Menstruation Nation

Editor’s Note: We here at Beauty Coup love a good guest post. We love sharing your thoughts, musings, ideas, and experiences. In light of the recent attacks on women’s rights and agency, we’re launching a new series (and co-opting a brilliant phrase that someone else coined) called Mind Your Own Uterus, about all things lady-parts-related. 

To kick things off, we bring you Menstruation Nation by the one and only Amy Banks.

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The other day after getting home from the gym, I realized, to my horror, as I was changing out of my sweaty workout wear, that I had bled through the back of my dove-grey compression leggings. Oh snap! I did the frame-by-frame bleed-through scenario in my head: when did it happen? On the elliptical machine? When I was doing pull-ups? In spin class? Just kidding, I only did one of those things (spinning), although I did hang a little from the chin-up bar to stretch out my spine afterward. Not like I could lift my own weight or anything! Geesh! But I know in my blood-spewing heart it happened when I got up from the stationary bike. I felt the gush of my flow, finally free after having been restricted and sealed off by my firmly-planted-to-the-seat nether regions. But I didn’t think I’d soaked through. I wore an overnight pad, for christ’s sake! And *gulp* I had been surrounded by gym rats: tons of women and several men. I even bent down in front of a group of them, all of them running on treadmills, to tie my shoe. OMG.

Old-as-hell me is still embarrassed by a little period blood? Apparently so. I shrugged it off after a minute of red-faced chagrin and went about my day. But for a moment, my wizened adult self was transported back to my cousin’s porch on a dog-day of summer, back when I was but 13 and a total newb to the Menstruation Nation.

A gaggle of us kids were hanging out, bullshitting, swearing just because the words felt swollen and ready to pop, drinking sodas purloined from my aunt’s private stash, thinking up more ways to do nothing. Somebody had the idea to ride our bikes down to the frog pond and catch some tadpoles (probably because they resemble sperm). I had to run home (next door) to get my bike, so I jumped off and over the edge of the porch to beat rocks before they left me behind. Suddenly everybody was laughing – like hooting and hollering – so I turned around the see why. They were all pointing at me. The boys were doubled over with giggle fits and the girls were laughing too, probably horrified but thankful it wasn’t happening to them. My cousin Kevin, always a nice kid, jumped off the porch and led baffled me away. When he told me why they were laughing, I felt like I would drop dead right there. He added, “Jesus, didn’t your mom teach you how to take care of this kind of thing?” I ran in my house and didn’t come back out that day, or for seven more days, until the nightmare was over. You guessed it, I had gotten the girl flu and the crimson tide had come in all over the back of my shorts. I didn’t even know. What’s worse is that Kevin hit a real sore spot by bringing up my mom. No, she did not help matters at all.

I distinctly remember the first time I got my period. It was a Saturday morning in summer. I know this because it was at the breakfast table and we were eating pancakes, which we did every Saturday morning. I was wearing a white tank top with lace trim, and my favorite shorts, which were pink and blue pinstriped. I was having a hard time eating because my stomach hurt so bad. Like really, really bad. Then it suddenly felt like I had wet myself. I excused myself to go to the bathroom and that’s when I discovered I had achieved Menarche. Level Up! Of course I had taken health class so I knew it was “normal” and that I wasn’t dying; I was the last of my friends to get it, and they all survived somehow (lots of Midol, ice cream, Depeche Mode and Elliott Smith was the advice I most frequently received). But I wasn’t expecting the cramps to hurt so much (I figured out what my stomach ache was) or for the blood to be so copious and, well, bloody. I had a sampler pack of feminine products from the school nurse stashed in the bathroom cabinet along with an extra pair of undies (on the advice of friends in anticipation of the grand event), so I carefully opened the cellophane package that housed a single, gargantuan sanitary napkin and pasted it to my panties. I remember making the choice to use pads after a particularly horrifying health class film depicting the insertion of a tampon into a graphic representation of a bleeding vagina, and later that same week listening to my best friend Rachel’s sister dry-heaving and swearing and crying, as Rachel explained in hushed tones that Donna had Toxic Shock Syndrome from leaving a tampon in too long. So tampons: No.Fucking.Way.

So after performing these ablutions and looking for several minutes at myself in the mirror (searching my face for tell-tale signs of obvious womanhood) I burst forth from my bathroom cocoon, a beautiful, bleeding butterfly. I fluttered back into the kitchen, plopped myself at the table and announced to my mom, step-dad, and baby sister that I had officially begun to menstruate. My mom didn’t even look up from the morning paper, but said, “Well go put on a rag and stop bitching about it. It’s not something to tell people or be proud of.” Nobody else said a word and that was that. It was a deflating puncture wound that kept me feeling downtrodden, negative and pissed off at my mother for a long time. Other friends’ mothers had marked the occasion with a cake or a trip to the store to pick out their own favored personal hygiene products. My mother dismissed my experience fully, told me to shut up about it, and used an ugly slang term to describe what would be a lifelong monthly expenditure, an item even more important than clothing or movie tickets or haircuts or junk food. An item I needed, a necessity, part of my womanhood, personhood, my genetic right. It really was a crushing blow to a piece of my journey that felt special, and that I thought would unite us in sisterhood. To make matters worse: my period had ruined my favorite shorts, and though I scrubbed and scrubbed them in the sink, I never got the stain out (I didn’t know to use cold water and set the stain by using hot).

And now that I think about it, my mother never did supply me with my own feminine products. I just used hers, whatever I could find in the bathroom or bum off of friends. When I got babysitting jobs, I used the money I made to buy my own, which I kept hidden away shamefully like a pack of cigarettes stolen from your grampa or a porno mag, lest anyone see it and think you’re a shithead or a weirdo creeper perv. And following my mother’s example, I always bought generic, shitty pads that never quite got the job done and didn’t stick well and were too short to boot. I think she felt spending money on something you’re going to bleed on and throw out was a burden she wasn’t willing to make heavier by spending more on a fancy version. Here’s a secret: nothing is ever going to make your period enjoyable, but if you spend the extra buck on the fancy pads that soak up more blood, cover more panty area and come in their own pre-wrapped single packs, your life will be a little easier at that time of the month, and you will ruin less underclothes. It has taken me all this lifetime to find myself worth spending the extra dollar on the fancy foam ones. But guess what? I’m worth it, and so are you.

That lesson came to me through an enlightened friend, who has the most impressive stash of feminine hygiene products known to womankind. I was invited to her house once for a party, and when I excused myself to use the bathroom and flicked on the light in the loo, it was as though I was transported to a magical land of righteous girl power. On her massive vanity were candy jars and dishes – a whole confectionary shop’s worth! – full to the brim with maxi pads, tampons, vagina wipes and pantyliners in a gleeful rainbow of colors. I marveled at the display – I’d never seen anything quite like it – and was actually sad I didn’t have my period so I couldn’t sample any of the delights. Had she gone mad? She knew she was having guests (male and female) over – why would this attractive, fun, educated and poised single lady leave the accoutrement of the curse out in plain view for everyone to see? I realized she possessed something I had none of: total confidence in her womanhood and all aspects of it. And here I was, a 40-ish mess of a shame-bleeder.

I’ve always had a complicated relationship with my period. The beginning was not so great. Lots of times since have not been, either. My periods were so random and so harsh in high school that the family doctor put me on the pill. This made me “regular” and the cramps weren’t quite as atrocious. It also put a time limit on the bleeding, which sometimes before had lasted two to three weeks. Later I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which came with its own fun set of menstrual mishaps. Then I had babies, and the weirdness abated some. I became regular without the pill. I cramp less harshly. I flow for a normal amount of time. And at this late date, I can see an end of my monthlies in sight. But I’m not quite ready for that, even if I do occasionally still embarrass myself with a slash of crimson pride on my workout wear.

After all, menstruation is a cleansing of the body and to me, the spirit. Every month we women get a do-over. The build-up of a month’s worth of potentially life-hosting primordial lady sludge evacuates itself in a ritual our bodies know how to perform without our having to even think about it. We women are magical creatures, full of life-giving nourishment and the ability to grow human beings, in sync with the cycles of the moon, the tides, the sun. We chart our flows to the rhythms of our lives. We plan calendar dates around them, vacations, goals, reproduction. I look at my period as a time of renewal and a reminder of a choice I made to not have a child this month. Sound complicated? It is as much as it is not. It is nature, a miracle of a function, my bleeding birthright.

As for my mother’s reaction to her eldest daughter beginning her cycle, it remains a complex mystery. Though as the mother of a now-adult daughter myself, I feel I may have gained some insight. When my daughter, my lovely, first-born baby girl, began her cycle it was a time to celebrate her, but also a time of grieving for me. It was realizing she would never be the fist-pounding, gurgling blonde curly-headed and drooling crayon artist that could never get enough of me again. It was a realization that she would, indeed, be leaving my household someday and beginning her own journey that wasn’t part of mine. It was the dawning of her passage into womanhood and the birth of my old age. But what it wasn’t was a dark secret. Unlike my mother and her mother before her, I didn’t sweep her experience away with the angry flick of a newspaper. I embraced it. I let her pick out and experiment with as many feminine products as she could possibly want. I probably embarrassed her with my gleefulness and celebratory machinations. I stopped short of sending engraved announcements, and I may have made it more about me than her, on accident of course. But I wanted her to celebrate being a grown-ass woman and to never feel shame about it. Today she is a Trump-protesting, artistic, feminist, bad mamma jamma who advocates menstrual cups and talks freely about topics like bloating and blood stain removal. I love her so. And honoring her cycle made me realize that it was time to celebrate my own, too.

Now when I menstruate, I carouse in my own special way. I buy the expensive pads. I inhale the special chocolate if I want to. I don’t feel embarrassed when I buy feminine hygiene products, even if it’s from a man. And I find that my healthy attitude makes menstruation if not fun, kind of special. I’ll be sad when it’s over, and I hope to enter the next phase of womanhood in a positive and upbeat way. I promise not to kick and scream. I’m actually kind of looking forward to it.

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Take Action ~ Rouse Rabble ~ Lend a Hand
Want to help girls and women who may not have access to feminine hygiene products? Happy Period has got you covered. Menarche!

Three Things I’m Done With: Fear, Hiding, and Donald Trump

Guest Post by the beautiful and ferocious Cara Greene Epstein
www.thedragonflymovie.com

Okay, so I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s this guy out there who has made it his business, both literally and figuratively, to engage in and promote body shaming. This shaming is primarily aimed at young women, though if you read the volumes of his quotes on this subject, you will see that no one is safe. Apparently, this is the one area in which he does not discriminate.

Body shaming is a very personal issue for me, one that I’ve grappled with pretty much every day, all day long, for almost as long as I can remember. So much of my sense of self-worth is tied up in how I think others will see, perceive, and feel about my body. I ain’t proud of that, but there it is. Truth.

Shame feeds on the shadows. On whispers and doubts and looks and assumptions. On a million tiny little fears with beady eyes and long fingernails that hide in all of the nooks and crannies of a day. Or an hour. Or a moment.

This shame, any shame, depends on two things to live: fear and hiding.

So those are two things that I’m done with.

195 lbs. That’s how much I weigh. I know because I just went to the bathroom and pulled out the scale (from where it was hiding, of course) and stood on it. 195. That’s my number.

I’ve been within 10 lbs. of this number for the last four years and I’ve been ashamed of it, of what it means, the whole time. But here’s the thing — here’s the thing that guy is helping me realize — I don’t think it means what I thought it meant.

See, that guy believes that this number makes me less than. Makes me difficult. Makes me incapable. Makes me a disaster. And I kind of believed those things, too.

And then I thought about all the things I’ve done over the last four years. And you know what? That guy and I were wrong. 195 doesn’t look like a disaster at all.

Here are some of the things that 195 does look like:

195 looks like running a half marathon and winning a medal the size of your head.

195 looks like writing, co-directing, producing and starring in a feature film, and then winning an award for it.

195 looks like having two healthy, awesome babies and helping them become healthy, awesome kids.

195 looks like teaching your art to classrooms full of students and challenging them to use said art to better connect with themselves, each other, and the world around them.

195 looks like celebrating 14 years of marriage to your best friend and the greatest guy on the planet.

195 looks like stepping up and taking on the challenge of a full-time job while you continue to pursue your passions.

195 looks like rocking the red carpet at your own movie premiere.

195 looks like pursuing a second graduate degree.

195 looks like dancing at Wrigley Field to a band you’ve been following since you were 17.

195 looks like volunteering at your kids’ schools and helping out people who are important to you.

195 looks like passing your physicals with flying colors.

195 looks like super fun vacations and celebrations with those you love.

195 looks like stepping out of the shadows and into the light.

And…

195 looks like any other number. Cause when you really take it out and look at it, that’s all it is, just a number.

So let’s all live our lives in the light and celebrate how awesome we truly are.

And please, let’s not elect that guy in November.

Cara at her movie premiere, flanked by two kickass women who are also much more than just their number.

Passing Judgement Isn’t Pretty

Happy Wednesday, RLB readers!

Today’s post is from a guest blogger who is also a beauty queen. Pageants aren’t something we normally talk about here at RLB, but we want this blog to acknowledge the experiences of any and all women. So, with various tiaras and sashes under her shiny, savvy belt, Kira has a thing or two to say about our penchant for rolling our eyes at pageant contestants, and how quick we are to judge things we don’t fully understand.

As a young girl watching the Miss America competition on TV, the onstage question was always my favorite part.  I thought it was the most challenging and terrifying and interesting moment, watching beautiful women who were pushed to the limits of their nerves.  I imagined myself receiving my question with grace, and answering with unwavering eloquence.  I always challenged myself to answer along with the competitors.  Ultimately the desire to make my dream of answering the onstage question a reality, and the cajoling of a pageant veteran and dear friend, led me into competing in the world of pageantry (thanks, Keelie!).

Kira and Keelie, Pageanting Among the Rocks:
kira keeley

Watching the Miss America 2014 competition, I am transported back to my own journey as Miss America’s Miss Santa Fe 2009 and Miss Albuquerque 2010.  For a few weeks out of the year, during the Miss America competition, we are mesmerized by young women vying for the crown, as we carefully comb over their strengths and weaknesses as competitors.  I report to my friend watching with me how the girls fared in previous competitions, and note improvements in their performances.  Since I can’t help myself, I also compare myself to them, both in the height of my own competition and now.

Kira in Pageant Mode:
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Kira now (with me!):
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Pageant time is a time for some to revel in the dream of walking across the stage as a graceful and poised young woman.  For others, it is a time to criticize the pains these women put themselves through and the expectations that society has put on them.  I don’t know if any of you have thought about crowns recently, but not that long ago Miss Utah USA 2013 Marissa Powell was torn apart for her response to her onstage question.

An interesting pageant fact: the onstage question does not count for any points in the Miss USA competition.  But the American public is quick to judge this very public and high-pressure situation.  How easily we attack and then forget these young women.  Miss Utah was accused of making women look uneducated, when her answer was an honest attempt to address the issue of educating women.  Some argued that she proved the point she was trying to make, while others indicated it was a ridiculous and unanswerable question in the first place.  Nearly all of her critics were quick to claim that they could have done a better job answering this question.

Could they, though? Could you? I would like to challenge you to try it.  No, not enter a beauty competition, but stand up in front of thousands of people in person (and millions on broadcast television) to answer a totally random question, that you must diplomatically craft a response to at a moments notice.  You don’t have a live audience of thousands?  Well let’s say any public venue will do.  Preferably one where strangers are present.  Remember, contestants are expected to simultaneously provide an answer while expressing an opinion that doesn’t offend anyone.  It’s your turn to answer the question. Ready?

“A recent report shows that in 40% of American families with children, women are the primary earners, yet they continue to earn less than men. What does this say about society?”

You have 20 seconds. GO.

How did you do?  Not so easy, is it?  And you’re not even wearing a gown and five-inch heels.  Did Miss Utah have the best answer?  No.  But that doesn’t mean she didn’t try her best.  She might not have won Miss USA, but Miss Utah was briefly a focus of national interest.  Frankly she got a lot more attention for not doing such a great job, than she would have if she’d answered the question perfectly.  Undoubtedly she will be forgotten – many of you have already forgotten her – until another beautiful young woman working to obtain a crown is asked to answer another clumsily vague and politically charged question, and she “fails.”  This new incident will then be publicly dissected and compared (yet again) to Miss Teen South Carolina, Miss Utah USA, and so on and so on….

In my opinion, the failure to answer these questions adequately is not a reflection of the young woman competing, but of our society.  We ought to demand more of ourselves and give these girls a break, because they are challenging themselves to learn and grow, to master their talents, and to be representatives of their communities, all while providing us with some great entertainment.

Congratulations to all the young pageant women who are shaping themselves into the women that they want to become.  I hope they find themselves through these competitions, and that they do not let the many negative comments and judgements affect them.  Pageants changed me as an individual, and gave me a new perspective and respect for a different kind of competition.

From E at RLB: It’s tempting (and easy) to dismiss pageants as archaic, misogynist spectacles. After watching Kira compete for several years, I can honestly say that these ladies work their well-toned tushes off to compete in a world that is quite foreign to most of us. While we’re a long way from representing myriad body types in pageant land, the strictures of what makes a pageant contestant are broadening. The 2014 competition saw a tattooed National Guard service member, a one-armed Miss Iowa, and the first ever Miss America of Indian-American descent. Sometimes change is a process, not an event.

Miss Kansas, Miss Iowa, and Miss New York/America:
miss kansasmiss_iowa  miss-america-nina-davuluri-ftr

“Betty 2.0” by Guest Blogger Logan

Today’s guest blogger is Logan of the Practically Culture podcast. If you are interested in hearing more from Logan, he can be found podcasting, videocasting, and tweeting.

Betty I have a secret theory that Mad Men is best read as a treatise on women struggling to establish personal identities other than the ones society wants for them. Sure, there’s the stuff about Don and his own secret identity and ongoing fall the opening credit sequence reminds us of every week and all that. But as the seasons have progressed, the most consistently compelling stories of self-invention have been those of the show’s women.

Mad Men of course depicts plenty of women from the secretary pool working their butts off to achieve more for themselves. Peggy’s journey from secretary to copywriter to good copywriter to copy chief is perhaps the most obvious. Joan’s transition from office manager and sometime secretary to partner is perhaps the most costly. Both women basically invent their new jobs and new selves. But don’t forget about Megan’s path from secretary to partner’s wife to copywriter to actress. She’s obviously not a trailblazer in becoming professional actor, but she’s certainly worked hard to make the most of the opportunities she’s been given.

In that tradition, the recent episode, “The Better Half,” brilliantly revealed the latest phase of a transformation that is probably the show’s least threatening to any sort of glass ceiling, yet might be simultaneously the most impressive reinvention of all: Betty’s.

Betty has never been a secretary. Society gave her the different, though at least as objectifying, roles of model and suburban housewife to play. And she did play them, more or less. But Betty never thrived in that kind of suburban wife and mother role. (Not many women did—the early seasons of Mad Men expertly, if depressingly, explored the malaise of all the bored housewives in Betty’s circle.)

At first we sympathized with Betty and her circumstances. But soon we came to see other aspects of Betty—ugly aspects, like selfishness, childishness, and a coldness towards her children that seemed to go deeper than just being a product of her time—and we became less forgiving of Betty’s acting out.

Eat itUltimately, many viewers tired of seeing Betty, or even started to actively dislike her: grow up already, woman! In recent years I, for one, had started gritting my teeth while Betty ran to the arms of another man to save her from the last one, endlessly and tiredly raged at Don, and consistently showed a complete lack of interest in being a warm mother. Somehow this character played by the gorgeous January Jones was about the least attractive woman in the whole show, even before we had to sit through her weight gain and halfhearted attempts to slim down again. And though Mad Men is my favorite TV show right now, I was tempted to fast forward through every Betty scene. She seemed like the one woman even the show’s writers had lost sympathy for.

Everything changed with this episode. It all clicked and we finally saw what Mad Men had been up to with Betty. Our first clue that Betty had regained full use of her feminine powers was when a man at an evening event started hitting on her, much as Henry first did at Roger’s wedding. Henry, we learned, got off on the attention Betty received from another man. (Was this was a one-time thing or a kinky role play they regularly engaged in? Either way,) Betty had come leaps and bounds in a few short episodes, and the show rewarded us for enduring her meandering by introducing us to the new and improved Betty.

As excited as we are to see Betty making the tongues of ordinary men wag, the old Betty could do that. Betty 2.0’s real test—her real conquest—would be Don. The man who, we know, marries women he can show off to display his own status, trophy wives. But the women who get his full gaze, the ones that really get his juices flowing, are stronger, more confident, and less confined to traditional women’s roles.

Betty 2.0And conquer Don she does. When they connect, Betty 2.0 is the one who knows what she wants, maintains her emotional distance, and comes to and leaves the encounter on her own terms. Don ends the episode sitting by himself, with Betty happily enjoying breakfast with her husband as though nothing had happened the night before.

Betty doesn’t reinvent herself in as conventionally feminist a way as the office ladies have, but she, maybe more than any of them, has found a way to master her circumstances and exercise agency over the men around her.

Betty’s recent story lines have focused on her becoming less physically attractive by gaining weight and struggling to lose it. Of course, she was always rather cold and unattractive on the inside. In this episode, she has finally lost her excess weight and corrected course from her brief dark-haired detour, regaining her conventional beauty. And let’s be honest, she’s blessed with plenty of the outward beauty so valued both in her time and in ours. But she’s had that for most of the series, and yet she has so often been profoundly unattractive as a character.

What makes her truly attractive to Don, and to us as viewers, is her confidence, her new found maturity in making her own choices and accepting the consequences, and her expertise in wielding her sexuality as she cares to.

Father AbrahamIn doing so, Betty breaks free in a certain sense from some of the significant constraints of her time and place. Betty has gone from being a typical damsel in distress, needing rescuing from man after man, to now being an agent in her own right, taking charge of her experiences whether or not society or the men in her life approve. Betty can engage Don as an equal. (And I suppose, while we’re being honest, we should acknowledge that her reinvention, while powerful, is on a personal scale, and not necessarily breaking new ground for women in society. But still.)

It’s clearly more than her looks that makes her so appealing in this episode. She’s beautiful on the inside now too. And Don, Henry in the car, that guy at dinner, and we at home all know it. In her own way, Betty is the most successful of any of the show’s women at her reinvention.

Many thanks to guest blogger Logan for sharing his take on Betty Francis (née Hofstadt, formerly Draper), of our beloved Mad Men, which boasts more dynamic and complex female characters than most other shows on television combined.

So, what are your thoughts on Betty’s transformation? This post got us thinking: the sexual revolution changed the lives of all women in many ways, and this cultural shift was so huge that it even managed to creep into the lives of Republican politicians’ wives, like Betty Francis. When we met Betty, she was emerging from the 1950s. In the late 1960s, she has a much less rigid role to play, and so her empowerment could be interpreted as stemming from the changing world around her. In this way, her transformation feels less personal and more universal, to us. 

On a personal note, I have never once lost interest in Betty. I’ve said this before, and I will say it again now: I could watch Betty eat bugles for an hour and half be completely thrilled. 

BuglesThoughts on Betty? We’d love to read your comments. Interested in submitting a guest post to RLB? Send us your essays about women in the media to reallivingbeauty@gmail.com. 

XOXO, Gossip Girl

Yes, everyone in Gossip Girl possessed over-the-top, screen siren good looks, and so body image was never really an issue. (Except kinda sorta in the first season, when we learned that Blair was kinda sorta struggling with her former bout with anorexia… so sometimes perfection is hard even for the very beautiful and very rich)

All the same, here is where I indulge my love of Fashion, and with this week’s Last Episode of GG Ever, Lou and I decided to do a fashion retrospective of the show’s two starlets, Blair and Serena, over at CWPL.

Clearly I wrote about Blair – the preppy, ladylike, Audrey aficionado.
Lou is writing about Serena – the oft bohemian, sometimes gaudy, always sexy siren.

S and I are in talks for a future post on RLB about women who use other women as accessories, but for now enjoy this Gossip Girl swan song!

Ps. For those who have (gasp) never seen the show, it’s worth mentioning that B is not just a “fan” of Audrey Hepburn. One of the best plot devices on GG was Blair’s frequent dreams starring herself as classic Audrey film characters. They were always entertaining, and showed off little Meester’s actual acting chops. Definitely a favorite part of the show.

You will be missed, GG!

XOXO

blairaudrey

 

Mischievous Magnificent Miranda

Lou and I are both completely enamored with country music rabble-rouser Miranda Lambert, and Lou was nice enough to write a Friday Shout Out for her yay! Kick off your weekend with our (soon to be your) latest girl crush:

I’ve always been a bit of a cowgirl and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love blasting cheesy country tunes every chance I get. I was really stoked when the new television show, “Nashville” started because, well for one, we got to see Connie Britton return to the small screen (if you haven’t watched every season of Friday Night Lights yet, hop to it) and for two, I was excited to have a dramatized look behind the Nashville country music scene. I know it’s television, but in reality, I’m not sure how dramatized it actually is. I suspect in that industry, women really are assholes to each other more often than not, which is lame. That’s why I want to give a shout out to one of my favorite country singers and all around female badasses – Miranda Lambert.

I just finished watching her Best Female Vocalist acceptance speech at last night’s Country Music Awards and I wasn’t surprised, but I sure was smitten, when she started talking about how she wanted to accept that award on behalf of all women in country music because “girls, there’s room for all of us!” What makes it even better is I believe she actually means it.

This is a woman who openly talks about her struggles with body image, weight, celebrity, her relationship, and growing stardom. She’s got opinions and she’s not afraid to share them. Google her, read some of what she has to say, and get ready to have a new girl crush.

And can I just point out that she’s one of the few celebrities to openly call out Chris Brown for being scum? Here’s a good summary of their Twitter feud:

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/entertainment/2012/02/chris-brown-and-miranda-lambert-twitter-feud-continues/

…right? Girl crush. Right? Told you.

So, thanks to Miranda Lambert for being a little rough around the edges, for exuding self-confidence, singing catchy tunes, speaking your mind, and being an all-around totally bodacious babe. Yee-haw!

That’s your mission for today, RLB readers. Bone up on some Miranda music and Miranda musings! She’s a sassy, talented lady who is not to be missed.

Post Promotion

For today’s post, RLB is featuring an article by a guest blogger on Lou’s blog. Which I suppose you could classify as ‘stealing,’ but we prefer the term Promotion. Because that’s what it is! Promotion for both the blog, Cheap Wine and Pantylines, and for Crystal, author of the post. It fits so perfectly with the themes of RLB, we couldn’t resist. Besides, we have Permission, which makes all the difference. Read on, wear clothes that fit, and feel effing good about yourself today:

Don’t Tell Me What to Do