Metamotivation

So what does Feminist Figure Girl do on a Friday night? Inquiring minds want to know. Is she out cutting a rug with 2DO—such a good influence—or testing her straightdar with Fitbabe? Is she showing off her reinflated breasts in a low-cut dress that also reveals mosquito-bite thighs, quaffing a shandy in a pub setting? [Aside: I love the word quaffing because it sounds filthy.] I’m afraid, my friends, that the answer is no. Firstly, I save all cleavage displays for the gym, which I’m sure you will agree is the only good and proper location for that sort of thing. Secondly, I am too busy to indulge in quaffing. It is 6 pm and I have already donned jim jams—a soft cotton négligé from Target ensures that I am both comfy and sexy, just in case Stephen Colbert decides to drop by—and am seated at my desk, working away. My tasks include course prep, applying to teach in Cortona next year, and producing an editorial in the hopes of getting even more publicity for FFG. Perhaps you now have another pressing question: Am I going to mention Colbert in every post from now on, pathetically attempting to catch the roving eyes of his internet-geek producers? I’m afraid, my friends, that the answer is yes. But it is not my fault; it’s a condition I have. I am metamotivated.    

Metamotivation is a new concept for me, introduced by a comment sent to my blog site by a 60-year-old man. After implying that I am a crazy nut-bar, he made a rather heinous accusation: ‘You are obviously too high on the Maslow scale!’ At least I think that is what he wrote, for with a flick of my wrist I immediately sent that piece of negativity into the trash. Fuck freedom of expression! This is my site and I am the all-powerful master of it. After laughing maniacally while hitting the delete button, I paused to enjoy a moment of bafflement: What is the Maslow scale anyway? Imagining something like the psychopath test, I headed straight to the well documented and highly scholarly wikipedia [Sarcasm alert! Here I must pause to remind all students that they are forbidden from using this source. Pushing the send button does not constitute research. Oh, and you should also stop reading this blog because it might undermine my carefully crafted ‘I’m about to snap’ authoritarian style in the classroom]. Back to wiki: there I discovered that Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist best known for his 1954 publication called Motivation and PersonalityHe was also known for wearing cuddly sweaters to compliment his jack-o-lantern smile. He boldly swerved away from studying the mentally ill and instead focused more optimistically on human subjects who were successful and had great minds, like Frederick Douglass and Albert Einstein. Drawing from the lives of these mature men, Maslow created a hierarchy of needs scale, imaged below in the form of a delightfully gay-positive triangle. 

File:Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.svg

The idea is that once you take care of such basic needs as banging and peeing, you can achieve superior goals and rise to new heights of gayness, a civilizing process that makes some neanderthal straight types jealously homophobic. This chart is intriguing, and not just because it recalls childhood memories of rocket popsicles. Hmmm, those things are pretty phallic, clearly a bottom-of-the-barrel need. 

I love it that morality is right at the tippy top of the triangle, an extra that is nice but somewhat superfluous, like those over-sized cake balls that sent Kim packing on ‘Cupcake Wars’ the other day. [‘Cupcake Wars’ is my new favourite show, giving ‘Billy the Exterminator’ a run for his money.] So that old guy was actually complimenting me, lumping me in with what Maslow would describe as  ‘self-actualizing people who are gratified in all their basic needs (of belongingness, affection, respect, and self-esteem) and thus devoted to some task outside themselves, whether a vocation, duty, or beloved job.’ How could being at the summit of this scale be construed as a bad thing? Riddle me that, old guy! I mean, besides its reiteration of an old fashioned Marxist base-superstructure model whereby the physical body is surpassed by complex thought and a capacity for leisure; besides its naturalization of male superiority; besides its American-centric assumption that individualism is the height of the human condition; besides its assertion that sex is something cultivated people no longer obsess about or pursue? Besides these things, this scale is the bomb. So while the rest of you are on your bellies foraging for excretion and fresh air, I will be spontaneously problem solving with my super clean mind. Sigh. Yeah my uber-productive life is rather sad, and I am indeed a crazy nut-bar.  

I almost ended the post here, but thought better of it this morning after having had a good night’s sleep, and then rude awakening—Ogre roused me at 5:30 am with a quick punch to the face. Upon rereading my text, I found it to be a little self-pitying, something I usually try to avoid. I am probably just lonely because my partner is away for the week, on a last minute poker trip to Las Vegas. I said goodbye to him on Thursday with a cheery ‘good luck,’ and my standard farewell phrase: ‘Don’t forget to check for bugs!’ My ever-so-slightly bad mood is compounded by my current state of transition. I hate being in between goals, and remember the crushing disappointment of defending my PhD thesis. Now what? I was kept busy with short-term tasks this fifth post-competition week: preparing for my personal training course, producing handmade ice-cream for DYT’s hot boyfriend, baking raspberry glazed scones for 2DO, testing sugar-free/fat-free muffins for both myself and MW, cleaning out the man closets—when hoarding man is away his psycho-tidy girlfriend will play!—working out intensely every day, and drafting the grant application for a new transnational, interdisciplinary, multi-team research project, expansively called The Cultures of Pest Control. My contribution as primary investigator will be to study the ‘Go for the Gopher’ campaign that encouraged Albertans to go and blow gopher brains out with their guns. Now that is some elevated thinking! Wait just a minute; hold the phone. I have suddenly concocted a new and hopefully time-consuming life ambition: I will strive to move downward on the Maslow scale. Well, I should probably start by turning off this laptop, and taking my succulent lady lumps out to the pub after all…

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About feministfiguregirl

I am a 49-year-old professor named Lianne McTavish who receives as much satisfaction from working out at the gym as from publishing my academic research. I decided to combine my two primary identities (scholar/gym rat) to create "Feminist Figure Girl," a fictional character who both analyzes and participates in bodybuilding. I competed in my first figure show in June of 2011, and then wrote a book inspired by the process, published by SUNY Press in February 2015. In this blog I will write about and consider my ongoing research on the body, while regularly making fun of myself. I recommend that you start reading my first post from August 2010 (available on the home page), instead of backwards from the most recent one, in order to get the full FFG effect.

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