Sunday, 6 August 2017

Goodreads feminist reviews - Four Greek myth adaptations

Today's review post is about four books with adaptations of Ancient Greek mythological tales in the Spanish Anaya collection 'El Sendero de los Mitos'. The individual reviews can be found in my Goodreads account.  

Warning (kinda): Long post! Also, heavy criticism of Ancient Greek misogyny.

For all four stories:
+1 The version is engaging and enjoyable to read.
+1 I really like the way this collection is illustrated with colour and black-and-white renditions of original Greek art.

1. Atalanta, la de los pies ligeros: 5/5. Review on Goodreads here.

+1 Story revolving about the feats of the huntress and warrior woman Atalanta. Goddess Ártemis and her nymphs also make an appearance.

+1 Feminist content in this version, both narrator and plot: 

-Female bonding and criticism of Greek misogyny: Ártemis curses men for abandoning female children to die in the wild: 
"-(...) ¡Oh, Ártemis, qué crueles son los hombres!" ; "-(...) lo considero como una ofensa personal. Maldito sea el padre que desprecia a su retoño por ser mujer. No se saldrá con la suya."

["(...) Oh, Ártemis, how cruel men are!"; "(...) I consider it a personal insult. Cursed be the man that despises his offspring for being female. He will not get his way."]

-Amazon feminism regarding Atalanta and her warlike and huntress prowess:
"no sólo vencía a las mujeres, sino a los hombres, y no a cualquier hombre, sino a los mejores y más rápidos de su época. Y no sólo eso: además de correr como un gamo, (...) manejaba el arco y la flecha como nadie. (...) se hizo fortísima, y conocía la selva (...) mejor que nadie (...) cuán extraordinaria había de ser la habilidad de Atalanta para que toda Grecia estuviera pendiente de ella".

-Ancient Greek misogyny and gender roles are critisized more than once:
"Naturalmente, estas cualidades - excepto la de la belleza -no se explicarían si Atalanta se hubiera criado como el resto de las niñas de su época, dedicada a las faenas tradicionales de la mujer"; "En aquellos tiempos -como en los de ahora -algunos hombres eran así, extraordinariamente brutos, y creían que una mujer no puede hacer la mayor parte de las cosas que hacen ellos. (...) con un padre así, los problemas no podían tardar mucho"

-1 Emotional dependence and the 'taming of the shrew' cliché: In spite of her misogynistic and abusive father, Atalanta stills wants to gain his approval :/ ("demostrando que ella valía tanto a más que un varón, esperaba que su padre comprendiera su error, y la reconociera por fin como hija suya. (...) [Atalanta no quería casarse] mas, como tampoco quería contrariar a su padre, cuyo amor tanto le había costado conseguir (...)"). 
She also ends up being forced and tricked into marriage with a man. Although it's stated that she kept on hunting and stuff with him (woah, thank you nice guy!), she has to end up in a traditional heteropatriarchal marriage even though she had the intention of never marrying ("Atalanta no quería casarse por nada del mundo").

-1 The problematic myth of 'virginity' as undertood by a patriarchal society, and of Atalanta having the obligation to remain 'a virgin' because she was a follower of Ártemis (as opposed to saying that she was simply not interested in men and/or preferred to remain unmarried to retain her freedom in such a restrictive society). Of course, the misogynistic Greeks thought that the logical alternative of not being married in their heteropatriarchal system was to remain 'chaste' and 'a virgin' (a concept which is also extremely heteropatriarchal), without even considering all remaining options.

-1 Goddesses going against women - Ártemis seems keen to protect Atalanta in key moments, but seems to ignore her when she's tricked into having to get married, for example (also, the concept that Ártemis also cares for the 'virginity' of her followers is nothing but deeply patriarchal). Aphrodite helps Atalanta's future husband to trick her into getting married. Cibele punishes Atalanta (and husband) for entering her temple (in other version, it's Aphrodite, who's apparently offended because Atalanta didn't thank her for the gold apples that tricked her into getting married - which is just ridiculous).

  • Feminist infographic:
-Number of women (named): 5- Atalanta, Ártemis, Aphrodite, Cibele, Atalanta's mother Climea
-Other women (unnamed): Ártemis' retinue of  nymphs
-Bechdel: Yes
-Female bonding: Yes (and no, see above)
-Proactive female characters? Empowered traits in at least one female character?:  Atalanta is a huntress and athlete. Ártemis is a huntress goddess.
-Subversion: Atalanta defies and subverts traditional gender roles
-Problematic stereotypes or relationships?: Myth of virginity. Atalanta being tricked into marriage. Atalanta's emotional dependence when seeking her father's approval.

2. Los trabajos de Hércules: 3/5. Review on Goodreads here.

-1 As is the usual norm with Greek myths, there's quite a lot of sexism and misogyny around
I gave this tale a 3/5 instead of a lower rating, though, because, even though the misogyny content is still significant (although lower than in other tales in the collection, such as Apolo's sexual harassment of Daphne, or Helena being seen as the ultimate downfall of Troy), I find this tale to be more adventure-driven and more engaging to read.

+1 Appearance of the Amazons, who in this tale seem not to be described in an overly negative light - as is usually the case of Ancient Greeks, who saw the (originally Steppe) warrior-women as a threat against their patriarchal order and tended to demonize them as much as they could in their myths.
-1 However, in this tale the Amazons are probably not demonized as much because Hippolyta and many Amazons's main role in the plot is to admire Hercules's feats, so much that they're surprisingly compliant when it comes to handing him over Hippolyta's belt. This part of the story also includes the male hero battling the Amazons and acquiring the belt by force later on, so it can also be seen as a male fantasy where the strong male hero defeats the warrior-women who threaten patriarchal order. So the Amazons are not seen in such a good light after all - their main function here is to uphold the male hero's supremacy, and they're also seen as another monster that the male hero has to battle.

+-1 There are, of course, no main female characters, but, apart from Hippolyta and the Amazons, a handful of goddesses make an appearance - Hera, Athena and Artemis, mainly.

-1 However, they are either seen in a bad light (Artemis, Hera) (and so, they're the baddies who oppose our male hero), or, once again, they are used mainly as a means to help the male hero and uphold his supremacy (Athena) (and the gods (xD) know I hate the trope where empowered female characters are just in the story to help men with *their* issues).

Ártemis antagonizes the male hero and is described as "the most vengeful of gods" (which I highly doubt, seeing the excellent options we have with many other gods, especially the male ones, who will destroy your everything if you reject them sexually, for example). In the Ártemis scene, Apollo, the serial rapist and vain entitled brat extraordinaire, is not given any negative comment even though he threatens Hercules alongside his sister (double standards ftw!). 
Also note how our dear patriarchal Greek dudes choose to give Ártemis a head-covering in this particular depiction! To the unmarried huntress goddess who gives zero f*s about patriarchal modesty mindsets and gender norms! 
Meanwhile, Hera is constantly antagonizing Hercules as a way to get her revenge from Zeus cheating on her with Hercules' mother Alcmena - and yes, she's seen as the 'villain' of the story, the baddie who goes against the male hero, because her husband is a serial cheater and rapist. But she's the bad guy in the equation, of course! (double standards ftw!) (of course, it's also a patriarchal sign that Hera would choose to rain misfortune on the women Zeus harasses and the children they end up having instead of just kicking Zeus' a*s and becoming the independent sky goddess she was before patriarchy destroyed Pre-Hellenic goddesses' lives).
Athena and Hera looking 100% done about all those entitled men they have to put up with
And then there's Athena, one of the most empowered Greek goddesses, the warlike goddess of wisdom and strategy...who, as is the norm in these patriarchal myths, instead of doing awesome empowered stuff, usually spends whole stories just assisting the male heroes. This version's narration also comments how she does it partly because she is against Hera for some reason or other (yay female bonding) ("Pero allí estaba Atenea, que sin duda debía tener alguna cuenta pendiente con Hera, cuando tanto se empeñaba en ayudarlo"), and how Hercules' reaction to her help is often to dish out compliments to her ("most beautiful Athena", which is certainly the best compliment you can give the goddess of strategic war, wisdom and crafts! Keep it simple!). Also yay to Athena's glorious OoC reaction - the goddess who quite literally shouldn't give a d*mn what men thought of her (not only because she's like 0% interested in them, but also because she'd probably feel offended that they chose to focus on her appearance), feels oh so flattered and probably decides on the spot that she's going to keep on helping the male hero because her priorities are now 100% fulfilled - She's doing it because she's against another goddess, because she's supporting her father's son (who is not only a cheater, but swallowed up her mother because of MRA fears, so you know, so much respect), and now bonus points if said half-brother showers her with positive (and creepy) comments on her appearance! So thank you, Ancient Greeks, for wrecking a perfectly awesome character in so many of your tales.
This depiction pretty much sums up all my rant about Athena and Hercules, actually xD 
  • Feminist infographic:
-Number of women (named): 7- Alcmena, Hera, Athena, Ártemis, Admete, Hippolyta, Rhea.
-Other women (unnamed): Amazons
-Bechdel: No 
-Female bonding: No
-Proactive female characters? Empowered traits in at least one female character?:  Ártemis and Athena are warlike goddesses, but all they do is either help or oppose the male hero, so not really. Same with the Amazons.
-Subversion: Not really. Maybe the appearance of the Amazons, who do subvert traditional gender roles.
-Problematic stereotypes or relationships?: Ártemis as 'the most vengeful of gods'. Hera as the baddie who opposes Hercules because her husband cheats on her (but she's the evil one). Athena only there to help the male hero.

3. Helena y la guerra de Troya: 2/5. Review on Goodreads here.

-1 I don't like the inherent misogyny of this mythological tale. I usually give The Iliad a very high rating because it's so well written, even just judging from a translation, but the patriarchal values and misogyny present in the tale merit a heay criticism from a feminist point of view
Ancient Greek women are incredibly subjugated, and in this case we also have, with Helen, the infuriating sexist cliché of the woman as the 'home-wrecker', 'bad wife' and 'femme fatale' who brings about the downfall of men and cities because of her beauty and lack of 'fidelity' (such a nice way to excuse the way men can't stop themselves from being violent against women, and from objectifying them). This misogynistic topic sadly appears in many tales and myths as well (Deirdre, Isolde, Gráinne in Celtic myth, for example - although these women are allowed more agency and strength than the deeply subjugated Greek women). I personally see Helen as a clear victim of Patriarchy, forced with dubious consent into a traditional marriage with Menelaus and then used by the equally sexist and entitled brat Paris - and while she is clearly oppressed by both men, who control and objectify her, it is she who is seen as the 'evil one' in the equation ("[Menelao] tiene derecho a matarte. Le has hecho sufrir tanto..."), something which of course suits Patriarchy and men very much.

-1 I'd also like to reference the mentions in the text and depictions in the illustrations to the Greek misogynistic modesty mindset and the head-and-body-coverings women usually had to wear, very similarly to today's Islamic societies and other religious-based gendered coverings. Helen is described as veiling and covering herself to go out, and depictons of veiled women and women with head-coverings are to be found in all four books in this collection. See here for more about this issue.

Apart from the portrayal of male violence against women here, see the fascinating double standard regarding clothing: While women are nearly always wearing ankle-length tunics with most of their body covered, and have to cover themselves with veils,mantles and practically burkas when going outside, men are allowed to wear little clothing with no problems whatsoever - even frankly illogical situations like having their genitalia out when in armour because I don't know, fragile masculinity issues? *facepalm* And no one assaults men in these stories for that! I know, it's crazy!
  • Feminist infographic:
-Number of women (named): 4- Helen, Leda, Clitemnestra, Aphrodite
-Other women (unnamed)
-Bechdel: No. Helen talks about Clitemnestra, but about men, so doesn't count; and Aphrodite opposes Helen in a sexist way and it's also about men, so nope either.
-Female bonding: No
-Proactive female characters? Empowered traits in at least one female character?:  Helen tries to get away from her restrictive position, but gets another similar situation with an equally problematic man. So not really :/
-Subversion: No
-Problematic stereotypes or relationships?: Abusive, controlling and problematic relationships (Helen with Menelaus, Helen with Paris). The misogynistic stereotype of the woman as the 'femme fatale' and 'home-wrecker' who 'causes wars'.

4. El laurel de Apolo: 1/5. Review on Goodreads here.

-1 As is the usual norm with Greek myths, there's quite a lot of sexism and misogyny around - In this case we have topics from sexual assault, to victim blaming, to societal pressures to marry and have children.

-1 I especially dislike this tale because it deals with the bratty entitled serial rapist Apollo, who stalks, sexually harasses and tries to assault the 100% unwilling poor nymph Daphne. This version seems to sympathise with Daphne (as it should logically happen), but that is actually not the case of other versions I have read - in some cases, the whole issue is referred as 'tragic romance', claiming that Apollo was 'in love', so poor Apollo, and I don't know in which universe you can call sexual assault 'romantic' and 'being in love' in any way. Especially given that Daphne has to get literally dehumanized and turned into a tree in order to get Apollo to leave her alone.
This version, following the original, is full of problematic and potentially quite triggering aspects having to do with Apollo's male entitlement, and stalker-harasser-rapist mode.

-1 I also deeply resent that they somehow try to justify, in this tale, the explicit sexual harassment and assault, by saying that Apollo could not contain himself because he had been struck by Eros' 'love' arrow. Of course, let's keep on promoting the fact that men 'can't control themselves' so we should let them keep on harassing women. They also try to explain Daphne's distaste and fear not because she is logically afraid and repulsed by the rapey Apollo, but rather because Eros has also struck her! With a 'hate arrow' of sorts! Yay patriarchy trying to justify sexual assault everywhere!
It's not harassment and sexual assault if they're being controlled by 'love' and 'hate' arrows! Misogynistic assholes justifying and glorifying rape culture since forever. Also misogyinistic jerks getting off on portraying violence against women since forever :/ (Cornelis de Vos, Apollo Chasing Daphne)

-1 And it's not just about the arrows, it's actually Daphne's fault that people harass her, really! It's totally Daphne's beauty that's to blame, obviously! ("-Eres demasiado hermosa como para que te dejen en paz. Un buen marido te daría el sosiego y la seguridad que necesitas"; "la belleza de Dafne no dejaría de acarrear consecuencias"
It's Daphne's fault for being beautiful, being alone in the woods and not wearing a burka!
-1 Daphne's father keeps pressuring her daughter and tries to guilt her into marrying and giving him grandchildren ("-(...) si no por tu propio bien, deberías casarte por respeto a tu padre, que bien merece, en su ancianidad, el premio de ver a sus nietos"), even though she repeateadly states that she wishes to remain unmarried, thank you very much ("-No lo quieran los dioses (...) Sólo de pensar en el matrimonio se me ponen los pelos de punta. No, yo quiero vivir siempre como vivo ahora, y no permitiré que nadie se me acerque") (and given that men usually pounce on you trying to assault you in these tales and also in real life in too many cases, I cannot but totally understand her choices).

-1 I also find it...interesting that when Daphne is being pursued by Apollo, keen on assaulting her, it's her father who 'comes to her aid', and by dehumanizing her - Ártemis was said to have a liking for the nymph earlier in the story, why didn't she help her? Especially given that the attacker is her brother?? Like, she should have been angered and upset?? Why do the Greek people keep wrecking Artemis' character by turning her into a vengeful goddess who doesn't actually care about women in too many instances? And why did Peneus think that the only way to save her daughter was to dehumanize her, couldn't he have done something else? I get it that he's a lower god against an Olympian, but I don't know, do some water tricks or whatever! If you can change her to a tree, surely you can also give her super speed so that she can safely escape! Her end is also so sexist :/
  • Feminist infographic:
-Number of women (named): 2- Daphne, Ártemis
-Other women (unnamed): Nymphs
-Bechdel: No
-Female bonding: No
-Proactive female characters? Empowered traits in at least one female character?:  Sadly, no.
-Subversion: No
-Problematic stereotypes or relationships?: Sexual assault and harassment issues. Father trying to guilt her daughter into marriage.

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 sexism of this is also of course anachronistic as hell (that in the 23rd Century such gendered uniforms would still exist). Then again, we know that in (male-dominated) science fiction obsolete sexism always ends up making an appearance. This gendered uniform is also particularly infuriating because in real life women have been forced to wear skirts for practically everything, including many jobs where it is impractical and hazardous to do so, and thanks to stupid gender roles, they were also actually forbidden to wear the 'male uniform' (aka actual practical pants) in many cases - Female forest rangers in USA, for example, were not allowed to wear the pant uniform until freaking 1973!! Meanwhile, policewomen had to wear skirt and pumps combos because logical thinking ("Some women wore skirts with a gun belt, pumps, and pantyhose — they really couldn’t do anything.”), or had to make do with the overlarge men-size pants. So yay, liberal feminists, please tell me how this is about 'choice', and especially about 'appreciating femininity' and 'allowing women to be feminine' (like, are women allowed to be anything else??).
The most logical outfit for an away-mission! Obviously. 
And real life example of the exact same situation - This skirt+bare legs combo is so practical and logical when it comes to being a forest ranger!
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 thing 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 a handful in all three Trek movies), or secondary characters at most (like Ensign Syl in Beyond).
(click on pics or open in a new tab for larger images)

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!  Bonus points to that other argument they favour - That it's not objectification or sexism because women should be able to be both strong and 'look feminine' at the same time! That a sexualized heroine is actually subversive and empowering! Because by 'look feminine', of course, they usually mean justifying the gratuitous and blatant sexualization of so many female characters for the male gaze (comic characters such as Wonder Woman especially come to mind in this case). Not to mention that as non-binary and as a radfem I'm 100% against 2D simplistic gender constructs of  'femininity' that state that a woman 1) Must always look 'feminine' and that 2) The onlyway to achieve it is through skirts and dresses and other limited gendered options.
 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.
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?'
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!