Kate Middleton is Nothing But an Accessory.

 

From “Falling Stars: The Plight of the Windsors” by Peter Conrad in The Monthly, February 2011:

“Some feminist critics complain that during the decade Kate spent waiting for William to propose, she worked only one year, as an accessories buyer for the fashion label Jigsaw. I’d say this was astute training for her role, since she is to function as an accessory.”

Image via This Memphis Belle.

“Oh My God, That Britney’s Shameless”—Britney Spears VS. Beyonce.

 

From an excerpt of “Pride from Behind” by Shabiki Crane in “Feminism for Real: Deconstructing the Academic Industrial Complex of Feminism” by Latoya Peterson on Racialicious:

“… When white women like Britney Spears presented themselves in a sexual manner it was because they were asserting their sexuality; however when black women, like Beyonce did, they were simply being puppets and degrading themselves…

“Feminism dictates that women deserve to be equal to men; but the truth is it’s telling us that some women are more deserving than others.”

I disagree.

With Britney’s breakdown in 2007/8, the star’s mental health issues have come to light, leading most to make the assumption that Spears is more of a puppet, writhing—naked—to the beat of her management’s drum, while Beyonce—to me—is more of a woman in charge.

She’s one of the richest females in the business (granted, so is Spears), but she backs it up with talent, the courage of her convictions, and a keen eye for what the public want to see.

I agree with Crane’s latter assertion, that feminism works for some women, not all, but she’s watching a different media Circus if she thinks Beyonce comes across as the “puppet” in this equation.

What do you think?

Related: Feminist-Bot.

Britney Spears: Not That Innocent.

Like a Virgin, Take 2.

Did Rosie the Riveter Wear Hotpants?

Elsewhere: [Racialicious] Feminism for Real: Deconstructing the Academic Industrial Complex of Feminism.

[MamaMia] Is This Officially a Comeback?

Images via Fanpop, Supercrunked.

Overestimation Proclamation.

 

From “Banksable” by Lynn Hirschberg in The New York Times Magazine, circa 2008:

“‘I love being underestimated,’ [Tyra says]… ‘I love when they think, Oh, she’s just a model, she’s going to sit there and do nothing… When I went into producing, my biggest obstacle was that I was a model. But, as I say to the girls on Top Model, anybody who is at the top of anything has taken risks and withstood criticism and hardship. I say: “You think I’m just a model? Well, then, let me show you”’.

“‘It never made me bitter, but it did make me hungrier to prove them wrong.’”

Elsewhere: [The New York Times] Banksable.

Image via Superficial Diva.

Magazines: Nit Wit.

 

So I found out some interesting facts about head lice from The Monthly’s February 2011 edition.

For example, lice have been around since the dawn of time. In fact,

“lice combs feature in Renaissance paintings of the baby Jesus. They were buried in the tombs of 3000-year-old Egyptian mummies (for the lice in the afterlife). Scientists even found a 10,000-year-old nit clinging tenaciously to a human hair in north-east Brazil.”

Head lice, the other white meat cockroach.

And, considering “they now infest up to 35% of 4–11 year old Australian school children once per year,” nits shouldn’t have such a stigma attached to them.

But they do. I remember when my little sister was invited for a “play date” at—you could say—the school lice-spreader’s house. I warned her not to go and my mother not to let her, but to no avail. And lo and behold, within a week, the whole family was dousing ourselves in Nads.

The author of The Monthly piece, Christine Kenneally, laments her son’s recurring bouts with lice, and let me tell you: I don’t think our household was nit-free for close to a year! I managed to steer clear of them (thank God; I was in year 10 at the time, and I can only imagine the ostracism that I would have faced at my high school.), but with hair down to your bottom and a hippie mother who only believes in natural treatments, my sister had a very hard time of it.

However, there is good news:

“Most treatments are neurotoxins. They damage the nervous system of the louse but they generally don’t hurt the egg… Even if a neurotoxin can get inside the egg, it won’t do much until the third or fourth day when the nervous system has developed. Hatchtech… has created a louciside and ovicide. When it’s time for treated eggs to hatch, enzymes involved in hatching are blocked, and the louse dies inside the egg.”

High fives all round!

Magazines: The Secret Life of Bees.

 

In last fortnight’s Big Issue, there was a fascinating article about Colony Collapse Disorder of beehives.

Since 2004, “bees across the US and parts of Europe began abandoning their hives,” a phenomenon “which has bypassed Australia (so far).”

The article discusses how Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is diagnosed:

“The [abandoned frames] all had honey in them, indicating that there had been plenty of food. They were filled with young larvae, meaning the bees, usually fiercely maternal, had abandoned their young. There were no signs of moths or pests that normally invade sick colonies. And… [keepers] couldn’t find any dead bees.”

what it means for us, as consumers:

“Roughly one in every three mouthfuls of food we eat depends on the humble honeybee. But honey production is a relatively minor aspect of bees’ contribution, It’s their pollination of plants, in their unending quest for nectar, that most deserves our gratitude. About 90 fruit and vegetable varieties… are much more productive with the assistance of bees.”

how we can rectify this situation:

“… The international citizens’ watchdog group, Avaaz, has circulated a petition… [that] calls upon the US and EU to join the ban on neonicotinoid pesticides, which some independent researchers now cite as the cause of CCD.”

and what’s already being done by people such as Melbournian Lyndon Fenlon, “bees’ champion extraordinaire”:

“He is ingenious at locating suitable sites to build new hives, whether in scrapyards, disused factories, backyards… There are now hives on the roof of a railway station in Belgium and even atop the Paris Opera House.”

Sounds similar to the the plot of Bee Movie!

Related: The Big Issue Review: March 1-14, 2011.

Images via YouTube.

Lady Gaga: Taking Inspiration from The Wizard of Oz.

With the release of “Born This Way”, critics are wondering if Lady Gaga isn’t as original as they once thought she was. The song blatantly rips off takes inspiration from Madonna’s “Express Yourself”, and a lot of Gaga’s past works are heavily influence by Her Madgesty.

But Lady Gaga has always been about much more than just her music. It’s all about the fashion, hello?!

But even her outrageous outfits—bar the meat dress and a couple of others—aren’t that original when you come to think of it. Juxtaposed against The Wizard of Oz‘s Cowardly Lion, Good Witch of the South, Tin Man et al., Gaga proves that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Images via Amy Grindhouse, Wired, Billboard, Just Nuggets, The Examiner, Leopard Print & Lace, Pony & Pink, Pollsb, TV Tropes, Beauty & the Feast, Wikia, Wendy’s World of Oz.

UPDATED: Apocalypse Now—2012 Come Early?

 

In light of my doomsday musings on 2012 being the end of the world, I came across this “Comment of the Day” on Jezebel, which lamented the supposed discovery of the lost city of Atlantis:

“Oh, fuck. All the loose plots are being resolved. I guess the world really is going to end next year.”

With all the natural disasters and political uprisings in the world at the moment, you’d be forgiven for thinking the end of the world—2012, according to the Mayan calendar—was happening as we speak I write.

But with Japan’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis, New Zealand’s recent earthquake, Queensland and Victoria’s floods and Cyclone Yasi, the civil war in Libya and the Egyptian revolution, the end is nigh.

Now personally, I don’t actually believe the end of the world will occur on December 21, 2012, when the Mayan, or the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, finishes. I think it will be more of an ideological shift caused by catastrophic events, like those happening in Japan, than Armageddon.

But let’s have a look at when the end of said calendar occurs and what it actually means.

In a (very sketchy) nutshell, December 20, 2012 marks the end of the 13th b’ak’tun, (equivalent to 144,000 days and 394.3 solar years), while December 21, 2012 will be the beginning of the 14th b’ak’tun.

There have been rumours that no prophetic predictions have been made after 2012 by Nostradamus et al., but Susan Milbrath, curator of Latin American Art and Archaeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History, says that reaching the end of a b’ak’tun cycle was cause for celebration and that the 2012 hullabaloo is “a complete fabrication and a chance for a lot of people to cash in.”

This lends evidence to my theory that with the world literally cracking up, it’s only a matter of time before we have to take heed of global warming warnings, which are manifesting themselves in natural disasters across the globe. Is it merely a coincidence that the first stage of the ratification of the Kyoto protocol finishes in December 2012?

Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock (pardon the highly distasteful pun) in recent days would know that the Japanese quake was the seventh most powerful in history, and was actually so forceful, according to Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, the University of Toronto, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory that it actually “shifted the Earth’s axis by 25 centimeters (9.8 in). This deviation led to a number of small planetary changes, including the length of a day and the tilt of the Earth. The speed of the Earth’s rotation increased, shortening the day by 1.8 microseconds due to the redistribution of Earth’s mass.”

Not to mention its repercussions across the rest of the world, including Hawaii, the U.S. and Canada’s west coasts, Tonga, American Samoa, New Zealand, Russia, Mexico, Peru and Chile, and the holdup the nuclear disaster will cause for other countries interested in adopting nuclear power, including Australia.

Egypt’s uprising and Libya’s civil war seem like child’s play in comparison, but one humanitarian disaster after another seems to be the way of the future unless we get our act together and think of the bigger picture.

Twitter played a huge part in Egypt’s revolution (the Libyan people haven’t been so lucky, with internet access shut down by the government); mobile phones allowed Christchurch’s residents trapped in the rubble to contact family and emergency services with their whereabouts. With electricity, phone and internet connections down in Japan, it’s proving difficult to take the same road (again, pardon the pun; the tsunami washed out roads and train lines, leaving most Japanese residents in affected areas stranded). However, Google Person Finder, which was used in the Haitian, Chilean and New Zealand disasters, is coming in handy.

I’m not 100% sure what this all means, or even how it all relates to the supposed “end of the world”.

What I do know is that it seems increasingly likely that every time we turn on the news or open up our web browsers, we won’t see Charlie Sheen’s latest antics, but another disaster that is leading us to the end of the world if we don’t take a look at ourselves and make a change, as Michael Jackson so poignantly sung.

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Comment of the Day: Earth Prepares for 2012 Series Finale.

[Wikipedia] Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar.

[Wikipedia] 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami.

[USA Today] Does Maya Calendar Predict 2012 Apocalypse?

[WebCite] Japan’s Quake Shifts Earth’s Axis by 25 Centimetres.

[CBS] Earth’s Day Length Shortened by Japan Earthquake.

Related: Apocalypse Now: 2012 Come Early?

The Big Issue Review, 1-14 March, 2011.

Minus Two & a Half Men.

Images via YouTube, Wish I Didn’t Know.