On the (Rest of the) Net.

Spice World as metatext madness! [Thought Catalog]

Are we living in the post-ideas age? [New York Times]

“The Opposite of ‘Man’ is ‘Boy’, Not ‘Woman’” by Hugo Schwyzer:

“… Men who long for a vanished world of all-male preserves are making a fundamental mistake about masculinity. They think that the opposite of ‘man’ is ‘woman’ and that in order to prove oneself the former they must do (perform) things that no woman can. But it makes good sense to suggest that the better antonym of ‘man’ is ‘boy.’ To ‘perform masculinity’ isn’t about doing what women don’t. It’s about doing what boys lack the will or the maturity to do.

“If we really are in a ‘man crisis’ in America, I suspect it’s rooted as much as anything else in this fundamentally mistaken belief that manhood needs to be about rejecting anything that smacks of the feminine.” [The Good Men Project, via Jezebel]

How they got Osama bin Laden. [The New Yorker]

“Talking to an Abortion Clinic Protester.” [Jezebel]

The “proper etiquette” for drunk Jersey Shore sluts. [Jezebel]

Cutting off your animal cruelty to spite your feminism. Feminaust’s Ms Elouise on PETA’s latest anti-animal cruelty porn site:

“Is using Pamela Anderson’s body as a sex object and comparing it with a piece of meat an acceptable way of drawing attention to the plight of animals in the meat industry?

“PETA’s use of women’s bodies as a means to furthering their animal rights activism undermines their claims to ‘we all have the same parts’ because they’re saying the exact opposite, they’re saying:

“‘LOOK BOOBIES! Now that we have your attention, meat is bad.’”

While this is a great article, I don’t agree with its sentiments 100%. Yes, some of PETA’s campaigns have been unnecessarily focused on the female form, illustrating no real point, but I do think the “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” and the Pamela Anderson campaigns use it in a positive way. Both for women and animals. What do you think?

“Do You Prefer ‘Fashion Victim’ or ‘Ensembly Challenged’?” Squee! All of Cher Horowitz’s outfits in less than 60 seconds! [Worn Fashion Journal]

Questions for “perfect-looking women”, if there is such a thing. [Thought Catalog]

A letter to Gloria Steinem. [Ms. Magazine]

Rachel Rabbit White on “femme-guilt, beauty-privilege and the phenomenon of girls slut-shaming other girls.”

Everything Sarah Hepola learned about New York City. [The Morning News]

The victim-blaming of Lara Logan for deigning to be hot, bare cleavage and get raped. [Broad Street Review]

“Feminism, Colonialism and Islamophobia” at Qantara.

Image via Fan Pop.

UPDATED: Gaga Ooo La La?

On a recent episode of The View, Lady Gaga was asked about the death of Amy Winehouse, saying that “the world can learn a lesson from the tragedy, in that it should be ‘kinder to the superstar’. Gaga went on to say that that level of fame, which she experiences, is a lonely life.”

*

Lady Gaga is awesome; there’s no doubt about that.

She’s fearless in her fashion, her music is guaranteed to get me on the dancefloor, she works tirelessly for gay rights, and recently wowed Sydney (Melbourne next, please!).

But imagine what it’s like to be her for a second.

She’s crafted such an image that it is now impossible for her to make a coffee run, work out, go shopping, or even relax, without portraying her Gaga image. What about Stefani?

While it’d be amazing to meet the people that Gaga does, travel the world like Gaga does, and “use your popularity for a good cause”, as Cher Horowitz puts it in Clueless, like Gaga does, I wouldn’t want to sacrifice who I am underneath it all.

Though, in interviews, Gaga has claimed that her be-sequinned, meat-dress-wearing, friend of Elton John alter ego is who she is underneath it all. That she was “Born this Way”.

But it must be so tiring to always have the Gaga switch on. To be in full makeup, garish costumes, and setting pianos on fire. Evidently it is, if her collapsing on stage is anything to go by.

Personally, if I was a celebrity, I would want to be either a mediocre one who can go about their business getting papped at the supermarket every once in a while, a Cate Blanchette-esque one, who is as good at their craft as Gaga is, but manages to fly under the radar (except for that whole “Carbon Cate” shemozzle), or even one like Kim Kardashian who, like Gaga, probably doesn’t get a whole lot of genuine downtime, where she can spend a day in bed with no makeup on watching cheesy movies without the reality TV cameras and just be the real Kim, but who has crafted a whole career around her personality and her family.

I have to wonder, is there a price to being Lady Gaga? Ten, twenty, thirty years from now, will she still be around like Madonna, Stevie Nicks or Cyndi Lauper? Or will the sheer intensity she operates at now burn her out within five?

I love Lady Gaga, and I genuinely hope she’ll be around for another fifty years, but I certainly don’t envy her.

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Vo-Gaga.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Born This Way” Episode.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Mag Cover of the Week: Lady Gaga for Vogue Hommes Japan in a Meat Bikini.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Guest Post: Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” & 21st Century “Noise”.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Katy P. VS. Lady G.

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Lady Gaga: The World Needs to Be “Kinder to the Superstar”.

Image via Jezebel.

 

On the Net: Fictional Friends.

Last week, Alissa Warren on MamaMia listed her top five fictional friends. You know, people you’d be friends with… “if they were real.”

Let me know in the comments who you’d be fictional friends with but, until then, here are my top picks:

Elphaba Thropp, Wicked.

It’s no secret Elphaba is my favourite fictional female: someone you can look up to, who rises above hatred and discrimination, and who will stand up for her beliefs no matter what. Plus, she’s a witch! Galinda wouldn’t be too bad either…

Elle Woods from Legally Blonde.

She’s fun, she’s quirky, she’s got a cute little dog and an awesome wardrobe. And underneath it all, she’s not as ditzy as she seems. Awesome friend material.

Cher Horowitz, Clueless.

Again, someone who seems carefree and Clueless on the outside, but whose heart is in the right place. Maybe she’ll let you come over and program your wardrobe into her computer. Just think of the outfit-planning time you’ll save.

Gus Bailey.

The fictional version of the late Vanity Fair columnist and man about town Dominick Dunne, Gus Bailey, would always give you the inside scoop, and probably feature you in his gossip columns! Anonymously, of course. You’ve got to keep up appearances.

Blair Waldorf/Dan Humphrey, Gossip Girl.

I’m not sure which one I’d like better as, personality-wise, they’re pretty much the same person. They exchange emails and phone calls whilst ploughing through their identical Netflix queues. They enjoy art, foreign films, being “in” with the “in crowd” and bygone eras. You could borrow Blair’s clothes, but Dan’s nice to look at… I can’t choose!

Kat Stratford, 10 Things I Hate About You.

She’s everything I’m not. She’ll shun the prom (but actually ends up going!) due to its patriarchal confines. She’s musical. She loves the riot grrl scene. She ploughs through feminist literature whilst listening to Spiderbait. And she don’t give a rats what anyone thinks of her. Total. Feminist. Icon.

Heather Mooney, Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion.

Anyone who openly tells people they don’t like to “fuck off” is someone I want to get to know! Plus she’s hilarious despite her best efforts to come across as cold and callous.

Scout Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Sure, she’s a little young to be best buds with, but maybe I could be her babysitter?!

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

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

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] It’s All About Pop-U-Lar.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Strong Female Characters in the Land of Oz.

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

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] So Misunderstood.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Pop Culture Role Models.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] In Defence of To Kill a Mockingbird.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Another City, Not My Own by Dominick Dunne Review.

Elsewhere: [MamaMia] The 5 People I Would Be Friends With. If They Were Real.

Images via Freewebs, IG Style, Abhishek Tiwari, USA Today, TV.com, Inspired Ground, Flickr, The Hero Construction Company.

Gaga Ooo La La?

Lady Gaga is awesome; there’s no doubt about that.

She’s fearless in her fashion, her music is guaranteed to get me on the dancefloor, she works tirelessly for gay rights, and recently wowed Sydney (Melbourne next, please!).

But imagine what it’s like to be her for a second.

She’s crafted such an image that it is now impossible for her to make a coffee run, work out, go shopping, or even relax, without portraying her Gaga image. What about Stefani?

While it’d be amazing to meet the people that Gaga does, travel the world like Gaga does, and “use your popularity for a good cause”, as Cher Horowitz puts it in Clueless, like Gaga does, I wouldn’t want to sacrifice who I am underneath it all.

Though, in interviews, Gaga has claimed that her be-sequinned, meat-dress-wearing, friend of Elton John alter ego is who she is underneath it all. That she was “Born this Way”.

But it must be so tiring to always have the Gaga switch on. To be in full makeup, garish costumes, and setting pianos on fire. Evidently it is, if her collapsing on stage is anything to go by.

Personally, if I was a celebrity, I would want to be either a mediocre one who can go about their business getting papped at the supermarket every once in a while, a Cate Blanchette-esque one, who is as good at their craft as Gaga is, but manages to fly under the radar (except for that whole “Carbon Cate” shemozzle), or even one like Kim Kardashian who, like Gaga, probably doesn’t get a whole lot of genuine downtime, where she can spend a day in bed with no makeup on watching cheesy movies without the reality TV cameras and just be the real Kim, but who has crafted a whole career around her personality and her family.

I have to wonder, is there a price to being Lady Gaga? Ten, twenty, thirty years from now, will she still be around like Madonna, Stevie Nicks or Cyndi Lauper? Or will the sheer intensity she operates at now burn her out within five?

I love Lady Gaga, and I genuinely hope she’ll be around for another fifty years, but I certainly don’t envy her.

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Vo-Gaga.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Born This Way” Episode.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Mag Cover of the Week: Lady Gaga for Vogue Hommes Japan in a Meat Bikini.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Guest Post: Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” & 21st Century “Noise”.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Katy P. VS. Lady G.

Image via News.com.au.

So Misunderstood.

Do you ever feel like you’re misunderstood?

Rachel Hills does, in “Lessons in Feminist Activism, From Someone Who Has Been on Both Sides”:

“I felt like I was being mischaracterised… by 20 I was well and truly a feminist. A bottle-blonde, Elle Woods style feminist with a penchant for pink, perhaps, but very definitely a feminist nonetheless.”

And I certainly do sometimes. The other day I was called a “closet feminist”, which I found as offensive as if I had been homosexual and called closeted. Or, just because I take pride in my appearance and like me a new clothing purchase here or there, the copious amounts of blogs, articles, books and non-fashion-related magazines I read mean nothing, because people think all I read about is fashion. (To be honest, I find nothing more boring than reading about fashion.) Or, when I asked to borrow a copy of a friend’s Time magazine when they were done with it, they retorted with “why?! There’s no fashion or celebrity items in there!” (It was the 100 Most Influential People issue with Lady Gaga on the cover, so technically, there were celebrity items in there!)

Sometimes I feel like my life is one big Clueless repeat. When Cher cracks it with Josh for telling her not to worry about her dad’s business going under and to go shopping instead, that is a constant conversation I seem to have with people in my life.

Or, in Legally Blonde, which Hills refers to, when Elle is shunned from Enid Wexler’s study group when she approaches them in her signature uniform of pink, bearing a basket of muffins; I can’t say an incident like that has ever happened to me, but I can definitely empathise with Elle’s dejected feeling when she’s deemed not worthy (or not smart) enough to join their group.

Not everybody makes me feel like this: I have a handful of very close friends who know me inside and out, and know that what I present myself as on the outside is not necessarily a reflection of what’s on the inside.

My defense mechanism is to put on a cold, ditzy, Valley Girl-esque persona, which is why most people don’t like me when they meet me. But at the end of the day, it’s not about what people who don’t know you think about you; as long as you, and the people close to you, are happy with who you are, not what you wear or what you choose to do in your own time, that’s all that matters.

[Musings of an Inappropriate Woman] Lessons in Feminist Activism, From Someone Who Has Been on Both Sides.

[Musings of an Inappropriate Woman] Have You Ever Seen Yourself Through Someone Else’s Eyes?

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] It’s All About Pop-U-Lar.

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

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] What’s the Use of Being Supergirl if I Can’t Even Get a Date?

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Pop-Culture Power Women.

Images via YouTube.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

The difference between truly Mean Girls and the just plain Clueless:

“In the end, Cher’s altruism may be what saves her reign, for unlike Regina, Cher tries to live up to her end of the social contract. If Regina can’t rule, she decides that no one can. She hurts her society by pulling a wiki-leaks and releasing the contents of the Burn Book, thereby causing complete anarchy…

“In essence, the reason Regina was overthrown is the same reason any dictator is eventually overthrown: the monarch breaks the social contract with his or her people and those people have been prepped by cultural illuminati with new ideas about government rule.”

“Fashion’s Fascists.”

And, in the same vein:

“Fashion people everywhere rushed to check their hair before joining the chorus of dismay, almost as if racism and sexism were not the stock-in-trade of their industry. In fact, it is an open secret in high fashion that black and minority ethnic faces… are not welcome.”

When having “a great personality” is code for “fat” and/or “ugly”.

It’s taken me a little while to get around to reading this, but check out Girl with a Satchel’s Erica Bartle in “JC & the Cool Gang”.

“How Rachel Zoe Became Hollywood’s Most Powerful Fashion Player.”

Glee’s Lauren Zizes: badass or fat bitch?

The myth of Bart Simpson’s birthday.

Jihad Cosmo:

“We had been thinking that what Cosmo was really missing was a healthy dose of religious fanaticism and a few passionate exhortations to violence, so we can’t wait to read the article ‘that urges readers to give their lives for the Islamist cause.’”

UK sculptor Jamie McCartney’s “Great Wall of Vagina” (semi-NSFW).

How to be a mermaid.

Elective C-section or vaginal birth?

How to move to New York City, according to Gala Darling.

Images via Overthinking It, The Hollywood Reporter, YouTube.

Music Videos: More Madonna.

A revised version of a third year media studies group presentation on obscenity and race in Madonna’s music, and more specifically, her music videos:

Our topic is “Pop Music, Obscenity and Race”, and we chose to speak about Madonna, and her controversial career in music and as a pop culture icon. While the reading, “Expert Witnesses and the Case of Rap” by Houston A. Baker, Jr., is more about rap music and the 1990s rap group 2 Live Crew, we have taken some aspects of the article and applied them to Madonna’s works.

Firstly, we chose to analyse some music videos by Madonna, namely “Like a Prayer” (1989), “Justify My Love” (1990) and “What it Feels Like for a Girl” (2001), for their controversial nature.

“Like a Prayer” depicts images such as an attack on a woman in an alley, burning crosses, stigmata, Madonna’s revealing outfit as she sings in a church, and her love affair with the black Saint Martin de Porres, who some have interpreted as being a black Jesus Christ. Here she deals not only with race, but also religion.

One of Madonna’s most controversial and heavily censored videos is “Justify My Love”, in which Madonna and the actors in the clip engage in sadomasochism, bondage, domination, voyeurism, same-sex and group-sex relations, cross-dressing and possibly prostitution. Baker, Jr. speaks of voyeurism in the reading, and relates it to the fact that such taboo subject matter in videos by 2 Live Crew, and also Madonna, doesn’t allow viewers to critically and objectively view them. This leads to our focus question: “If religious groups, conservatives, feminists etc. weren’t condemning and censoring Madonna’s videos, would the public find them shocking and controversial, or at least as shocking and controversial?”

Finally, we briefly discussed Madonna’s video for “What it Feels Like for a Girl”. We personally didn’t find the video offensive or overly violent, however that was the reason given for banning it. In the video, Madonna kidnaps an old woman and goes on a crime spree with her, robbing banks and stealing cars. Madonna openly defended the video, saying that if she were a man, the violence wouldn’t be an issue, because they get away with the same or worse in their videos. Similarly, she defended the “Justify My Love” video’s content, even though the banning of it made her more money than if it was aired freely. This once again relates back to our focus question and what Baker, Jr. contends about 2 Live Crew.

Funnily enough, in an interview with Adam Lambert about his controversial same-sex kiss on-stage at the American Music Awards whilst performing “For Your Entertainment”, he got fired up how his actions were vilified because he was a man, while female pop stars have been behaving sexily since the dawn of time the music video. Hello, “Like a Virgin” at both the inaugural MTV VMAs in 1984 and with Britney and Christina in 2003!

I intended to elaborate more in this post on the points briefly mentioned here, however due to time constraints, I thought maybe I could use this post as a sort of “jumping off point to start negotiations”, as fellow Madonna-lover Cher Horowitz would say. I hope to put up more posts in the future on Madonna’s influence on the music video and religion in pop culture.

Related: Madonna (and Her Brand of “Feminism”) On the Rocks.

Katy P VS. Lady G.

Whipped Cream Feminism: The Underlying Message in Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” Video.

Elsewhere: [MTV] Adam Lambert Says AMA Kiss Was “In the Moment”.

It’s All About Popular… Lar, Lar, Lar, Lar!

From this weekend’s Good Weekend in The Age, in an article by Tom Ballard entitled “Too Cool for School”:

“If Footyheads are the oafish kings of high school, Popular Girls are assuredly the vapid queens. Deemed ‘The Plastics’ in the 2004 film Mean Girls, this clique is made up of attractive females who are attractive and wear make-up and are attractive and giggle and are attractive and fully hot.

“The members of this group are often the first among their peers to produce any inkling of breast and to discover foundation. Their classroom catch cry“So, like… what are we doing?”is well known and feared.

“Popular Girls enjoy chewing gum, looking vacant and protesting about the confiscation of jewellery. They feed on expensive formal dresses. They’re really, really popular.”

Examples of the Popular Girl in Popular Culture include, as Ballard mentioned, the Plastics in Mean Girls; Cher Horowitz of Clueless, who sees the light in the end; Louise from ’80s cheese fest Teen Witch, who gains popularity from a supernatural amulet; and “good” witch Galinda from Wicked, who tries to make over the self-conscious and “green” Elphaba during the musical’s “Popular” tune, from which the title of this post was derived.

Related: Women in Fiction: My Favourite Fictional Females.

Women in Fiction: Are Our Favourite Fictional Females Actually Strong, or Stereotypes?

Event: Go Get Frocked—The Way We Wear Spring Vintage Fashion Fair.

It’s that time of year again, when The Way We Wear vintage market rolls around again.

Six months ago I cleaned up, picking up a gorgeous yellow dress, some jewellery and some postcards.

This time, however, I had my heart set on an A-line floral skirt and/or dress, and maybe some more jewellery, but to my chagrin, the items that caught my eyea red, Victoria Beckham-esque shift and a navy and white floral A-line dress with matching bolerowere way out of my price range.

Instead, I got a scarf with a Hermes air about it, and a black satin poodle skirt for my Mum. As Clueless’s Cher would say, “It is a far, far better thing doing stuff for other people.”

In accompaniment to the vintage wares on sale, the event hosted a “Little Black Dress” exhibition, with authentic dresses from the likes of Chanel. In an ode to this week’s “Outfit Envy”, Lauren Conrad was also featured as a LBD aficionado!

Related: Event: The Way We Wear Vintage Market.

Event: Girls Night In Dream Guests.

This year will be my first year hosting a Girls Night In event in the hopes of raising money to battle women’s cancers.

I’ve been planning to hold a supremely cheesy movie night (where Legally Blonde and Clueless are on the cards) for a while now, so I thought, why not raise money for cancer while we’re at it.

Those who I’ve actually invited know who you are, but in the spirit of raising awareness of female cancers, I thought I’d churn out a list of my ideal Girls Night In guests.

No Girls Night In would be complete without the hilariously self-deprecating musings of Mia Freedman. It’s true; any chance I could get to speak to Freedman face to face I will take, so of course she had to be at the very top of my list.

Next is my blog-crush, Girl with a Satchel’s Erica Bartle. I’ve said time and time again that Bartle’s blog was what inspired me to start my own, and I would love to pick her brain whilst chilling out with Cher & Co.

Rachel Hills’ Musings of an Inappropriate Woman is a fairly recent addition to my blogroll, but her insights into pop culture, feminism and sex would go down a treat with a glass of champers or two and some nibblies.

Ah, Gala Darling, where do I start? With her quirky personality and ever-changing hair colours, she would be the life of the party, and no doubt bring along some über-cool DVDs that no one else would’ve thought of.

I can’t include all my favourite bloggers and not include Sarah Ayoub of Wordsmith Lane. We seem to have a similar admiration for all the ladies listed above, and with a wedding on the horizon, I’m sure Sarah could use a bit of pampering.

Not many Scarlett Woman readers will be familiar with my next guest, but those of you who know me well won’t be surprise that I’ve included Stephanie McMahon on the list. Not only is she the daughter of World Wrestling Entertainment chairman Vince McMahon and wife of WWE Superstar Triple H (my favourite wrestler, BTW), but she is the Executive Vice President of Creative Development and Operations. At one point in my teenage angst years, I even claimed that McMahon had the life I wanted. So it’s only fitting that she be brought into the fold of women who have the lives I want now.

Sarah Jessica Parker has overstayed her welcome as Carrie perhaps a tad too long, judging from reactions to Sex & the City 2, however, I find Parker as a person fascinating and very normal. And in her honour, of course we would have to break out some Carrie fever in the form of the SATC box set.

Finally, provided she brings gifts from her fashion line and any number of her Hermes Birkin bags for us to caress, Victoria Beckham will be welcomed with open arms. I believe that, underneath it all, VB is a fairly normal person, with a tight reign of control over her public persona. I think everyone could learn a little something from Mrs Beckham.

And so concludes my dream guest list. I will be blogging about the actual event in a few weeks time, including the food, the flicks and, most importantly, how much we raised for the Cancer Council.

Related: Profile—Sarah Ayoub of Wordsmith Lane.