On the (Rest of the) Net.

whenharrymetsallyorgasm

Is reaching orgasm the be-all and end-all of having sex? [Jezebel]

Against living with a partner. I’ve never lived with a partner—hell, I’ve never had someone I felt at ease enough with to call a partner—but I’ve lived with two housemates and my family and, like Randa Jarrar writes in the first paragraphs of her piece, there is nothing more tedious than talking domesticity. I’d imagine that goes double when the person you’re speaking about it with is your partner.

When I listen to my long-married colleagues or new parent friends talk about their mundane day-to-days I want to hang myself. It’s so much easier to not have to think about someone else when it comes to “buy[ing] flowers, wash[ing] underwear, mak[ing] tea, [then] have a lover stay over and leave… so I can miss them.” But maybe that’s my selfishness coming out. I’m still not at a point in my life where I can factor in the needs of another person above or equal to my own. [The Toast]

Men: women’s hair, makeup and fashion aren’t about you. [Feministing]

Charmed and sisterhood. [The Hairpin]

Queering lucha libre. [The Hairpin]

The year in rape. [WaPo]

Advice for writing about people you know and love:

“If you have a story that you want to tell, but you’re afraid that someone in your life is going to feel wounded, whether that feeling is justified or not, fair or not, tell it anyway. You can’t worry about every possible reaction when you’re writing, because then you’re censoring yourself. There is a time to be sensitive to other people’s feelings, but that’s not when you’re writing.” [Rookie]

Rachel Hills has just started a newsletter: sign up for updates on her blog, book and more! [Emails of an Inappropriate Woman]

Junkee‘s top stories of the year. And see what I wrote for them in 2014 here.

Meet the doctor helping to provide abortions to women by sea and via post in countries where they’re illegal. [Jezebel]

Image via Giphy.

The Year of the Witch.

ahs coven

One could rightly argue that the witch renaissance began in 2013, with American Horror Story: Coven and The Witches of East End debuting last year.

But that revival has certainly carried on into the year of our Lord 2014, with both seasons (and series, in East End’s case) culminating at some stage this year. The ultimate witch movie, The Craft, came of age in May while The Blair Witch Project turned 15, and The New Inquiry, The Lifted Brow and even Teen Vogue all published stories about our fascination with magic and the women who perform it.

In the screen world, The Worst Witch is returning to TV; Sleepy Hollow continued its second season featuring the witch Katrina; WGN America broadcast the god awful Salem, their interpretation of the 1692 witch trials starring Shane West and Ashley Madekwe of Revenge fame; Frozen and Maleficent dominated the box office and Into the Woods, featuring Meryl Streep as The Witch, opens in the U.S. on Christmas Day (with a January 2015 premiere in Australia to follow).

And, of course, every year around Halloween time we get nostalgic for all things witchy. I continued this nostalgia by musing about Wicked for Junkee and writing a couple of things about Charmed for Bitch Flicks, and they also championed Practical Magic in a piece that made me giddy for the summer between primary and secondary school when I first saw it.

This is not to trivialise the still very real belief in witches in some developing countries. Recently, a woman was burned at the stake in Paraguay after being accused of witchcraft and this article about prevalence of the belief of witchcraft in Papua New Guinea published last year will stay with me for quite a while. In the first world, Wiccans took to social media to voice their outrage at their portrayal in a recent Time magazine article.

While witches hold a certain otherworldly charm (so to speak) from another time, the reality is that women are called witches (and many other choice descriptors) for deigning to exist outside of the narrowly and socially prescribed notions of how they should. The Salem witch trials began when young girls in the town began acting strangely in quick succession (also known as puberty), and we can hear echoes of a similar panic when modern girls and women act out of turn (see: the Slenderman attempted murder and Lena Dunham). While there’s still more room for movement for women than there ever was in Salem and medieval Europe, an appreciation of witches is one way in which we’re furthering the varied representations of women.

What other representations of witches come to mind this year? Sound off in the comments.

Related: Revenge Is a Dish Best Served by a Woman.

ElsewhereL [Jezebel] Spellbinding Witch Move The Craft Turns 18. Let’s Have a Gif Party!

[The New Enquiry] Vol. 21 Witches.

[The Lifted Brow] Witchin’ Ain’t Easy.

[Teen Vogue] Witches Are Real, And You Might Know One: An Inside Look at Girls Who Practice Paganism.

[Metro] The Worst Witch TV Series in Coming Back for the BBC.

[Junkee] The Musical Wicked is as Much About Feminism as it is About Witches.

[Bitch Flicks] The Power of Work/Life Balance in Charmed.

[Bitch Flicks] She’s Possessed, Baby, Possessed!

[Bitch Flicks] Practical Magic: Sisters As Friends, Mirrors.

[The Daily Mail] Paraguayan Woman Accused of Being a Witch Burned Alive.

[SMH] Witch-Hunt.

[International Business Times] Time Magazine Witches Article Outrages Wiccans, Pagan Community.

[Time] Why Witches on TV Spell Trouble in Real Life.

[Bitch Flicks] Lena Dunham, Slenderman & the Terror of GIRLS.

Image via American Horror Story Wikia.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Charmed kitchen spells

I wrote about the power of work/life balance in Charmed. [Bitch Flicks]

Yet another piece in defence of Sex & the City. [Daily Life]

What happens when feminism becomes trendy. [Jezebel]

The unsexy reality of centrefolds: behind the scenes of Playboy (NSFW). [Beautiful Decay]

Elite feminism. [The Nation]

On-screen abortion is portrayed as more dangerous than it actually is. [Bitch]

“Interview with a Pregnant Porn Star.” (SFW) [The Hairpin]

Image via Bitch Flicks.

Movies: The Expendables 2 — Enough with the Old Men, Let’s Get Some Women Up in Here!

Sitting through The Expendables 2 last week, with plastic surgery-ravaged male faces, gory death scenes and laugh-out-loud (not in a good way), face-palming dialogue, it got me thinking about a recent rumour that there might be a female Expendables-esque movie coming to a screen near you.

While some of the names thrown around—Tia Carrere, Lucy Lawless—are a bit lacklustre, allow me to suggest a few actresses. And seeing as this is essentially a “fantasy football” Expenda-belles exercise, I’m going to be as bold as I can. Feel free to add yours in the comments.

  • Angelina Jolie.
  • The Charlie’s Angels girls: Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and especially Lucy Lui.
  • Uma Thurman.
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar.
  • Pamela Anderson.
  • Kate Beckinsale.
  • Milla Jovovich.
  • Vivica A. Fox.
  • The ladies of Charmed, but Shannen Doherty and Rose McGowan in particular.
  • Michelle Rodriguez.
  • Neve Campbell.
  • Linda Hamilton.
  • And, of course, the Holy Grail of female action stars: Sigourney Weaver.

Now, some of these actresses have transcended being associated with a potential film franchise that originally started out as a vehicle for Sylvester Stallone, written by Sylvester Stallone (Angelina, anyone?). But having said that, I think a lot of them would be up for it. Linda Hamilton has guest starred on Chuck as the titular character’s mother, so she knows how to capitalise on her action heroine status, and Sigourney Weaver made what could be seen as the cameo of the year in Cabin in the Woods, so I wouldn’t rule her out, either. Then there are others—Doherty, McGowan, Anderson, Campbell—who don’t seem to have much else going on in their careers at the moment, so I think they’d be shoo-ins.

My housemate and I were talking about an Expenda-belles effort recently, and he brought up that there would have to be a villain to rival Jean Claude Van Damme’s in the most recent instalment, and a love interest. He came up with everybody’s favourite love-to-hate movie star, Sharon Stone, as the villain, and the non-threatening, token love interest in films such as Miss Congeniality, Benjamin Bratt. If you include Halle Berry, this film is pretty much turning into Catwoman! Well, at least it’ll be better than the original…

Related: The Expendables Review.

Cabin in the Woods Review.

Image via Expendables Premiere.

TV: Is Charmed Pushing a Conservative Agenda?

 

For all its feminist butt kicking, I have noticed a pattern as I’ve rewatched Charmed over the last few months: its seemingly conservative agenda.

Sure, there are monstrous demons from throughout the ages; single, sexy, confident females kicking ass and taking names (mostly braless, might I add?!); and an on-the-surface progressive feel to the show, but there might be more at work on Charmed.

Take, for example, in season two when Phoebe tries to help Eric and his father, who have transcribed the ancient Akashic records, and are threatened with brain death by the Collectors, who want the information stored in their minds. While Eric manages to escape the Collectors with the help of the Charmed ones, his father remains in a coma in hospital. When the sisters urge Eric to leave his father to save himself, he refuses, saying his dad is still alive. If we’ve learnt anything from Grey’s Anatomy and all the other doctor dramas, it’s that people rarely recover from brain injury and, in my opinion, the humane thing to do is turn off the life support system.

Also in season two, when Prue is cursed by a Darklighter for trying to save a Whitelighter-to-be (played by Amy Adams, if you’re interested in a bit of trivia), Leo says that suicide prevents someone earmarked to become a future Whitelighter from doing so. Kind of like suicide can prevent a person from going to heaven…?

On the topic of religion, in one episode (for the life of me I can’t recall which one, I just wrote down the quote. Don’t take my word on this, but I think it may have been “Apocalypse, Not”, in season two.) Leo mentions that good and evil have been embroiled in “6,000 years of conflict”. What else allegedly began 6,000 years ago? The creation of the world. A not-very-subtle nod to the creationism theory.

Perhaps there was an especially conservative writer or producer working on season two only, as all these examples stem from that season. A quick IMDb and Wikipedia search yielded not many results supporting this theory.

What are your thoughts on the conservative nature of the series?

Related: Making a Protest Statement… with Cleavage!

Image via CharmedWiki.

TV: Charmed—Making a Protest Statement… With Cleavage!

 

“Hook-nosed hags is what we’re celebrating on Halloween. Personally, I’m offended by the representation of witches in popular culture.”

“Right, which is why you dressed as the Mistress of the Dark [Elvira]?”

“This costume happens to be a protest statement.”

“I am so impressed that you can make a protest statement and show cleavage all at the same time.”

That’s what costumes are all about, aren’t they?!

Related: Charmed: “It’s the 21st Century, It’s the Woman’s Job to Save the Day.”

“What? A Woman Can’t Rescue a Man?”

Witch Trial: Burning at the Stake on Charmed.

’Tis the Season…

Images via YouTube.

TV: Charmed—”It’s the 21st Century, It’s the Woman’s Job to Save the Day.”

 

In season two of Charmed, Billy Appleby, a character from Phoebe’s favourite old school horror movie, Kill It Before It Dies, makes it off the screen and into the sisters’ technicolour world, along with the Demon of Illusion, Bloody Mary and the slasher from Axe Husband.

When cornered by the Axe Husband, Billy chimes in, saying, “It’s okay: the man is here to save the day.” In true feminist-y Charmed style, Prue retorts with, “Billy, it’s the 21st century. It’s the woman’s job to save the day.”

Related: “What? A Woman Can’t Rescue a Man?”

Witch Trial: Burning at the Stake on Charmed.

Image via YouTube.