The Bitch, Bitch, Bitch

Hotness and a Half
January 3, 2011, 6:39 am
Filed under: General Bitching

I spend an excessive amount of time on the internet laughing at stupid stuff, so naturally, I’m a big fan of Hyperbole and a Half – MSPaint? Ridiculous tales from childhood? Facial expressions so absurd they border on physically impossible? SIGN ME RIGHT THE HELL UP.


HURR HURR I DREW THIS (Just kidding, it's copyright Allie Brosh!)

Anytime Hyperbole and a Half gets brought up among friends, though, inevitably someone will utter, often incredulously, “Man, did you know? The author is so pretty!” Which is completely true – she’s lithe and blonde with a big sparkling smile. In fact, I have probably been the one who most often makes this exclamation. But why is that worth mentioning? Why is it so surprising that the author of a funny webcomic is a pretty girl?

Webcomics aside, we’re generally surprised when conventionally pretty women aren’t the shallow and stupid husks that popular culture has laid them out to be – the well-known cultural stereotype of the “dumb blonde,” or the “bimbo” is so oft-repeated that even the most enlightened and tolerant of folks have difficulty not falling back on such a cheap stereotype.

This happens plenty with men, too, but like most things that also happen with men, it is to a much lesser and, subsequently, less detrimental degree. If the author of Hyperbole and a Half were an equally attractive man, we wouldn’t be so monumentally shocked. Unless Mr. Hypothetical is so mind-blowingly attractive that it is a distraction no matter what career path he chooses, nobody even cares. Some dude decided to do a webcomic – bully for him.

Of course, there are a couple issues at play here, such as idea that women (especially pretty women) aren’t, or don’t “need” to be funny:

Then there’s the Patriarchy Lunch Special – that down-home hot order of resentment between women over their attractiveness/success/tit size, frivolous in-fighting that makes enemies where friends should be (with country gravy on the side). It’s a sentiment that’s echoed in the vague sense of Ugly/Pretty Girl Justice with which all women who went to high school in America are familiar, the self-fulfilling prophecy passed down by Moms and best friends alike – you know, the, “You might not be pretty like those other girls, but you’re definitely smarter than them!” system of ranking by which you can still manage to be a worthwhile human being even though your figure is more Idaho spud than hourglass?

Per this thought pattern, we look at Hyperbole and a Half and border on developing a complex: a prettier girl  has also accomplished more? The balance has been disrupted! SHE MUST BE DESTROYED, FOR HER BEAUTY INVALIDATES EVERYTHING YOU HAVE ACHIEVED!

But my epiphany doesn’t deal with either of these things directly. No, my reason why we’re so surprised when pretty girls do awesome things is because women’s identities are generally reduced to what resources will get them a man! Pretty girls don’t “need,” to do anything else, because beauty is the trait valued most highly by men. If you’re funny, intelligent, etc. that would make someone an interesting human being, it’s surely only to make up for your deficiency in gorgeousness so that you have some semblance of hope toward finding a mate. Subsequently, if you’ve been evaluated by the Great Imaginary Committee of Sexiness Experts and have been found to be “hot,” it is confounding why you would bother exerting the effort to do anything else!

UPDATE – What bad form! I finished two full-length posts in a row with a Current TV segment like I had some kind of endorsement deal!

"It's like people only do things because they get paid... And that's just really sad, you know?"

Derailing of the subject aside: The fact that people such as myself, who, while far from infallible, are supposed to be all high-and-mighty self-proclaimed RADFEMs (a title which I too often imagine in AC/DC font, complete with lightning bolt in the middle) can so easily slip back to the mental heuristic that assesses any given woman by her percieved ability to obtain a man is fucked right the fuck up, as Her Majesty might say.


WHICH JUST GOES TO SHOW, that aww man feminism is hard work and it ruins everything.


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