TV: The Simpson’s—Lady Gaga is “Pretty Much the Same” as Jesus.

 

From last night’s episode of The Simpson’s, in which Lady Gaga starred:

Ned Flanders: “It’s one of those music industry superstars who are turning our innocent children into ladies of the night.”

Lady Gaga: “But all I’m saying is that everyone is beautiful.”

Ned Flanders: “Yes, but Jesus said… pretty much the same thing.”

Image via Putlocker.

TV: Girls Just Want to Have Realistic Experiences.

 

The racial issues the interwebs has with Girls made me feeling trepidation about the show. I think the fact that I had such low expectations was a good thing, as I actually ended up loving it.

I’m yet to warm to Lena Dunham as a person, but I love her as her alter-ego, Hannah Horvath, who, in the series’ opening scene, is cut off by her parents who have been supporting her in the two years since she finished college. Her mother rightfully calls her a spoiled brat (Hannah responds with, “Whose fault is that?!”) expecting them to fund her New York lifestyle while she pursues her “art” in an unpaid internship. Initially, I wanted to throttle Hannah for being entitled and selfish (I despise people who leech of their parents), but I can also understand her disbelief that her pretty well-off parents won’t extend their good fortune to her.

I grew up in a low-income home so I didn’t always get everything I wanted or needed. At the time, and even sometimes now when my pensioned mum will shout my minimum wage sister a coffee but not me, I thought it was so unfair; why should I be punished for my parents’ poor life choices? But at the end of the day, it has made me fight for the things I want instead of having them handed to me, gives me empathy for other people doing it tough and reminds me how I don’t want my life to turn out.

I also really related to Hannah’s gorgeous roommate Marnie, played by Allison Williams, whose perfect boyfriend is just too… everything. She “accidentally” sleeps in Hannah’s room when he stays over to avoid him. She suggests a sexy roleplay where he’s the stranger to avoid having tender, loving sex with him. She laments that she feels like such a bitch because he’s so nice to her and it just infuriates her. I feel her pain: most of the guys I’ve dated in the past have either been too nice or too assholish. Where’s the happy medium?

But back to the race thing. There has been a lot of umming and ahhing about the fact that there are no characters of colour apart from the techie Asian and the homeless crazy black guy tropes. Even the background extras aren’t that diverse for a show set and filmed in New York. Dunham has copped some flack for this, as Girls is completely her brainchild. But doesn’t that mean that she’s just being true to her experience as a privileged white girl who probably didn’t come into contact with many non-white people during her college and post-college years, some are wondering. I think it’s unfortunate that her ignorance is the reason Girls is so whitewashed, but hopefully the criticisms she’s faced since the show’s release will see more people of colour integrated into it. Girls may not show people of different races, but they sure talk about it (Jessa says she’ll have many different babies to many different men of many different races, and Hannah is admonished for a distasteful joke on a job interview because issues of race and deviant sex don’t have a home in the workplace).

Speaking of sex, in the second episode Jessa  is faced with her abortion, which is handled in a very feministy way. Hannah insinuates that accompanying Jessa to her appointment isn’t a big deal, but her fuck buddy, Adam, says it’s a heavy situation. I am want to agree with Hannah, but she is eager to please and changes her opinion to more accurately reflect Adam’s.

Not to discount the opinion of those who think abortion is “one of the most traumatic experiences a woman can go through”, which Marnie does. Hannah is nothing but supportive throughout all of this, asking about the emotions Jessa must be feeling. Even little, innocent Shoshanna is surprisingly open-minded about the whole thing. While her insistence on Hannah and Jessa reading a self-help book on the perils of dating was annoying—the dialogue between Hannah and Jessa after the fact only added to the show’s pro-woman vibe—I’m actually really beginning to like Shoshanna.

While a lot of girls might not see themselves reflected on the television screen in terms of looks (although Dunham’s body diversity is refreshing), I think every girl will see a little bit of themselves and their friends reflected in Girls.

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Why We Need to Keep Talking About the White Girls on Girls.

Image via Badass Digest.

TV: Dermot Mulroney is New Girl’s Knight in Shining Armour.

 

One could argue that a rich guy helping out a girl whose car has broken down is the act of a good Samaritan. But when the friend of said girl whose car has broken down suggests she should be open to the fact that his display of kindness could have been a ploy to pick her up and she should want to date him because he can take care of her instead of her always having to take care of the guys she dates, you might argue that he could be seen as a knight in shining armor coming to rescue her from her broken-down-car-ridden existence.

I’m all for a bit of Dermot Mulroney, and I would totally hit that if I was in Jess’ position, but I’m having problems with his introduction into the series.

Mulroney’s character, Russell, is a wealthy philanthropist and the father of one of Jess’ students. He’s also the polar opposite of Jess’ other potential love interest, Nick, who is becoming the male version of Jess more with each episode.

Now, I also love me a man with a job and some career direction, but to suggest that a man who possesses these things will “rescue” you from your troubles is patriarchal and gross. It seems everyone in Jess’ life tries to coax her away from marching to the beat of her own manic pixie dream girl drum, but does she really need rescuing?

Related: Sexual Harassment is Just a Myth. You Just Need to Give People a Chance to Show You How Good They Are.

Manic Pixie Dream Girly Girls & Not-So-Girly Girls.

New Girl Should Attend a SlutWalk Sometime…

Body Acceptance on New Girl.

Who’s That Girl? It’s the New Girl.

Image via Zimbio.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

VICE’s period-themed photoshoot, and the commentary to go along with it. What do you think about it? Gross or taboo-breaking? [VICE, MamaMia]

Do tabloids hate women? [Daily Life]

A black man talks about white Girls. [Jezebel]

Is depicting a woman who’s been successful in the breakfast cereal market eating… erm… cereal on a magazine cover sexist? [BRW]

A tongue-in-cheek look at… well, everything, from a feminist point of view. Everything’s sexist; just give up on feminism already. [Is This Feminist?]

Following on from 60 Minutes’ story on selective reduction of foetuses conceived via IVF, Kass Hall examines the issue. I don’t agree with IVF personally (not because I don’t think it shouldn’t be available because it messes with “God’s intentions” or some anti-science crap, but because I think there are other—or should be more readily available—ways to have a child, and that not being able to or not wanting a child shouldn’t be stigmatised) and I’m pro-choice all the way. Awkward situation all ’round, I think. [MamaMia]

The cupcake is a metaphor for vaginas and the female orgasm. [Jezebel]

So Rihanna had a relationship with Chris Brown and is rumoured to have slept with Ashton Kutcher and Drake. That means she’s a slut, right? Two great pieces deal with the one-sided hypocrisy that is slut-shaming in the R’n’B and hip hop community, not to mention patriarchal culture as a whole, in addition to this equally awesome shoutout from Russell Simmons to Brown, Drake et al., telling them to “Get Off Rihanna’s Dick!”

I just don’t get this “she’s a slut” mentality if a woman expresses her sexuality in the same or similar way to any number of men. A woman’s a slut if she sleeps with someone outside of a committed relationship (or even if she only has sex with someone inside a relationship; if she has sex with a woman; gives the perception that she wants sex and then reneges; is deemed “too sexy”; is raped… Nay, a woman’s a slut no matter what.), but a man is a player, a stud, a lothario.

Here’s something to ponder: if women weren’t “sluts”, men wouldn’t have anything to put their dicks into apart from other men or fleshlights. (Well, there are other things, but we won’t go there!) [Jezebel, Ebony, Global Grind]

If life was a video game, “Straight, White Male” would be the easiest setting. [Jezebel, via Kotaku]

What it’s like to work at an abortion fundraising hotline. [RH Reality Check]

Andrew Clifton writes beautifully about Joe Hockey’s anti-same sex marriage stance, and that progressive types should refrain from vitriol-spewing when a social conservative has an opinion we don’t agree with:

“We (accurately) believe ourselves to be on a higher moral ground for knowing exactly why legislating in favour of same-sex marriage is important, but we should not judge those who disagree with us, we should only try to help them understand as well.” [MamaMia]

Remember in health class when you were given chickens or robotic babies to look after for a few days? Well, now you can have your very own chicken-cross-Tamagotchi in the form of the “Pregnancy Text” campaign, which is aimed at teenagers in an attempt to show them a fraction of what it’s like to raise a baby. Me want one. [Jezebel]

Shonda Rimes’ latest female-based creation, Scandal, also has a black female lead. The best thing about the character is that her race is a non-issue. The same can’t be said for her non-relatability as a person, though. [New Yorker]

Jezebel’s “your boyfriend” thing has always been reserved for Ryan Gosling, but apparently the term now extends to Michael Fassbender. Umm, you do know he’s a wifebeater, right ladies?

Bryce Dallas Howard is the size of a “Village” because she hasn’t lost the weight she gained during her second pregnancy which ended in January. Never mind that her first pregnancy saw her gain 80 pounds and, along with it, postpartum depression. Real nice, TMZ. [Jezebel]

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Tyra Banks writes an open letter to girls in the modeling industry—and girls in general—about Vogue’s new eating disorder mandate. [Daily Beast]

Hot off the heels of his first Sydney and Melbourne shows, the beauty that is Prince’s “Kiss”. [One a Day]

Scarlett Johansson sets the “toilet paper rags” straight on her body image. [HuffPo]

I’m not a big Delta Goodrem fan, but since she’s been the victim of vitriol on The Voice, I’m starting to warm to her. I may not be a fan of Delta’s, but I do love me an underdog. [MamaMia]

Terry Richardson and “hipster sexism”. [Daily Life]

A Jezebel reporter infiltrates America’s “rape capital”, Missoula, Montana.

Are All Men Pedophiles?, asks a new documentary. [Buzzfeed]

Comedian Hasan Minhaj rips Ashton Kutcher and PopChips a new one for their brown-faced Indian impersonation. Not cool. [Best Week Ever]

TV: Private Practice—“Rape is Rape”.

 

While at times it felt like Violet and Sheldon were reading from press releases regarding sexual assault in the military and the sexual assault of men (the episode was shot in partnership with RAINN, the Rape Abuse Incest National Network), you have to applaud Private Practice for being the most progressive of Shonda Rimes creations, what with last season’s rape of Charlotte and Addison’s speech about being one of only 1700 abortion providers in the United States.

Last night, Sheldon treated a soldier who’d been raped by his supervisor while on a tour of duty in the Middle East. There’s always stigma attached to male victims of sexual assault, and Rick questions his masculinity and his inability to fight his attacker off. As Sheldon says, “If a man doesn’t fight back, it makes him question whether he’s really a man.”

Rick hasn’t told his wife, Kelly, about his assault, but she knows he’s suffering from some kind of PTSD because he flinches at her touch and their sex life is non-existant.

When Rick finally gets the courage to confess what happened to Kelly, with Sheldon’s support, she pulls away from him, asking if he’s trying to tell her he’s gay because he didn’t escape the assault.

“How is that [being raped by one man] even possible? You’re a soldier,” Kelly marvels, as if the two are mutually exclusive. “Why didn’t you stop him?”

Selfishly, Kelly confesses to Sam, a friend of the family, that Rick is supposed to protect her; yeah, ’cause I’m sure that’s the first thing that ran through his mind when he was ambushed from behind and sodomised.

Credit to a show that is often overlooked in favour of its older sister show, Grey’s Anatomy (how else do you explain Seven pushing the show back to an 11:15 start time on a Thursday night? Some people have to work on Friday morning!), for a sensitive, realistic and non-judgemental portrayal of a not-often-discussed topic: male rape in the military.

Related: Top 11 TV Moments of 2011.

Private Practice: Pro-Choice?

Image via Pop Talk.

TV: Glee—“Props” for the Body-Switching Dream Sequence.

 

In a rare moment of actual self-awareness (none of this Sue-hiring-racially-diverse-midgets-for-New-Directions-to-perform-with-at-Nationals-in-a-show-of-inclusivity—or something—stuff), Glee dared to put Tina in a dream sequence in which she was Rachel and everyone else had swapped bodies, too.

In the “here’s what you missed on Glee” intro, the narrator (who sounds a lot like Finn, but have we ever really been told who it is?) draws attention to Tina’s status as a “prop” at best, so of course the episode was going to be all about her, like the first episode back after Quinn’s accident and the wedding-that-wasn’t was all about Quinn, and then the character is never to be seen or heard from again. I’m not sure what the show has planned for next season, when Rachel, Finn, Kurt et al. head off to college, but perhaps they were trying to introduce Tina as the main player next year.

Anyway, Tina cracks it after having to sit through one too many of Rachel’s solo tantrums. Afterwards, when she’s shopping for fabric for Rachel’s Nationals costume, Tina slips and falls into a fountain at the mall, hitting her head.

For ten glorious minutes, Glee is transformed into an alternate reality, where Finn is Kurt and Puck is Blaine (here’s the homoerotic moment we’ve all been waiting for!) and so on and so forth. With some spot on performances by Naya Rivera as Santana as Artie and Vanessa Lengies as Sugar as Quinn, I’m actually disappointed that Glee didn’t carry this scene on for the rest of the episode! But then Glee’s never been one for pushing the boundaries…

In other, storyline continuity-related Glee news, Shannon Beiste’s domestic violence arc was tied up when she got the courage from, of all people, Puck, to leave Cooter for good.

What did you think of the body-switching experiment? Yay or nay?

Related: The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Choke” Episode.

Images via Putlocker.