Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A great seat for defying traditional gender roles

'Little' Miss Muffet -- the nickname is supposed to be ironic in the same way you call a really tall guy "Tiny" or an idiot "Einstein" --  sat on her tuffet enjoying her zero-carb curds and whey protein shake after blasting her pecs and abs.  

To clarify, a tuffet is a clothed and cushioned stool, kind of like a small ottoman, usually considered feminine furniture.  Muffet's choice to sit and enjoy her post-workout mix of Muscle Milk and cottage cheese on a tuffet demonstrates her calculating mind, progressive attitudes and mastery of symbols.  You see, Muffet defies stereotypes. She is a modern woman who successfully juggles single-motherhood, a career as a premier personal trainer and a demanding competitive weight-lifting schedule while maintaining her womanliness.

Just because she can bench-press more than most NFL linebackers doesn't mean she can't also hem and pleat the skirt of her lovely tuffet or, for that matter, get a little freaked out when she sees a spider.  Spiders are gross no matter how big your muscles are.

Pros: After choosing the perfect pattern from JoAnn's Fabrics, measuring the cloth so it falls just above the floor and applying the necessary stitches, finally enjoy your handiwork and reflect on your most recent workout.  A true Renaissance Woman.

Force people to rethink their conceptions of femininity. 

With heels on floor four-feet in front of you, grip sides of tuffet and dip body so that backside approaches floor for an excellent triceps workout.

Cons: Tuffets provide no back support, which sucks after you just pushed your lats to the limit.

Fabric layers attract insects and, by extension, spiders.

Really ties a room together.

When the documentarians came to spend a day in the life of Miss Muffet, she could have sat anywhere -- a weight bench, a leather office chair, a locker room countertop -- to recharge after a hard workout.  Instead of a more "manly" location, she consciously chose her tuffet, a symbol of traditional femininity, to promote modern womanhood. Today, women can seek a life beyond rigidly defined roles.  The fun-loving sorority girl can also be an exemplary student and the home-economics teacher can talk baseball like Peter Gammons. The jacked gym-rat isn't just "butch." She can also be an elegant homemaker and doting mom.  Miss Muffet, her protein shake and handcrafted tuffet remind us of that.

Stability - 3/5 -- Tuffet is physically stable, but like Muffet, you can use it to shake up the status quo.
Cool Factor - 5/5 You can be anything you want to be.
Difficulty - 2/5 -- Hard to create, easy to sit.
Perilousness - 1/5 -- Only dangerous if neighboring spider is a Black Widow.
Added bonus -  4/5 -- Pick and choose your own interests, not those prescribed by a conservative society.

Overall rating - A progressive 15/25.