On the (Rest of the) Net.

From the trailer, I never would have guessed Tyler Perry’s Temptation was a veritable hotbed of sex (and STIs), race and gender politics in the worst way. This article comes with a massive spoiler alert, but it made me want to see the movie so much more, if only to be completely horrified by it. [Jezebel]

Pro-cunnilingus lyrics in rap music. Fascinating! [The Pantograph Punch]

Beyonce finally admits she’s a feminist… she guesses. [Jezebel]

Fat-shaming on Australian TV. [TheVine]

Clementine Ford on “Reverse Damselling”, in which women seek to tame bad boys. [Daily Life] 

From one extreme to the other: a few weeks ago outrage erupted over a mother’s declaration that Victoria’s Secret was “a right of passage” for her young daughter. Now, the pendulum has swung in the other direction, and anti-child sexualisation activists have come out against VS’s Pink! line in what could be deemed as a bit of an overreaction. [Jezebel] 

Does Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson prove we’re living in a post-racial society, at least when it comes to his film roles? [Shadow & Act] 

The best way to get a shot of positive body image is to get yourself to the beach and take a look around at all the normal people. [MamaMia] 

The psychology of the original Carrie Bradshaw, Candace Bushnell, Sex & the City and The Carrie Diaries. [Daily Beast]

A substantive breakdown of exactly what feminism is and how it doesn’t mean man-hating. Well worth a read. [Jezebel] 

On the (Rest of the) Net.

beyonce superbowl

What was so great about Beyonce’s SuperBowl performance, anyway? In fact, the article could be titled, “What’s so good about Beyonce, period?” Don’t get me wrong, she’s an incredible performer with an amazing voice and I love pretty well all of her songs, but she does push a pretty conservative message (“Independent Women” really just want to “Cater 2 U” and “Put a Ring On It”) and is blandly uncontroversial. Her most scandalous moments are the rumoured fake baby bump and lip synching at the Inauguration. What do you think? Is Beyonce a positive black female role model, another pop star pandering to the patriarchy or do you just not care that much about her? [TheVine]

A 5-year-old girl was caught with her mouth on a 5-year-old boy’s penis: cue outrage. This article brilliantly highlights the importance of letting kids be kids, and that sometimes means “playing doctor”, playing “the sex game” and mucking around pretending to be “sexy” and “do sex” when they have no idea what those words mean.

“Kids aren’t gonna stop rubbing themselves, each other, and tetherball poles, so what’s the point of making it a scary, bad thing? Besides, this isn’t really about sex, so let’s not make it about sex. It’s learning about our bodies and the bodies of other kids, and doing things that feel good.

“You have to wonder how a big hubbub over truly normal shit can affect a kid in the long run. Will they eventually develop a sex-negative attitude? Will developing a happy, healthy sexuality be more difficult for them? As many of us know, childhood scars run deep.” [Jezebel]

Iron Man 3 is just the latest in a long line of films (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Last Airbender, The Lone Ranger, and Snow White & the Huntsman when it comes to able-bodied actors playing the seven dwarves) to use a white actor portraying a character of colour. [Kotaku]

In a similar vein, whitewashing non-white stories in Hollywood. [Daily Life]

The conundrum of being sexy but not sexual in the Japanese pop world. [Daily Life]

Reexamining Paris Hilton as a cultural icon. [Thought Catalog]

In praise of Liz Lemon. [Jezebel]

Image via Buzzfeed.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

The iconic photograph of “The Kissing Sailor” may actually be an image of sexual assault. [Crates & Ribbons]

Let’s put more nudity on Page 3, not ban it:

“… I say the answer is more nudity in newspapers, not less. Put more boobs on Page 3, and add some cocks too. Show people of every size, shape, colour, gender and sexuality; let them speak in their own voice, and celebrate them all. That, rather than self-censorship of adult-oriented content, would be a progressive tabloid revolution worth fighting for.” [New Statesman]

While I don’t agree with most of her sentiments, Clem Bastow makes some interesting points about the inclusion of men in feminism. This was also a topic that came up during the abovementioned “who’s-a-feminist” debate with my friends. [Daily Life]

Let’s stop debating the “culture wars”: people deserve rights. The end. [Jezebel]

Julia Gillard’s Question Time smackdown against Tony Abbott and the liberal party’s sexism and misogyny primarily against her gets the New Yorker treatment. In a nutshell, maybe Obama could take a page out of her book?

Michelle Smith’s Wheeler Centre Lunchbox/Soapbox address on girls in culture, both now and in the Victorian era. Wait, they’re not the same thing?!

I’ve been embroiled in a “I-don’t-believe-in-feminism-I-believe-in-equality” debate this week but, as Ben Pobjie rightly points out, when it comes to Kate Ellis being talked over and shouted down on Q&A, it’s about human decency, not feminism. [MamaMia]

Jill Meagher and safety on the streets from a disability point of view. [ABC Ramp Up]

The case against condom use in porn. [Jezebel]

In defence of Mean Girls‘ Janis Ian. [Rookie]

Brave isn’t “Just Another Princess Movie”. [The New Inquiry]

Image via Tumblr.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Zoo Weekly, what will you think of next? Australia’s hottest asylum seekers, it would appear. [Daily Life]

The dearth of protected sexytimes on TV and in movies lead young people to have more unprotected sexytimes. [Jezebel]

Twitter: humanising the porn star. [Jezebel]

To bleed or not to bleed, that is the question most doctors should be asking their female patients interested in hormonal birth control. [AlterNet]

Apparently, six-year-olds want to be “sexy”. Cue outrage. While some points of the argument are valid, children are naturally sexually curious beings. I remember all my prep friends and I wanted to be “strippers” when we grew up, we thought Salt-N-Pepa’s “Let’s Talk About Sex” was the coolest thing going, and we used to play the “sex game” regularly. Kids just want to do what they think adults do, which they emulate in make-believe. I think it starts to become a problem if these ideals are still being expressed come the onset of puberty when the body is physically ready for what typically accompanies “sexiness”, but certainly not mentally. [Jezebel]

Image via The Hoopla.

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.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

“If Male Superheroes Posed Like Wonder Woman.” [The Bleeding Cool, via Jezebel]

“An Open Letter to Fred Nile”, member of the Christian Democratic Party, who said the baby being expected by Federal Finance Minister Penny Wong and her partner, Sophie Allouache, has “human rights” and should not be brought up in a home with two mummies. [MamaMia]

The anti-child-model argument. And it’s a good one. [The Guardian]

The navel-gazing of the Gen Y writer. [Harvest Magazine]

Latoya Peterson “On Being Feminism’s ‘Ms. Nigga’”. [Racialicious]

The old Hollywood deception that was Rock Hudson. [The Hairpin]

The case for spoilers. I’ve been guilty of giving away the ending of movies and TV shows, saying things like “Oh yeah, and then it grows back” about Jessica’s broken hymen in her first sexual encounter—as a human or vampire—with Hoyt on True Blood, when I asked a friend which episode they were up to. Oh, you haven’t seen it? Whoops! [Jezebel]

The (Real Life) Help. [Jezebel]

And if The Help, the DSK case and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s love child have taught us anything, it’s that domestic workers are treated like shit. But hope may be on the horizon… [The Houston Chronicle]

As per Beyonce’s suggestion, a new word for feminism: equalism. Though one suggestion seems to have been submitted by Voltron… [Jezebel]

Where have all the good men gone? Not posting on Twitter thread #reasonstobeatyourgirlfriend and not being all “Post Gender Normative”, that’s for sure! [Tiger Beatdown, McSweeney’s]

Reproductive rights, consent and organ/egg donation. [Feministe]

Feminism and superheroes conference in Melbourne? So wish I was there! [The Age]

Six myths about terrorists. [MamaMia]

It’s (not) all about popular(ity) at Girl with a Satchel.

Rachel Hills on motivation and the fear of failure. And success! [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman]

Classism on True Blood. [Tiger Beatdown]

Caroline Da Costa on why we need RU486 (the “abortion drug”). [MamaMia]

A step in the right direction to welcoming asylum seekers to Australia. [MamaMia]

Still with asylum seekers, along similar lines as my post this week. [The Punch]

Larry David as “feminist hero”? [Jezebel]

“Revolution” is what we call riots we like:

“… Guilt ridden white first-world bloggers… love protests in Syria and Iran and elsewhere because they can cast those people, members of an alien culture, race, and religion, as the perfect representations of resistance while totally stripping them of the actual thorny reality of political rage. Theocratic preferences are stripped away; violent behaviour… is ignored; the re-instantiation of sexist Islamic doctrine within the structures of protest movements are conveniently elided. This is the way of all patronising attitudes from the overclass towards resistance: in order to preserve its romanticized view, it has to occlude the particular grievances and goals that make the protest meaningful in the first place….” [L’Hôte]

In the wake of the death of a toddler attacked by a pitbull, The Punch’s Anthony Sharwood decrees “pitbulls should all be killed. Every last one. It really is as simple as that.” Hmm, not sure I agree…

Do zoos have a place in 2011? [The Punch]

This profile on 2012 Republican presidential frontrunner Michele Bachmann makes me want to pray to the God she so staunchly believes in that there’s still a little bit of sense and belief in President Obama left in the U.S. [The New Yorker]

Image via Jezebel.

“With a Gun Between Her Legs,” Take 3.

 

From “Gosh, Sweetie, That’s a Big Gun”, a dialogue between The New York Times’  chief film critics, A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis, on The New York Times website:

“The question is why are so many violent girls and women running through movies now, especially given that the American big screen hasn’t been very interested in women’s stories, violent or not, in recent decades, an occasional Thelma, Louise and Jodie Foster character notwithstanding. There are other exceptions, of course, usually romantic comedies that are so insipid and insulting I want to kill everyone on screen. Wait a minute—is it female rage fueling this trend?

“It is interesting how frequently the violence of these girls is overseen or inculcated by a father figure who is not always a literal dad: Nicolas Cage in Kick-Ass, training his killer pixie to use sharp blades, big-caliber guns and foul language; Scott Glenn in Sucker Punch, urging his girl warriors into battle; and Eric Bana in Hanna, sending his darling out to fight the wicked witch (Cate Blanchett). Are these paternal figures reassuring or creepy?

“The bad seed isn’t new, but what seems different is that young women and girls can kill today without being necessarily and fatally pathologised.

“It used to be easier to make movies with women. You could put them on a pedestal and either keep them there (as revered wives, virginal girls) or knock them down, as with femmes fatales.

“[David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo]… movie will be better than the Swedish model because he’s the superior director, but I also hope he will more forcefully engage the theme that was blatant in Larsson’s book, as evident in its blunt original title: Men Who Hate Women.

“I think the first [Lisbeth] Salander movie ran into a serious problem when it tried to translate Larsson’s anger about pervasive sexual violence into cinematic terms. It is in the nature of the moving image to give pleasure, and in the nature of film audiences—consciously or not, admittedly or not—to find pleasure in what they see. So in depicting Salander’s rape by her guardian in the graphic way he did, the director… ran the risk of aestheticizing, glamorizing and eroticizing it…

“The risk is not dissolved but rather compounded when the answering, avenging violence is staged and shot in almost exactly the same kind of gruesome detail, since the audience knows it is supposed to enjoy that. In other words, even though the earlier violation can be said to justify the later revenge, that logic turns out to be reversible. You could call this the I Spit on Your Grave paradigm. It is definitely at work in Sucker Punch, which gains in sleaziness by coyly keeping its rape fantasies within PG-13 limits and fairly quivering with ecstasy as it contemplates scenes of female victimization.

“The gun-toting women and girls in this new rash of movies may be performing much the same function for the presumptive male audience: It’s totally ‘gay’ for a guy to watch a chick flick, but if a babe is packing heat—no worries, man!

“Jean-Luc Godard posited that all he needed to make a movie was a girl and a gun… To put the gun in the hands of the girl may be a way to cut out the middleman, as it were, and also, as you suggest, to maximize commercial potential by providing something for everyone…”

Related: Sucker Punch Review.

“With a Gun Between Her Legs,” Take 2.

“With a Gun Between Her Legs”: Why “Strong” (AKA “Sexy” Whilst Being “Strong”) Female Characters Are Bad for Women.

Elsewhere: [NY Times] Gosh, Sweetie, That’s a Big Gun: Women as Violent Characters in Movies.

Images via The Independent, The New York Times.