Loving… Grace Kelly as Lisa Fremont in Rear Window.

 

I can’t say I’ve really gotten into much Hitchcock in my lifetime (that’s more my mum’s forte), however I loved Rear Window from the moment I inserted into the DVD player.

However, after a second watching this Christmas, I realised the power of Grace Kelly’s character, Lisa Fremont, as the girlfriend of central protagonist L.B. Jeffries (played by James Stewart).

Sure, she comes across as a vapid socialite on first glance, but when she opens her mouth, it is revealed that she has a job (astonishing for that period in time!), albeit as a gossip columnist, and is very self-sufficient.

Jeffries goes on about how she is somewhat pampered (being a socialite) and could never hack it on one of his photography missions.( Evidently it is he who could not hack it on his own photography assignment, managing to get his leg broken whilst documenting a car race.)

When Lisa volunteers to snoop in Jeffries’ neighbours’ apartment whilst he is out, on one hand she is proving herself to him; proving that she can get her hands dirty and is up for some adventure. But, as Lizz Yeh points out in her comment in response to Gender Goggles“Hitchcock & Feminist Theory in Suspicion & Rear Window, “we have to remember that a lot of the plot is driven by Lisa and L.B. It is only after Lisa concurs with L.B. that L.B. decides to take any sort of action.” In addition, she’s the one who points out that a woman doesn’t leave her favourite handbag and wedding ring when she goes on a trip, and doesn’t leave her jewellery jumbled up in a bag. On Yeh’s comments, it does seem that Jeffries often strives for Lisa’s approval. Whilst I wouldn’t say he’s a “weak” male character by any means, Lisa is certainly his “better half”.

On that, Lisa proves that women can be multifaceted. She can read fashion magazines and attend balls in gorgeous couture gowns, but she can also investigate a murder and accompany her man on adventurous trips. Her attitude also flies in the face of feminism’s detractors: she can please her man by reading the kinds of books he thinks she should (but swapping back to her glossy du jour when he falls asleep!) and helping him in his time of need, but she also does what she thinks and feels is right. Ultimately, Jeffries and Lisa are equals in a Hitchcockian world.

Related: Women in Fiction: Are Our Favourite Female Characters Actually “Strong”, Or Stereotypes?

Women in Fiction: My Favourite Fictional Females.

Elsewhere: [Gender Goggles] Hitchcock & Feminist Theory in Suspicion & Rear Window.

[Overthinking It] Why Weak Male Characters Are Bad for Women.

 

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

It’s a smorgasbord of Katy, Ke$ha, Britney and Gaga as Complex counts down “The 25 Greatest ‘Slutwave’ Songs of All Time”.

In other Katy and Ke$ha-related news, Feminist Music Geek critiques their acts.

Finally, closing off a Katy Perry heavy week, Jezebel ponders the similarities between “Firework” and Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful”.

Sady Doyle on Charlie Chaplin’s paedophilia on film:

“I… kind of forgot, actually, that Charlie Chaplin was a pedophile?… Boy howdy, this movie sure didn’t!… It invites you to get off on this… We got a scene where the FBI tried to go after Chaplin for his dangerous left-wing activities, BY PERSUING STATUATORY RAPE CHARGES AGAINST HIM. “It’ll ruin him,” the evil right wing poo-hating US government cackles.”

Hmm… strangely echoes a certain left-winger accused of rape in the media at the moment…

Hermione Granger perfects her “judgemental badger” face.

“Empty Bellies Do Not Beget Genius”.

Now this is how “self-marriage” is done. Glee, take note.

Following on from last week, “Is Lara Bingle the new Paris Hilton?”

Is the antidote to “Taylor Swift’s Endless Reign” a Lindsay Lohan singing career revival?

Coco Rocha reveals “The One That Got Away”.

Gala Darling detoxes her closet.

MamaMia asks, “Do You Have Mother Issues?” Oh hell yes! And daddy ones, too!

More on why Gwyneth Paltrow is just that damn unlikeable.

JWoww’s heinous ex calls her pre-surgery body “deformed” by cellulite. Nice.

2010 was the year of the mistress.

In defence of May-December romances.

What does your ponytail say about you?

“She Just Wants Attention”.

 

I’ve written about this before, but thought I would elaborate some more on it. And by I, I mean Tavi in this Jezebel post, “Women Who Want Attention”:

“People really, really hate Megan Fox. If you have an Internet connection, you know this, but in case you’ve forgotten, here’s a hate-driven Tumblr, the description of which reads: ‘Fuck you, Megan Fox. No, really. Keep your trap shut.’

“Megan Fox is a pretty talkative person. Wait, no, she’s a pretty talkative woman. She’s a pretty talkative woman who makes a lot of dudes happy by playing the sexy chick. And on top of that, she’s talked about how her male boss, Michael Bay, can be kind of a jerk… [for making] her wash his Ferrari wearing a bikini in order to get a part in Transformers. Which she should apparently be really, really grateful for, since whenever people talk about her, they like to throw in the ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you’ admonishment. To which I say, what if that hand is also trying to grab your ass?

“People seem to get pissed that their sex symbols have to come with opinions, and like, emotions, and things to say. Fox is dismissed by Bay and the media as an attention whore, an egotistical bitch who just wants to find something to complain about so people will look at her… Fox, you see, is similarly famous but also desired, so she should have nothing to be upset over. Surely a woman’s needs and problems can’t go deeper than that! She just wants attention.”

Related: The Beautiful, Bigmouthed Backlash Against Katherine Heigl & Megan Fox.

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Women Who Want Attention.

[Fuck You Megan Fox!] Homepage.

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!