ll evolve into a long string of “Chinese tonight? Y/n/m”


The Best Kind of Spring Cleaning

April 19, 2014


To quote Disclosure, “when a fire starts to burn, (right), and it starts to spread she gonna bring that attitude home don’t wanna do nothing, with their life.” I’m not entirely sure what that half of that means, but I’m pretty sure it’s the reason why everyone I know has gone through a break-up this spring. Recently having gone through a break-up myself (read: dumped), I was surprised to find that I was not alone—within the same week, I had three close friends go through break-ups, and by the next week that number almost tripled.  It was no longer just me and Ben Folds—I was in excellent company.

According to this Business Insider article from 2010, the two most common times to break up are two-weeks before Christmas and just before spring break. While this chart doesn’t show how many of the females were wearing cat sweaters at the time of the break-up (still a party of one on that count), it shows some cool trends like spikes on Mondays and ridiculous lows on Christmas Day. Well, there you have it. We are far from unique, just some twenty-something-year-olds trying to do some spring cleaning and find our way.

But you guys, this is the best kind of spring cleaning. Being newly single (and being a part of a mass-breakup statistic) is pretty cool. There is no better time to throw away your stale, winter garbage and prepare yourself for the beautiful weather that is about to be in full swing (note: if you live somewhere warm, disregard what I am saying and stop reading now). Not only does the newfound warmth make you want to shave your legs, but it makes shaving your legs fun—this is the peak season of hedonism so prepare yourself for all of the beautiful things you can do solo: spring break, spring concerts, day drinking, going out without a jacket, reading outdoors, lying in the grass, and daydreaming. I’m only just getting started. What better time is there to do you or to enjoy doing you with every other member of this absurd statistic?! Idk. Also what’s better than the world of badass single ladies theme songs reopening for you? Nothing.

Additionally, now is the time where the world has decided to come out and play. Our campus is 100x more attractive and so are its students with this spring fever that has infected everybody (that and the incurable hangover that has lingered on campus since Spring Week, Brown’s ultimate week of debauchery).  No wonder we were ranked to be the smartest and sexiest college in the country. But anyway, enjoy this weird phenomenon and feel empowered when you go out and say, “go home, Roger”…or fuck it and go home with Roger.

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Debating the Juice Cleanse

April 19, 2014

The Non-Juicer:

I’m not sure when juice cleanses became so ubiquitous. A quick Google search led me to an article in the New York Times discussing the ‘new fad’ from 2010, but I think I first started feeling they were everywhere sometime last year, in part because that was when I got Instagram and was exposed to pictures of the weird concoctions in pretty bottles, with “#betchy” inevitably in the caption. We are the politically correct, pluralistic generation that is supposed to be accepting of all beliefs and practices and opinions; we, as Brown students and millennials, are not supposed to cast judgement on anything. But I can’t help it. I have a controversial opinion: I think juice cleanses are really, really dumb.

The thing is, I have friends who do them. Really, really smart friends, really loving friends, really normal friends. But something about juice cleanses will never make sense to me – even when they explain that you consume no fewer calories, even when they say they get full because there’s so much packed into each drink, even when they state all the health benefits and say the word ‘toxins’ a lot. It’s the association with a Gwenyth Paltrow lifestyle, I think, that I can’t stand. (I read somewhere once that a journalist tried to live by the advice of GOOP for one week and ended up spending thousands of dollars in days. It’s really expensive to find zen and rid yourself of ‘toxins’!)

Of course, I’m being facetious; I don’t think I am really of some minority opinion – by in large, most girls haven’t done juice cleanses or even considered them, but for whatever reason, I feel lately that they are so in the rhetoric of girls I know. It’s one those things that I attempt to bring up mockingly to someone, only to discover they are a follower, a mini Gwyneth, eyes-wide and ready to explain to me how good their body felt afterwards.

Why should I care? No one’s juices are bothering me, spilling on to my solid-form food and ruining my eating for the day. But it just bothers me. It bothers me when someone says, “I totally cheated. I ate an apple! During my CLEANSE!” When I eat an apple, I feel proud. I am like,wow, I totally didn’t eat a bag of “Tostitos with a Hint of Lime” just now. I ate an apple! Also, the whole trajectory of a juice cleanse is always told like this: “The first day, you feel really good. Then by the end you’re like, I’m kinda hungry. Then the next day you’re really hungry, like maybe you want to die a little. Then you feel SO good! And by the end your body feels amazing. (But omg I totally cheated, I ate an apple).” That does not sound nice to me. That sounds really awful. I hated hearing that. And those are the people who admit to some suffering, who are far superior to the ones who claim to love every minute of it. Liars.

But to write such a dismissal without having ever tried it myself, I admit, is unfair. What do I know? A juice cleanse experienced writer explains the trend more thoughtfully below:

The Juicer:

Hey, I’m one of the above author’s really smart, really loving, debatably normal friends that has embarked on the GOOP-iest of challenges: the three-day cleanse. Okay, so I’m just going to get this over with; I’ve actually cleansed not once, but twice. But why do we do it if are we so embarrassed to publicly endorse this fad, perpetually on the receiving end of an eye roll? I know, how could someone actually enjoy three days without, like, real food?

The first time I juiced –yes, I’m using “juice” as a verb—it was via Organic Avenue. Yup, Organic Avenue; that’s what the company is called, and I’m not even going to go into a full-blown analysis of its ridiculousness. Pretty much, they give you cute little pear-shaped cleverly-named bottles of juice packed inside trendy freezer bags that scream “I’m on a cleanse.” Oh, and everything is orange, which is a pretty gender-neutral color. Read: cleanses are not just for women.

Anyways, my mom and I were really excited to embark on the adventure. What’s better than a little mother-daughter bonding over a trendy bottle of “coconut mylk”? Brunch is so 2010. At first, all I wanted was food, but as the hours ticked by I felt pretty satisfied, and by the third day, I was ready for anything. I couldn’t get meals with friends, which was seriously annoying, but for three days it was just me and mom on the betchiest adventure of my generation.

After the cleanse, I felt pretty damn fantastic and accomplished. And yeah, I felt like a mini Gwyneth and might have even named my first-born child Apple in that moment. Obviously, my physical appearance wasn’t any different, but I just felt better. I wanted to wear my body-con clothing again and my self-esteem skyrocketed. The next week was the first week of school, and I was ready to take on College Hill with my juice-cleansed bod and high spirits.

So let’s not completely dismiss this trend as silly. Cleanses make you feel good and even the most self-assured girl needs a little boost once in a while. We’ve all felt “fat” or “bloated” at some point. I’ve even used these as excuses to not go out. And I know I should never feel this way, but I really don’t think I can erase those self-deprecating words from my feelings vocabulary. And while some may choose to drink away those very normal insecurities with a vodka soda, I sipped green juice with my mom. And let it be known, we had fun because we were willing to laugh along the way.