Hands on Hips: A Teapot Conspiracy

Today, Deadspin ran a post featuring nothing but photos of Mindy Kaling with her hands on her hips. Teapot jokes abounded, and "I'm A Little Teapot" experienced a temporary internet renaissance. Sort of.

What you don't know is that "I'm A Little Teapot" is actually a key symbol of feminist opposition to the patriarchy. Radical feminism (RadFem) likes to catch 'em while they're still young, easily moulded to a life of thinly veiled misandry and too much wine, and, as any revolutionary worth his salt can tell you, children are the key to any successful uprising.

Don't believe me? Let's break it down.

The first line is fairly standard. "I'm a little teapot, short and stout" is a primarily descriptor typical of many children's songs. However, it's also a commentary on women's place in society; teapots are, by nature, incubating vessels. This echoes the expectation that a women is nothing more than a glorified incubating vessel for babies. However, "short and stout" subverts the patriarchal norm that the ideal woman is tall and thin—essentially a fuck you to traditional beauty standards.

"Here is my handle, here is my spout" indicates the methodology by which one RadFem operative can recognize another. The full pose is one in which one arm is placed on the hip and one is raised at a ninety degree angle perpendicular to the rest of the operant's body. However, in non-RadFem contexts, especially in photographs, the pose can be abbreviated to simply one hand on the hip.

"When I get all steamed up, watch me shout" is, again, deceptive in its apparent simplicity. To the uninitiated, this line indicates nothing amiss. Kettles steam when they've reached the proper temperature for boiling tea, and usually let out a loud scream or whistle for indication. In RadFem circles, however, this line codifies the simmering resentment and eventual eruption of violence common amongst oppressed and repressed groups.

Finally, the last line, "tip me over and pour me out" is a challenge from RadFems to the patriarchy itself. By the patriarchy's standards, women should be palatable, unassuming, nurturing, and subtle; they are pretty accessories designed with warmth and comfort in mind. RadFem ideology turns this idea on its head—women here are bold, dangerous, and seething with rage just waiting to overflow. Using them, pouring them out as one would a teapot, will result in the pourer being burned.

RadFems are everywhere. They are your wives, your daughters, your sisters, Mindy Kaling. They are well-organized and mobile. You see a hand on a hip and laugh about little teapots. RadFems welcome this challenge; it's teatime, bitches.

BatmansRobyn is Sidespin's resident teapot conspiracy expert. Her hobbies include embroidery and watching TV shows about treehouses. She can be found on Twitter @batmans_robyn.