Movies: Blondes Have More Fun—And They’re Magical!—In Tangled.

 

The premise of the latest Disney princess effort—a retelling of the story of Rapunzel—is that the damsel in distress is locked away in her tower so that mean baddies won’t be able to find her and steal her supernatural healing powers.

The clincher is that if she cuts her long hair, it turns brown and loses its magical properties. A blatant favouritism of blondes over brunettes if ever there was one!

Granted, the brunette Disney princess has seen somewhat of a resurgence in recent years, with the first African American princess, Tiana, in The Princess & the Frog, Mulan, Esmeralda of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Pocahontas, Jasmine from Aladdin, Beauty & the Beast’s Belle, and even the flame haired Little Mermaid. Perhaps the blonde haired heroines (okay, I wouldn’t exactly class Cinderella and Aurora as “heroines” per se, but Rapunzel certainly kicked some but in Tangled) wanted a shot at the multi-dimensional princess crown.

Other than that, I really enjoyed Tangled. I usually find Mandy Moore supremely annoying, her voice especially, but I could barely tell it was her throughout the movie. Chuck’s Zachary Levi was great as the misunderstood Flynn Rider/Eugene Fitzherbert. Unfortunately, I missed the first ten minutes or so due to a delicious brunch and Saturday morning traffic on Chapel Street, however it was fairly easy to pick back-story up at the tear jerking pinnacle.

Music Videos: More Madonna.

A revised version of a third year media studies group presentation on obscenity and race in Madonna’s music, and more specifically, her music videos:

Our topic is “Pop Music, Obscenity and Race”, and we chose to speak about Madonna, and her controversial career in music and as a pop culture icon. While the reading, “Expert Witnesses and the Case of Rap” by Houston A. Baker, Jr., is more about rap music and the 1990s rap group 2 Live Crew, we have taken some aspects of the article and applied them to Madonna’s works.

Firstly, we chose to analyse some music videos by Madonna, namely “Like a Prayer” (1989), “Justify My Love” (1990) and “What it Feels Like for a Girl” (2001), for their controversial nature.

“Like a Prayer” depicts images such as an attack on a woman in an alley, burning crosses, stigmata, Madonna’s revealing outfit as she sings in a church, and her love affair with the black Saint Martin de Porres, who some have interpreted as being a black Jesus Christ. Here she deals not only with race, but also religion.

One of Madonna’s most controversial and heavily censored videos is “Justify My Love”, in which Madonna and the actors in the clip engage in sadomasochism, bondage, domination, voyeurism, same-sex and group-sex relations, cross-dressing and possibly prostitution. Baker, Jr. speaks of voyeurism in the reading, and relates it to the fact that such taboo subject matter in videos by 2 Live Crew, and also Madonna, doesn’t allow viewers to critically and objectively view them. This leads to our focus question: “If religious groups, conservatives, feminists etc. weren’t condemning and censoring Madonna’s videos, would the public find them shocking and controversial, or at least as shocking and controversial?”

Finally, we briefly discussed Madonna’s video for “What it Feels Like for a Girl”. We personally didn’t find the video offensive or overly violent, however that was the reason given for banning it. In the video, Madonna kidnaps an old woman and goes on a crime spree with her, robbing banks and stealing cars. Madonna openly defended the video, saying that if she were a man, the violence wouldn’t be an issue, because they get away with the same or worse in their videos. Similarly, she defended the “Justify My Love” video’s content, even though the banning of it made her more money than if it was aired freely. This once again relates back to our focus question and what Baker, Jr. contends about 2 Live Crew.

Funnily enough, in an interview with Adam Lambert about his controversial same-sex kiss on-stage at the American Music Awards whilst performing “For Your Entertainment”, he got fired up how his actions were vilified because he was a man, while female pop stars have been behaving sexily since the dawn of time the music video. Hello, “Like a Virgin” at both the inaugural MTV VMAs in 1984 and with Britney and Christina in 2003!

I intended to elaborate more in this post on the points briefly mentioned here, however due to time constraints, I thought maybe I could use this post as a sort of “jumping off point to start negotiations”, as fellow Madonna-lover Cher Horowitz would say. I hope to put up more posts in the future on Madonna’s influence on the music video and religion in pop culture.

Related: Madonna (and Her Brand of “Feminism”) On the Rocks.

Katy P VS. Lady G.

Whipped Cream Feminism: The Underlying Message in Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” Video.

Elsewhere: [MTV] Adam Lambert Says AMA Kiss Was “In the Moment”.

Whipped Cream Feminism: The Underlying Message in Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” Video.

I’d been wanting to break out a whipped cream bra for a future Halloween, but seeing as I’ve already got my costumes planned for the next five years, my friend April suggested I bust it out (get it?) for our friend Eddie’s bad taste themed birthday this past weekend, thus keeping it relevant.

I was enormously nervous about it, as it’s probably one of the most attention-seeking costumes I’ve ever worn—and that’s saying something! Also, the party was held at a pub in Melbourne Central! Luckily, I had the company of Joel Monaghan to share the humiliation with.

But, there was a message behind the madness; well, several actually. Allow me to elaborate.

#1. Though not related to the underlying message of Katy Perry’s video, in essence, my costume was totes an oxymoron. Because although it was derived from the worst taste film clip of the year, thus making it perfect bad taste party fodder, the costume actually tasted good (as photos of partygoers sampling my cans will attest).

#2. While “California Gurls” is highly sexualised, Perry is literally using her sexuality as a weapon: taking down Snoop Dogg’s “troop of gangsta gummis” with her whipped cream cans. In some ways, she is subverting the common perception of woman as sex object and turning her into a subject. It’s just heavily sugar coated and therefore easy to miss.

#3. As someone who is not such a fan of Perry’s (love her music; hate her), I tend to lean more towards shock value and über-sexuality as the means behind the video as opposed to the above argument.

Laura Money mentions in her guest post “On Stripping” the notion of “lipstick feminists”; I would argue that Perry is very much the “lipstick feminist”, though in this case she could be labelled a “whipped cream feminist”; using her sexuality purely for entertainment and shock value—and thus record sales and YouTube views.

So, Perry’s video and my costume were both making a statement; the former shock value and the latter best (worst?) bad taste costume (yes, I did win the unofficial vote!). While I tried to incorporate the above points into my costume to make a statement on feminism and to provide blog ammo, somehow I’m not so sure Perry did the same thing…

Related: Bad Taste Foxymorons.

The Witching Hour: Halloween/My Birthday at Witches in Britches Cabaret.

On Stripping.

’Tis the Season…

Beauty & the Bestiality.

Elsewhere: [SodaHead] Is Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” Video Exploitation or Feminism?

Event: Bad Taste Foxymorons.

Okay, so there were no Kath & Kim wannabes at my friend Eddie’s bad taste 25th birthday party last weekend, but there were some Ab Fab throwbacks, in the form of Clare and Zoe.

For more on how our my costume was oxymoronic, stay tuned tomorrow for my take on “whipped cream feminism”, but for now, savour the bad taste.

“This is where all us round Broady keep our ciggies.”

Patsy Stone and Katy Perry flank the birthday boy.

Give a dog a bone.

Katy, Cyndi and D.O.M.

“Whaddaya mean in comes in a glass?!”

California Gurl VS. Broady Bogan.

Feminists in arms: Katy Perry & Sarah Palin.

A special thanks to April for (unbeknownst to her) the use of her Facebook captions!

Book Review: Countdown to Lockdown—A Hardcore Journal by Mick Foley.

 

Midway through Countdown to Lockdown, wrestler Mick Foley’s fourth memoir and ninth published work, the author says that “June 24, 2007, had been a disaster, probably one of the worst days of my year, possibly even my life” (p. 215). And that was before he’d heard the news that colleague Chris Benoit and his family had been murdered.

Of course, it was later revealed that Benoit had committed a double murder-suicide, murdering his wife and son in their home. Foley uses the tragedy as a cautionary tale to others in the business, warning of the affects of not only drugs, but the lonely business professional wrestling can be if you aren’t one of the lucky few to be on top of it.

Aside from the small portion of the book that deals with Benoit, death, drugs and Foley’s unhappiness with his final stint as an announcer in World Wrestling Entertainment in 2008 (which you can find some funny anecdotes about on pages 143–144), the rest is a riot.

Countdown to Lockdown is very much all about family, as are all of Foley’s books in some way or another. Another strong emblem of the memoir is Tori Amos. Odd, I know, but hear him out.

Foley was touched by “Winter” by Tori Amos, and it helped him get through one of his most brutal matches in Japan, in which he lost an ear via barbed wire hanging:

“And then there’s Mick Foley, who took the most beautiful song ever written and turned it into his own twisted ode to suffering and woe…” (p. 72).

Readers of Slate, Jezebel or this here blog from time to time will know that Mick Foley has been named man of the year by the Good Men Project, is a volunteer for Amos’ charity, RAINN and labels himself a feminist, amongst many other good deeds he’s used his wrestling career for.

I can’t recommend this—nor any of Foley’s books—enough. It’s got the perfect combination of violence and morbidity, family and fun, humour and intelligence, and empathy and charity.

Related: The Ten Books I Wanted to Read This Year But Didn’t.

In Appreciation of Mick Foley.

Another City, Not My Own by Dominick Dunne Review.

Elsewhere: [Slate] The Wrestler & the Cornflake Girl.

[Jezebel] Wrestling Star Mick Foley Blows Our Collective Mind.

[The Good Men Project] Top 10 Good Men of 2010: Mick Foley.

 

Madonna (and Her Brand of “Feminism”) on the Rocks.

 

From “The Revival of Feminism: Cher VS. Madonna” by Ginger Glynn:

“Madonna seemed to market toward, and target young girls, tweeners, prepubescent girls. So many ate it up and asked for more. The new feminism. The pretty girls feminism. Where do these sexy, sexualized young girls utilize this inspiration? How do they use their purchased, packaged sexuality for power? Britney Spears was mentored by and followed Madonna, the not quite so innocent tease. Oops, we did it again, we targeted young girls and taught them that being attractive is all we have to offer, that being intelligent is not feminine. We are supposed to believe Britney was able to use her sex appeal intelligently. She sold it, gained millions and with that, power? She got married, divorced and married again. She divorced again. Partied every night and shaved off her hair. Oh, and her ex-husband got the kids. All that sexuality and feminism, so little power. But wait, she grew back her hair, she lost weight, she may or may not have found her panties and for this we may love her again. We continue to give our daughters the financial means to support and emulate these images and models.”

Elsewhere: [More] The Revival of Feminism: Cher VS. Madonna.

“With a Gun Between Her Legs,” Take 2.

 

From “Is Female-on-Male Violence on the Rise?” by Lynn Harris:

“… ‘we are fascinated by girls’ and women’s violence’. For those who like to see womenAngelina Jolie, even Helen Mirrenwielding serious, even heretofore forbidden, power, it’s hot. For those who fear women in that role, it’s… not. ‘For all the increased tolerance, even celebration, of aggressive women in pop culture, in daily life there’s still a lot of disapproval of women even speaking up at meetings or asking for a raise, let alone committing a physically aggressive act,’…”

Related: “With a Gun Between Her Legs”Why “Strong” (AKA “Sexy” Whilst Being “Strong”) Female Characters Are Bad for Women.

Elsewhere: [Salon] Is Female-on-Male Violence on the Rise?

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

The Queensland schoolgirl/Nick Riewoldt scandal is still going strong, with articles at both MamaMia and Deadspin worth a look.

Also at MamaMia, “Are You Spending More or Less Time on Facebook Than Last Year?” I’d say it’s about the same for me.

The psychology of suicide bombers.

Inner confidence = shaving your pubes at Musings of an Inappropriate Woman.

Many people accused Holly Madison, Hugh Hefner’s former number one girlfriend, of being a gold digger, but after years of being “fucked in the assfiguratively and literally… she earned it”. Similar accusations follow Hef’s latest fiancé, Crystal Harris.

GWAS and Marta Wohrle on “The High Standards of Blogging”.

“How to Deal With a Neat Freak” at Lifehacker. How about when you’re the neat freak…?

Picture Perfect.

 

From “No Refuge: How Webcams & Cell Phones Ratchet Up the Pressure to be Perfect” by Hugo Schwyzer:

“… A young woman who had been scrupulous about her appearance all day could return to her bedroom at night, change into what was comfortable, and have at least a little waking time where her looks didn’t matter…

“The real problem is that the webcam has stripped the bedroom and the bathroom from their role as safe refuge from the beauty-obsessed culture…”

I find Schwyzer’s points to be particularly poignant to my own life.

Until a few months ago, I had lived either at home, with family who knew me from the day I was born and had seen me in all my glory (and not-so-glorious moments) for twenty-two years, or on my own. During that time, as soon as I would get home I’d change into my pyjamas, wipe the makeup off, and pop the curlers in, not caring what I looked like.

Then I moved in with my cousin, and I kept up appearances for a few days until I realised she likes to bum around the house in holey pants and nose strips, too.

Honestly, I don’t give a crap what I look like at home, and if I don’t want to draw attention to myself, I will adopt my at-home strategy in the big wide world, too.

For example, most mornings I go for a jog as soon as I wake, and usually stop by the supermarket on the way home. I chuck a bit of lipgloss on an whip my hair (though not in true Willow Smith style) into a ponytail, but other than that, I look pretty crappy. If I wanted to be stared at while I exercised, I would go to a juice-head gym in full make-up and a crop top or jog with my friend Tess at her neighbourhood track, where the beautiful people go to workout. But I don’t.

A similar situation occurred at my work Christmas party. I was getting my slut on when I was approached by Jack Sparrow. He initiated contact (both verbal and physical), asking which department I worked in and why he’d never seen me before. Unbeknownst to him, he had seen me before…

… Earlier that day, I rocked up for a few hours to help set up in jeans, a t-shirt, work boots (okay, they were Tony Bianco) and my glasses, where he was also lending a hand. He took one glance at me and continued with his work.

What’s even funnier? The following day I reverted back to my bespectacled self, and he went about his day, not realising that I was the girl from the night before.

I don’t begrudge him that, though. I deliberately do these things to fly under (or above) the radar.

Relating more closely to Schwyzer’s point, however, I’m lucky; my generation managed to bypass the whole webcam/sexting/profile pictured frenzy that consumes the lives of teens now. Who knows what pressures I would have facedand how differently my psyche would have developedif my privacy was constantly invaded by mobile phones, Facebook and the like?

Celebrities who are a little younger than I am, though, like Rihanna, Vanessa Hudgens and (the markedly younger) Miley Cyrus have succumbed to the allure of naked photography, with the latter also dabbling in the filming of lap dances to 40-year-old directors and experimentation with bongs.

Personally, I don’t understand the pull of compromising photos. My advice to teen starlets and football players alike? If you’re going to take compromising photos, make sure you’re the only one with a copy or JUST. DELETE. THEM.

Related: ’Tis the Season…

Elsewhere: [Hugo Schwyzer] No Refuge: How Webcams & Cell Phones Ratchet Up the Pressure to be Perfect.