Magazines: Cover of the Week—Delta’s In Vogue.

She went from Australia’s golden girl to The Voice‘s most hated judge and back again, which ended up being a blessing in disguise, as Delta Goodrem has landed her first Vogue cover. She may not hold the same place in our hearts as she did when she burst onto the scene in Neighbours and with “Born to Try” (actually, I couldn’t stand her then!), but I actually like Delta more now that not everyone thinks the sun shins out of her you-know-what.

Image via Bella Sugar.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

In praise of nights in. [Girl Lost in the City]

25 kick-ass feminists you need to know about now if you don’t already. [Jezebel]

Reality TV producers do their audience no favours in faking already hyperreal situations. [Jezebel]

Mia Freedman was so unimpressed with Lady Gaga’s Sydney concert, she walked out of it! That doesn’t bode well for me; I’m going on Sunday night! [MamaMia]

If not supporting Gina Rinehart just because she’s a woman doing something in a male dominated industry makes me a bad feminist, then that’s what I am. [MamaMia]

In defence of using the word “vagina” when what we really mean is “vulva”. [Jezebel]

My Week in Pictures.

Ken & Laura on the ferry to the zoo.

In the jungle, the mighty jungle…

Somehow I think this ride is not meant for people our size…

Just chillin’.

Rockin’ the helmets for our ride ’round Rottnest.

We climbed down an embankment to come across this serene stretch of beach. Despite the freezing temperatures on the island, the water was so warm. That’s WA for ya. Or maybe it just seemed warm because we were so cold…

Quokkas are everywhere on Rottnest. One even climbed into my bag in an attempt to get to the fruit in there!

This shot pretty much sums up mine and Clare’s feelings towards the Rottnest ferry!

This week has been spent mostly galavanting across the country to Perth, to visit my friend Laura, who moved back there earlier this year. While I can’t say I liked the city, it was interesting to see that a major Australian city operates like a country town in the ’90s: shops closed on weekends, food ridiculously overpriced and all the buildings are brand new. It was fun to check out the zoo, ride 8kms around Rottnest Island in the blistering cold and catch up with fellow blogger Camilla Peffer, of Girls Are Made From Pepsi, and Laura, of course!

For the rest of my time off, my housemate and I are embarking on a two-day, eight-movie marathon of the Batman chronicles, in preparation of the final instalment of The Dark Knight.

I got through a significant portion of Stephen King’s 22.11.63 on the plane trips, but could not find a copy of the latest issue of Famous anywhere in Perth, and I left two days after it was supposed to come out! Ended up picking up a copy at the supermarket this morning; see what I mean?

TV: Girls Are Complex Creatures.

As I’m sure it did for everyone who’s even remotely self-aware, the fight scene between Hannah and Marnie on the second last episode of Girls last night hit pretty close to home.

I’ve had my fair share of roommates (okay, two), but the one I live with now I’m exponentially closer to me than my previous one. In this way, it is similar to Hannah and Marnie’s living arrangements.

I had to laugh out loud when, in the midst of their biggest fight yet, Marnie admonishes a hurt Hannah for eating her yoghurt: “Don’t look at me like I said something awful ’cause I really didn’t.” This is mine and my housemate’s relationship to a T, wherein I’ll get pissed off at something seemingly small, but that has been reoccurring for awhile, and my housemate, who is a sensitive soul, will get puppy dog eyes and retreat to his room. Hannah’s reaction to Marnie’s complaint is my housemate all over; and Marnie’s reaction to Hannah’s reaction is me all over.

Rachel Hills wrote that, despite her best intentions, she identifies with Hannah, flaws and all. While I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing (it’s good to be self-aware and to embrace yourself. As Adam tells Hannah, “You love yourself so much, so why is it so crazy that someone else would, too?” And what about Bridesmaids’ Annie, the epitome of a self-sabotaging hot mess, but who is the most relatable movie character in a long time. In fact, the very end scene of Girls, where Hannah finds herself alone on a beach somewhere in New York state eating stale wedding cake from Jessa’s shotgun nuptials with Chris O’Dowd’s creepy materialistic threesome man, echoes the scene in Bridesmaids where Annie sits alone in her dark kitchen, eating a beautiful cupcake she baked from scratch in the middle of the night.), I find I relate more to Marnie, despite my best intentions. I’ve ripped Marnie to shreds on this here blog for having “Pretty Girl Problems”, but I also think she’s a bit misunderstood and the way she’s portrayed isn’t necessarily the be all and end all of her as a character. Having said that, though, what else does Marnie “want besides a boyfriend with a luxury rental?”

A lot of the things Marnie brings up in her fight with Hannah are not only 100% true, but are reoccurring themes throughout the series. Hannah’s selfish. Hannah’s judgemental. Hannah’s a bad friend.

Marnie: “You judge everyone and yet you ask them not to judge you.”

Hannah: “That is because no one could ever hate me as much as I hate myself. Any mean thing anyone’s going to say about me I’ve already said to me, about me, probably in the last half hour.”

Marnie: “That is bullshit because I can literally think of a million mean things that have never once occurred to you.”

That was a bit of a low blow, but not completely unjustified. This is evident when Hannah tells Marnie that being a “good friend” is not really important to her at the moment: “I don’t really give a shit about being a good friend. I have bigger concerns.” Like how she made a fool out of herself at a reading because she didn’t trust her writerly instincts. Big whoop.

On the one hand, a friend who’s not concerned with being a good friend should be kicked to the curb, in my opinion. But I can also see where Hannah’s coming from: sometimes when you’ve got so much going on in your life the last thing you want to do is support someone else through their shit. But that’s what being a good friend is about, right?

Not only being a good friend, but being a good lover, too. Echoes of the apartment fight in episode nine that lead to Marnie moving out (Hannah was the one who mooched off Marnie and doesn’t have a steady job: shouldn’t she be the one moving out?) are heard at Jessa’s wedding in episode ten, when Hannah dismisses Adam’s request to move in with her. “I associate [love] with Marnie and Charlie and people who talk a lot about their relationship, you know? It’s like, ‘My relationship is doing really well right now.’ ‘I need to work on some aspects of my relationship.’ And it’s just like, your relationship is not ‘a thing’. You relationship is not ‘an achievement’. I’ve got actual things I’d like to achieve before I focus on, like, that.”

Wow, I’m starting to see where Hills is coming from when she says Hannah’s “not someone any person should want to be.”

Ahh, Girls… They’re complex creatures. Just like every other human being, really.

Related: Pretty Girl Problems.

Sexual Harassment & Invasions of Privacy.

Girls Just Want to Have Realistic Experiences.

Elsewhere: [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman] I am Hannah Horvath. And You Might Be Too.

Image via Nos Video.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Check out this fascinating look as to where your unwanted charity clothes actually go. [Slate]

Sloane Crosley on her guest spot on Gossip Girl, playing herself:

“Nuance aside, whether you’re playing yourself or a wink-wink persona, the law of cameo syllogism goes as follows: if you spend a certain amount of time playing yourself, you are no longer yourself but playing a version of yourself—a stereotype of you. Add a bonus layer if you are playing a stereotype of you in a fictional scene in which all the fictional characters are outraged by the possibility that the fictional (or fictional fictional) characters in a fictional book published by a real publishing house might be based on the actual real fictional selves they’re playing.” [The Believer Magazine, via Musings of an Inappropriate Woman]

Lara Croft, version 2.0: rape victim? [MamaMia]

The Tyranny of ‘She’s Just Jealous’.” But sometimes, she just is. [Jezebel]

With all the hullabaloo surrounding vaginas in the U.S. Senate at the moment, here are 25 Republican-sanctioned alternatives to the anatomically correct name for your lady garden. [Jezebel]

Movie Review: The Cabin in the Woods*.

For a movie that was shot in 2009, The Cabin in the Woods surprisingly has its finger on 2012 zeitgeist’s pulse. Zombies, The Hunger Games-esque sacrifice, and a Hemsworth brother. But would you expect anything less from a Joss Whedon film?

I will give Whedon and fellow writer Drew Goddard credit for throwing pretty well every horror movie trope at the wall to see what sticks, as Clem Bastow puts it in her favourable review, but I just found it too unreal to suspend my disbelief, if that oxymoron makes sense.

But overall, I thought the premise was a clever one, it just wasn’t executed to my liking (the group of friends I went with all enjoyed it, however). I thought the group of five youths, which we are told are crucial to the story; the spooky setting; and the stereotypical characters (the whore, the virgin, the scholar, the jock and the clown) worked well to lull the audience into a scary movie state of mind. At this point I thought The Cabin in the Woods would be more like Scream; in what way I’m not entirely sure, as I’m still reeling from the violent severing of this idea from my imagination by the second half of the film.

This is where every horror movie villain, with an emphasis on the super natural, comes into play as the characters realise that the “inbred, redneck zombies” aren’t the only terrors they have to deal with: there’s some kind of government body orchestrating the events not just at the cabin, but in similar settings all over the world, whose employees take bets on which villain will be the death of them (head of the operation Hadley has his heart set on meremen. This will later come back to haunt him.) and offer up each fallen archetype as a sacrifice. Any similarities with The Hunger Games (sacrifice! Surveillance! A Hemsworth!) end here, though, when it is revealed that the sacrifices are for anything but the government: they’re to prevent the ancient gods from revolting and overrunning the earth as they did in ancient times.

The voice of reason, Truman (a reference to The Truman Show?), seems to be uncomfortable with his role in the sacrifice, and asks a fellow worker, “Should you really get used to monsters, magic and zombies?” It’s a poignant commentary on our desensitisation to violence: that the government is so willing to offer up five innocent youths as a sacrifice for the greater good is both sickeningly common and, for the sake of the story, noble. This is a sentiment Sigourney Weaver, who makes a fan-boys wet dream surprise appearance as The Director, reiterates at the bitter end.

Proving the virgin stays alive til then (in the vein of Scream’s Sidney Prescott and Halloween’s Laurie Strode, “the virigin’s death is optional, just as long as it’s last” and she—it’s always a she, because women are the ones who should suffer for the rest of their species’ carnal sins, right?—suffers), Dana and stoner Marty (the fact that his pot-smoking cancels out the effect the government’s manipulation has on him could be seen as a pro-stoner statement) piece together the fact that they’re trapped in some kind of “reality show”, and that Dana’s basement reading of a young girls’ diary from 1903 in which her father murders her family was the “choice” the group made as to which villain(s) would come after them. Later, when the two find a loophole and break into the government headquarters, they come face to face with just how many other options they could have “chosen” in the basement.

This is where I think The Cabin in the Woods failed. It was just too much. I loved that they used Anna Hutchison’s Jules as a modern-day Tatum Riley or sorority girl CiCi from Scream and Scream 2, respectively, and Chris Hemsworth, who at the time was a little known Aussie actor, and is now an avenging megastar, as the Janet Leigh or Drew Barrymore of the effort. I also loved that unless the characters “transgress” and buy into the tropes they’ve been manipulated to succumb to, they can’t be punished”. Stoner Marty points this out when he marvels at Jule’s sudden sluttiness and Hemsworth’s Curt’s alpha-male act. I think they could have played a bit more off of this, or the reality TV angle, instead of going the whole hog with government cover-ups, supernatural massacres and ancient god uprisings. Sure, it’s been done before, but I think The Cabin in the Woods had the potential to be the best in this genre. Instead, it’s created a genre of its own. To some, this is better.

*Blanket spoiler alert.

 

 

 

Related: The Hunger Games Review.

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Feminism!

Elsewhere: [The Vine] The Cabin in the Woods Movie Review.

Image via IMDb.

In the News: Pre-Teenage Dream.

So I’m not the only one who has a problem with Katy Perry’s MuchMusic Awards pre-tween entourage wearing her most famous outfits: including her cupcake bra from the California Gurls video. But why is it so outrageous that a young girl is essentially playing dress up?

Now, I’ve written before that child sexualisation is not an issue I have a lot of time for: it’s always “feminist” extremists like Melinda Tankard Reist worrying about child porn and that children should be “Free 2B Kids” without our sexualised culture hampering their development. And it always seems to be about older teen stars, like Dakota Fanning, or stars who have a younger fan base, like Lea Michele or Selena Gomez, posing sexily on the cover of Cosmo that takes up their time, not actual issues.

I think kids are naturally curious. I remember playing, and watching other children playing as part of a psychology class, the “sex game” at the age of five to about eight. There was nothing sordid about the sex game: it was more of a fun way to use the word without really knowing what it meant.

I developed physically quite early: I grew breasts at about ten years of age, and got my period when I was eleven. I remember being looked at by boys my own age and men who were old enough to know better. I remember dressing in a way to emphasise this, a style of dress I still favour.

But the difference between these two acts and the ages I did them at are innocence and at least seven years. I wasn’t aware of the social implications child “activists” would draw from my primary school sex games.

I dare say the girl—who looks about six—dressed in Katy Perry’s cupcake boobs outfit has any idea how inappropriate her costume is. That falls to the adults around her, a responsibility which they’ve obviously shirked.

Had she been a few years older and was more aware of the kind of attention the costume has brought her, it would be a whole different story.

By the same token, it’s really only pedophiles who are going to get any kind of satisfaction from five year olds playing “mummy and daddy” or “doctor and nurse” and dressing like Katy Perry. Not to trivialise the horrors of pedophilia, but it’s when a girl hits puberty and starts dressing like a 20-year-old that the dangers of acting like and attracting and older set come.

Further to that, maybe a costume is just a costume. Katy Perry is a grown woman with agency and the choice to offer her body up for consumption, but does a little girl really understand this? Is there a difference between her wearing this costume to an event that happens to be broadcast across the world via television, the internet and print media and a backyard birthday party that is photographed by parents and friends? That we make such a big deal about something like this perhaps gives too much meaning to the sartorial choices* of a child and encourages them to put emphasis on an issue that, to them, is non-existent.

What do you think about Katy’s mini-me? Outrageous or some harmless fun? And what about child sexualisation on the whole?

*Yes, I am aware that this little girl didn’t “choose” to be dressed up as Katy Perry and attend an awards show with her.

Related: Big Porn Inc. Edited by Melinda Tankard Reist and Abigal Bray Review.

Dakota Fanning & Lea Michele’s Cosmo Covers: Why Are Anti-Child Sexualisation Activists Kicking Up a Stink?

Image via Zimbio.

TV: Being Lara Bingle—What is Normal?

Last night we got a glimpse into the rigmarole that goes into Being Lara Bingle.

Lara attends Fashion Week and doesn’t like her hair and makeup done for her by her friend and stylist. She thinks she looks too dirty and her features don’t stand out (funny, I thought the same thing when I saw pap photos of her from the events), her hair is “too tight” and she “looks bald”, and she has a pimple coming up, which all-round nice guy Kyle Sandilands doesn’t fail to point out when Lara’s a guest on his radio show.

Juxtaposed with this is Lara’s insistence that she’s just “one of the boys” when she goes waterskiing with some friends in Cronulla. She says she’s a tomboy at heart. I’m not even going to go into the gender constructs at play here…

Moving on to what “normal people” do; apparently it’s not walking around your house naked. So we’re still on the naked photos from last week, then. Lara’s mum seems like a total bitch and obviously favours older brother Josh as she rips Lara to shreds for being “immature” and stupid for being caught in those pictures. I’ve said it once; I’ll say it again: it’s not normal not to walk around in your own home—indeed, in your own bedroom—naked. I admire Lara’s composure when she spoke about the scandal on The Project, which was filmed for her show, but it’s getting to the point now where I wish she had’ve just told everyone who’s got a problem with the nude pics that being naked is natural and she’s got nothing to be ashamed of.

Related: Lara Bingle in Who: A Prized Tall Poppy Who Polarises.

Shaming Lara Bingle.

Image via Ten.

TV: Girls—Pretty Girl Problems.

Ugh, Marnie is so selfish. Yeah, she just broke up with her boyfriend two weeks ago and he’s already met someone else whom he’s holidaying in Rome with, but this doesn’t mean you have to accost strangers and people you haven’t seen since college to moan about it because your bestie is too preoccupied with her own love life to give a shit.

I wrote this last week, but I think Marnie suffers from Pretty Girl Privilege, in that she feels she’s entitled to have things go a certain way for her, and that she doesn’t have to put effort into what she wants, because she’s beautiful.

Further to this, Marnie actually tells a stranger that she’s “ideal” and that “you would have trouble getting over me”. Don’t worry; she’s “not bragging”. Look, I get where she’s coming from and there’s nothing wrong with thinking—knowing—you’re a good person and that you deserve good things, but has she really done anything to prove this? I’ve only seen her looking good and whining. When you can actually contribute something to the world and are a tolerable person to be around, then you can start telling strangers that, like L’Oreal, you’re worth it.

By the same token, Marnie defends herself to Hannah’s ex-boyfriend, whom she bumps into at a rave, saying that Hannah’s selfish and she’s nothing like her. I see more differences than similarities between the two, but selfishness is definitely a shared trait. I’m actually really surprised the two are even friends; increasingly as the series progresses Hannah and Marnie seem to grow apart, perturbed by the flaws they each possess reflected back at them by the other.

Related: Sexual Harassment & Invasions of Privacy.

Girls Just Want to Have Realistic Experiences.

Image via Putlocker.