My Week in Review.

Monday 22nd: Work, followed by a workout, followed by bowling for a friend’s birthday. Then we went to Lucky Coq on Chapel Street, and walked all the way back to Richmond Station. Several kilometres later, at 12:30, I climbed into bed! Needless to say, it was an exhausting day.

Tuesday 23rd: The night before really threw me out, so I attempted to peel myself off the couch and do some blogging. A fitful nap and no Gossip Girl made for a pretty crappy day.

Wednesday 24th: Still recovering from Monday night (and all I had was two tiny gin and tonics in order to get a free game at Strike Bowling!), I napped on the couch after work.

Thursday 25th: Caught up with two of my lovely friends, Paul and Tess, plus some other riff raff who tagged along. (Love you long time April, Eddie and Anthony!)

Friday 26th: Blogged, attended a work Christmas party meeting, worked out and chillaxed before an eventful weekend.

Saturday 27th: Went shopping with my dad and sister in Fitzroy, followed by the Victorian Roller Derby League’s final at the Melbourne Showgrounds. Standing outside in the rain waiting for that was a riot, as was swimming to a friend’s birthday drinks back in Fitzroy following the bout.

Sunday 28th: Girlie/Cultural Day with my bitches Clare, April and Sallie. The morning entailed going to see Dreams Come True: The Art of Disney’s Classic Fairytales, which was fantastic. It will be a Disney-heavy week here at The Early Bird Catches the Worm, as I blog a bit more about it.

Then we did a spot of shopping, followed by a curator’s talk at ACMI about taking the Disney “fairytales to film”.

Next up, we trekked out to Fitzroy to see Taryn Simon’s exhibition at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, entitled An American Index of the Hidden & Unfamiliar (review to come), which was brilliant and I would probably recommend it more so than Disney! Now that’s saying something.

After dinner we finished up the day back at ACMI, seeing Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Despite the crappy weather that called for spending it in bed with some DVDs, it was a great day!

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] My Week in Review (Plus a Couple of Extra Days Thrown in There).

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Derby Girls: Leaders of the Pack.

[Centre for Contemporary Photography] An American Index of the Hidden & Unfamiliar.

TV: The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Furt” Episode.

Last night’s episode of Glee marked the final in a three-episode arc about bullying.

In Sue’s final act as principal before she resigns at the end of the episode, she expels Dave Karofsky for bullying Kurt. Jezebel notes that “rather than yelling, ‘William, my hands are tied!’ she promises to stop Karofsky once they have proof that he’s harassing Kurt”but not before Sue takes to calling Kurt Porcelain, which could be seen as an act of bullying in itself.

Carol Burnett makes an appearance as Sue and Jean’s absentee mother, Doris, who in addition to being Sue’s own “bully”, left the girls to be a Nazi hunter. While Doris doesn’t appear all that bad, it does give some insight into Sue’s present-day behaviour as McKinley High’s student body tormenter. Why was Sue’s mother in the episode, you ask? Because Sue was getting married… to herself! But that’s a whole other can of worms.

In other bullying news, the glee guys start a fight with Karofsky in the football team’s locker-room in defence of Kurt, but stepbrother to be, Finn, doesn’t partake. Even when it is revealed that the attack was Rachel’s idea, “setting the feminist movement back fifty years”, according to Quinn. (It’s no secret that I can’t stand Rachel, but a strong woman like her needs an equally strong man.) In what seems to be another instalment in Finn’s tour of whimping out, he doesn’t want to be perceived as being a homo-sympathiser. But not to worry, he makes up for it at his mum and Kurt’s dad’s wedding, by making a speech about standing up for “Team Furt” (in the tradition of celebrity couplings like Brangelina). And then they “dance their troubles away”.

The wedding also serves as a catalyst for Kurt to break out this memorable one-liner: “I’ve been planning weddings since I was two!”

Oh Kurt, we’ll miss you when you transfer to Dalton Academy…

[Jezebel] Glee: Three Weddings & a Furt.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The (Belated) Underlying Message in Glee’s “Never Been Kissed” Episode.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Underlying Message in Glee’s “The Rocky Horror Glee Show” Episode.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Duets” Episode.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Grilled Cheesus” Episode.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Britney/Brittany” Episode.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Women in Fiction: Are Our Favourite Fictional Females Actually Strong, or Stereotypes?

REPUBLISHED: Has Feminism Failed?

A couple of months ago I went to a debate entitled “Feminism Has Failed”, a story which MamaMia has recently picked up. Mia Freedman, who was mentioned during the debate, is running a serious on her blog, beginning with a transcript of speaker Monica Dux’s argument. See below for my full take on the debate.

Last Wednesday evening, I went to a debate about the state of feminism and whether it’s failed at the Melbourne Town Hall on Swanston Street.

Entitled “Feminism Has Failed”, I went into the debate with my own preconceived notions about feminism’s success and came out of it with similar feelings, as I think most of the attendees did, if the vote before and after the debate was anything to go by.

I felt that for someone like me, a young, white, middle-ish class Australian female, feminism hasn’t failed, but for most other women around the world who don’t have access to such things I’m afforded (education, employment, food, water, shelter, the ability to do/be almost anything I want), feminism has certainly failed.

And that was the basis of the first speaker for the affirmative team, Virginia Haussegger’s speech.

Instead of feminism working for women all over the globe, the rest of the world has waged a “global war against women”, or a “gendercide”, if you will. An example of this is the recent Time magazine cover in which an Afghani woman, or girl rather, was depicted with her nose and ears cut off by her husband, after trying to flee his abusive household.

To rebut this argument was Jennifer Byrne, who said she was taking a “working girl’s view” of feminism, and mentioning a phrase we’ve heard a lot of in third-wave feminism—“wonder woman”. (Funnily enough, Haussegger has published a book of the same name.) She noted that we have so much choice now that we “scarcely notice feminism” now.

Stephen Mayne, the only male on either debate team, took a business point of view, and harped on about the dismal number of women on ASX publicly traded company boards. He mentioned that his fellow team member, Gaye Alcorn, who spoke last, editor of The Sunday Age, is only given one day a week, as opposed to the six other days of the week in which a man edits the newspaper. Mayne said that feminism surely HAS failed if a phenomenon such as Britain’s Page 3 girls exist, and if “this country came this close to electing Tony Abbott.” All in all, Mayne was the best speaker of the night and really brought it home for his team, in my opinion.

Next up was Monica Dux, whom Haussegger verbally attacked during her speech as “the snooty head girl [of feminism] with the key”, who wouldn’t let her become part of the club because she has views that aren’t necessarily Dux’s own.

Dux addressed the negative connotations feminism sometimes has, asserting that feminism doesn’t have a Bible, as it’s “constantly evolving and changing”, and is “not a cult” with Germaine Greer at the helm.

Gaye Alcorn confuted Byrne’s former assertion that “we hardly notice feminism anymore” with “sexism has become so embedded in our culture that we no longer notice it”, making reference to the David Jones sexual harassment suit that Mayne also spoke about.

Alcorn also mentioned Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth and the great porn debate (more on that to come this week), and that in some ways it’s harder for women—body image-wise—because the culture that young people grow up in has changed.

Controversially, Alcorn referenced the Body Image Advisory Board and it’s chairwomen, the “gorgeous” Mia Freedman, Sarah Murdoch and Kate Ellis, saying that of course they had beautiful women to front the campaign, because it wouldn’t have gotten any publicity with Plain Janes. Out of everything the affirmative team said, this was the only thing I took issue with. “Like, sorry those women happen to be genetically blessed, but they have as much right to talk about body image and beauty as a less fortunate-looking woman does. You can’t help the way you’re born,” I said to my friend, who satirically replied, “Well, it’s about beauty, hello?!” Gold.

Finally, Wendy McCarthy spoke, saying that “feminism is the most significant social movement” of the last fifty years. She mentioned that feminism has “created space for men to be better fathers” which, to me, signals that perhaps feminism has failed if that’s the main point she can come up with; that it benefits men.

The debate ended with the final vote, in which the results stayed pretty much the same. While the affirmative team definitely won the debate, in the minds of the audience members, at least, feminism has not failed, and is still alive and well in our culture.

But as the affirmative team mentioned, Western feminists need to stand up for women in less fortunate countries, and by the same token, “feminists can’t be accountable for all feminist issues at all times.”

In the News: Guilty Until Proven Innocent—Charlie Sheen’s Witness.

Maybe it’s because she’s a porn star/escort. Maybe, but hopefully not, it’s simply because she’s a woman. But more than likely, it’s because Charlie Sheen has been allowed to get away with (practically attempted) murder for decades now.

It’s no secret how I feel about Charlie Sheen, and I think it is an absolute disgrace that our celebrity-obsessed culture has allowed him to escape jail and rehab for drug use, soliciting prostitutes, property damage, domestic violence, alleged child pornography consumption, and shooting Kelly Preston, yet retain his $1.2 million per episode pay check for Two & a Half Men.

But the way the media has treated Capri Anderson is just as bad. It has been proven that she is the woman who was found locked in a bathroom of the hotel suite that Sheen was staying at when the incident occurred. Is the fact that she’s a porn star damaging her credibility as a victim of domestic violence who feared for her life?

This perception of her harkens back to a lot of articles I’ve written about or referenced on this here blog in the past few months, but it basically comes down to slut-shaming, in my opinion.

So Anderson has sex on camera for money, but what Sheen does off-camera but is still paid a pretty penny for what he does on-screen is far worse.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Why Are Famous Men Forgiven for Their Wrongdoings, While Women Are Vilified For Much Less?

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Good-Time Girls.

[Ideologically Impure] I Am a Women & I Enjoy Sex.

[Jezebel] Jersey Shore: If Men Can Wax Their Eyebrows, Why Can’t Women Sleep Around?

[Jezebel] Easy A Tackles Slut-Shaming, Gossip & What We Expect From Girls Now.

[Jezebel] Capri Anderson Says Charlie Sheen Choked Her, Does Not Like Being Called a Whore.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

How to “cure” a feminist.

Zoe Foster at her absolute best in her ode to “second day spaghetti”. Perhaps she should consider penning a food column in addition to relationship and beauty advice?

Overthinking It on the differences, but more so, similarities, of “California Gurls and California Girls”. One choice titbit: “The popsicle melting part means that California girls are sufficiently attractive that, under the right circumstances, they will cause men to ejaculate. Just in case Katy Perry didn’t make it obvious enough with her coy and artful wordplay, ‘popsicle’ means penis.”

More on Katy Perry and how she’s now claiming to be a gay icon. If you think back to her first song, before the success of “I Kissed a Girl” (“which panders to my least favourite cliché ever, that of the straight girls who make out at frat parties to turn on frat boys”), entitled “Ur So Gay”, it was insinuating that being gay “was the ultimate, be-all, end-all putdown to someone that treated her wrong.”

Matriarchy in Glee.

Also at Overthinking It, the likeability of male characters versus female characters is discussed. Hint: female characters aren’t likeable, even if the male characters they’re being compared to are sociopaths.

Jezebel on owning your sluthood:

“… Sluthood isn’t an action, it’s a state of mind.

“I’m telling you this because my sluthood saved me. Sluthood gave me the time and space to nurse a shattered heart. It gave me a place where I could exist in pieces, some of me craving touch, some of me still too tender to even expose to the light. Sluthood healed the part of me that felt my body and my desires were grotesque after two years in a libido-mismatched partnership. Now I felt hot, wanted, powerful. My desire and enthusiasm was an asset, not an unintended weapon.”

You go, girl!

Lifehacker offers up the “Top 10 Tips for Better Writing”.

Hugo Schwyzer on “The Problem With Being ‘Sexy But Not Sexual’”.

“The Televised Guide to Teen Girl Friendships”, featuring My So-Called Life, Full House and Popular.

Jezebel explains our (but not my) interest in the royal wedding by way of Disney:

“For me, an American pop-culture junkie, Prince William and Kate Middleton’s engagement means one thing: She gets to be a Princess. And seriously, some part of me, formed when I was three or four, believes that this means she will be dressed by birds, wear clothes sewn by tiny mice, and have woodland creatures as friends. Oh, sure, there’s a handsome Prince, but more important are the jewels! And the singing! And the castles! And the woodland creatures.”

Apparently positive people live longer. Good news for me, then!

“Do All of Us Need ‘The One’?” at The Ch!cktionary.

A rant on the annoyance of ignorance:

“… In our infoculture, it takes work not to expose yourself to interesting ideas, facts, news and points of view… the average person online spends seventy seconds a day reading online news. Ouch.”

New York, I Love Hate You:

“New York, I won’t miss your fierce morning halitosis exhaled from your subway grates along Third Avenue.

“I won’t miss you drooling on me from your high-rise air-conditioners in the burning heights of summer.

“I won’t miss how… to me you always smelled like Camel Lights, and warming urine, and the No. 14 busa perfume I never could quite embrace.

“New York, I’ll never forget how dating you made me so poor that when I wanted to read I had to unscrew a bulb from the bedroom and carry it to the living room.”

Giveaway: Becky Sharp’s Christmas Vintage Fashion Market.

I have three tickets to give away for Becky Sharp’s Christmas Vanity Fair Fashion Market.

The event takes place between 10am and 3pm on Saturday 4th December at the Tivoli Club, 291 Dandenong Road, Windsor. The number 5 tram from Flinders Street Station/Swanston Street goes right past the Tivoli Club.

I have never been to the market, so I can’t give my recommendation, and work commitments are preventing me from attending this time, but with a free ticket, who could say no?

The next market isn’t until Valentine’s Day, so it’s the perfect place to pick up a Christmas gift or to “find a special outfit for a Christmas or New Year party”.

First in best dressed; email me at scarlett.harris@y7mail.com with your name, address and how many tickets you would like to be in the running.

On the Net: Let Them Eat Cupcakes.

Not to be confused with “Let Them Eat Cake… And Wear Headbands”, which I wrote earlier this week, this excerpt comes from Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York’s “King Kong & Cupcakes” by Jeremiah Moss:

“Cupcakes are just a symbol for the shiny Bloomberg-ized, Carrie Bradshaw-defined boutique city New York is turning into. I grey up during the 1970s, when the old New York‘King Kong’s New York’ if you likewas still very much in evidence, and would be well into the ’90s. Like you, I’ve watched, often in horror, and particularly over the last decade, as the city has been transformed into something nearly unrecognisable and sadly lacking in character.

“I certainly have nothing against the cupcakes themselves. Shortly after I handed this cartoon in, I tried a Magnolia cupcake for the first time. It was good. I suppose I could have written ‘Twas Marc Jacobs killed the beast’, but cupcakes was funnier, and it won’t get me sued.

“… But to answer your question about how New York being overrun with cupcake shops, and the (designer) baggage that goes along with them, can kill a 25-foot-tall ape, it is in much the same way that ‘beauty’ did him inby breaking his heart.

“Is that too corny? OK, then he slipped on a goddamn cupcake.”

[Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York] King Kong & Cupcakes.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Let Them Eat Cake… And Wear Headbands.

On the Net: In Memoriam of the Hipster.

From “What Was the Hipster” on New York Magazine, by Mark Greif:

“Someone will point out that hipsters are not dead, they still breathe, they still live on my block. Yet it is evident that we have reached the end of an epoch in the life of the type. Its evolution lasted from 1999 to 2009, though it has shifted appearance dramatically over the decade. It survived this year; it may persist. Indications are everywhere, however, that we have come to a moment of stocktaking.

“… Let me recall a string of keywords: trucker hats; undershirts called ‘wifebeaters’, worn alone; the aesthetic of basement rec-room pornography , flash-lit Polaroids, and fake-wood panelling; Pabst Blue Ribbon; ‘porno’ or ‘pedophile’ mustaches; aviator glasses; Americana T-shirts from church socials and pig roasts; tube socks; the late albums of Johnny Cash; tattoos.

“… American Apparel, which launched in L.A. in 1997 as an anti-sweatshop T-shirt manufacturer and gradually changed its advertising focus from progressive labor practices to amateur soft-core porn.”

[New York Magazine] What Was the Hipster?

It’s All About Pop-U-Lar.

From this weekend’s Good Weekend in The Age, in an article by Tom Ballard entitled “Too Cool for School”:

“If Footyheads are the oafish kings of high school, Popular Girls are assuredly the vapid queens. Deemed ‘The Plastics’ in the 2004 film Mean Girls, this clique is made up of attractive females who are attractive and wear make-up and are attractive and giggle and are attractive and fully hot.

“The members of this group are often the first among their peers to produce any inkling of breast and to discover foundation. Their classroom catch cry“So, like… what are we doing?”is well known and feared.

“Popular Girls enjoy chewing gum, looking vacant and protesting about the confiscation of jewellery. They feed on expensive formal dresses. They’re really, really popular.”

Examples of the Popular Girl in Popular Culture include, as Ballard mentioned, the Plastics in Mean Girls; Cher Horowitz of Clueless, who sees the light in the end; Louise from ’80s cheese fest Teen Witch, who gains popularity from a supernatural amulet; and “good” witch Galinda from Wicked, who tries to make over the self-conscious and “green” Elphaba during the musical’s “Popular” tune, from which the title of this post was derived.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Women in Fiction: My Favourite Fictional Females.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Women in Fiction: Are Our Favourite Fictional Females Actually Strong, or Stereotypes?