My Week in Review (Plus a Couple of Extra Days Thrown in There).

It’s been a very busy week here at The Early Bird Catches the Worm, and will continue to be for the next week or so. Whoever thought of scheduling Easter on the same long weekend as ANZAC Day was “seriously disturbed”, as Elle Woods would say.

Sunday 17th: Got back from an early Easter weekend with my Mum in Bendigo, where I caught up with some friends, sat in the hairdresser’s chair for a couple of hours, went secondhand book shopping and to the Bendigo Art Gallery.

Monday 18th: Was all tuckered out from my weekend in the country I decided to lie in bed all day and watch Grey’s Anatomy.

Tuesday 19th: Did some blogging and jogging and went to see Sucker Punch. As my Facebook status that night said: “Well, it certainly lived up to the first four letters of the title.” Review pending.

Wednesday 20th: Ten hour shift at work.

Thursday 21st: Got up, went for a jog, blogged, went to the supermarket, work, waxing of the nether region, cleaned the house, friend’s 21st.

Friday 22nd: Slept in, had 21st cake for breakfast, watched Paper Giants, Desperate Housewives, Criminal Minds and Grey’s Anatomy.

Saturday 23rd: Work.

Sunday 24th: Work and fell asleep at 8:30.

Monday 25th: Had to get a taxi to work ’cause trains and trams were down due to the ANZAC Day march. Worked on the blog and had a Scream movie marathon at a friend’s house in preparation for seeing the latest instalment next Tuesday.

Today: Was at the airport at 6:30 this morning to send of April, who’s leaving for Canada at 10:45am. The Maccas breakfast that followed did little to ease my pain…

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] So Misunderstood.

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

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

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Guest Post: Pop Culture Power Women.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Bendigo Art Gallery: Giving the Metro Museums a Run for Their Money.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Book Shop: Book Now, Bendigo.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] My Week in Review: 22nd–28th November, 2010.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] My Week in Review (Plus a Couple of Extra Days Thrown in There): 6th–12th November, 2010.

Mag Cover of the Week: Lady Gaga Lets Her Horns Shine Through.

Accompanying some risqué shots of Mother Monster herself, Lady Gaga, in nude underwear atop a grand piano and with Catholic schoolgirl-esque look-alikes, are her comments about those peculiar facial horns:

“… They’re not prosthetics, they’re my bones… They’ve always been inside of me, but I’ve been waiting for the right time to reveal to the universe who I truly am… They come out when I’m inspired.”

Right…

Well, no one could ever accuse her of being boring!

[Harper’s Bazaar] Lady Gaga: The Interview.

On the (Rest of the) Net Comes a Day Early.

As tomorrow is Good Friday (Friday, gotta get down on Good Friday), the international day of mourning sleeping in, On the (Rest of the) Net is arriving a day early. Enjoy, and happy Easter!

If you read only one thing this Easter weekend, make it Hadley Freeman’s “Rape is Not a Compliment” on The Guardian.

Rick Morton with “6 Arguments Against Women Serving in Combat Roles (And Why They’re Dodgy)”.

The pros and cons of trash reality TV and its treatment of women.

MamaMia has picked up Airiel Clark’s “Slut-Shaming on the Playground”, as well.

The view from the other side of the burqa is not one I agree with, but it’s a valid one nonetheless:

“Before you scream your disagreement, which many of you may do as a knee-jerk reaction to being told you’re also oppressed, stop and think. Look around you; contemplate society today, and its values, its aspirations, its goals, its direction, its past-times, its hobbies….

“What good has it done for images of uncovered made-up women to be plastered on every billboard and magazine, on the TV, in the movies, and on the net?

“The women in the images may aptly feel good about themselves for a while, but what does it mean for every other women?

“Women who look upon these images usually become anxious, jealous, unsure and critical of themselves, or all of these things. Many men who view them will become aroused, or even unhappy, less satisfied with the partners they already have. What can, and does this lead to?

“Cheating, dumping, chastisement, and even harassment of other women, and even children, by men who cannot find a legitimate outlet for their constant arousal.

“And yes, I can hear some of you; ‘then the men must control themselves!’ Frankly speaking that argument is well spent, not to mention futile, as most men are, inherently, only able to react to that, the same way a hungry lion would react if thrown a juicy piece of steak, and told not to eat it…”

Shades of Sheik El-Hilaly’s “uncovered meat” statement, don’t you think?

Gemma Ward makes her return to the newsstand.

“What to Wear for SlutWalk”:

“Wear anything you like, the organisers told me when I emailed them…

“SlutWalk will feature people in all sorts of garments and gear, dressed for the office, clubbing, yoga, walking the dog, whatever it is that people wear as they go about their lives not asking to be raped.”

A behind-the-scenes look at how Mia Freedman’s Sunday Life profile pictures go down.

Also at MamaMia, Freedman writes on Paper Giants (more on that to come next week; oh, the perils of not yet being digital TV-ready!), Park St, and the relevance and demise of magazines in 2011.

Nina Funnell on the “appalling” and “exploitative” nature of child beauty pageants.

“Gym. Tan. Laundry. Discuss.” The social politics of Jersey Shore.

She-Ra gets a fashionable makeover for a good cause.

Music Video: “Chains & Whips Excite Me” Take 2.

So I’ve already blogged (and reblogged) multiple times about Rihanna’s “S&M”, but the other night my friend attempted to make this joke about it:

“So if whips and chains excite Rihanna, is what Chris Brown did to her just foreplay?”

Obviously the remnants of some sick Facebook joke, but worryingly, I believe this is what some people actually think.

As I wrote originally, “the video does deal with sexual violence… which Rihanna is no stranger to, but this time around it’s consensual violence.

Jezebel explains:

“‘It’s notable, though, following her assault by Chris Brown, that in the video for “S&M,” she’s interested in exploring consensual acts of violence and aggression, and finding pleasure in pain. Although she does appear bound in the video (as well as literally restrained by the media), mostly she plays the role of a dominant, perhaps to prove (or remind us) that she’s the one in control. Is this the desire of one who’s been called a victim? To recast oneself as authoritative and commanding?’”

She also speaks of the Brown incident in Rolling Stone:

“I put my guard up so hard… I didn’t want people to see me cry. I didn’t want people to feel bad for me. It was a very vulnerable time in my life, and I refused to let that be the image. I wanted them to see me as, ‘I’m fine, I’m tough.’ I put that up until it felt real.”

And her real-life love of S&M:

“Being submissive in the bedroom is really fun… You get to be a little lady, to have somebody be macho and in charge of your shit. That’s fun to me…I like to be spanked. Being tied up is fun. I like to keep it spontaneous. Sometimes whips and chains can be overly planned—you gotta stop, get the whip from the drawer downstairs. I’d rather have him use his hands.”

Admittedly, I do think it is a tad odd that sadomasochism seems to be dominating her current public persona but, as above, it’s consensual sadomasochism. Rihanna is well within her rights to take back the power Brown took from her by assaulting her, and this just seems to be the way she wants to do it.

And no matter how a woman acts, it is never a reason to hit her.

[Jezebel] Rihanna’s New Video Celebrates Ball-Gags, Whips & Latex.

[Rolling Stone] Rihanna Opens Up Like Never Before in Rolling Stone Cover Story.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] “Chains & Whips Excite Me…”: The Underlying Message in Music Videos.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] “S&M”: Is It Really So Much Worse Than Rihanna’s Other Stuff?

Images via YouTube.

Bendigo Art Gallery: Giving the Metro Museums a Run for Their Money.

As past posts this week would indicate, I spent the weekend in Bendigo, in country Victoria. I visited some old friends, went secondhand book shopping, got my hair did, and attended the opening of the Bendigo Art Gallery’s American Dreams exhibition.

There were some stunning portraits by some of America’s most gifted and famous photographers, like Walker Evans, Cindy Sherman and Richard Avedon.

While this exhibition isn’t the greatest I’ve seen (FYI, that was The Golden Age of Couture, also hosted by the Bendigo Art Gallery, which displayed gorgeous garments from the likes of Christian Dior and his 1940s “New Look”, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Hubert de Givenchy and Pierre Balmain), it is one in a long line of coups for the country gallery.

Last year I saw Frederick McCubbin’s Last Impressions and Looking for Faeries, in addition to 2009’s Golden Age of Couture, and this year the gallery has The White Wedding Dress display in store for us. But the exhibition I’m most looking forward to won’t be opening until 2012, but it’s well worth the wait: Grace Kelly—Style Icon, featuring costumes from her most famous films (Rear Window, I’m looking at you) and couture gowns from her reign as Her Serene Highness, Princess Grace of Monaco.

With stellar exhibitions like these, Melbourne’s galleries and museums had better watch out!

[Bendigo Art Gallery] Homepage.

[Bendigo Art Gallery] American Dreams: 20th Century Photography from George Eastman House.

[Bendigo Art Gallery] The Golden Age of Couture: Paris & London, 1947–1957.

[Bendigo Art Gallery] McCubbin Last Impressions: 1907–1917.

[Bendigo Art Gallery] Looking for Faeries: The Victorian Tradition.

[Bendigo Art Gallery] The White Wedding Dress: 200 Years of Wedding Fashions.

[Bendigo Art Gallery] Grace Kelly: Style Icon.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Book Shop: Book Now, Bendigo.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Loving… Grace Kelly as Lisa Fremont in Rear Window.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Tutankhamun & the Golden Age of the Pharaohs at Melbourne Museum.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Gustave Moreau’s The Eternal Feminine Exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria.

Images via Bendigo Art Gallery, Ethical Style.

Book Shop: Book Now, Bendigo.

So this review was originally going to be about Bendigo’s Book Mark, which still remains the best secondhand book store I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting.

Such gems I’ve managed to find there are Mick Foley’s rare first novel, Tietam Brown, and a $7 copy of Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk. I scoured the shelves for over an hour looking for that one. When I took it to the counter, the man who served me marveled at it being left on the shelves; he’d put all Jackson-related literature on their website to be sold at an elevated price after his sudden death.

But perhaps my friend Hannah and I left it too late on a Saturday afternoon to visit the shop: they close at 4pm and we got there at 4:05!

So we decided instead to venture over to Book Now, located at 1 Farmers Lane, opposite Rosiland Park. There’s no denying I’ve gotten some good titles there before—a first edition of The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving springs to mind—but I find it a bit stuffy and overpriced for a secondhand book store.

However, this weekend’s trip yielded some fantastic finds for both me and Hannah. Hannah is studying to be a doctor in Russian history and social sciences, so she took home a book on Nicholas II of Russia, and his wife Alexandra Fyodorovna, parents of Anastasia of Russia, and Atonement by Ian McEwan.

I knew Book Now has a large collection of Joyce Carol Oates books, so I rummaged through them in the vain hope of finding My Sister, My Love, a recent novel based on the JonBenet Ramsey murder. And low and behold, I did find it resting on a shelf right up the back of the shop.

My Book Now trip was pretty much complete after that, however I did spot some Armistead Maupin titles, and picked up a few of those. (To be honest, I own so many of his books I wasn’t 100% sure that I don’t already own The Night Listener and Maybe the Moon. But at $6 a pop, who am I to complain if I do?!) Finally, I stumbled across Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth and decided to add that to my ever-growing pile.

So what began as a somewhat disappointing afternoon when Book Mark wasn’t open, ended as a surprisingly great one, with four new additions to my bookshelf.

Bendigo only has a few really good bookstores, so if you’re ever up in Central Victoria, visiting the Bendigo Art Gallery (stay tuned for more this afternoon) or the Golden Dragon Chinese Museum, pop on over to Book Now or Book Mark.

I know I will on my next visit.

[Book Now] Homepage.

[Bendigo Book Mark] Homepage.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Evolution of the Bookshop at the Wheeler Centre.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Loving… Mick Foley.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving Review.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Is There Really a Beauty Myth?

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Armistead Maupin in Conversation with Noni Hazlehurst.

Image via Book Now.

On the Net: Pretty Girl Bullshit.

White Girl Problems is the latest Twitter phenomenon to sweep the pop culture world, with such gems as “Fine, if that’s the way you’re going to act, then you’re uninvited to my Elizabeth Taylor memorial cocktails” and “I’m sorry you think I’m being a bitch”; the passive-aggressive “apology” heard in relationships the world over.

While the Twitter profile is poignantly taking the piss out of the problems of the privileged, there is the issue of race there, also.

Like, why is it called White Girl Problems? Why not Privileged Girl Problems? Or Rich Girl Problems? But even with that, it would be feeding into the classism debate. Whichever way you look at it, White Girl Problems is a double entrendre of racism and classism.

It also highlights the body image battle a lot of young girls face, be they white, black, rich, poor, or whatever. Here are a couple of examples:

While I’m not personally offended by the Twitter feed (I am a white girl with [first world] problems, after all), I can understand why some might be.

Racialicious, actually writing about the Alexandra Wallace/“Asians in the Library” scandal, says that it all comes down to “white female privilege”, meaning “you can say more outrageous shit because you’re a pretty white lady”.

That may be so (I have been known to voice my opinion on all manner of topics that may be deemed controversial: the baptism of babies being bullshit, pretentious parenting, and abortion [more to come on that last one in coming weeks]), but how long have men—of all races but, yes, particularly Caucasian ones—been getting away with it? And still are. Charlie Sheen and Chris Brown are two names that spring to mind…

[Twitter] White Girl Problems.

[Racialicious] Go After the Privilege, Not the Tits: Afterthoughts on Alexandra Wallace & White Female Privilege.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] First World Problems.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] “S&M”: Is It Really So Much Worse Than Rihanna’s Other Stuff?

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Guilty Until Proven Innocent: Charlie Sheen’s Witness.

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

Images via TV.IGN, Anu News, Film Junk.

Magazines: Who Condemns Baby-Body Bullying…

… But when the celebs in question aren’t actually pregnant, it raises the skinny- vs. fat-shaming debate, and whether people in the public eye’s bodies should be public property, too.

Kudos to Nicole Richie, who has come out with this statement:

“To publicly point out a change in anyone’s body is mean-spirited and cruel.”

God knows Richie’s had her fair share of body-bashing in the media. You go, girl!

Khloe Kardashian is another celeb who’s wrestled with both her weight (being perceived as the “fat”, “ugly” sister in comparison to siblings Kim and Kourtney probably doesn’t help) and her struggle to get pregnant:

“The media makes me feel like I’m barren and why can’t you get pregnant? I am 26 years old… When it happens, it’s going to happen.”

American Idol winner Carrie Underwood goes on to say that, “When I wear something a little baggier, I’m like, nope, people are going to think I’m hiding something.”

I’d better stop going out in public in baggy jumpers and layered shirts, then! But thankfully, I’m not a celebrity whose body, actions and shopping list is scrutinised by all manner of media.

[Jezebel] Who Says There Has To Be An “Ugly Sister”?

Newspaper Clipping of the Week: Man Up.

“Manning up” seems to be a common theme on The Early Bird Catches the Worm this past week.

I don’t agree with the term, as it implies that simply being a man is equivalent to being courageous. Not to toot my own horn (okay, I am!), but I feel like I “man up” a whole hell of a lot more than most of my male friends. But it is a good descriptive phrase, along with “grow some balls” and “don’t be a pussy”, to which the same above critique applies.

Last weekend’s Sunday Life ran a story entitled “You’ve Got Males”, about the conundrum of raising males, which could be a good article if it wasn’t so sexist and traditional-man bashing.

Some such examples are:

“… Mum went through a feminist phase where the various pitfalls of male behaviour were outlined to me early and often, boot-camp style: think The Biggest Loser if they were trying to create metrosexuals instead of skinny people”—most feminists will tell you that it isn’t a phase; children should be allowed to grow in their own ways, whilst being gently guided by their caregivers.

“Such a boy thing to do” —what, exactly? Playing with trucks and being destructive? I have observed plenty of male children being more mellow, whilst girls go ahead and trash their cubbies after they’ve been lovingly tidied by moi (true story). It comes down to being an individual, not a stereotype. And at aged three, should we really be pushing stereotypes on our children?!

“Our first-born liked babychinos and was more artsy than fartsy. But our second boy was a full-blown bloke (‘Finally, a male in the family,’ said my wife)” —liking babychinos means your parents are pretentious, not that you’re going to grow up to be a SNAG. And what’s so wrong with that anyway?

The article also discusses the pack mentality of “groups of men behav[ing] in a more blokey fashion”, which was briefly touched on at the Wheeler Centre’s “The Sentimental Bloke” discussion, in the form of a solitary wine vs. group beers, and how to “deprogram” this.

Personally, I’m not a fan of “blokey behaviour” in the stereotypical sense, but nor to I agree with the parenting style—or typical Australian attitudes—this article attempts to push: that it’s one (bloke) or the other (SNAG), with no regard for the myriad of options in between, or what’s best for the individual child.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Unfinished Business at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] “Who the Bloody Hell Are We?”: The Sentimental Bloke at the Wheeler Centre.