Blake Lively, Gwyneth Paltrow and, yes, Beyoncé didn’t wake up like this. [The Cut]
Taylor Swift and “Power Friending”. [Daily Life]
The rise of IDGAF feminism. [New Republic]
Further to yesterday’s post, “Is Robin Thicke the Male Equivalent of the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend?”:
“Pathetically wounded, his ‘clean’ (married, romantic) image tarnished by ‘dirty” rumors of infidelity, more than a little deluded and dangerous in his insistence that ‘no’ always means ‘maybe,’ that the lines between him and the women he wants are always ‘blurred’ no matter how clear and firm they seem to anyone else, he’s perfectly suited for the Celebrity Meltdown slot we usually reserve for women. We hate Thicke the way we hate girls: Based on vibe, on rumor, on what he feels and whether we want him to feel it. Thicke may go down in history as the first man ever to be stereotyped as a crazy ex-girlfriend.” [Global Comment]
Robin Thicke, along with Pharrell and T.I., came out with arguably 2013’s most controversial song, “Blurred Lines”, about this time last year.
Now the son of Growing Pains actor Alan Thicke is back with a whole new album about his estranged wife, Paula Patton, entitled simply, Paula.
Thicke was caught with his hand on a female fan’s bottom and allegedly followed this up by cheating on his high-school sweetheart Patton, with whom he’d been involved for 21 years and has a son. The unflappable Patton seemed to take the split in her stride, at least compared to Thicke, who’s taken to social media and radio waves in an attempt to win his former ladylove back.
The fact that his forthcoming album’s tracklist consists entirely of breakup-and-makeup songs is supposed to be romantic, but to the discerning eye, Thicke’s predation that was front and centre in “Blurred Lines” has come to the fore yet again.
Not only does his public begging read as more desperate than romantic, it publicly shames the other party who’s chosen to deal with the dissolution of their marriage in private.
But we all know Thicke’s favourite pastime is to “degrade a woman” and that’s exactly what he’s doing with this ill thought out album. For some perspective, the titular woman filed for divorce from Thicke in February this year, and the album’s first single, “Get Her Back” was released in May, giving Paula a lead-time of three months. And it has only been a year since Thicke’s previous album, Blurred Lines, featuring the rape anthem of the same name, came out.
The actual Marvin Gaye medleys that Thicke has become so well known—and taken to court—for and that make up Paula aren’t the worst in the world, but it’s when listeners pay mind to Thicke’s lyrics that the album really starts to run into trouble. The calypso rhythm of “You’re My Fantasy”, for example, can’t rescue it from this little ditty: “Your legs on my walls/Your body’s on my ceiling”; while Thicke makes reference to the cheating rumours on the Motown-y “Black Tar Cloud”, crooning “I thought everyone was gonna eat the chips/Turns out I’m the only one who double dipped”. (Thanks for that visual.) The mumbly “Forever Love” is luckily accompanied by a lyric video because Thicke’s enunciation is so poor it’s hard to sing along like the 14-year-old sung along in Patton’s ear to Stevie Wonder’s “Jungle Fever” upon their first meeting as teens in early ’90s Los Angeles.
“Get Her Back”, the earwormy lead single is arguably the album’s only redeeming one however its problematic video, featuring scrolling text messages that we’re to believe were sent between Thicke and Patton atop close-up shots of a fake-bloodied and allegedly crying Thicke being groped by masked women who look marginally like Patton before they plunge head-first into cavities of water, references intimate partner violence, like much of the album.
Thicke carried out a thick (so to speak) and fast social media campaign for Paula, including the hashtags #GetHerBack and #AskThicke, which ultimately backfired in a flurry of negative feminist press. Thicke even went so far as to engage in a cross-promotion with 1800-Flowers, for which the “Get Her Back” bouquet will set you back a cool $350—but it comes with a free digital download of Paula, so you’re actually saving money. But it would seem that many music consumers are holding on to their pennies this time around: just 530 fans in the UK and a dismal 54 in Australia forked out for Paula.
Thicke might not be a one-hit wonder (remember his 2002 debut, the equally as rapey as “Blurred Lines”, come to think of it, “When I Get You Alone”?), he proves that perhaps sex was the only thing that sold “Blurred Lines”.
The Hollywood that Thicke grew up in would have us believe that male persistence is the way to a girl’s heart: “the boy keeps trying to get the girl until she says yes,” writes Jessica Valenti for The Guardian. “You need to look no further than the outrageously popular Twilight series—books and movies—to know that the stalker-as-romantic lead looms large in our cultural imagination.” Real life headlines about intimate partner violence suggest that stalking is more deadly than romantic.
Further to that, Alyssa Rosenberg writes over at The Washington Post that “the simple fact of male persistence ought to be enough to bring a woman around to loving him”, while Clem Bastow asserted on Daily Life that Thicke’s quest to “Get Her Back” is “about the feelings of the man in question, not the woman he is searching for or seeking to reconcile with”.
But that’s Thicke’s pattern (pardon the pun); he’s crafting a pop cultural narrative where he’s the ultimate NiceGuy™ and if Patton continues to reject him she’s a cold-hearted bitch. And if Thicke was hoping for a deluge of sales to help him convince Patton to take him back, he’s sorely underestimated the public’s keen nose for desperation.
The latest artists’ take on Disney princesses and social awareness features Cinderella, Ariel et al. as victims of domestic violence. [Daily Life]
Occupy protestor Cecily McMillan reports on the conditions inside Rikers Island Correctional Facility. And let me tell you, this ain’t no Orange is the New Black shit. [Jezebel]
There’s a difference between a feminist character and a character who’s a feminist. [Persephone Magazine]
Speaking of, Shonda Rhimes’ Grey’s Anatomy is more feminist than Scandal:
“… The attention and praise Rhimes has received for casting [Kerry] Washington as [Olivia] Pope has overshadowed the fact that what Rhimes got right with her female characters in Grey’s, she got wrong in Scandal…
“When it comes to their personal lives, the women in Scandal are insecure, vulnerable and reactive, while the ones in Grey’s are stronger, self-assured and reflective.” [In These Times]
The 74th Down Under Feminist Blog Carnival is up, and one of my pieces about Orange is the New Black is featured. Head on over to check it, and much more feminist writing from the Aussie interwebs, out. [Pondering Postfeminism]
In the wake of True Blood‘s final season, Katherine Murray discusses its troubling sexual politics. [Bitch Flicks]
How does real life women’s prison compare to Orange is the New Black? [Washington City Paper]
Roxane Gay explains what a “bad feminist” is ahead of the release of her book of essays by the same name:
Rihanna is a feminist icon. [Birdee]
“In sexual pornography, the intended result is orgasm—and a temporary quelling of desire for sex. In emotional pornography, the end result is tears and hope—and a temporary quelling of desire for love. One caters to the stereotypical feminine sexual desire to see the sex act narrativised—it’s all about the building-up-to, much less about the money shot—while the other switches the priorities, disposing of exposition in favour of one climax after another. Both, however, are but temporary substitutes, and ultimately end in the hunger for more sex, more emotional fulfilment, yet with distorted instructions on how to obtain them.
“It’s a version, however glowy, of the American dream. But it’s not the dream of the 1950s, with its yearning for the single, nuclear-family home, the freedom to consume, the white picket fence, the washing machine, the perfect mother. Rather, the Sparks American dream harkens back to the 19th-century iteration, with its visions of a bucolic rural space, rugged individualism, and the security of the sprawling extended family, where the men are men and the women are women.” [Buzzfeed]
Hook and the dadcentricity of the ’90s. [The Paris Review]
Feminists have daddy issues. [Medium]
The freezing, hungry reality of NHL “ice girls”. [Mother Jones]
What it’s like to work at Playgirl. [Medium]
Orange is the New Black‘s second season dropped on Netflix last weekend, and Sady Doyle explains that it’s not just a “knitting circle” show for women:
“I mean, there is a knitting circle. But they have an alarming tendency to shiv people.” [In These Times]
What a difference 40 years makes: Seventeen magazine then and now. [Shameless Magazine]
“The old adage that sex sells meant a lot when you literally had to buy into an artist or performer. You couldn’t read Madonna’s Sex book without purchasing it, or watch Deep Throat without going to the cinema. True, music videos have always been free at the point of access, but they once acted as adverts for a purchasable product; now people can watch ‘Wrecking Ball’ as many times as they want, with no interest in the Miley album itself. They can tweet about what she means for feminism till they’re blue in the face, but with no real interest in the end project, there’s no guarantee that all publicity is good publicity.”
I would argue that Miley’s selling a different kind of sex than your Britneys and even Madonnas once did; she’s portraying a crazier, more aggressive and perhaps more authentic sexuality than we’ve seen amongst female pop stars in quite awhile, barring Rihanna and her IDGAF attitude. [Vice]
And if you’re after even more linkage, check out The Conversationalist‘s hosting of the 73rd Down Under Feminist Carnival, featuring links from yours truly and many other feminist musings.
“‘I woke up like ‘dis’ is the biggest beauty myth of them all”: in defence of cosmetic surgery. [MamaMia]
I was a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. [Jezebel]
What it’s like to have an abortion… on camera. [Feministing]
In the wake of Shailene Woodley shunning feminism, should we even be asking female celebrities what they think about it? [Feminist Current]
The fall and fall of condoms. [Vogue]
In defence of Betty Draper. [LA Review of Books]
I wrote about the power of work/life balance in Charmed. [Bitch Flicks]
Yet another piece in defence of Sex & the City. [Daily Life]
The unsexy reality of centrefolds: behind the scenes of Playboy (NSFW). [Beautiful Decay]
Elite feminism. [The Nation]
“Interview with a Pregnant Porn Star.” (SFW) [The Hairpin]
Barbie is #unapologetic about her Sports Illustrated swimsuit photo shoot. [Barbie Collector]
On behalf of child molestation survivors, Cate Blanchett, don’t accept the Best Actress Oscar. [Thought Catalog]