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Mar 17 2013

Spleenvent Sunday: media, mermaids, and auntly inefficacy in pre-revolutionary America

Several hair-raising events transpired at Dreadful Acres/Spinster HQ this weekend. Hear my tale.

Breyer horse dollThe nieces Finn and Ro-Tel, ages 7 and 9, were here for a sleepover. Like all little girls, they are horse crazy. It is not enough that they have unlimited access to actual horses while they are here. In the bunkhouse they like to amuse themselves with toy horses as well. Ever the doting aunt, I maintain a supply of these future objets de landfill in a special cabinet.*

I’d bought a new addition to the plastic herd since the nieces’ last visit: an eventer set with Breyer horse, saddle, bridle, and rider doll complete. The doll was dressed, inexplicably, in a track suit. I’d selected it specifically because of the weird track suit, actually. It’s baggy and sort of sex-neutral, sending, I hoped in my ceaseless naivete, the message that this girl cares more about keeping her eyes on the prize than looking like a dudefantasy. But when we extracted the doll from the excessive packaging — a gaudy box showcasing the tracksuited doll and her mount against a breathtaking rolling green backdrop untouched by global warming — my lobe began to pulsate. Under its unisex duds, the doll was a proper mutant. That’s right, I’m talkin’ straight up Barbie syndrome. Gazongas like missiles, wasp waist, toothpick legs about 17 times as long as they ought to be, microscopic noselet, insipid smile with Porn2K-compliant parted lips. The face, with its giant dead mascara eyes, recalls the toddler beauty queen prosti-tot, while the bullet-boobs are pure Penthouse, and the blank expression is vaguely suggestive of both compliance and hardening cheese dip.**.

I grasp that Barbie syndrome isn’t breaking news, but that’s no reason to ignore that it’s still standard practice in 2013, and that it’s still flippin’ icky.

Once apprised of my mistake, I naturally wanted to remove the doll from the niecely midst, but this was a no-go; they’d formed an instantaneous and unbreakable bond.

Feeling remorseful over my unintentional reinforcement of the patriarchal pro-femininity mores, I almost considered not making them eat cauliflower for dinner. In the end, though, they not only ate the cauliflower (tossed with olive oil and roasted at 375F for 21 minutes) but proclaimed for the first time in their lives that they “loved” it. With this triumph I was feeling pretty cocky about my auntly abilities.

Until TV hour.

The show they had see was “H2O: Just Add Water” on the TeenNick channel. It is, apparently, the best show ever. This Disney-esque series, to my gape-mouthed horror, is about a trio of teen mermaids. Hot teen mermaids, which I suppose goes without saying (they resemble inflatable sex dolls in that YouTube still, no?). They’re garden-variety gorgeous, white, blonde 16-year-old besties living on dry land until someone throws them in a pool or they fall into the ocean or a drop of rain splats on them. That’s all it takes for everything below the waist to morph into a dolphin tail. Whereupon the girls acquire some sort of magic water-balloon-throwing superpowers, as well as become marvelously proficient at swimming underwater with their arms straight out in front of them, their glittering dolphin tails peenistically pumping them onward toward new romantic teen adventures.

That mermaid tail detail, incidentally, has always irked me bigtime (in addition to the general tiresomeness of fetishistic mermaidian folklore, of course). Mermaids are supposed to be half fish, right? So I’ll allow the fish-scales. But their tail fins are without exception depicted as horizontally oriented, like cetaceans, not vertically oriented like fishes. So my question is: what the fuck? Read a fuckin’ book on marine biology, why don’t ya, all you mermaid illustratin’ dickheads.

By the way, according to Wikipedia: “The US National Ocean Service stated in 2012 that no evidence of mermaids has ever been found.” Thanks, National Ocean Service! We were all wondering.

Anyway, this episode of “H2O: Just Add Water” was a relentless femininity-stereotype fandango. The three hot teen mermaid protagonists are foiled by a less hot, chubby, unpleasant mermaid antagonist. This mean mermaid is unpleasant because she believes one of the hot mermaids has stolen her cute blonde boyfriend, for whom she pines. To settle the score of the stolen boyfriend, there ensues a magic water balloon superpower fight, and Mean Girl emerges victorious. But her triumph is short-lived. Cute Boy and Mean Girl do a scene where she thinks they’re getting back together, but Cute Boy says no, he loves Hot Mermaid now. Thus is the natural order restored: clingy deluded Mean Girl gets dissed; adorable blonde boy gets a girlfriend more suited to his cuteness level; and the three hot teen mermaids do a sexy underwater teen bikini sperm-swim.

So, to recap:

• Skinny blonde girls are awesome.
• Chubby girl is bad.
• Girls physically fight over a boy.
• Cute boy schools bad chubby girl in the error of her ways (she will probably die alone).
• Bikini-clad mermaids with taxonomically confusing tails are aspirational figures.

The nieces were transfixed. I couldn’t even begin to determine how to put together a feminist critique that they would comprehend. I just babbled some crap about how femininity is a construct designed to perpetuate the low status of women in society, and also, mermaids are bad role models. Not surprisingly, they were all, “Huh? Whatever. Can we have ice cream?”

I mean, I couldn’t even get them through 24 measly hours without subjecting them to all manner of malignant misogynist brainwashing. The spinster aunt trucker hat is off to all you mothers who have to deal with this shit day in day out. Jesus in a jetpack!

So what’s on your spleen?

____________________
* No one has ever accused me of failing to lavish upon my young relatives material goods in the shape of cheap crap from China. I’m not proud of it, but it is — as I have heard my fellow idiot jacknuts assert when seeking to absolve themselves of personal responsibility by suggesting that Fate Unremitting has once again smote their Free Will with a blood-caked sword — what it is.

**

The whores
curve slightly, like plastic spoons
being worked in a hardening cheese dip.

– From “All-Nite Donuts” by Albert Goldbarth

37 comments

  1. Comradde PhysioProffe

    Jeezus motherfucke, thatte shitte sounds fucken horrendous. From what I understand, Dora the Explorer is much better, less lobe-blowing fare for little kiddes.

  2. Victoria Rattlehead

    And people wonder why I don’t want to have kids. How on earth would I explain what’s wrong with all of that shit to them(and get it to stick in their heads)?

  3. polarcontrol

    That’s just horrible. But unavoidable I guess. Thank lard my 4 year old niece is obsessed with Pippi Longstocking, for now.

    You all know Pippi, right?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pippi_Longstocking

  4. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Barbies were verboten in our house when I was a wee one. My mom said little girls didn’t need to play with dolls with boobs like that, and although my mother was almost textbook dude-compliant, she was oddly ahead a her time in this particular corner of the toy-box.

    Of all the ghastly fairytales, The Little Mermaid always made me squirm the most, because she had to give up what she was to get the boy. And people wonder why I never wanted to get married?

  5. shopstewardess

    That eventer doll seems to be sporting a bruised and swollen lower lip, which is sadly prophetic whether your nieces stick with the horses or make the adolescent move to boys.

  6. TwissB

    Polarcontrol “You all know Pippi, right?”

    I do and note that, like Congress member Barbara Jordan, she shows that a girl must be way off-standard and perceived as near-androgynous to get some respect. And then there are her little friends Annika and Tommy, who make up for the deficit in girl-boy stereotypes. Read the Amazon reviews, however, to see how many positive ideas children can absorb – along with those pesky stereotypes* – while having fun with the incredibly independent Pippi.

    *From a review by some first-graders : “Our favorite characters were Pippi because she is crazy, rich, and lives alone, Annika because she is pretty, and Mr. Nilson [Pippi's pet monkey] because he is a gentleman and can climb up on the roof.”

    Hector Malot’s En Famille, published in the US in the 1930′s as “The Adventures of Perrine” has a young teen heroine who makes her way alone through a French environment that is shifting from rural to industrial. No boys, just a really unusual twist on the plot where an orphan finds her grandfather – but that doesn’t begin to describe this unique story or the fine illustrations in the 1930′s Macmillan edition. Malot is bio’ed on Wikipedia. WARNING: Do not accept the ghastly Japanese anime “version” of this book.

  7. Tree

    The still from the video is creeping me out. The middle one doesn’t even rate a pillow, apparently.

  8. Belle

    Mermaids, if they existed, would be mammalian, yes? So tails would be horizontal. The scales are just wrong. Ah, if such horrors could simply be corrected by noting them.

  9. Satchel

    I suggest that the spinster aunt’s presence in her nieces’ lives, just being who she is, is far more significant and of far greater impact than any cheap crap from China.

    On the spleen venting front, I would like to express my regret over the death of the gender-neutral job title. When I was a young second-wave pup, we were cheerfully changing policemen to police officers, firemen to firefighters, and Congressmen to members of Congress. Alas, these seem to have slipped into obscurity one by one, and Even the Liberal NPR (cough) now uses dude-centric job titles without any hint of shame. It bums me out.

    Oh, and PS to Comradde: Dora was a lot more awesome before her makeover: http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2009/03/19/dora-the-explorers-makeover-gwen-and-i-saw-it-comin/

  10. Twisty

    Mermaids, if they existed, would be mammalian, yes?

    No, only on the top half. The problem is mermaids aren’t half human/half porpoise, they’re half human/half fish. The mammal half is definitely mammally (mermaids are essentially just a sexy boob delivery device), so the fish half should jolly well be fishy. There’s no excuse for the flat tail fins, especially now that CGI can solve the problem of actors in mermaid costumes having to wag up-and-down rather than side-to-side.

    I don’t know why it irritates me so much. I drink too much coffee, maybe.

  11. Comradde PhysioProffe

    Dora was a lot more awesome before her makeover

    UGH!

  12. Azundris

    Aw man, the sex fish show, now you got me started.

    I actually watched about two seasons of that back in the day — I like children’s TV as it tends to be devoid of outright rape. The tragedy of the fish show was that the first season wasn’t completely horrid. Girl adventure show. Coming to term with being mermaids. Figuring out how to shower with a tail. Stopping bad guys who catch protected species, that sort of thing. If you could get over the mermaid premise at all, and compared the show not to what could or should be, but what was around, it was mostly OK. Give or take Cleo’s dad with his creepy 1950′s protect-my-little-girl shtick.

    And then from season 2 on out, you get this whole focus on the boys, with scenes like the one where one of the girls is stuck in a room, and while one of the guys is trying to get her out, she inadvertently transforms, and the dialog is something like, “No! Please don’t come in!” “It’s OK, I’ll be inside before you know it!” “No! Please, stop it!” “Nah, just wait a second, I’m almost there!” Is it me, or is that a super awkward metaphor? (It’s been six years or so, so those may not be the exact words, but it’s certainly the gist that I remember, along with a bunch of other, “He may ignore your wishes, but hey, boys will be boys” scenes.)

    But fret now, if they’re watching the fishgirl show now, Elephant Princess will be next.

  13. Shelby

    I remember my darling grandfather, with a slice of dementia, coming over to our house every weekend when I was a kid and repeating the same stories about his experiences in WWII which were all about the futility, the stupidity of war, his refusal to join those marches glorifying war, as well as his endless anti-god/religion stories. Every single weekend. Over and over. Year after year. At the time I thought it was pretty boring. Now, I often find myself repeating his beautiful words . You can’t always protect your nieces from the endless bullshit, but you can give them another perspective. Repetition repetition, let’s do it again!

  14. TansyJ

    I would recommend tracking down Avatar: The Last Airbender (the series, not the horrible live action movie). It’s one of the few made-for-kids television shows I really enjoy.

    I think I got my niece started on the new Dr. Who when she was 8, so it might not be to early to get them on quality teevee.

    Dora’s good, but the writing is more for the pre-school set, as far as I can tell. The makeover version is barf-inducing.

    The PowerPuff Girls might be a good fit? I liked the animesuqe Teen Titans cartoon. I mean, it was iffy on the feminist front, but at least the patriarchy compliant girls were actually doing something other than fighting about boys and going on dates. Of course, then my niece wanted a Starfire action figure and that was just depressing.

    There are also the Sara Jane Adventures, following the life of Sara Jane after she parts ways with the Doctor in School Reunion. I confess to not watching every single episode with my niece as there were a few too many teens in it for my taste.

    Of course, my niece also loves to death the Buddies movies. Which are based on the adventures of a litter of puppies tenuously connected to Bud, of “Airbud” fame. These puppies, they talk! I cannot report on the radfem compliance of the Buddies movies as my brain has forcefully ejected the contents of the one and only Buddies movie I ever sat through with her, and I would sooner eat a live spider than sit through another one.

    It’s difficult finding any quality entertainment for kids, and as soon as it is branded “for girls” the difficulty level increases exponentially. IBTP

  15. delagar

    Check out, also, Hayao Miyazaki. Movies like My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away. Castle In the Sky. They’re beautiful films, with young girls as heroes.

  16. Falkland

    I ran a search for “feminist children’s books” and found this:
    http://www.thealphaparent.com/2012/05/feminist-childrens-books-part-one.html

    There’s a niche here that some enterprising feminists could fill, I think. Educating kids about oppression can be a bit tricky simply because of the lack of age-appropriate material. It’s not like you can just toss Dworkin’s “Right Wing Women” on a five-year-old’s bed.

    On the bright side, though, children achieve feminist enlightenment much more easily.

  17. Falkland

    postscript: what I mean by my last sentence is that with kids, you are only working on, say, 6 years of patriarchal brainwashing vs. 46 years.

    I think males especially are more malleable and able to understand their role in oppression when they learn about it as boys, in lieu of trying to get them to examine their privileges as men.

  18. Maritess Zurbano

    That was a BRILLIANT post. These are all the things I’m thinking as I walk down toy aisles. Thanks for being our fearless leader holding up the flag in the storm of patriarchy. Magically, M

  19. Pandechion

    Speaking of prosti-tots, those Polly Pocket dolls are so anatomically distorted that you have to snap their heads off in order to change their clothes. Took me a week to figure that out.

  20. Katherine

    Ugh, I am living with this shit right now and it’s a constant struggle. My daughter is five, started school last September and I feel like I’m constantly fighting Disney Princesses. The best I’ve been able to do is point towards the less gross princesses – we have Rapunzel (of Tangled), Tiana (of the Princess and the Frog) and now Merida (from Brave). And even then I’m grasping at straws.

    In conversations I try to gently suggest that being a princess in and of itself isn’t the most important thing in the world, and being pretty is just a thing, but doesn’t make someone good or bad etc etc Again, I’m grasping at straws and fighting a losing battle.

    I’m now immediately going to buy the princess parody books that Falkland linked to – thanks Falkland!

  21. Twisty

    “It’s not like you can just toss Dworkin’s “Right Wing Women” on a five-year-old’s bed.”

    Exactly! That’s the whole problem. I need to translate the Ancient Scrolls into language that makes sense to a pre-teen girl, but I suck. I can’t figure out how to explain women’s oppression without getting into pornography and rape and all that crap. I don’t want that nasty shit rolling around in my niece’s heads. Heck, two months ago I told the 7-year-old the Large Marge ghost story (from Pee Wee), which I thought was pretty tame, and she claims it still gives her nightmares.

  22. speedbudget

    As far as I understand, the whole mermaid construct was developed out of sea explorers coming into contact with manatees for the first the time. So maybe that’s why the tail is a fluke (HA!).

    As for the rest of your tale (see what I did there?), I am fascinated by the cauliflower part. I can’t even get the kids around these parts to eat peas. I’m late to the game in this family, so I wasn’t able to set up the dynamic I had as a kid, which was good food cooked well = tastiness. So I’m in a bind. No matter what kind of vittles I place in front of them, even if it is homemade macaroni and cheese (homemade! With real cheddar cheese sauce! And bacon!), these kids aren’t having it.

    Sigh.

    I should qualify this by saying I’m starting to think they are just oppositional. I cooked up sauerkraut (my favorite!) with potatoes and apples expecting, nee hoping, that they would turn up their kiddie noses and leave me the entire pan to enjoy. Instead they actually liked it. Sauerkraut! I just can’t even.

  23. Falkland

    Maybe just having simple conversations about gender roles would be a good place to start. One could ask the kids questions like, “can girls be king?” Challenging assumptions that the girls already have could make a profound difference.

  24. sally

    So my vent is about that Ohio judge’s admonishment of the CONVICTED (yes!) rapists in that horrible circus last week. He basically told the two boys that they hung themselves by tweeting, instagramming, whatever, all the evidence of their repeated assaults of the victim.

    WTF? Is this now the message to rapists, re-purposed for our time? “Don’t be so stupid as to hang yourselves via social media.” How about this? “DON’T RAPE! ”

    Also, all the goddamn online commentary about how the victim deserved it because she got drunk. As usual, its up to us to make sure we completely control every situation so no one gets raped. I had to stop reading, but the gist of most of that bloviating was “those boys did what anyone would have done in that situation.” God I weep for us. I really do.

  25. pheenobarbidoll

    When my little Blamer used to watch shows like that, I’d casually slip in things like ” why do they always make the villain an overweight girl? Do they like being mean to overweight girls by making them the villain in shows?” (all innocent like, I’d ask) A dark look would cross her face and I’d see her eyes squint suspiciously whenever the large girl was on screen portrayed as a negative person. Or I’d say ” how come SHE doesn’t get to go on the adventure, she’s just stuck with that BOY” or ” why does she have to care what some BOY thinks”. After that she’d start watching to see if the girl got to have an adventure on her on, or was stuck with some stinky boy.

    You can’t keep them from seeing it or teach them what they should think, but you can teach them to question every single portrayal of women and girls they see. They’ll start getting answers that don’t sit well, as we all know.

  26. TansyJ

    Dealing with Dragons is actually a good place to start. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it but it’s a book for kids about a princess who’s always getting into trouble for sneaking around and learning how to cook and fence and read Latin, and when her parents decide to marry her off to a prince she decides that it’s the last straw and runs away to ask a dragon to capture her. She ends up with a female dragon who’s running to be King of Dragons.

    It’s a good primer in “girls are expected to be polite and pretty and boys get to roughhouse and have adventures” all wrapped in a pretty fantasy bow that will get them thinking. And if they’ve socialized much with other kids they have probably already noticed that something’s up.

    @speedbudget: inspired by a trip to England I decided to try mushy peas on my niece who generally despises all vegetables aside from corn on the cob. Basically, you make peas like you would mashed potatoes, I do them with garlic and butter and serve them with gravy. Turns out she’ll eat nearly a pound of peas if they’re mashed and served with gravy. I know, gravy. But I decided it’s better than her eating no peas at all.

  27. quixote

    (Re mammals and scales: pangolins have scales. Develop from different structures than in fish, of course, but scales. Maybe the original mermaid was a pangolin – manatee cross? But even then, embryonic development is such that the best you could hope for is the whole left side being one and the whole right side being the other. There’s no way to get a half-half organism stuck together crossways. Then there’s the problem that it’s the pangolins who have the scales, but they would have to be the top half because the tail, with no scales!, has to come from the manatee. This bothers me. I’m trying not to even think what Disney could do with a pangolatee.)

    Pippi Longstocking. Yes! I don’t even remember the two P-compliant sidekicks. So there may be hope, Twisty. The nieces will probably remember your commentary way more than the been-there-seen-that-a-million-times teevee detritus.

  28. the t's knees

    I think pheenobarbidoll has the right idea. Start with smaller ideas, like appearances and personality traits. Just question small stuff.

    Also, for the record I’m a rad fem. While I tend to feel third wave feminism is Feminism Lite (Half the substance! Half the challenge! One quarter of the depressing shit, and Twice the FUN!) many ideas (nothing with sex, or makeup, but the ideas that Woman are People, Women can achieve whatever they want) are age appropriate and easy to understand.

    Of course, I chat at the girls a lot, so they’ve also heard some more advanced ideas. They just look at me, the older one says “ooookkayyy” and we continue whatever we were doing. But I surely would have done the same thing at that age. I hope that she will become aware much sooner than I did. I would love to raise them as radical feminists. From what I can tell, unless you live on SDI full time, away from EVERYTHING AS IT IS NOW, it is not possible.

  29. iiii

    Wonder Woman is a princess. So’s Xena.

    Queen Elizabeth trained to be a mechanic when she was a princess.

    I periodically google images for “princess Vader” to see how the little girls have combined Vader headress with tulle at this season’s cons.

    I haven’t tried raising a child, so I don’t know if this would work, but maybe, if your daughter is in full-on princess mode, give her other (self-rescuing type) princesses?

  30. pregnant pause

    I am going to be finding out the gender of my fetus pretty soon, mostly because I feel like I need to start wrapping my head around “how the hell can I shield this kid from the patriarchy without totally isolating and home-schooling them in a bunker like some kind of nutcase apocalypse preparer, trying to create my own mini-savage death island? (That doesn’t sound very fun for kids come to think of it.)

    I volunteer at a rock camp for girls, and we try to wake them up gently to feminism while teaching them to rock out, and most of them are totally into it and we get tearful thanks from parents at the end of the week about their daughters’ confidence being boosted and how they threw away their Seventeen magazines. I wish the camp was all year-round, K-12. What I know from hanging out with the kids though, is that the they like what they like, and who wants to be the heartless party pooper that ruins an 8-year-old’s genuine love of some totally stupid sexist thing? Its a really tough call.

    I am seriously considering trying to make my own animated cartoon series for children so that my kid will have something to watch that’s funny and cool and not all gender indoctrination 101. Is that a bit much? Can home-schooling and island living be far behind? yikes.

  31. stacey

    pregnant pause, my sister-in-law is a freelance musician with a musician hubz (who has a teaching job at a college) and their cute kid is about to turn four. There has been a lot of babysitting from Granny, and I sub in about once a month, and very close and organized social bonding with other musician moms who she can swap childminding with. It can be done, with planning and a bit of luck.

    Generally re. kids, I take pheeno’s route; I’ll drop comments here and there about “why are those girls in bikinis and the boys are in snowboard clothes?” or when we hear something on the news, I’ll explain in simple terms why I think it’s sexist/racist/etc, and then ask him what he thinks. Most kids want to *be* fair, so they’ll be open to explanations that promote fairness. All the seeds that my radfem aunt planted in my boy-obsessed brain over the years eventually made sense.

    One of the most important things we can do is teach them media awareness. Sites like mediasmarts.ca have excellent point-form tip sheets (for lazy parents like myself) on what we should be teaching our kids (body image, gender representation, etc) and things we need to keep in mind (internet use, online privacy, etc). Luckily, there’s tons of stuff now on the internet about age-appropriate ways to talk about all of these issues, and I’m going to throw this gigantic link at y’all: h ttp://www.sfu.ca/dialog/undergrad/pdfs/0503-Janet_Webber.pdf (Sexual Health Resource GuideFor Parents). The information is strongly Vancouver-centric, but is easily applied elsewhere.

  32. Katherine

    All good advice. I generally take that sort of tack with my daughter – i.e. gentle questioning of assumptions. It’s a balancing act though between trying to get the message across in an age appropriate way and being the person that is always down on stuff that she likes. I also don’t want to get into the muddy ground of denigrating things coded as “female” per se.

    The princess stuff is particularly annoying though – yes. there are awesome princesses, but the “high status at birth = special” message still irks me. A non-compliant princess is better than nothing, but it’s still not good enough.

  33. pregnant pause

    Thanks for the tips and the links!
    I sometimes find that I wish I could turn off my constant critical thinking and awareness of the P because it can really get me down and leave my blood simmering for days on end. I’d rather not pass that aspect of it on to a little kid…I am still figuring out this stuff for myself. Hopefully I’ll have it all solved and be totally perfect by the time my kid is old enough to understand! har har.

  34. Kristine

    I grew up on disney princesses and still turned out okay. Probably cause my mom is a radical. So i wouldn’t worry too much, as long as they have a good feminist influence in their life and as long as you teach them to question everything. All little girls want to be treated equally, and once they see that they aren’t, they’ll be pretty pissed.

    Ella Enchanted” is a pretty good book (although I don’t recommend the movie). And I’m not sure how old they would have to be to enjoy it. Also “The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales,” which pokes fun at traditional fairy tales, although it’s not decidedly feminist. I remember loving the Horrible History series when I was in elementary school, and they were pretty neutral.

    One of my favorite books was “I Left my Sneakers in Dimension X,” and I distinctly remember that book mentioning gender equality in a positive light. The aliens mentioned that they were confused by the human’s treatment of women, and that made an impression on me. Although it’s by a man, Bruce Coville, but he has several good sifi series that are friendly to girls.

  35. Roving Thundercloud

    Coming along late to the party, but I have to rant a bit about mermaids in that there is actually a thing called “the mermaid problem”, which is of course that human males can’t prong ‘em, so what’s the point? It’s often disguised as “but how would they reproduce?” but the solution is a split tail so they can have P-compliant girly bits. Because why do they even exist, if you can’t stick your peen in one?

    Every time I see the Starbucks mermaid spreading her split tail I want to hurl a rock at it.

  36. Fool on a Hill

    People who think there is a “mermaid problem” should do some cursory internet biology research. Even Wikipedia can tell you that “the most common reproductive strategy for fish is known as oviparity, in which the female lays undeveloped eggs that are externally fertilized by a male.” No peen contact necessary! You’re right, Roving Thundercloud: “How would they reproduce” = thin disguise for “but how would we fuck them?”

  37. Twisty

    “Every time I see the Starbucks mermaid spreading her split tail I want to hurl a rock at it.”

    I had to Google “starbucks mermaid.” Wow, I have totally failed to grok that logo all these years.

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