Friday, January 2, 2015

My New Year's Resolutions (For Other People)

Every year, people launch themselves into byzantine and elaborate self-improvement plans: lose ten pounds! Quit smoking! Get up early to meditate/write/run/observe the sunset/whatever! Forgo takeout! Only eat takeout! It's getting dull. I want the best for myself too, and after a couple weeks of hard ciders and Ferraro Rochers, I can definitely tell you that a personal short-term goal is "not eat like a fucking maniac."

But this year, instead of coming up with my own resolutions, I've decided to hand them out like unpopular party favours (here's looking at you, Quality Street chocolates!). I think this is a testament to both my strong moral fiber, and also to the tedium that comes from telling myself every year that I am not good enough as-is, which turns out to be a lie.

Online retailers: Please stop only featuring size-two models in your look books. It's tough enough to tell if something will be flattering when I'm holding it on the hanger. It's dad-blasted impossible to judge if the item that you're selling online will look good on me. I know it looks good on the model. That's the thing about models. It's their fucking job to look good in the clothes they're selling. But here's a little secret: this is also true of plus-sized, short, and otherwise "alternative" models. Please show me what your clothes look like on a wider range of bodies, and I will be more likely to say, "Hmm, that might actually look good on me," and spend my money.

Women's magazines: I have all but given up on you, ladies. I can't even tell what you're about these days. There are many body/fashion variants, like Self, Vogue and Cosmopolitan, and they're terrific, provided I want to learn what type of crunches will really define my obliques, which emerging unpalatable makeup ingredient is going to prevent me from getting crow's feet, or which "new" (read: your mom did this to your dad, for sure) sex position will really "rock his world" (read: make him worry that he might accidentally flip you off the bed and break your neck). I am so bored of this. I'm also not at the stage where I can read The Gentlewoman, because I don't know enough about esoteric Japanese designers; Milk and Naif are both parenting magazines for rich people; and Bitch isn't quite my cup of tea.

What I would like, and I'm not alone in this, is Esquire in a dress. I want luscious and glossy fashion photography. I want cheeky advice columns. I want profiles of interesting and powerful women. AND I ALSO WANT GOOD WRITING, especially on topics that aren't "women's" issues. There are only so many articles I want to read about HPV or date rape or birth control. I would also like to read about women in the military, or scientists who're in the Arctic researching climate change, or conceptual artists who worked in post-Katrina New Orleans, or any of the other literally thousands of cool women (and men too, I guess, but jeez I am tired of hearing about men) who exist and deserve buzz.

Facebook phone app: Quit tweaking your interface every six weeks. This is annoying.

Hollywood: Please stop abdicating women's narratives to television. What did we get this year? Maleficent? Tammy? I know lady-oriented television was a big deal over the past couple years, what with Orange is the New Black, Scandal, Broad City and Girls, not to mention American Horror Story and Orphan Black. These were all television shows that made no bones about being about women—and not just about how they orbit men, either. Fully realized characters had interesting story arcs that were about being female in the world, and it was really interesting! It made me feel like my own stories might actually mean something! It started training me to notice when stories were about white dudes having a crisis (this is literally like 85% of filmed media), and to notice if I was bored by seeing the same damned story, with minor tweaks, eight billion times in my life!

And then we looked to the big screen, and there was...sweet FA. Do better.

Paleo cookbook writers: Please stop pretending that paleo baked goods are a thing. You cannot make a delicious cake without sugar and/or flour. Paleo "muffins" are just little lumps of wasted ingredients, because trust me, you'll eat one and then throw the rest in the garbage. There is plenty good about the paleo diet, and lots it does well. Baking is not one of them.

There we go—that's five, y'all. I know there are other pet peeves, annoyances, institutionalized issues, and bothers that will surface this year. Can we all agree just be less horrible, generally? Because that would be really super.

Image via FYVM