Saturday, 22 July 2017

Objectification in fandoms - On the AOS Starfleet minidress uniform and why I hate it

I will be referencing this post multiple times in my AOS Star Trek comic feminist reviews (AOS: Alternate Original Series, the Trek movies from 2009 onwards). Here focusing on the AOS miniskirt female uniform, although I also reference the TOS (The Original Series) version as comparison.

I also note that AOS Star Trek is one of my favourite fandoms, I'm officially obsessed about it and it holds a special place in my heart. But as a feminist, I also find problematic flaws in it, and this is the main one.

-On the Starfleet female miniskirt uniform and why I hate it:

One should definitely not judge a woman for wearing miniskirts or shorter skirts, and I'm firmly against patriarchal modesty mindsets. I firmly think women are entitled to wear whatever they like and feel well in (so long as they're not making an unfeminist 'choice' and 'choosing' to wear a burka or a similarly misogynistic gendered covering, of course). However, the context should also be taken into consideration in order to ascertain if the character is being sexualized or not when wearing a more revealing skirt/dress/outfit. For example, female Starfleet officers shown wearing miniskirts (and sleeveless dresses) is both unrealistic and ridiculous - and thus, objectifying - because the logical thing would be to wear protective and practical clothing in the context of an actual job in outer space with bonus potential accidents and planet away missions! 
So comfortable and realistic for an action-packed mission!
Weather (exposed skin will be more prone to cold or heat), risk of injury to the exposed and very poorly protected legs and/or arms (no explanation needed here), lack of mobility (when one's underwear is showing so easily one has a limited set of posture choices :/ 'I remember always being exposed', Uhura's Zoë Saldana says. Sounds comfy for (such) a job, right?!),...These are all important factors which make the choice of a (sleeveless) minidress (in the case of AOS without even thin tights beneath -not that those did any protection either!-, even though it's a little bit less ridiculously short as TOS' version) clearly thought for the aims of sexualization and male gaze, as well as promoting the narrow-minded idea of gendered uniforms where women, for the sake of being women, too often automatically have to wear skirts/dresses and more uncomfortable and/or revealing clothing.  
The most logical outfit for an away-mission! Obviously. 
And if you need more proof (even though I think it's already pretty obvious), just read Zoë Saldana's comments on how uncomfortable her minidress 'uniform' made her, how she couldn't sit in any way without her underwear showing and her male colleagues calling her on it ("I kept being reminded by all my male cast members that I was flashing, I would sit down and it would be like, 'Oh, Zoe, cross those legs.' And I would say, 'They are crossed.' [They would say], 'Well, then put something over that because I'm just seeing everything.'"), and how the costume designer responded to her complaints with male gaze justifications, which win against every discomfort a female lead might have, apparently: "I just remember always being exposed no matter how hard I would try," Saldana said. "I would tell Michael that we had to work on this and [he would say], 'But it looks so cute.'".
 Women's sexualization wins and no surprises there :/, but it bugs me so much that so many female fans actually defend this shit and even call it 'empowering' (f* you liberal 'feminism' >_<)! Or that Beyond's costume designer, who is a woman, decided to keep on using the unrealistic and uncomfortable minidress - even though she added long sleeves and the dress is slightly longer - that caused so much discomfort to the actresses, never mind the characters (and this is the only issue I have with the awesomeness that is Beyond).
Just the kind of thin you'd wear in order to work in outer space, RIGHT?
This is a TOS female uniform as a comparison - Very similar regarding ridiculousness and sexualization aims :/ The TOS 'uniform' has an even shorter skirt (which however acts as a bathing suit of sorts - uncomfortable and unnecessary af, but at least the underwear wouldn't be as exposed, I guess), and generally includes very thin tights, which add like 1% protection, so no big deal either.
Another essential point to consider about this issue is to see if, by contrast, all male characters are always wearing pants and generally comfy and practical clothing while the women are generally wearing more revealing clothing just because they're women (double standard) and they must be seen as adequately attractive for the male gaze. And yes, this is what's happening regarding Starfleet gendered uniforms: All men wear actual realistic and comfortable uniforms with pants (and reinforced biker-style pants at that!) and, regarding the two first Trek movies where many minidresses are also sleeveless, the male uniforms always sport long sleeves, of course. Men are allowed to be protected! Male leads in movies and male characters in general are also allowed to be handsome and stuff while being protected!
What male privilege looks like
These are some of Michael Kaplan's costume sketches for Star Trek's Academy and duty uniforms. As you can see, the double standards are strong with this one. Men have realistic, reasonably comfy and non-objectified uniforms (they are also depicted in non-sexualized postures), while women are extremely sexualized (regarding both the outfit and the poses) in an illogical, unrealistic and ridiculous way.


Also featuring hypocrisy from the designer's part: "The women had lots of different options for the cadet uniforms: They could wear pants, skirt and a sweater, a skirt and jacket, or a jumper - an over-sweater like a little dress" Where are the 'lots of different options'? They're basically lots of options for wearing miniskirts and dresses, because I literally didn't see one female cadet with pants in the movies or in any production design. If you state that women can wear pants, why aren'y any women wearing them in the Academy? Or do I have to squint more at the screencaps? At least be sexist in an honest way, I don't know :/

Let me stress that gendered uniforms of this kind are inherently sexist and misogynistic af, not to mention narrow-minded in their gender-role glory. Because they're telling you: You're a woman, so your role in life is to wear a uniform that's more uncomfortable, protects you less and limits your mobility, because you must look 'sexy' and attractive at all costs. They brainwash women into thinking this actually is logical and makes sense. And those women who don't get brainwashed effectively usually have to accept it anyway, or lose their job/not go to (a uniform) school/lose their acting job. It's one thing to like miniskirts/dresses, it's another thing entirely to have to wear them as a uniform in the wrong context just because of your gender and because a male designer/male somebody in power said so (Michael Kaplan again: "We loved the idea of sticking to the homage of the 1960s and putting the girls into mini-skirts [he forgot about the 'lots of different options here!]. Zoë Saldana is adorable - it was so much fun to dress her. She has such a great figure for short skirts and the costume - she was the main prototype for the costumes").
 I myself wear miniskirt-and-leggins combos on a regular basis because I like the aesthetic, but I sure as hell wouldn't wear them to work in outer space, or as your standard female uniform to go to uni, and not only because contextually it doesn't make any sense, but also because I resent being sexualized because of my gender, thank you very much. 

In the AOS Trek movies we have a handful of female crew also wearing the long-sleeved pant uniform (in Beyond all female uniforms have long sleeves, but the pant version sports a tunic-like top and most female characters still wear the minidress version :/). Apparently, women in Starfleet can wear the pant version of both the Academy and duty uniforms (why thank you, 23rd Century so full of anachronistic 60s sexism in that respect), but oh surprise!, I haven't seen any female Academy cadet in the movies wearing the pant version, and all women in pant duty uniforms are extras (you can see handful in all three Trek movies), or secondary characters at most (like Ensign Syl in Beyond).

Both pant uniforms and dresses with long sleeves (which is something - like in Beyond - but still impractical)  
Most female pant uniforms are extras in the background
Let us also remember the brief glory of pant uniforms for women in TOS
Needless to say, this is the kind of uniform Starfleet women should be wearing, for practicality, comfort, protection, mobility and general equality (why can only men wear pants when it comes to uniforms, when it's the most logical option?). It's high time we taught society that women are not here to decorate men's world and thus should not look sexualized in every freaking situation, and also high time we taught people that not only should women be allowed to wear pants in these situations (it's so surreal to have to say this in the 21s Century, never mind the 23rd) but also- if appearance should even factor - that women and actresses can look just as good as men and male actors in freaking pants. No need to put them in ridiculous miniskirts in order to boost the attractiveness Hollywood selling factor.

Of course, we can't have the (limited) main female characters non-sexualized for our dear male audience (because we also know that female sexualization sells), and also for brainwashed neoliberal feminists! Neoliberal 'feminists' who claim - much to men's comfort, of course - that these women who are depicted with the minidress versions are empowered and not sexualized at all because they have the pants option available and didn't choose it (oh choice 'feminism', you always make so much sense).  How fitting for the male audience that no one main female character and less than 50% (being generous in some cases) of the secondary characters and extras chose the pant version! How fitting that so many women use the word 'choose' for fictional characters whose outfits are generally chosen by (male or brainwashed female) designers and crew!  Neoliberal and choice 'feminism' is truly poison and Patriarchy's pawn. They also make like 0% sense, my gods.

The newest Boldly Go Trek comics, as well as some Ongoing issues such as the genderbent 'Paralell Lives' one and some other random cases, made me hope for a change in this respect, seeing as 99% of the women portrayed in the first issues actually wore pants, even Uhura a couple of time :D, so we'll see, although I'm not that hopeful because the media does still rely on objectifying their female characters too much.  But THIS is what we deserve to see everywhere:





In short, I find it so infuriating and ridiculous that I'm here vindicating the right of women to wear comfortable, realistic uniforms in a job that requires lots of mobility and protection (minidresses are all fine and cool but in other contexts thank you), and that it's actually an 'unpopular opinion' *facepalm* 

Friday, 13 January 2017

Critisizing Plain Jane: Jona part II

For those of you who don't know what this is about, this is part of my snarky feminist reviews against the horrendously sexist 'Plain Jane' makeover show. This is episode 2 (Jona 'No Risk Jane') part 2.

Former posts:
-First episode (Cristen 'Friendzone Jane'): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
-Second episode (Jona 'No Risk Jane'): 1
  • Previously in this episode (part 1): Jona is a girl who's labelled as a 'control freak' because she likes to be in charge of her life and stuff and that's obviously wrong and unfeminine (duh). She also needs help because her choice of clothing and her attitude towards hair and make-up aren't the normative limited set of 'options' required to be a 'feminine' 'woman', so she obviously won't be able to hook up with Entitled Boy (aka Jona's crush) unless this show's remarkably open-minded stylist helps her out.     So Jona embarks on an empowering quest in which she gets another person to organize a blind date with Entitled Boy for her, then stalks her crush in a library, and gets lectured about how studying, wearing casual clothes, not wearing make-up and wearing her hair up are the things barring her for getting a man in her life (wow, I know).     Part 1 finished with one of the best examples of this show's dazzling display of logic and integrity, aka the 'face your phobia' experience, with Jona getting dragged off a flying plane (by creepy dudes who were enjoying her terror and lack of control a little bit too much) in order to finally be able to understand that going to a blind date with Entitled Boy wasn't that much of an ordeal. That's right, we need to enjoy a non-con scenario in order to muster our courage to go on a blind date. Such great advice, right?!
We've just started with the 'Previously on this episode' and McGonagall is already so done
But Jona's journey is not complete yet! That major example of the glorification of non-consent in the plane was not enough, because now she must also welcome invasive tactics, sexist stereotypes and double standards regarding her bedroom, wardrobe choices, interactions with other males and, finally, her hair and face. All of them necessary in order for Entitled Boy to be able to choose whether he wants her in his romantic life or not! 
Because, believe it or not, this extensive mental brainwashing process and physical makeover does not automatically grant you a 2D boyfriend to please every day (must be like winning the lottery, that). No, there's always the chance he will turn you down, because his choices and freedom actually do matter, so there's also the additional tension and anguish about being rejected and loosing a friendship (because in this kind of shows friendship and a relationship with additional 'romantic' elements are like contradictory and completely different things). Life is never easy for women, this show teaches us! (but tremendously straightforward for men, apparently). And that's why we must always make such an effort to please the menz!

Back from the plane experience, in which Jona found the enlightement that comes from a non-consensual, out-of-context situation, she and the stylist go back to Jona's house, in order to fully critisize the state of Jona's stereotypical 'Plain Jane' bedroom
They also oh-so-subtly remind us - again - of the difference between the stylist's 'feminine', societally correct 'sexy' 'womanly' fashion sense, and Jona's 'tomboyish' and 'unfeminine'  casual 'sloppiness'. Women can only wear short skirts and cutesy and/or sexy stuff, pants and casual wear are only for men!
(in a posh voice) "I think that a home is a reflection of a person's  life. So I want to visit our Plain Jane's bedroom to gain insight into what may be holding her back." 
This part of the episode very helpfully gives us another clue about the 'Plain Jane' persona: Plain Janes without love in their life have incredibly messy, unkempt and dirty rooms, reflection of their unfulfilled love life and awkward personality (this stereotype already appeared in episode 1, with Cristen having a messy room as well). And now, with the bonus of bathroom plungers, stained sheets and food in the floor!  The stylist sums it up with 'Revolting...feral...I don't think I'd even let a pet rat live in here'.  
This is what happens when a woman wears pants, casual wear and doesn't have a man to look after
It seems that another theme in this episode is that Plain Janes are not only shy, self-conscious, and repressed - They're also dirty and unkempt, wearing stained clothing, having dirty hair and leaving food on the floor of their revoltingly messy rooms. Without a man, a woman is now also dirty and 'revolting', and paranoid and a control freak. It keeps getting better and better. 
Ian Chesterton is not sure he wants to keep reading this horseshit
Problem of a room this messy? She won't be having sex in it ('Do you know what this means, a broken mirror? [Jona: 'Seven years bad luck'] Seven years bad sex!'). That's the main problem.

Jona needs to throw most of her stuff out as well, because a woman without a man who is also 'control freak' is a 'childish hoarder' who doesn't throw anything away and keeps a dirty, messy room - Women aren't allowed to actually keep stuff they may like in their rooms, because that makes them messy, dirty hoarders, and children instead of women! And she'll probably need free space in order to let Entitled Boy hoard stuff in her room as well as his own, I guess. Because I bet this show thinks men are allowed to hoard! Also, the fact that her room is stereotipically portrayed as this messy and dirty obviously and very logically means that 'her whole life is not in order'.

-Now come the clothes
The stylist has begun throwing stuff indiscriminately away in a garbage bag (clothing and non-clothing alike), ignoring the cries of protest from Jona. She is suddenly offended by the fact that Jona has heel-free shoes lying around: 'The ugliest men shoes I've ever seen in my life *cringeworthy strident laugh when Jona says she likes them* They're disgusting'. Comparing a woman's wardrobe to a man's wardrobe seems to be the worst hurt Jona and her 'inherent (stereotyped) femininity' can receive, apparently, and it goes both ways, too (with it actually being worse the other way round, because to compare a man with women or anything remotely 'feminine' is like the worst insult to their oh-so-strong masculinity, because it's a literal insult to be 'like a woman' to begin with). Also, interesting that anything remotely comfortable is always called 'unfeminine' - only men can wear comfortable things without being stigmatized! 
Any shoe without stiletto heels is a MAN-SHOE! The horror!
Meanwhile, Jona is very happy indeed that the stylist is throwing away her stuff  - and out the window, no less!
Throwing things out the the window...You walk around feeling classy, but that certainly isn't. And your ‘sass’ is not that, it’s rudeness.

'I don't feel that you're a grown woman when I look around. There's a lot of childlike things, a lot of mess, a lot of hoarding'. You need a man, darling. You'll become a grown, mature, clean woman who doesn't hoard as soon as you get a boyfriend. You’ll probably be cleaning his own room as well, too. It's what women do, after all. 

'I've got a team of people who are going to come in and work a little magic'. So she's going to have a team of people completely rearrange her room. Talk about invasive behaviour.

While the stylist's Capitol team completely change Jona's bedroom in a charmingly invasive way, Jona is taken to the store to find clothes that actually make her look like a 'feminine' woman, someone a man might actually want to date! Featuring more gender stereotypes and clothes and body bashing:
More like 'moooore sexist bullshit coming this way!'
Enter her 'friends' critisizing Jona and her clothes. 'Always wearing long T-shirts that don't show off her form and sweatpants and maybe athletic shoes. She just needs some fashion help, I think.' Very nice friends she's got there. Very nice sexist brainwashing, too.

Because you must always show off your body to the menz! (definitely don't do it your yourself, though, that wouldn't be right, what a sl*t). You aren't allowed to wear baggier clothes, sorry. You must spend every single day of your life wearing tight clothing (but the uncomfortable kind that men like, don't be mistaken) so that the men realize you're actually a woman, available to them!

This doesn't mean I'm pro-modesty, I'm NOT, and I hate it when people make that assumption just because I critisize this issue. I'm pro-leaving people's bodies damn alone as long as their clothing choices don’t explicitly promote mysoginy (burkas would be ruled out, for ex., because they do nothing but promote misogyny. Just in case I get 'choice (pseudo)feminists' with their twisted logic pointing out that I must be tolerating such things).
Another subtle comparison to remind us that Jona is dressed like an unfeminine, unkempt tomboy!  
'This Plain Jane plays it safe with her wardrobe, always wearing sweats and T-shirts (which makes people confused as to her gender, apparently). But if she wants her crush to see her sexier side (again, it's all for the man) she's gonna have to take a fashion risk with some skirts and heels'. Because the only kind of 'risk' a woman is allowed to take in life is wearing uncomfortable tube skirts and heels, whether she likes or not, in order to attract men!
Me too, Obi-Wan, me too.
And once again the stylist is the one who's dictating the style she must wear and how a woman can look 'sexy' (and you're not a control freak yourself? Talk about double standards). What happens if she doesn't like heels or skirts and that's it, no negotations allowed? I guess she'll just say ‘awesome!’ and ‘thank you’ and ‘it was my own true style all along’ when you've forced her into the new style, anyway. That’s how the logic of this show works. With non-consent being received as an epiphany everywhere.

Just like what happened with Cristen, the stylist makes use of her 'classy' 'wit' and proceeeds to make fun of different styles Jona chooses, calling any woman who doesn't dress in heels and skirts, once again'unfeminine'. Yay. It's also pretty cruel and mean to tell her to pick stuff when she's just going to critisize all her choices afterwards anyway.

You know, personally, I hate the stylist's style. We certainly have different views on what it is to dress 'in style'. And we have totally different views on what is ‘beautiful’, ‘stylish’ or ‘attractive’. I think that she chooses garish stuff I wouldn’t touch with a five-foot pole and I wouldn’t wear most of her preferred stuff if they paid me for it. But here's the thing, to each their own! Do I tell her what to wear? It’s not my damn business! Why can’t she do the same? But no, her actual job is about telling other people what to do, and her style is the only universally ‘good’ style, it's the rest of womenfolk who are taking the wrong choices.
'I bet she chooses these!' The horror of a person actually choosing her own clothes! Yay for shaming people for not having your exact same likes, narrow-minded stylist. Ugh.
'So Jona is your classic sporty chick [which seems like a bad thing? Also, are you implying that 'sporty' women are all messy, unkempt and dirty because they like casual wear and sporty stuff??], who wears her sweats not just in the field, but everywhere else in life! I just want to step outseide her comfort zone [WHY??]. I want to put her in clothes that are tighter and brighter'

And like in episode one, here we have Jona showing the stylist what she has chosen and being rudely flamed every time. You're not even sassy, what the hell, you're just rude. And dogmatic.
Class™
And also, it's not about 'feminine'=the amount of skin showed (as opposed to wearing 'baggy clothes that don't show her form') either, because Jona chooses this and the stylist is immediately horrified. Maybe because it's actually a mobility-friendly, comfy look (not my personal style, but hey, I can see why she chose it), not 'sexy' enough, not something the men will be attracted to because there are not tube skirts, cutesy stuff or heels around!
This is not 'sexy' enough because it's comfy!
Poor naïve Jona takes the stylist at her word and tries to be 'risky' with a quirky look that suits her personality (and that the stylist, horrified again, promptly associates with Oliver Twist), but it turns out that what the stylist really meant when she said 'risky' was this:
All women need to wear flowers, skirts and foul pink cardigans to show the world they're actually women!!
And then...'Oh, the lady is in the house!' Because only when you wear a floral dress and pink cardigan can you be called a woman. Oh wait, it's too girly for her, let's try to bring out a more 'sexy' side.
'This is more casual'. WAT
The stylist's definition of ‘casual’ includes, wait for it, stilettos. Yes, that’s right. Freaking stilettos, one of the most uncomfortable and mobility-impairing shoes in history, are part of a freaking 'casual' look. Wow.
And as usual in these episodes, Plain Jane suddenly realizes that the compulsory feminine style was her style all along! It's so obvious that this is scripted because how the hell are these girls so nonchalant about those freaking heels when theoretically they hadn't ever worn them before? Those things are freaking uncomfortable and it's not easy to walk in them either!
'You look so hot right now! You look a million miles from the girl I met at the café.' - 'I feel really sophisticated' - 'Do you feel sexy? You look so sexy!' - 'I didn't know this could happen!'. Because only when you wear a tight minidress and heels can you be feel 'sexy', and like a woman. You must conform to a single choice of style, and wait, if you show your body it's not for yourself, it's for the crush, so don't you think this is really about loving your body and showing it off because it's your style and you like it. So if you're looking for that kind of self-acceptance, self-esteem and self-love, this show definitely isn't the one for you. No, really, it's not.

As in the non-consent plane experience, Jona has come to realize that tube skirts, dresses and painfully thin and high stiletto heels were her preferred style all along, so burdened with this second glorious epiphany and a lot of 'feminine' and 'sexy' clothes and uncomfortable shoes, she makes her way back to her....transformed bedroom, which is now a posh and proper room, fitting for a 'grown-up woman'. It's impersonal and even dehumanized. All her stuff is gone. All right if it needed cleaning a bit (and we also have to take into account the cliché of the 'dirty, unkempt woman without a man'), but did you really had to erase her whole style and create a whole new one? (hey, that's the exact point of Plain Jane, after all). That's so invasive. But Entitled Boy would find it more welcoming and would be 'willing to stay overnight', so I guess that's the important part! And of course Jona loves it! The logic of this show, remember, is that women like non-consensual experiences and changes if someone pressures them enough into liking them!
Wow, thank you for throwing away all my stuff and completely changing my own bedroom!
 'Jona, meet the laundry hamper'. Let us bash 'unfeminine' women as dirty, messy women again. I understand that with the grand total number of two neurones you're not able to come up with a whole lot of new ideas, but come on.
This show is full of Andersons
So, now that she already has the bedroom and the clothes, Jona must learn to welcome flirting and 'ladylike manners'. So she must dress sexier, be cleaner (because only women who dress in skirts and heels are clean, apparently), have a more refined boring room (with no hoarding or interesting, personalized stuff), and...welcome sexual advances whether she likes the guy in question or not. 

I hate it when they force young women to be all flirty and sexy, leave them the hell alone! Not all girls are attracted to the idea of sex and relationships in the same way (or at all), and not all handle these situations in the same way. Brainwashing young women so that they think that if they don't cater to the menz by being adequately flirty and sexy then they're 'self-conscious, miserable prudes' is so wrong. Also, it's not like you wouldn't call a woman who likes flirting and dating a 'slut' when she doesn't fit your submissive model, is it?  At the end of the day, a patriarchal.based society makes it so that everything a woman does is wrong: If she likes dating (especially if it's casual dating) she's a 'slut'; if she doesn't have a particular liking for it, she's a 'prude'. It a no-win scenario (like the sexist version of the Kobayashi Maru *sorry xD*).
And Jane Tiberia Kirk doesn't believe in no-win scenarios!
Another thing - It’s not freaking necessary to wear heels and tube-skirts in order to date someone. In fact, if it’s not your preferred style that you wear on a daily basis, I would say it would be toxic to change your style just for a date. The man's (or date's) tastes don’t come before your own. Never. Never ever. Dating (and assuming we're talking about more longish-term relationships) is not about changing so that you're attractive to a man, or at least it shouldn’t be (talking about heteronormative relationships here, but this issue could also apply to same-sex ones in some cases). Some women don't like flirting (I, for one, don’t, not in the conventional way society views 'flirting'), every woman should have their own clothing style, their own way of being 'sexy' if they want to be sexy, that is, and their own way of speaking with men, if they want to speak with men in that context. You don't have to tutor them into a single way of responding to all these, because we're not all the same, and we’re not men’s playthings, either. We don’t have to be tutored, goddammit *insert grumpy Bones face*. In fact here it is:

This mindset is not only creepy, it's misogynistic as hell because they're freaking telling these girls that in order to be in a  relationship they must learn to cater to the needs of men and entertain them

Now, like in episode 1, Jona is being told to get more comfortable around guys by distinguishing herself from them. Hanging out with guys creates 'the friendzone'. You can only hook up with a guy if you learn how to flirt and seduce and entertain them. And you must be neither too forward nor too coy. All very logical and very simple. And very egalitarian. With no double standards present.

I love Jona's 'friends', they tell all sort of nice stuff about her all the time. Jona has no luck with men because she dresses in sweatpants and doesn't know how to flirt correctly. 'Jona was having a burping contest with a guy, and a I really hoped that it wasn't her trying to flirt, but I think that it was'. Keep on creating that gloriously three-dimensional stereotype: The opposite and only alternative of a high-heeled sexy woman who seduces men with her charms is a messy, dirty, unfeminine tomboy who burps. You sure exerted your (limited) brains over there. Try not to over-exert yourself next time.

So, another male flirting advisor. And they're gonna do the same thing, train her to flirt in a 'womanly way' under threat of zapping her. So cool, right?

And yep, already in heels. Interesting how the girls never complain about how uncomfortable they are, and in real life, they should. Not only because most of them are darn uncomfortable, also because if it really was the first time these girls wore heels, they should find it a bit more difficult to maneouver in them!

This episode's version of the flirting experience is not about talking to random guys walking their dog (Cristen), but about speed-dating, which apparently is an asset every girl should have. Tips to succeed: 'Keep the conversation very light, flirty and fun. (...) Make sure that you ask questions, because guys love to talk about themselves (and it's all about what they want and keeping them entertained, they don't even try to hide that fact). If you feel yourself talking too much about yourself (the gods forbid!!), ask them a question (and let them talk for as long as they want!). No matter what, I want these guys to walk out saying they met a lovely girl .' 
Let me instruct you about how to cater to men with my two lone neurons and my male entitlement
So the usual stuff, then. Listen to men, let them talk about themselves, and never, ever interrupt them or bother them with your voice or your conversation topics. Those don't matter. You're here to listen to them, to entertain them and to be their passive, sweet, submissive slave. That's what a romantic relationship seems to be about in this show.
The correct way to enter a relationship is to endure some entertaining Geisha training before! With electric shocks!
And what's more - they haven't given her normal guys for her to meet. Nope. They’ve given her freaking creepy weirdos. 'If she can handle these guys, she can handle anything with Jonathan'. Cool, so she must speed-date talk with horrible creepy guys in order to realize that's it's not so hard to engage with Entitled Boy, because in comparison Entitled Boy will be magnificent. Sounds legit. And abusive.
This is 100% out of order and Captain Kirk agrees
The slave-master/flirting expert and the stylist begin monitoring Jona as she has to engage with these guys one after the other:
-'Awkward silence' - zap. Because it isn't awkward at all to be meeting random guys in a speed-dating place. Especially if you actually didn't choose to do so in the first place. The gods forbid she's human and find the experience awkward.
-'Ask the guy some questions!' The thought of the guy actually being interested about her (apart from her looks, I mean)! It isn't wrong for the guy to stay in silence, either. He isn't being awkward - or zapped!
-'She sounds a little condescending'. Guys can be condescending to you. You can't, you have to take the guys seriously and be interested in what they're saying. Even if you're not. Especially if you're not.
-'Stop slouching, sit up'
-'Make eye contact with the guy!'  
-'Don't look so disturbed!'  The gods forbid women be able to express when they're uncomfortable. The logic of non-consent again.
-And one of these guys goes - 'I've never dated an Asian girl before, this could be really fun for both of us. How do you feel about one-night stands?'
WAT
Oh, great, a racist jerk who wants to treat her as an 'exotic novelty' to use and discard :/ So part of the training is basically enduring freaking sexual harassment from creepy guys ('She's doing very well'). Ugh!

-'This isn't a job interview!' Don't talk about anything that's not 100% shallow and superficial!

And they're also sort of playing with the guys, unless they knew beforehand. Now that these type of guys would care, though.

The cringeworthy flirting training over and the stylist thinks that Jona has learned 'the stuff I wanted you to learn for the big day with Jonathan tomorrow' (so basically putting up with harassment and entertaining men no matter how boring or dumb they are? Sounds like what escorts are forced to do, only unpaid :/). Jona is feeling 'a lot more comfortable' about the whole date issue (wow), so now it's time for the actual makeover, starting with the hair. And they're going to cut her hair, obviously (for the full rant, see episode 1 here).

So yes, her natural hair won't do. The male hair-stylist asks her about her daily hair routine and both he and the stylist laugh in a pretty condescending manner when Jona says she doesn't do anything special (the stylist doesn't either, but of course he's a man and doesn't need to be high maintenance about his appearance). 'You need something a little bit different', the hair stylist claims, 'To be like kind of flirty, (...) and a little bit more elegant'.  That seems to be equal to shorter and heat-styled, somehow. Because nothing is ever fine to begin with! If it's long-ish, it must be shorter, if it's short it must be longer! If it's straight (and thus 'lanky'), it must have waves, if it's too 'frizzy' it must be heat-straightened to death! Wonderful methods to boost a girl's self-esteem! Plus they also make sure that they'll be buying (horrible) products in order to alter their hair forecer and ever, because they'll want to keep doing it in order to cater to their crush! 

While Jona's hair is being changed without any of her input being taken into account (she wasn't even asked to begin with, as per usual), the episode turns to glorifying Entitled Boy again ('really smart', 'really nice', yadda, yadda, yadda). Getting boring - and full of double standards - here.
The hair stylist is a proud promoter of sexist and unequal relationships, too:
'You got a hot date? (...) So we need to do sexy hair'  Because of course, her hair is for her date to admire and her hairstyle is 100% oriented towards that, with no input from her part and the need to actually change it because of the dude.

Also, she is going to start waxing her eyebrows and upper lip and do her nails now she's going to have a man in her life!
'You are going to have to start to train yourself to go more like a routine when you wash your hair. Because now you're going to have a new boyfriend, so you'll have to look fabulous every day' Yes, I get it. She has the additional pressure to look good everyday because she owes it to her boyfriend. That also suits you because she will be paying lots of check-up visits to the hairdresser's now, right?
Use your vaporizer now, Missy!
The stylist raves at her new look and then - on their way to finish the makeover with the make-up and dress+heels - proceeds to pressure her into realizing that she 'only has one shot' and that she wants her to 'nail it right'. Getting a man is a compulsory achievement if you're a woman, so that makes Jona suitably nervous, and to that she adds the fact that she's worried that she'll loose her friendship with Entitled Guy if she's rejected. Pressure upon pressure, it's so nice to be a woman in this show!

After the hair comes the make-up, also a compulsory requirement if you're a woman. At least the make-up guy actually asks her a little bit about what she prefers! But yeah, as much as I personally enjoy make-up as a form of artistic expression, women should not be forced to wear it all the time (or ever), and least of all for a man (or anyone else) you want to hook up with.

(Also, for a make-up artist and hair stylist that work with celebrities, once again they don't seem to do that much of an spectacular job or anything, the make-up's pretty amateurish, imo - but OK, cool, after all the logic I've been having here I guess this is not surprising xD Anyway, off topic)

Once again, Entitled Boy isn't asked anything more than to be there for the date. No transformation from his part, he's already cute and smart and all around great already! He just has to turn up in the clothes he has chosen, and choose. What a great life, right? 
He still finds time to whine, though: 'What if I don't like the random girl and have to turn her down, how awkward!'. Like dude, no one forced into this, no one asked you to change anything about yourself, and you're able to choose, the hell are you complaining about, privileged dude?
Also, pretty interesting that he apparently liked Jona all along, and yet -
1) Never told her either. She gets a makeover and her personality and likes are mutilated, but his aren't. He's not labelled as a shy Plain Joe because of that fact. Men can bide their time! Huge double standard.
2) Seems to be 100% cool about going on a blind date with a stranger (so he thinks) in spite of liking Jona! Jona is obsessing about Entitled Boy all the time and everything she's doing and being made to do is for him. Meanwhile, Entitled Boy is cool about hooking up with a random girl. Oooo-key.
She's just wearing different clothes, make-up and has cut her hair - But she's a new Jona! Now happy because a man will notice her!
Jona's makeover is finished, the stylist is 'really proud of how far you've come this week (...) you've become a new person' - She's been talked into and forced to do everything, but OK, see it as a woman's ultimate accomplishment, why not. She also mainly emphasizes the fact that she looks 'beautiful' and 'so hot', so that's the kind of accomplishment a girl should be looking forward to, I guess. And now she's ready at last to 'get out there and go get your man' because now that she's sexy and have conformed, she's worthy of having a man and the man will be able to actually view her as a romantic option!
Male entitlement evaluation time!
And, like in episode 1, Entitled Boy suddenly realizes he's 'in love', because Jona looks beautiful and sexy now! Wow. Like he says 'we've always been open and talked about everything' and 'I kept hoping it would be you', but dude, don't give me that Nice Guy talk when you can only react now that Jona has gotten a makeover! Jona finds Entitled Boy handsome, but other things as well, she keeps commenting on how kind and smart he is (he doesn't look it if he can only ask his crush out when she's had an invasive makeover, but OK) and so on. And she's the one who has to emphasize just how she values his friendship, how kind and awesome he is. He says something along the same lines as well to seem like he's 'sweet' and 'awesome' like everyone keeps telling us, but hey, let's remember that his first and most important reaction was 'wow, you look beautiful', so that means Jona still needed the makeover even though Entitled Boy had been thinking about a potential relationship before as well!

Because it's usually that he felt the same but didn't say it either in this show. But they're not called to have a makeover and a transformation to 'face their fears' and 'find the courage' to tell the girls, no. Also, you would think that if the Entitled Boy of the day already kind of fancied the Plain Jane of the day, she wouldn't need the makeover, but she does, because the Entitled Boy of the day is always oh-so-impressed when seeing the post-makeover Plain Jane of the day, so they're actually hypocrites as well as privileged Nice Guys.
As a man, I'm entitled to ponder and choose about the situation! Knowing that in the end I'll always be acclaimed as such a Nice Guy
Jona, of course, is so relieved, grateful and happy that Entitled Boy actually finds her 'overwhelmingly beautiful', it's sad to see how this kind of brainwashing creates this level of emotional dependence and longing for affection. It's one thing to be glad or flattered that someone you like finds you attractive, it's a whole different level to be that grateful and over the moon because of it, like it looks as if it's all this girl was asking of life and now everything's complete, she has a man who thinks she's beautiful and who wants her. It's all pretty toxic and quite problematic to make a woman feel like that.

And again with the (condescending) chivalry of him helping her to sit down. The recompense she gets for changing her whole persona and maintaining it every day from now on is the dude helping her to sit down. Well, I guess moving around is stilettos is hard. That's actually an important reason why men like women wearing uncomfortable, mobility-impairing heels, women suddenly need help moving and become way more dependable, and that makes men so happy, apparently.
Condescending gallantry ftw!
And "happy ending" once more: New style and behaviour for her (heels everywhere, of course!), glorification of gender roles, and no change for him. Yay.
Yay heels and gender roles!
Wow, after all this sexism I think I need a break from Plain Jane for a little while xD But I'll be back to wreak more feminist snarky havoc into this horrendous show relatively soon, don't worry!